Juventus introduced their groundbreaking ceremony Juventus Arena with a 1-1 tie versus Notts County during a night of jubilation on Thursday. The English League One side, the oldest professional club in the world having been founded in 1862, were the guests as a mark of thanks for their historic link with the hosts.
The night began with a 114 second countdown, announcing the number of years Bianconeri of Turin has been in existence since it was formed by students from the Liceo D'Azeglio in 1897. "Welcome home! We are tens of millions around the world, millions in Italy and hundreds of thousands in the city," stated an emotional club president Andrea Agnelli, whose family have had a long history with the club.
"We are a people who know how to delight ourselves, how to suffer, to grit our teeth, we are the people of Juve. We are people who acknowledge and know how to take results achieved on a green pitch such as this one, with lines that do not lie because the pitch always tells the truth."
The €122 million 41,000-seater Juventus Arena was packed to the rafters, showcasing the first such ground in Italy to be privately owned by a club. Juventus Arena that Juve hope will revolutionise the match-day experience for fans and which the club hopes will also encourage far greater numbers to turn up than has been the case since they moved to the Stadio Delle Alpi from the old Stadio Comunale in 1990.
The occasion was also used to remember the 39 victims of the Heysel Stadium disaster as well as former Juve legend Gaetano Scirea.
There were also appearances from some of the club's oldest living ex-players, such as 91-year-old former goalkeeper Lucidio Sentimenti IV. There was even an appearance from a figure older still, the bench on which were sitting the students who founded the club. It descended from the sky with the 2 greatest goalscorers in Juve's history upon it.
"I am here at Juventus Arena after 67 years to give you all a hug. Winning Is not important, it is the only thing that calculates," stated 83-year-old Giampiero Boniperti. He had been Juve's greatest ever goalscorer for 50 years until current club captain Alessandro Del Piero overtook him.
"I am pleased to have contributed to writing a part of the 114 years of history, of fantastic pages and memories," told Del Piero before the fireworks began.