There have been ten UEFA EURO 2016 venues, each with its own characteristics and associated challenges. Venue manager Renato Angelucci took us behind the scenes at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens and described his typical working day.
When I moved to France from Switzerland last September, I decided to live in Lens itself, as I wanted to experience the atmosphere of the town and try to live like a local as much as possible. It’s a small town (with a population of around 35,000) and it’s a beautiful place to live. It was a pleasure to see how it changed with the seasons. I lived less than a kilometre from the stadium, so I didn’t really have to commute to work.
My working habits changed a lot between when I first arrived in Lens, when I worked alone in the office, and when the tournament started. In the last couple of months, my schedule became pretty well defined. I’d arrive at the office at around 07.30 each day, and start by organising my day and scheduling all my tasks. That time in the morning is a rare moment of tranquillity in the venue world! I’d get myself a nice cup of coffee and prepare the venue meeting, which was always at 09.00. After that, I’d start my tasks around the stadium and off-site, which included meetings with local authorities. The whole team followed an activity plan, which was everyone’s guideline for the day and gave the venue a rhythm. I walked a lot because I needed to know what was going on at the venue. On average, I walked around 15km a day, and even more on matchdays. The more you walk, the more you see!
As the tournament approached, I tried to have lunch with the team. Normally, I prefer to be quick and not to talk about work, but you’d be surprised how many important venue decisions were made over the lunch break. Until April, I’d go running at lunchtime a couple of times a week. We also tried to play basketball nearby, but as the tournament got closer, we became too busy for that.
The afternoon usually gave me a chance to plan ahead and to write my end-of-day report. One of my rules as a venue manager was to check on each project at least once a day. It was important for me to be present and to see how everyone was doing. But believe me, it wasn’t easy to find the time for that!
Part of the Lens venue team was based in Lille, so it wasn’t easy to go for a drink or dinner as a group. Those of us in Lens, the ‘Lensois’, often went out together and groups gradually formed. So there was always something going on. As the venue manager, I felt like the ‘dad’ of the group. Our days were long but very rewarding.
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