At the top today is defender Ria Percival.
Ramble of the Day
Tottenham is officially in the Conference League group stage, which at the very least will be a fun exploration in stadiums around Europe. The venue for the Conference League final, Air Albania Stadium in Tirana, certainly fits the bill.
It is truly beautiful from the outside, and I like entertaining the idea that I’ll one day be able to look at that design up close. Once I processed the beauty of the exterior, I had to move on to the tower that sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s part of a project to make the stadium a multipurpose venue. This is from IR, the center’s real estate manager:
The Arena Center is designed to comprise a 5-star Hotel (Tower), Commercial Area, Office Area, and underground floors used as a parking area, making up a total gross building area of 54,000 sqm.
A unique space that will radically change the consumption patterns.
Brand named chain stores, restaurants and coffee shops, offices, hotels, and entertainment areas for all family members, guarantying a comfortable, pleasant and safe tour around all spaces for its visitors.
This way, people may easily and effectively choose what they search for.
FASHION – FOOD – BUSINESS – LEISURE – SPORTS – FUN
“All under one roof!”
That is one very multifaceted venue that seems very well suited for a quick trip to Tirana to watch — or play — some football. (I know very little about Tirana, so I couldn’t tell you if it would make for a nice place to stay if you’re in Tirana for more than a day.) The aforementioned hotel is a Marriott International that is scheduled to open in the fall. (Someone let me know if any pictures pop up for you on that page, because they haven’t for me.)
The other real point of interest is the commercial area, which is promising a lot of different services. A quick look through the Arena Center’s Instagram shows a lot of different types of restaurants, likely somewhat local brands that I haven’t heard of but put on a nice enough show on social media to make me curious. I couldn’t tell you if there’s a lot of variety across the menus, but like I said, I’m curious enough.
As for the shopping options, it seems like it has the type of variety one might expect out of a high end mall. It doesn’t have the highest of high end brands, but from my quick look at their Instagram, they definitely have tasteful clothing. The Instagram account, though, focuses more on the food than the shopping.
While working on this Hoddle, I realized the Arena Center kind of has a competitor — the Stadion Shopping Center in Belgrade, which is underneath Voždovac Stadium. I remember looking it up once and finding it to be the most average shopping mall. (I feel like I wrote about it in a Hoddle once, but can’t track it down.) I don’t know how to rank it against the Arena Center, because I’m not sure if it’s a hollow attempt at something that could be reasonable. It is just wild that there’s more than one shopping center attached to a stadium, though.
tl;dr: The stadium hosting the Conference League final is a whole experience.
Stay informed, read this: Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi on racist tropes used to describe Indian food for The Washington Post
Links of the Day
Manchester City suspended Benjamin Mendy after he was charged with four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.
Manchester United’s Scott McTominay will miss the team’s match against Wolves after undergoing groin surgery.
Fort Lauderdale vice mayor Heather Moraitis is accusing Inter Miami of backing out of a deal to build a park and community sports facilities around the team’s stadium.
A longer read: Kevin Draper on the MLS-Liga MX All-Star game, and how it may set up a future of collaboration between the leagues for The New York Times