FC United continue their love affair with Germany next week, flying off in Andy Walsh’s jet to Marburg to play the snappily monikered VfB 1905 Marburg e.V. select XI in a Football Against Racism in Europe community day event.
It’s the third time we’ve played in Germany, following previous visits to Leipzig and Riesa, and offers
the chance for our fans to forge further links with football supporters in Germany whilst getting hammered
on Reinheitsgebot beer. There’s already talk of Schalke sending a bus down to meet with us. I assume they mean ‘meet’ in a friendly sense, not in a Leeds/Stoke/Bolton sense. The following was posted on a Schalke forum (but in German, natch):
On Friday 6th June 2008, FC United of Manchester will be playing a local XI in Marburg (in Hesse, 220 km from here). We’ve had a lot of people interested in going to the game, especially to hook up with the English, have a chat about what’s going on in (English) football, and to show our solidarity with them. The Supporters Club are thinking about organising a trip to the game in our bus the “Tortoise”. We want to know if enough of you are interested to make it worthwhile. Please contact oli4@****.de ! The Tortoise would set off at about 2.30/3 p.m. and leave Marburg two or three hours after the final whistle…
There’s much to admire about German football fan culture, and in fact German football in general. The fact we’re apparently held in such high regard over there should be a source of enormous pride, and confirmation that everything we’re doing, or trying to do, is along the right lines. Take a look at any aspect of their game, from club ownership rules, to terracing, to ticket pricing – though perhaps not the fashion side of things. Just what the fuck are those denim jackets about? Nice shoes, mind – and it becomes clear that the people who run our game could do a lot worse than to look to Germany for guidance. Though there’s fuck all chance of that happening, of course.
While I’ve never had a problem with Germany, oddly failing to hold the entire country responsible for a war that ended over sixty years ago, my fondness for them has grown over the last three years. As I’ve remembered and realised what football is meant to be about, I’ve often cast an envious glance over to Duetschland and thought, yeah, that’s pretty much it. Every club has to be at least 51% owned by the fans. A ticket to stand at a Bundesliga game will cost you around the same as a ticket to see us play at Gigg Lane. You can drink as much beer as you like and not wake up with a hangover. And have you seen the state of the Sudtribune at the Westfalen Stadium? A 25,000 capacity terrace. How much fun would that be? I reckon if Thomas More hadn’t got so bogged down in religion and politics when he wrote Utopia, he’d have had Raphael Hythloday pogoing on the Sudtribube, chomping on a wurst, not wearing a shit denim jacket.
I shall stop now, as I’m starting to gush, and it’s not a pleasant sight. But come Euro 2008, when you’re surrounded by the Ingerland Burberry Apes, singing – despite non qualification – about ‘the RAF from England’, ‘two world wars and one world cup’ and all the other unpleasant jingoistic, xenophobic bollocks you’ll have to put up with, I want you to remember Leipzig, Riesa and Marburg, and if not actually tell them to shut the fuck up, at least think it.
Besides, any country that brought us Adi Dasler is sound with me.
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