Chapter must be rearranged; preliminary report, match report one after the other, thoughts/observations during the walk and during the sports show!
What would be if … a person would watch a Bundesliga game just like that?
To my person: as much as one might hate to admit it to oneself, one can hardly call me anything else than an “average citizen”, mid-40s, married, two children, normal nine-to-five office job, decent income, certain promotion prospects in the job – there’s a higher-paying post open, I live a little way out of town, in the family home with which I fulfilled a dream for myself and my family a few years ago, but of course I’m still paying the installments for the next 22 years.
In my childhood I played soccer myself in the club, even came into the selection team in the B-youth, which remained however then unique. After the A-youth was end for me, the study in another city, the time expenditure too highly and the perspectives in such a way that one would have accommodated perhaps in the second man team well, in a nevertheless regionally not at all so bad association. The outlook? Maybe one day in the first there? No, it was out of the question, if only because of the change of location.
I still do sports, ride my bike every day, go jogging or swimming – when I do the latter with the kids – but neither in clubs nor competitively, I just don’t have the time. However, I once took part in a mini-triathlon. That was a lot of fun, and if I did, I would concentrate on something like that.
I also have a favorite club somehow, from an early age, but you can’t really call me a supporter. I just don’t have a very direct connection, neither to the club nor to soccer. I do watch Sportschau when it suits me, and later I watch Sportstudio, but it’s anything but a must-watch program. Via the sports section of the daily newspaper, of course, I’m always on the ball enough to know the standings halfway — Bayern, as usual, and is that supposed to be exciting or what? –, the most important transfers, the coach dismissals – and that’s really intense in the last few years, how quickly you get nervous in the boardrooms and how quickly the savior becomes a failure, but, supposedly, that’s the way it is in the “big business Bundesliga”. Whereby this expression disturbs me in principle already a little. Wasn’t it all once called “the most beautiful pastime in the world”? No, it’s the “highly professional” aspect that spoils the fun – and I’m not even speaking for myself alone.
I haven’t been to the stadium in ages. When I visit my parents, okay, I go with my father to my home club – not bad at all, the way they’re playing at the moment, and it’s even possible that they’ll make it into the third league one day — and we reminisce about the “good old days”. My old coach is also in the stadium, of course, but he rather shakes his head at how everything has turned out.
To a big stadium, to a Bundesliga game? No, it doesn’t really happen anymore. Once I was on a business trip to Stuttgart with a colleague who lives there, and he had a couple of VIP tickets. That was great, but we spent most of the time upstairs enjoying the delicacies. I didn’t get much of the game itself, but seeing some old warhorses up close – I even got to talk briefly to Hansi Müller – still had something.
Oh, one more time I was with my son. He also plays a bit of soccer and I thought he should experience a big game, a real Bundesliga game. But he was a bit cranky that day, his daughter was also there, which was a bit exhausting because she’s more into horses, and so he wasn’t really enthusiastic. Maybe it was just bad luck that the game ended 0:0? Anyway, we didn’t repeat it. He’d rather play than watch, but that’s fine with me.
Now I had a week “family free” – they had gone to my wife’s parents — and even two vacation days to “pay off” sometime before April. Apart from the relaxation that was due anyway, I had made this decision: to take the train to the away game of my “favorite team” and to the stadium. It just had to be done and I was even a little excited. By train was preferable to me, because at least you could then also have a beer and also with parking and travel and so, that was a little scary to me. Apart from that the relaxation in the train but also a few possible encounters that you would not have in your own car?
The train should bring me to the city, regionally was provided for connections, that I had picked out, but was also natural. Finally, there were always a few fan groups who also arrived by train, even if not from my place of residence.
Thus it went off thus actually quite gladly, on early Saturday morning. From me it was a good 400 km, but the ICC is quite fast on the way and from Mannheim, where I had to change trains, I even had a reserved seat. Until there, everything went smoothly and without a hitch, I only met two fans of my team in the first train when I went to the toilet, which could be recognized by the scarves they wore. There was no conversation, I only caught briefly in passing that they would soon meet with other fans.
At the interchange station, everything went smoothly as well, although there were more fans here, some of whom were quite noisy. But so far everything was peaceful and friendly, no problem further.
I meandered through to my reserved seat. All was well, it could start. Although it was an ICC — and, as I gradually learned, there was another reserved special train that was less expensive — there was nevertheless a table of fans in front of me and also another on the left opposite, each with four fans. These soon joined together and one had the impression they knew each other, at least by sight. In compartments further back, one could soon hear quite well, were numerous other people with this following.
Even if I would have extended the too short night sleep gladly with the two and a half hour train journey, then this was however a) not at all possible, because of the noises, but b) I also not at all so angry about the fact that none of the fans surrounding me struggled to hold its organ discreetly on room volume. No, it was spoken loudly and audibly from afar – which I gradually came to appreciate more and more. Whether one could not listen away or did not want to listen away did not play a role: one got what was spoken in such a way.
Of course, it should not go unmentioned that the famous “preglow” is by no means a purely verbal invention. Even if most had not yet eaten breakfast and had made provisions for it by bringing all kinds of edibles, it was the liquids that were in the foreground – and with more or less percentages. Beer was no question, that was always under it, but there were also harder things, whereby here already a little “culture” was to be observed. There were also two girls among them – later even a few more came from the rear compartments, male and female, alternating, and notice: the wetter, the happier – and these had a few piccolos with them, of which they gave the gradually approaching male colleagues quite willingly something.
On the subject of culture: there was a proven whiskey connoisseur who could best score points with the girls with this ability. They were not averse to this drink either and even had a selected – but deliberately decanted and thus not recognizable – good drop with them, whose origin the connoisseur was supposed to guess. Whatever the result, the man impressed with his profound knowledge, even if he could not guess the brand exactly. As it turned out, however, other passengers also had a few small “surprises” in liquid form at the ready: good drops, well decanted, and gladly poured out in the round.
The mood was getting better and better, even if this was not entirely to the advantage of the volume and thus the still abundantly preceding other fellow drivers. One could almost say: the group, here and there reinforced from other wagons, had made it their business to entertain the entire train well. One could not listen away and own Gspräche lead was made virtually impossible.
Nevertheless, the people had not only the whiskey connoisseur to offer. Also otherwise the intellectual level was by no means as low as one might expect? The girls could not be described at first glance as “made-up beauties”, but if you listened with your eyes closed, there was already a kind of flirting pattern to be discerned, the voices pleasantly sympathetic. Apart from the fact that Elton announced by T-shirt imprint that one does not have to drink himself beautifully, there was still this “stylistic device”, of which abundant use was made. In summary: for the boys, these girls were “beautiful” by 10:45 at the latest.
There was even an exchange of phone numbers, and even here one could see a certain skill. Any pretext was chosen, which arose from the conversations. “Oh, I’d be interested in the piercings and tattoos, too, how could I get hold of something?” and vice versa, logically, the jointly recognized interest in selected Irish whiskey varieties was in the foreground. The exchange therefore had a “purely business” basis – but isn’t that stupid?
By the way, the whiskey connoisseur had what it takes to do more, as gradually emerged. And he even made use of this stuff. Because: somehow there seemed to be relationships further up the ladder. However that is organized, but there are probably fan spokesmen and such, which are related to the board of the club? In any case, he was one of them and usually a kind of spokesman, but by no means, as one could be sure after longer unintentional eavesdropping, one of the unpleasant kind, almost going in the direction of “quite empathetic”. Sure, loud already, buzzed, to say the least, but with humor and mind equipped and the pithy sayings had in any case a certain entertainment value.
One learned further that one wanted to make career with piercings, another offered tattoos over the club homepage, with which one could make the close up to “eternal love and loyalty” going relationship to the club indestructible, everywhere and durably visible. Also here a kind of business idea, with the agreement of the Vereinsverwntwortlichen, whereby a last “Ok” was still pending. Not so stupid.
Apart from that, one learned quite a lot. Not only were certain players’ names called to mind, a few particularly successful away trips with the associated victories, a few other successes from the distant but still unforgotten past, the few European Cup appearances with the tragic elimination, but also the one trip to Kristiansand in Norway, of which, however, only one of those present could report, because he was there, and at that time, with him, the fan base amounted to a hand-counted 128 men.
But one also learned why Deutsche Bahn no longer wanted to offer special trains to the supporters. Only, because they had allegedly dismantled one?! Only this sounded from their perspective completely different than in the “breaking news” of the affair at that time. Because: they were penned in, because someone somewhere should have ignited a flag and were then held for hours. There these idiots would not have to be surprised, if one uses sometime the body forces for the aggression dismantling and bends a few doors open? The fact that the upholstery of these old trains, which were ready for the scrap heap anyway and therefore offered to them, was slit open by the way, would have been due to their meanness alone and, moreover, would not have caused the slightest damage. Scrap remains scrap, or something like that. By the way, there was nothing of “aggression” in the narration. It was told feixend, in a certain way as a glory of everyone who was there.
By the way, the jokes offered along the way were almost always well thought out and neatly delivered, so there was nothing to complain about. “Better a mute in bed than a pigeon on the roof”? Who could argue with that? It soon seemed as if this was not the first time they had performed this entertainment program? Surely one is allowed to do a little advertising for fan culture? And indeed, even with malicious intentions, a certain culture could not be denied.
The destination was reached at some point, but not the stadium by a long shot. When we all got off the train, we first saw on the platform how many other fans were in the other train cars. There was a certain amount of jostling towards the exit, although I preferred to stay away, but it was easy to see that some had already exhausted their tolerance limits to the greatest extent possible. “Upper edge lower jaw” something like that. That was now everything else thans pleasing. Not only that one could worry about the health, one wondered how this would go on until the stadium? One could extrapolate to the point where one could be sure that a good quarter would not know the result until Monday morning. Sunday would have to be reserved for “regeneration”?! The question came up, but only at the edge, itself put: is at the end perhaps the soccer the “edge happening”, which the fan somehow “accepts” around itself in groups under Seinesgleichen to be able to stay and for it only a “stage” is in demand, for which then now times necessarily a soccer stadium is selected? Well…
On the station itself by the fans plentifully plastic bags were dragged around, which permitted conclusions by treacherous rattling and clinking on contents: mostly emptied beer cans or bottles. Of course, people didn’t want to give away the deposit. But if by chance a full one had crept in : with limited shelf life, as far as the fullness was concerned. One can somehow understand if such a thing casts certain shadows on the reputation of the rest of the population.
Further it surprised in the connection then clearly less that one met further in front to the exit already the first police escorts. No, they should rather be escorted into the stadium, that was quite understandable. Whereby still the public local traffic was present, on which I thought to lean.
So I tried to keep away as well as possible, because outwardly I was not recognizable as a supporter or even as a stadium-goer – and I did not intend to change anything about it. I still wanted to wait out the rush triggered by this train – obviously the one that was perfectly timed – and slipped away to a small pub on the outskirts to have a coffee. Nevertheless, from there one could observe the further events – whether deliberate, willful, or neither.
Not surprisingly, there were certain confrontations with the police. It got louder, more hectic and even a little more aggressive. Logically, I was not the only non-fan who was at the station. But one could not get rid of the feeling that everyone was under this impression. Personal conversations did not take place any more, one wanted to remain as inconspicuous as possible and one waited more or less only for the whole thing to dissolve here – in order to be able to breathe then generally and to be able to dedicate oneself again to its previous activities. It was, to make it perhaps so more clearly, a quite peculiar atmosphere.
Through the encounter on the train, nevertheless, the other side had also become much more understandable to me. What became clear to me: Soccer may still be considered a “prole sport,” but that doesn’t mean you have to become a prole first to be allowed to join a fan group.
The subway was supposed to take me to the stadium, and since the fans from my train had gradually – according to police instructions – thinned out so far, it went quite neatly and comfortably. If other fans in the subway, then only the home team, which were not affected by the “Vorglühen”. One was at home and did not have to travel far, where one would come then on other bridging thoughts.
At the stadium itself there were now these me not at all remembered (was that before already so or how was it?) Entrance controls, with body search. Fortunately, I had nothing with me that was collected, but it’s not such a great feeling when you want to enter the stadium as a normal average citizen and are more or less under suspicion of wanting to do something? You might understand and accept it, but it doesn’t exactly invite you to repeat the whole process.
I had quite normal tickets, seat, lower ring, curve, but not among fans even, neither those nor such. Nevertheless, it was easy to observe how the fans of both teams “got hot” with chants even before kickoff. The content was not only friendly. They were in a fighting mood, so to speak. Whereby a certain aggressiveness was already noticeable in it. Even if thus surrounded by plentifully “completely normal spectators”, it was nevertheless everything else than a Wohlfühloase. The banners that were rolled out also indicated that these two groups of supporters probably have a long history and are not exactly friendly with each other.
At kickoff, this picture changed quite abruptly. Somehow it seemed to be a little bit about soccer? I had almost forgotten that myself in the last few hours. When the team lineups were read out and also shown on the video screen, I noticed that I hardly knew any of the players. Neither from this, nor from that team. Sure, you had heard or read all the names, no question. But a proper profile? That you knew how the man played, where he came from, how long he’d been with the club, what his pedigree was, how old, how many goals, a nickname perhaps? More like: yes, I know him. But he was still at Hoffenheim last season? I waited for the only really familiar veteran, with whom one could perhaps build up some kind of identification, also because he stood a bit more than others for club loyalty and fair play (a connection? Yes, conceivable?), but did so in vain. As I learned on inquiry, he had injured himself during the week in training. But then I had disgraced myself only moderately – because the interviewee could not suspect that the guest club was “mine”…
I nevertheless read the names attentively — listening was difficult, because with the home line-up it was mostly lost in a kind of cheering or communal shouting, accompanied with the guests by first whistles –, of both teams, and wondered with each name which nation the player could be. With the two Japanese it was quite clear, another must have been French, one could have been US-American or Australian – I heard later: a Phillippino –, then there were quite certainly at least two, rather three Africans among them – one saw the teams enter and could therefore “think along” –, and with the Spanish-sounding names one could of course assume both Spain and South America.
Okay, finally the time had come: the ball was rolling. The first whistle after about three minutes. Hard boarding of a guest player – I didn’t dare to call them “my team” and they weren’t really anyway — who got away without a yellow. It sounds quite powerful, such a whistle concert, but if you look around, you directly find only a few who participate themselves. Nevertheless: something seemed to annoy people, I thought so with me. Is that why they come here? Or do they always hope for a fair game and a few nice goals, like in the old days, but realize after a few minutes that “it’s not the old days and it’s the new days”?
Although my place was not ideal, I could see well how the teams moved around the center line. So both moved high out behind, which meant that the 20 field players were crowded together in an area of 40 meters. However, as soon as someone left that frame and a long ball was played to them, the flag went up. Offside or not: is this modern soccer, one had to ask? It’s all tactics now. They’re not even allowed to play anymore, so maybe they should take that out of the name? “Let’s go play some soccer.” “Surely you mean go work soccer?”
If you wanted to put it in a positive light, they both adhered perfectly to the tactical guidelines in the sense that there were no scoring chances. The offside situations also regularly resulted in the whistles. From my position, the best I could have said was, “It was close.” The whistles from the fans suggested: maybe it wasn’t?
I gradually realized that the only way was through the standards. It was an art to somehow get close to the penalty area, to provoke a foul with individual class or to force a corner with any pointless finish or cross. It rarely succeeded, but if, one had the feeling that it could come possibly times to a goal situation. A free kick from 40 meters from the outside position was already quite “highest drama to be expected.” After all, some players now moved up and many reds – that were “mine” – lined up at the penalty area to run into the long ball. The ball then really appeared near the goal, and twice in the first 25 minutes! However, on the first attempt the flag went up for offside – you couldn’t see it at all, but of course it was possible that one of the players had his upper body in front – and on the other attempt, when everyone rushed to the ball, it was supposedly a foul on the striker.
After 28 minutes the first dangerous finish. However, over there and from White. Hard to see, but to make out from the increased and changed noise level: that was very, very close. Whether keeper with his fists on it or post was only to guess. But: it was not a goal. Also the first really dangerous cross came over into the penalty area. Whereby one could take this also primarily from the background noise, which concerned the degree of the released danger. Whatever it may have been, the tension soon erupted in whistles. Something was supposed to have been irregular again? However, the chance had already passed anyway.
In general, I noticed that every time an offside decision was made, the whistles blew. Sometimes it came from this corner, sometimes from that. Of course, I couldn’t interfere at all with the correctness of the decision, but at least I had to think about it: first, I could hardly imagine that people would whistle if it was recognizably offside. One would say and feel something like: “Too bad, he was nicely free, but it was offside. Maybe the pass should have come a moment earlier.” So you’d get more of a sort of “Ooouuuhhh” to be heard for that “too bad, close, but right.”. The whistles, despite the perhaps one-sided view, at least suggest that not everyone necessarily saw it that way, that is, that it was “close.” Very close, in fact. And with a little good will, maybe not offside? Wasn’t there once such a clause in the rules, in doubt for…?
The pondering didn’t want to stop. Admittedly, the atmosphere was somehow tense, certainly, and around me it even seethed noticeably a little, even among the much more sitter spectators. Their supporters were clearly the home team. But it was also noticeable that something was going against the grain. One heard from the proximity often indignant heckling. Whenever one of those critical decisions was made, you could see angry faces. I remembered how you often got to see a great scene in the past, the conclusion, the parade, and all-round clapping, whether for them or for those, that had pleased, that was good soccer. I also remembered the excited faces that you saw around you, that something great was going to happen and that you were uniquely lucky to be there. I also noticed that there were hardly any young people. Were they all supposed to be in the fan section? What happened to the youngsters? Were they all like my son? Clapping? There was once, when a defender of white with an absolutely fair tackle the ball and ONLY the ball played. Rescue in the highest emergency, skillfully, fairly. That had something to do with soccer. Even if only a defensive action.
The half-time whistle was rather accompanied by expressions of discontent. 0:0. The usual break score? Discontent everywhere. It wasn’t necessarily whistles, it was more of a murmur, everyone had something to discuss and now the opportunity to do so. Few scoring chances, absolutely even, a few critical decisions, sometimes this way, sometimes that way. So not somehow one-sided unfair or anything. What could have inspired me, however, was not represented – and I would assume that there were more spectators who wanted to see not only pure “result soccer”? –, so that nevertheless already times the critical question directed at myself arose: “Why did you actually do that?” I also spared myself the walk to the overstaffed beer stand. It had become chilly because the sun had disappeared behind clouds on what had been a pleasant spring day.
(a remark is permitted here, which does not fit completely into the framework again in my trusted home arrived occupied me the question, how many percent of the plays would stand then at the break 0:0; it came out: in the federal league it was in the last years 27.33%, internationally however with 30.87% somewhat more: thus one should think that it is nevertheless further somewhat more exciting in the federal league than elsewhere? The question came up, of course, because I was missing the highlights, the 0:0 seemed “normal” and one had to ask oneself otherwise, by which small miracle a goal should actually fall; the sensation was in any case not so: there is one in the air. The 0:0 was, by the way, actually the most frequent half-time result. No goal for 45 minutes. Is that supposed to be fun?
The second half didn’t have that many changes to offer. One may quietly point out that the whistles also accompanied each of the free-kick situations, which had primarily provided the “goal scenes”, of course, in their creation. Sure: the fans whistled because a foul would still be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and a violation of the rules? Nevertheless, the foul play happened. Did the perpetrator of the foul expect an advantage from it? Probably yes, but if indeed yes: why would it actually be the case that one does better if one breaks the rules? Somehow there seemed to me to be a mismatch. A skew in the rulebook? Why is it worthwhile to foul?
The highest goal was to put such a successful trick in front of the opponent that he could only stop the otherwise developing goal situation by foul play. Thus one had “brought out a free kick”. If the trick would have succeeded even better, so that the foul play would get the imprint “bad”, then a kind of “dream goal” was reached. Namely: the opponent would get the yellow card – a total of three times in half 1 , not all for foul play – rubbed under the nose. The profitable part of it: if one should succeed in the 72nd minute again such a breakthrough, then the opponent would not be allowed to renounce the foul play – from result-technical considerations –, but would afterwards enjoy an earlier closing time, which he would ring in under the shower: “marching order” calls the Englishman.
Unless, of course, the referee would show the “tact” suddenly demanded by the media for the second offense, because a sending-off is again a bit too harsh…! Or but the yellow warned player would have been perhaps already replaced, since the coach would have recognized the danger, so that the again fouling would not be warned yet? Hmmm…
The resulting question, however, was: what would it be like to see the striker who broke through instead of this standard situation and what he would do with the scene instead of watching this standard, whose execution was always to the detriment of the flow of the game? Somehow I imagined: that would be fun. But such a thing would obviously not be valued. What kind of voice would I have “in the concert of the greats”? Whereby the “concert” was already in tune, namely that of the whistles. These opened up to me in this way easily: the people felt it as I did. That was crap, to put it mildly.
If one could make an extremely forbidden comparison – so my further pondering brought to light – and without that I would have to make a contribution there as a person concerned, there was unintentionally nevertheless the association of the “castration”. It must be a similar feeling, I imagined: everything that could ever be fun is forcibly stopped. A player free? Doesn’t exist here. Offside or not? Who cares? Flag “for safety’s sake” high. Because: one player alone in front of the goalkeeper, we don’t need that here. Or: a player who gets through and runs towards the goalkeeper and is not fouled beforehand? Also not represented. He is fouled beforehand and at worst in such a way that you get a yellow card. If you want to see goals, you can go to the soccer field, here we play serious soccer, there is no such thing. Or something like that.
Even otherwise, one could see that the players had enormous ball skills when there was an opportunity to play it unchallenged. However, this was only possible in their own half and there you could confidently consider it “ineffective” in the sense of scoring a goal. As soon as it went over the center line, there was on the socks. I thought of the appropriate expression also for it soon: “Football prevention” would have to be called the seriousness (nud not the game). It’s all about. Keeping opponents away from your own goal as the highest maxim.
The choice of means? Basically it doesn’t matter, the main thing is that the opponent can’t play and doesn’t get his own scoring chances. Whether we score one? That’s up in the air, perhaps by chance or because the opponent allowed himself to be lured too much.
Huub Stevens our hero. “The zero must stand.”
Nobody knows Herberger anymore. World Cup system? Hereß not because it brought the title in 1954, but because it painted itself like a W and an M. Two defenders at the back – and that was basically it as far as “defense” was concerned. The foundations of the “W”. Then came the three runners. The tops of the “W”. Center runner, left runner, right runner. Up and down, sure, but the offense certainly didn’t come up short when you run a lot.
Then building the “M”: left half forward, right half forward, center forward. Foundations of the “M.” And then the two outside forwards, the “M” closes. Yes, that was still soccer. The goal of the game? Stevens heard about that once, too, during an uninhibited chat : goals. Preferably, more than the opponent, but if that doesn’t work out, after the final whistle, open and straight and exhausted, but smiling, look into the eyes and shake hands: “Today you were the better ones. Congratulations.”
There were more stoppages in the second half, and I somehow heard the announcer comment from the live game in my mind’s ear, “The game is getting more intense.” That translated to mean: even more fouls than before? I explained to myself: everyone knew that the next goal could be decisive, so let’s not allow any. And what better way to do it than to engage the opponent more and more in duels, just when he was threatening to gain the upper hand?
So the game itself didn’t give that much, at least nothing that could be called worth watching. The next comment I heard was this, “The game thrives on suspense.” That was even put in a positive way. However, it also meant: it wasn’t pretty.
I watched the people around me, desperately looking for “bright spots”, whereas a pretty woman would have done, but the one and only one I could spot was busy cooing with her boyfriend and I dare say: he was very lucky, but the game itself pretty much passed him by.
Besides I made further Überlegungn: the fan camps alternated with the whistles. Sometimes it was these, sometimes those – and now and then both, because the scenes were altogether ugly and one fouled, but the other rolled theatrically and much too violently and thus probably hoped to be able to force yellow?
I had the keyword “justice” in the back of my mind and tried to reconcile this with what happened here. Somehow there seemed to me to be a connection between agitation and a sense of justice. The former occurring because the latter was hurt. The question would therefore be: why do both of them actually feel wronged? What could have given rise to this? Is it really only the transfigured view of the situations put on through the club glasses?
I speculated: earlier it was close on one side because of offside – without me being entitled to object –, a little later on the other side. Let’s assume that both decisions, i.e. this one for offside, would turn out to be wrong afterwards per freeze frame in the video analysis. Would both parties of supporters now have to remain calm? The first assumption I came up with was: the club’s own glasses might contribute that one would interpret it as close here and close there and therefore in doubt advantageous for oneself. Nevertheless, one would by no means and not even come to whistle if in case of the close decision for the opponent there the game would continue.
This brought about the second assumption: if he let run in both cases, there would be no outrage at all. One wouldn’t even get the chance to be outraged. At what moment should the whistle be blown? After all, there is no such thing as “the exact moment when the flag stays down.” Conversely, there would only be the moment when the game was interrupted by a whistle – combined with the request to the fans to do the same to the referee: “I’ve blown the whistle, now it’s your turn. The fanfare, the recognition signal.
If not interrupted: the ball would continue to roll. People would be tense and worried, perhaps muttering to themselves that it could have been offside after all, but they would acknowledge and accept it from the opponent – and would have no opportunity for audible expression of displeasure.
Obviously, an uneven distribution would not be favorable, of course. So let run here and whistle there, maybe even repeatedly in the expression.
Nevertheless the idea was born: if one would take seriously in the doubt for the aggressor as instruction, there would be alone therefore already times a quantity less excitement and injustice in the not at all so insignificant people feeling.
My thought games still did not end and I formulated for me in such a way: Injustices cannot be set off against each other in this way. One could never demand from the fans of a team that then, if its player is free through, it is recognized close, but the whistle of the referee sounds, they would have now nevertheless please NOT to excite and their displeasure by own whistles to give vent may, since it was likewise close before on the other side and exactly in such a way against the striker was decided? No, that is not how the principle of justice works. They perceive it as close at that moment, granted, but the raised flag as malice, which they audibly indicate.
It just reminded me: somehow it seemed that everyone used to enjoy it when a goal was scored? It will always be the case that it is the goal action that is stopped that causes the displeasure. And when it’s close and the flag goes up, you’re guaranteed to get whistles. There the later resolution of the scene does not play a role. Was close but right or was close but wrong: irrelevant. The people have cast their vote: not like that! We don’t like it!
There was again at least one critical offside situation, also in half 2. Again, the flag was up. In the 52nd minute – I was sitting favorably for this action – there was also an extremely critical scene in my team’s penalty area. No, you could have this or that or no glasses on: that was a foul play. Not only that the striker was initially held, at the shoulder – very slightly, imperceptibly perhaps, but the slowdown visible and where else should it come from? — , no, he had nevertheless given himself the free space needed to finish, but there came the defender’s legs from behind, and even if with a little good will one could speak of “legs and ball” that he hit there: that was a foul.
The whistle did not blow. However, not the displeasure of the masses. This time it grew into a hurricane, which swept through the stadium. Even as a “beneficiary” could not help but feel this as an injustice.
The atmosphere was henceforth “poisoned”. However distant the relationship between referees, tomtats and eyes may be: the spectators contrived one. After they had previously only called him to the phone, presumably to clearly emphasize his devotion.
The referee surely felt and heard that. So he wanted to “make it up to him”, because he also realized that (not only) this decision was not the right one. What solution did he find? When it was also critical in the penalty area – it was about a handball during a cross, when the defender stretched his arms from his body and the cross ball “accidentally” strayed there – he also waved off the ball quite energetically. Nix there. No penalty, not here and not there. Similar to offside: but now everything is fine again? No, absolutely not. The “harvest” was this: now both fan camps were upset against him.
In the 66th minute then the following situation: again an attack of white, on the goal of “my” team standing with me. Again a critical duel, but the ball is lost, the attacker goes to the ground and complains of “foul play”. The referee again does not blow the whistle. All the Whites were in the forward movement, the home team wanted to force the 1:0, they had “earned” certain advantages (in the past they would have been “earned”?). The Whites swarmed out in a flash with five, six players, found a whole lot of space, played it out really skillfully. They were outnumbered, another pass, on the outside, a feint, ball put back, from nine meters from the back pushed over the line. The 0:1.
There was no opportunity to rejoice, especially since the scene of the ball loss and the alleged foul play again heated up the tempers. It certainly wasn’t one, that was also my impression, but it was “the cherry on the icing on the cake”, so to speak, and if one could still reverse this saying – wait a minute, didn’t it already exist? “The barrel was overflowing.” What had been simmering before now exploded. Too much pressure on the kettle. Anyway. The score was 0:1, even if the visiting fans tried to cheer. The war had been declared beforehand. They were mercilessly whistled down. No, it’s no fun like that.
I wouldn’t have felt like cheering inside either, but either way, I wouldn’t have let it be known under any circumstances which team I would have been rooting for at some point. Just to be on the safe side, you might say.
I must quickly finish the story of the game: White put enormous pressure on the game. The equalizer was due, there was no question about that. Whereby the very hot goal situations still did not arise and Red even became dangerous twice from the counterattack. However, from about the 80th minute onwards, there was no more counterattacking at all. The ball could hardly be held and if any scene arose, then players in red rolled on the ground or indicated a cramp. No, it was ridiculous and even less fun than before. The whistles were not less and were now directed against the guest players, but this was well nachvllziehbar. After a missed shot a kick? That took time. Ball zurechtlegen, Stutzen hochkrpempeln, shoe tie or whatever. Until the referee finally showed the goalkeeper yellow – but even that “brought time”.
When then nevertheless once more red would have had a lot of place over it and a cross run would have offered itself, there I suddenly stated that in the center no more at all ran along? What was that about? Oh, I realized: there was one of those famous “corner flag attacks”. One “attacks” all alone the corner flag, with ball at the foot, and places then those on the ball. Let the opponent come. And when he comes and catches the ball: I go to the ground. Then I get the foul whistle. No, it was just ugly. How could such players become role models or even be revered as heroes? I just realized that the fans might see that as a “retaliatory strike”, after all, the opponent wouldn’t have done that differently last week in the game against them. So just right, step on the ball and best not play on at all. Time off the clock, victory is ours.
Never, ever could I have been happy about a victory in this way. And, I may say it quietly so, “fortunately” there was a last action in the penalty area on my side and even if here the fall may have been considered “theatrical”: the ref immediately and energetically pointed to the point. The penalty was in, 1:1, the final whistle sounded shortly afterwards. In a way, a conciliatory ending after all? At least in the stadium, one did not necessarily have to expect further escalation.
I made myself carefully and as inconspicuously as possible out of the dust. It took a moment, but I made good progress and was able to leave the stadium completely unmolested. It was again this somewhat peculiar atmosphere, but finally by the “peaceful Spielasugang” at least in this respect a little justice had returned. However, it could already be heard that the fans had by no means “forgiven” each other for this and that harmony and friendship would now return.
I took a route that was as far as possible beyond that of the fans. So by no means in the direction of the subway, bus or city center. I had spontaneously decided on a walk, of course to avoid unpleasantness, but also to be able to think a few more thoughts undisturbed, which is supposed to work best in fresh air and alone with oneself? These events had to be processed and demanded some kind of “after-viewing”.
The walk lasted about 35 minutes until I found a pizzeria a bit off the beaten track, insofar visited mainly by locals, which looked inviting enough that I decided to quench my hunger and thirst there. While the cool wind blew through my brain, the day’s events rewound in my head, enriched by a few thoughts.
First of all, this question regarding fan identification. What does the fan identify with and why does he do it? I came back to the team lineups. An internationally thrown together bunch, who at most form a kind of community of purpose. Everyone is intent on his own career, the chosen “advisor” negotiates a new, higher-paying contract immediately after his “client’s” first good performance. And if the demands are not met immediately, they quickly knock on the door of a few other clubs. The better the connections of the consultant (today often an agency), the wider the range of clubs that come into consideration. It doesn’t even matter which country or league the player ends up in.
An international squad, of which every now and then two players can even talk to each other in the same language. Origin does not matter, previous club, later club, everything apparently plays no role for the fan. Today he wears “our” logo on his chest – so he is part of us?!
Now all these players are certainly incredibly nice people and fantastic footballers, that’s not the point. The question that concerned me more: why does the fan accept this and cheer for them, sing along with their names while they are read out? I’m sure I’m not asking this as a racist – although it’s common to accuse even the fans of belonging to the right-wing scene, so the question is more directed at them. But especially because of part 2 of the question a burning: are the supporters not aware that these recruited players do not have the slightest attachment to the club and such, if, for the duration of the commitment only voträuschen and after the new upcoming change the same loyalty oaths and after the first hit the new club logo already again besmirch with spit?
This would not only be about foreign players, and not necessarily only. The question would also remain relevant in the country: how is a player supposed to make you believe that, after the fourth change of club in five years, he has finally landed at his “favorite club,” for which he was already a fan in his youth?
Somehow there is a kind of common thesis that fans tend to come from less educated backgrounds and that they are looking for a distraction from their often frustrating everyday lives and would release their aggression there, at the weekend, in the stadium. However that would happen and to what extent it would be desirable, is for the time being to be left open. The impression I got was different: a visit to the stadium serves no other purpose than to build up aggression. One can simply become angry. And this doesn’t apply specifically to this game – which was perhaps additionally chosen by me by chance to be unfavorable and unfortunate — but actually to every game and to soccer as a whole. It’s about so many unbelievable little things, where sometimes this one, sometimes that one has a reason to get upset – and please repeat: in many cases rightly so –, and the offsetting of the errors doesn’t work, because you can’t repay injustice with injustice and that’s much more than just a saying. People will get upset, that’s for sure. And the feeling is not a pleasant one.
Surprisingly, there was a TV set up in the pub and it was turned on just in time for the sports show, in a separate small room, so right after I arrived. There were about seven other guests, because after all the local club had a home game.
The impressions were of course still very strong with me and somehow everything was different this time, while watching. Also with the other reports I saw it suddenly with completely different eyes and looked and listened much more on the edge happening in the stadium, like there the spectators and fans – may one somehow separate or also not – reacted, whether it was similar or different than with “my” play and also, how the referee decisions turned out.
It could not remain hidden that in many cases it was similar to “my” game: always, when it was tight, it was offside and always, when it was critical in the penalty area, there was some explanation why there was no penalty – and now and then it was also said: “here he should have given”, as also with some offside decisions it was said “here the man at the line was mistaken”. Nevertheless, the decisions had in common: the goal situation did not take place. That which one would have liked to see did not exist. Emperor and new clothes or the castration. The fans also reacted there as one might expect: upset.
The tension leading up to my game was already diminishing considerably. The match reports beforehand had already been enough to provide me with the answers I was looking for. The 1:1 was called a “fair result” afterwards, but that was also the case for every other game. So the verdict could also have been: the grass is nice and green and we count the goals.
Nevertheless, the coaches’ voices sounded similar. “Fair,” the result? That may be. But the game itself? There’s nothing fair about it at all.
Regarding the disputed scenes: that hardly mattered anymore, but in the case of the penalty not given for White, it was said: “here you could not have complained if the whistle had been blown”. That didn’t necessarily make me any smarter either. Due to the less clear penalty in injury time, these scenes were simply offset against each other, as one does. Here one would have, there one would have, here one has, there not, everything again well?!
This one word “arbitrariness” went through my head, whereby games are decided “at this level and with this professionalism”. A whistle is blown here, an action waved through there, a penalty given here, denied there, an offside this way or that. It depends on a single whistle how a game ends today. Apart from that, there are no differences to be seen. Wasn’t it Christoph Daum who once said, with a smile on his face of course, that referees are no longer “match directors” but “match decision-makers”? What he meant back then only became really clear to me now. Why was he smiled at? Quite simply: his FC had lost a game at that time and the equalizing goal, which was scored in regulation shortly before the end, was disallowed, one could say “arbitrarily”. Just remember: as an adversely affected person, you are deprived of clear understanding and judgment.
Afterwards, by the way, there were reports of fan riots in the city. This did not surprise me a bit. Whereby I would have been a little interested in what role my morning passengers, for whom one could in any case develop a certain sympathy, could have played there? In the middle of it or only there? I had found my own answer for it in any case: the aggressions, which had piled up with dan fans – and this actually here superordinate, insofar of both teams – had not developed in the entire week, but in the two hours in the stadium. This was perhaps the most frightening realization. Whereby it became clear to me here: all of them feel injustices committed against them. These also took place. But as a fan, you wouldn’t have a voice anyway: “That wasn’t offside” says one. “Ah, you are a fan of the team? Then I don’t even care if it was offside or not. You’re biased!” Although he’s right. It is also this perceived powerlessness that triggers aggression. “Even though I’m right, no one listens to me.”
One last thought came to me about the game, which I could now watch in the summary and which I had previously attended in the stadium. Christoph Daum was right, of course, that referees are game deciders. A whistle or no whistle, that makes all the difference. The referees are – if they are honest and want to do a good job, which is to be assumed – rather diplomats. The one in “my” game didn’t decide the game, he drew it. Mistakes without end, even serious mistakes and those that must drive the fans up the wall. But in the end a draw. Surely everyone should be able to live with that? Says the diplomat. If only there wasn’t this unfair three-point rule, he would even be right.
I inquired about a quiet hotel in the outskirts and found a nice little pension, recommended by other guests, where I spent the night. On the way home late Sunday morning, it was still far from everyday life, but gradually I was able to detach myself from the events of the previous day.
The thoughts still circling up to then brought only this last realization to light: as a fan it would work, there one would have to give oneself to it unconditionally and live out everything around it. But I won’t do that anymore. In this respect: that was the last time.