Soccerama Magazine Review

A new magazine enlightens our football horizon: Soccerama, a magazine for football culture. It entered the scene with aplomb, selling out the first print run in just 3 weeks. Read more →

EURO 2000: The German Phoenix

Germany, winner or the 1996 European Championships qualified for the 2000 edition but failed to win a single game in the tournament and finished behind England, the first time since 1968! This post highlights how this desaster helped to re-boot German football. Read more →

That Kind of Rivalry

Last week the fans of Dynamo Dresden were the talk of the town called football culture with their huge banner that covered the whole ground. All credit went to them as a lot of work and time was dedicated to it.

It was an honour for FC Magdeburg, the visitors on that day that the banner was unfurled before the Derby. Subsequent discussions centered around whether or not this was a choreo, or if the slogan was appropriate. Without a dobt Dresden’s effort is the biggest stadium banner in Europe. Again, well done!

This week however, Magdeburg responded. Against second-placed SC Preußen Münster Magdeburg took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room for half-time. What happened after the re-start beggars belief. The North Stand began a chant and slowly the whole ground joined (except the away end of course) that way creating an antiphony of a huge scale.

An eye witness reports that for 20 minutes he was not able to watch the game as the singing occupied all attention not just of him but of all 16000 who were there supporting Magdeburg. Morever, it did not stop with them all singing, no they clapped hands, they jumped and on top of that started a conga moving from one side to the other! The whole ground! The poor souls of Münster must have thought what kind of lion’s den they ended up.

Watch for yourself and please give your opinion about this mass and this sermon!

As a Magdeburg fan watching those scenes is very emotional and brings back memories from about 20 years ago when there were about 500 in a decrepit ground and Magdeburg was trying to come to terms with reality post-1990. Of rivalries and derbies we dreamt and listened to the elders talk about the past. This was a spontaneous action by large sections of the fans and thus deserves some more credit than Dresden’s action last week. It is this kind of rivalry that provide the talking points for years, if not decades.

A recap of the game can be seen here:

The Paris Derby re-loaded

Just over six months ago Paris FC travelled to the northern Peripherique of Paris to play Red Star FC at the beloveth Stade Bauer in St. Ouen. Back then it looked unlikely that PFC would go up. Well, they did as did Red Star. Here’s to another Paris derby, though a smaller one but a level higher than in February. Read more →

Choreo or not Choreo

What is a choreography? What is not? Dynamo Dresden have set the bar high for other clubs to show their support. Read more →

Destroying the Summer Tale 2006

When Sepp Blatter announced the winner to host the World Cup 2006 in the summer of 2000, German football went through its darkest phase. At EURO 2000 Germany finished at the bottom of their group behind Portugal, Romania and England. No one could have foreseen that this tournament in 2006 would kick start the change of image of Germany in foreign media. What is now alleged could shatter that carefully created image thoroughly.

The German magazine Der Spiegel has undertaken investigations that point to a payment of €6.7m made by Robert Louis-Dreyfus, then head of adidas, into a slush fund for the German organizing committee, only known to Beckenbauer and Wolfgang Niersbach, in order to bribe FIFA ExCo members to vote for Germany. It worked, Germany won the bidding process and the rest is history as they say. It turns out, the fairy tale, this Midsummernights Dream version 2006, Made in Germany was made possible with bribery and corruption. It proves that the DFB is no better than FIFA and no longer should those moral apostels be allowed to preach their sermon.

However, there is another side to this. The backlash was not unanimous supportive. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Whistleblowing is not popular when it concerns Germany’s top sport. The former editor of Focus, another weekly magazine, Helmut Markwort has stated that he would never have published this story as he thinks it lacks evidence. Moreover, he accuses the Spiegel journalists, among them Jens Weinreich, of holding back material to underline their theory. He also stated that despite this investigation, the Summer Tale of 2006 could not and will not be destroyed by Der Spiegel. The comments underneath the respective postings on facebook state the same: no one will be taking this event away nor the memories. This, of course, is not the point of Weinreich Their point is to highlight the dark side of the DFB and its leading personnel. It is telling how easy it is to distract from the original fact and divert the attention to those who dismantled the lies and deceit of those in charge. And many people are just too happy to follow. The editor of Focus, Helmut Markwort wrote about Bayern Munich under a pseudonyme. He was accused of giving internals away; he is also a member of the board of directors. Bayern are close, very close to adidas whose ex-director Richard Louis-Dreyfus is now alleged to have paid the money. Therefore, Markwort’s attack has to be carefully.

Worse was to come for Jens Weinreich. For years, if not decades he has been working with Andrew Jennings and others to report on the shady dealings of FIFA. The current storm must be more than vindication for him and his colleagues and friends. Yet he came in for a harsh treatment on Sky Germany when he was interviewed by a panel discussion without knowing that beforehand the DFB was interviewed and Weinreich had no idea what was awaiting him. It was a trap as he admitted himself later:

This goes right to the heart of the DFB: Niersbach as its current president was involved as a media manager during the organizing of the 2006 World Cup, Franz Beckenbauer was the head of this committee. Even Günter Netzer was involved or at least knew of this slush fund and he spoke about it freely. As soon as Niersbach faced the press he was in for a incredible backlash from many sides, including FIFA. His predecessor in office, Theo Zwanziger accused him of lying in Der Spiegel.

Whichever this way this will be going, the DFB will have a tougher future to face. The reputation has taken severe damage and it will take years if not decades to restore trust.

Regular readers will know that this blog features collaborations with betting agencies. The more pleasure it was to be asked to answer a few questions about my person and this blog for betting runner, a relative new comer to this field. Feel free to have a read.

The Manchester Derby

The name sake of the blog, Don Davies, also known as Old International was a Manchester United supporter. He was also a fine football writer, combining literary skills with football knowledge thus providing his readers a highlight to read on their Sunday or Monday mornings. Read more →

Co(a)rse Football: Paris FC – AC Ajaccio

Paris FC, so far with only one win 11 games this season hosted AC Ajaccio in a freezing evening at Stade Charléty. Ajaccio aimed for a point. Read more →

Klopp and Liverpool: Make Believe

Jürgen Klopp, the charismatic German coach has signed a contract with Liverpool FC. His task goes beyond winning titles. His job description is to make people believe again. Read more →