An Old International

Plain Chill: 1. FSV Mainz 05 – SC Freiburg

The Bundesliga returned on the third weekend of January with the debut of Erling Haaland for Dortmund who rescued his new club from an unlikely defeat against Augsburg. A little further North West, Mainz commenced the remainder of the season by hosting Freiburg, Germany’s best known hipster club.

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Book Review: Frozen in Time

The Wonderful Randomness of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

We live in an age where our past may soon be forgotten due to shortening attention spans and a plethora of platforms demanding immediate responses. It is therefore even more important that the history of one of football’s great tournaments has been written. And surely many will agree that the European Cup Winners’ Cup was a great tournament, even though in hindsight it may not appear as such. Read more →

13 Months in the Life of

Just before the end of the year comes another shock and review of the fate of FC Magdeburg. The year ends with a bombshell.

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Taking Notes and making Sketches

Taking notes is an important tool for writers of all genres. Recently, one of my notebooks have reached its final page and it is an occasion to show some images of it. Read more →

Stamp(s) of Authority

It is a well known fact that East Germany was no footballing superpower. This is somewhat reflected in the absence of football on postal stamps, despite the GDR putting almost anything and anyone on a stamp.
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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Initiating discussion is necessary, not though if the topic means a step or even two steps back as Oliver Bierhoff has proven with his remarks regarding Germany’s third division.

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After more than 10 games have been played this season, the international break offers a moment to take stock of FC Magdeburg’s season so far after being relegated at the end of last season. Read more →

Football, Democracy and all that: How to run football

Football is the game of the masses and it should be available for everybody for a reasonable fee either to play, to watch: in the stands or at home/in a pub. Period. This point needs no discussion. There is discussion necessary however, about the way football is being run by its owners. Football in England and Britain has always been a business: clubs have always been owned by pub landlords or industry men with very specific objectives.
The speech of the labour leader at a rally in Newcastle where he talks about football is in some ways difficult as it would mean to revolutionise soccer in England, particularly in the Premier League. As it stands, the majority of Premier League clubs, if not all 20 of them are owned by rich oil magnates from Russia, royal families from the Middle East or American investors. That Corbyn has chosen Newcastle to launch this broadside is of course pure campaigning: Newcastle United are the only club owned by a British businessman who employs people on zero hour contracts and whose ownership has never been positive. The relationship between owner and fans is bad to say the least.
The payment made by the Premier League of 100m per year to support grass roots football is peanuts in comparison with the money raked in via the broadcast deal with Sky and BT.
However, what Corbyn promotes here is the idea that clubs should be run democratically and in the interest of the common man, i.e. the way it was up to the mid-1960s. Until then football was considered the game of the masses and not seen as an important part of the entertainment industry. With rising wages and the arrival of the Premier League in 1992, this all changed of course.

If this is going to happen, Corbyn will be on a par with Thatcher whose reign left Britain a different state than it was before. Of her it is said that the changes she brought to Britain, if positive or not, resembled nothing but a revolution. Does Corbyn have the strength, let alone the nous to pull through such a move should he become prime minister?

Let’s look at the alternative to the current modell how clubs are run: Supporters Trusts. They work well but only up to a certain level. From League One upwards, money reigns and those organisations just don’t have the financial power; they never had. Moreover, the British way of business is to make money and to do so fast and with no second thoughts. Sustainability is a relative new concept that has not taken a hold in the mindset of many people.

Therefore, should Corbyn set football on his agenda and initiate change it will be with grerat fanfare from those who attend matches every Saturday, those people who follow their clubs through thick and thin and never give up hope. This will be almost a revolution if this happens.

Jatta for Germany?

For a month the football press and the fans were witnessing a debate that has many observers left shaking their heads. It went way beyond football and could have far reaching consequences not just for football but society as a whole. What has happened? Read more →

The Dunkirk Spirit

After an hiatus of more than four years, I went back to Stade Bauer to watch Red Star’s match against Dunkirk in the third division of the French football pyramid. There was little to sway me toward the home crowd who as usual were there in big numbers (more than 1000) and who supported their team loyally throughout the ninety minutes plus additional time.

Grip on the Game

The game started with either side holding back for about five minutes before dropping any restraint. It was Dunkirk who found their momentum quicker and more convincing and as a consequence they went ahead after just nine minutes. It was awful defending and way too easy. The Red Star supporters turned up the noise to push their team forward but it was to no avail and it took twenty minutes before they won a free kick on the left side from which Karamoko scored. From open play Red Star were harmless and that is the polite version. Throughout the first half they created one chance, maybe. Instead they were pinned back by Dunkirk who appeared to have a game plan and the players to apply this very plan. That the scores were level at half time was due to Dunkirk’s wastefulness and Red Star’s bluntness. The visitors were simply smarter with the ball, their moves quicker, more purposeful and thus better.

To the credit of the home supporters they never ceased singing despite their team letting them down quite brutally. How Red Star have so far inhabited place two in the table is beyond reason. They were too slow to go forward and too sloppy in defense to come out as winners of this contest.

Dunkirk holds a special place in British mythology as it was the place where the British Army was forced to retreat during the Second World War. Dunkirk showed exactly that spirit tonight: never giving up, always have a spare man to cover a comrade. That Dunkirk spirit carried them to victory and did so without much hassle.

In this form Red Star will struggle to keep their position this high up the table but will have to settle for a place mid-table.


In their last promotion season 2017/18 Red Star had no beer on offer. This has changed thankfully, though bthe waiting time for a pint are far from being ideal; in fact the service is slow and inefficient and that is an understatement. My own experience as a bar tender probably influence my judgement.


Whatever the holds in store, the ground will always keep its attraction. Where else do you see a whole pitch length stand watch getting overgrown with weeds with Sacré Cœur in the background? Whatever, there is still a season to be played and a lot can happen. Though what the home side have shown tonight must be considered an aberration and hopefully they get back on track rather sooner than later.