The great EU bailout

It warms our hearts when we hear about some of the trips people make to see football around Europe. This week our beloved Brian Parish and Dagenham Dan teamed up with long-suffering Wolves fan Neil Shenton and hopped across the Channel to fit in an astounding four games in four countries in just over 48 hours.  Jealous?  Who would be:-

It was during half time at a home game towards the end of last season (which Dan assures me was the Easter fixture at home to Plymouth Argyle) when the ideafor this trip was first formed. Having not done a non-Spanish league game for a while, we decided that we should try and get to a couple of games in Europe over a weekend, just by way of a change. The Bundesliga was the unanimous choice, and so we set about thinking about where in Germany we would like to visit.

Within a couple of days, the trip had been increased to a two game trip, with the notion that we should try and get to a game on the way to Germany. Soon it was three then four, and then the best selling point of all. Four games, in three days, in four different countries.

Of course, we had to wait until the fixtures were announced, and so while we had all these ideas of where we would like to go whirling around, it was all pointless until we could see who was playing and when. With three of us (Dagenham Dan, Neil Shenton and myself) making this trip, we would have to wait to see if there was a weekend where we wouldn’t miss a home game for any of our teams. Continue reading

Over the Berlin Wall

A big welcome to these pages for Michael Miles who recent traveled to Berlin to see Hertha beat FC Köln.

This was my first visit to the Olympiastadion to see Hertha BSC (Berliner Sport-Club) since 2003. On that occasion I sat with about 40,000 other shivering souls marvelling at how the Germans could continue to put on a football match while much of the stadium was a building site preparatory to the 2006 World Cup.

Over four years the whole of the inside of the stadium was demolished and replaced, literally piece by piece. The redevelopment work included the removal of every limestone block to be cleaned, and then replaced, a task compared to completing a huge jigsaw puzzle. The colour of the running track which runs around the pitch (the stadium is a regular venue for athletics events) was changed to blue to match Hertha’s colours.

Thoughts drifted toward our own beloved “stadium of legends”, Wembley. That had closed in October 2000, with a new stadium due to open in 2003. With all the disputes and wrangling, the old Wembley was not even demolished until 2003, and as many a travelling fan can testify, did not properly open for business until the 2007 FA Cup Final. Continue reading