Friday, June 16, 2006

Report from Nuremberg

West Stand season ticket holder Angela sends the following report:

We had a fantastic day in Nuremburg yesterday. It’s quite a small city with the centre (the old town) being within the original walls of the city with a canal running through the middle. Basically it’s one big town square after another so
perfect for the travelling English to get their flags up. And get their flags up they did – you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a variety of “Biffo on Tour/Cheltenham” style flags. Why is it that it’s mostly people who follow smaller teams who follow England? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Arsenal or Chelsea banner – Spurs is about as big as it gets but premier league supporters are seriously outnumbered by championship and football league fans. Yesterday we met a guy who follows Dulwich Hamlet, and as he proudly told us, they sometimes get 200 on a Saturday. He also told us (interesting fact coming up) that Peter Crouch played eight games on loan for Dulwich Hamlet when he was with Spurs. Now there’s a handy football trivia question for the next pub quiz.

Another lovely day, another lovely ground. Despite being separated by a running track you felt very close to the ground and we had a perfect view (mind you it does only hold 36,000). We were sitting in the corner behind the goal England attacked(and yes, I use the term loosely) in the first half. Something had gone a bit wrong in our section however and there were masses of people who clearly didn’t have seats who were just standing in the aisles which unfortunately meant that the whole section stood for large periods of the game.

It seems that Nuremburg was the ground to get into without a ticket – we met several people who had done just that –in some instances they had got in with the previous games ticket! There is general discontent about the distribution of England tickets and the FSF (football supporters federation) who do a great job abroad have started a “tickets for fans not sponsors” campaign. It would seem that we were very lucky to get the tickets we got – lots of people with similar numbers of “caps” (the loyalty scheme) have considerably less. The black market price for a group game ticket seems to be between 400 – 500 euros, though as always stories travel like wild fire of the fan who bought one off a German granny for face value and got invited to her house for Sunday tea!

In the ground we found ourselves sitting directly in front of some fans we last met in Osaka and also ran into to another dear old friend who officially “retired” from the England scene after Portugal but has been tempted back by two weeks in the Moselle Valley.

And the game? Well 85 minutes of tripe (somewhat relieved by the introduction of Lennon) saved by 7 minutes of incredible excitement at the end. Of course after all the hype it was great to see Rooney take to the pitch and one can only hope that he will get better and better with appearances. We were pleased to see Gerrard score as he really didn’t seem to be having much of a game until then, and Crouch’s goal brought an attack of bad dancing in the seats around us. We let off two of our England party poppers which we had smuggled into the ground and felt quite festive momentarily. Surely it can only get better. As always the fans swing from incredibly critical “You’re ****ing sh**e England) to euphoria in moments (“Easy, easy” – who are they kidding?)

After the game we walked to the fane zone where the big screen is showing the games – it is in the area where the Nuremburg rallies were held – it must have been a very dramatic setting in its day as it is on the side of a beautiful lake set in the middle of a small forested area. The parade grounds have been turned into carparks and all that really remains is the “document building” – itself a stunning circular building which again must have been extremely impressive in its historical context. Back into town then for a few drinks and a nice Italian meal – running into people we had last seen in Azerbaijan in the Italian restaurant, where we also watched some of Sweden v Paraguay which seemed to be a particularly turgid game.

And another near fracas on the night train home – this time with a foul loud mouthed Australian – though – every cloud has a silver lining - I suppose we should take something positive from the fact that the loud mouthed yobbos aren’t English anymore!


Blogger Reet Smoot said...

hello reet here just got back from germany. bumped in to vince in a back street of nurenberg at about 3 in the morning quick round of valley floyd rd so sorry to the germans we woke ( we did wake up an aussie so not all bad)

11:25 PM  

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