Denglischer Fussball is a comment blog on German and English football written and edited by Kit Holden. It was born in January 2011.
In the latest in Denglischer Fussball’s series of guest pieces, Bundesliga Fanatic’s Cris Nyari explains how his passion for Liverpool defies the traditional laws of rivalry and has staunchly Germanic roots.
If you were to buy into the traditions of historical rivalries, it would be unheard of to support both a German and an English club. Any dual affiliation or simultaneous venerability would be considered taboo and you would be quickly outcast to the fringes of faux fandom. But that is precisely the situation I found myself in as a young football supporter. The origin of this unlikely and perhaps unconventional coalition reveals more about their commonalities than their perceived differences.
The significance of Gary Cahill for England and Chelsea.
It seems to be generally accepted that the arrival of Gary Cahill at Stamford Bridge will herald the relegation of the mishap prone and unforgivably foreign David Luiz. Cahill will link up with Terry, they say, and all Chelsea’s defensive problems will be expelled. Abramovich will start making money again, and all will be back to normal.
May I now go out on a precarious limb and suggest that to create a formidable defensive partnership out of Gary Cahill and John Terry would be a disaster?
Denglischer Fussball’s latest guest contribution sees Jonathan Lines - an expert on East London and East Germany alike - take a look at Dynamo Dresden’s on field prospects and West Ham’s resurgent Academy.
Mickaël Poté’s vision for Dynamo Dresden
It’s their first season back in the second tier of German football in five years, and, on the pitch at least, it’s gone well for Dynamo Dresden, who went into the winter break in a safe mid-table position. Without the goals of summer signing Mickaël Poté, however, Dynamo might be finding themselves in a relegation battle. The 27 year-old Beninois has scored eight times in thirteen games since trading Nice for Saxony, including some important late goals. He believes his side can aim even higher than their current position, and thinks Dresden can target promotion to the Bundesliga next year.
A German January.
The rollercoaster has thus far lived up to its billing in the Bundesliga. We are barely ten days into the transfer window, and there are more stories in Germany than there are Lederhosen at Oktoberfest. There have been tears in Munich, sniggers in Dortmund, perplexity at Gladbach. Oh, and, as ever, there has been Felix Magath.
In the first installment of Denglischer Fussball’s January guest piece series, lifelong Manchester United fan Jamie Webb takes a look at why his club, despite its fairytale history, is the most hated in England.
‘No one likes us, but we don’t care’. The song belongs to Millwall, of course. For those who may be unfamiliar with the fortunes of a relatively unsuccessful team in South East London, a brief history lesson: back in the dark days of British football in the 1980s, when it really did seem as though the beautiful game was going the way of the proverbial dodo, Millwall were the worst of a bad bunch. Hooliganism was rife, football grounds were no place for a family, and English football seemed to be cursed by tragedy; from the Bradford City stadium fire in 1985 to the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, which Liverpool fans were culpable for, and Hillsborough in 1989, which, despite what a certain English newspaper reported, they were most certainly not. It is unsurprising that Millwall, whose ‘firm’ the Millwall Bushwackers had a major reputation for hooliganism in the 80s, are the subject of what could at best be called disdain from fellow fans. Hence, they embrace it: ‘no one likes us, but we don’t care’. But this song might just as well be heard on the Stretford End at Old Trafford. My question is, what has Manchester United - a club that in many ways has the most poignant and beautiful history of any in the world - done to deserve such dislike from most of the country?
The importance of Gary Ablett’s death.
The death of Gary Ablett has brought to light once again the irrelevance of football’s tribalism when faced with a stark reality. It is a sentiment which will be repeated time and again over the coming days, but when a player achieves success on both sides of a fierce local derby and still remains loved, it says a lot about the fickle nature of fandom.
Dear DF readers,
With only sixteen days to go before Denglischer Fussball turns one, the blog has given itself a small makeover. Have fun exploring.
Changing aesthetics aren’t the half of it, though. Alongside the usual weekly comment post from the author, January will see a selection of guest pieces from esteemed contributors.
Watch this space, enjoy the first few days of the New Year, and thank you for reading.
A Christmas Truce.
One World Cup and two World Wars, the English say. They forget that, in footballing terms, the First World War was a victory for Germany. Not only did the non-autocratic government that followed military defeat lead to a growth in popularity for the “English”, working class game of soccer, but even as early as 1914, the Germans were demonstrating their apparently inherent superiority on the football field, with a 3-2 victory in No Man’s Land.
The facts surrounding the Christmas football match in 1914 are decidedly vague. While British legend tells of a football appearing apparently from nowhere after soldiers on both sides had begun to meet in no-man’s land after hearing each other sing carols, there are conflicting historical conclusions on the subject. Some accounts claim it was a solely Anglo-German affair, others include players from the French and Belgian forces. At least one survivor has professed to having taken part in an inter-force football match, and the 3-2 scoreline, though its origin is ambiguous, is ubiquitous in descriptions of the match.
“Luis Suárez is not a racist”, says Pepe Reina. His manager, moreover, declares that “nothing is going to split this club in two.” It would seem that the naivete of those on Merseyside knows no bounds.
Reina’s defence of his team mate is hardly surprising. In its own way it is almost appropriate. It chimes with Dalglish’s insistence that the recent racism scandal will not split the team and ruin Liverpool’s season, which is, incidentally, an equally understandable sentiment. But the sheer clumsiness of its presentation is astonishing.
British coverage of the Champions League “disaster”.
Was there ever a more thrilling, heart wrenching epic than The Tragedy of Manchester? How could we bear to watch, as the two most beloved teams in England were hurled so heartlessly from the competition that is their divine right? Adrian Chiles, for one, declared that he might take up watching darts instead, so painful was the ordeal of the English football fan.
Funny that, I always thought he supported West Brom. Quite apart from the mildly masochistic familiarity with failure that being a Baggies fan would have hardened him to, it’s difficult to understand why Chiles would be at all upset at the prospect of Manchesters United and City both being so emphatically embarrassed in the space of one evening.