FSV Optik Rathenow 1 v 3 FC Sankt Pauli:
Sankt Pauli in the cup, or DFB Pokal to give it its proper name, is an annual occurrence that generally lasts around 90 minutes. In celebration of this brief feature in the course of the football season, I went all out. A cup game, at a wonderfully small ground, named Stadion Birdsong, in East Germany. This was everything I could possible want from a matchday. Over the course of several evenings, I painstakingly made stencils, bought material, and stunk out our entire block of flats with spray paint fumes, to make a small number of DIY scarves for our group, all to mark the occasion. Friday night, with my bag packed and ready in the hallway, myself and my girlfriend left our home to go to the pub and meet a particularly impressively bearded employee at Café Miller who happened to be in Dortmund. And with that, we both neglected to notice, neither of us had bothered to take a key!
An evening of beer and watching Chemnitz vs Mainz in the pub, was accompanied by frantic calls to our landlady and then a locksmiths. Neither brought any joy. The scarves were locked away, I had no spare clothes or washkit, but my ticket for the match remained in my wallet. I could still attend, all be it, Sankt Pauli needed to reach the next round, if not, my efforts to make the DIY scarves would be in vain.
My girlfriend kindly agreed to take over the process of getting into the flat the next day, a friend lent me clothes, sunglasses, a bag, reading material, even drinks for the journey, we got a bed for the night, and a toothbrush and phone charger were picked up from the kiosk on the corner. Our night could continue undisturbed, and so we drank in the pub till late.
After very little sleep, I got up and caught the train to Rathenow. My mate, an Rot Weiß Essen fan, had lent me a book about one fan’s life as an RWE fan (http://www.jawattdenn.de/jawattdenn/ich-sach-ma/all-die-ganzen-jahre.html). The tales of old grounds, great matches through the years etc only helped increase my appetite for the match.
After arriving in Rathenow, I wandered through the town, and then a wood, to get to the ground. Right by the ground was a large lake, and a field, and the entire Sankt Pauli fanscene were there, enjoying the sunshine and, in the case of the Aale G’s, bbqing. I drank a little wine, chatted with a few friends, and then we all headed into the ground.
The whole experience in the ground reminded me of watching FC away. A small ground, suddenly swamped with fans, the space to roam about without stewards everywhere, even the completely overwhelmed beer stands. Watching your team in a huge ground is a great experience, being glued to the action, yelling and singing the whole 90 minutes is too. I have great memories of such occasions; derbies, Hannover away a few years back, spring to mind But to fair, I think I prefer coming to somewhere like Rathenow. Maybe it would get dull if it was every week, but being able to mill about, drink a beer (I didn’t buy or queue for one, so in this respect, various people from Riot Shocker, Bogeys, and Carpe Diem, Im in debt to you), enjoy the football in the open air without a roof, it was the most fun Ive had at the match in ages.
With a heavy shower, the only bit of the ground with a roof was so packed, you couldn’t see a thing, so myself and F. wandered down to the far end of the terrace near where the Skinheads had grouped together. We had a perfect view of the match, and it’s a very odd feeling seeing “stars” from the team, only a metre away, or to be able to rib the lineman effectively ;-)
On the field, we were always in control. Budimir got his first goal for the club. We ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. Yet we hardly shone. Optik Rathenow play level 5 football at the moment, and still we hardly ran away with things. Perhaps the win will stabilise the team, but we still have a lot of work to do, to convince going forward. Nevertheless we should perhaps just be grateful that we’ve progressed a round!
After the match, the 6 or so of us from Sankt Pauli Mafia, headed to Berlin (just in case we aren’t there in May ;-)). A nice evening in Café JoJo (vegan food, not CFHH members) and Wilde 13 was had, although the general capacity for beer needs to be drastically improved ;-)). Sunday morning, and still needing to get hold of my key for the flat, I then headed home. It was had been a great weekend, worth the wait through the working week!