250 Westfalia Herne Fans Can't Be Wrong
SC Westfalia 04 Herne 0-4 SV Rödinghausen
Thursday 3rd October 2013
Stadion Am Schloss StruenkedeAttendance: 280
Of course, no one likes to see a team fall on hard times.
Umm, imagine that in black and white.
Westfalia Herne were founded in 1904, after a meeting in a castle (all the best meetings take place in a castle) and built their home ground in 1910, next to a castle (all the best grounds are next to castles). In 1959 they won the Oberliga West, beating teams that went on to amount to very little, like 1.FC Köln, Schalke and Borussia Dortmund and regularly played in front of 20,000 – 25,000 spectators.
Today they play in front of 300 spectators, against teams such as SC Roland Beckum, Hammer SpVg and today’s noisy upstarts SV Rödinghausen. The stadium is still next to a castle. The stadium is flipping brilliant.
Not expecting much business today.
Who knows what untold glamour exisits inside this prefab.
There’s huge trees all around and it’s partly surrounded by a moat. A moat! All the best grounds are surrounded by a moat. No drawbridge though, shame. Disused turnstiles have rusted, the steps to the main stand are covered in grass, the wooden seats are faded and dusty, the once packed terraces now covered by a blanket of leaves, a mother and daughter sell home made coffee and cakes, an old couple sell bratwurst and beers from a wooden hut called “Grandma and Grandad’s Little Room”. Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock” plays over the PA. It’s that good here.
Of course, every one loves a story of a lower league club hurtling up through the leagues.
SV Rödinghausen have bumbled around the nowhere lands of the 8th and 9th levels before Hoffenheiming through the leagues recently when a company who made kitchens decided to pump money into the club. Ah, the classic business model of kitchen manufacture whacks loads of money into tinpot club. Chuck as much money as you like in chaps but a castle beats a kitchen every time. EVERY TIME.
Rödinghausen are now top of this league, level 5 for those of you taking notes, and they’ve got fans. Fans that call themselves the SVR Amigos. Fans in matching shirts, hats and with a megaphone that plays the sound of a police siren over and over and over. Chuck it in the moat on your way out hey, Amigo.
Herne are near the bottom of the league, have few fans and no manager. Well, they do have a manager, his names Hans Bruch, and, as the game takes place, he is on holiday in Sardinia. Nice timing Hans, maybe think on next time you pop into Der Thomas Cöök ja?! For this game the wonderfully named assistant manager Pietro Perrone took some time off from eating meatballs lika Mumma used to make-a and asking people “wassa matta you, ey?” to take charge.
I’m sure he wishes he hadn’t bothered. Two nil down after 15 minutes. The Amigos love it. A drum gets timidly stroked in celebration (play it properly, or don’t play it all) and one Amigo (*sighs*) announces the goal scorer and the scoreline to the others in the call and response way that sounds brilliant in packed German stadiums but sounds ridiculous when shouted by five people on a sparsely populated terrace.
Half time. Standard AiT procedure, Toilet/Beer/Sausage.
Beer of choice here at Westfalia Herne, DAB beer. A beer that previously existed only intermittently, looking all alluring and exotic, like Oranjeboom, in newsagents, whose magazines racks were ¾ full of jazz mags, and where the food aisle consisted solely of out of date custard creams now here in glorious barrel format. DABle thumbs up.
Huge sausage at cheap prices. Double thumbs up. It gets better. Half way through eating it I was joined by a dog. A dog that made it perfectly clear he wasn’t leaving until one of us had eaten the rest of that sausage, and that wasn’t gonna be me.
What a horrid creature! Those longing dark eyes staring at me, his dribbling mouth, his slack jaw, his unkempt matted hair and the horrendously bad odour, thought the dog as I furiously chomped into my delicious sausage callously not offering him a bite.
"Please may I have some more sir?"
Alright, I did chuck him a third of a sausage. Then he left, on to the next person then the next person, then the next. As the ref blow the whistle to restart the match the dog casually walked out of the stadium, his stomach full and with a quick glance over his shoulder (do dogs have shoulders?) at when the next home fixture takes place. Double paws up.
Obviously I do everything I can to avoid using a cubicle (reverse parking the brown Volvo/dropping the kids off at the pool) when in a football ground. Doesn’t seem right. Definitely doesn’t seem right at Westfalia Herne, look:
The double toilet. Why shit in peace when you can take a mate in with you and discuss the managers holiday plans, tactics (whether to squeeze) and whether to use three squares of paper or four? Definitely no thumbs up. Weird.
Now, three other clothing based reasons why this place is brilliant:
I got to try on a Kutte jacket. A life ambition fulfilled. A bargain at 100 Euro. I've never been happier.
Dog in Westfalia Herne scarf! Beautiful. Also, a dog that'll let you eat a sausage in peace.
Goalkeeper in hat!
This place is genuinely, according to my defintion anyway, brilliant. Keep your Köln, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke. Westfalia Herne, I love you just the way you are. Don't ever change.