SUNDAY LUNCH: TURKEY
Türkiyemspor Berlin 0-1 VFC Plauen (13:02:11)
It's Readers' Lives week here on EFW, and stepping up to the oche today is Ipswich Town fan, Chris Mills who chose to spend last Sunday watching Türkiyemspor Berlin - as you do....
THE cheerful chap at the ticket table had the decency to look a little guilty as I winced at paying €10 to get into a fourth-level Regionalliga Nord game on an arse-freezing Sunday lunch-time in February.
And it was just a table, chair and a cardboard box of home-printed programmes. That and more security than a G8 summit, including bag searches and frisking of the 125 people who showed up, many of whom were the innocent Turkish mommas and children of players.
The lavishly uniformed bouncers (their Jack Wolfskin jackets seemed warmer than anything the spectators were wearing) looked like they might outnumber the home support. The away support – complete with drums and giant flags – did outnumber the Türkiyemspor fans, it seemed; certainly in terms of decibels.
Türkiyemspor team bus?
One of the many security staff needed for the 125 attendance obscured by naked buttocks in the entrance hall of the stadium and, right date, right badge, last week’s team on the programme
I suppose it was fitting that the stewards took it so seriously. We were, after all, at the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark (named after the “father of German gymnastics”), a place with a lot of history. Still, I wouldn’t have paid €10 for a ground-tour either.
The Berlin Wall was put up directly behind the stadion, which had been built to hold 30,000 for athletics and football ten years earlier by the authorities in the then Soviet Sektor of the city. The East German national side played matches there and West Berliners were able to get quite a nice view from their nearby apartment blocks.
Athletics world records have been broken there, including the first ever javelin throw of more than 100 metres and even American football has been played (Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe). They also had a Michael Jackson concert at the Jahnstadion one time. Really.
The Stasi-backed Berliner FC Dynamo played there for its bigger games as does its now non-evil modern-day version (in the German fifth division). There was a refurb in the 80s, which brought the capacity down to 20,000. These days Hertha’s amateur side, Hertha BSC II, plays games there when it expects a big crowd. (a bit of a long shot this, but if there is a team who hasn't played in this stadium, can you add your name to the comments section below, many thanks - Ed.).
Tunnel vision. The teams trot out past yet more under-employed stewards
These young Turks were transfixed by the occasion until one found a vuvuzela and was immediately taken away to that prison in the movie Midnight Express
It seems Türkiyemspor Berlin play there when they are expecting a really small crowd. So it was when VFC Plauen turned up from Saxony to the south of the city. My local guide and host, EFW crowd-favourite Stoffers, noticed immediately that the organisers had managed to get the correct badge for Plauen on the front page of the programme, but appeared to have left on the name of the last opposition team.
This was not a great start by the Turks, who are struggling in their league. They initially formed as a youth team in the now groovy, bohemian Berlin district of Kreuzberg, then changed names to BFC İzmirspor (as many players had roots in İzmir, Turkey) and finally Türkiyemspor.
The club is involved in anti-racism, gay-respect and anti-domestic violence campaigns. Players are often from the long-term migrant worker population. League regulations have been altered to allow them to play in the first and second divisions (which have rules about the number of foreign players) without citizenship if they can show they have played a good amount of youth football in Germany. More than 40 Türkiyemspor players have gone on to become professional and one, Ümit Karan, ended up playing for Galatasaray.
Stoffers sticks it out at minus-2 on the press bench; neither of us sat in the seat marked “penis”. Right, the crowd goes wild
The striking Jahnstadion floodlights are reflected in the “Grog €2” sign
Back in the freezing stadion, a lovely Turkish lady sold me a €1 kaffee from the concessions window but disappointingly the kaffee wasn’t Turkish too. There were no kebobs either, although you could get a “Grog” (tea with rum) for €2.
Stoffers and I lurked in the near-deserted press area, warmed only by the kaffee and the rather good syncopated drumming/chanting of the Plauen “Ultras”. We marvelled at the Jahnstadion’s seating, which is charmingly set out in Rasta Fari colours (yes, I!). Its striking floodlights aside, the stadion is beginning to show its age. The almost life-size statue of two naked men wrestling looked a little over-the-top in the shabby entrance hall behind the small section of seating they’d opened for us.
But they had radiators back there too, which proved invaluable for short leg-warming bursts during the staggeringly dull second half. Plauen had walked one in early doors (4 mins) and little happened after that. Stoffers stuck it out in the open air, though, almost giving himself hypothermia as a result.
Post-match, it took some good Lebanese food and a beer in the bar of one the few remaining Berlin squatter’s-rights houses to get him back to his old self.
The Jahnstadion seating resplendent in Rasta Fari colours and, inset, Plauen celebrate their early goal
The Plauen Ultras had a nice line in syncopated drumming/chanting
A panoramic view of the Jahnstadion
Photos by Stoffers
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