Tournament Lessons in Germany

Posted: August 4, 2009 in Euro jaunts, Republica Internationale FC

Another summer, and  another fantastically enjoyable European tournament last weekend for my Leeds Sunday league club, Republica Internationale FC, this time joining our international network of Anti-Fascist football friends in southern Germany. Many thanks to the joint organising clubs, ICE Neckarstrasse of Stuttgart and ASV Filderstadt for putting this brilliant event on at the village of Gachingen in the Swabian Hills, 60km SE of Stuttgart. They laid on decent weather for us too on the Saturday, and at least the atrocious Sunday weather means we needn’t be ashamed of whatever the British climate throws up for our guests at our own event next year !!

The tournament title was “Albtraum”, a play on words with the local hills, the Alb, and sort sort of nearly means “Nightmare” in German, but the only real nightmare, apart from that sodden Sunday, was the taxi fare for those of us who needed  to get to the fairly remote village of Gachingen on public transport from the airport late at night – but  I suppose that would be the same anywhere !

It wasn’t easy to find the Republica tents, either, when I did finally arrive at 1.30 am on Friday night/Saturday morning, with nobody sober enough to direct me even in vaguely the right direction, but after that it was a decent nights sleep before waking up again to a fine breakfast, great football on top quality pitches,  great music, great company… and bloody awful dancing.

As soon as I arrived someone told me that we’d been drawn in the “Group of Death” and that we had to play Bristol’s legendary  Easton Cowboys FC at 10 am the next morning … So you can imagine that emerging from the tent at 9.45am I was relieved to find out this wasn’t the case at all. It was the women who had to play the Easton Cowgirls at 10 am, and our men didn’t have to play the Cowboys or Polish aces Leknica, as I’d been told by some piss-face or other. In fact we had till 1.30pm to get sobered up for our first game. Very civilised.

I think about 15 Republica members travelled, including a few non-players, so there was not enough for a full men’s team or a full women’s side. As ever this meant we could hone our diplomatic skills in recruiting excess players from other teams’ squads, and special thanks must go to our old friends Wayne & Jack from the Cowboys, Paul & friends from FC Vova and Patrick, Sabrina & Sasha from Kampfende Herzen of Freiburg.

Lottie and Daisy did brilliantly stepping in for most of the women’s matches too. Republica Women eventually lost to the winners, the much improved Die Letze Helden from Hannover, in the semi-finals.

Republica Mixed 11-a-side actually BEAT the eventual winners of the “men’s” tourny, Bad Muskau, in their first group match, and only lost one game out of six all weekend, but still managed to finish as low as 14th out of 16 through the vagaries of various penalty shoot-outs. Apart from beating the winners with a goal by Paul F, highlights included Davy L’s memorable half-volleyed goal from the edge of the box in our 4-1 win over a very decent World XI side. The 7-8 sudden death penalty shoot out defeat to our Yorkshire rivals from Bradford’s 1 in 12 FC (after 9 penalties each) will also linger long in the memory, even though it was 13th & 14th places at stake rather than 1st and 2nd when they out-pennoed us in Belgium exactly 10 years ago !!

Some of us also enjoyed playing for other sides too. I played for 4 different teams, including FC Vova and Kampfende Herze (Freiburg) but I think Blue “beat” me in playing for even more teams than that ?? Jack of the Cowboys certainly did, and maybe our Mark did too ! Massive respect is also due to our Stuart for reffing so many games !!

Thanks too to everyone back at the tents who had all the catering equipment & was really generous with everything from tea and coffee to salad and hot dogs !! Practical socialism in action from Republica as ever !! You know who you are …so I WILL name you – especially Ricky, Becky, Katy and Mark….you all did BRILLIANT work on those supermarket trips… I owe you all a beer or three !

At this tourny, though, I think loads of members of other clubs must have thought I was even more… ahem…. “eccentric” than usual, ‘cos I was seen on the Sunday going round counting everything that moved & measuring everything that didn’t, meanwhile taking copious notes. The thing is,  we’ve been going to these  big international tournaments for ten years now and we’ve finally got round to hosting it ourselves in 2010. I’ve become so obsessed about next year’s event that I just wanted to make sue we know all the necessary facts…I was in the Scouts you know – “Be Prepared” and all that!
So, if you must know, I counted  almost 600 people, around 500 of them staying on site in 290 tents plus 35 vans on the campsite. There were also 35 cars on the campsite, plus another 150 vehicles parked elsewhere. The main marquee measured 37½ yards by 16, and the stage was 11 yards by 5½. There were an impressive (and perhaps excessive !?) 22 yards of food and drink serving counters !! Over 3000 Litres of beer were drunk (yes, that’s the 6,000 pints I told you about, Lepton FC, are you listening ?? You could have sold 6,000 pints if you’d wanted to host our event next year!!), 800 main meals were sold…I could tell you how many boxes of t-shirts they had, what sizes were most popular, and what everything cost, from a hoodie to a hotdog. All of this will hopefully help us in preparing to host a very similar group of football clubs in Yorkshire next year. But I’ll spare you all the details for the moment.

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