As is always the case when I travel, some strange things tend to happen to me. On my visit to Dortmund and Mainz, I rediscovered why I enjoy German football as much as I do and also managed to pick up sever food poisoning and diarrhea. Exciting much? Yep, I thought you would enjoy the details in a more shall we say, graphic light, so, here they are friends.
I’d decided to be clever and book a lunch time flight from London Stansted to Dortmund as to avoid a pesky early morning flight which normally involved a sleep over on somewhat uncomfortable airport benches coupled with loud announcements. So when I booked a 1 pm flight for the Thursday, I was more than ecstatic with myself. What I forgot to remember at the time of booking was that, the night before, I would be watching Manchester City V Basil and that meant i’d be on a midnight coach to London before a two hour bus ride out to Stansted. Despite these concerns, anything beats sleeping in airports as I am simply getting too old for that kind of shit.
So how did I get the food poisoning and shits you ask? Well, look no further than W H Smith and their 3 quid meal deal. To be more precise, it was their ham, cheese and mayo sandwich that soon became the culprit. I’d arrived in Dortmund around 4 pm local time, met a young American fella who helped me navigate the bus and tram into the city then checked into my hostel which is where it all began to unravel. I had some time to shower before heading up to Borussia Park and it was around this time that the chills kicked in. Being one to always soldier on, I brushed aside these not so nice feelings and walked the 3 kilometers to the ground, collected my ticket and took my seat behind the goal at the northern end. Then, with 26 minutes on the clock it really hit me! But before I go there, let’s talk more about German football, more importantly, how they look after their supporters.
With cheap tickets, cheap beer, cheap food and modern stadiums that include standing areas, the German football model is bar none, the best in the world. It’s steadfast, efficient and more than affordable to local supporters. Match tickets can be as little as 10 Euro’s and in most cases, public transport to and from the grounds is free. Increased ticketing prices don’t earn the clubs much so the powers that be in German football are clued up enough (unlike their English friends) not to price local supporters out of the game and piss off the majority of football supporters around the nation in the process. When you visit Germany enough, you soon learn that pretty much everything they do is done with great efficiency. It still baffles me no end why Australian politician’s and town planners go to America every other week when they should really be flying into countries like Germany to learn how to get infrastructure nailed on. Like I said, when you visit Germany enough, you will know exactly what I am talking about.
I’m a big advocate of safe standing at football grounds and can assure you now that the only hope the English game has of surviving the “Disneyland” culture fast engulfing British football is to implement safe standing. I understand the reasons why some may be against it but we have to move forward and look after local football supporters by way of cheap match tickets and safe standing behind the goals.
So there I was at the 26th minute mark during Borussia Dortmund V Salzburg in the Europa League. I knew it was time to visit the toilet and try to cough up what was fast engulfing my stomach. It wasn’t coming at first so I decided to speed up the process by throwing a couple of fingers down the back of my throat. Well, it worked a treat! Seconds later, vomit was pouring out of me in somewhat of a Linda Blair fashion. It was going everywhere. Over the toilet bowl, my shoes, my jeans, the floor, my hands and even down my shirt. It was grim and it kept pouring out. Then the shit began to pour out of my backside as well. I was in a process of bending over the bowl to throw up and sitting down to shit it out too! What I was shitting out, I have no idea. All I know what that there was plenty of it and I had to juggle the vomiting with the shitting. It’s a skillful art you know. Three goals went in during the second half but I had no idea as I spent the entire second half in the toilet emptying myself out.
By full time (Dortmund had lost 2-1), I’d missed all the goals scored and I tried to walk back into town but was feeling great pains not to pass out as the chills and a most nauseous feeling had overcome me. I had never felt this ill before in my life and hope I never do again. Sadly, I spent most of the night on the toilet in my hostel as well as most of the next few days. The train to Mainz was tricky but I somehow managed to navigate that with great skill. At least the toilets on the train were free unlike those in the city center of both Dortmund and Mainz which cost 1 Euro each visit. You can probably guess I invested quite a good deal on money into the German toilet economy over Thursday and Friday.
Despite being ill, I caught the entirety of the the 1-0 loss Mainz suffered to Schalke ’04. The match itself was quite entertaining and I managed to score a ticket in the home end to bounce and sing the night away with the red army which itself was quite an event. Once more, the model of German football shone ever so brightly. Looking around during the first half, I couldn’t help but notice the groups of young men and woman, many friends and football supporters who were able to enjoy the match together. In England, they would surely be spread out over various stands and only spend time together in the pubs before and after the match. It was my umpteenth visit to Germany to watch football and, as always, I walked away feeling impressed with how they do things. If only England could move with the times and sort it out. One can only dream, or get violently ill with food poisoning.