Thursday, 31 March 2011

We all beat Swindon Supermarine, Swindon Supermarine, Swindon Supermarine.

Swindon Supermarine 0-1 Weymouth
Tuesday 30th March 2011
Zamaretto Premier League
The Webbs Wood Stadium, Swindon
Attendance: 147

Warning. This blog contains a happy AiT. This is still AiT. Your computer Internet is not broken. Do not contact your Internet Service Provider.

I bloody love you football. I mean it I bloody LOVE you. You're my best friend you are, you know that? Come here. Let me hug you you big idiot. Let's never fall out again.

Take a look at that score up the top there. Look. A WIN. A bloody win. I thought I'd never see one again. You get use to the misery, I wear the misery of being a Weymouth fan well and Ive almost forgotten what it's like to see us win a game!!

Swindon Supermarine 0-1 Weymouth
Byerley 90

So to see us win tonight with a battling performance after being down to ten men with a last minute goal is fucking amazing. I celebrated like an absolute idiot, I celebrated like we'd equalised against Forest again, I ran along the stand to be near where the players were celebrating and, to be honest and as you may have guessed, I celebrated much more than the tinpot surroundings warranted. But I don't care, this was brilliant. Yes, it was only Swindon Supermarine and yes we still might be going down/bust/to Dorchester but right now thirty minutes after we scored that goal my heart is still racing, Weymouth chants are running through my head on repeat and I'm still attempting to high five strangers whilst shouting "WE WON" in their bemused faces.

Swindon Supermarine 0-1 Weymouth
Byerley 90

There was something in this game from early on, we created chances in the first half. I've not seen us create a proper chance for ages, some of them were even on target. I even found myself shouting encouragement. This hasn't happened for about 2 seasons as, at the games I've seen, it didn't really seem worth it, it would be like providing vocal encouragement to a lethargic slug taking its place in the stalls for the Grand National.

That's not to say it wasn't without scares from Swindon. They hit the bar twice in the first half but, like at Chippenham, there was something in the air. At Chippenham impending disappointment filled the nostrils but I could smell the sense of....well, maybe not a victory but not a sense of impending crushing weekend ruining gloom that hit me on Saturday.

Early in the second half we went down to ten men, with central defender Ed Palmer sent off for an alleged stamp. I had my Wengervision on and didn't see it but all the Marine players (the Mariners? Oh Mariners. Verdis. Indie disco. Scoffers. Chips and cheese. Good times) went running to the ref and after a short delay Palmer was dismissed.

Swindon Supermarine 0-1 Weymouth
Byerley 90

So backs to the wall and we absorbed a lot of pressure and clung on. I'd have taken a point from the moment Palmer was sent off. Keeper Nortei somehow made a save from a free kick given after he picked up a back pass when it seemed the ball was already past him. He made some inspired, some lucky, saves and gains an AiT cap doth for his performance. He's just lucky I didn't get close to him after the match as I'd have probably kissed whatever part of his body turned that free kick over the bar. Even more amazing is the fact he turned up shortly before kick off after playing for his college in the day time. (College. Mariners. Ver....)

Marine had a couple more cleared off the line as thr second half went on and by this time over 260 people were following updates on the Weymouth forum, not bad considering only 147 had turned up at the game. The days of radio commentary and text commentary on the BBC website on our games are long gone sadly and we're one relegation away from having to check page 399 of Ceefax on a Saturday evening for the score.

Swindon Supermarine 0-1 Weymouth
Byerley 90

And then in the 90th minute it happened. Mudge made a run down our left, cut inside the box, I hovered above my seat, the shot crashed against the bar, the anguish kicked in, Byerley picked up the ball and rifled the ball in past the desperate lunge of the defender. I'm off and celebrating like a mentalist. Weymouth have won the World Cup, the Champions League, the Dorset Senior Cup, Miss World, a tenner on a scratch card and an orange football from a stall at Weymouth carnival and for those few seconds that magical feeling of a football fan celebrating a last minute winner can't be topped or described. You lose yourself, you have no idea where you are. Against all odds Weymouth are going to win!!

Swindon Supermarine 0-1 Weymouth
Byerley 90

And we do! We actually bloody win. 10 men, 2 off the line, 2 against the woodwork, some great saves and a last minute winning goal. I bloody love you football. At the final whistle I'm not just over the moon, I'm over Neptune and moving far out in the cosmos that not even Professor Brian Cox looking in a powerful telescope can see my dust. There was dancing on the streets of Supermarine after this result. By me

No mention of anything off the pitch by me tonight, tonight that doesn't matter, tonight is all about the boys on the pitch and feeling great after watching a Weymouth FC victory.

Come on you Terras!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Man Who Sold Everything (to himself and then transferred it to his wife)

Cirencester Town 3-0 Weymouth
Saturday 26th March 2011
Zamaretto Premier League
Corinium Stadium, Cirencester
Attendance: 217

Pics to follow and apologies for the formatting

Imagine a season where these things happen at your club:

Your manager quits only to return four hours later saying " The club needs to be run right all the way through"

Your twunt of a, supposedly, ex Chairman has an angry interview on the Non league radio show, where he tells Dave Anderson "you don't know what you're talking about" when he questions Rolls' intentions towards the club and then goes on to say "we just wanted to help a football club out" to explain his actions since he became involved. For the full show click here, set your face to 'stunned' and listen from around 31 minutes.

The ex-Chairman’s wife suddenly becomes the major shareholder in the club, as announced on the radio show.

A player walks out after not being paid and being told he doesn't have a contract with the club when he believed he did.

Your main shareholder and husband stars a company using the nickname of your club, Terras Leisure Ltd based in their home town of Cambridge. Not to worry though because we are told "is a completely separate concern to the football club."

Pretty shambolic season? Well, this is a week at Weymouth Football Club. A WEEK. 7 (seven) days. Even Craig David took a day off from screwing things, not George Rolls.

A week ago I was gloomier than a Joy Division fan convention during a power cut after seeing us lose to a last minute goal away at Chippenham, then all the above shite happens but for some reason I was still excited about Cirencester away. My mind's not right.

Cirencester's Coronium ground is the kind of ground that non league fans would call a "good little set up". This means it's not falling too rubble, has a 5 a side pitch nearby, some nice table and chairs in a well stocked bar and shows all the signs of being owned by a well run club. *sighs*

A doth of the AiT cap to the 60 or so Weymouth fans there, the same faces that make the away trips every week, you are better supporters than me. When one of our directors greets a group of long suffering Weymouth fans with the phrase "another day at the madhouse" it really isn't with a sense of irony. However there are a couple of "fans" not here, which is odd seeing as the Rolls' being a self certified "a football family". You would think that Amanda Rolls would have been keen to see generous George's latest gift. How very odd. She was probably at home watching the youtube clip of Martyn Underhay's goal against Kings Lynn in 2000.

After a fairly decent first twenty minutes Weymouth were woeful and it become one of the most miserable day watching Weymouth ever and the culmination of another embarrassing, shameful seven days at WFC. The players have to take some blame; all three goals came from set pieces that were badly defended. The third being an almost free header from a corner with our keeper nowhere and Cirencester really should have had a load more.

Further crapness happens with a throw in going straight out of play, the keeper slicing numerous kicks out of play, the left back executes a text book air shot sums up an afternoon where we have our first shot on target shortly before five to five. We were so shockingly bad that the stewards were laughing at us. The stewards. I've not been a proud Weymouth fan for 24 years to go and watch us get laughed in places like Cirencester.

Earlier this week I felt real anger at the way this club has become a laughing stock as a result of Malcolm Curtis and now George Rolls. Listening to that shithouse on the radio saying he was a football man and all Weymouth fans wanted to do was watch football made me furious. Football is a competitive sport and we've barely competed for two years now. Reading one of our players say that Rolls had no intention of paying a contracted player sent my inner rageometer to dangerous levels and seeing the latest set of not up to it players toil in the Weymouth shirt today has made me absolutely livid.

It's not the players fault, they're probably not getting paid and most of them are playing way above where they should. It's not manager Martyn Rogers fault (a man dressed like a mannequin from Meeches menswears window) It's the bastards that have made us field a team like this, taken our land, ripped the heart out of the club and made me, like many Weymouth fans, question why I support the remnants of what use to be a proud club.

Were going down again that's clear to see and not without reason and Matches against Almondsbury, Wimborne await next year. As much as days out at Forest, Bishops Stortford and Tamworth were great days like this hurt like hell. I'd trade the memories of all those days for one season of mid season mediocrity with a chairman who cares about the club and not about lining his pockets and when watching football was about match on the pitch and not the battle off it.

However, I’m proud to have one of Phil Stockers old shirts at home, the programme from when we played Preston North End in 1962 and every moment spent watching Weymouth FC since I was six years old is a special memory for me. So screw you George Rolls you shit. I'm still a fan, ill hope that weeks like this can unite our fans again and rid Weymouth FC of you. Until then I'll continue to support my club, continue to pay my money to pay the wages and pray hard for the day you weasel off and never have anything to do with us again.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Kenny was a Weymouth fan and he was always down.

Chippenham Town 1-0 Weymouth
Saturday 19th March 2011
Zamaretto Premier League
Hardenhuish Park, Chippenham
Attendance: 432

Being a Weymouth fan is hard work. If the off field idiocy isn't bad enough the team manage to give you a kick in the balls and piss on your weekend.

Since this last report, as with every time I seem to write a blog on us, we have a new manager, ex Tiverton manager Martyn Rogers. More importantly the sack of dicks that is George Rolls has now resigned as Chairman. However he, like another of our ex-Chairman, continues to hang around and cause problems. Problems such as:
On top of this add in rumours that property developers Morgan Swindle Sindall and joint owners of the land around the ground, had been seen at the ground taking measurements mean it's bloody hard work to support the club.

Having said that and spent many hours training myself not to care I came away from the last match I saw and set up a direct debit to splurge some money on the players wages, to try and keep us in this division and not sink any lower.

For more on the Weymouth FC story have a read of this article on the excellent Twohundredpercent.

Beer. Bar Snacks. Cheeky young bar maids. Good times.

The match itself was wretched and as exciting as a milk float ride. We could only announce three subs and one of those was our assistant manager. Our latest goalkeeper, James Nortei, looked dodgier than the band Dodgy eating a multipack of Jamie Dodgers on the Dodgems and the rest of the team were pretty ropey, as you'd expect from our league position. However, it's games like this that it's important to grind out a point, to battle hard and dig in and you couldn't fault the players for their effort, even Nortei makes a couple of great saves as the game went on.

The 9 (nine) stands that make up the terracing at Chippenham.

However, you could fault my friend Lee and myself for uttering the Danny Baker endorsed phrase "nothing can go wrong now" after about 75 boring minutes. You could almost see the goal coming, as a Weymouth fan you get the ability to sense disappointment and are lured into it, however the way it came about and the timing of it mean this was a real sickener.

The executive boardprefab at Chippenham.

With 95 minutes gone, 95 minutes that would have made a Liverpool Europa League match look like a classic Nortei booted the ball out so that one of our defenders could get some treatment. Under normal circumstances Chippenham would give the ball straight back from the the throw in, but they decided to play on. The referee wasn't having this and decided to blow for some offence or other and give us a throw in, big mistake. Give us possession and we will lose it and we did. From this Chippenham attacked down the left, whipped in a cross and Alan Griffin acrobatically volleyed home - the shit house.

Token match shot.

After I've stopped swearing, worked out I've not seen us get so much as a point for 15 months, and composed myself I was ready to talk about football again. Later that evening on telling people I'm a Weymouth fan I get asked if I support "a proper club". The next person I met was a Yeovil fan and despite him being a decent guy who had mastered the ability of walking upright I still shuddered. Despite all the shit and the disappointment I'm still proud to call myself a Weymouth fan, still think we are a proper club and still hate Yeovil.

Graffitti of a cock. There's always time for that here on AiT.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Dog beats child in Oberhausen shopping centre.

Rot Weiss Oberhausen 1-2 Erzgebirge Aue
Friday 11th March 2011
2. Bundesliga
Niederrheinstadion, Oberhausen
Attendance: 4,349

There's something familiar about Rot Weiss Oberhausen. After watching a couple of great games in Europe's top, some say premier, some say leading club competitions I welcomed the crapness of Rot Weiss Oberhausen.

This coach can do up to 70 miles per Aue. PER AUE!!

Oberhausen is a pretty soulless and, frankly, weird town. So weird it decided to twin itself with Middlesbrough. The town centre has been decimated due to Europes largest shopping complex, the CentrO, opening nearby in 1996 and sucking the life out the place. It also appears the local fans here just love to shop, judging by the amount of adverts we're bombarded with.

Thanks to the computer internets Huddo Hudson of Gannin Away I'd been tipped off to try the RWO chilli. Nowhere else would I buy food from a shipping container, but you don't turn down golden advice like that. Sorry Aggbrough soup but shove over there's a new King in town, a new champion of football food.

Buy food from a shipping container? No thanks. It's chilli. 1 chilli please my good man.

In the ground, which has 2014's fashion must have, the athletics track, the PA is booming a never ending playlist of awful RWO club songs followed by an assault of cheapskate radio style adverts, followed by metal song, followed by more adverts, followed by the introduction of Erzgebirge Aue team, "brought to you by the Premio Autoservice". A doth of the AiT cap to the 250 Ossis from Aue who've travelled 600km in their trabants to be here for the this TV approved 6pm kick off. For a bit more on Erzgebirge Aue read Dave Tunnicliffe's recent report over at Danny Last's European Football Weekends.

Time for some more metal music and then "an interesting interview". Perhaps an old player, a local celebrity, excruciatingly long interview (sales pitch) with a sales droid from "Potte Sosse", RWOs "official sauce sponsor". If there is two things I don't know how football survived without it's pointless extra officials and clubs having official sauce sponsors.

Look at the size of them sauces! JUST LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THEM SAUCES!! Pott Sauce not available.

There's time for another advert before were treated to the Baha Men's masterpiece "Who Let The Dogs That?" followed by an announcement stating that "the side gate in this song was subsequently closed and repaired by 'Guido's Doors and Windows of Oberhausen' and the Dogs captured by 'Fritz's Pet Investigators of Essen'."

The arrival of the teams force the adverts to take a break and the RWO mascot, Underdog the dog, obviously, does his best to rouse the consumers supporters. He waves his hands (paws) in the air, waves to the crowd and high fives (high threes?) the young members of the RWO support perched on the wall below the perimeter fence. However he misjudges his canine strength somewhat and high threes one little girl clean off the fence, sending her sprawling backwards onto the unforgiving concrete terraces below. With a girl laid out on the terraces and on the verge of tears as a result of his actions there's only one thing for Underdog to do....and that probably wasn't moonwalk away from the scene of the crime, whilst waving to the crowd.

Underdog making his get away from the scene of the crime the only way a dog can....on a kids scooter and using a flag as camouflage.

Both fans chant from their books of "Ubiquitous German Football Chants for Beginners", "Auf gehts Oberhausen schiess ein Tor fuer uns" ("Come on Oberhausen score a goal for us"- Good idea) and Aue respond with "Auswarts seig, Auswarts seig" ("away win") and it's fairly clear early on that this will be the case. It's no surprise when Aue take the lead from a corner, Rene Klingbeil has dick all to do to outwit the static RWO defence and nod it in. The RWO strikers don't fare much better, missing a simple chance to equalise a minute later. Their play deteriorates from here rapidly and they're given a good booing off at half time. (I was saying O-BOO-herhausen)

We can see you're ridiculously tall, I'm not sure you need a shirt to advertise this. Now, can you move please I can't see a thing.

Half time leads to more adverts and a couple of subs for RWO, of course the announcement of these is sponsored by a local garage and the attendance announcement is sponsored by an Estate Agent. There were so many adverts I half expected Keith, Ian and Andy to come hurtling round the athletics track in their twatmobile at any moment.

Not all the adverts were annoying. This one has a couple of easy on the eye fillies and a poor gag. Both things being favourites of mine. "If I want to I can do it four times" - Pay for his RWO membership that is. Arf.

The second half is a shocker for RWO. It appears new manager, Theo Schneider, has had the players practicing with beachballs into a strong headwind all week as cross after cross, pass after simple pass are hopelessly overhit. In one particularly bad piece of play they manage to turn an attacking position into a series of overhit backwards passes before the right back slices it wildly into touch. Unbelievable tekkers like this lead to shouts of "wir steigen ab" ("we're going down)" and "Dritte Liga wir kommen" ("here we come 3rd division") and some sublime textbook booing and whistling. This reminds me of Weymouth, it's wonderful. Being surrounded by a crowd of pissed off middle aged men, getting on their own players backs as they get increasingly worse. Magic. Even Underdog pleads to be shot.

Spare us die Kutte. Poor effort. A Kutte with only 3 patches would see you laughed out of Schalke.

Want another link to Weymouth? Of course you do. Paul The Octopus was born in Weymouth, making him the towns most successful football export ever, and made his thrilling predictions from a Sealife Centre in Oberhausen.

Aue double their lead from another corner, this time from Enrico Kern, although there's no shame in conceding a goal from an Aue corner as 13 of there 31 goals this season have come from an eckstoss. #actualfootballfact

Token match shot. For those watching in black and white Rot Weiss Oberhausen are playing in red and white.

With 15 minutes left RWO are so rank bad that the only option left to the suffering masses is the ironic cheering of each pass. Somehow this rouses RWO and with ten minutes left Tim Kruse scores. The crowd cheer but it's a cheer of embarrassment, they know there's no chance of an equaliser and that the piece of skill leading to the goal was a mere blip. The Ultras give the team a bit of support, sort of. They shower the pitch with their beer mugs without a second thought for getting their 1Euro deposits back.

Surely worth 1Euro of anyones money?

RW Oberhausen: If your football team was as good as your commercial department you'd be Champions League, but you're not. Good luck in the 3. Liga.

For some match higlights click your internet mouse here.

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Loneliness of an Additional Assistant Referee.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-3 Villarreal
Thursday 10th March 2011
Europa League Quarter Final First Leg
Bay Arena, Leverkusen
Attendance: 20,126

The Europa League is seen by many clubs as an opportunity to play squad players and by fans as an opportunity to stay at home. However, the Europa League should be seen as a pioneer competition, as without this competition world football wouldn't have introduced one of it's key changes since a pigs bladder was first hoofed around, the Additional Assistant Referee.

In an AiT exclusive we were granted Minute by Minute coverage of the inner most thoughts of one official as he undertook his critical duties.

3 minutes: Can you still get salt & shake crisps?

8: Realise I look a right dipstick in tights and gloves carrying this stick. Not even sure what it does.

11: Loving this radio mic look though, it's like I'm in 5ive. Although I'm not sure why I'm carrying this pointless stick. Maybe I could pretend to be a magician instead? Piff paff poof. Ah sod it.

12: No play near me at yet. Feel lonely. Decide to name my stick "Rudi" for a bit of company.

"Why am I here, WHY!!"

19: Scratch my leg with Rudi and feel comforted as I'm involved for the first time as there's a corner in front of me. Not required to do anything though.

"How have I got tomato sauce on my boot? Fucks sake"

22: Villarreal keeper says something in Spanish to me while pointing at his eye, dopey git. Don't understand a word. Rudi and me back away from the situation slowly.

24: I've been up and down this line so many times I feel like I'm a player in an elaborate game of Super Cup football. Decide to spin around uncontrollably for a few seconds. Feel nauseous. Accidentally fart.

27: ACTION! There's a goal disallowed at my end. Have a wander towards the goal anyway to see if it crossed the line. It crossed the line.

"Is it over the line...oh, it's over the bar. Nothing to do here then...again"

28: Pretend to be Reg Hollis from The Bill and use the headset to call for urgent back up, "IC1 Male seen running from an RTA heading towards Sun Hill". No response, think my microphone is broken.

29: Bit of play nearby, that bag of dicks linesman ruins it with his fancy arse flag and calls offside. Try and start a conversation with the photographers. They're not arsed, miserable shits.

30: Wonder how many light bulbs there are in here? Rudi tries to engage the stewards in conversation. They're not arsed, miserable shits.

"Do you come here often?? Boring this isn't it.....Nothing. Miserable bastards."

31: Back heel the ball to the corner taker. I've still got it. I can still be a professional player. I can Dad, Dad I can, watch me Dad!! Weep gently. DAD!!

32: GOAL!!! Check its over line. It's in the back of the net and I feel a but stupid. Feel sorry for the keeper at least he spoke to me.

"I told you I'd make it onto the football pitch one day Dad. Who's laughing now!! Good work Rudi"

34: Think about putting Rudi in my right hand, decide against it. Top 5 famous Rudis? Rudi Voeller. Rudi Cant Fail? Eh...Rudi that.

41: Kicks off near the half way line. Decide to look stern, grip Rudi tight and walk one yard onto the pitch. Spongy.

43: Might sneak my discman in me tights for 2nd half, I've got that new 90s compilation to work through. Could use Rudi to pretend to conduct Bob Holness playing the trumpet on Gerry Raffertys Baker Street.

Half time: Lock myself in the toilet pretending to have a mega shit. Have a cry. Think about replacing Rudi with a Super Soaker Thunderstorm for the second half just for shits and giggles. Refuse to come out for the second half until the linesman let's me signal him offside in the changing room.

47: Wonder if Rudi Voeller is here? Wonder if Pat Nevin is here? Hope Colin Murray isn't here.

51: Swap Rudi to left hand.

Rudi and me during our difficult 17 seconds.

51:17 sec: Revert back to holding in my right hand, it wasn't working out for either of us.

52: Think about folding my hands, decide against it as it might project a bad attitude. Feel fidgety.

53: 236 light bulbs

54: Johnny Cash and me are like soul mates, as we've both walked the line. Except he never scuttled along it like a joyless fluorescent crab in tights.

I'm so lonely. So very lonely.

57: Still loving this radio mic. Try and get the other 4 officials to sing 5ive classic 'Everybody Get Up', no ones bothered. I was gonna be Ritchie Neville. Miserable shits.

59: Decide to pretend to be as still as possible to freak the crowd out.

"Yeah, that's right suckers. I'm a statue. Look at them, they don't know what's going on! Losers"

65: First jog of the match. Wish hadn't bothered pants stuck right up me arse now. Knew these tights were an error.

68: Goal disallowed. Try to see if it's over the line, realise I'm a hundred yards away and it doesn't matter what Rudi and me think.

70: Goal!! Probably crossed the line. Go in for a closer look. Can confirm its over the line as its in the back of the net. Ask Leverkusen keeper if he likes 5ive.

71: Craving a crab stick.

74: Farted again. Had to check to see if it was over the line, if you know what I mean.

"Dear Uriah Rennie, God of all Referees, Please let me have something to do at this corner."

80: If your getting down baby, I want it now baby....

86: Hold Rudi in both hands. He purrs gently.

88: Substitution for Leverkusen. On comes Lars Bender. Ha. Bender

89: Tell some daft Spaniard to hurry up while taking a corner. This is our first involvement of the half so Rudi and me to decide to look rugged "Were probably on the tele now" whispers Rudi gently. Look at me now Dad I scream!!!

93: GOAL!!! A goal in front of me. Think about joining in with the celebration but then decide they should get the heck out of my bit of pitch. Piss on their parade and shoo them away.

"Get out of here!!! Leave us alone!!!! JUST GOOOO!!"

Full time: Try and swap shirts with the referee. Seems I've grossly misunderstood the protocol here.

After the match: Realised some berk has parked really close to me. Check to see if their car is over the line. It is, just. I signal but no one is around to see. I drive back through the night to Mothers.

Red line indicates completed runs by Additional Assistant Referee.

With apologies to the actual additional assistant referees Daniele Orsato and Andre De Marco, who I'm sure both did a great job and live happy lives.

For proper match highlights click here.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Magath of the Day

Schalke 04 3-1 Valencia
Wednesday 9th March 2011
Champions League, 1st Knock Out Round
Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen
Attendance: 53,517

In an unexpected change to the advertised AiT schedule I will now be blogging on a proper football match. Do not adjust your computer Internet service. This post is brought to you by Continental and Heineken.

This years Schalke 04 fan collection.

My solitary previous experience of touting was mixed, I'm perhaps the only person in history who has successfully haggled the price of a ticket up when securing a ticket for the Magdeburg - St. Pauli promotion decider in 2007. Today's experience faired somewhat better and after being offered a ticket for 150 Euros and 80 Euros I fell in love with a German man who let me use his season ticket for 40 Euros and gave me his phone number should there be any problems! Scouse touts could learn about customer care from this fella. Not just any old seats, oh no. 10 rows behind one of the goals of the magnificent Veltins Arena. Mysterious German stranger if you ever need help securing entrance to Bristol Manor Farm then I am at your service.

Token stadium shot.

The stadium is immense, a magnificent theatre to watch football and I did a little sex wee in my pants when I first entered block S5 and took in the view. It's possible to wander all the way around the ground and I'm pleased to award the Schalke fans the AiT award for "Highest ratio of denim jackets adorned with patches jackets I've seen at any German ground to date".

Mullet + Denim Jacket = Hello Mr Stereotypical German football fan.

The Schalke Ultras congregate in the Curva Nord and on each entrance are two kids handing out thousands of bits of paper saying "Manu bleib" ("Manuel stay". A reference to interest from other European clubs in keeper Manuel Neuer) for a choreo display when the teams take the pitch. I tried to sneak a couple of pictures but they nicely asked for them to be deleted. I'm guessing that the Ultras were worried that Helga and Gertrude in the Office Supplies department are keen readers of AiT and would realise why the office had mysteriously used 42 reams of paper, obliterated 19 print cartridges and why the photocopier was constantly smoking.

Twenty years on the ball for Schalke - Carry on! (Click to enlarge)

On the day of the match Schalke Manager Felix Magath was the subject of news reports that the Schalke management would replace him at the end of the season. This is as a result of a mixed season where the team have struggled in the Bundesliga, yet have reached the knock out stages of the Champions League and the DFB Cup Final. In order to get the fans on side Magath has his own Facebook page to communicate to fans directly, an idea that backfired at the weekend when some Ultras displayed a banner saying "Felix gefallt uns nicht mehr" ("We dont like Felix any more"). Many fans at tonight's game have also raided the work stationary cupboard in support of Magath, with many around me holding pieces of paper saying "pro Magath" or signs with the Facebook thumbs up sign and the slogan "Magath gefallt mir" ("I like Magath")

It is now only a matter of time before Phil Brown sets up his own Facebook account.

The Valencia fans numbered about 200 and went bonkers barmy when they took the lead after 17 minutes through Ricardo Costa. The goal also blew the cover of another bunch of Spaniards amongst the home support who had clearly purchased the 'Robbie Earle ticket package'.

As with every match "Angry Fan" is in, or for our German readers " Der Angry Fan". Never before have I seen such anger, the man could not sit still, had a voice stuck on the 'bellow' setting and bore more than a passing resemblance to the mugger from Flight of the Conchords.

Angry Fan booting an imaginary Hund.

He has plenty to be angry about in the first half as Valencia are on top, but erupts into a Ian Curtis style flailing dance move when Jefferson Farfan beautifully twats the ball in from a free kick just before half time. Even I jumped up, as much as I love Tinpot you just don't see goals like that. Woof!

Angry man, reaches an angry zenith early in the second half when he picks on the most defenceless man in the ground, the spotty young 'un flogging ice creams. The lads got a hard enough job of flogging Magnums on a cold night, to a crowd of hard bastard men bloated on bratwurst and beer without being started on. Angry Man takes umbrage with the yoof getting in his the line of his rageovision for a nanosecond and slaps an ice cream out of the kids hand and then goes to smack him. Ridiculous scenes and I'm sad to report that one White Chocolate Magnum did not survive, due to severe external injuries and internal melting as a result of it's collision with the unforgiving concrete terracing of block S5.

Jürgen in happier times, 3 seconds before he gets a slap.

Angry fan can't even relax when Mario Gavranovic pings one in from 2 yards off both posts to put Schalke 2-1 ahead and can't even sit back and admire the way Raul makes great defence stretching runs and starts to run down the clock to take Schalke through to the Quarter Finals. With Valencia pushing forward Schalke score again with Farfan chipping keeper Guaita and cementing his place as the second best football player called Jefferson in the world, after Jefferson Louis of course.

Celebrations after Gavranovic's goal.

On the tram on the way back to the station I notice everyone on board is a grizzled hard working man, living a life where stone washed denim is King and by royal commandment must be adorned by a clothing item in Schalke blue. Scarves that appear to have seen over twenty years of Bundesliga action, faded Schalke jackets with beer stains of goal celebrations past and shirts with long gone sponsors are all on display. The fans here are long suffering dedicated fans of a traditional club playing in a superb modern arena and for that, their reasonable prices and excellent customer service when scalping tickets and the high number of patchwork adorned denim jackets I salute you Schalke 04.