Pedalling for the UEFA Champions League
Olaf Storbeck is a financial journalist who has been awarded the Friedward Bruckhaus Award for his journalistic work recently. Since November 2012, the Gelsenkirchen-born and London-based writer has been a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, the commentary and analysis service of Reuters newswire. On the British isles, he deems several items as indispensable: the Schalke mug on his desk and the S04 pennant on his office wall.
Dealing with numbers on a daily basis does not necessarily have to tarnish the ability to focus on the really important things of life. Olaf Storbeck proved this prior to the 2:2 thriller against Arsenal FC in the Champions League on 6 November 2012. Inspired by Schalke’s historic 2:0 triumph in London, the 38-year-old cycled from his place of residence in Highbury, North London, to the Veltins arena.
Beschreibung: Together with his cycling friend Miranda Smith, who supports Arsenal on Sunday, he left London on 4 November and headed towards the seaside town of Harwich in Essex. There, they got on the night ferry to Hoek of Holland. After another stop-over in Nijmegen, they made it to their royal blue destination two hours prior to the kick off.
„We wanted to arrive earlier in Gelsenkirchen. Annoyingly, however, the route turned out to be 407 kilometers (254 miles), 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) more than planned“, as Olaf points out. Nevertheless, 90 minutes were enough to fill Miranda with enthusiasm for Schalke. „She told me that she was absolutely stunned by the atmosphere in the stadium as well as the excitement of our supporters“, says Olaf.
For more than two years, he has been an active member of the Schalke UK supporters club. However, he does not conceal that besides Schalke, he also has a second passion in football. „Since I have been living in London I’m also a supporter of Arsenal. This happened automatically when a friend took me to the stadium for the first time.“ During the two Champions League encounters, he was keeping his fingers crossed for Schalke, though. Eventually, blood was just thicker than water, as Olaf explains.
For the London Schalker, the unusual journey was a dream come true. „Among all Schalke members, I probably had the shortest journey to the game in the Emirates. For the second leg, it might have been the most unconventional journey.“
Pedalling to Schalke wasn’t just a vanity thing for him, though. „I would love to encourage other fans to cycle to home games as well. That’s not just more environmentally friendly but quite often quicker and more convenient than the car or public transport as well.“