In case you haven’t guessed football is a huge part of the Askam household life. Dad has spent a lifetime following Manchester United through their ups and downs and is fortunate in that Sam is also an avid fan and now an assistant coach of Jacob’s local youth football team. If there is a match on the television it is likely to be playing in the Askam household. Stands to reason that Jacob has become a huge fan then of the beautiful game.
Living in Germany though makes it difficult to get to Old Trafford as often as we would all like and so decided to watch the Bundesliga as often as possible. Though not the nearest team, having been to watch FC Schalke 04 play a few times before it was decided that we would give them our family support.
Shane popped down to Gelsenkirchen towards the beginning of the season only to find that once more all the season tickets were already gone. So he did what anyone else would have done under the circumstances, purchased as many tickets as he could for the 3 of them, nearly all the singles that were left and only showed the missus receipts for half, LOL.
FC Schalke play, if you don’t already know at Gelsenkirchen, the Veltins Arena. The scene of the great footballing disaster of England’s loss to Portugal in the World Cup (robbed we was!). A fabulous Stadium none the less, we have been several times this season. The first game being against Bayer Leverkusen and a lesson in reality for a 7 year old who having only seen 3 live matches, didn’t quite comprehend that you can’t win ‚em all. After going one up, a free kick in the 88th minute resulted in a cruel draw for FC Schalke.
Then the draw for the Champions League was announced and we as a family were excited at being drawn in the same group as Chelsea, not least as Man United fans but mostly because dad had bought tickets, before he knew the draw. COME ON SCHALKE !!! The first Champions League game though was at home to Valencia, another lesson well learnt at the age of 7, in that you can play well and still lose. FC Schalke were quite simply outclassed on the night by the Spanish who, with a lot more Champions League experience went home with a 1-0 win and 3 points. Arghh, and it was a mid-week game, which I had convinced the missus wouldn’t mean us getting home at 1 am, OOoer! BAD DAD, BAD DAD!
Whilst at the Valencia game, we had visited the ticket office and managed to obtain 4 tickets for the Armenia Bielefeld clash. Exciting indeed as Armenia Bielefeld is but a short train ride from where we live and where most of the British go for their weekly fix of football. That being the case, we as a family get grief all year round, which of course leads to plenty of wind ups and even phone calls on the morning of the game. Crates of beer bet and off to the game. Jacob’s faith was rebuilt as Schalke were more than up for it and played so, ending up winning 3-0.
A midweek win against MSV Duisburg has put the Konigsblau into 2nd place in the Bundesliga over taking the Doofmunders on the way. As for our next game, we take on Hertha Berlin this weekend and we will be there.
November dawns and our latest outing was only last night. As soon as school was over the boy was bundled home and we all got changed before charging down the Route 2 to take on the Chelsea Scum. Arriving at the ground early enough to check availability of tickets for the weekend and then get to our seats just as the crowd were being warmed up. Schalke, like many European clubs have a manner of support not equalled in the UK, and this was evident as the Chelsea fans could not be heard all night, save for the odd chant of Cheeelseaaa, Cheeeelseeea. Luckily, this wasn’t too taxing for the chelsea fans and they managed to remember most of the words, so much so that by the 80th minute they even threw in a few La la la’s. On the whole though they were kept quiet by the mighty Schalke support, led of course by the Nordkurve. Quite right too as they were played off the park all night long, so much so that it could have been Armenia. The game only lacked a goal, yet Schalke without their No.1 striker and at least 3 of their first squad still managed to hit the crossbar and the post late on in the game. They were all over Chelsea like a cheap suit, despite the Londoners having the ref in their pocket and it was the Chelsea fans that went away feeling lucky, as well they might. They trail Man city in the premiership too, you have gotta love Avram Grant.
If anyone is living in Germany and thinking of supporting a Bundesliga team they could do a lot worse than choosing the Royal blues. A fabulous Stadium, atmosphere and family driven attitude make for a great day out. Do however look to get your tickets at the end of June beginning of July if you can as they sell them all en masse at the beginning of the season. That said it is possible to pick up tickets nearer to match day. Send me an email if you ever fancy going! Well worth the investment!