Colin Drury won’t mention the score
THEY are two countries with, let us be polite, a healthy historic rivalry.
The English and the Germans – great nations whose fate and fights have been interlinked since Bismarck was big – have clashed over everything from the sovereignty of Poland to the etiquette of beach towels.
But – by Jingo! – this struggle is set to take a whole new dimension at a Sheffield playing field next weekend.
Because then two groups of cross-continental friends – one from South Yorkshire, one from Berlin – are set to take each other on in a specially organised soccer match at the ground where West Germany’s World Cup squad trained in 1966.
And our lads are promising you can forget Turin 1990, Wembley 1996 and Bloemfontein 2010 when the German national team ruthlessly dispatched our Three Lions. Because they are determined that Meadowhead 2013 will end with the right result. Which is to say, a right good thrashing for our sausage-loving cousins.
“We’ve been telling them we’ll be sending them away having had a nice taste of Sheffield and a bad taste of defeat,” says organiser Dave Allatt.
“Although they tell me they’ve been practising their penalties, which is a bit of a worry. Either way it should be a great weekend. We’ll be showing them the sights and taking them out on the town.”
Ah, beer and banter? On such things is European Unity built.
The game itself came about because Dave – who plays with Sheffield Transport FC in the Sheffield And District Fair Play League – has been visiting friends in Berlin for the last six years. Last year he took a bunch of football pals with him, and there they made mates with a bunch of Germans on a night out.
“We got speculating who’d win in a match,” explains the 28-year-old of Racecommon Road, Barnsley. “One thing led to another and before you know it we’re organising the match. There’s about 15 of them coming over and staying at people’s houses.”
The added twist is that the Sheffield Transport Sports Club Ground in Greenhill Main Road, Meadowhead, was one of the places where the West German team trained during the 1966. The side played two of their six games in the competition at Hillsborough.
“That was a coincidence,” says Dave, a planner with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. “But it’s a nice one. If we can repeat the result of the 1966 World Cup final we’ll be happy.”
The German lads – who are calling themselves FC Stahl Bier – will arrive on the Friday and stay until Sunday. A special trophy has been commissioned.
And afterwards? Dave and club manager Matt Reynolds are hoping a return leg might be arranged.
“I think it would be nice to make it a regular do” says Matt, 27, also a transport planner of Woodseats House Road. “It’s just a good thing to do to build relationships with people from another part of the world. If that’s over a footy match and a few beers, so much the better.”
* The Match will take place on Saturday, March 16 at Sheffield Transport Sports Club Ground, in Greenhill Main Road, Meadowhead. Kick off 10.30am. Spectators welcome.