Is there any other city in the world that can beat Hamburg for a football ground visiting 3 day marathon? Some may say who would be mad enough to spend 3 days jumping from bus to metro to U Bahn to running/limping from ground to ground. Well I was that mad football fan and do think there may be no other city to rival Hamburg – Berlin, Budapest and London may be the only real rivals.
With no national German Football league till the 60’s it has meant that many States, regions and cities have a great number of clubs and grounds.
The German league system is a true pyramid and does mean that the lowest park team can eventually end up as champions of Germany just on football terms with every league having promotion and relegation – of course as you go further up the pyramid there are some set standards for facilities and financial capabilities.
In Hamburg there are 25 divisions consisting of 418 teams with 5 further teams from the city playing in leagues above that including Hamburg SV and St Pauli.
I landed at 10.10am and 40 minutes later I was at my first game. I would see 3 games over the 3 days but also would visit 18 other grounds – more than I had planned for or expected.
Some grounds have a shale surface others astro but that means many games can be played on the same day, great for the younger teams that many clubs run – compare that to say, Essex – muddy, waterlogged pitches ,meaning that not even the first team can play a game for many weeks. We need more G4 pitches here in the UK, now back to my Hamburg football odyssey
The next few posts will cover those three days.
Game at USC Paloma here
Borgweg Stadium – VFL Hamburg
Great ground near the City Park
Game at HSV Barnbek-Uhlenhorst here
Stadium Zum Schutzenhof – SC Urania
My first shale pitch
Sportplatz Berner Heerweg – SC Condor Hamburg 1956
Athletics track plus adjoining pitches
Hammer Park – Hamm Utd
More athletics but also a great stand