I hope you all had a cracking Christmas period and all that. I’d like to start by apologising to everyone who seen me in the club while I was back – if I seemed I was a bit uncomfortable, it’s because I was. Wearing your Dad’s keks will do that to a man.
Obviously it wasn’t by choice.
KLM lost our suitcases in Schiphol on the way to The Toon, so by the time I was home and sober enough to pull out clean clothes from my delayed case, it was already the Monday (we arrived on the Saturday morning). Then to top it all off, KLM then lost my suitcase – again in Schiphol – on the way back to Berlin. Fucking knobs!
Actually, I’ve just got back from the shop to buy six bottles of Broon. €18 that cost me. It’s like the prices in Oz. Mind, at least this is a world away from Australian beer. I promised them to a Jorman lad I work with – he’s a canny lad, despite the fact he looks a bit like Chris Griffin and sounds like that sloth thing from Ice Age.
Anyhow, since I’ve been back, there’s been two big bits of news in Germany. Well, two that haven’t been related to skiing accidents or people shipping loads of coke to Aldi in fruit crates, that is (I wonder what the German equivalent of Los Pollos Hermanos, is…).
In a move everyone but the British press seemed to see coming, Robert Lewandowski brought an end to his long running transfer saga with the news that he will move to FC Bayern in the summer. The only people who seemed to doubt that this would happen were some of Fleet Street’s finest (not the bar in the Toon), who somehow thought Man U would be able to convince him to take part in Mad Davey Moyes’ revolution.
He is actually a hell of a player, as anyone who saw him put four past Madrid in last year’s Champions League semi will testify. He’ll be a fantastic signing for FC Hollywood, although it remains to be seen what they will do with the almost-as-gifted Mario Mandzukic, who is currently leading the line like a cross between Alan Shearer, Miroslav Klose and a pit-bull on speed.
This is extremely worrying for the rest of the Bundesliga.
I saw a comic flying around Twitter that perfectly sums-up the state at the top of the league. It shows a guy representing Dortmund fishing in a river, with a basket full of fish behind him. On the other side of the river stands a guy in a top hat and tails, representing FC Bayern. Instead of fishing in the river, though, he is trying to hook Dortmund’s basket of fish.
It should be interesting when the league starts up again in a few weeks. This could be the most competitive season for a while, and Bayern are already seven points clear…
The other big news was Thomas Hitzlsperger revealing that he is gay. Good for him. I think this can only be a positive step. Admittedly he is no longer an active player, but he played top-level football in both England and Germany, as well as internationally, so it will shake the foundations of the game somewhat.
If it was me, I would still be nervous if I was a gay footballer, as the press surrounding Hitzlsperger is a fraction of whatever will happen when an active footballer comes out. But, after the examples given by ‘Der Hammer’ and Robbie Rogers, as well as ex-rugby, basketball and NFL players, this should make it slightly easier for confused or frightened players to make a stand. Only then can we see how much of a problem football (players, fans, ownership) have with homosexuality.
From reading Twitter today, I feared for the worst with the Hitzlsperger interview on Football Focus being accompanied by the views of Robbie Savage and anti-homophobia activist Robbie Fowler (cough) on the show, but according to the comments I read, the presenter made them squirm about their past comments and actions. Good.
What was actually most surprising for me about the whole story was that Hitzlsperger had played 52 games for Germany. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good top-level pro, but he was no world-beater. Having said that, with Frank Lampard on 103 caps, and even Gareth Barry on 53, it shows how much easier it is for consistent players in the modern age to accumulate caps than it used to be.
It’s a brave new world.