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Opinion

Lying on a beach 2,000 miles from Newcastle and wondering if anybody can hold back the tide

7 months ago
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I’m lying on a beach in Cyprus this week, so I have missed out on the trials and tribulations of the ongoing conflict at Newcastle United, as well as the excitement of the international break. What a pity.

Obviously the Switzerland game was on in the bars but with it being a 2200 hrs kick off, but for a 60 year old with a dodgy ticker, that was way past my bedtime.

So I’m spending the week reading, having bought WH Smith out of football magazines.

I have 4-4-2, WSC, World Soccer and for you those of you who are a little more mature, Back Pass.

If you don’t know, this is  a retro mag, so its right up my street.

I have to admit that I still miss getting The Mag summer special and keeping it to read on my holidays.  Sadly, those days are long gone.

Anyway, I’ve read a piece in World Soccer this week which I found very interesting. It was about the 50+1 rule in Germany.

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, basically it’s a rule that the Bundesliga has in place to  prevent their clubs being bought by Middle Eastern countries (or other super rich individuals/countries)

So It’s a rule to prevent the richer getting ever richer.

Bayern  Munich and the likes are desperately trying to change the rule, which they say would allow them to compete better with Real Madrid and Barca.  From where I’m sitting, they are doing a pretty good job already.

Seeing as they pretty much already have the Bundesliga tied up year after year, you can see why  others are not so keen.

As with everything in life it’s not that simple. The likes of Wolfsburg and Leipzig  already manage to skirt around the current legislation, one owned by VW. The other by Red Bull.

Anyone who follows German football will know that these two clubs are hated with a passion by the fans of other clubs

The difference between the German fan and the new breed of English customer, is that they have managed to get a collective protest movement together in order to fight against what must feel like the inevitable.

They still have a huge bond in Germany between the fan and the club in place (anyone ever been to St Pauli?) and now they have 3000 fan organisations under one ” 50+1 stays ” umbrella (The 50+1 refers to German clubs having to be majority supporter owned – 50% plus 1 share, or better).

Very impressive, very organised, very German.

To lift a quote from the article:

‘Every week, football brings thousands of different people together.

‘It doesn’t belong to companies or investors, it belongs to us all.’

I’ve been a big fan of German football since my days living over there as a squaddie.  I was able to go to the likes of Dortmund, Schalke, Cologne and Monchengladbach.

I even had a house, just 600 yards from the old Borussia Monchengladbach stadium, so I became immersed in their cheap ticket, cheap beer, great atmosphere culture.

I think it’s to their credit that the ordinary fan is simply not going to lie down and watch their way of life being destroyed, to allow the money men to get richer.

Despite the cash and the world class players it would bring,  they don’t want to see an English Premier League style set up happening in Deutschland.

I for one hope they succeed in holding back the tide.

Somehow you doubt it.
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