Spring is bittersweet season for football. The grass is greener, the temperature slowly becomes pleasant and the days are longer. The football season is however, almost over. In Germany it always feels as though the winter break has just finished before the football season begins to wind down again.
At FC Neukölln at least, one can truly enjoy the benefits that arrive with spring. A lush green pitch surrounded by a veritable plethora of pink blossom is a rare treat for non-league football, which more often than not is a jungle of AstroTurf and wire fencing. Perhaps it is due to being starved of aesthetically pleasing surroundings over the winter months, but the ground at Hertzbergplatz is certainly up with the most pleasant I have visited this season. The home fans would not take pause to enjoy such things today.
Spandau took an early lead with a well placed goal by Dominik Dampke in the second minute. The following 43 minutes of the first half is memorable more for a select handful of home fans becoming so irate with the referee that they barely knew what to do with themselves. This anger would explode in the second forty five minutes after a couple of half time beers, in quite ludicrous fashion.
Words were had going into the break. Heated discussions as the players left the pitch thankfully did not escalate beyond that as Spandau took their 1-0 lead into the half time.
I feel Spandau could have done more to not further upset Neukölln fans, but another early goal in the second half was more than many of them could take. This defeat was destined to be the fault of the man in yellow, Christian Hahn. Losing gracefully is a concept FC Neukölln and their fans could well do with googling.
Flared tempers weren’t just a distraction off the pitch, but also on it. Mr. Hahn could only allow himself to be verbally abused so many times and so the inevitable red card for Neukölln came in the 57th minute and all but destroyed Neukölln’s chances of getting anything from the game. From this point on most of the noise came from a handful of Neukölln supporters who were seemingly of the opinion that the louder they screamed and the more they berated him, the more likely the referee would be to change his mind and admit that they indeed were right, buy them a beer and promise to never do it again. Stunningly though, this never transpired, so the boisterous group on were forced to continue their far from silent protest for the remainder of the game.
Neukölln did manage to get a goal back in the 76th minute through Ali Iraki, but Emanuel Okuma’s second in the 88th minute killed it off and in the 93rd minute Marko Mitrovski made it a 4-1 for Spandau.
The game was over, but the fury was not. Neukölln fans gathered themselves in a furious group to be loud and generally angry. An elderly gentleman found the situation so unacceptable that he took it upon himself to shove a lady standing next to him, who had dared to disagree. The small gathering of irate fans showed no signs of cooling down and their behaviour was beginning to get boring so I decided it was a good time to leave. As I turned to walk out of the pretty ground the lady working in the kiosk must have seen me rolling my eyes and was quick to loudly tell me ‘er hat recht’. I stopped myself from responding and just walked away as the weather had also turned quite terrible. The beautiful spring ambience had been ruined though the weather was not to blame for that.