Wednesday 7 September 2011

Altona 93; Hamburg, Germany

Altona 93 are a proud old club from Hamburg. They compete in the Oberliga Hamburg, which is on the fifth rung of the German pyramid. I managed to have a peek at their ground, on a previous visit to the city in 2005; but that was pre-digital camera days. In the 'irrational' mind
that is a football fan there is often no phyme or reason as to why you like a club. For me, in Germany, I have a 'soft spot' for Vfb Stuttgart, because it was the first German ground I ever went to, back in the 1988 European Championships, watching England. I discovered they were formed in 1893, the same year as Dulwich Hamlet, so that was good enough for me! Like lots of politically left leaning football supporters I also take an interest in another Hamburg side, St Pauli.

Altona 93 are a team I've wanted to see, simply for the '1893' connection, too. So when I visited Hamburg in November 2010 they were the first fixture I pencilled in. It was a very cold afternoon, fortunately I bought a scarf & woolly hat at the game to try to keep a little warmer.

I've got to say, with some pride, that I have fallen in love with this club! The ground I think will impress everyone who likes old fashioned venues, & without a doubt, I shall watch them again in a couple of years. Hope you enjoy looking at this venue even half as much as I did!

Here are the main turnstiles as you get to the ground.

Club initials wrought into the ironwork.

Here they are, from inside.

Immediately to our right is a beer stand.

Ahead of us is the pitch, we are in a corner of the ground,the main stand opposite.

To our left is a substantial open terrace, & that will be the way we will go round the ground, clockwise.

Here is a shot of it right at the corner, by the pitch.

Starting to move along the terrace.

At the back, stand in full view on the other side.

Toward the front.

From the side, we see back to the open grass banked end. Some flags blend in with the advertising boards.

Here they are.

Back on the side this fans banner is hung up at the back, on it's own posts in club colours. Black Bloc refers to an anarchist leaning support base, I think.

This is where the bulk of their fans who stand on this side congregate.

There is even a small drink area, to save them having to walk back to the turnstile corner!

The terracing continues along the whole side.

In front of this section are the dugouts.

They are nominally taped off from supporters.

Here is one of them, from the front.

Almost at the halfway line we look over to the seats on the far side.

A similar shot, the other side of the centre circle.

Moving on, past the other dugout.

Stuck on the back of the dugout is a variety of fan stickers, which are very popular on mainland Europe, but which has never really caught on in England.

Heading to the end you can see the terrace starts to curve round, but...look carefully. The goal you see is behind the pitch barrier. That is an open training area, the caravan is not in use today. Presumably, in the past, the pitch was a lot further back?

From behind this rail you can see the pitch barrier, from which you can stand behind at this end.

The terracing at this end is long disused.

Before we have a closer inspection of it, one more look down the side terracing.

With the hard standing in front of it.

This is the old terracing, being claimed back by nature.

At pitchside we see the side terrace, to our right.

With the main stand to the left.

Moving back to the old terrace you can see howw far away the current pitch is, by the fans standing at the right of this snap.

Directly behind the goal, from up on the old terrace.

This should be called the 'wooded terrace'!

The stand, through the overgrowth.

I don't care if it sounds strange, but the snow combined with the foilage makes this 'groundhopping porn'! I love it!

At the next corner the disused terrace curves round again, to the start of the stand.

In places the trees practically obscure the pitch.

Looking up to the old terracing, from the front.

Set back, down behind the corner, are some old disused turnstiles.

Look carefully between the two tree trunks, to the right...

Some old club lettering remains!

I didn't notice that old entrance, they were pointed out to me by this chap. I was behind the goal, on my way round taking these pictures, & had stopped to take some photos of the match, when he came up to me. I said I didn't speak German, luckily he spoke English! He sold me a copy of their fanzine, which had a couple of pieces in English, written by a Carshalton based supporter! Now there's two of us in the London area! ;-)

This is the side part of the overgrown terracing.

The pitch, through a 'gap'.

Now back pitchside, a cornerflag shot.

We've now got to the main stand. Look at the weather beaten fence at the end of it, at the side...

Smartly painted in club colours on the reverse.

Plastic bucket seats along the length of it.

They continue up to the centre of the stand.

The players' tunnel is in the middle, with tannoy box above it.

Here we look into the tunnel, you can see the backless bucket seats continue past it.

Above the tunnel is the name of the stadium, which is also the street name outside. Adolf Jager is their most honoured player, who was a loyal servant in the early part of the last century.

The rest of the stand. Have you spotted the banner at the back?

It's actually a permanent work of club art. presumably a German football version of 'Home, sweet home'!

We're now moving along, almost at the end of the stand.

Not leaving it, until we've see over the halfway line, from this side.

Past the stand is this small area of terrace, which was frquented by a younger group of vocal home fans, with lots of flags.

Before we get there a view along the stand, from this end.

Here is one of their banners.

Love the flags!

Another shot of them.

Same fans, but staring at them, from the other side.

Beyond that section of terrace is a beer hut. The building is the club offices & bar.

This is what it looks like from out on the street.

Here we see the entrance, face on.

Some photos of the bar, inside.

Club crest on the wall.

As are old shirts & scarves.

And lots of photos.

Back outside, in the corner where the small terrace is, we are now looking behind the open grass banked end.

Tucked behind this corner, past the beer hatch, is this club shop.

Before we go behind the goal one more view of the main stand side, terrace included.

The grass bank. Nothing wrong with it, but it would never get past the 'ground grading police' in England!

It may look a nice bright day, but believe me, it was very cold!

At the back is a wonderful scoreboard!

Over the pitch from the top of the slope.

The stand from behind the goal.

And up the pitch, from the front.

Going up the banking once more, with the side terrace as a backdrop,which is where we began.

Now to the match itself...

The first time I've watched Altona, & it's a home win! Can't complain with that!

The final whistle, & the team go to thank the fans for their support.

And behind the goal...

Finally along the side.

One of the opposition had a t-shirt under his kit...made him look like a vicar!

I couldn't finish without showing you a classic German football denim jacket! They may be stuck in the seventies fashion wise, but I love them!


Anonymous said...

I left Altona 93's ground till last. Yes, they are the best!!!!!
There is talk of selling the ground and moving to a new ground to raise money for the team. After their last regionaliga experience they know they need more money. They could sit tight in the hamburg oberliga but Altona 93 have always seen their natural level as the regionaliga and are willing to sacrifice their wonderful ground to try and re-attain that goal. I dont disagree with this stance - probably their last chance to try and get into and stay in the regionaliga.
I'll be trying to go and see Altona 93 in late april/early May 2012.

Anonymous said...

we at leamington fc also have a german club link, with sv eichede of the SH oberliga, we are going over in may and as there game is on the sat we are hopefully going to the altona game on the sunday. thanks for the coverage lee