webmaster, Paul Allison, explains why he follows Fortuna
and why he started this fan-site.
|How long have you
been following Fortuna?
My first game was
in 2005, but I’d been following Fortuna on the
internet for a couple of years before that.
It’s a long story, and to understand the context,
you need to understand a little of the background, so
I graduated from university in 1998, and I travelled
straight to France (with my old friend Rich) to see
Scotland play in the World Cup Finals. After having
such a good time, I was determined to get to more Scotland
away games, and due to Rich not being able to make the
next trip (Lithuania later that same year), Helen tagged
along as well (despite being English, Helen’s
always loved football and was quite happy to support
Over the next few years, we were lucky enough to keep
our costs down (having met as students, we were used
to living on a budget) and be able to afford to travel
to most of the Scotland games, until late 2001 when
we decided we could probably afford a short city break.
Budget airlines were in their infancy, and we flew out
to Barcelona for a great weekend of beer and football
(Espanol vs Rayo Vallecano). Fast forward another few
months to the summer of 2002, and it was time for another
break – this time, Helen said she’d like
to go back to Germany, a country she’d last visited
as a teenager when studying her A Levels.
At the time, British Airways flew from Gatwick (our
local airport) to Düsseldorf, Munich and Hanover,
and all fitted the out-on-Friday, back-on-Sunday pattern
we needed to minimise time off work (time we still needed
for Scotland trips). After fetching the Lonely Planet
“Europe on a Shoestring” book off the shelf,
we read that Munich was hot and full of American tourists
in July, Hanover was rebuilt as a model city with a
grid street pattern and Düsseldorf (previously
known to us only for having a big airport and sitcom
Auf Wiedersehen Pet) had a nickname of “the longest
bar in Europe”. No further discussion was necessary…
I won’t bore you all with a blow-by-blow account
of that first summer weekend (i.e. no football as not
during the season) in Düsseldorf; suffice to say
that we had a great time (in the face of delayed flights
and punctured car tyres on our return) and brought back
great memories of the city and the beer. And a football
shirt! As a long time collector of football tops (only
those with a particular significance of very eye-catching),
my eye was caught by the black shirt with the red star
and white skull-and-crossbones logo hanging in the airport
sports shop. Having snapped up the shirt I felt compelled
to look out for Fortuna’s fortunes on the internet,
with them yo-yoing between third and fourth levels at
A couple of years passed, and cheeky weekend breaks
continued to German cities (Bremen, Nuremburg, Munich)
and beyond (Bratislava, Budapest, Innsbruck), as well
as Scotland trips; we often used these travels to take
in local league matches when we had the chance. Eventually,
at the end of 2004, after British Airways had stopped
flying to DUS but easyJet had just started a Gatwick-Cologne
route, we decided to book a return to Düsseldorf
and finally take in a game. And the rest is history…
what was your first Fortuna game?
A local derby away to KFC Uerdingen on 26th February
2005, ending in a 1-1 draw. Our abiding memory was the
level of humour amongst the Fortuna fans – a large
banner reading something along the lines of “Düsseldorf
fur die leber lang – Krefeld fur die untergang”
was unveiled – and a massive smoke-bomb going
off in the covered stand.
As easyJet were keen to promote the route, we could
fly for £26 return, so we came back two weeks
later (with Bruce and Sharon in tow) to see one of the
first games at the Arena, the 2-0 win against Wuppertal,
a game only marred by the absence of any alcoholic drinks
inside the ground! After these two matches, we were
hooked and vowed to come back the following season.
what’s been your favourite match up until now?
Wins against Wuppertal are always good, including the
lucky 1-0 win away at the Zoo Stadion in August 2007.
In terms of an excellent Fortuna performance, then probably
away to Wacker Burghausen in August 2008 is right up
there, however nothing can really match the raw emotion
of the promotion game at home to Werder Bremen II in
many Fortuna games do you get to each season?
It depends on quite a few factors, including the euro-sterling
exchange rate, the price and availability of flights,
the way the fixture list works out (particularly in
BL2, where games range from 6.30pm on a Friday to 8.15pm
on a Monday!) and how much other travel we have booked.
Ideally, we’d try and get to 8-10 games a season,
but as it can get quite addictive, this often tends
to creep upwards if we think we can afford it. We also
try and mix up a few away games as well, just to see
different parts of Germany.
This is a breakdown of the games to date:
2004-05 – 2 games (1 home + 1 away)
2005-06 – 8 games (4 + 4)
2006-07 – 16 games (8 + 8)
2007-08 – 12 games (7 + 5)
2008-09 – 11 games (7 + 4)
2009-10 – 9 games (5 + 4)
2010-11 – 14 games (6 + 8)
anyone else travel from the UK?
Over the years, a fair few friends have made it across
to Düsseldorf, whether for a city break or Christmas
markets, and we’ve always done our best to drag
them along to a game as well. Our joint stag and hen
party was in Düsseldorf in February 2007, and saw
14 of us mostly wearing kilts and assorted football
shirts, but outside of this Bruce and Sharon (fellow
Scots who live near us in Surrey) and Helen’s
workmate Lisa deserve a special mention: they’ve
taken in away matches as well, and all of them own various
pieces of memorabilia that they wear to games.
For the 2010-11 season, Bruce and Sharon even joined
us in picking up season tickets on the new terrace section's
other football do you watch?
As already mentioned, we used to follow Scotland home
and away regularly, although that's tailed off slightly
of late. Helen and I also hold season tickets for Worthing
FC in the Ryman League Division One South (8th level
down from the Premiership); we lived in Worthing for
6 years and as all of their games are in south-east
England (and within 90 minutes drive) we try to get
along and support them if not travelling. By a twist
of fate, Bruce & Sharon's local club, Merstham FC,
also play in the same division as Worthing.
I grew up in Southampton
from the age of 11, and had a season ticket there for
many years, however I never managed to settle in their
new St Mary’s Stadium so now only follow them
from a distance, taking in a handful of games each season.
From Helen’s perspective, she’s Worthing
daft, but also has a soft spot for Middlesbrough (where
she was born) and Bristol City (where she grew up from
the age of 12).
why did you start this website?
At the time, I couldn't find any Fortuna fan-sites
for English speakers, so I thought I'd have a go myself.
The site only reflects the games I've actually been
to, and is no way a substitute for the excellent official
site at www.f95.de,
but I hope it helps some English-speakers find their
way to a Fortuna game, or at least to a cosy pub in
what’s your favourite Altbier?
This is a trickier question, but for me it has to be
Schumacher, preferably taken in the Schwemme in Oststrasse.
Fuchschen and Uerige are also great, and when it comes
to the factory beers, then I’d plump for Diebels
have any other questions you’d like to know the
answer to? Drop Paul a line via the contact
details on NATA Online.