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Auf Deutsch?
Tut mir leid, aber ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch. Für jetzt, diese website ist nur auf Englisch.

About this site

F95.co.uk's 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.

Why Fortuna?

It’s a long story, and to understand the context, you need to understand a little of the background, so here goes…


Helen and 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 Scotland).

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 the time.

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…

So 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.

And 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 May 2009.

How 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)

Does 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 inaugural season!

What 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).

So 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 the Altstadt!

Finally, 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 every time.

Do you have any other questions you’d like to know the answer to? Drop Paul a line via the contact details on NATA Online.


A love one cannot explain