Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Win 12 Pairs of adidas Originals Trainers from Mainline Menswear

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Monday, 2 February 2015

Kitchee v Eastern

Kitchee Nightmares

Kitchee 2-3 Eastern
Hong Kong Stadium
Hong Kong Senior Shield Final
Saturday 17th January 2015
Attendance: 6,133

"I think you need 5XL, sir”

AiT loves a freebie. Free pen, stress ball, mouse mat, one of them furry things with the wobbly eyes that you don't see so much anymore, so to see free T-Shirts being dished out at the Hong Kong Government Stadium was a grifters delight. However, the comment on just what size I would require to get stretched it over my *cough* robustly proportioned European Asian frame was a bit of a slap in the jowly chops.

Go ,go, go, we are Kitchee, Kitchee. 

In addition to handing out the ridiculously small T-Shirts Eastern fans were busy painting faces (face too fat), temporarily tattooing arms (arms too wobbly) donning comedy wigs (head too big) and taking selfies with mascots (confusion as to who was wearing a costume to make them look like a grotesque over sized human being and who was a mascot). I waddled off to the other side of the ground, all the way my sweaty thighs rubbing together resulting in an agonising chub rub, towards the low key Kitchee fans.

I just don't know where to begin with what's wrong here. 

Kitchee fans were selling goods. For money. They don't need freebies, they've already given the world enough, via their club song. The video for which sees four lads bounce around wearing similar, well fitted, T-Shirts, purchased in bulk from the Matalan autumn sale singing an infuriatingly catchy chorus. 

A young, handsome, SLIM, Kitchee fan gets in the Senior Shield final spirit.  

I was angry. I was raging. I was eating a chicken burger with large fries. I know wanted a T-Shirt really bad (I'd spilt mayo all down my shirt). This became vitally important to me, even though there is no danger of me ever wearing the T-Shirt, I needed to have one. Breathing in so hard that I could barely talk I wheezily requested another T-Shirt. It works. An XL! I've dropped five T-Shirt sizes. If you are interested in the AiT diet please send a stamped addressed envelope to.....

Let it all out, fella. If I'm wearing 5XL then somebody order this guy a moo moo in Eastern club colours. 

The reason for this freebie madness, well, it's only the *checks match programme* 2014-5 HKFA Canbo Senior Sheld Final. Yes, I had jetted in especially to watch the match. The names of some previous winners of the Senior Shield are so good that I feel it is special enough to deploy the use of bullet points to convey the comedy goodness.
  • G Coy., King's Own Regiment
  • Royal Welch Fusiliers
  • HMS Glory
  • HMS Albion (who later became West Bromwich Albion, of course)
  • Naval Yard
  • HMS Titania
  • The King's Own Borderers
  • South Wales Borderers
  • Buffs (BUFFS! GO BUFFS!)
There you go groundhoppers. It's the shot you all wanted to see. 

The Kitchee fans, all wearing non matching T-Shirts, raise a flag above their heads, covering their small but vociferous group of fans. They wave flags and chant loudly as the teams take to the pitch and are led by one guy co-ordinating their activities. Nice.

Token match shot. 

The Eastern fans are all in their perfectly fitting Senior Shield special T-Shirts and ohlookatmearentIwacky wigs. They slap together those air baton things, whack folded bits of card on their hands, shrill loudly, and have songs that are based just on clapping and not actually singing. They have a drum, but prefer to use instruments like a tambourine and others that I've not seen since Year 8 music lessons when we were giving a box of instruments and told to create a soundscape that recreated the feeling of being lost in a forest. It's all massively modern football. All this is co-ordinated by four teenage girls (Edit: The over 16 part of “teenage“ - AiT's top lawyer) in short blue skirts, tight T-Shirts and knee length football socks. One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them. And I for one welcome our new teenage ultra overlords.

I get myself litre of cold beer and have a sit down in a quiet part of the stadium for a while.

"This is Stadium Footage".  The match you were watching outside, remember? Look! It's the same stadium, you don't recognise it?

Fans from both sides laugh at the replays of the goals, which serve to show highlight the woeful defending. The game has it's own Willie Young/Paul Allen moment when Jean Kilama hauled down/bundled over/chops down a Kitchee striker. The ref gives a yellow. The crowd cry with laughter.

During the second half blue wigs are slowly discarded, old men argue, Jean Kilama gets #cupfinalcramp and the game is accompanied by a racket originating from wood blocks and maracas stamped with “Property of Hong Kong High School”.

Oh, well done sir. Well done indeed. A hand made replica of the tinpot shield. 

Celebrations. Not in shot the tinpot shield. 

Eastern's celebrations stick closely to the templates set down in the “How to Celebrate a Cup (or Senior Shield) Win rule book. They bundle on each other (tick), change into T-Shirts commemorating the win (tick) climb a staircase (tick), pass the Cup (or Senior Shield) amongst themselves and raise it towards their fans (tick), sing “Ole, ole, ole” a bit (tick), return to the pitch and celebrate with small children (a new rule implemented in the How To Celebrate a Cup (or Senior Shield) Win – Modern Testament), sing along to “We Are the Champions” as it booms from the PA system (tick), spray a bottle of cheap fizz around a bit (tick), pose for photos behind a large board proclaiming them Cup (or Senior Shield) winners in front of a largely empty stadium (tick) and then pose for selfies with four teenage girls in short blue skirts, tight T-Shirts and knee length football socks. *puffs out cheeks*

Got home. Shoved the T-Shirts in a drawer. Never even taken them out of their packaging. 

If my phone looked like this I would be delighted if I'd lost it. 

Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Lichtenberg 47 v Hürtürkel

Do you dream about me?

Lichtenberg 47 4-0 Hürtürkel
Hans Zoschke Stadion, Berlin
Oberliga Nordost
Saturday 22nd November 2014
Attendance: 141

When I'm not spending Saturday's watching football there's nothing I like more than to fondle mannequins in department stores. I love that smooth plastic feel and their forgiving, distant stares as I caress their plastic torsos. 

Dog in ground - tick. 

There's always a twinge of regret, I'm free to leave afterwards but they're stuck. Frozen in a shop window wearing clothes they don't like as a world of shoppers points at their bodies, without ever once making eye contact. They're stuck there on the shop floor, I've seen women forced to expose themselves in Matalan in only a bra and underpants, oh the shame of it. They're stuck there, never interacting, always staring and told never to speak - even in situations where someone accidentally bumps into them and, especially, not when someone mistakenly begins to ask them for direction to the Men's Suits section (3rd floor, take the stairs on your right)

Old men wearing hats - tick. 

But Lichtenberg 47 prove there is a way out, a world into the limelight and out of the shop widow, a chance to shine away from the drudgery of the Marks and Spencer men's knitwear section. 

Look at him. A mannequin stallion, A perfect specimen. A hero, an inspiration to all those mannequins trapped behind and left in a uninspiring world of day shifts on the shop floor and uncomfortable nights sleeping, huddled, often naked, on stock room floors. Here is a mannequin that has made it in the real world, he's escaped, we don't know how but he's escaped to a better place, he's amongst us now. Look at his rippling chest. That powerful thigh swooping through the air to strike the ball perfectly with the sole of the laces. The hair. Luscious, Blonde. Together it provides a bold statement. "Look at me, this is who I am world, I'M A MANNEQUIN AND I'M PROUD.  Look at me, look at my six pack, my hair.... don't look at my knob and bollocks, OI! Knock it off, right! I didn't have time to pick up some shorts before I did a bunk from JJB Sports. And yeah, it's November and your cock wouldn't look at his best in this chilly air. Can someone get these rocks behind me shifted please, they're killing my ankle on my follow through."

The club house is perfect. Packed with people getting drunk on an early Saturday afternoon, whilst watching the televised football. The tables are beautifully laid out, including flowers and candles to create an ambiance that's equal parts BT Sport game on a Saturday evening in a Walkabout and part doomed romantic meal in a mediocre restaurant. 

Weird number plate style sign - tick. 

The walls have league ladders. The names of Lichtenberg 47's two teams printed out on pieces of paper and ordered in accordance with the current league standings. This is interactive at it's best. Keep your red button, keep your live table updates after every soddin' goal and your Ray Winston in play's - give me a clubhouse league ladder any day. Who updates them after every match? No one would tell me. No one admitted to knowing. I have my suspicions. *points further up page to picture of mannequin in the buff*. 

Tinpot perfection right there. 

Along the corridor from the bar was the trophy cabinet, the boardroom and the toilets. The big news story was to be found in the Gents toilets. 3 urinals, one cubicle, 9 (nine) air fresheners. Not all the same either, some hung by string from pipes, some balanced on a shelf, some clung to the side of the urinals, but all of them combined to create a dizzying aroma of Ocean Breeze, Toasted Almond and Harvest Meadow. Why the need for such a plethora of fragrances? Who's causing the ungodly funk that must be masked, even if it means blowing the entire weekly clubhouse shopping budget? Have you ever smelt a mannequin's shit? I have. *taps nose knowingly* Their diet is terrible. Truly terrible. 

AiT - Bringing you the finest football photography on the web. 

AiT - Bringing you the finest football photography on the web and then bringing a very similar photo to you again right after it.

The grassy terraces. The tergrasses. That doesn't work. Scrap that.

Your average pile of leaves shoved next to a psychedelic painting of a five legged woman, wearing high heels, shooting a football from her bits, whilst simultaneously shitting a perfect triangle of footballs AS a bunch of tennis rackets and badminton (eh?) bats attack her AND AND AND WOW THIS IS REALLLLYYY MENTAL, DUDE!!.

The ground itself, which might have got somewhat overlooked in this blog, is perfect. 4 terraces covered in grass, one small area of grey seating, which is being slowly covered in grass, and a psychedelic mural. Who painted it? No one knows. I have my suspicions. Have you ever been to the opening night of an art exhibition staged by mannequins. I have, they paint some freaky shit. 

What? Oh, Lichtenberg won 4-0. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hürtürkel v Optik Rathenow

Lost In Pronunciation

Hürtürkel 3-4 Optik Rathenow
Jahnsportplatz, Berlin
Oberliga Nordost
Sunday 26th October 2014
Attendance: 157

Since being formed in 1999 Hürtürkel (pronounced "Hürtürkel") have made rapid progress, hürtling through the leagues to reach the Oberliga Nordost. 

Back in 1999, when we all partied like it was 1999, the Grundig TV that sits in the refreshment hut was in it's tiny prime, the antiquated fire hazard heater contraption was already posing a very real risk of an explosion and the beautifully hand crafted signs showed prices in Euros for the first time. Mona and Kalla König work as an impressive team in that hut. Him with double denim, large glasses and an ear ring, her with cropped hair and a world weary demeanour. I order a Krakauer (pronounced "Krakauer"), a spicy sausage, and Mona asks if I want it "warm or cold?". Hmm..odd. "Warm" please Mona.

An old grill pan strapped to a gas canister. What could go wrong?

Now, lets have a look at the pictures you've sent in over in The Gallery. 

"Two pints of oder Kindl please Kalla lad"

Mrs K plonked a plastic cup full of tepidly steaming grey liquid on the counter and asked for EUR 1. 20. Hmm, I don't think this is what I ordered. I instantly knew this as , traditionally, sausages don't come served in a plastic cups. Something had gone badly wrong. I retreated to ponder this troublesome conundrum. I've said “Krakauer”(still pronounced “Krakauer” and she's heard me pronounce “Kakao”(pronounced very similarly to Krakauer by my mumbled German). Two sips later and the rancid, warmed up chocolate milkshake drinks gets lobbed into a bush.

Kakao. Putting the kak into Kakao. Should have thought this comment through a bit more. 

"I know, we probably shouldn't use that Marlboro change dish thing anymore, the bloody PC Brigade would be up in arms about it, but as long as I'm here it stays."

In front of the refreshment an old lady sits next to the only table. Silent. Serene. Chain smoking. A sign reading “Privat” shows she shouldn't be disturbed. She stares straight ahead as the noisy Optik Rathenow fans turn up and order, and receive, the refreshments they think they had ordered. 

Boots clatter on concrete, a linesman slams the changing room door shut and the keys rattle as he locks the door, the reticent PA announcer whispers the line ups into a microphone, the numerous home stewards pull on their hideously loud orange bibs, a roaringly pissed, double denimed Optik fan chants "FSV, FSV" whilst sloshing his pint, the referee blows the whistle to start the game. The lady sits quietly.

Token attempted arty shot. 

The Optik fans strike up a chorus of, "Come on you boys in green", (pronounced in English and with a harsh Brandenburg accent) and their team are three nil up by half an hour. The inattentive PA announcer has to ask for confirmation who scored all the goals and then, with head bowed and with very poor annunciation, whispers the scorers names into his microphone.

The Jahnsportplatz is an all seater arena. 

Optik's Marcel Bahr then concedes a penatly and gets himself sent off by punching away a goal bound shot. He takes the decision badly, oh, so very badly, despite it being his dumbarse decision to thump the ball clear. He then proceeds to pronounce, very clearly and very loudly, a large number of insults and swear words in the direction of anyone who doesn't really want to hear them. Hürtürkel's Attila Caliskan has his penalty saved. The PA announcer breaths a sigh of relief that he doesn't have to open his mouth. The lady sits quietly.

Token attempted arty shot II

Hürtürkel hürriedly score two goals. Half time 3-2. Bahr re-appears,still shouting and still trapped in his world of rage. He gets into an argument with some home fans, gets calmed down by some away fans and acts like a Bahr with a sore head (sorry).

Token match shot. 

One hügely proud parent tells all around him that his son, Hasan (of course, Hasan), is playing at left back for the home side. He abuses anyone that dares come near his son with clear insults, "YOU ARE AN IDIOT, HONESTLY!!", greets one opponent who dares to tackle his offspring. Proud Father takes out his mobile phone as the game reaches nears it's climax. Hasan lines up to knock a free kick in the area, the players jostle for position, this could be it, a glorious comeback with Hasan at it's centre, 30 seconds into the Proud Father's video Optik make a substitution, Hasan waits with hands on hips, his Dad films with his arm extended out in front of him, the substitution takes ages, Proud Father's phone camera fills with over a minute of absolute buger all, the lady sits, the referee blows his whistle, Proud Father extends his arm even further forward to capture the big moment. Hasan fires the free kick into the wall. "Acchh Scheisse", says the disappointed Father as deletes the video.

Proud Father. 

With seven minutes left the home side equalise. Subs, manager, stewards, fans and me go crazy whilst a Turkish wedding procession fills the air with the hönking of car horns and, yep, an old lady sits quietly looking on.

3 minutes later Salih Cetin takes a shot for Optik, the ball Brehme's up into the air and loops over the home keeper, 3-4. Hürtürkel pile forward, Proud Father films, Hasan takes shots, the goalkeeper comes up for corners, the shy PA announcer wishes for one more home goal to announce.  The final whistle sounds. Hürtürkel have lost. The old lady is nowhere to be seen. 

For an actual report of the game, that doesn't include numerous references to an old lady, have a read of this report over at the ever excellent No Dice magazine. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sparta Lichtenberg v Berliner SC

Nightfreaks and The Sons of Becker

Sparta Lichtenberg 1-1 Berliner SC
Sportplatz Fischerstrasse
Berlin Liga
Sunday 24th September 2014
Attendance 100 (ish)
The music hints at a broken hearted middle aged DJ as the hushed and regretful “Make It Easy On Yourself” by The Walker Brothers plays, barely audibly, over the small speakers. Home supporters shuffle into their places under a damp marquee and quietly sup a mid afternoon beer. 

Sparta Ultras. Proper naughty little mob. Once organised a four on four with Man City and chased them out of the city with knitting needles.

Then there’s a sharp jump into the not too distant past. A jump as bizarre as a camel doing star jumps in a polka dotted bikini. The Coral’s “Talkin' Gypsy Market Blues” gets an airing. Not “Dreaming Of You” or “Don’t Think You’re The First” or that one with the jaunty steel drum bits, but track four from their second album. How does this musical combination even happen? At a hipster Berlin indie party maybe, but a level 7 game in front of less than hundred people? Who knows. A doff of the AiT backwards baseball cap to the person in charge of the music at Sparta Lichtenberg. 

Whose living room wouldn't look better with a flower pot in the shape of a massive football boot?

I’ve (sort of) watched football long enough to know that away teams turn up at their opponents ground wearing headphones the size of bin lids, have a wander on the pitch while their ever dedicated manager goes through one of two pre match options open to him. He, A, finesses his tactical master plan, finalises his intricate free kick preparations and rehearses a Churchillian pre-match motivational speech in front of a cracked dressing room mirror in a dressing room full of the funk of Deep Heat. Or, option B, has a casual flick through the match programme to see if the home team’s manager has said anything derogatory about his club. If so, he pins it to the wall and BOSH, team talk done, if you need me lads I’ll be sat in the dugout being all enigmatic and whatevs. 

Because no German football blog should be without a picture of a sausage.

It’s managerial jackpot for Martin Krüger, his opponent number, Dragan Kostic, has sent him searching for the emergency drawing pins with joy due to the line “If you take the lead against Berliner SC you’ve as good as won.” Oof. Strong words Dragan. These programme notes pose a number of questions:
  • What manager takes drawing pins to a football match?
  • Who’s allowed him through the gate? I can’t get a bottle of water into most grounds and he’s turned up with a box of pins? What’s *that* all about. He could have someone's eye out.
  • What material is the away dressing room made of that allows pins to be pushed into it? Did he perhaps have a hammer as well?
  • Was there no Blu-Tac available? Was the last time I used Blu Tac really when I stuck a picture of *that* tennis player scratching her arse to the walls of my halls of residence?
  • Wasn’t this supposed to be a football blog?
  • What did happen to that poster?
The music on the PA stops. The microphone crackles. “Eins,...eins”, which translates as “one, two, one, two.....is thing on? Give me a wave if you can hear me Geoff. Good. Here are today’s teams.” The announcer, ehh..announces that today’s referee is a Bundesliga referee and has just qualified to take charge of 3rd division games. No one cares. No applause breaks out. He then ehh..announces that the home goalkeeper is making his return to the game after a long period out injured. He waves to the crowd. No applause breaks out. He shrugs his shoulders. The game begins.

Classic bin in club colours complete with club logo.  

Classic bin in club colours complete with club logo.  That club being Union Berlin. 

With the home team manager’s comments ringing in their ears Berliner SC start with a real purpose, which begs the questions, who read the managers notes out loud, didn’t you say they pinned to a wall? What went on in that dressing room? Why aren’t we being told what went on in that dressing room? RELEASE THE FILES! 

After a frantic start Berliner SC, ohh so SO predictably, take the lead. A goal in the second minute following a quick flowing move, scored by Tolgay Asma....in fact, you could say it was a “breathtaking” start to the game. Asma. Breath taking? Hello, is this thing on? It was a decent goal formed by intricate approach which saw Berliner SC open up the home defence which allowed Asma to finish with wheeze. Asthma – not a laughing matter.  Remember to donate. 

Token match shot.

“They play well going forward but have weaknesses in defence” Kastic, Dragan (2014) on Berliner SC. Ohhh....Dragan. Stop it.

Berliner SC fight hard, fly into tackles, close their opponents down, get the ball and Pass It On (The Coral reference there, for anyone that remembers that far back) and show no signs of any weaknesses in defence. Ohhh Dragan.

"I say Astrid, Helga what a lovely afternoon this is. I think we can get an equaliser, they're only one ahead after all.GO SPARTA!"

Dragan roars at the subs to warm up. They all wear bright yellow bibs with contain dangerous levels of “top bantz”. Names are printed on the back “Water Carrier”, “Training World Champion”, “Running Marvel” and “Heading Monster”.  #topbantz 

"I say Astrid, why is that dastardly woman stood on the bench. There's no reason why she should be there and she is blocking the scoreboard for those on the other side of the pitch."

The game is entertaining, Sparta get frustrated, the budget David Luiz in defence shouts at his central defensive partner, the baldy centre defender yells at the left back, he chastises (good word Kenny - thanks) the left winger and only a superb free kick equaliser from Sanid Sedjic seems to calm everyone down, slightly.

  "She's messed with the scoreboard, unbelievable. Helga! Call the Polizei, no one messes with the Sparta Lichtenberg scoreboard and gets away with it."

For a less full of bullshit report have a read of Jake's report for the ever excellent No Dice Magazine.