Monday, June 19, 2006

One man and his log Hannover

One man and his log
Friday 16th June Berlin. Elze. Hannover. Elze

Off to see Mexico again. This time meeting my friend Manuel would be no problem. Or so I thought. Boarded the train at Berlin, checked the train number, the TV monitor onboard and the on train leaflet that shows the stops and all the connections. Heard different announcements on the train reeling off what I thought were the connections from the forthcoming stations throughout the journey.

All of a sudden we stopped at a station that wasn't on the schedule! We were at Wolfsburg, and we were meant to be slightly further north at Braunschweig. I quickly found a map and realised that the connections I needed to make were in jeopardy. I approached a conductor about my predicament, he was sympathetic at first, but when I told him where I wanted to go he offered a simple shrug of the shoulders. Decided I would get off at the next station and work things out from there. Arriving at what to me was the middle of nowhere, it seemed like a ghost station, and that the conductor had been right. The train I had just departed showed as running 30 minutes late, but after a frantic few minutes working out exactly where I was and finding a train timetable, all was well, I would arrive a mere four minutes later.

Once again there were thousands of Mexicans all over the city and as before a large number did not have tickets. News had now got out about the number of Mexicans and the chance to make some money. The going rate 30 minutes before kick off - €800!


Saturday 17th June Elze. Mannheim. Frankfurt. Kaiserslautern. Mannheim

This World Cup has seen a number of entrepreneurs join in the proceedings. The usual people offering bed and breakfast have been seen at the train stations, and around the stadium, locals are selling cold drinks. Added to this FIFA have now joined in, offering resale tickets at 15% above their face value and offering to change the name on tickets for €10.

In the Stadium Ticketing Centres, there has been a constant stream of people paying to have their name put on the ticket in order that they can enter the stadium. I felt like joining in the spirit of making money by charging them €5 to tell them not to bother.

However today, in Frankfurt a friend had his ID checked and of course it did not match the name on his ticket. They explained that he had to have the name changed on the ticket and he was forced to go through this administrative process. They did not charge him for this! I wondered what they would do if he already had the maximum number of tickets (seven) allocated in his name.

Later that evening, as I approached the stadium at Kaiserslautern an announcement was made stating that everyone should have their tickets and I.D. ready for presentation at the turnstile. If they did enforce this regulation, this would make the sale of different Football Associations' tickets even more attractive to touts and buyers, a worrying thought as already large numbers find there way on to the black market. I had bought my ticket that evening from an American so I just had to be observant and avoid any turnstiles where they appeared to be checking I.D. No checks were carried out as I entered the stadium.

Despite having to put up with being surrounded by Americans, I enjoyed the game. Of course the comments made around me did put me off. For one of the sendings off I heard that the player "put his spikes up, and deserved to go". And then talking to an American about Kasey Keller's goal kicks which were going to his opposite number, I suggested that he would be better trying to put the ball out for a throw in. "Wow, can he do that, is that allowed, putting the ball out of play deliberately?" was the response I got. How long have they been playing football!


Copyright (c) Ross Clegg & Soccerphile.com


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