THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Bundesliga 2, 1985

BielefeldvAachen4005 October ~ There's no point blaming the “terrible referee”, a Mr Amerell from Munich, for last weekend's 3-1 failure at mediocre Homburg, states programme editor Hans Büttner. That would be too simple. Even though going by past experience it's obvious that the referee clearly has something against Bielefeld. And that he's one of the worst referees in the Bundesliga, and that maybe he should adopt a different approach on the field besides telling players “Shut your mouth”. Yes, so, aside from the referee...

Let's take the more measured perspective of Bielefeld's coach Gerd Roggensack. Why did the team play so timidly, asks the programme? Well, there was "the sudden heat" (fearful in September in Homburg, no doubt). Then there was "the more than bumpy pitch, and a host that wasn't exactly choosy about going into the tackle”. Anything else? "The less said about the referee the better!"

The Fan Club has a better way of dealing with the clearly traumatic setback – poetry. "We'd rather quickly forget the game in Homburg/We're looking forward today to a renewed show of force..." Obviously the translation doesn't rhyme and therefore fails to reflect the moving poignancy of a six-line composition that ends by urging Bielefeld not to let Aachen escape town with a single point. And yet, despite the versified drive of the home side's impressively literate support, this is exactly what happened. In the end, both clubs stayed in the running for promotion in an extremely tight division and narrowly missed out on a top-three spot. The champions? “Mediocre” Homburg.

As for the terrible referee from the Homburg game, Manfred Amerell went on to officiate the 1994 German Cup final, before taking a job with the German FA (DFB) as referees' spokesman. He campaigned against lack of respect for referees, and referred to "the hypocrites in the dugout" who were brutalising the game. In 2010 he resigned from the DFB after a young referee accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. He died of heart failure in 2012.

Targeting the fan demographic “Live. Love. Laugh. Belle Époque – the night spot for nice people.” There's a cartoon of a creepy old man in a bowler hat smoking a cigarette easing up to a bright young thing. Only in liberal northern Europe do you get adverts in your match programme for a brothel.

Result Bielefeld 1 (Kretz) Aachen 1 (Ruof)

Crowd 5,000

Bielefeld Kneib, Wohler, Wollitz, Helmer, Büscher (Schröder), Ostermann, Rautiainen, Haas, Ellguth, Gerstner, Kretz (Kohn)

Aachen Kau, Montanes, Frenken, Buschlinger, Ritter, Gries, Hach, Willkomm, Ruof (Gercke), Delzepich (Habig), Brandts

Ian Plenderleith 

Read more from the Weekly Howl

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