Because WordPress has a cool feature that shows your “views by country,” I particularly enjoyed seeing how far-flung the 1. FC Köln fan base is across the planet. While the USA presence might be skewed by the inclusion of personal friends and family who may be clicking on the site just to appease me, seeing visits from places like Greece, Croatia, Slovakia, and Luxembourg join regulars from Germany, the UK, Austria, Australia, and Canada makes me smile. I love the idea of connecting with people from different backgrounds through sport and appreciate all of you!
“…uvverall, jitt et Fans der EFFZEH KÖLLE!”
Speaking of sports bringing people together who’d otherwise not necessarily care to mingle, I wrote a piece for Bundesliga Fanatic, regarding the collaboration between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 to provide financial aid to MSV Duisburg and help them qualify for a 3-Liga license. If you’d like to expand your reading beyond our beloved Effzeh into wider issues in German football, please go read it!
Okay, I can put the self-promotion corner off to the side for now.
After a flurry of activity over the last few days, including a pair of test matches and a pair of player acquisitions, we were due for a quieter Effzeh day.
So…what do we have today? A mere ten days before the kickoff in Dresden?
- Today is the last day of training camp in Windischgarsten, which also means the end of the scenic photos of the team stretching in front of mountains with clouds clinging to them or several players hanging out by the lake. Would always be tough to leave such a scenic place, but there is business to attend to!
- Speaking of scenic photos from Austria, the club’s Facebook page posted their “best of” collection today. Definitely worth a scroll.
- Peter Stöger continues to show (in my opinion) a level of mastery of social media uncommon among his peers. Posting on his Facebook page, the new coach took a moment to disseminate a flurry of ‘thank yous’ as training camp is wrapping up.He thanked the hotel Dilly where the club stayed during training camp for both their organization and atmosphere, as well as for providing favorable weather.Of course, he thanked the fans who travelled to provide atmosphere.
He publicly lauded his training staff for an injury-free training camp and club leadership for brining Ujah and Daniel Halfar into the team.
Even the media got a nod for providing “very constructive discussions and detailed reporting.” (I don’t suppose I quite count in there, but…you’re welcome, Pitter!)
I think some fans with old-school mentalities will see Stöger’s use of social media as a weakness, but I think he’s exhibiting a savvy that will pay dividends. I think players, fans, and media alike will see him as being open, as long as he continues to be earnest in his postings. I also think it will help him control the messages surrounding the team’s direction. I cannot think of a single coach in a US sports league who has learned to utilize what can be a powerful (or dangerous, I suppose) tool. In fact, American coaches generally take a tough guy stance and pretend “I don’t even know what a tweeter is” or some such nonsense.
Not Stöger. From my point of view, he knows precisely what he is doing, and it thrills me to no end he’s doing it for the red and white. I get a sense he’s properly intelligent, which is not a quality always welcomed in sport, but I sure like it.
- Details of Sunday’s season-opening celebration have been posted on the club’s official site.
Cat Ballou will start the musical portion of the program, with Höhner taking the stage at 4:15 local time, presumably taking fans to the end of the event at 6:00 p.m.. In between, you have performances by Kasalla, Brings, and the cheerleading troupe “Junior Twisters,” interspersed with a panel discussion with club board members and presentations of the men’s and women’s teams.Höhner will perform the FC-Hymne with the players singing along (someone HAS to put a microphone on Ujah, right?), so you should probably stick around to the end, if you’re fortunate enough to be going.The club is also providing family-style entertainment with a bounce house, a goal wall, and a bungee run for the little ones. An autograph session with the players is fun for kids of all ages, especially the over-grown ones.
The event starts at 11 a.m.. Entry is free.
- If you prefer your football-oriented events to have a lot more football to them, then you’ll want to head to Südstadtion Saturday for the final test match of the off-season, where RCD Mallorca will be the opponent.The Spanish side recently suffered a similar fate to that endured by 1. FC Köln the spring prior, having fallen from the first league into the second. Making the drop with both clubs was former Effzeh captain Pedro Geromel, who is on loan to Mallorca and will likely play against his former club this weekend, as one of the the top players remaining with the club after relegation.
It should also be the first opportunity for fans to see Ujah in action wearing his new jersey number (9) and as a full member of 1. FC Köln, rather than a player on loan. Daniel Halfar should also be given an opportunity to show Stöger his value in game action before the season opener next weekend.
It’s fairly easy for me to say from here, but I’d be hitting both the friendly and the party the next day were I not so far away! So, do it for me, would you?!
- Do you enjoy result-prediction contests? Yes? Cool! Heat over to the fc-blog, register, and take part in their Tippspiel.In addition to picking the final score and any victor in each league and cup match from week-to-week, participants are also asked to predict which teams will be promoted from the 2. Bundesliga, which coach will be the first to lose his job, who will be the top goal scoerer in the league, where the Effzeh will finish in the table, and who will lead the Billy Goats in scoring.With the season kicking off so early this year, the deadline for submitting answers to those questions has been set for the start of match day 3.
First place wins an FC scarf. Second place? NOTHING! Because “the winner takes it all!”
Should be fun.
- At some point, I’m going to sit and read today’s Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger interview with Stöger and maybe even summarize it for a separate article, as I’m hearing it’s a solid read. If that would be of interest to you, make sure to let me know via Twitter; it might prod me to move a bit faster on it.For now, just the cool photo accompanying the piece.
That’s all I have for today, other than being anxious for the season to start.