Arminia Bielefeld

Bielefelder Alm
Sunday 30 January 2011
2. Bundesliga
Arminia Bielefeld 1 Hertha Berlin 3

After the Bremen Destruction came an early kick-off in Bielefeld; a short drive to the south. I awoke, dressed, brushed my teeth and staggered out to Tom’s car, the wreckage of the previous day’s ale still as fresh as the moment I was drinking. I battled sleep the whole way; largely unsuccessfully. We found a parking space close to the ground and then set off on a wander.

After collecting our tickets we entered the stadium and filled up on bratwurst and beer. We were in position early with seats behind the goal and the away fans to our left in the same stand. The weather was freezing and I longed for more warmth than the Bielefeld scarf afforded me as my clothing choice was more for a spring day than a winter day and temperature in the minus figures.

The stadium was a delight. The away fans were stood to our left and sang throughout while there was a block of terracing opposite us which was the home of the Bielefeld Ultra’ groups. Steep stands elsewhere provided plenty of seats, though as a result of Bielefeld’s awful form this season there was the colour of the plastic on show in some areas due to a missing occupier. The stadium has a capacity of 27,300 and just a touch over 20,000 had ventured out, of which about 2,000 were Berliners.

Bielefeld were awful and Hertha easily went 2-0 up during the first half. The home fans continued to back their team, albeit amongst a number of groans as possession was meekly given up on a number of occasions. The home side fell 3-0 behind halfway through second half before a consolation goal was nabbed right at the end. The match flew by, not so much a result of my hangover but rather my quickening drunken state and the great atmosphere.

We headed back to the warmth of the car and a conversation about which football ground to see next. With the Rurhpott having so many football teams we had plenty of choice. We decided that as I was staying in Dortmund and needed to get back there then that’s where we’d head. The Polizei had also been making decisions in our absence; completely ridiculous ones. The car had a parking ticket for parking on a small patch of grass in the middle of a small car-park. Despite buying a ticket and cars having obviously parked there in the past they just couldn’t help issuing a fine. As we headed to Dortmund little did I know that I’d be having a further run-in with the local authorities.

Falling asleep again I was to awake as we pulled up alongside Borussia’s magnificent Westfalenstadion. A visit to the club shop and the club bar passed before I split from Dan and Tom and made my way to the local subway station. After a few minutes of trying to buy a ticket from the machine, and with no-one else around to ask for assistance, I decided I’d have to travel without a ticket when neither machine would work. Each button press failed to open the coin slot. Surely if I were caught without a ticket the circumstances would be understood? Wrong. I was caught and frogmarched off to the Polizei.

After being treated like an idiot and a criminal for some time, amidst refusal to hear out why I didn’t have a ticket, I was presented with a fine and an outrageous lie that I had to pay there and then to get out of the station. Announcing that there was no way I would be paying under these circumstances and being aware that after writing out an official fine it would not be pay-on-the-spot I held firm and refused to pay. As they were pretending not to speak any English I also slipped some choice language in as I was explaining what I thought of them – the look of recognition in their eyes gave their con job away. After a period of insistence I was allowed on my way.

The fine was never upheld. I contacted DSW21, the company running the Dortmund underground, who confirmed that the machines had been fixed a couple of days later and that the complaint against me was “invalid”. My days of being a fun lovin criminal are over.


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