‘The beautiful game’ is not so much of a cliche as we might have believed. In dear old Dusseldorf the essence of true friendship and comradery was truly witnessed by one and all.
I have never witnessed anything quite like this and it was a real pleasure to behold. Dusseldorf is a vibrant city and the supporters of Fortuna could not have made us Town followers feel more at home.
Everyone was knocked out by the welcome and I am not just talking about the travelling blue army!
Mick McCarthy waxed lyrical on the subject after the match and so too did the players and as clear blue sky’s accompanied this wonderful welcome, Lou Reid’s ‘Oh What A Perfect Day’ seemed to be the right song for an occasion such as this.
In the end though the band played the Beatles ‘Hey Jude’ to get the ball in motion and as supporters of both sides mingled together in perfect harmony, this was a friendly that truly lived up to its billing.
The party afterwards that included players and staff from both clubs was the icing on the cake for me. It was a wonderful way to finish off a wonderful day and this time winning was not the most important thing!
Of course a draw would have been the ideal diplomatic result but with just one week to go before the German season kicks off again, it would not have helped Dusseldorf too much and let’s face it, Town did not disgrace themselves by any stretch of the imagination!
In fact the three goals the blues scored were all top draw and I was really impressed with the way Town stepped up to the pace of the game – especially in the second half.
This was a great pre-season friendly and for a host of reasons. Both clubs have shared similar fortunes over the last decade or so and many of their supporters take in a game or two at Portman Road each season.
After the welcome I received, I now know who my favourite German football team and it is definitely not Cologne!
I do hope that this becomes an annual event because both sets of supporters seemed to gel so well and the humour and collective friendship made this a truly memorable experience and one that I would dearly love to see repeated again.
In the meantime, let us hope that what their president implied might just become a reality.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our two sides were playing top flight football again next year and we could share in another cross-border friendly at the top of our respective leagues at long last!
F.W. Editor of Vital Ipswich