So after 46 long days I was on the train at Aigburth for 08:28 along with the rest of the Monday morning commute. Though this time I was heading for the pub. Such was my excitement for a bevy I had to wait a tantalising 15 mins until 9am to have a Desperado but after so long off the grog what was a few more minutes eh ! So after a few more beers the minibus eventually turned up on what was now to be known as “Freddie” time or 40 mins behind Greenwich Mean Time. We got to Manchester Airport in time for a quick pint and then it was on the Easyjet flight to Hamburg.
Straight to the hotel and no messing about straight out onto the ale we had discovered local team F.C St Pauli were playing at home to SpVgg Greuther Fürth. This was the league below the German top flight and it was a lovely compact modern stadium and the final side of the ground behind one goal was just starting to be built. We soon discovered that the home end was a sell out buy we did manage to get tickets for the away end. We had some time to kill before the game in what was turning into a chilly German night and ended up going into a very small and cosy local St Pauli bar where I discovered that German Becks doesn’t taste the same as the shite we get over here and is also in proper 330ml size bottles. On getting into the ground the Germans are civilised enough to let you take a beer into the stands and I even got to keep my plastic St Pauli beer mug for which I still owe the kitty 1 Euro 50. By now the temperature was falling and a bitter wind was making it seem nearer -10c. Lets put it this way when you went the toilet it was like walking into a sauna. The hypnotic beats of the away fans drums has us dancing away as their “ultra” singing section was not far away from our seats (We stood all match anyway) and the were in full voice and flag waving for all of the game. For the record SpVgg Greuther Fürth won 1-0 which keeps St Pauli rooted to the bottom of the table. We stopped off another St Pauli fan bar and in the back was a large room with three very pissed men in. Our safety in numbers meant we has a small game of footy with a sponge ball and there were numerous dart boards which I put up my European title and remained unbeaten once again. One final bar for the night and an expensive round of shorts was the rounded off with a German kebab and the chips I tried were shite. Lucky enough my reserve stash of a pack of McCoys and a Biscuit Boost came in handy. An earlyish 1am finish but we had been on the pop since 9am and a good nights sleep set me up for day two.
Breakfast seen the disappointment of not even a jarg hot dog impression for a sausage so it was a crusty cob and butter and a jam butty to set me up for the day. On the plus side there were plenty of small packs of Nutella’s to have off as presents for my kids. First up on day two and a walk down to the docks and we found the tour bus to go on which has now become a tradition since we went to Edinburgh for my 40th. So we were all sat at the back of the bus with our headphones on for translation on an hour tour of Hamburg. What a beautiful city it is (See pic by the docks below) and some very expensive houses on the route we took. There was also an overhead railway. Imagine if only we had one running for a very long length of the River Mersey. How useful for locals and also a tourist attraction. I mean knocking one down would be very short sighted wouldn’t it !! After the tour and getting dropped off at the docks we found a lovely German pub off the tourist track and settled down there for a good few beers and laughing all the way which normally means somebody is getting ripped by the others. Time to grab some scran and a Burger King which was one of the best meals I have has whilst being on what was now my 8th February trip. Whilst in BK one of the lads came out with a statement “Speaking as a gay man don’t knock rimming until you have tried it” hastily trying to backtrack trying to put it into some kind of context of a statement made by a friend who had came out who the gang knew. It was a bolt from the blue but didn’t arse us one bit and we broke into the Diana Ross classic “I’m coming out” on several occasions thereafter.
So as darkness fell on the night it was time to head off to the Reeperbahn which we has just got to the edge of the night before for a scran. We paid homage to The Beatles and a visit to the Star Club once was. It was here we had one of our many Ali Ingle pictures which harks back from a gig of his just before shrimp when we were encouraged to don masks of him. He had just recently played Hamburg and we advised him we would be taking his masks back to Hamburg in February (See pic below) One of the next bars became rememberable for becoming the host of the first Top Trumps world championship and that is all about I can say on the topic as the top trumps being played are subject to being sued for ! Having ploughed euros into most dodgy German jukeboxes we had come across we came to one bar where the owner just overrode our choices with a selection of his heavy metal choices. He looked like he had had a hard life drinking so who were we to argue with him and he did get a group singsong of “The Wall” by Pink Floyd right and what might have been his girlfriend had one of the lads off with a comically timed quote regarding Viagra. Onto the tourists traditional Irish Bar were topics for discussion were taking a turn for the worse and plummeted to the depths of armbands, liver and pig being mentioned to being the nearest substitute for you know what !!!
So there was an eerie mist descending over the depths of the Reeperbahn as the clock turned towards midnight. Walking past some of the ladies of the night one of the said to the more senior of our party in his 60’s “Hello grandad do you want to give me some pocket money” which made us all chuckle. Onto another bar and another jukebox and this time the dancing and singing spilled back onto the Reeperbahn to songs such as “Our House” and “Nightfever” but the highlight of the night was “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Picture the scene 11 drunken men ranging from 27 to 63 all dancing and singing away to “Relax” on the Reeperbahn. Normally its the tourists taking pictures of the ladies of the night. Such was our commotion of fun dancing and singing the girls were taking pictures of us. Perhaps we should of charged them. We did have one aborted dance when we spotted some police and despite our fun filled nature we scurried back into the pub and the police drove past not arsed with a smile on their face. With a scran on the Reeperbahn on the way home it was just on 3am when we all fell into the hotel.
So the final day and a longish wait until the flight home. The thirst for drinking had evaporated as we headed down the docks for soft drinks and some scran on the Hard Rock Cafe and when I just ordered chips the fella in an amazed voice said “Seriously” errrr yer just some chips please ??? People were feeling the pace after two days and were resorting to Ice Creams and later on massages in the Airport. Thats Airport for clarification and not spending some pocket money the night before. One of the lads was on his what seemed like 4th or 5th pair of shoes for a two night trip ??? It was time for the short flight home and what was another great February cultural review. Originally most the lads were from a school in Liverpool (The name of the school is withheld to protect the guilty) sadly due to school politics not one is left in that school and a few have left teaching altogether. Good teachers as well, shafted by modern school politics. I am still withholding the name of the school though to protect the guilty. On arrival at Manchester Airport Brendan Rodgers was waiting outside the arrival doors and despite us all being reds he was in what could be only be described as a very dodgy looking brown hooded tracksuit top complete with gleaming teeth and a new young blonde on his arm. Midlife crisis me thinks.
So roll on 2016 and who knows where the venue will be. Im sure many moments have been left in a druken haze in Hamburg and no mention of secret eating or eyes not being recognised by the new passport system in Manchester Airport.
Fay x x x x x x