2013 September | FREE

Archive the month of September 2013

September 23, 2013

Surprise, surprise

Germany has voted. And – surprise, surprise – the voters have confirmed the first female Chancellor ever of their Republic for the second time.

Surprising then that there was next to no mention of gender equality among the major topics of the election campaign.

Not so surprising when one recalls that only last April the government of this female chancellor voted down an opposition motion to bring in a legal quota for women in top positions of the German corporate world (a motion which by the way was based on the positive experiences in Scandinavian countries, in other words on European benchmarking).

Very surprising, on the other hand, when one recalls the fact that Angela Merkel herself owes her entire political career to being a ‘triple quota’ woman herself: she was picked as junior member of the last Kohl government for no other reason than being a) young, b) a woman, c) from the East.

In the meantime, while everybody in the Merkel cabinet has just shut up on the issue since last April, Katja Krauss, 42, former goalkeeper of the German national team and only female board member of a Bundesliga club between 2003 and 2011, hasn’t. Thanks to the publicity around her recently published book ‘Power’ – a series of portraits of former leaders in politics and business who had to cope with decline and loss of power – she has been able to promote in numerous interviews the idea of a women’s quota in the ‘testosterone business’ of top football, as she calls it. If there is evidence from the corporate world that mixed leadership teams are more efficient than male-only groups, why should this not be applied to professional football? The football business has the tendency to always reproduce the same ‘old-boys’ network’ in a rather incestuous manner. On the other hand, it is in urgent need of new ideas and better management practices. So…?

Katja Krauss and Karen Espelund. Two surprises.

The ideas promoted by Katja Krauss were well illustrated by Karen Espelund at the recent ‘Football 150 Conference’ in Manchester. Mrs Espelund, the first and only woman ever to have been a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, explained that without having been imposed as “quota” woman, she would never have had a chance to be elected vice-president of this same Committee.

Post by : Albrecht Sonntag in the category : Feminisation, Posts - No comment

September 9, 2013

Morrissey’s « We’ll Let You Know » – the greatest song on football?

Recently in an informal discussion at Manchester’s National Football Museum a very important question was asked: what is the greatest song on football ever? Of course, our answers are limited by the number of languages we speak and the national pop cultures we have access to. There are few French songs on football worthy of note. My favourite one might be: Miossec’s « Évoluer en 3e division », a vivid account of what goes through our minds when we are confronted with our mediocrity in football. In Portuguese, Chico Buarque wrote excellent songs on football too in particular « O Futebol », but I am not a connoisseur enough of Brazilian music to pick one of them.

Morrissey wearing Cantona tee shirt Picture from www.morrissey-solo.com

Picture from www.morrissey-solo.com

This would limit my research to the English-speaking domain. As we know, and without being biased at all of course (!), the best of British music has always come from second generation Irish migrants in Manchester – some would also Manchester’s distant suburb, Liverpool and Irishmen like the Beatles too, I guess. So the song has to be Mancunian.

After careful consideration, it appears to me that Morrissey’s « We’ll Let You Know » may be the strongest candidate for the « greatest song on football » title. There is no shortage of football references in Morrissey’s work, who was photographed wearing a Cantona tee-shirt, West Ham, Millwall or CD Chivas jerseys & wrote songs on the « Munich Air Disaster 1958 »_ that killed the Busby Babes, or the hilarious « Roy’s Keen ». Why single out « We’ll Let You Know », then?

Post by : Dàvid RANC in the category : Identities, Memory, Posts, Public Sphere - No comment

September 4, 2013

How English can you become?

There are not many Germans who made it into the hall of fame of English football. There are not many Germans either who were made OBE (‘Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’), especially if they started their stay as POW (prisoner of war) in 1945.

In fact, there’s only one, and the name probably does not ring a bell with people under fifty. Bert Trautmann, ever heard of him?

A picture taken at the National Football Museum, Manchester

Like my father Bert Trautmann, born in 1923, had fought a war he didn’t want. Like my father he came to England as prisonecr of war once it was over. Like my father he only had good things to say about the way he was treated by the Brits.Unlike my father he did not return in 1948 but staid on, joining Manchester City as goalkeeper and playing 545 matches between 1949 and 1964. Unlike my father he became a football legend rather than a schoolmaster. And unlike my father he actually became an English ‘through and through’, as he said himself.

Trautmann was the first German to play an English FA cup final in 1955. But it is one year later that he became a legend when he played the last 17 minutes of the victorious 1956 final with a broken neck. (The original match report by the Guardian speaks of ‘suicidal dives’ and ‘concussion’, but an X-ray three days later revealed the true nature of the injury).

Post by : Albrecht Sonntag in the category : Identities, Posts - No comment