To contextualise my passion for watching football, and apportion some blame, I was first taken to a game when I was three years old. It was a Sunderland reserve fixture and I was taken home at half time as it was past my bedtime. My Dad then walked quickly back to Roker Park and took in the second half. The beauty of living 300 metres from the ground. I never decided to become a Sunderland fan. I was born one.
I'll be 33 years old this season and I still have a Sunderland season ticket in name, but truth be told, my Dad uses it each week and I am starting to wonder if I'll ever get to more than a couple of games a season. That's where FC Union Berlin come in. I've attempted to reject the pull of the Stadion an der Alten Försterei but it has finally won the battle. For the 2012/13 season I'm buying a season ticket. At €150 it would almost be rude not to. Union Berlin even play in red and white and you can have a beer on the terraces. With Hertha Berlin likely to be relegated at the weekend, next season will potentially have the added spice of a Berlin derby. A season ticket will guarantee I don't miss the Union home fixture this time around.
The Big Idea is to blog my way through the season and what better place to start than with the last away match of the season. On Sunday, Union make the short journey to Cottbus to play at the Stadion der Freundschaft (friendship). Five of us will making the short journey from Berlin - it'll cost just under twenty quid a man for travel and match ticket. Over 3,000 Union supporters will be there to see Union face Energie Cottbus. The initial tranche of 2,500 tickets sold out quickly and the club requested an increased allocation. I'll be posting next week about my first away game in Germany.
I'll leave you with a few lyrics from the song that inspired the name of the blog. Answers on a postcard for the name of the band.
Before the union did appear,
My life was half as clear.
Now I've got the power to the working hour
And every other day of the year.