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12.10.2007, 23:18
In the world of German football, you will not find more loyal, more passionate supporters than the fans of Hamburg SV.

When the blue-and-whites are playing at home, the stadium heaves with songs and chants.

For many of the supporters in the stands, Hamburg football club is their life, their soul.

And very soon it can be their final resting place, too.

On a patch of grass, some 50m from the stadium, stone-mason Uli Beppler shows me the site of what will, when it is finished, be Europe's first football cemetery.

"The entrance is going to look like a football goal," Mr Beppler says, pointing to a colourful sketch of this unusual project.

"Then you go through the posts and go a bit down in the centre of a field, as if it's the green of a sports area."

'Club funeral'

He shows me another picture - graves arranged on three levels like the stands of a sports stadium, and in a semi-circle to resemble a football pitch.

Mr Beppler has even started producing sample gravestones, decorated in blue and white, with floral arrangements to match.

Model of grave for Hamburg FC grave
Models of the graves are already being produced

After studying the plans, I ask him what need there is for a cemetery right next to a football stadium.

"If you think about people supporting a club for 30, 40, 50 years, it's part of their life," he explains. "So why shouldn't it be part of their death?"

Like many football clubs around the world, Hamburg SV has received plenty of requests from fans asking for their ashes to be buried under a goalpost or scattered across the pitch.

Unlike in Britain, the law in Germany does not allow that.

But there is nothing to prevent a funeral, courtesy of your favourite football club.


"Many people think it's crazy and a strange idea," admits Christian Reichert, a member of the board of Hamburg SV.

"Yes it is. But it's strange to follow your team to away games all around Europe, to Moscow or Bulgaria," he says.

"These people are strange. They supported the club all their lives and so now they can feel that after their life, it's going on," Mr Reichert adds.

In his barber's shop on the edge of Hamburg, 81-year-old Ernst Schmidt is snipping away, and skipping round his customer with the speed and grace of Kevin Keegan - one of SV's most famous sons.

No prizes for guessing which team Ernst supports. The walls of his salon are plastered with Hamburg SV memorabilia - scarves, shirts and signed photos of the players.

Ernst has been a Hamburg fan for 57 years and he is excited about the cemetery.

"I think it's a wonderful idea to build a cemetery next to the stadium," Ernst says.

"After all, a Hamburg fan lives for his football club. I'm considering reserving myself a space. But it's difficult, because my wife has already been buried in a different cemetery," he says.

But 15 fans have already signed up for a burial behind the stadium.

And with plots expected to cost the equivalent of an annual season ticket, Hamburg predicts that many more of its supporters will decide that this is the perfect place to rest in peace when the final whistle blows.


I know where I'm going when I pop my clogs :D

13.10.2007, 00:48
Don't bury me in Littmann's fenian valleys,
Oh take me home to Bahrenfeld let me rest...:cool:

13.10.2007, 01:42
Mr. Ernst Schmidt is my Grandpa!!!! I Love him. but no way when the time is come he has to lay beside my grandpma. Sorry grandpa ;) but this will last many many years I hope!

He is interviewed from BBC in his barber shop. hope i'll get the Dvd. BBC promised us to send us the dvd :)

... and he Lied. He is not 81 years old. Ohh Grandpa you are some years older :D

shadsworth cloud
13.10.2007, 09:16
i read something about this on football guardian a few weeks ago. as reichert says when the football team is such a big part of a persons life, why not carry on your support for after you have gone.
when my father died a couple of years ago, the undertaker offered us a selection of burial shawls in different colours. he said his most popular colour was "Everton Blue". And a lot of the headstones in his cemetery include a badge of a football team

And even in a HSV cemetery, there will be more life than in some stadiums hsvklatsch hsvklatsch

Don't bury me in Littmann's fenian valleys :rolleyes::rolleyes:

13.10.2007, 10:07
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44170000/jpg/_44170947_barber203.jpg :)

Here are 2 pics from Ernst and his shop.

13.10.2007, 10:23
...and with Lotto.

13.10.2007, 15:00
Ah, been there when i used to live in Eimsbuettel years ago. Great guy! Cannae go anymore, almost no hair left due to attending too many HSV games...;)

13.10.2007, 16:28
Ah, been there when i used to live in Eimsbuettel years ago. Great guy! Cannae go anymore, almost no hair left due to attending too many HSV games...;)



shadsworth cloud
13.10.2007, 19:18
i'll take 2 bottles please, double strength..
Respect to the guy, still cutting hair at 81. :eek:
hope he still has a steady hand. :cool:

13.10.2007, 20:19
i'll take 2 bottles please, double strength..
Respect to the guy, still cutting hair at 81. :eek:
hope he still has a steady hand. :cool:

I swear, my grandpa didnt hurt a single customer in his hole career. :D

shadsworth cloud
14.10.2007, 17:16
i just saw the report, it was on BBC News 24.
Only about 2.5 minutes and in the slot where they have run out of things to say about Iraq or Afghanistan or schools or hospitals or any other main news (like the Rugby World Cup) and they have a few minutes to fill before the weather.

Plenty of good coverage of the stadium and the fanatical supporters and an interview with the stone mason Uli Beppler and Christian Reichert from the HSV. Beppler was measuring out the cemetery and showing some pictures of how it will look, Reichert said how much the club means to its supporters.

Also, Chris, some words from your "Opa" - in German - with the English translation dubbed over. They showed him cutting someones hair and some film of him in his salon - they called it a "shrine to the sports verein" and he was sitting with his HSV scarf saying it's a great idea for a fan of the club, but for him he will have to buried alongside his wife in another cemetery.

They signed off the report by saying something like "its for all supporters after the final whistle"

Most coverage of German football, indeed all things German, over here are along the lines of "Oh those stupid Germans, with their odd ways" but this was a nice positive report. Apparently the club have lots of requests for ashes to be scattered on the pitch, which is not permitted under German law, so it's good that the club make some provision.hsvklatschhsvklatsch

14.10.2007, 21:47
I didn't believe BBC when they said that they are going to schow it on TV. :) My Gandpa will be happy to hear that they really did it! Thanks for you report!