Pocket Number-25: St Mary’s Stadium

The friendly match between Southampton’s Saints and FC Köln kicked off Saturday, 3 August 2019.

69463752_1584413698363679_6214509818351190016_nBy 8 in the morning Köln fans were already visible on the high street, while Saints fans got their beauty sleep.


Kölsch is also a dialect you can drink: the name of a lager. Nuff said.

I could hear Germans speaking in a strong Kölsch dialect which is a kind of German Cockney equivalent, with glottal stops.

68966644_414748286055471_2419996252029583360_n (2)By midday, Saints fans were out in force. Bantering between the two sides began in beer-hubs like Yates and Wetherspoons.  

68848220_379280772646626_5040666651872198656_n (2)A lamppost tagging war was also underway and I caught these fans red-handed.

I stopped at The Chapel Arms near St Mary’s for a pint. Saints fans were grouped inside, Köln fans outside. I insinuated myself into a boisterous group of Köln supporters. They spent their time drinking and serenading passersby with football anthems. More about them later.

68996204_691851084616691_492296835164012544_nAs the time neared 2pm, I joined the throng of fans making their way up Marine Parade to St Mary’s stadium and found Matt waiting for me opposite the Ted Bates Statue.

Matt had been described by Adam as a good looking lad with dreds, and so was easy enough to spot!

Matt is the club photographer for Southampton. He grew up in Southampton and studied photojournalism at  69589809_2387552131488639_5283290376625455104_nSouthampton Solent University, close by.

He gave me an official Saints t-shirt to wear at the match and to put on the montage.

That certainly solved for me what side I should take at 69004849_2339263399648065_3318563973686624256_n (2)the match and allowed me to glory when my newfound side won 2-0. It should have been 3 -0 but Southampton missed a  penalty.

Matt told me to see Gary at Southampton Harbour Hotel next

As you might recall,  I had previously insinuated myself into a community (or Gemeinschaft) of  Köln fans, but ended the day formally ejected from their midst.

Strike one was pronounced when I mentioned the name Dusseldorf.

Strike two came when I described Southampton’s coach, Ralph Hasenhuttl as an Austrian Fuhrer who may lead Southampton to sieg.

Strike three came when I mentioned the words ‘second division’.

They were in a beery cheery mood so gave me an extra life.

At the end of the match I encountered them all grouped together outside Yates while I wore my Southampton FC shirt. They felt betrayed. They laughed and I was slapped on the back and told “hey now, but I think that’s strike four!!”

As Matt is Pocket 25, [25] Pockets of [Southampton] can be assembled now.

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