I said in my first View of the season that I would fill you all in on my summer travels, a miracle in itself I know, what with me being deceased, but don’t worry, I don’t intend to post pictures of interesting foreign cemeteries. No, this has a football focus. So here we go.
Should you ever find yourself in the southern German city of Regensburg there are two things I recommend you should do. First, try the local beer, from the Thurn and Taxis brewery. Absolutely top class. I am not a lager drinker as a rule, but this stuff is even better than the usual German beer, which means it is very good indeed. Cheap, hoppy, flavoursome, not too gassy, and knocks your block off; what more could you want?
But this of course, while vital information, is not strictly about football. I know that. So, secondly, take a walk along the banks of the River Danube, west of the city centre, and prepare to weep. Three or four beautiful football grounds, one after the other, a couple clearly the home of clubs of a decent non-league standard, though I sort of guess not quite Northern League One standard. Carpet like playing surfaces, excellent artificial training pitches, lovely clubhouses with beer gardens, and good food on offer to pull the punters in even in the close season. I certainly recommend an RCA pre or post season tour to somewhere in Deutschland. The boys would love it. It has long been a theory of mine that one of the things that keeps our hapless politicians, of both local and national variety in office, and prevents the enraged masses from rising up and consigning them to the dustbin of history, is the fact that comparatively few British people visit Germany. It's a stereotype I know, but yes, everything works properly. The contrast with the cheerful incompetence and 'computer says no' of life in Britain is stark indeed. Sports facilities is one of the areas where it is very obvious. Everywhere you go they are superb. Football, athletics, hockey (who knew the Germans played hockey?), tennis, you name it. Mind, Germanic efficiency gets right on your nerves after a bit. You end up feeling like an extra in Fawlty Towers, trying to stop yourself mentioning the war, and looking forward to getting home to litter, tattoos and badly spelt graffiti. Typical English, never happy.