Cold War Classic no. 4 – Sweden v Austria, 1973

You now love Pyro On The Pitch as an international institution, but did you know that we also contribute to the wonderful MuseumOfJerseys.com? The fourth installment of our guest series over there, the Cold War Classic, is now up.

If you enjoy any combination of interesting retro football kits, beautifully vivid illustrations of said retro football kits (by main man Denis Hurley), a bit of sociopolitical history and classic cold war era match ups (with maybe a bit of trademark Pyro On The Pitch absurdity), then we think you’ll dig it. Preview and link to full article below.

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Cold War Classic no. 4 – Sweden v Austria, 1973

“On November 11, 1973, UEFA’s qualifying Group 1 for the 1974 World Cup came to a close as Sweden defeated Malta 2-1 away from home. As with most things in football, or society in general, things were done differently back then and, curiously, the last game in the group before this had been played in June.

In fact, the first game in qualifying had taken place way back in November 1971, when of course in a modern-day system the last round of qualifiers for the following year’s Euros would have only been taking place. In the Malta-Sweden game, the hosts had taken an unexpected 1-0 lead on the 20th minute before the visitors came back to win.

But this goal would throw up a wrench, as it meant Sweden would finish level on both points and goal difference with Austria at the top of the group. With only one qualifying spot up for grabs, a play-off at a neutral venue (Parkstadion, Gelsenkirchen, West Germany, so there’s your Cold War connection) was deemed to be the best option…”

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Pyro On The Pitch #8: Eintracht Braunschweig away to VfL Osnabrück, Regionalliga Nord, 05/02/1998

Eintracht Braunschweig (of course also known as Braunschweiger Turn- und Sportverein Eintracht von 1895 e.V.) are a club that have been tangentially mentioned here already through Retro Shirt Reviews #1, so it is truly a glorious occasion that they can now take pride of place as the featured side in this edition of Pyro On The Pitch.

The scene was February 1998 and the heroically unglamorous Regionalliga Nord, part of the third tier of German football at the time. Eventual league winners VfL Osnabrück played host to their biggest rivals for dominance, the aforementioned Eintracht Braunschweig.

Background:

Statistically, Eintracht were the best supported team in the Regionalliga Nord for six of the first eight seasons since the league began in 1994. For most of it’s existence, the club had been Bundesliga regulars with a national title win in 66/67, but a decline in the mid-80’s would see them bounce between the 2nd and 3rd tiers for the next couple of decades.


Eintracht Braunschweig supporters celebrating in 1967

While the Regionalliga Nord featured many smaller clubs and some B-teams, such as Hamburger SV II and Werder Bremen II, Braunschweig’s major rivals Hannover 96 were also present. As for Osnabrück, they too possessed one of the bigger support basses in the league, despite having never reached the top tier of German football. And so, combined with the fight for the league title, Eintracht’s visit to their Stadion an der Bremer Brücke was always going to be a big occasion.

The Match:

We join the action in the 89th minute with Osnabrück leading 1-0. Perhaps in an attempt at one last passionate push to motivate their players to pull a goal back, or more likely in a display of joyous abandon in the face of inevitable defeat (aka “fuck it”), the Braunschweig ultras have decided that it’s pyro show time:

You can’t blame them really as it would have been a waste to have come all that way with all that pyro and not use it just because the team hadn’t performed. A fabulous red glare can been seen in the sections of the ground close to the Eintracht end:

Some great banners are also on show such as the above “Braunschweig ‘Family'” and “Cor Leonis” (“Lion Hart” in Latin):

As Eintracht prepare for a free kick we can see that at least one flare has already been launched pitchward, of course amidst much booing and whistling from the home supporters. An as of now unidentified man casually tosses one off to the side (a flare that is, to the side of the pitch):

The classic 20th century football sound of police dogs barking can be heard as police keep a watchful eye on Eintracht supporters perched high atop the perimeter fence.

Yes, I know it appears as if the man above is delivering a politically alarming salute. But don’t fret, through the power of gif we can see that he is actually in the midst of giving a friendly wave and maybe a misguided attempted at a “cool” hand gesture:

Nice man. If you thought we were done with pyro on the actual pitch here, you’ll be happy to hear that you are very wrong. As the game enters injury time and Eintracht attack again, we can see that a flare has now been launched into a very prominent position on pitch. A fine effort, but perhaps not ideal for the players to have to deal with as they attempt to find their way through the Osnabrück defence:

As we showed back in Pyro On The Pitch #5, a little bit of intensely burning flame on the playing surface wasn’t really a big deal back in the day. Here, the referee shows tremendous discretion as he at first appears to go to blow his whistle upon sight of the flare, but realising that the supporters cerebral placing of the flare is merely an extra-dimensional part of the game, he allows play to go on:

Sure enough the flare burns out with seconds as play goes on around it, proving the referee right for not holding play up. The ref probably had experience with such instances in the past and was more than likely able to identify the brand of flare and it’s specific characteristics from quite a distance away. Similarly the players must be commended for not being phased in the slightest, although as mentioned it really wasn’t that big a deal to these real 20th century pros, and it only goes to show the decline of the game that I would even feel the need to commend them for playing around such a natural element.

So Osnabrück don’t feel too left out, I will mention there is a nice terrace running all along the side of the pitch. The sight of people standing in a side-stand like this I’m sure is even more foreign to modern eyes than than standing in the ends:

Also a small mish-mash of their flags (of course there could be many more hung off camera):

The Braunschweig end is by now an impressive chaotic collage of blue, yellow and red, along with a lot of smoke:

More police can be seen tentatively keeping an eye on things as the pyro goes on til the final whistle, but the last of the main action is over:

With their side defeated, the Eintracht fans show themselves as jolly good sports and give their team a very positive reception despite the loss:

Ok, there may or may not have been one politically alarming salute in there.

Youtube link

Retro Shirt Reviews #2

What we have here is very baggy, classic 90’s loose fit Puma shirt. Comparing it with last week’s breathtaking Erima number it is a pretty interesting look at the change in direction of the cut of football shirts from the different eras. Both are mediums, but the Erima one from the 80’s is tight enough that it may as well be a small, while the Puma shirt from the 90’s might be considered a large by today’s standards. The Erima shirt fits snugly while the same player would be swimming in the Puma shirt.

The main feature is the interesting diagonal bars coming from the bottom of the shirt and the white shape on the front left which is reminiscent of part of the symbol for Pi. As pointed out by friend of the site Denis Hurley, of MuseumOfJerseys.com, it appears the design is actually an enlarged section of the Tetra Pak logo, sponsors of Eintracht Frankfurt at the time who also wore this shirt.

This makes it even more interesting than originally thought, as it suggest either the template was directly inspired by the Tetra Pak logo, or that the shirt was made bespoke for Eintracht and Tetra Pak before then being used as a general template. Either way, a nice sneaky bit of extra advertising. Thanks Denis!

A number on the back is always nice, and here we also have the presumable team name of Keune, as it was common for German clubs to have their name on the back of their shirts since the days before player names became the norm. The shocking lack of this knowledge among the the general population causes issues, as many who see the shirt being worn from behind assume it to be a player name which at first glance appears to be “Keane” rather than the unfamiliar Keune.

As already mentioned, this Puma template was also worn in the same colourway by Eintracht Frankfurt from 1993, with their version of course also including a crest and sponsor. What’s even better than both this jersey and Frankfurt’s is actually their away shirt from that season which uses the same template but in gloriously satisfying yellow, blue and white, with a dash of red for good measure.

In conclusion, this shirt will not be getting our highest grade of seven and  a half thumbs up like Erima got last time. But we will be generous and award 3 silver stars, as like all shirts it has it’s place in football history. Thank you Puma for this very 1993 effort.

Bonus: International Selection

  • Country: Germany (away)
  • Year: 1994-1995
  • Make: Adidas

Continuing the German theme from last time (and both club shirts have been German… we like German things), three letters come to mind when looking at the above beauty: D.M.T. Which is most definitely a positive. Despite seeing some (frankly ludicrous) derision for it online, we personally love the bold, tribal-esq, in your face aesthetic of this shirt, which Germany wore in friendlies in 1994, and in Euro 96 qualifying, but not actually at the World Cup.

One interesting thing about the actual shirt itself is that it is composed of two pieces of material for the front and back, which are stitched along the top of the shoulder and down the sleaves. This is opposed to different pieces used for the torso and sleeves which is more usual for football jerseys, and this was also the case of for the 88-91 shirt featured last week.

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