My Favourite Shirt - Part Two
Part Two of 'My Favourite Shirt' has Toronto based Werder Bremen fan, Christian Parlee, discussing his favourite shirt as well as his undying, long distance love of Werder.
The match worn shirt of Werder Bremen legend, Mirko Voltava
Why is this your favourite shirt? Couple of reasons really. That season (91-92) we won the Cup Winners Cup against a very, very good Monaco side led by Wenger and including Petit, Djorkaeff, Thuram and Weah. It's matchworn by a Werder legend, Mirko Votava. Votava spent the majority of his career in Bremen (357 games) and still to this day lives and coaches with Bremen. He won five titles with them (two Bundesliga titles, Two DFB-Pokals and a European title). There's a story that his wife preferred to live in Spain (he played at Atlético) but in his heart and mind Bremen always felt like home. Mirko also represented Germany, winning the Euros with them in 1980. Design wise its during my favourite era. Although I don't care for much of Umbro's current stuff I feel that Uhlsport and Puma produced their best work during the 80s and early 90s. This is one of many examples. I honestly never thought I'd ever get my hands on one, let alone a game worn one.
Are there any happy or bad memories that come back to you when you see or think about this shirt? Definitely happy, it's been a long time since we've won anything in Europe, let alone competed in it. Hopefully more of those years are near under Kohfeldt.
Describe Mirko Votava to those who are not familiar with him? Votava was born in Czechoslovakia but represented Germany at international level. He was a hard grinding defensive midfielder, a position that is often underrated (and one we seem to have had plenty of talent in at Werder, including the likes of Frings, a defensive box to box and current chairman Frank Baumann).
Anything of any real note happen for Werder in 1991/92? We won the Cup Winners’ Cup despite having a fairly average season. Pretty incredible stuff. Kinda like when Liverpool came in fifth but won the Champions League.
Why do you support Werder Bremen? My mom was born in Aurich which is just north of Bremen. My family is all over Germany, they support the likes of Duisburg, Hannover, Kaiserslautern and sadly scheiß Bayern. Could have had any of ‘em but went for the Fish heads.
How has life been supporting them in Canada? As I was born and live in Canada it's been tough to go overseas. I've been to Europe in my teens to visit family and friends but it was always in the summer so the season was off. My wife and I plan to go to Bremen, during the season next year for my 40th Birthday. The first game I had a chance to listen to (I'm old and we had minimal to zero coverage of the Bundesliga outside of the odd table/score in the paper or in German papers) would have been on RealPlayer in the late 90s. Can't remember the score but I remember being blown away I could finally hear my team live for the first time. It can be a struggle following football in Canada. Especially anything pre 2000. First televised games I ever watched were in the 1990 World Cup. I'd watch them in the back of my Oma's house with my Uncles. It couldn't have been more stereotypical. Smoke filled air, salami hanging from the wall. God, it was brilliant.
What was the first game you went to? The first game I went to was a local match of the Toronto Lynx in what was our secondary league, the now defunct A-League. I had just found out in my early 20s that a) Canada had a soccer team and b) Canada had soccer clubs. My focus for football for so long had been European (my family being German, most of the kids I went to school with had Irish, Italian or Dutch parents). Television aired English and sometimes Italian football but rarely if ever Canadian. My old man and I drove to two separate stadiums before we found the game then walked in without paying. Loved every minute of it. Yearned for live football after that. Newspapers and television wouldn't do.
Being in Toronto do you go and watch any of the local teams play? Absolutely. Have had season tickets to TFC since day one. We even snuck into the stadium while it was being built. It's a rarity I miss a game. They're my other love and it's great because the seasons run almost opposite of each other. Frings even came and played for us, unfortunately he was a bit broken by then. He is back every summer to take in a Jays game. I also intend on supporting the new Canadian Premier League but not really supporting any specific team. Although I've split seasons tickets with my sister at the Halifax Wanderers it'll be more sympathy than full out support. Probably only catch one live game a year but it's important to support local football.
Back to Werder. How have Werder done this season and how do you see the remainder of their season going? Quite well, competing for Europe (which I'm not sure we'd do well in, maybe Europa would suit us, just to get our feet wet). We're the only team outside of Juve and Barça (I think) that's scored every game we've played. I'm sure I've jinxed that now.
Your best 1-11 from supporting the club? Ooooo that's a tough one. Schaaf as coach (although Rehhagel would be his assistant, probably angrily) also they'll be playing the diamond as it was the formation I am most familiar with for this team. It was long associated with us in the 2000's. I'm also going to include a legend I didn't see play as I was either a small child and we didn't have access to them as foolish as this sounds.
Tim Wiese (I honestly am conflicted about him but am won over by the fact he drop kicked Olić and also almost started a riot in Hamburg).
Paul Stalteri Naldo Per Mertesacker Jonny Otten
Fabian Ernst Torsten Frings
Aílton Miroslav Klose
I hate that I left out Ulrich Borowka, Dieter Eilts, Thorsten Legat, Marco Bode, Andreas Herzog, Mesut Özil and Diego. Breaks my heart. Also left out Tante Käthe (Rudi Völler) who I also have a love-hate relationship with. Kinda threw this 11 together without too much thought. And I know I could spend hours with it. Honestly probably could have played a 2-5-3 or a 2-6-2 (yes I mean two defenders). Our attack has always been what got us noticed and defending was usually secondary.
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