Goalposts return to Audlem

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Good to see that the football goalposts are back on the Playing Field after an absence of several years. The field has also been marked out.

Next month, the newly formed Audlem FC starts its League programme.

Club chairman, Ralph Warburton, was a little surprised recently when asked: "Any chance of Audlem FC doing a Hoffenheim?"

Puzzled, he asked about the German football club known correctly as TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The club comes from a village of 3,300 inhabitants, not that much larger than Audlem. 

In the early 1990s, Hoffenheim was an obscure local amateur side playing in the eighth division of the regional Baden-Württemberg league. 

In 2000, a rich backer put some money into the club and success was almost immediate. A series of promotions eventually led to Hoffenheim going professional in the 2007 — 8 season and the following year, amazingly, promotion to the Bundesliga, the German equivalent of England's Premiership.

They started with a bang, went top, and won the German 'Autumn Champion' title before slipping back in the second half of the season and finishing a very creditable seventh.

Since then, they have held their own in the top division, and now have a new stadium a few miles away with a 30,000 capacity — all for a village with 3,300 inhabitants.

Support, it appears, must come largely from elsewhere — a little like Manchester United, some Mancunians might say!

Hoffenheim also has a very succesful Reserve team and a TSG Hoffenheim Women's team who were formed five years ago and have already enjoyed three promotions.

Ralph was amused by the tale and suggested it be published on Audlem Online. After all, after some of the Olympic success stories of recent days, anything is possible!

 

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