Posted: 7/13/2013


       After the easy-peasy 8-0 thrashing of the Austrian amateurs of SV Bad Ischl in the Salzkammergut, it was a more even battle at The Wacker Arena, home of Wacker Burghausen of the German Bundesliga 3.

      This second and last tour match prior to the visit of Preston North End to Highbury in a weeks time was a true test for manager Graham Alexander and his side after a week of intense and thereputic training in Obertraun.

     The Bavarians were admitted as one of the members of the newly created B3 liga 5 years ago and they  just about survived. Finishing in 18th place and doomed to return to the Regionali Liga they were saved when financially challenged Kickers Emden withdrew at the last minute. The same reason saved them once again a season ago when Rot Weiss Ahlen also had financial difficulties.

     The club was founded in 1930 and has many members playing a multitude of sports. Under the huge main stand the old timers were playing a form of iceless curling, while behind one stand there were four different youth teams practicing.

     I arrived on the one track Burghausen bahnhof on the SudOstBayern train in this charming and ancient city and waked through the new town and past the Burghausen Castle walls , where inside was a medieval ages festival, and then down to the Old Town, by the winding Salzach River. In the main square, the Stadtplatz ,I bumped into chairman Andy Pilley, son Jamie and half a dozen Cod Army faithful at the Augustiner Brau outside cafe. He had flown by private jet, named MY-TOY from Blackpool to Salzburg to catch this match.

     Mr Chairman has a nationwide reputation as a progressive club owner and has brought the club during his decade long tenure through the minor leagues and finally into The Promised Land of The Football League., at Highbury Stadium only, seven miles from long established Blackpool FC.  As a youngster I used to catch the ferry from Fleetwood to Douglas in The Isle of Man to watch the motorbike races, but sadly that service is long gone, as is most of the fishing fleet.

   After my last blog two day ago I had a nice message from former player coach Derek Armstrong,all the way from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Derek was player coach at Town for 4 years from about 1976 after a playing career in his native Carlisle and then at Blackpool. He is the Big Boss of the very successful Nomads Soccer Club of La Jolla, CA and has also coached the USA youth team .

     Sweet Caroline was the tune played over the loudspeakers as we entered the stadium, with about 300 fans paying 5 Euros and beers for E2.50 on sale. It was end to end stuff  with Town playing in their regular Arsenal style red and white uniforms and Wacker in white and back Hummel brand kit. 

    Not a match to remember, and decided in favour of the Bavarians by a penalty in the 78th minute.  Allen tripped Tobias Schroch and from the spot Marko Holz scored the only goal and the winner.