THERE’S NOTHING Game of the People enjoys more than a foray into central Europe. And Austria, once one of the cradles of the game, is a particular favourite location for editorial staff at GOTP Towers.
We’ve produced various articles on Austrian football. Here is our first GOTP Special – Austria
Austria’s Wunderteam – the godfathers of football’s soul
Apart from a spell in the late 1970s when Hans Krankl was one of Europe’s most prolific strikers, Austrian football has spent many years in the shadows, despite being joint hosts of Euro 2008. It was during the football-fest of 2008 that an interesting exhibition in Vienna paid tribute to the history of the Austrian game, and in particular, a time when its national team was among the most feared in the world.
Viennese Whirl: The Coffee house derby
Vienna is a cultural city where classical music pervades every corner of its well manicured strasse. Coffee is the beverage of choice and the food is hearty and satisfying. But football in such a city probably cannot claim to be, to quote Italian football’s Swedish legend Niels Liedholm, “the most important of the less important things in life”.
Viennese Whirl: The first man
We’ve all seen the movie, starring Orson Welles and featuring that hypnotic tune, The Harry Lime theme by Anton Karas. Vienna is renowned for its association with Carol Reed’s film, The Third Man, so much so that it is constantly on show in a Viennese cinema. Of course, those more concerned with recent events will link the Austrian capital with Ultravox and that outstanding electro-pop song from the 80s, Vienna, again a landmark of its kind.
The pioneers – England’s 1908 tour
Austrian football was still in its infancy in 1908. A nation-wide football league was not yet in full flow and the sport was dominated by Viennese clubs. Not that Austria was without its 19th century clubs – Wiener SC were formed in 1883, First Vienna and the Vienna Cricket & Football Club – which still resides in the shadow of the Prater Stadium – were founded in 1894, and Rapid followed five years later. There was a strong English influence in the establishment of the sport in Austria.
Crossing the Danube: The story of the inaugural Mitropa Cup
From the late 19th century and into the 1920s, Vienna became what many writers have called a “centre of fermentation”, propagated by the cultural and intellectual elite of the city. Ideas, ideaologies, social movements, progressive medicine, music and literature filled the air of Vienna’s cafés and coffee houses. The Vienna Circle, a group of philosophers hell-bent on bringing scientific enlightenment to people, also emerged from the city. Football also benefitted from this culture of cerebral curiosity. Today, in Britain, we see the public house as the “social club” of the game of football. In 1920s Vienna, indeed much of central Europe, the coffee house was where the game, its structure and its tactics were discussed. Amid the cups of thick, dark Viennese coffee, the very roots of the UEFA Champions League can be traced.
Grounds for optimism in Vienna
The Ernst Happel Stadium (above), once known as the mighty Prater, is doing brisk business these days. New grounds are en vogue in Austria at the moment, and in Vienna, the latest club to announce a makeover is Austria Vienna. This comes just over six months after their fierce rivals, Rapid, moved out of the Gerhard Hanappi stadium while it was being demolished to make way for a new ground – the Allianz Stadion.
All you need to know about Austrian football
|Est.||Nickname||Location||Av. Gate 2015-16||League wins||Cup wins|
|Rapid Wien||1899||Die Grün-Weißen||Vienna||14,680||32||14|
|Austria Wien||1911||Die Vielchen||Vienna||6,994||24||27|
|SK Sturm Graz||1909||Die Schwoazn||Graz||10,205||3||6|
|SV Ried||1912||Ried im Innkreis||4,375||0||2|
|FC Red Bull Salzburg||1933||Die Roten Bullen||Salzburg||8,859||9||3|
|Wolfsberger AC||1931||GAM FC||Wolfsberg||3,519||0||0|
|FC Admira Wacker Mödling||1905/