Wor­ma­tia Worms

Come on you Worms! Meet the Ger­mans who’ve been bur­row­ing down the di­vi­sions ever since they got banned from writ­ing ‘CAT’ on their shirts

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -

When you en­ter Ger­many’s EWR-Arena, you could be for­given for think­ing a dis­grun­tled fan has bro­ken in and daubed in­sults on the seats. The let­ters in the main stand spell out the mes­sage ‘Worms!’ – pos­si­bly a trib­ute to Danny Baker’s Twit­ter tirade post-Ice­land, if only they’d also added ‘Ridicu­lous clowns!’ and ‘Over-in­dulged mol­ly­cod­dled s**ts!’ It isn’t re­ally a homage to Eng­land’s most en­raged ra­dio host. The sta­dium’s owned by the City of Worms: not the ti­tle of a hor­ror movie but home to around 80,000 peo­ple in the Rhineland. Pleas­ingly, the lo­cals chose to run with the theme and call their foot­ball team Wor­ma­tia Worms (be­cause why not?), although dis­ap­point­ingly they stopped short of mak­ing the club crest a pic­ture of a mas­sive worm. It’s a dragon in­stead, which is less fun. Wor­ma­tia Worms were formed in May 1908 and early leg­ends in­cluded the bril­liantly named Willi Win­kler, but their ground has a much darker past. Erected on the site of a pris­oner-of-war camp from the First World War, it was named the Adolf-Hitler-Kampf­bahn be­tween 1933 and 1945. A reg­u­lar mem­ber of the re­gion’s top di­vi­sion un­til the foun­da­tion of the Bun­desliga in 1963, by the late-60s Wor­ma­tia were caus­ing a ker­fuf­fle by em­bla­zon­ing the let­ters ‘CAT’ across their shirts – a sponsorship deal with the con­struc­tion man­u­fac­tur­ers Cater­pil­lar, rather than a dec­la­ra­tion of af­fec­tion for the lo­cal tab­bies. The first shirt sponsorship of its kind, it was swiftly banned by the Ger­man foot­ball au­thor­i­ties. Ap­pro­pri­ately, Worms have been bur­row­ing down the di­vi­sions ever since, reach­ing as low as the fourth tier. Maybe they’ll resur­face when it rains.

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