Out of the socket: When the lights went out in Mannheim – Sport at Allgäu

25 years ago, the lights went out in Memmingen’s promotion match against Offenbach. It still tastes bitter today.

Andreas Challis

10/06/2022 | From: 6:00 PM

“We congratulate the Offenbach Kickers on getting up from the socket.” This sentence by the recently deceased Dieter Degenhardt is in the club history of Memmingen firmly entrenched. Degenhardt was one of the football club’s officials when the lights went out 25 years ago in a promotion match to the regional league (then the third highest category) against the Offenbacher Kickers in Mannheim. Today’s FCM Treasurer Markus Kramer scored the supposed winning goal of 3:2 for the stranger as the floodlights went into the Rhein Neckar Stadium in the 89th minute. The fact that the game was played at this ‘esteemed’ stadium and not at the new Waldhof Arena had something to do with the protection regulations of noise.

Scary atmosphere during the promotion game

After a 40-minute wait, on June 6, 1997, the game’s director at the time, Hans Schürer, ordered the game to be abandoned and a replay was scheduled for a few days later. What happened in Mannheim up to that point is still remembered by everyone who was there at the time. 10,000 Offenbach fans went to the barricades in the truest sense of the word, the fireworks created a spooky atmosphere police They took to the field in helmets, shields and batons to protect players and referees in the dark and prevent the worst from happening. A few hundred loafers of Allgäu, who were just in a cheery mood, remained rather calm for good reason.

Abandon and replay the game

Late at night, a defective main fuse was presented at a confused press conference. This was allegedly overburdened by the transmission technology of Hisan TV. Even if the damage was repaired more quickly (shortly after canceling, daylight suddenly came back again), the game would not start again. The police insisted on the demolition for security reasons and for fear of the Offenbach Annex. This statement by the Director of Operations may mean that the game for Memmingen It will have been evaluated. The decision at the time was different. On June 10, frustrated Memmingen, weakened by the holiday, lost 2-0 in a rematch at the big “safe” Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion in Stuttgart. The bitter taste still lingers even decades later. Did you prefer Offenbach over Memmingen in the regional league? A recent statement by Kickers director Klaus Gerster contributed to such speculation: “Offenbach would not have held another year in the Oberliga, financially.” “The circumstances were suspicious,” Markus Kramer says today, his sympathy for Offenbach is limited.

“Hessian’s greatest mathematical miracle”

The Memmingen club appealed, without success. At the last CAS hearing in Frankfurt, the legendary Degenhart ruling, which made national headlines and made FCM known for its floodlights scandal outside Bavaria, fell. What remains is a memorable football event that is still fresh in the minds of many and even immortalized in some rankings as one of the “greatest sports miracles of Hesse”.

Incidentally, June 6 not only appears in the Offenbacher Kickers event log with the floodlight failure. On that day in 1971, then-President of Offenbach, Horst Kanellas, exposed the biggest scandal in the history of the Bundesliga with rigged matches and bribery of footballers, throwing professional football into a deep crisis. But that’s another story…

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Memmingen FC mourns the loss of long-time president Dieter Degenhardt

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