Gayson Stanley had big plans, all flights were booked. “Saturday I wanted to go to Australia for the home game from Perth Glory. Easter then the Jeddah derby in Saudi Arabia. And in June North Korea against Turkmenistan, World Cup qualification, ”says the Hamburg. But then the corona virus came. “Everything has been canceled or postponed. I’ve never seen anything like it, ”says Stanley, whom everyone in the ground hopping scene only calls the“ Prof ”, in conversation with the sports information service.
Groundhopper are a very special kind of football fan – always on the go, always looking for the next kick. Stanley has been there for 20 years, has seen 1,500 games in 94 countries, but a situation like this is new to him too. “There is a list of countries on the Internet that no longer play. This is a list of horrors. Tahiti and the Marshall Islands have just been added, ”says the 38-year-old. This is what despair sounds like.
Stanley knows, of course, that he has a luxury problem. “For years we Groundhopper have enjoyed the highest good there is – freedom,” he says: “Now we have to do without, and that’s the only right thing to do in this situation.” The addiction to new stadiums, colorful fan curves and crazy adventures remains initially unsatisfied. He is already missing his “elixir of life”, says the HSV fan.
This also applies to Stefan Schölzel. The Werder trailer had planned a tour to northern Italy of the coming weekend. “We wanted to see subclass football. Ravenna against Vicenza, Piacenza against Fano and Fiorenzuola against Mantova. We even booked the flight to Bergamo, of course long before the outbreak. ”Now he has to hope to get some money back.
But Schölzel does not want to complain either. “I know a hopper who is currently stuck in Buenos Aires. He’s at the end of his nerve, ”he says. In general, there are now more important things than a soccer game anywhere in the world: “None of us howls or is angry that something is being taken from him.” He also finally has time for his fan magazine “Grober Schnitzer”.
Actually, “stadium jumpers” like Stanley and Schölzel master the art of playing a game even in the biggest desert. Almost everything is currently standing still. “Even in Hamburg’s seventh league, everything is canceled,” says the “Prof”. But he would not get bored either. With the Youtuber Jojo, the employee works in the public service on his podcast (“Jojo and the Profcast”), he also writes on the continuation of his book “The Football Tourist”.
And at some point, that’s Stanley and Schölzel’s great hope, it will finally continue. Stanley actually wanted to visit his 100th country this year, six are still missing. After all, there is a ray of hope after all the cancellations. “It all has to be made up for,” says Stanley: “Perhaps an Asian tour might be the end of the year. I very much hope that normalcy will return soon. ”