Start your engines.
René Leuggi Kaiser Hunt
Andi Heutschi Measor Bryan
Well hello there avid reader, good to see your pretty face again – it’s been a while. After the Greatest Story Ever Told last year (the Bears getting promoted obviously), and what with Game of Thrones finishing?! You would have been well justified in wondering what you were going to now do with your life. Fear not! The Bears have returned, the sun is shining and all is well with the world.
Pre-season was hit and miss, Dominik and Maja were back to bully our troops into shape and with the departure of Roli and Studi, the Bears were in need of a coach. A defeat in a cup game before the league started and a defeat to our B team in a friendly saw the Bears a little shaky coming into the first league game.
We acquired a new coach, an ex-Basel Nord player, from the tiny island of Amrum. Amrum consists of only seals, birds and ex-Basel Nord players with strong volleyball skills, questionable haircuts and a love of hardstyle rave music. The Bears were missing a few players, Captain Joe was suspended from the previous season so arrived to watch with a lot of beers and some fresh-faced new recruits. Xevi, Stefano, Jimmy and Daniel immediately embracing Basel Nord ‘culture’.
With people away on various excursions and our new lads not having registered in time for the game, the ‘old guard’ was recruited and Kaiser, Leuggi and Heutschi lined up to help the Bears. Despite leaving for the senior team the boys offered to come back for this game, so with their walking sticks and slippers cast aside they took their rightful home back in the Basel Nord starting 11.
The Italians US Bottecchia kicked off confidently on the artificial pitch at St Jakob on a stuffy Friday evening. Playing five across the midfield they matched the Bears formation and the opening moments were quite a terse affair, with both midfields battling well. A shining star in the opening half hour was the Beast from the East, Armands who after impressing in pre-season was given his chance to lead the line for the Bears. Armands came into this world wearing a tracksuit in the summer of 1977 (despite claiming he is 28), he started life as a refrigerator; celebrity status was his in Latvia as the fastest kitchen appliance in the world. Deciding he wanted more from life, he left on a donkey and came to Basel looking only for a phone charger, some hair gel and to learn to ride a bike. What he found was the Bears and on Friday he turned in a man of the match performance upfront. Physical and confrontational he bullied their defence and a few clever lay-offs saw Andi and Heutschi come more and more into the game.
In the 36th minute a goulash-fuelled charge from Puskás saw him open the scoring from close range with the Bears first ever goal in the fourth league. Milan doesn’t miss chances like those. Well… actually… mmm… yeah let’s move on, great goal Milan.
US Bottecchia 0 – 1 SC Basel Nord
So I know you’ve been away for a while, but we know how this works right? The Bears are playing well, finally getting on top of the game, scored a good goal aaaaaaand then its hallo wie gehts, here’s a little present for you 1-1. To say a present is unfair, a long ball came at an angle clearing the head of Poppa Bryan on the left wing, fresh from his spell as Chairman of the Young Professionals of Basel and back in his favoured left wing position he had no hope as it came over him and their right winger started racing through. Hunt was in a foot race for the ball when from the corner of the box their right winger smashed in a fantastic volley on the run, no hope for Stockli as he nearly took the net off.
US Bottecchia 1 – 1 SC Basel Nord
Sven calmed the Bears and told them to maintain their shape and discipline, reiterating our greater fitness would come through in the end of the game. The second half started evenly matched again, Basel Nord in their usual defensive style sat deep leaving US Bottecchia with no way to break the Bears down and simply reverting to the long ball. Bread and butter for the old guard Kaiser and Leuggi, completely dominant in the air Bottecchia looked like they would never score.
That feeling lasted for a good ten minutes before a long ball over the top, a failed offside trap allowed their striker to race through one-on-one. Hunt covering from the left-back position hurled himself into their striker on the edge of the box but it was too late and he had already unleashed a terrific strike on goal. Stockli/Gigi/Dr Reflektor or whatever name he is going by these days, showed why he is Basel Nord’s number one and pulled off an absolute worldie of a save to deny them.
The 70th minute came and Jock, fresh from about 17 weeks of honeymoon – in which he trained daily in the US on his wine arm and steak hand – entered the fray. After 5 minutes Jock looked close to tears, his face a lovely shade of red and his breathing in sync with Darth Vader, the fans were concerned he might not survive the next twenty minutes. Old Jock is not wet behind the ears though, he’s an old hand at playing through utter exhaustion; this skill he learned from marathon training sessions in Paddies Reilly’s in the distant, distant past. 76th minute came and a defensive mistake allowed Jock to capitalise on a defensive mistake and fire the Bears into a justified lead.
US Bottecchi 1 – 2 SC Basel Nord
Now for the fun and games. The Italians of Bottecchia were finding themselves frustrated at their lack of chances despite their possession, they became increasingly wild in the tackle. Shouting at the ref and a few snide little challenges led to an off-the-ball incident – The Fall from Grace of Michael Heutschi. Unless you have been living in a rock, everyone involved in amateur football have heard of Mr Nice Guy, Heutschi. When he is not helping orphans, saving puppies and feeding the homeless, Michi has been known to grace a football pitch. Despite him retiring from competitive football to have a kick about with a few guys on a Friday night (the Basel Nord Senior team), Michi had offered to help the Bears in their first game with them being short of players. As Michi danced past a few players and passed a ball through a late slide tackle saw a player attempt to kick Heutschi, very close to Michi’s crown jewels. The player who was laid on his back after the attempt rolled over on to his hands and knees to get to his feet, Heutschi spotting the man on all fours and prone (Heutschi likes them best this way), Michi decided to unleash his right foot. Straight up this poor buggers arse. Questioned by police after the game ‘it was the Auslanders sir, I spend too much time with them, I cannot believe it, I’ve let myself down, my team down and Basel down. In my defence sir I have just spent one week on a boat with Hunt and Kaiser and they are arseholes sir, this and I am now friends with Englishmen, I think this is the reason sir’. Hilarity ensued, handbags at dawn, with every player pushing every other player and an especially amusing moment as a guy screamed at Michi for being an English arsehole who didn’t play football as it should be played. Also a small, old man whose head reached the waist of Michi offered him a punch in the mouth. The joys of playing with the Bears.[Symbol]
There was still time for another break away, Andi, Armands and Milan who had worked hard all game up top, applied the pressure and the ball found its way to the feet of Andrew ‘Jock’ Hanley, arguably the best finisher in Basel Nord, he tucked home his second of the game and brought back 3 points for the Bears first league game in the 4th liga.
All aboard the magic carpet ride.
|Grenzacherstrasse 405, 4058 Basel, Switzerland|