Don't talk about the war...

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM

One of the odd artefacts from the Club is what seems to be a miners’ lamp from Saarbrücken.  We played 1. FC Saarbrücken as part of the series of friendlies around the 1951 Festival of Britain.  We played two matches one against the Belgians of Anderlecht and the second against the team that I assumed came from West Germany.  Except our second lot of visitors were not from Germany.

If you look at the Saarbrücken team today they are in the third tier of German football based in the town that shares their name and which is the capital of the German federal state of Saarland.  However when the team was invited to play us, Liverpool and Grimsby they came from the French controlled Saar Protectorate.  This protectorate came out of the settlement after the war and lasted from 1947 to 1956.  The French seemed keen to have control of the reserves of coal in that region.  The state, although a protectorate, competed independently of France or Germany in the 1952 Olympics and 1954 World Cup qualifiers.

As the only major football team in the state 1.FC Saarbrücken went into the French second division but were refused promotionand so withdrew and only played friendlies for some years.  They rejoined the German regional league in1952.   In 1954 there was a referendum for Saarland to become a fully independent state.  This was rejected and so the state was reunified with West Germany.

The 1951 touring team lost 3-0 to the Spireites in front of almost 5000 spectators.  They then drew with Liverpool and beat Grimsby.

When we were leaving Saltergate and counting up all the nationalities who had appeared there I am not sure anyone picked out Sarrois as one of them.

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