- Category: Super League
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Are they any good?
They certainly like to think so themselves. FC Basel has been doing well lately, at least domestically, dominating the Swiss league for the past decade with wins in ’02,’03,’07, 08 & 10. Europe hasn’t been that kind to them, only managing to get through to the second group stage of the Champions League once in ’02.
FC Basel has probably got the biggest budget in the league. To a large extent thanks to Champion's League money, high attendance and sponsorships at the St Jakob Park.
This has allowed them to make at least in Swiss terms, big time signings. They signed for example Alex Frei from BVB for 4 million Euro, a Swiss record. FC Basel are the team to beat in the Super League, and it feels great to beat them. In the 2011/12 season they are Switzerland's only representative in the Champion's League where they will face Man Utd, Benfica and the mighty SC Otelul Galati.
Where do they play?
Basel is situated in the north of Switzerland, just where it meets Germany and France. Basel is an industrial city with many pharmaceutical companies based there. Hence the nickname "the Chemical Brothers" on account of the chemical fumes that waft over the area. The St Jakob Park is right on the E25 motorway a short distance from the city centre.
It is a relatively new and modern ground, architected by world famous Herzog & de Meuron. It was one of the most important stadiums during Euro 2008, hosting all Switzerland’s group games as well as a semi final. Current capacity is 42,500.
Whats it like to visit?
Excellent. The party train goes straight to the ground. Depending the nervousness of the local police force visiting fans will either able to circulate freely around the ground or be confined by the heaviest police trucks Switzerland can muster. Well in the stadium the away section is as usual in a corner behind a goal. It consist of upper and lower level, all seats have good views. Beers are sold in plastic cups and the club even provide convenient ’6-packs’ for the very thirsty. No wonder they have high match day revenue.
The home fans congregates on the opposite side behind the goal. Usual mix of flag-wavers and ‘ultras’, probably about 2000 or so of them. Just like the club, the fans certainly rate themselves very highly. This is taken from the FC Basel Wikipedia page:
“FC Basel is well known for having a big and loyal local following. Usually when polls are made about the most passionate club football fans, FC Basel’s fans usually make the top 20 if not top 10 in the world.”
Good sense of humour too apparently.
Well, no. There are some other interesting facts about FC Basel.
- One would think that Basel copied the badge and dress of Barcelona, however it seems as if the opposite happened. Hans Gamper, a Swiss national serving as Barcelona club president between 1908 and 1925 allegedly introduced a copy of what he knew from Basel. There are also other theories here, just Google it if you think its that important…
- As recently as 1999 Basel only averaged 8141 home attendance. This is particularly surprising as “Usually when polls are made about the most passionate club football fans, FC Basel’s fans usually make the top 20 if not top 10 in the world.”.
- Roger Federer is a FC Basel supporter.
- In what has become known as the ’2006 Basel Hooligan Incident’ or ‘The Disgrace of Basel’ (funny, I always thought that term referred to Costanzo…) Basel and FC Zurich wannabe Burberry armies clashed on the pitch when Zurich scored in the last minute to become Swiss champions.