- Category: Super League
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Are they any good?
Grasshopper Club Zurich, aka GC or GCZ, is historically the most successful club in Switzerland. You can’t really argue with 27 championships and 18 cups. However, right now its a bug’s life for the hoppers.
Not only is the club far from being top of the table, their financial trouble has recently been all over the news. A remarkable story of hundreds of millions of francs that was supposed to be invested and suddenly disappeared.
Despite their recent woes, GC is considered, at least by themselves a top 4 club in Switzerland together with FC Zurich, FC Basel, and YB Bern. In line with this claim they finished fourth in the 2008-09 season.
Where do they play?
I thought you’d never ask. They play in a fantastic modern stadium, assuming you are into watching athletics. Attending a football match in an athletics stadium is like watching table tennis on a golf course. As if this wasn’t bad enough the stadium is vastly over sized, on a typical league game around 75% of the seats are empty. The Leitzigrund has a capacity of 25,000 for football.
Getting to the ground is easy as there are plenty of tramways and it is even quite walkable from the Zurich city center.
It has to be said that GC is a club in exile. They didn’t choose to be here – they used to play in a real football stadium, the Hardturm. The old ground was closed in September 2007 but unfortunately for GC building work on the new one is delayed, in part because of planning permission issues.
What’s it like to visit?
What do you think? You clearly are not paying attention. It’s awful.
The football special stops at a train station that is a 5 minutes bus ride away, you will be able to enjoy the presence of a police escort as you travel through the Zurich suburbs. Getting through the security and ticket control seems to take forever. Catering inside is not bad, there is a special Leiziwurst sausage and beer is sold in plastic cups with a two francs deposit you will get back when the cup is returned.
As previously said, getting a seat is not a problem. The away end is right behind a goal where the impact of running tracks is at its worst. The Grasshopper fans sits right across. It is quite surreal to see a single section of the ground completely filled while the rest is empty apart from a few scattered hermits in the more expensive seats.
Its no easy to support GC right now. Not only are their neighbors FC Zurich flying high, they are also in exile in their ground. Many fans never followed the club in their move to the Leizigrund and it is uncertain if they will all come back when GC can finally move back to their permanent new home for the season 2014-15…
No, I bet you didn’t know these crazy facts about grasshoppers:
- The Leizigrund has a secret dark past. In 1996 Celine Dion sang here in front of a 75000 crowd.
- According to the Wikipedia: “The origins of Grasshopper’s name is unknown, although the most common explanation is rooted in its early players’ energetic post-goal celebrations.” Given their current performance on the pitch these energetic celebrations are much rarer nowadays.
- Last season Grasshopper had an average home attendance of 6497.
- Female grasshoppers are almost always larger than the males.
- In Africa, grasshoppers are an important food source, adding proteins, fat, minerals, and vitamins to the daily diet, especially in times of food crisis. Grasshoppers are usually collected at dusk, using lamps or electric lighting, in sweep nets. They are placed in water for 24 hours, after which they can be boiled or eaten raw, sun-dried, fried, flavored with onions, or used in soup.
- The 1957 film Beginning of the End featured mutated giant grasshoppers attacking Chicago.
- “Grasshopper” is a term currently used in jest referencing a person who has much to learn.
- A grasshopper is also a sweet, mint-flavored, after-dinner drink. The name of the drink is derived from its green color which is provided by the Crème de menthe.
- Grasshoppers is often mentioned as a football club with a funny, or odd, name. Very much in the same vein as Eleven Men in Flight from Swaziland, Deportivo Wanka of Peru and Young Boys of Bern.