Serhat TUNAR –TDO- Like the coal industry, football – and especially FC Schalke 04 – is deeply connected to the so-called “Ruhrgebiet”, the Ruhr area. The men who founded Schalke in 1904 were working-class people who completed apprenticeships at the mine. Mining is therefore an essential part of our founding history; our founding fathers are born on coal.
With the closure of the last two mines in Bottrop and Ibbenbüren, the era of German coal mining ends. The people in the area were shaped by this special and unique culture. At FC Schalke 04 the people, fans, members, players, employees and officials still live the mentality of cohesion and thus embody the spirit of the Ruhr area.
We will once again put the mining industry at the center of our history on 19 December, because on this day we will also have to say goodbye to it a bit. At Schalke’s match against Bayer Leverkusen the club will pay its respect to the miners by inviting 2000 of them to experience the match – and everything else that happens around it.
As it was the case with the closure of the Auguste Victoria colliery three years ago, as a sign of the close ties, the last pit light will be symbolically handed over to the board of FC Schalke 04. The coal miners’ choir will also perform their version of the so-called “Steigerlied” – the hymn of the coal miners.
Also – and for the first time in 11 years of partnership – Schalke’s main sponsor GAZPROM will give away their jersey sponsoring, opening it up for a special gesture. Each player will wear the name of a different colliery on his chest – the 26 most important pits were chosen. It is also a first in the history of the Bundesliga, who for the first time gave their permission that I club can print various things on the front of a jersey.
Mining is a traditional feature of FC Schalke 04, it’s the clubs past and origin – a part of the history, which is still consciously an identification factor. Therefore, Schalke will still cherish the coal mining past and will still be paying its respect and homage to it. The “Steigerlied” will still be played at Schalke in the future. Also, our player tunnels will not be changed.
The day will in fact be emotional not only for the club but especially for all the miners who will have to say goodbye to their origin. But FC Schalke 04 will also make sure, that December 19th will also be a day of celebration – a celebration of cohesion, of history and of everything that made it club what it is today.