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Fortuna Fans to Donate £600 to Beattie Statue Fund
Wednesday, 9th Jan 2019 10:38

The fans of Fortuna Düsseldorf making their annual pilgrimage to Portman Road on Saturday will donate £600 to the campaign raising funds the build a statue of Blues legend Kevin Beattie.

The Beat Goes On was launched last month to raise the £110,000 required to build a statue of the former England international, who died in September aged 64. The total has already passed the £15,000 mark. Donations can be made online via the Go Fund Me page.

Many of the Fortuna Blues, who have been visiting Portman Road every year during the German winter break since 2004, got to know Beattie personally from appearing with him on BBC Radio Suffolk’s Life’s a Pitch.

“He had a lot of time for us,” Ulli Munsterberg, who organises their trips to Suffolk, recalled when speaking to Mark Murphy’s BBC Radio Suffolk breakfast show (53mins 28secs) this morning.

“I remember last time when we spoke and Kevin was with us then. He always supported our idea and it has to be said there are a good few legendary players who always welcome us.

“And in recent years we have brought players from Fortuna Düsseldorf with us. We had Egon Köhnen, the defender, with us a couple of years ago, we had Günter Kuczinski with us last year and this year we’re bringing our forward Frank Mayer.

“And we want him to hand over the money we have collected for the Kevin Beattie statue to you [on Life’s a Pitch] on Saturday in the FanZone. We have about collected about £600 so far.”

Mayer, 41, was a Fortuna hero during the early 2000s as the club rebuilt following a drop into the lower leagues. Friedrich Schacht (pictured above with Ulli and Beat in the FanZone) outlines why the frontman was so popular on the Fortuna terraces.

On Saturday, celebrating our 15th visit to England cheering on ITFC, we Fortuna Blues will join our good friends from the new Blue Action fan group in Section 6 of the Bobby Robson Lower to support our favourite foreign team.

The recent Fortuna games against the German top teams Bayern Munich (away 3-3 achieved in injury time) and Borussia Dortmund (a 2-1 home win against the until then unbeaten leaders) will hopefully inspire our support for the Town as well.

We, over 60 fans strong, will be accompanied by a former Fortuna player once again. This time it is Frank Mayer, who played for our club from 2001 to 2005, when Fortuna was really down.

In the season 1996/97 from being a member of the first level Bundesliga, Fortuna free-fell down the leagues and played at the fourth level, the Oberliga Nordrhein between 2002 and 2004.

So, within less then a quarter century, Fortuna faced in official games clubs like Barcelona, in the 1979 Cup Winners Cup final, Glasgow Rangers and Benfica on the one hand, as well sides even in Germany only known locally such as Borussia Freialdenhofen, Adler Osterfeld or SpVgg Velbert on the other.

Up to now Fortuna is the only club in German football history to come back after such a downfall, having been promoted back to the Bundesliga in 2012 although only for one season back then. But they returned once again last summer when they took the Bundesliga.2 championship.

At the beginning of the new century our club really stood at the edge of an abyss. We didn’t play in front of 52,000 fans like we recently did against the famous Borussia Dortmund at the new Rhinestadium - real fans don’t use the sponsor’s designation of our home - but held our home matches at Fortuna’s old stomping ground in Flingern, the Paul Janes Stadium, which is very well known by many Tractor Boys from our friendly back in 2015.

The support was strong for fourth level football nevertheless, often the small ground was packed with 5,000 to 7,000 supporters, with lots of fans also touring to the away games, the distances were short because the league was not nationwide but regional.

Back then Frank Mayer was a real hero for us fans. He scored 51 goals in 123 official games and was our top goalscorer in all the four seasons he played for our club.

Born on July 26th, 1977 he came from the Cologne/Bonn area and began as a senior player at TUS Euskirchen before Fortuna signed him in summer 2001.

Despite coming from rival territory - it’s like a player from Norfolk joining ITFC - the likeable guy was integrated very fast by his new team-mates.

Starting as late substitute for his first games he scored his first league goal on August 19th 2001. It was a time, when our players were more semi-professional rather than full-time and Frank also loved the ‘easy life’, including the enjoyment of the famous Düsseldorf altbier.

He was never the fittest player in our team but nevertheless a big fighting force, always running a lot, but from time to time not able to do that over the full 90 minutes.

This was often proven prior to the season, when the team had to line up for the obligatory lactate test, where he didn’t always have the very best results.

Once he was teased by a laughing team-mate because of that: “My cleaning lady has better lactate data than you!”. Mayer responded with one of his best soundbites: “Lactate doesn't score goals!”

Frank Mayer’s very special moment of glory in our colours came back in autumn 2002 when Fortuna defeated big rivals and resounding favourites Rot-Weiss Essen, back then leaders of the league above and on their straight way back to the Bundesliga.2, in a cup match at a packed Paul Janes Stadium.

‘Franky’, although fully out of gas by then, scored the late winning goal after an unbelievable solo over 100 yards! It was his second at a very rainy but glorious day in Flingern.

Even though this tough striker only played third and fourth level football in his time with Fortuna, Frank Mayer helped immensely to get our football club back on its feet and therefore he will be an icon for us fans forever.

This became very clear when he lost his permanent place in the starting formation and there were rumours that the club and the manager didn’t have him in their plans for the following season. We Fortuna fans rolled out a transparent, banner covering the whole main stand: “Frank Mayer, einer wie wir – geht er, gehen wir!”. In translation: “Frank Mayer, one of US – if HE leaves, WE leave!”

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BoxerBlue added 10:39 - Jan 9
Great stuff well done guys!

Always a good crack when they are down

PositivelyPortman added 10:47 - Jan 9
The finest of fans.
Thankyou Fortuna fans. 👍
Enjoy your day, hopefully celebrating a win!


TractorCam added 10:48 - Jan 9
Well done Fortuna fans, it will be a pleasure as always to welcome you to Portman Road.

itsonlyme added 10:48 - Jan 9
Brilliant! Well done lads! Hope Fortuna go from strength to strength.

BlueandTruesince82 added 10:51 - Jan 9
Lets hope they see a home town boy score the winner this weekend.

Thanks Fortuna fans

loudnproud added 10:56 - Jan 9
Its been an honor and a privilege to first meet you guys all those years ago and assist in making this friendship happen, Long may it continue........COYB

timspencero added 10:58 - Jan 9
Amazing gesture

ElephantintheRoom added 11:07 - Jan 9
Inspirational stuff. And yet another instance of relegation being very good for a football club and its supporters.

raycrawfordswig added 11:16 - Jan 9
Hopefully friendly will be back before next season starts.

floridablue added 11:20 - Jan 9
What a great bunch of guys,and hope your visit's an enjoyable one and good luck to Fortuna for the rest of the season.

beornioblue added 11:36 - Jan 9
Thats brilliant work Ze Germans !!!

something ITFC related to smile about haha

Smithy added 11:40 - Jan 9
and we sign a dusseldorf lad in time to play on Saturday, Lambert knows what he's doing!!

itfchorry added 12:15 - Jan 9
A great gesture from our German friends -

Have had the honour to know them from their very
first trip -Looking forward to seeing many old friends on

runningout added 12:31 - Jan 9
Bloody Diamonds

marinerswagepacket added 12:31 - Jan 9
what a fantastic gesture ... well done to all the great fortuna
fans .... the great man would feel honoured, so ty I'm sure from every
Ipswich fan 👍👍👍👍

ThaiBlue added 12:35 - Jan 9
Absolute quality and generosity from fortuna.hope we give them a nice return Saturday with 3pts.

wkj added 12:56 - Jan 9
Fk'n class act that!

runaround added 13:17 - Jan 9
Brilliant gesture from brilliant fans

midastouch added 13:59 - Jan 9
Wow, deep admiration for these guys, very generous indeed.

IpswichT62OldBoy added 16:03 - Jan 9
What a wonderful gesture, it cements a real bond between Ipswich and Fortuna Dusseldorf, .perhaps we should become twin towns.
I hope they read all the positive stuff people are writing on here, it clearly comes from the heart.
Lets hope they can enjoy a home win with us.

Pendejo added 16:10 - Jan 9
Willkommen freunde

therein61 added 16:32 - Jan 9
A very warm welcome to you all and the money raised for "The Beat" is such a fantastic gesture from in my experience a warm and friendly genuine crowd of footballing visitors which some fans in this country could learn a thing or two from.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:48 - Jan 9
Respekt! Herzlich wilkommen!

stormypetrel added 19:23 - Jan 9
Decent...looking forward to seeing them Saturday

Cakeman added 20:20 - Jan 9
Excellent and very generous. It’s pleasing to read something positive like this during our time of struggle. Hope their presence on Saturday can kick start a recovery for us.

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