As the students and my wife left for Prague, I took my rental to drive 800 km/500 miles south to Wil, Switzerland, to see a friendly afternoon game. I had chosen the game as it was close to where an old friend of mine lives now, so I picked him up at work on my way to Wil. We arrived about 15 minutes late, avoiding motorways so that I didn’t have to buy an expensive vignette for the Swiss motorways.
FC Wil 1900 was founded as FC Stella, by two English workers, in 1900. It plays in the Swiss Challenge League (Second Division). The club plays its home games at the Sportpark Bergholz, which has a capacity of a mere 4.800. Then again, the town of Wil only counts 17.000 inhabitants. When we arrived, the old and unimpressive stadium was being renovated.
To our surprise the game was not played on the main pitch, but at a practice pitch, in front of some 150, increasingly soaked, supporters. While this didn’t really give us the normal FC Wil experience, at least we didn’t have to pay to get in (as we didn’t have Swiss money on us).
By the time we join the few supporters on the side of the training pitch, the first half was already half played. It was cold and wet, which was probably the reason why both teams played at a pretty high pace. Still, most people were mainly trying to not get absolutely soaked. Among the few vocal fans were a small group of away fans (probably local youth, who supported the ‘big’ team from the area).
At the end of the first half FC Wil was pushing for a goal. In the 42nd minute an attack of the host team seems to have broken up, but then the player turns and shoots it in the upper corner of the goal: 1-0! A couple minutes later a Wil free kick is saved in last instance, so 1-0 is the half time score.
The second half is even colder and wetter. Most of the 150 spectators stayed for the whole game, but only two groups of ca. 5 fans each made some noise. There also wasn’t too much to get excited about. The first fifteen minutes there was little to report.
In the 60th minute a Wil attack finished with a great sliding-shot: 2-0. The five Wil ‘ultras’ next to us went crazy, shouting insults to the away ‘ultras’ on the other side of the pitch. While both teams pushed for more, 2-0 was also the final score (obviously, there was no scoreboard). Although we didn’t have the real FC Wil experience, I doubt regular games present much more excitement than we experienced that day.