Rot-Weiss Essen open their own fan cemetery

Fans of Rot-Weiss Essen have something to be cheerful about these days. Their team is currently in second place in the Regionalliga West, playing some blistering football under newly appointed coach Christian Titz.

Passion for football still runs through the city of Essen, despite RWE’s glory days now being a distant memory. In the 1970s the club played some legendary matches in the Bundesliga, even making headlines for a knife being thrown at Bayern keeper Sepp Maier from the stands.

So given the club’s emotional bond with its supporters, it comes as little surprise that some fans want to take their love of RWE to the grave.

A long tradition honored

The grave of club co-founder and former CEO Georg Melches has over the years turned into a spot where RWE’s supporters meet ahead of matches. And in the future, Rot-Weiss Essen fans will have the opportunity to be buried in the same field as Melches.

Club chariman Marcus Uhlig talked to RevierSport about the newly opened cemetery, saying:

“Rot-Weiss Essen forms the lives of many people in a very intensive manner. Visits to home or away matches on the weekend and discussing our club during the week are a big part of life for many supporters. Because of that, it’s fitting to allow relatives to have a memory of the deceased in such a a manner.”

The newly opened cemetery has places for 60 caskets and 20 coffins. Being buried in a casket costs €1,090, while a coffin is a little more expensive at €2,126.

Not a new concept

Moreover, the concept of being buried among fans who’ve supported a particular team all their life isn’t entirely new. The Argentinian football club Boca Juniors introduced the concept of the fan graveyard in 2006, for example. And Hamburger SV was the second high-profile football club to create such a graveyard, back in 2008.

The HSV cemetery is near the Volksparkstadion. Despite the nice lawn, which consists of grass that has been used in the stadium, in 2018 HSV had still only managed to sell seven out of 500 spots in the graveyard, according to this Bild article.

Schalke’s fan cemetery, which opened in 2012, has been more successful in that regard. In 2016 WAZ could report that multiple plots had already been sold and that two former S04 players had decided to be burried in the club’s own cemetery.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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