Stadion An Der Alten Försterei

An Der Wuhlheide 263, 12555 Berlin

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Soccer (Football)

Stadium

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Tucked away in a forest in the Eastern suburb of Köpenick, the Stadion An Der Alten Försterei is the beautifully modernised, but very traditional home stadium of 1.FC Union Berlin. With well over 80 percent of it's capacity standing terraces, looming over the pitch, it is a flashback to what football stadiums used to be like.

When the city refused to stump up the required cash to renovate the old, crumbling and roofless, Alten Försterei (deemed necessary for admission to the new Bundeliga 3) the fans took it as a challenge to raise what they could and to make up the shortfall by clearing and rebuilding it themselves. It helped having club bosses whose businesses were in concrete and steel, but the year spent on "the most beautiful building site in the world" was a landmark in the history of the club. Over a thousand volunteered their own time whose stories are told in the film Eisern Vereint.

Anyone who was there for the opening friendly match against Hertha will struggle to forget the images of grown men, in red builders hats to denote those who had donated their work, crying like babies with pride at what they had achieved. It was a lesson in what can be achieved by fans anywhere.