Horror trip for KFC Uerdingen: a traditional club is torn to shreds

Horror trip for KFC Uerdingen
A traditional club is being torn to shreds

By Tobias Nordmann and Stephan Uersfeld

Rot-Weiss Essen knows no mercy: In the regional league, the top favorite thunders over KFC Uerdingen. In the end there is a historic defeat for the Krefeld team, who were once such a proud club. What’s going on there?

It would probably have been a very good idea for the footballers of the KFC Uerdingen if they had made a pilgrimage to Hohenbudberger Straße 10 on Saturday evening. The walk from the club headquarters to the historic Dujardin distillery is 6.4 kilometers. A good distance to deal with the unworthy mega-debacle against Rot-Weiss Essen in the Regionalliga West. The team scored eleven goals against the giants of West German amateur football. Because nothing else is the troop from Hafenstrasse. Actually, she would have been called to something higher this season. But the ascent just didn’t work out because the second Borussia Dortmund team had completed an extraterrestrial season.

Well, whatever the footballers would have done at the historic Dujardin distillery, they would have been allowed to do it. Such a humiliation has to be dealt with. It doesn’t matter how. Coach Dmitry Voronov was shocked by “Reviersport”: “It’s a pitch-black day for us. Nothing went right. We fell behind very quickly and didn’t get into the game at all. Essen then scored the second goal relatively quickly. We have been very difficult for us. Something like that should just not happen. That is very clear. ” But despite the brutal wading he tried to look ahead: “We don’t have time to cry. It goes on in rapid succession. We will analyze the game, but also quickly tick it off.” What was much worse than the 90 minutes on the pitch anyway: The merciless opponent with his top staff around U21 European champion Dennis Grote – he won the title in 2009 with Germany’s golden generation – pity the Uerdingen.

Oğuzhan Kefkir, who played for KFC not so long ago and, like Grote and defense veteran Felix Bastians, had a (but only short) Bundesliga past at VfL Bochum, said, according to “Reviersport”, words that offer little consolation: “It’s sad to see what has become of Uerdingen. You can’t blame the team. They try everything, but I can imagine the conditions under which they have to work. I only wish the club the best. ” He had previously garnished his wishes with three goals and three templates. A rather unusual form of mildness.

Great name, great players

The mission for the team from the Rhine is historic. Even more historic than the defeat. That was the highest in the history of the club, which was once known as Bayer 05 Uerdingen. And had one hell of a tradition. Some people may not know that (anymore). But big names and great players have put on the jersey for this district of Krefeld. Oliver Bierhoff, for example, Stefan Kuntz or Stephane Chapuisat. The Funkel brothers Friedhelm and Wolfgang played on the Rhine, as did Brian Laudrup, Matthias Herget and Marcel Witeczek. And of course Ailton. However, he was already on the very last groove of his career when he signed on with the KFC.

And actually Ailton only had one outstanding and formative moment for the Uerdingen. He had parked his car in a fire brigade driveway before a game and blocked it. An announcement in the stadium asked the driver to remove the car from the absolute no-stopping ban. The Brazilian would have had time to do that, because he was sitting on the bench at the time. But Ailton probably didn’t care for such banalities and let his wife sort things out.

Cult mascot

In the past you could always laugh at the KFC with the KFC. Among other things, the legendary Grotifant, the constantly stressful mascot, regularly provided for amusing stories. Perhaps not always the referees, fans and players on whom he worked verbally and physically, but at least with many others who could see the spectacle from a distance. The appearance of the elephant attracted a lot of attention. The fans loved it when the mascot tore off his plush head and set it up in front of the referees. “I’m the mascot with a difference,” said Markus Boshek, the man in the costume, once: “I put my heart and soul into it.” During this time, the good old, the former Kate Moss friend and pop eccentric Pete Doherty came out as a fan of the Uerdingen. During his appearances, he showed himself in the KFC jersey that the Grotifant had given him.

The days of good and exhilarating moments are long gone. It had already forced the club deep into the lowlands of West German amateur football before the megalomaniac investor Mikhail Ponomarew put the club back on the map. “If it brings us our goal, I’ll get 18 coaches. Why not?”, He said at the introduction of the coach Heiko Vogel in April 2019. A few months later he was gone again. Between June 2016 and his departure in 2021, there were ten changes in the position of exercise leader. Norbert Meier, Michael Wiesinger and Stefan Krämer were among them. In between, Stefan Effenberg tried his hand at “Manager Sport”.

The fall over the cliff

Ponomarew was president of the Uerdingen and also controlled the outsourced “KFC Uerdingen Entertainment GmbH”. Little has been known about the background of the Russian businessman over the years, and his payment behavior has been questionable. The bailiff is said to have been a regular at the 1985 DFB Cup winner. It was up to another investor, the Armenian Roman Geworkyan, to finally push “Entertainment GmbH” over the cliff.

In the summer they were refused the license for the third division and the GmbH was finally liquidated. The eV had already applied for the license for the fourth division, the Regionalliga West, in wise foresight. But a week before the start of the season, the club was without players. The hastily put together team, which also started the season with the burden of a point deduction of nine points for the ongoing insolvency proceedings of the also highly indebted eV, hurried from defeat to defeat.

Once they went down 6-0, then 8-2, then the first win of the season against Lotte, but immediately afterwards the 0-11 debacle against Essen. The deepest low point, the unworthy mega-debacle as the end of a fall that couldn’t be more brutal. The current score after deducting the penalty: minus three points and minus 26 goals.

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