Just over six months ago Fußball-Club Nürnberg (or 1.FCN as they are more commonly known) were holding the likes of Bayern Munich at the Max-Morlock-Stadion.
Despite the club directors making every effort to consolidate the economic and sporting status of the club as an elite Bundesliga outfit Der Club spent the last few months of the 2018-19 season seemingly resigned to going straight back down to the second tier. In fact such is the form of 1.FCN there are those who feel the club are dead on arrival in the Bundesliga each year.
FC Nürnberg, you see, have previous when it comes to relegation. In 1969, they became the first German club to be relegated as reigning Bundesliga champions. Some 50 years later, going down again is not something any fan wanted but it came as no surprise to the club’s long suffering yet loyal fan base when the drop once again came.
For the last 10 seasons 1.FCN have been unable to turn club history around for the better. A never ending cycle of promotion and subsequent relegation means 1.FCN have been relegated from the German football league system top tier Bundesliga on nine occasions – beating an unwanted record earlier set by Arminia Bielefeld.
FC Nürnberg was founded on 4 May 1900 by a group of 18 local men at the Burenhuette tavern. These interested parties sent out invitations which canvassed support for the founding of a football club and soon the club was born.
The first official match of the club was an away fixture in Bamberg on 29th September 1901. In this game Nurnberg defeated FC Bamberg 2-0.
As early as 1919, the club started to be referred to as Der Club (the club) in recognition of their skill, regional domination and a unique tactical style on and off the field.
More recent years have seen the club become known by its Die Legende (The Legend) nickname in recognition of its domestic (Deutscher Meister) titles and cup (DFB-Pokalsieger) wins.
Max Morlock Stadion
First built in 1928 the now completely enclosed Max Morlock Stadium underwent renovation ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup which was held in Germany. Upon completion of the renovation, the stadium’s capacity included 38,980 seats and some 7,800 standing places.
Since the rebuilding of the Nordkurve (during the winter break of the 2009-10 season) the total capacity of the Max Morlock has increased to 50,000 of which 13,229 places are reserved for standing fans.
Originally called Städtisches Stadion and also known as Frankenstadion and Stadion Nürnberg, the home of the club was built between 1926 and 1928.
To this day its most characteristic feature is its octagonal shape with running track; a shape it has retained and is the only of its kind in Germany.
Despite a lack of success on the field the club’s fans feel a tremendous sense of emotional attachment to the stadium. New and ever changing stadia naming conventions have been a thorn in the eye of the Franconian fans and these feelings were behind the ‘Max Morlock jetzt’ initiative.
This came about as a counter reaction to the unpopular ‘easyCredit-Stadion’ title, the name by which the Frankenstadion become known after 2006.
The dream of renaming the stadium in honour of a club legend finally came true in 2017.
Known for a period as Stadion Nürnberg the stadium’s new sponsor, Consorsbank, allowed the renaming of the ground to a name chosen by fans who mobilised a crowdfunding campaign and the title ‘Max Morlock Stadion’ was born.
However, further changes may be afoot as the contract signed by Consorbank and the city Mayor expires in 2020. With the club currently struggling at the foot of 2.Bundesliga there are fears that the Max Morlock Stadion name may disappear due to the local authority pushing for another naming rights sponsorship cycle.
Max Morlock played in over 900 games for Der Club, scoring a staggering 700 goals. His excellent technique made forward Morlock a popular player both for the national team (scoring in the famous 1954 World Cup final in Bern) and his club.
FC Nürnberg may currently be struggling at the wrong end of the German second tier but for the fans who sing the club hymn Die Legende Lebt before each game the proud traditions of the club must continue on regardless – Max Morlock Stadion Für immer!
Ein Fels in wilder Brandung (A rock in wild seas)
der alles überstand (who survived everything)
Er hielt in vielen Jahren
so manchen Stürmen stand (survived many a storm in many a year).
Ein Fels in wilder Brandung (a rock in wild seas)
ist unser FCN. (is our FCN)
Sein Stern er wird für immer (His star will stand forever)
am Fußballhimmel steh’n! (at football’s heaven).
Die Legende lebt, (the legend lives)
wenn auch die Zeit vergeht. (but as time passes)
Unser Club, (our club)
der bleibt besteh’n! (will last)
Die Legende lebt, (the legend lives)
wenn auch der Wind sich dreht (even though they will things turn)
Unser Club (our club)
wird niemals untergeh’n! (will never go under).
Deutscher Meister: 1920, 1921, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1936, 1948, 1961, 1968
DFB Pokalsieger: 1935, 1939, 1962, 2007