This isn't Football - A Treatise on the Austrian League
In the twilight of his illustrious career having been Bundesliga top scorer for Werder Bremen, "Kugelblitz" Ailton found himself looking for another paycheck. Aptly named Austrian side Cashpoint Altach thought, what the hell. Let's send him an offer, worst thing is we get rejected. To their surprise he signed, probably thinking: it's just a bit further south, they speak German too, how different can it be.
He was in for a rude awakening.
After getting beaten 0:1 by SV Josko-Windows Ried in front of a measly 5000 people in the Cashpoint "Arena" he did not mince words to the camera crew.
I have 35 years old, I have played football for a long time. But I have never seen a game like today. For me that's not professional team, not professional football. Incredible. I have one hour maybe, no shoot on goal, no ball for me, no pass. The team doesn't know which position on the field, no system, nothing. I have never seen football like today. How difficult was it, you didn't even have an opportunity to shoot. Is difficult, for a striker this football, is hard. The best striker in the world playing in a team like this is no goal, is unbelieve. Only long ball, long ball. This isn't football. This isn't football. What has to improve? Is no idea, I don't know. Maybe back to Brazil! (laughs)
I knew exactly what he meant.
As a little kid in a football-lacking household my godfather took me to my first game. On the 17th of May 2004 Rapid Vienna faced the now defunct (a running theme here) Casino Bregenz. Literally nothing happened. Your typical Austrian league match makes me question my conclusion but I still think this is the worst game I have ever seen. See for yourself My love for this sport could have ended there and then. (Might explain why this little kid started liking Liverpool. I'm a plastic but I've made my bed. Now I thank the gods I lie in it.)
So it sure isn't the quality on the pitch, why do foreign players then even bother coming here?
After all Sadio Mane put up with this, Naby Keita put up with this, Mario Kempes, Antonin Panenka, Trifon Ivanov and Maradona. Yes THE Maradona graced the league for a little while. At least genetically speaking in form of his brother Hugo. Even Keisuke Honda is invested in Austrian football. He bought 2rd division side SV Horn, probably with limited success. (I say probably, I tried searching for the table on their website, it says "The requested page could not be found") I've heard the locals aren't too fond of the sushi either.
Is it the thrill of playing in front of packed stadiums?
The average attendance is 6-7000, skewed by heavyweights Rapid. As many as seven teams are below 5000 (an eighth just above 5k), the lowest: SV Mattersburg with 2039. And this is the average attendance we're talking about, 530 people turned up to their first cup game.
At least the facilities should be good right? I mean it's a top division in Europe.
Imagine you're playing for TSV Prolactal Hartberg. Your home ground is the 4500 seat Profertil Arena you need to endure 11 times a season. 6000 people live in that town. Profertil by the way, their slogan is "Speed for Sperm", widely displayed on their kits.
What is it then, why does this shitshow exist?
The thing is, no matter where you are, no matter how shit the match is, you're still watching football. It's an intrinsic part of our lives. Nothing beats getting plastered and watching a game with your mates. My friends and I have a soft spot for Mattersburg because they're known for paticularly shit football (and that says something) and the fact that their main supporter stand literally is a grassy knoll. It's great fun to pretend like you're ultras there, next to two bewildered natives and the opposition goalkeeper who you are screaming obscenities at for 45 minutes straight. Probably the only thing world class in Austria is the support of a handful of clubs. Visiting Rapid Vienna's ground, a friend from Frankfurt who came along first described it as a children's birthday party compared to them but still left feeling impressed. We were in the ultra sector for this game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVTv7S7oqgw Cheap tickets, safe standing, singing all game, you can stand wherever you want, people all around you drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and weed, pyro – a far cry from the sanitised environment of the Premier League. As a supporter I go to the ground wanting to influence the game as much as possible. And there I get the feeling this is what I want Liverpool to have.
Maybe the league isn't so bad after all. Hope you enjoyed my ramble about this strange place. I see a lot of anti-ultra sentiment on this sub ("they're just hooligans" that sort of thing), which especially from an English perspective I can understand. But if you ever find yourself on the continent take a peek at what it looks like first hand. I've been to Anfield so it's not like I'm completely in the dark about what English stadiums are like.
Putting Bond's revenge against Quantum at the centre of Quantum of Solace
Saw the post mentioning that no one has attempted to give Quantum of Solace a rewrite and decided to give it a shot. It was actually harder than I thought. Rewatching it I think many of the film’s issues comes from the director writer than writing. I think the generally plotting of the film is fairly decent, especially giving the ongoing writer’s strike at the time. The main issue is that there’s effectively two films going on: One in which Bond is hunting down Quantum seeking revenge for Vesper and one in which Bond goes rogue in order to stop the CIA financing a coup d’etat in Boliva. My main goal was to try better merge them into a more cohesive story. In particular I want to give Vesper’s former lover, Yusuf Kabira, (ie the reason she betrays Bond and then gets murdered in Casino Royale) more of a role, rather than just having him be relegated to a single scene at the end of the film.
· Making Yusuf Kabira, Vesper’s former lover, a major character, effectively serving as the main henchman of the film · Changing Camille’s backstory. Instead of being a Bolivian agent she’s the daughter of the current Bolivian president and she’s has also been seduced by Kabira. Quantum’s plan is to expose the relationship between the President’s daughter and a foreign agent, thus creating a political scandal that will pre-empt a coup d’état by General Medrano. · We cut Dominic Greene and the Plot To Steal Bolivar’s Water entirely. We give most of Greene’s role to Mr White. · Finally, we are going to play up the whole Bond Versus the CIA thing. Lets try and use Jefferey Wright more and give Felix a bit of a redemption arc
The new plot
We are going to cut the opening car chase entirely and start with Bond driving into the Sienna safehouse having captured Mr White at the end of Casino Royale. Waiting inside the safehouse are M and another agent called Yusuf Kabira. Bond can greet Kabira saying something like “How was Bolivia?” and he replies with something witty like “Very stimulating”. The interrogation goes the same way as the original as Kabira is revealed to be a double agent and helps Mr White escape. Bond chases Kabira across the rooftops of Sienna. They can briefly fight but Kabira is able to escape. Cut to the opening title sequence. After the titles we see MI6 investigating Kabira’s London apartment. In a secret compartment they discovered files on Vesper Lynd including photos of Kabira and Vesper together. Bond is visibly shaken by this information and M asks him if Bond can be trusted to keep his feelings separate from his job. Bond assures M he will. He also suggests looking into Kabira’s recent mission in Bolivar. When they do, they discover that Kabira was having frequent meetings with a mysterious woman at a particular hotel and will soon meet her again. Kabira meets the mysterious woman, who we learn is called Camille, in the hotel in Santa Cruz, Boliva. The two are clearly lovers. They go to their room but are ambushed by Bond waiting for them there. We then basically get the scene from the end of Quantum of Solace where Bond reveals who Kabira is to Camille and shows her the necklace he gave to Vesper, identical to one Kabira’s given to Camille. Camille is obviously shocked by this revelation. At gunpoint Bond orders the two of them into a car to drive to an airfield where MI6 is waiting to arrest Kabira. In the car Kabira taunts Bond about Vesper. The car is soon stopped by members of the Bolivian military led by a General Medrano. Bond now finds himself being captured as he is separated from Kabira and Camille and taking to a different site. There he discovers Felix Leiter and several other CIA agents. Initially Bond is pleased to see an ally but quickly realises that Felix and the CIA are working with Medrano and Kabira. Leiter tries to justify himself saying that things are more complicated than they seem, and that MI6 has no business getting involved in Bolivia. He also reveals that Camille is the daughter of the Bolivian president. He pleads with Bond to go back to London and forget about what he has seen. Bond refuses and escapes leading to a chase between Bond and the CIA. Bond is able to make his way to the airfield where he leaves Bolivia, dejected after failing to capture Kabira and avenge Vesper. We then see Leiter meeting with White and Medrano. This pretty much resembles the scene from the original film where the CIA strikes a non-interference deal with the pair in exchange for the USA gaining access to Bolivian oil. After Leiter leaves, Medrano tells White that he has held up his end of the bargain and accuses White of unnecessarily delays. White argues that they need the support of the other partners of “his organisation” before they can go ahead, and Medrano replies that perhaps he should speak to White’s partners in person. MI6 discover that Medrano has booked a ticket to see an opera in Bregenz, Austria and Bond goes to investigate. We then get the scene from the original film where the leaders of Quantum have their meeting during the Opera. Medrano is also at the meeting and we hear the Quantum members give their assent to go ahead with Medrano and White’s plan to expose the relationship between Camille and Kabira (who will be presented as a British spy) thus creating a political scandal which will cause a crisis allowing Medrano to seize power. Afterwards Medrano will allow Quantum to take control of Bolivia’s oil fields. With Medrano is Camille who is clearly being held there against her will. When she excuses herself to go to the bathroom Medrano sends one of his men to watch her. Camille still attempts to escapes and Bond intervenes helping her but blowing his cover in the process and gets caught in a very public shoot out with Medrano’s men. Medrano and the other members of Quantum escape. We then cut to London where we see M getting a dressing down from the foreign secretary in the aftermath of the shooting in Austria. The foreign secretary tells M that the Prime Minister has bowed to American pressure and order that all MI6 operations in South America be terminated. With no choice M calls Bond and orders him to return to England but Bond of course refuses. M once again asks if his desire to get revenge on Kabira for Vesper’s death is affecting his decision-making. Bond hangs up. In a safehouse Bond and Camille watch as news of Camille’s relationship with Kabira makes international headlines and the crisis Medrano and White engineered begins to take shape. Bond and Camille open up to each other, with Bond hinting at his past with Vesper. They resolve to return to Bolivia and attempt to prevent Medrano’s coup d’état. Without MI6 aid Bond turns to Rene Mathis who, after being acquitted of being a double agent following Casino Royale, is living in retirement in the south of France. Mathis agrees to help them, and they use his private jet to fly to Bolivia. As they reach Bolivian airspace two American fighter jets begin tailing them, ordering them to land. Bond, Mathis and Rene agree that their only option is to abandon the plane only to learn there’s only one parachute onboard. Mathis tells Bond and Camille to escape while he leads the Americans away, sacrificing himself. Bond tries to protest. Mathis tells Bond that Vesper did love him. As Bond and Camille cling to each other with the parachute they see Mathis’ plane get shot down. Once they land, they make their way to Bolivia’s capital La Paz. Felix contacts Bond for a meeting, effectively offering a brief truce. Camille tells Bond its a trap, but Bond decides to go anyway. They meet in a bar and Bond is able to convince Felix that Medrano will betray the CIA and give Quantum access to the Bolivan oil fields. Felix tells Bond that they are currently being watched by other CIA agents and as soon as Bond leaves, they will try to kill him. Felix gives Bond a location to go to if he survives. Evading the American agents Bond goes to this location and discovers Felix has left him a file detailing the CIA’s involvement in the impending coup d’état. We then see tanks rolling into La Paz as the Medrano’s coup d’état begins. Medrano arrives at the state television station to announce his takeover. Bond and Camille race to the station to try to stop him. Fighting their way through Medrano’s men they are confronted by Kabira. Bond and Kabira get locked in a one-on-one shootout as Camille goes to take on Medrano alone. She finds the studio where Medrano is broadcasting the announcement of his new rule. His men have all left to stop Bond leaving Medrano all alone. Camille shoots Medrano and starts showing the Felix’s evidence of the CIA’s involvement. Mr White, watching this unfold, orders the broadcast be stopped by any means necessary. The tanks outside the television station suddenly begin firing on the building, reducing it to rubble. We cut back to Bond and Kabira who are now fighting hand-to-hand. As the building starts to collapse Kabira becomes trapped under falling debris. In desperation he reaches out to Bond. Bond holds out his hand, only to drop Vesper’s necklace in front of him. He leaves Kabira to die. Finding Camille, the two escape the collapsing television station. They go to the Bolivian Presidential Palace as the Bolivian military either retreats or surrenders around them. There Camille’s family is waiting. The two kiss before parting ways. Cut to a few weeks later Bond meets Leiter on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Leiter tells Bond that Mr White and the other members of Quantum have all gone underground and can’t be found. Bond asks Leiter if he’s been reprimanded for the whole Bolivian affair and Leiter replies he’s being sent on a dead-end assignment to San Monique. The two part as friends. As Felix leaves Bond receives a call from M about his next mission.
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