The Austrian club Rapid Wien (that's Vienna to you English lot) is the next football museum to open, by my calculations.
I got in touch with Thorsten Leitgeb, project leader of the Rapid Museum to see how things are getting along.
When are you to open the museum?
The Rapid Wien Museum is growing and we would like to open it in mid november/the beginning of december.
Q: How is the museum set?
It will be a very small, interactive museum with only 100 squaremeters and that's our tough challlenge: to put 112 years of history into a very small room. As you can imagine we can only feature our club history's special highlights.
Are any particular episodes from the club's history of special interest?
That would be Rapid Wien's german league title from 1941 which was won under sensitive circumstances, while Austria was part of Hitler's Großdeutschem Reich. We want to tell this tale as part of Austrians history as victims as well as perpetrators and opportunists of the Nazi-Regime and, of course, in the context of Rapid Wien's destiny.
Many club museums in Germany address the period of the Nazi regime. I understand the mechanisms behind it, that it stirs up stories that need to be told. Do you think that this is something isolated to the football sector or do you find it common in German and Austrian society as well? Is it something you must go through before moving on, on other historical matters?
The period of the Nazi regime still is and must be an issue in the Austrian society. Plenty is refurbished, some is not, but hopefully will soon be. When it comes to football Rapid Wien is the 1st club in Austria who did an academic research to investigate it's own role in these difficult circumstances: http://www.skrapid.at/9610+M5c5a1f4ff58.html
This research will be the basis for the execution in our museum. And yes, me and my colleague Domenico Jacono definitley think that this must be cleared before you can present your club's history to an (international) audience. Especially when you have been successfull in the years 1938-45, as we were.
Are there any certain Rapid players that will be honoured or highlighted in the museum?
Yes, we will feature 6 Rapid players that will get a special treatment in our museum. Two of them I will reveal:
- Josef "Pepi" Uridil (nickname: The Tank) who was in the 1920s the first football popstar in continental europe, starting in a film and having for example a beer named after him. There even was a popular song written about him ("Heute spielt der Uridil" i.e. "Today plays Uridil").
- Ernst Happel (nickname: Aschyl) and also called Wödmasta - that means world champion, even though he was when teammanager only second with the Netherlands in the World Cup 1978. Also European Cup Winner with Feyenoord Rotterdam in 1970 and with Hamburger SV in 1983.
Balls & Boots wish Thorsten and his colleagues the best of luck and hope for an opening on schedule.