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In the world of German football, you will not find more loyal, more passionate supporters than the fans of Hamburg SV.

When the blue-and-whites are playing at home, the stadium heaves with songs and chants.

For many of the supporters in the stands, Hamburg football club is their life, their soul.

And very soon it can be their final resting place, too.

On a patch of grass, some 50m from the stadium, stone-mason Uli Beppler shows me the site of what will, when it is finished, be Europe's first football cemetery.

"The entrance is going to look like a football goal," Mr Beppler says, pointing to a colourful sketch of this unusual project.

"Then you go through the posts and go a bit down in the centre of a field, as if it's the green of a sports area."

He shows me another picture - graves arranged on three levels like the stands of a sports stadium, and in a semi-circle to resemble a football pitch.

Mr Beppler has even started producing sample gravestones, decorated in blue and white, with floral arrangements to match.

After studying the plans, I ask him what need there is for a cemetery right next to a football stadium.

"If you think about people supporting a club for 30, 40, 50 years, it's part of their life," he explains. "So why shouldn't it be part of their death?"

Like many football clubs around the world, Hamburg SV has received plenty of requests from fans asking for their ashes to be buried under a goalpost or scattered across the pitch.

Unlike in Britain, the law in Germany does not allow that.

But there is nothing to prevent a funeral, courtesy of your favourite football club.


"Many people think it's crazy and a strange idea," admits Christian Reichert, a member of the board of Hamburg SV.

"Yes it is. But it's strange to follow your team to away games all around Europe, to Moscow or Bulgaria," he says.

"These people are strange. They supported the club all their lives and so now they can feel that after their life, it's going on," Mr Reichert adds.

Ernst Schmidt is considering reserving a place at the cemetery

In his barber's shop on the edge of Hamburg, 81-year-old Ernst Schmidt is snipping away, and skipping round his customer with the speed and grace of Kevin Keegan - one of SV's most famous sons.

No prizes for guessing which team Ernst supports. The walls of his salon are plastered with Hamburg SV memorabilia - scarves, shirts and signed photos of the players.

Ernst has been a Hamburg fan for 57 years and he is excited about the cemetery.

"I think it's a wonderful idea to build a cemetery next to the stadium," Ernst says.

"After all, a Hamburg fan lives for his football club. I'm considering reserving myself a space. But it's difficult, because my wife has already been buried in a different cemetery," he says.

But 15 fans have already signed up for a burial behind the stadium.

And with plots expected to cost the equivalent of an annual season ticket, Hamburg predicts that many more of its supporters will decide that this is the perfect place to rest in peace when the final whistle blows.

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I think it is good - if people use this place then it shows they want it ....

In Romania we have the 'Laughing Cemetry' at Sapanta. Here we have all bright coloured grave stones and bright painted walls and buildings and it's a beautiful sight.

Why be miserable to celebrate a life I say.

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he could be onto a winner there

SolskjaertheLegend said:
lol strange but if thats what the fans want

theres a ceremtary right next to the away stand entrance at aberdeens stadium....u should see the looks of some of the away supports faces lol
just out of curiousity how much is a ticket for a aberdeen match?
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