In The Turning Season, Michael Wagg goes in search of hidden histories and footballing ghosts from before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He revisits the 14 clubs that made up the 1989 DDR-Oberliga, East Germany top flight. From Aue in the Erzgebirge mountains to Rostock on the Baltic Sea, this quirky account of his whistle-stop tour is for fans who know that football clubs are the beating hearts of the places they play for.
There are portraits of the lower levels as well as the big league, stories of then and now that celebrate the characters he met pitch-side. There is Mr Schmidt, who found a magical fix for the scoreboard at Stahl Brandenburg; Karl Drossler, who captained Lokomotive Leipzig against Eusebio Benfica; and the heroes of Magdeburg European triumph, last seen dancing in white bath robes, now pulling in to a dusty car park by the River Elbe. The Turning Season turns its gaze on East German football, magnificent peculiarity, with 14 enchanting stories from a lost league in a country that disappeared.