On the main square in Graz, “lone legend” Mario Haas kept the mood high. And the bomber knows what SK Storm fans like to hear: “We’re going to be champions,” he called out into the microphone, and some 10,000, who changed the color of the main arena from red to black just hours after the SPÖ rally in May, cheered. Behind them, in the town hall, a battle song was also being sung.
The team, who had just got off the open-top bus that took them from the “San Pietro” restaurant to the city center, took advantage of the moment to deliver a message to the assembled city government: “The new stadium…a new stadium,” they exclaimed in response to the congratulations expressed by Mayor Elke Kahr. Just now, along with noting that her deputy Judith Schwentner (Grenz) and city councilors Manfred Eber, Robert Kreutzer and Kurt Hohensner were also there to congratulate SK Storm. Congratulations Graz for winning the cup until 24 hours ago.
The stadium, it was laid out in the hour of triumph, at least in the meeting room of the municipal council, where the players wandered before finally going to the eagerly waiting crowd. It was perhaps the best moment to win support, which Sturm president Christian Jock also took advantage of: “We are the last major member association. We also want to offer a worthwhile stage at European level, ”the club’s management team explained the urgency of the demand again afterwards.
Some players felt that the night after winning the fifth cup in the club’s history was short. Wearing stylish sunglasses (“One of the players said I needed them…”), head coach Christian Elzer spoke of his pride in “reaching the final and winning.” On the fact that the trophy also marks his first major trophy as a coach, but it belongs to “the players, the fans and the club”. The Sturm family is in Klagenfurt thanks to a brilliant, perhaps not glamorous, but very well-deserved victory.
Mario Haas, meanwhile, spoke about past ceremonies in the main square below. About the fact that it was one of the best parties. Not only quick on the field, but also tenacious when there is something to celebrate, so to speak.
You can choose who is up front from the current team. One by one, the champions were called onto the stage one by one, wearing the current “Cup Winner’s” jersey, which was only produced at recess. During pre-production, some of the rehearsal staff objected to this, and sometimes superstition is also a belief. But as long as it has such a happy ending. . .
players? Enjoyed the celebration and celebration themselves and above all Paul Bezerra and EAV brain Thomas Spitzer, who, as a surprise guest, brought the trophy on stage and finally brought the place to a boil. Pizzera was happy to finally get the 15kg beast out of his hands, after all he had to hold it for a few minutes until the show: “A real biceps workout,” the Austrobopper whiz before they cleared a space with it. Each player was allowed to shoot with cup again. Ivan Ljubić was almost heartbroken and also took his wife into the picture – but he will be moving to Linz in the summer. Others have real routines: Masseur Gerhard Wallner and group man Simo Marek are the real hamster nicknames for the “Blackys,” they’ve always been there since 1996 – as has honorary chair Hans Wedel, who also seemed a little special with the festivities.
There was no fatigue, although very few players slept that night. And it was not only because in the Graz University district of Kotulinski the morning was dawning before we even started our way home. The adrenaline from the final victory kept the body going. The person who stepped forward often did the same thing on stage: Jacob Gancher grabbed his megaphone and set the mood. Since the day of the final, he has rarely let the megaphone out of his hands, even though it has been in the house for ten years. Now it has an ideal value, after all, all the cup champions immortalized themselves on the megaphone about the result and date of the legendary final.
So the passion in Sturm is on fire – regardless of whether dual-scorer Sarkaria is greeted on stage with a “Manprit on fire” or whether it’s about the near future. It’s not about the pitch, no, but about wanting more of what cup success has brought about. Because, as Christian Elzer promises: “I’m just getting started.” Now the attack on the championship title must follow.
Fans get behind the team – which was also allowed to try: Sarkaria and Chief Jock tried their hand at stage diving. “It’s good to know that so many hands are carrying you,” said the chief. In any case, there is no fear of Salzburg in a storm – almost like the legendary honey badger, so popular in the speeches of assistant coach Uwe Hölzel. Bonus: Hölzel was allowed to switch between a cup jersey and a honey badger jersey for the evening, which was given to him by sporting director Andreas Scheker.
Anyway, there was no getting tired, after the celebration in the main square we went to the legendary “Katse Katze” in Schmidgasse for the indoor celebration with the team and the board. But whoever thinks one is resting on one’s laurels is mistaken: “Lions or cats,” Elzer yelled to the crowd, “We’re lions! We rehearse on Wednesdays!” Because there was something else. The title – and the fight for the new stadium, for which Sturm declared itself with the cup title.
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