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Intriguing And A Little Bizarre Jan Bartram Interview.

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Just kick the ball in the ass
December 18, 1998

Sport original gentleman ideals of fairness and honor are in retreat in relation to the prestige and money, says the former football pills Jan Bartram, who wrote a critical book about football life


When Jan Bartram suddenly standing there on the sidewalk in front of the cafe and looks the same, there is something that passes revue.

Idrottsparken, May 1989. Denmark v Greece, 7-1. Peter Schmeichel catches the ball and looks up. He knows Jan. Bart Rams running track. Bartram know it and are already in full run. Schmeichel throws the ball over half a track length, and it lands just for Bart Rams feet. He plays it to Flemming Povlsen that hangs ahead on the left. Povlsen moves toward the center - Bartram continues up along the sidelines as a steam locomotive and receives again the ball from Povlsen, who instinctively looking toward the near post. Bartram reconciles the last few steps in relation to the ball and end line before he turns over the body of one of his characteristic flat, inward curling left leg shot. Povlsen pulls the ball to him like a magnet. The audience rises. He stands where he is. A split second after hanging Povlsen horizontal in the air, and the ball rikochetterer from his forehead with what looks like 100 km / h - into the goal. The entire sequence lasts 20 seconds in real-time and a half in my head.

"Hello. Jan Bartram" says Bartram and reach out.

His professional football career spanned from 1982 to 1991, and he managed to be on the contract of AGF Aarhus Glasgow Rangers in Scotland and Bayer Uerdingen in Germany, where he made ​​a fortune. As a midfielder, he was 32 ​​games without having the world's largest talent. Beside he managed to get up an economy training with studios spread over nine years (and today he is the clerk in Finance Agency). That sounds nice.

"But not all gold glitters matter, and just as there is happiness without sadness and no election without opting out, also was there with all the victories, money, titles and fame attached sacrifices, disappointments, loneliness and human defeat," he writes in the preface of his book Race for Life - when life is anything other than football, which appeared in Aschehoug earlier this year.

Here he describes among other things the professional football life that he always had a strange relationship.

"Interest mentally, the book been underway for a long time. It starts in a training camp in Germany, where I wake up in the middle of the night, and then I have to write some absurd things I had experienced, down, "begins Jan Bartram and continues:

"In 1991, the I'm on tour around the world, and I had time to think things through. It was such a philosophical rock, one can say that spending a year on the way. I wrote not right, I just thought some thoughts. When I got home, I got a job and was so busy that there was not time. It got here first to last, when I was on maternity leave and went home for half a year. So I have written on it for two years, "says Bartram.

"It was quite clear to meaningless life for me. I felt even then such football that I could stop tomorrow if it was. It was not that I said 'it here, it's me'. I was considering a transition to go to the USA and read to the chiropractor, but I came from, and then I slowly rolled in the circus. Then came the first contract, and then I went to the national team - one with the other. I was caught. "

- It was not on purpose that you came from the national team?

"Haha ... No, it was not actually. I was a very atypical footballer - both physically and mentally. But maybe it was actually also my strength and the reason why I even came. For I had had the towering expectations, and if there had been pressure from parents and friends, so it may well be that I had been killed in it. But there was not anyone who expected anything, "he says.

When Jan Bartram talk about the monotonous and self-centered sports, he sets many words. One senses that he has turned the ten years some times.

"As a professional you will be enclosed in a bell jar. It's about football, football, football for 15 years. The first thing they (football players) turns up on the the newspaper's sports section, as the skimmer. 'Is there anything about my club?' Boom! 'Is there anything in my name?' Boom !, "he says and act newspaper reader with the index finger. He has talked himself warm.

"And they are 10-15 years of intensive reading about himself makes greatness madness is lurking just around the corner. You think you are God's gift to this earth, and it's damn hard to get out of the back. "

Today the money in football much larger. The very young, talented footballers when not in the same way as in the 80s to get through a learning process before they have become millionaires on a long-term contract with a major club. It is thumping unhealthy to come so quickly to the dish, says Jan Bartram.

"There is a distortion of the personality. I think that some of the worst thing you can give young people is money. I think damn, that one should start learn humility towards life's challenges, and it does not, if you come quickly to money. One's ego grows out of proportion. "

"I saw Riskær (Klaus Riskær Pedersen, ed.) on TV, and he is in the something of the same. It also happens with football - at full speed, lots of money, success and fame, you can pick and choose ... lots of women. When you stand there as a 20-22-year-old, you are not dressed on to it. You feel just that something in relation to other people and it is there that it can go completely wrong. You lose the humility of the sport and start getting whims and buying big cars and big gold chains. The is very human. "

"Riskær say this: 'I was not humble enough'. It was a crazy period in his life, no. You just think that it will continue the rest of their lives. Success is a deadly drug to people and especially to young people, "said Bartram.

- It affects as one when even stop?

"Yes, you become dependent of spotlight and success. It is also a problem that literally only used to keep one ball in the air as a footballer and now suddenly hold 10 balls as an ordinary human being at work, there is much more complex than football life that is so easy and simple. You just go out and kick the ball in the ass, everything else is taken care of and have been organized and planned. Your boots are polished and are promoting.Your clothes are washed and put forward. Tickets purchased for you. You are told when to sleep and what to eat. All you have to do is concentrate on the here and a half hours. It's mental anorexia. "

Over the past years, 'football' spread across Europe. Large clubs such as the Dutch Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven are known for their talent. This means that they sign contracts with young players down the boys level. Whether it's good or bad depends on the angle of view.

"One can have the purely sporting, where we say that 'we must have them developed such good footballers as possible'. And then there is the purely human, that says: 'We must also have created all the people'. "

"Coaches are not hired to create the whole people, but results. All things being equal players are well managed, if they come earlier start. On the other hand, there are also many types that will die already there. Preben Elkjær for example. He is too wild and disruptive to enter the deflections are very space. It was not done with him, I think. It removes players' wildness and originality. That's the nice young people who thrive in a football school. And they become more neat, and it becomes more boring and mainstream like football when the originals disappear. "

"I would even purely mental have gone for it. 20 years old, I had stopped. It depends on how geared - although I am very pleasurable. Just like Brian Laudrup, who did not run around and think in dollar signs, "said Bartram.

After the money in European football has exploded, it has long been talk of creating a European football league of great teams. The argument is, among other things better and more attraction soccer.

"It may well be that there is more money in it, but I think there is a some alienation also from the audience side. Maybe it's exciting to see Barcelona against Manchester United at the start, but then I think damn, that interest disappear. One should not forget that much football is built on the local. People can go and see Herfølge, they can go out and see AB and talk about it every day. It will be the more difficult when it becomes so large and nationally. There we have the national team in advance. But it does enough that the national team will be downsized, but it is money that control. I can not judge whether it is good or bad. It is a part of football development. One can just think it is a pity that the local touch disappearing, where workers stood watching football and could talk about it in the workplace afterwards. Conversely, I can not be holy. As a player, it then also been fascinating to have to meet Manchester United, Barcelona and Ajax Amsterdam. "

In recent times it has come to light that doping exists at a high level of Italian football.There has initiated several court trials around the country, and there have been uncovered extensive tinkering with doping tests at the Italian Olympic Committee doping laboratory in Rome. As a professional footballer saw Jan Bartram also how the body had to be pressed to the limit of its performance - with syringes and 'vitamin'.

"I saw it in Bayer Uerdingen. It was done very secretly. It was such a right hand into bag and as a pill. When I asked one of them who did it, I was told that it was aspirins. Whether it was something else, I do not know. "

"We also got vitamin injections before the fighting. It is so relatively harmless, you might say, but a total pseudo measure. I asked the doctor whether it helped. 'No, it can not even reach to be recorded properly.'

'Why do we do it?'

'I would like, right? '

But otherwise I'm not fucking run into it, I must say. "

- What 'blockades' and injections?

"It is often called conditioning injections into ankles and knees, there is. Jo-jo, there was plenty of injections. I saw it myself. During a half I got an injection. You live well in the present, good heavens, then the bill come at some point. It thought we fuckin 'not so much. We have not really seen what it means to get as many syringes and medical treatments along the way, because there is not someone who has done it before us. But 20 to 30 years after quitting, what happens then? That is, no one knows yet. We can only wait and see when the degenerative arthritis and enlarged hearts come. And it does. That I fear, "says Jan Bartram.

- The culture in the locker room is pretty special. I remember it as if people shouting and screaming and pissing on each other in the bath. Is it the same way at all levels?

It's the ultimate locker room mentality, which is reflected in the locker room. It's warriors who sit there - dripping with sweat. They have been out to close down a prey, and then they sit and gloating afterwards. The way to be together and talk together is very, very special. But then you just take it as a necessary evil. Broadly, it is the same mood around the world, and yet there is a difference. "

"In Scotland, we should, for example, appear in the suit. It was a requirement from Glasgow Rangers side that we had to stand there at half past nine in the morning before a match, neat and freshly coiåed hair. There was a very cozy and relaxed atmosphere. There was one and served tea for us, and there was little jokes and stories; What had been made ​​in the city or something. But then 5:00 to 10:00 minutes before we took the field, exploded we complete. There were shouted and screamed and kicked everything and everyone.Vilddyr. Vilddyr simply. After the match could they find to throw teacup or come to blows.Emotions sat outside. Very southern temperament. "

"Germany was so completely different. Much more stiff and formal. One would truly not meeting the suit, but you had to walk around and say hello nicely and shake hands with everyone. Every morning. For the coach, assistant coach, fitness trainer, doctor, manager and usually also someone from the board. We said 'you' and was on last name. The dressing room was so much more quiet, not. Ordnung muss sein. Still, it was said all those man things. But the difference between Scotland and Germany were extreme. So it was in AGF. The man mood that characterizes it; drengerøvene being unleashed, and it is the same no matter where you are in the world, "says Jan Bartram.

I told you it was bizarre, but that may be partly due to the translation.

There will be some who don't know and have never heard of him.

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Drinking tea...shocking.

I'm one of those, to my shame, who can't remember having heard of him. I have now, so, thanks for enlightening me Oleg...I guess. :D

It was a while back he stuck the finger up at souness on the park never played again.

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I really liked Jan Bartram, thought he was a cracking LB, he could smack a ball and play a pass and he had a great engine, he was a great reader of the game and never had to put in a hard tackle, but his and Souness's football philosophy didn't gell and unfortunately for him he let it be known, was only going to be one outcome after that, pity though I really rated him.

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