East German football – The People’s Game: Football, State and Society in East Germany (8)

We talk East German football with author Alan McDougall.

East German Football
Alan McDougall, author of The People’s Game talks to Shane and JP all about East German Football.

On this episode of the Radio GDR podcast, hosts  Shane Whaley and  GDR Objectified‘s John Paul Kleiner talk East German football with author Alan McDougall.

There are not many English language books chronicling football in East Germany so we were delighted to chat with Alan. He is the author of  The People’s Game: Football State and Society in East Germany and he joins Radio GDR for a wide-ranging chat about all things East German football. His book was voted one of the Guardians Best Books for Sports in 2016.

East German Football
East German Football on Episode 8 of the Radio GDR Podcast

When three football and GDR history nerds get together, you are in for a conversation covering the many different facets of football in East Germany. Alan has agreed to come back for a ‘second leg’ because even though we chatted for over 70 minutes there are still plenty more topics we wanted to tackle.

Here are some of the topics we did cover on Episode 8 of Radio GDR, the worlds only English language all about East Germany.

  • Why did Alan McDougall write a book on East German football?
  • The birth of football in the German Democratic Republic. How the DDR Oberliga was formed before the new proclamation of the new republic even.
  • The chaos and confusion of the early days of the East German Oberliga, includes the restructuring and renaming of some East German football clubs.
  • The contested history around BFC – Dynamo Berlin and their ten straight Oberliga titles. Stasi influence or good management? (We will be soon talking to a Dynamo Berlin fan soon for the BFC fans view of this issue.)
  • Why many East German citizens and even SED members petitioned the GDR authorities over bias they felt was shown to Dynamo Berlin.
  • Why several Oberliga football referees were given twelve months banned.
  • What were East German players lifestyles like? What was the average salary of an Oberliga player?
  • How the player transfers worked.
  • How well attended were East German football games
  • Why a documentary which followed Union Berlin fans was canned in 89.

  • Which team would Alan McDougall have supported if he had grown up in the GDR.
  • And Much Much more.

Let us know what you think of this episode on the Radio GDR Listeners Facebook Group.

Join our East Germany Facebook group to talk more about the GDR!
Join our East Germany Facebook group to talk more about the GDR!

Links and Resources Mentioned on this Episode of Radio GDR all about East German Football

The People’s Game – Football, State and Society in East Germany by Alan McDougall

GDR Objectified with John Paul Kleiner

Dynamo Berlin
Union Berlin

After reunification, many clubs reverted to their pre-East German names, but some stuck with them, and others have changed back again. This page lists all prominent East German clubs, along with their original name, their present-day name, and a list of name changes and mergers that they underwent.

Full list of Football Clubs in East Germany.

East Germany Football League System.

Articles and Podcasts on DDR Football

The East German Curse – how footballing reunification failed.

East German Football’s Invisible Wall

The Fall of East German Football

The Last Days of Football in East Germany.

West German teams still dominate the east in the Bundesliga.

Question on Quora with answers: Bundesliga: Why doesn’t East Germany have any good football teams?

All’s Quiet on the Eastern Front – The Decline of Football in East Germany.

The Strange World of East German Football (Podcast)



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