Lost grounds are always beautiful to see. We have had some precious few in Belgium, but there are some absolute gems in Germany as well. One of the most outstanding definitely is the Jahn stadium of TSV Marl-Hüls.
It’s been built in 1927 and throughout the next couple of decades the stadium was always extended or modernized. In 1949 the stadium was extended and during the 60s a brand new grandstand was built. In 1964 it was opened with an exclusive tournament where bigger teams like Real Madrid, Red Star Belgrade, Inter Milan, Steaua Bucharest, Manchester City, Sporting Lisbon and Sparta Prague were invited and players like Eusebio and Lev Yashin were present. At that time the stadium had a capacity of 36.000 and if the team had any successes in competition there were already plans to extend the stadium to 50.000 people.
TSV Marl-Hüls was founded in 1912 and there is little known about the first years of the team. Turnverein Hüls and SuS Drewer-Süd both were founded in that year and decided to merge in 1920 to become TSV Hüls-Drewer. A few years later they had to go their own way again (due to German law), but in 1946 they found eachother again. Team name became TSV Hüls. Up until then the team never had any successes and only played on a regional level. But that was about to change during the 50s. The newly extended stadium was finished just in time.
In 1954 the successes were translated into prizes. In that year the team won the national amateur league in Germany and not long afterwards they promoted to Oberliga West, where they played for a number of years during the 60s. In 1963 it was the only team that didn’t apply for a spot in the newly created Bundesliga and voluntarely started playing in second division. But once the renovated stadium was opened in 1964 the team got into a negative spiral. It’s almost as if the renovated Jahn stadium was a curse for TSV Marl-Hüls. Financial problems caused a lot of players to be bought by Alemannia Aachen and TSV relegated several times to lower levels across the next decades.
In 1984 the Jahn stadium saw a lot of visitors again during a concert of Cure, but football fans lost their way to the stadium. This grand stadium only saw an average of 1.500 people. There was no money to maintain the stadium and by the time the 90s arrived the stadium was already in serious decay. The roof of the grandstand was too dangerous and in the early years of the new millennium TSV decided to move away to their current homeground, the Loekamp stadium.
In 2008 a baseball team decided to play on the pitch (that was maintained and used by the neighbouring school as well), but they never used the stands. These were quickly overgrown into a jungle. Since a few years the baseball team moved out again and now it’s completely empty again. There have been a lot of plans from the city to tear it down and build apartment buildings, but up until now this absolute gem is still being taken over by Mother Nature…