German students celebrated a bit of history in Eastbourne as their country were crowned football world champions on Sunday night.
The Jurgen Matthes student organisation hosted a party at Eastbourne’s Sovereign Centre, where they screened the world cup final for more than 800 German students in the town on a holiday language course.
After their side lifted the trophy, following an extra-time winner from Mario Gotze in a 1-0 win, emotions ran high among the bumper crowd as Germany’s first World Cup win since 1990 prompted jubilant scenes.
“It was awesome,” said Jurgen Matthes, founder of the organisation.
“Most of the students were in tears at the end.
“It was very emotional. The kids are on average 15 years old.
“The oldest is 18 and the youngest is 10 so none of them have had the experience to be part of such an event.
“Even the teachers were a bit too young to remember the last win in 1990.
“It was a really unique event.
“Football is as important in England as it is in Germany, it’s probably more important than anything else.”
Jurgen splits his time between Eastbourne and Germany. His organisation has been bringing children to Eastbourne, successfully nurturing their English speaking skills for since 1982.
His youngest son is a student himself, while his other children help out as team leaders. The entire Matthes family were in tow on the evening and he admits that emotions got the better of himself and his youngest .
“You could see my son, when the game was over he was in tears,” he added
“I would say 50 per-cent of the kids were in tears, they didn’t know whether to party or to cry – no-one knew what to do.”
While it wasn’t quite the 250,000 fans that greeted the winning German squad back to Berlin, the Jurgen Matthes Association provided the kids with a little taste of home.
And Jurgen believes that comparisons can be drawn between his company’s 32 years of good work and the unrivalled organisation shown by the national football team in lifting football’s biggest prize.
“A football team, a family, a company and anything where people work together only works if the atmosphere is right.”