Guy Kokou Acolatse: “They had never seen a black man”

Posted: March 23, 2016 by FCSP Athens South End Scum in People
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Guy Acolatse vs Neumünster, 20/10/63 (image source: www.ndr.de)

Guy Acolatse vs VfR Neumünster, 20/10/63 (image source: http://www.ndr.de)

OK, there’s very little Scum work in here… The main part of the following is simply a translation of an interview by Gabi Bauer und Peter Piro posted some 6 years ago in Analyze & Kritik webpage, kindly (and somehow freely) translated (at least the important parts ^^) by our Berlin correspondent Carlos and sent to us, simply because “you have to know the history of your team”. Of course the guy is 1910% right here, THANX BRO, let’s cut to the chase 😉

Who is Guy Acolatse? Officially the first ever black professional footbal player in Germany, after reading this, you will agree with us that he’s much more, read on… 🙂

 

First of all, a few facts about Guy, also translated from Wikipedia:

The tricky striker was brought in 1963 by Otto Westphal from Togo, when he was team manager at FC St. Pauli, playing in Regionalliga back then. Acolatse remained three seasons with the Hamburgers and was the first black African in professional football in Germany. In total he played there 43 point games in which he scored six goals.

On 1963/64 he was also playing in the promotion round to Bundesliga, which had reached the team from Heiligengeistfeld as North champions where he scored the consolation goal at the 1: 6 vs Bayern München. His position was usually the one trailing behind the strikers Horst Haecks and “Oschi” Osterhoff.

And now to the interview:

At the celebratron of a century of our club FC St. Pauli, we had the chance to speak with Guy. He came 1963 – almost 20 years old – from Togo to FC St. Pauli. He was the first black professional player in Germany. Acolatse stood on the lists of several French and Belgian Premier League clubs, which were searching systematically already in the 60s in the French-speaking West Africa for talents.

The young player had already traveled far, with almost 17. years international in Togo, he had already occured in several countries of Africa, in the team from former Dahomeys (today Benin) he had played as a guest.

One of the two big clubs in the capital of Togo, Lomé, brought him early from the provincial town Kpalimé, 100 km away from Lomé, near to the border to Ghana

Although well traveled and educated Acolatse was afraid to fly towards a European city of which he hardly know where it was. He rejected offers of French and Belgian Clubs.
Hhe became the first black African professional football player for FC St. Pauli in Germany, thanks to Otto Westphal, which made him offer as a coach of the Togolese team in the early sixties…

FC St. Pauli looked for a number 10 and Otto Westphal asked me, if I would be interested in coming to Germany. At that time there were not this many players´agents.”

Acolatse with Westphal (image source: www.ndr.de)

Acolatse with Westphal (image source: http://www.ndr.de)

Acolatse trust him and so, it was that in the early sommer of 63, in the late afternoon a Taxi stopped at “Wilhelm Koch Stadium” (Scum edit: this is Millerntor but you already know the story 😉 ), a young black man jumped out and beckoned to a waiting growd.

“I asked otto, if a game is taking place today. there were so many people. They are here for you, he said and tried to push me back into the Taxi., but I was already out of it.”

The hype was triggered by the BILD, that has reported long before about Acolatse’s arrival and the spectecular transfer.

“At that time, I was the only one black person in Germany and the only one Togolese who had played in professional football. When I spent time in the city of Hamburg, the people have watched: “A Black!”. But I don´t care. If I tell someone today that I was in Germany in 1963, they ask me, Oh, Guy, could you go alone to a pub? Yes, I went alone to the bars and ordered an “Alsterwasser” (beer with lemonade). And the people have watched me…”.

Acolatse was satisfied: “Today the players earn even thousands, this time was not so good, but I have lived well. A worker earnt 400 DM. With the premiums I´ve got five times more. And that was a lot of money. I had an apartment and a smal car, and then my dreamcar, a VW 1600”.

…something like this 🙂 (By Rudolf Stricker (Own work on wikipedia))

More than that: “I felt very good here”.

He worked successfully to learn the German language and his offensive manner and his unusual appearance, helped him to find contacts.

“I took everything with humor. When I went to pick up my drivers license at the authorities the officer stared at me and, so, I ripped my eyes wide open and I am very slowly approached him and rolled with my eyes. The man went more and more away from me, but was stopped by a wall behind him. He was full of fear. And his colleague start to laugh. We became friends. He tooked me to his parents. A big surprise for them. He had only said to his parents, that he would bring a friend, but not that I´m black. He wanted to show his parents, that he had get to know a black man. When the mother opened the door, she was scared. I said to my friend, hold your mother, I believe she’s going to collapse. She told me afterwards, that she thought she has to die right now, she had seen a vision. When her son told her that I am playing at FC St. Pauli, she shouted:..Oh, we allways wanted to see him. But we had had a bit of fear. Yes, I have always reacted to such situations. I have noticed that sometime the people were afraid and so I drew grimaces and…”

He shocked more than one oponnent player by this way. “When I played, I said, if you touch me, I will bite you…HEY, the negro bites. They were older than me, but have been afraid of me”.

Also the society in Hamburg was interested in Eukalyptus, Schokolate, Akolasso. “They never have written my name in correct way. But, it has not bothered me”.

“There came people to the club and had asked if they can take me over weekend. They had to leave their names and to say when the would like to bring me back. When we arrived at their homes, sometimes the kids looked only around the corner, because they were afraid of me. I told them, I have seen you. You can come out. Those where mostly rich people who had invited friends, to present me. One even liked to adopt me, but I didn´t. One tooked me at his sailing boat, to show me to others. I didn´t like this. I like to talk to people, but I do not want to do it in such a way. Also kwown people like Gustav Scholz (boxing idol) had invited me. People were coming from everywhere, even from other cities to see if there is really a black man is playing at St. Pauli”.

“I was employed at the Hamburger Abendblatt and the BILD newspaper. People wanted to improve their image with me: The guy from St. Pauli is working with us…Even “Otto Vesand” (Amazon without Internet, long ago) and Avon Cosmetics had requested me. Avon wanted to make a sales event with me every Friday and thought, that many people will come to look at me and then buy something”.

But he did not just football.

“I liked to become a TV technician and the club had found a apprenticeship for me at Mundsburg. But St. Pauli had not accepted to came later to the training and the firm didn’t accept to leave earlier from work. So, I stopped the education. Later, I made the A-coaching license.”

FCSP 1964, Black Mamba clearly visible in the middle :-)

FCSP 1964, Black Mamba clearly visible in the middle 🙂

In this time Acolatse married a woman out of Hamburg, and this several times…“Yes, we divorced 3 times and married again 3 times with her. I have a son, 44 now, working and living in Hamburg today…!”

It started well with the game. “If I had scored a goal, I was doing a somersault”.

He did not shoot many goals. His teammates as Peter Osterhoff and Horst Haecks were responsible for that, but they benefited from his preparatory work.

Newspaper – articles, headed with “Acolatse was the best” confirm that the skilfull and tricky – sometimes even playfull – “Black Pearl” was not only an attraction to be presented, also a regularly important reinforcement for the team of Otto Westphal.

Has he never been punished by racism? Never been insulted?

“Thats it what all the journalists ask. But if you play bad, the spactators grumble, cause they want to see you playing well. People have said: HEY, Guy, if you don´t score, you get a banana. You little monkey…Even if I scored one or two goals and we sill had lost at the end, people got sour. Today, the big players can´t handle this are insulted and cry racism. You play for the spectators. I can´t say bad things about the Germans in this time. I´ve lived here well!”

In the early 1960s the atmosphere in public was still very stuffily. So, it worked well for some St. Pauli players, that Acolatse had his own apartment, sometimes presented as the comfortable place you have to be…

When Otto Westphal left FC St. Pauli after a season, the playing system at St. Pauli changed.

“We Togolese played football in an other way. When we have got the ball, we try to control the ball and outsmart the defenders. Things like this.

Togolese newspapers wrote about me: Acolatse – the wizard…But in Germany it was different. We should always play the ball directly and play far forward”:

image source: www.ndr.de

image source: http://www.ndr.de

Under coach Otto Corps Acolatse played not so often, but his enthusiasm was unbroken. “I had a good time with the players and the coaches. Until Kurt Krause came”. He told him from the beginning and without explanation that he did not have a chance in his team.

Akolatse didn´t want to speak it out, but you can still feel the injury to which was linked to the rejection of his playing style.

“Then it works not longer that way”.

Acolatse changed to the just promoted Hamburger rivals of HSV Barmbek – Uhlenhorst. “There, I have played three years and in 1970 I went back to St. Pauli again. Somehow it was like a family. The chairmen and others have often took me home for dinner and afterwards returned me to the training. They were somehow like parents. I played 3 years in the second team. But if someone from the first team was injured was injured, I was playing in the first division”.

Then starts silence around him. “I didn´t want this hype anymore and had retired. I lived in Bergedorf and have trained there with young people from the area in a small club”.

More than this barely words we didn´t get to hear about the end of his active career. We also did not remain in demand. Maybe other time.

Acolatse left early 1980 Hamburg on a occasion of an offer from Paris St. Germain. There he lives with his woman from Togo with whom he has a daughter. He trains in St. Denis youth teams. “If you come today in my district of Paris and ask the kids about Guy Acolatse, they take you immediatly to the hands and bring you to me. I train with the kids and I enjoy it. It is important that the kids come from the streets”. We believe him.

Will Acolatse ever return to Togo?

“I have been the last time in Lomé two years ago. there, i knew nobady anymore. When I was there a long time ago, I trained with the kids and organized football tournaments. To go back, yes, I´ve been thinking about that. I love the atmosphere there”. But he also says: “Many there see me as a foreigner…”

Today :-) (image source: www.lejsd.com)

Today 🙂 (image source: http://www.lejsd.com)

 

Further reading:

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