Tuesday 19 October 2021
East German goalkeeper Kroy celebrates his 75th birthday.
The goalkeeper who wasn’t allowed to be world class
At the 1974 World Cup, Jurgen Crowe showed “to the whole world” that good football was being played in the German Democratic Republic. A former opponent says the goalkeeper is denied individual recognition outside his country. On the seventy-fifth birthday, there is also a reminder of the express strike.
LA CRUISE, NO TRAPS: Jürgen Crowe may have been overshadowed by Sepp Maier or Dino Zoff internationally, but in Zwickau there was no end to hero worship for the goalkeeper. When Kroy was due to be delegated to Dynamo Dresden under pressure from the East German Football Association, some Trabant factory employees threatened to go on strike.
“It was, of course, a disaster for the reputation of the GDR, and the officials knew this very well,” said Croy, who was allowed to remain in his homeland at that time. Born in Zwickau, he always fondly reflects on these and other stories of his eventful career. Today, Tuesday, October 19, the goalkeeper icon will turn 75 years old.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 94-time goalkeeper was voted “the best footballer of the GDR’s 40 years” – ahead of well-known field players such as record player Joachim Streische, and Hans-Jürgen “Dixie” Doerner for drooling King Peter Dock.
The fact that Croy had not achieved that great international reputation was due to the regime, later claiming his long-time rival in Magdeburg, Ulrich Schulz: “He was certainly a world-class goalkeeper, but the international press was not allowed to call him, after all, he came from German Democratic Republic”. Schulz, who used to be one of the best players in his field, admits without envy that he could not hold a candle to Croy at the time: “He was always better than me, perfectly complete – like Manuel Neuer today.”
Of course, Croy also took part in the thrilling 1-0 victory of the German Democratic Republic at the 1974 World Cup in the preliminary round in Hamburg against the Federal Republic’s selection. “We were able to show the whole world that we can also play football,” Crowe was quoted by the Saxon newspaper as saying. The match culminated in a “beautiful individual performance by Jürgen Sparwasser” who scored the winning goal for the East German team. West Germany won the World Championship for the second time, defeating the Netherlands 2-1 in the final in Munich.