Blog: Hannover remembers Robert Enke on anniversary

Today marks the first anniversary of former Hannover and Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke’s death. In contrast to the days immediately after he took his own life, when tens of thousands of fans descended on Hannover’s AWD-Arena to pay their respects, the club have requested a little more privacy and an appropriate peacefulness in order to remember Hannover’s number one darling. Martin Shillito explains why only low-key events will be happening in Hannover today.

It is normal practice for German teams to be watched day-in-day-out by the general public and the press during training sessions. Unlike in Britain, fans and media are open to go along to the training ground and watch the players be put through their paces almost every day. Today, however, is different. Hannover 96 have requested that both fans and press leave the players to train in peace on this most saddening and mournful of days.

A year ago Robert Enke, the man players and fans looked up to most, committed suicide due to his suffering from depression. The club captain’s death affected the team immeasurably as they had to try to get on with playing football whilst coping with the shock and trauma of a friend’s passing. The team went on a dreadful run and only just avoided relegation by the skin of its teeth after beating VfL Bochum 3-0 away from home on the last day.

The players who were at the club at the time and knew Enke, do not want to be harassed by the media about their feelings on this day of all days. Hannover’s press officer, Andreas Kuhnt explained: “They [the players] have said they do not wish to be spoken to about the events of last season. We do not want a discussion to arise in which old images will be brought to the fore. The team should have the opportunity to be on its own if that is what it wishes”.

Fans will also have the opportunity to remember one of Hannover’s most loved and adored players in silence. In the north stand of the AWD-Arena, a room has been set up containing numerous items that were laid down in the stand in the days following the tragedy. Fans are free to go and spend a few moments remembering, grieving or mourning Enke in a dignified and appropriate peace in the room.

Despite the appropriate but enforced quiet, Hannover 96, as well as the rest of the football world, will hope the Enke tragedy will force people to make bigger noises about the threat of depression within sportsmen and women.

RIP Robert Enke.

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