FC Schalke fans who live and die by their club are being given the opportunity to literally live and die by their club with the opening of the official Schalke cemetery.
The Beckenhausen-Sutum cemetery, which overlooks the Veltins Arena, will include a dedicated space for die-hard (sorry) supporters from December. The Königsblauen-themed resting place is the size of half a football field and will include 1904 graves, in reference to the club's year of foundation. It will be decorated to look like a stadium, with turf, full-size goals with mourner-friendly substitutes benches in them, and a Schalke crest made up of blue and white flowers.
Since it is already popular for fans to be buried in a royal blue coffin at Schalke-themed ceremonies, demand for the plots has been strong since the site was announced in July. According to daily newspaper The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, the graves will cost €1,250 to reserve, and €125 per year thereafter for upkeep.
Schalke Fan Club Association vice chairman Rolf Rojek has already reserved plot number '04', and another loyal fan has called shotgun on number '215', in recognition of the date the Gelsenkirchen side won the UEFA Cup (May 21st 1997 or 21/5).
According to a report in The Sun, many fans will have their burial plots moved to the new site and some former club stars may even be laid to rest in the new 'Fan Field' too.
The famously fan-friendly club will even offer some free places to hard-up supporters, with the club insisting that they "will not make any money from anyone's death."
The Bundesliga side will not make any profit from the venture as they say they do not want to do "business with death," but are endorsing the project as "the need for Schalke fans to have such a place exists."
Interestingly, Schalke aren't the first team to cater to their fans' post-life needs. Boca Juniors opened the first fan graveyard in 2006 and Hamburg followed suit in 2008.