A Basel football fan ended up living on the streets of Milan for a whole decade after losing his way while leaving Milan’s San Siro stadium. His beloved Basel were taking on Inter in the third qualifying round to make it the holy grail of the Champions League.
We all know that feeling of disorientation. Where you’re so fucked that, even if you’re in the UK – you might as well be anywhere, Berlin, Thailand, Rochdale, but those feelings are usually drug or alcohol induced and usually feature some kind of poorly lit basement and a guy called Jez who keeps forgetting you’re name.
But poor Rolf Bantle, 71 (but back then 61) seemed to lose his bearings in part due to a lifetime of alcoholism and genuine confusion.
Let’s be clear, 61 is not particularly old, but Bantle was on a day trip with his group home from LÃ¤ufelfingen in the canton of Basel-Country; his admittance to the home was due to his alcohol problem. So let’s assume he may not have had full use of his mental faculties (he also had a limited education)- that or the San Siro is a complete logistical nightmare for fans circumnavigating their way to and from the toilets.
After going to the toilet, Bantle became disorientated and couldn’t find his group. He found he was “suddenly in a different sector”.
He was reported missing when he didn’t get back to the bus that took him there with the rest of his home.
With just â‚¬20 and 15 francs in his back pocket, without a mobile phone and without a telephone number for his group home, he ended up staying in Milan, living on the streets. A search was launched but Bantle couldn’t be found.
Bantle lived rough on the streets of Milan, surviving off the generosity of others in the Baggio district of Milan. He took a weekly shower in a public restroom and spent a lot of time in the library.
He actually preferred the freedom he had living rough compared to the regimented life in the home. He has no family either so he felt he had little to return to.
He only returned to Switzerland as he slipped and broke his femur; with no medical insurance the Italian authorities contacted the Swiss Consulate, who arranged his return back to his home country.
After being treated in the Basel University Hospital, he is now comfortably living in a Basel retirement home.
Now the man’s happy, as he get’s to enjoy the little things:
In the afternoon I go to the Denner (supermarket) and buy two cans of beer, which is allowed.
Ten years is enough and here I feel very good now.
Nice ending to a pretty sad story. A couple of tinnies and all’s well that ends well. We’ve all heard of football away days getting a bit weird, like Bantle, this guy wasn’t expecting this from his day at the footie.