The only football club ever to be mentioned in ‘The Silmarillion’ is now home to the first ever Tolkien-inspired football fan club – Jenas Tirith

Marcel, Cornelius, and Philipp (Jenas Tirith members 003, 001, 002)
Marcel, Cornelius, and Philipp (Jenas Tirith members 003, 001, 002)

It truly blows my mind when I realised that there is, indeed, one football club mentioned in the Silmarillion and that I coincidentally moved to the very city which is the home to it. I am talking about the FC Carl Zeiss Jena, a traditional club founded in 1903 with a most fascinating history. And yes, thank you for asking! I will tell you something about it and how me and some great pals decided it was time to found Jenas Tirith.

By Nordostdeutscher Fußballverband e. V. (NOFV), Fair use,
By Nordostdeutscher Fußballverband e. V. (NOFV), Fair use.

The time was May 28th, 2023, on a sunny afternoon.

It was the last game of the season in which the FCC had the opportunity to determine whether it would #1 in the State again. The Regionalliga Nordost is one of the fourth tier leagues in Germany and Jena played versus Hertha BSC II. It was my first ever visit to the stadium. At the end of ninety minutes Jena managed a draw (1:1) which meant it moved up to second spot in the league, leaving rival team Rot-Weiss Erfurt in third spot. This meant the fans were even happier about getting thousand liters of free beer from Köstritzer to celebrate beating Erfurt. And a week later they won the Thuringian Cup again!

One accolade the club can never lose again is to be at the top of the all-time GDR Oberliga Table. Yes, the “cumulative record of all match results, points, and goals of every team that played in the former East Germany‘s first division DDR-Oberliga from its inception in 1949 until its dissolution in 1991 following German reunification.” [Source: Wikipedia]

A lot more could be said about the FC Carl Zeiss Jena but let me just emphasise the close to 4,000 visitors of the stadium were ecstatic when the final whistle came. So were we!

So there and then, when we had free beers in our hands – handed out by then team! – and were chanting about the ‘#1 in the State’ we realised that in the distance we could see the Cookie Roll (Keksrolle) and thought of towers in far away places. And as we are all members of the Tolkien Regulars’ Table at Jena – officially affiliated with the German Tolkien Society – we realised our calling, there and then, and Jenas Tirith was born!

Digital sketch of the new stadium - under construction right now © elf5 Jena GmbH
Digital sketch of the new stadium – under construction right now © elf5 Jena GmbH

From the Akallabêth

And men saw his sails coming up out of the sunset, dyed as with scarlet and gleaming with red and gold, and fear fell upon the dwellers by the coasts, and they fled far away. But the fleet came at last to that place that was called Umbar, where was the mighty haven of the Númenóreans that no hand had wrought. Empty and silent were all the lands about when the King of the Sea marched upon Middle-earth. For seven days he journeyed with banner and trumpet, and he came to a hill, and he went up, and he set there his pavilion and his throne; and he sat him down in the midst of the land, and the tents of his host were ranged all about him, blue, golden, and white, as a field of tall flowers. Then he sent forth heralds, and he commanded Sauron to come before him and swear to him fealty. [my emphasis]

Today, the colours of the FC Carl Zeiss Jena are blue, yellow, and white (let’s not split hairs about the qualities of heraldic colours, my preciousss!)

But lo! At the time of writing of this passage by J.R.R. Tolkien the colours were officially blue, gold, and white, me hearties, because those were the colours determined when the club was founded in 1903. Yes, yes!

We cannot – with certainty – say that Tolkien was thinking of the FC Carl Zeiss Jena when he wrote those lines but we love to think he did. [It pains me to write this line but if a gazillion dumb-dumbs can make this claim online so can we 😄)

Marcel, Cornelius, and Philipp (Jenas Tirith members 003, 001, 002) Marcel, Cornelius, and Philipp (Jenas Tirith members 003, 001, 002)
Marcel, Cornelius, and Philipp (Jenas Tirith members 003, 001, 002)

So there you are. We knew that the Tolkien fans in Jena – who are already an amazing bunch of people with plans for many events in the future (including the first ever Jena Tolkien Day, a summer festival to welcome visitors from afar, etc.) – would be happy to branch out even more. Yes, even into football, and Jenas Tirith is valid proof, again, it is fun to be a fan.

And at the time of me writing this I do believe we are either the first or the only (at the moment) Tolkien-inspired football fan club as welcomed by the Jena Fanprojekt.

We are working on our Zaunfahne, that is, our fan banner with our yet to be determined logo. We will keep you posted. ⚽

Marcel R. Bülles

Marcel R. Bülles is the author of, a specialist blog centering on worldwide Tolkien fandom, geekdom and research. He works as a freelance translator, journalist and writer and is the founder of the German Tolkien Society as well as a co-founder to RingCon, Europe's formerly biggest fantasy film convention. You can find him in cafés all over the world sipping an espresso blogging, writing, reading. At one point he was married to an extremely lovely French lady by the nickname of Sauron. Yes, that Sauron. He is also active with the International Tolkien Fellowship on Facebook and the Tolkien Folk on Instagram.