This is a guest piece written by Norwegian Bayern fan Andreas Haugaard (follow on Twitter). If you’d like to see one of your texts published on Red Robbery, whether it’s a personal story like this one or a piece about your favorite player/match or whatever (just keep it Bayern-related), just contact me. Decent and interesting articles will be shared.
The tale of a random fan
I discovered football as a concept during the 1990 World Cup. And following Germany’s WC win that summer, our family went to Germany for the holidays.
For some reason we decided that the goal of this particular trip was to be the southern of Germany and Munich. It was only to be a short one day stop, but Munich was the goal of the trip. On our numerous trips to Germany when I was a kid (my father is half German, but does not have the slightest interest in football) we had never been as south as this. And for everybody but me, the eight hour stay in Munich would very much be a one off visit.
I remember it clearly. After walking up and down the main street of Munich for several hours, I begged my mother to stop in front of würst kiosk. I don’t really know why, but I insisted on buying a postcard and a scarf: A Bayern Munich postcard and a Bayern Munich scarf to be precise. This would turn out to be one of the most defining single actions my life. I really think the team chose me. It could be no other team from there on and in.
And ever since I have been the most loyal Bayern supporter imaginable. There has been no peer pressure, no friends cheering (nor grieving) with me or nobody the slightest interested in Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga as a whole. I have been completely on my own for the bigger parts of my now 20 years as a Bayern devotee. Bundesliga was sporadically aired on minor TV networks during my early childhood and adolescence, but never for a long period of time. The slots have always been canceled due to low ratings and the broadcasting rights to the liga has been a constant limbo. For many years of my fan dome, the only input on what was going on with my team was through the results recap in the Sunday newspaper and the kicker magazines I bought when I was on holiday with my parents in Germany once a year till I was about 18 years old.
I never talked to anyone about Bayern. I just cheered in silence. Bayern was my team and with the other kids raving about Manchester United and Liverpool, I had very little to contribute to the conversation. The only way Bayern ever were written or talked about in the Norwegian media, was after the devastating 99 CL loss or as a bulletin news during the FC Hollywood period. Thomas Helmer, Alexander Zicker, Mehmet Scholl, Michael Tarnat, Lothar Matthäus, Jürgen Klinsmann, Elber, Stefan Effenberg, Carsten Jancker, Willy Sagnol, Bixente Lizarazu and so on. Huge heroes to me, hardy names at all for anybody else.
It wasn’t before Facebook came in to my life that I discovered that there were other English speaking Bayern fans around, and as it would turn out, shockingly enough, even a small party of Norwegian fans. Fans I now meet up with regularly to see matches and support the greatest football team in the world (and of course scream insults at Christian Nerlinger!)
The point of this little story of a random fan? Well, just that a Bayern fan who’s not German is something quite out of the ordinary. You don’t become a Bayern fan as a result of the other kids on your street being Bayern fans, because Bayern is always on the news buying the biggest names or any other mainstream reasons. Whenever you state that you are a fan of Bayern Munich, you get big eyes and moans like: “Why in the name of God are you a Bayern fan?”, “Aaaaah, Bayern Munich!!??” or “How is it really possible to be a Bayern fan?”. To be a Bayern fan takes determination and even hard work. Yes, Bayern Munich is a big team and we win a lot of trophies, but it’s never been easy being a fan. Not yesterday, not today and probably not tomorrow. The local TV network doesn’t show the games by default, nor do the pubs. You always have to go the extra mile to see the team live and to meet other fans. It doesn’t just fall into your lap.
I now know Bayern fans all over the world. And they are all extremely proud fans, having their weeks decided by how good/bad the team performs and always wanting the best for the club. Not because it’s the correct or easiest team to support, but because they love to support them. Through thick and thin. Come to think of it, it’s not at all strange that that the FCB fans are a demanding breed, taking into account just how hard they have to work to be just that – dedicated FCB fans.
Mia san Mia!