Phoenix from the ashes
How often has this wonderful fairytale bird been adduced when somewhere something old has been renewed. Phoenix is said to be pure because all his failures are burnt with him and is therefore used and abused so often for so many things. But very rarely has the saying „risen as Phoenix from the ashes" been as true as it is for the new German football champion Borussia Dortmund.
We all remember, it's not that long ago, the patient Borussia lying in the anteroom of the morgue. The fans, being satisfied and spoiled by the glorious past, rested on their laurels and decorated themselves with the title „best fans of the world" which they didn't deserve any longer. In spite of the 83.000 spectators the sphere in the Westfalenstadion only got worse. On the pitch, there was a team full of mercenaries who knew as much about the history of the club as Kevin Grosskreutz knows about rocket since and who would gladly change the badge on their shirts they used to kiss yesterday for another one when they got the chance. The management had lost sight of the whole picture (and a few other things as well) quite some time ago and were busy saving their own backs and a few Euros for their pockets.
In this very moment, the club was destroyed and could only be re-built from scratch. We had to overcome Molsiris, after that, a restart would be possible. At the time, quite a few people had the feeling that it would be better to restart in one of the lower divisions because of the „Phoenix-effect". But history showed that it wasn't necessary for the club being destroyed completely to get this effect. March 14th 2005 turned out all right, the first step was taken. We could go on.
The first victim of this proverbial fall – that comes after the pride – was the arrogance of the fans. At the moment of destruction they understood and looked at their own faults. They made a general overhaul and defined new goals. From now on, these were „with the club wherever the road may take us", also to the 5th division for a restart if necessary! Better to have a small loud crowd than masses of „event tourists"... That's what happened. The crowd decreased, but the sphere grew better.
Firstly serious („Meier get out!"), then defiant („2010, you'll see, we're going to be debt-free and German champion!") and later passionate and fanatic („We'll be relegated with you, hallelujah!") the fans consequently followed the path back to the „supporter's Olympus". In the spring of 2008, the BVB fans had conquered back their old fame and could bear the title „best fans in the country" with pride again and justifiably so. The whole nation stared in amazement at the 50.000 Borussen in Berlin who celebrated peacefully and passionate a game they seemingly couldn't win – and didn't win in the end. But the first part of the sleeping giant had awoken, the first feather of the Phoenix had grown. The club's soul had risen again in radiant beauty.
The second part, the brain of BVB, was built slowly in the meantime: the management and the club itself. Without much fuss, matter-of-factly and Westfalically down-to-earth the necessary measures were taken and some holy cows were sacrificed in transparency and for one single goal only: debt relief. This work is still in process, there's still a small amount of debt pressing on this big club, but it's not overwhelming any more. Borussia is fine, alive and healthy! It has not only left the anteroom of the morgue, but also the intensive care some time ago and can be treated outpatient now. The biggest achievement of the new management may be the building of the training centre. In times of saving money everywhere, it was the only expense they wanted to afford, they had to afford. It's been the basis of what happened and what is still to come. Investment in the own youth.
As a last and most time-consuming measure, the team, the heart of the club, was rebuilt. The mercenaries had been gone with the first rumors, expensive players have been sold and said goodbye to, some more euphorically than others. The last years, BVB had to take what was left on the market for near to no money – except for their own youth – and was inevitably not always that talented. But still in these years, there were some players who would at least make up for their lack of quality with effort. Players like Ebi Smolarek, to mention one. In 2008, the first steps were taken, Phoenix was rising, you could feel it. But still he was ugly, featherless, like birds are born. Fight against relegation and boring average defined the years of regeneration.
To engage Jürgen Klopp as manager didn't seem very spectacular in the beginning, but turned out to be just perfect. „He fits this club like a Latex suit" said a reporter a few days ago. He was referring to Van Gaals statement that Bayern suited him like a warm coat. This comparison may be a little strange, but it's also straight to the point! With his honest passion and his expertise, Jürgen Klopp stands for what has been growing in Dortmund over the past years: a combination of incompatibilities. Youthful serenity, defensive attacking football, unemotional passion, humble pride, football playing fans, intelligent players and last but not least, maybe the biggest paradox: success without money.
By having taken away the means – and nobody will claim that Borussia built his champions team completely without money – BVB was forced to say goodbye to the biggest part of commercial football and concentrate on what's left: talent, effort and hard work. There are two reason why Borussia has conquered so many hearts of football fans all over the world this year. One being the freshening and successful offensive football they played, the other that young, hungry team full of big talents who don't only say, but also seem to be 11 friends. Like back then in primeval times of football. „Borussia Dortmund has brought back romance to the football" one could read in the press home and abroad the past months. Maybe that's a little far-fetched, blinded by success, the likable protagonists and the beautiful football. But one gets the feeling, looking at the current situation, that everything is just like it's supposed to be! Like the God of football has created it, the purest kind of football, as natural as it can be nowadays. 11 friends, a passionate following, magic football and deserved success do sound, maybe not like romance, but like a football-fairytale come true indeed.
Pure as the risen Phoenix, Borussia and the football it stands for, say to the world: „There's another way!".
Nadja Luck – with the small hope that this fairytale is not going to stay an exception!, 29.05.2011
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