Open letter to Dietmar Hopp
After last week's sound attacks against BVB fans in Hoffenheim, the editorial of schwatzgelb.de decided to write an open letter to patron Dietmar Hopp to explain their attitute towards TSG Hoffenheim. The letter was also sent to German newspapers and fanzines.
Dear Mr. Hopp,
due to the recent developments, the team of schwatzgelb.de wants to address you directly.
Again and again, we can read in the newspapers that you are cut to the quick by insulting and undoubtedly dull chants and banners against your person. You're pointing out how much that hurts you again and again.
Taking these chants so personally is a pity and especially totally inappropriate.
The step into big professional football was one onto totally new terrain for you and also TSG Hoffenheim. However, while you can buy players being able to play in Bundesliga and a professional infrastructure with your money, you can't buy an environment which is able to deal with the mentality of the higher divisions. To compete on the terraces, you need experience, a lot of experience. And you need a thick skin. Insults on the terraces of a football stadium belong to the game as much as fouls on the pitch.
Verbal fouls and physical ones like kicks in the calves go hand in hand in football. Does player A take it personal when player B just robbed him an opportunity to score by using a foul? No! In every foul, there is something like the meta message: "Sorry, it isn't personal but I have to straddle in your legs because I can not take the responsibility for you scoring against my team." That's consensus. All players know that.
It is the same on the stands. Do you believe that only one BVB supporter feels personally insulted when he hears the chants of "BVB sons of bitches" in Gladbach, Cologne, Frankfurt... and even in Hoffenheim? How would it end up? That drops off because everyone knows how the chant is meant. Did nobody tell you about that yet? Haven't you been aware of that with all your experience and wisdom of your age?
One thing is clear though: Of course, there is a difference between the defamation of a group and the one of a single person. However, in this case, fans of all clubs except probably Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and especially RB Leipzig, consequently are against the project Hoffenheim. But there is a little but important difference between the mentioned clubs and TSG Hoffenheim: That is you.
You, Mr. Hopp, are the face of TSG Hoffenheim. You are the face of the project Hoffenheim. You are the face of a development that we as fans dislike. That's why the chants focus on you as a person. Because in none of the mentioned clubs, one single man is so emblematic for this – from our point of view – dangerous development in football. We don't want clubs from the retort. And we want no patrons pampering and nurturing a club, allowing him things like high performance centers for youths from one second to the other, things other clubs have to put so much effort in.
If the sound attack in Hoffenheim really was the work of two overeager men, it would not make things better though. However, this act would speak loudly for the climate in Hoffenheim. Employees would become executors in obedience and make use of self-administered justice, not only transgressing rules of the DFL but also harming the physical integrity of supporters. Is everyone at TSG a slave to you? Is that the climate that you want to have?
If patrons and affiliated groups have the opportunity to buy themselves into the clubs and the Bundesliga, this will be too much for the supporters who shared the thrill with their clubs for years and decades, mourned in times of relegations and celebrated championships. Those supporters who love the whole football with all its emotions and incalculability so much.
You don't have to be a nostalgic to demand that every football club only works with its own compiled resources. Being supporters of Borussia Dortmund, we know what we are talking about because we nearly fell victim to hubris of a president. We followed him blindly and nearly ran in our decay. Many say the BVB had luck a few years ago. That's true. However, the BVB in some way earned to be rescued by sponsors and donors, namely with tradition and the rootage not only in Dortmund, but in the heads and hearts of the whole country.
Who would help TSG Hoffenheim in a similar situation, when you were not around anymore?
Many fans surely would like to factually discuss about your role in football and the reason why so many models like Hoffenheim and Leipzig face so much reluctance. But: Would you be ready for it? Did you ever take into account to face a bigger group of fans and to discuss? Has there ever been a reaction to humoristic and creative banners against the project Hoffenheim? No. No insult, no reaction. There is an immediate reaction to "son of a bitch" which leads many people to the conclusion that you and TSG react only on insults, not being able to take the fear of fans of other clubs seriously.
Mr. Hopp, we would like you to invite you to Dortmund to talk with fans of Borussia about the project Hoffenheim and your role in football, maybe in a panel discussion. We would be glad if you accepted our invitation.
In expectation of your response,
The editorial of schwatzgelb.de