"Glory Hunter" - The New Swearword?
Let me tell you a story, about a boy who grew up in the north of Germany, in a little town called Bremerhaven. He always loved football but had no connection to the club that would be most natural to be fan of: Werder Bremen. He was 10 years old when the following scene happened that changed his life till today.
“And Lars Ricken is coming on the field. Ricken starts to run and Müller passes a brilliant ball directly into the running feet of Lars Ricken, run boy run and Ricken shoots 25 meters in front of the goal, he hammers the ball into net!!! He was just 10 seconds on the field, we are part of history today!! what a crazy game 3:1 for Borussia!”
A hero was born, a dream goal was created and Dortmund had just received their newest fan, a 10 year old boy, who was exhilarated at what he saw and was from now on tightly entangled to this club. Today this boy would be looked at with spite and malice. They would say: “oh look: A new glory hunter.” But not at that time, the term glory hunter was not yet defined.
The first years and hardship
The following years just made his love and solidarity for the black and yellows greater. Players like Amoroso, Everton and Tomas Rosicky had a magnetizing effect on him even though only 1 more title was won in the following years after that magical day. He might have lost some of his interest at this time, he can’t quite remember everything from his past, but he can still remember the feelings that this club gave him, that players like Jan Koller gave him when he watched them play football.
It was also the time were this little boy grew up into a teenager and were he went for the first time to watch a live match of his Club in the stadium. It was against Werder Bremen and they lost bitterly, but the only thing he remembers is the urge to come again, because what he saw was great and what he felt was pure joy. He was 15 years old now and what soon would follow was the most desperate time in the history of Borussia Dortmund. When it came to pass he was too young to fully understand what was happening, how devastating this time must have been for the older Fans, for those who were standing in the stadium, cheering for their team for ages already. I can tell you now, he understands with his entire hearth what those man and women went through. The only thing he knew, or thinks to remember what he knew, was that HIS club would make it and that he would go with them, no matter where their journey had to end. For whatever would happen his love and happiness for his BVB would not just vanish only because they were in desperate times.
In the years following 2004 he grew up to be a fully-fledged supporter of his Ballspielverein Borussia 09. He went to more games than just the one in his closest town. Most of these games were lost and most of the time his team didn’t do too well. But he was there, screaming and shouting his chants like everyone else. He stood beside 30 year olds crying together or, if they were to be part of a goal or a won game, cheering together laying arm in arm. He went to hell and back again with his club, never was anyone asking him: ”And? Since when are you a fan of Borussia Dortmund?” He wasn’t asked, because he was standing there in the crowd in an away game in a time where this club had no “glory hunters”, even though he started as one.
A new era
You all know what followed after Jürgen Klopp took over our team. And the boy, now a 21 year old living in Berlin had a blast, we were back to where we belonged. But in these last two years something had changed. Fans from other clubs looked with suspicion at him when he walked about in his Dortmund jersey and asked, with a sneery grin on their face: "And? Since when are you a fan of Borussia Dortmund?” He felt the urge to defend himself: ”I went all the way with this club I was a fan even in the times with Thomas Doll!” Even his own ranks were overflown with accusations like these, accusations that once were thrown to the Club in Bavaria with disgust.
“Haha you have no atmosphere in your stadium, cause your club is filling over with glory hunters!”
And he began to think, why is it that everyone uses this term with so much malice and distrust? I was one of those too, but now I am one of you, a true supporter.
The boy whose story I’ve just told you is me. Yes a former “glory hunter” writing for Schwatzgelb.com. I suppose some of you can identify with this story, or maybe you can pinpoint it to a friend, or child you have. I suppose it’s different, if you are not from Germany, but live in another country. Most of those fans are invited with open arms into our ranks, because it feels great to see that our club, Borussia Dortmund, has such a big attraction, just by playing football, that people all over the world cheer for it. But not all think this way, some of us would love to get rid of those foreign fans from other countries, they are less worthy to be a fan, because they don't know what it means to go through the worst of times with our Club. So I wonder, do we need another season where we fight for our clubs life so we can see who truly supports our club and who does not?
Here is what most ultras and fans think: These people really bring nothing to the table! They dont chant with us! They only want to be entertained, if their team loses they start to leave the stadium, or even worse they start to mock their own team! These Fans are nothing short of "event fans"!
Change is always needed
If you come from Germany and you just began to love this club and you are not from the region of Dortmund, then you will always fight your way to be recognized as a true fan. I really don’t know why it has become like this. Of course there are black sheep in all these new fans, people who are exactly what most ultras think they are, but everyone deserves a chance to prove themselfs. I believe that some of us were and maybe still are afraid that their club and what they used to know are about to change. Even I used the term. I said stuff like: “f*** these glory hunters, again no ticket for an away game where I wanted to be part of in the stadium.” In 2006 I had no problems to get tickets for those games, now I have. But at the same time I’m proud of us and all of our followers. Every year we set the record for the most fans in the stadium. We got 10.000 or more supporters at nearly every away game. The atmosphere is always magnificent, just ask our Champions League opponents. So these new fans can’t be that bad, can they? If you are a fan since the beginning, I ask you to be more open minded and if you are a new fan, drawn to us, because of the way our boys play football and because of the way we live football, don’t be afraid to show us that you want to be part of it. You can be part of it.
So I tell you, if you cheer for our club, if you cry, scream and feel happiness with our team in win, lose and defeat, be proud of it and don’t try to defend yourself, just be what you are:
One of tens of thousands of fans all over the world cheering for the best and only club there is Borussia Dortmund!