From Fan Fest to Fan Club
President and founder of the fan club Benjamin ‘Ben’ McFadyean has been a Borussia fan since his childhood spent living with his family near Schwerte near Dortmund in the 1980’s. Ben was a season ticket holder on the Suedtribuene during the 1980’s and a referee in the Borussia Dortmund football department until he returned to live in the UK in the 1990’s.
Over ten years Ben watched BVB in German pubs like Zeitgeist or Stein’s but noticed there was no official fan club for BVB. In 2013 Borussia qualified for the biggest match in world club Football, the Champions league final where they were to meet league rivals Bayern Munich. 80,000 Borussia fans applied for 20,000 tickets for the final and no public viewing events were planned in London at all! With the express desire to provide an opportunity to give Borussen the chance to share the experience together in London, Ben and two Borussia friends Thorsten and Mike contacted London Borough of Ealing and finally after several meetings managed to persuade the council to give a permit for the fan club to set up a substantial Bierfest at Walpole Park in Ealing. The council were so impressed with the fan club’s plans, they agreed a £35,000 subsidy for the Borussenfest in Ealing.
Ex Borussia players Frank Mill, Marcel Raducanu and others agreed to come, Brinkhoffs Dortmunder beer was on its way, a big tent was rented and catering contracts were agreed. Within days 2000 reservations had flooded in on to the specially set up Facebook page. However after several days of negotiations the event was denied a licence to hold the event. Already £2000 had been spent and many contracts agreed would the club end up in debt and with no event? Thanks to a lot of research by Ben and other members of the club a new venue was found in East London the 3000 capacity Roxy club – thankfully all was well at the fan club, 3000 would still be a good crowd and would enable the club to clear their debts.
It was not to be however again the club was denied the permit to have a BVB Public viewing event for the final this time due to another even taking place at the same time near to the venue. The Fan club was left with only 5 days left with no venue and thousands of reservations. The fans were hugely disappointed and there was an allround sense of a real low in the fan club. 2 days before the event the club was introduced through a chance encounter to Flavas bar and grill and by chance the venue were vacant for the night of the big final! What a breakthrough! But this time the issue of the permit had to be negotiated successfully another failure would break the club! It was decided to run a neutral ‘German beerfest’. After frentic communications with the fans, 500 turned up for german beer and food and a big screen showing of the match. Eurosport TV and DWTV came to film the show .Its history now that Bayern won the game but strong foundations were laid for a BVB fan club in London and that fan club is the Borussia Dortmund Fan Club London.
In preparation for the 13/14 season a strong Facebook presence was set up and the first 100 followers were won, that was followed by a partnership with the UK office of Puma sportswear Borussia’s official kit supplier. In November Dortmund were drawn against Arsenal in the second round of the Champions League, our second event. Dortmund was to finally come to London! At relatively short notice we organised in partnership with Puma a Warehouse party for 150 ticketless supporters! We also managed to get more than ten members into the ground! On what was a glorious evening the Dortmund team returned to Westfalia with a 1-0 win, and the Borussia Dortmund Fan Club London forged firm friendships with a number of other fan clubs from Germany like Scharnhorst, Nordhessen and Hamburg Sailors.
Our Stammtisch meet ups now at a German pub Zeitgeist in Vauxhall were getting bigger, now sometimes upwards of 30 Borussen were coming to watch Bundesliga and enjoy Brinkhoffs beer together and our membership and our Facebook following reached 200 and membership was up to 30 paying members. In the summer we also took part in the Suedtribuenenmeisterschaft, the fan club tournament run by Borussia Dortmund and achieved a respectable 16th place out of 80 teams. Our team included two swiss members Andreas Abeglenn and Mirco Sutter from Basel. Many friends were made at the tournament including BVB Legend Sigi Held, star of the 1966 Cup winners cup wining team and the England world cup and fan clubs like the Seeborussen. A number of interviews took place with Ruhr Nachrichten and Reviersport and Radio 91.2 as well as the local student radio Eldoradio too helping us win recognition.
The highlights of the summer break included 2 of the members of the fan club, Richard Fereday and Ben McFadyean being selected to play for a BVB fans and legends team including Dortmund star Lars Ricken, scorer of the decisive goal of the greatest moment of the BVB’s history the 97 Champions League win against Juventus in Munich, against Sheffield FC, the game was won 5-2 by Dortmund and was an absolutely incredible experience for Richard and Ben having the chance to represent the amazing Borussia Dortmund and enter in the annals of BVB history as official players even if only for one day! Meeting Lars was also an honour and there will always be many stories to tell of that summer. Later in August Dortmund came to England for a friendly match at Liverpool FC. The Fan club got together with the London Reds, the official Liverpool FC fan club to organise a trip to the world famous Anfield ground to see the match together but after many weeks of planning the trip, the trip was cancelled due to a death in the family of the organiser, fan club president Ben. This was followed by hospitalisation a summer of many highlights and some low points. Like our club we always see the light and recognise the best in every situation. That’s why we are BVB.
Thanks to the hard work and commitment of the fan club committee members we continued to grow as a club, paying members now doubled to 60 and already the magical 1000 followers on Facebook was reached. A huge highlight was the club’s interview with current BVB star defender Neven Subotic in September of 2015. Neven’s support for the club was amazing in giving us an interview, he was made an honorary member and will always be a firm favourite of the London fan club. During the Christmas season break, Media partnerships were also agreed for our club to provide content for football sites like Australia’s Outside 90, a dedicated football website and establlished BVB Fanzine Gib Mich die Kirsche, editor Holger Sitter even became a member of the club and we met with him for beers and an interview in Dortmund and provided many articles for the fanzine including an homage to Juergen Klopp and interviews with ex BVB Star Niclas Jensen, Neven Subotic and Joerg Heinrich and Martin Kree which can still be enjoyed on the website today.
During 14/15 season the regular Stammtisch meet up continued at the Zeitgeist pub. For the first time the fan club designed its own very popular T-shirts. Borussia was drawn again against Arsenal this time, 6 of the members attended the match at the Emirates including treasurer Jens Boyer but this occasion was not to be a Dortmund night, Borussia lost the game 2-0. The clubs attending members including Wesley Prickett and Ben McFadyean won many new friends amongst travelling Borussia fans at the traditional friendlly pre-match fan march and in the away supporters pub at the Emirates, The Drayton Arms. Amongst others friendships were won with the Indonesia Fan Club, the Ost Borussen, the Ratisbona the Regenburg BVB fan club from Bavaria and the 1881 Fan club of Watford FC. In a very mixed season where Dortmund were bottom of the league at Christmas and worked their way through courageous displays, an outstanding striker in Aubameyang and a tiny bit of luck, back up to 7th and Europaleague qualification by the end of the season. Sadly it was not to be all sunshine however, at the end of the season the news was announced that our long standing manager Kloppo (Juergen Klopp) was leaving at the end of the season. This left a lot of question marks in our minds, Kloppo had been so much part of our success since 2008 and brought so many titles including the 2011 championship and 2012 double. The club’s director’s appointed Thomas Tuchel from Mainz 05 a highly recognised manager so we had a lot to look forward to.
The highlights of the fan club that summer were an interviiew for the UK fans with Michael Lusch, number 5 in the all time record list of most Borussia matches played, who also accepted our offer to become an honorary member adding to the list of three honorary members amongst former players, quite an honour for a small fan club in a foreign country. The biggest achievement of the summer however was the official certification of the fan club as a certified Fan club by Borussia Dortmund which we received via email from Petra Stucker of the BVB Fan department on 26/7/14 – a huge moment for the English BVB fan club – achieving official recognition. The biggest party of the season was the DFB Pokal final match v VFL Wolfsburg, a plan was hatched to give the DFB Pokal a great home in London for one night. With the support of Dortmund’s official beer Brinkhoffs half of the Zeitgeist pub was booked and around One hundred and fifty members and friends and members came together. Special final commemerative T-shirts were printed to encourage our leaving manager Kloppo to win one more title ‘Do it one more time Rockstar’ was the motto of the night.
A great party came together but the result was not as encouraging, Kloppo saw his Borussen lose 1-0 to an in-form Wolfsburg team – 2nd that season in the table which included superstars like now Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne. The party secured the fan club many new members, we passed 100 with 1000 followers on social media for the first this was matched by some amazing press coverage including interviews with Iceland TV, a programme dedicated to the club by Sky TV Germany which was filmed in Germany and London by club members Wesley Pickett, Andrew Gowans and Ben McFadyean and radio interview with german radio station WDR at Zeitgeist. That season members of the club also attended matches in Germany at the Westfalenstadion against Augsburg and FC Koeln and in the Champions league against Zenith St Petersburg including the legendary striker Hulk.
In the summer break, a great little team including member’s like Oscar, Ben’s brother, Naif Hilemban, Felix Ryzdek and Dennis Abassi also took part again in the Suedtribuenenmeisterschaft, the Borussia Dortmund fan club tournament and achieved a strong 8th place scoring 33 – 3 goals of which 2 were scored against us in the quarterfinal, what a great achievement for only our second appearance. We also did a number of interviews including local radio 91.2 and German football magazine Reviersport. BVB Superstars Kevin Grosskreutz and Nuri Sahin visited the tournament which was also a real highlight. Kevin a true Suedtribuenen legend having held a season ticket and been one of the first to go from fan to player we were all excited to encounter him.
The 15/16 season saw great excitement as new manager Thomas Tuchel started bringing in new signings including Julian Weigl and Castro. The fan club secured a partnership with sports retailer Kitbag for discounts on BVB merchandise for the members. In November founder Ben spoke for the first time representing English fans at the Annual General meeting of Dortmund, meeting Carsten Cramer the marketing director and Dr. Rainhart Rauball, the great president of the club, making many new friends including the wonderful ladies Fan club the Champagner Borussen. Fot the first time we also reached 100 paying members – a real reason to celebrate as we were able to invest in new t-shirts and stickers and merchandise. We also gained a new flag as a gift from Brinkhoffs brewery, BVB’s official beer to replace the flag we lost on a Ryanair flight to Dortmund. No amount of pleading saw the flag being returned and we were hugely grateful to Herbert Marquhardt the Brewery’s fan manager for the amazing gift. meet up. Zeitgeist pub then became Bierschenke in Liverpool Street. Many had complained about the location of Zeitgeist being a good 15 minutes walk from a tube station and with Bierschenke brilliantly located 5 minutes from Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations and having some outstanding german beer and food we really made a move up. In terms of promotional work, the fan club welcomed DWTV, the german government’s cultural channel back to film our meet up. DWTV had been at the very first Champion’s league final party in 2013. This time they came for the Revierderby and following two days of filming a short programme was released on the official Bundesliga channel ‘Dortmund v Schalke Derby fever for the London BVB Fan club’. The programmme was watched by a remarkable 17000 football fans around the world generating 90 new followers and 15 new membership in one week – a record for the club.
Borussia bravely battled through the 15/16 Europaleague season, a we were hugely excited when the last 16 draw resulted in a duell with London club Tottenham Hotspurs, it was to be London again, we London based Borussen were hugelly excited to see BVB play here and to welcome Dortmund fans from Germany again in numbers.With the help of the Fanabteilung and in particular Sebastian Walleit and Daniel Loercher who helped to promote the party on the BVB official website and twitter page (a huge and very valued support and recognition by Borussia Dortmund for our fan club!) we organised a party at the Yager bar opposite St Paul’s cathedral.Over 60 travellling Borussen from Germany and other European countries were joined bya crowd of British Borussia Dortmund supporters. The encounter was very warm, great songs and beers and a brilliant atmospher provided by the Yager bar staff.
‘Gemuetlichkeit’ garanteed, a night out with the fan club 2015
Our successful 2016 crowdfunding project to gain our own BVB Taxi in London, the yellow submarine.
Fun highlights the helium balloons, long-standing members Sujan Kukreja and Mario Hadad can and did sing some songs about that and the launch of our crowdfunding project on Berlin’s crowfunding platform Startnext, the website that had been used to fund the highly succesful film ‘Am Borsigplatz Geboren, about the roots of our club in the early 1900’s and its early glories. The crowfunding project which soon attracted a great deal of support from across the fan base was to achieve an amazing promotional tool to attract a more fans to BVB in London, we decided to raise funds to have a London taxi resprayed in Borussia Dortmund’s black and yellow -a traditional London cab with a difference, BVB themed to promote our fan club – we had come a long way since the party back in 2013!
The crowdfunding project was helped by the charismatic and cool footie mad owner member Marshall Gadanzara, his stories of meeting german football legends like Kloppo and Liverpool great Didi Hammann really gave a unique flavour to the crowdfunding which attracted press and fan interest alike. Thanks to a collection at the event and great gifts of £500 from the BVB Fan department and over £600 provided by fans the club achieved its objective of a London BVB Cab. Our friends at DWTV filmed the first journey. On the back of this promotion and some amazing BVB results, the club losing only 3 games all season, the fan club achieved 3000 followers for the first time and broke the 200 paying members mark.We were growing by 100 followers a week on Facebook during the peak of the season making BVB the most popular german football club in the UK by some distance.
A fan club member Eric with a special BVB guest ex manager Juergen Klopp.
One of many football matches for the fan club this time we beat Red Dragons Bayern fan club London 5-4 on penalities Hackney February 2016.
Fan club trips were organised to watch the FC Koeln match at Dortmund and members attended games against VFL Wolfsburg. We also attended the last 16, Propaleague match, a group of 12 of us attended including Peter, Szaby, Bastian and Ben the highlight apart from the amazing 3-0 win for our black and yellows was member Christoph introducing to Marcel Schmelzer’s wife the lovely Jenny Schmelzer.
Our football playing team was also in action again, players including Hasan Abassii, Christoph Schoeppner, James McGovern, Mario Hadad, Sam Shetran, Peter Barczack, Tom Lamb, Bastian Bauer and other members played friendly matches against Red Dragons Bayern Fan Club at Hackney Marshes, winning on penalties against local rivals the highly established local rivals Red Dragons, Bayern Munchen Fan club in a challenging match on penalties, 5-4 incidentally the fourth cup of our club’s young history.
We could only gain from the displays by the ‘big Borussen’ under Thomas Tuchel BVB played an thrilling season, the fan club’s popularity especially amongst English fans grew immensely. Our new Stammtisch was attracting up to 30 fans at a time. We also did many interviews including Sky TV UK, and two with BBC Radio Merseyside.
The highlight of the season was an incredible week in April which included a friendly match which we won 5-0 against London Reds, the officlal London based LFC fan club, a great joint lunch and exchange of gifts and scarves which featured on Mexican TV Sports show Lente TV,a live interview on Germany’s classic football show Zeigler’s Wunderbare Welt des Fussballs on WDR topped off by a congratulatory email from BVB’ marketing director Carsten Cramer and a trip together with the London Reds to the quarterfinal of the Europaleague at Anfield.15 members of our fan club including regular Facebook contributor Mario, Pia, Karin, Gernot, Martin, Szaby, Peter, Marshall, Bjorn and Ben plus Kris from the Nordhessen Fan club and Martin from the Berlin Supporters travelled and although it was a very unforgiving road trip. The friendship between the Liverpool and BVB fans is the stuff of memories. Dortmund lost on a last minute goal but what we will all remember was the joint YNWA – You’ll never walk alone before the match, it was the closest we in England had ever experienced to that amazing Suedtribuene energy the passion and the commitment of the Reds fans was amazing especially being days before the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster noone that night will ever forget Anfield 2016.
Borussia London v Liverpool London Reds, official fan club 5-0 to the BvB April 2016
Fan Club Champions League meet up 2015
Our BVB faced Bayern in the DFB Pokal final 2016 on 21st May and lost 6-5 on penalties we had an amazing Stammtisch party with over 100 members and friends in attendance however still a good climax to a very good season where Dortmund finished second and automatically qualified for the Champions league 16/17.
In addition to the loss of greats like Captain Matts Hummels, Henrik Mkhitaryan and BVB old boy Ilkay Guendogan the club saw not uncontroversially the return of Mario Goetze from Bayern, a record signing of Andre Schuerle from Wolfsburg and Ousamane Dembele and European championship winner Rapha Guerreiro amongst a group of signings. This was also the breakthrough season for youngsters Christian Pulisic and Felix Passlack. Saw many new innovations and great meet ups and events at the fan club as we followed BVB through a rollercoaster of a season, for the first time we managed to attend 20 matches in one season as a club with some of the highlights being 6 of us at the Revierderby, we travelled by our very own Fan club Taxi from London and were warmly welcomed by defender Neven Subotic and a group of Dortmunders who had won a reader’s competion to take a spin in the cab with Neven – a great night especially when Neven became an honorary member and signed our fan club flag. A small group of 5 members attended the home 1-0 win over champions Bayern when we met up with the Israelische Borussen Fan club the BVB fan club from Israel. 4 members including president Ben and his nephew Gordon also attended the 2-2 draw in the Champions league away fixture at Real Madrid in December. The season also saw new honorary members ex Dortmund player’s Paul Lambert, Scott Booth, Joerg Heinrich and Martin Kree join. Aswell we moved to the new Dabeppe bar in Marleybone an Italian pizzeria and sportsbar where we enjoy our own cellar bar with giant screen and regularly gather a brilliant group of friends for beers and BVB – the best combination! The fan club football team took part in the Suedtribuenenmeisterschaft 2017 gaining a respectable 16th place we also played friendly matches against West London Celtic Fan Club who we beat 6-5 on penalties but also suffered our first loss as a fan club in a friendly against the French embassy football club in a 7 a side. A low point for the community was the Champions league bomb scare before the match v AS Monaco our regular meet up that night had to be cancelled and all of us were left in great schock on hearing the events. The meet-up was rescheduled and attended by 20 fans but needless to say the results of the matches and Dortmund’s elimination were secondary to us all the main thing was that the BVB were all safe. 30 of us attended the following weekend at the Bundesliga fixture v Eintracht Frankfurt to show our solidarity with Dortmunders and we handed 22 emails we had received from other English football fan groups via Christian Wall of the Gelbewand Nordhessen to Nobbie Dickel the Stadium announcer and BVB TV presenter. BVB acknowledged our gesture of solidarity in an email and Ben was a guest on Radio 91.2 in Dortmund. Amongst the many meet ups was an amazing Semifinal night which saw BVB defeat Bayern in Munich was also attended by Bundesliga writer and new member Terry Duffelen and the DFB Pokal final which was attended by 60 London Borussen at Dabeppe bar and many guests. Members Florian, Nathan and Ben were at the Stadium in Berlin and saw the BVB win the first silverware since the double in 2012. The German U19 final was also attended by Tom and Ben of the fan club which saw BVB win the championship for the second year in a row beating Bayern Munich in front of 35,000 spectators at the home ground – a record for a youth match!
It is fair to say that BVB is now a really popular club in England and we’d like to think we played our role in London winning 11,000 followers for our social media and 400 members for the fan club. We cannot thank enough the staff at BVB and all the friends from Germany who met with us at games, visited our Stammtisch in London and supported our taxi and played in our team generally who contribute to making the club what it is – one of the best BVB fan clubs worldwide!
As we speak a match is in the planning BVB Fans, a united London, Edinburgh Borussen, Planet Dortmund fan club teams v the Borussia Dortmund Tradtionsmannschaft, the Dortmund legends team made up of truly greats from the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and last decades like Frank Mill, Gunether Kutowski, Joerg Heinrich, Martin Kree, David Odonkor, Thomas Schulz and Kalle Riedle scheduled for October 2017 at the ground of FC Sheffield the oldest football club in the world the fan club are busy preparing with friendly fixtures set against the UK Fan Club of Hertha BSC Berlin and the Manchester United Fan Club in Surrey.
The legends team webpage can be found at: www.bvb.de/Mannschaften/Tradition/Traditionsmannschaft
Where will the Journey take us going forward? Why not visit our shop and by clicking on the yellow members card icon join the fan club and find out?
There is simply no better family football club than Borussia Dortmund, we hope you too will catch the black and yellow bug and we look forward to meeting you for a Bier soon!
P.S Take a look at the first ever event on Facebook of the fan club May 2013