Jacob Sweetman: I'm Kevin Neuhaus and so is my wife

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@berlinwhite

Okay, the shirt thing was a wind up, but lets carry this on.... Sorry mate, there was no chance today, but send me an email and we'll go in a fortnight.... sports@exberliner.com

Thanks to you and to Woody for the argument. And bigger thanks to kevin neuhaus for scoring a beauty yesterday, perpetuating the legend even further!

At least we can agree that some people do love lower level football in this city, and that we should do all we can to get more people going. To all the teams. Good luck ,

Jacob

Sweetman more than 5 years ago

bfc match

@jacob
today at sport forum, are you going? if so gi´s a quick note.

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

names

of course it should read aNkaraspor.
i really wish there was an edit option on here.

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

shirts, snobbery etc.

@ jacob

leeds (or should i say don revie) changed for an all white home strip in the 1961/62 season (quite a while before they became sucessful). they´ve also changed the club crest various times since: from the leeds coat of arms to an owl, to one that just had the letters lufc, the "smilie" crest, the peackock, the yorkshire rose with the football in the centre, and the current one (plus some minor changes to said images inbetween). however, leeds united never changed their name, ground and entire fanbase so this comparison seems a bit silly tbh.

for the record: berlner athletik club 07 were an old west berlin club (founded, as you might have guessed, in 1907). until a couple of years ago they had gates similar to those of other west berlin clubs in the oberliga (about 200 on average). in 2004 bak merged with bsv mitte (who before were fenerbace berlin). in 2006 the club changed its name to berlin akaraspor kulübü (because of some planned joint venture with turkish süperligue club akaraspor that never really happened), abandoned the old crest and club colours. doing so they alienated the original fanbase (you´ll find hardly anybody there these days who would have followed bak before 2006). the poststadion is the 4th ground they´re playing in since 2006. as i said, i don´t have anything against bak, frankly i couldn´t give a wank about them. i was just giving the english lad(s) who, for whatever funny reasons, chose to go and watch them vs. dynamo some basic info on the club and why i think they are currently doing so well (and what this will most probably mean for their future). the bak/leeds camparison doesn´t make any sense at all. in fact one could draw parallels between bak and wimbledon fc (now mk dons).

re. fc magnet bar: i didn´t even know the english lads had gone there (it was a wild guess on my part.) however, i think there´s a massive difference between real fans (those who go to watch their team week in, week out (or at least as often as they can/can afford), check every result and news story on a daily basis etc pp., and the "armchair brigade". (or, as you put it, people pretending to like football. exactly my point, that).

of course you don´t HAVE TO BE a berliner to like lower league football or know about it. what i was saying - and i don´t consider that a jibe, just stating a fact - was that the people who frequent fc magnet bar in their overwhelming majority don´t care about that matter (because they´re not from here originally and mainly support teams from outside berlin like e.g. gladbach, stuttgart, st. pauli etc .pp.). and i bet you a round of shandies that NONE of them has what i´d consider rudimentary knowledge of lower league footie in berlin. in other words: they´re not exactly the ones i would ask if i wanted to learn about football in berlin in general, and lower league football in berlin in particular.

mot
steve

ps: as you mentioned hoffenheim: plastic club & total fake, the epitome "modern football".

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

Money

I guess it is a grim reality that money matters, but for me as a football fan, it is pretty far down the list of things i care about.

It sounds as if you are a Leeds fan and i know they have suffred from financial mis management. My own team (Watford) have flirted with administration, and i live on the South Coast where Southampton and Portsmouth have both suffered financial penalties.

Fair play to BAK for giving it ago, the players seem to be doing a pretty good job on the pitch even if you are suspicious about the guys running the club.

Just to clear a few things up; I am English (we all were), i'm not trendy and i'm not a yuppy . I just enjoy going to football.

Woody more than 5 years ago

bak

@ woody

i wish you were right re. footie and money. however, in this day and age football is all about money, even in the poxy league that is the german oberliga (5th division). you and i may not like that, but it´s a fact.

in germany teams in the top 5 leagues have to apply for a license every season. to get a license they have to proof to the football authorities that they can afford to play in their respective leagues, pay the players wages, guarantee the day-to-day running of their clubs etc. pp.. and in this process they have to lay open their figures re. turnover, projected income etc. pp.

now, as i mentioned before we had some prime examples of clubs knowingly giving utterly wrong data to the league authorities in recent years. tennis borussia and turkiyemspor signed loads of players they couldn´t really afford who helped them winning the league in recent years. doing that they massively overspent and consequentially went bust the season after and nearly out of existence. just ask tebe fans how they felt when the shit hit the fan (hehey, nice pun that! ;)). doing so they also kept other clubs who are run on a sound budget and keep their house in order off the promotion places (in both of the cases mentioned dynamo suffered by losing out on promotion btw).

bak (who i, just to stress this again, i have nothing against as a club) solely live on the money of their man sponsor. they make hardly any money from gates, catering or merchandising. their current official attendance figures are totally exaggerated, imho for one reason and one reason only: they have to tell the league authorities how much money they are expecting to make from tickets/catering/merchandise next season to gain a license for league 4. if you have average gates of 300 (my estimate for them this year, and that´s me being rather generous) you can´t go to the league and tell them that, for next season, you expect 1.000 on average because no-one would believe that, and rightly so. in other words: should bak go up this season (which isn´t clear atm as other teams are catching up) the chance of them going against the wall next year imho is about 99,9%.

i know the guys at fc magnet mitte bar (and those who are regulars) are football fans (i live about 10 mins walking distance from there), and good lads too. but they do hardly have a clue about football in berlin in the higher leagues (hertha and union, whos fans don´t frequent said bar) and absolutely none about that in the lower leagues. as i mentioned, most of the people there are no born-and-bred berliners (who, for exactly that reason, refuse to go there) but people who moved to this fine city in recent years, mainly from the former west, and they all keep supporting their old clubs. borussia möchengladbach fans e.g. meet there every week to watch their team play. bak´s p.r. man (who´s only been doing that job for a few weeks now) is one of them. i know as i´m a aquaintant of his.

mot
steve

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

Swapping kits as an example

is a bit disingenuous, as surely your team changed to an all white kit to look like real madrid in the 1970's. What about your tradition etc etcetc?

We will have to see what hapens with BAK if they do get promoted this season as neither of us can predict what will happen with licenses etc. Look at Hertha's mystery donor who has stumped up another €8m today to serevice the massive debts. How is that better than what you say is happening at BAK?

As for your jibe about the magnet, inverted snobbery is still just snobbery. There is no such thing as a REAL football fan. Whether someone knows or cares about lower level football in berlin is neither dependent on the being a berliner, or them being a true dyed in the wool fan. The bar they drink in is not important. I actually was in there for the first tiome on wednesday and it was full to the rafters of people pretending to like football, and they were all shouting for Barca. Not BAK.

Woody mate, don't worry, I don't think youre a yuppy!

Anyway, cheers for the argument. Thats what this blog needs. I will be REALLY rude about BFC next week and we'll try and hit 100 comments.


Sweetman more than 5 years ago

Money

Football isn't about money. It's a game, we all enjoy watching it and having a laugh while we do. I never understand why fans conversations turn to money and who is the 'bigger' club.

This season BAK are top of the league (i won't profess to knowing a great deal about them) that must be on merit, and we took them to our hearts.

The guys at FC Magnet Mitte bar are football fans, they are also kind and welcoming guys who should make you proud to be a Berliner. It is people like them who make us want to come back to Berlin.

Woody more than 5 years ago

mistakes

couple of silly errors (here should read hear, there should read their etc.) in the posts below. sorry. i was watching footie as i typed. hope you got the drift anyway.

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

bak

what regards roots/tradition: bak, who are an old west berlin club, cut theirs off completely a couple of years back when they changed their name to ankaraspor (!!!), their badge, and even their colours (from blue-white to red-white). the only asset they currently have (apart from mr. han´s wallet) is the neat bang in the city centreground they play in. however, even the best ground looks shite when it´s empty.

last point: i have no problems with clubs "trying something new". what i do have a problem with though are clubs telling the authorities utter porkies about their financial position/clout, then going on a financial harikiri mission to get promoted, in that process keeping other teams who are working on a sound business plan/financial basis (meaning don´t spend more than they can afford) off the promotion places and then go against the wall the season after. but that´s exactly what tebe and turkiyem did (and where they have failed) and i am 100% convinced the same would happen at bak if they were allowed to go up.

i could tell you the story about a famous football club that once was "living the dream" (including leased goldfish etc.) and how it all ended in tears. it´s the club i support but you may have already guessed that from my nick. ;)

regards
steve

ps: the trendy intellectual crowd you meet at e.g. fc magnet mitte bar is not exactly representative for berlin footie fans. in fact, most of the people there don´t have the slightest clue about said topic. i mean, there are hardly ever any proper (as in born and bred) berliners in that place...

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

bak

@jacob

i would have to go through the statistics of former years (which i can´t be aresed to tbh) to deliver detailed figures but i´m pretty sure that for the last couple of seasons only two berlin teams had half-decent gates in the oberliga: dynamo (although there attendences are still poor measured on their potential) and tebe. all other clubs (including bak) did not draw much more than 200 on average.

this year bfc have been underperforming and therefore only been drawing about 900 per game on average. bak, on the other hand (and due to their lofty league position), have drawn considerably more than in recent years, officially about 500 on average. this number, however, is highly inflated as we here from neutral/fans of other clubs who´ve watched them this year. tebe fans e.g. reported that there were no more than 500 at the game (officially more than 800) and i´m 100% sure that last sunday there were no more than 600 in the ground. in other words: they probably have not even had 300 on average. which really is piss-poor if you take their league position into account.

the reason for bak giving these inflated figures imho is that you have to tell the authorities how many people you are expecting (how much money your are making from gates) in the licensing procedure for the regionalliga. you have to proof (well, sort of, didn´t really work in the past as tebe and turkiyem showed) that you can make enough money to survive to get a license. it also sounds better to potential sponsors.

imo one would need at least half a million euros per season to have a chance of surviving in the regionalliga. the only club in berlin (apart from hertha and union, of course) who could potentially recoup this through ticket money, catering/ merchandising and sponsors are bfc (by quite a long distance if you ask me). if they went up next year they would imo get 2.000-2.500 on average due to a) a lot of the old fanbase coming back and b) some east german clubs like magdeburg bringing a couple of thousand to bfc.

don´t get me wrong, i have nothing against bak as a club (they mean nothing to me) nor do i doubt the managerial skills of mr. foroutan or the p.r. skills of mr. mueller (hallo ingo, if you read this...;)) what i do doubt, however is that ali han/bak have the financial power to pay for/survive in the regionalliga. i also doubt that bak will win a considerable number of new fans in the nearer future. we had a chat with some members of the german press a while ago who explicitely told us that after hertha and union the only other berlin club that the public are measurably interested in are bfc (although often for the wrong reasons).

to be continued...

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

@berlinwhite

From what I've seen over the last couple of years BAK's attendences haven't been much worse than those of anyone else in the Oberliga. This year they have definitely grown after the bounce of the game against Mainz and having a competitive team, many of whom came over from Türkiyemspor. But I'm not convinced by the "Turkish fans" argument. Certainly Türkiyem' have tried very hard to be representative of their Kreuzberg roots, which doesn't necessarily mean Turkish at all. BAK seem to be trying the similar (as are TeBe, though their case is obviously different) tack and attracting new fans put off by bigger football.

Whether or not they would survive in the Rgeionalliga is another matter, but the manager Foroutan is no mug, and left Türkiyem after keeping them up last year, for BAK- presumably because he was convinced that they were in it for the long haul.

To be fair to Türkiyemspor also they are far from a new phenomenon and have been hamstrung by, as you point out, the higher wages etc of the Regionalliga, but also by not having their own ground any more. They are, however, bound for relegation and it will be tricky for them to survive it. This is (from what I can tell) due to financial mismanagement and bickering as much as their lack of support (though that is an issue).

As I'm sure you'll agree football in this city is a funny old bird, mate. It is notoriously difficult to "create" a fanbase from nothing (Ask Paris St Germain), but can be done with cash and time and success (Hoffenheim). I wouldn't want to say with certainty anything that will happen in the future, but as an outsider am very happy that there are people willing to try something new. That is not meant as a dig at BFC, the more teams competing here the better.....

sweetman more than 5 years ago

@ woody



Kevin who ..?
.. In my league? no, I do not think so .. I do not live in berlin .. and play football for years no more .. but I know that from me .. and I know the BFC Dynamo .. once I was here in england at the European Cup against this club ... But Bak ..?

England more than 5 years ago

bak-bfc rivalry

@jacob

this rivalry is totally played up by bak if you ask me. their press officer/stadium speaker (who happens to be an aquaintant of mine) is surely doing a good job there but i´m afraid bak´s chances of becoming even a minor force in berlin football are extremely limited (and that´s already a massive exaggeration. there´s more chance of dumpy´s rusty nuts winning the brits if you ask me.)

bak are living solely on the money of its main donor mr. ali han. their attendances are pathetic (don´t believe the official numbers they´re giving. they´re just as bloated as last weekend´s official figure). bak hardly make any money at the gates or from selling merch/catering, which isn´t going to change anytime soon.

there were a couple of attempts in recent years to establish a "turkish team" in berlin, all of them bombed spectacularly. the latest example are turkiyemspor who got promoted last year (and, by the looks of it, totally overspent in the process) who are now more or less finished (nailed on for relegation) and nearly bankrupt. the problem for teams like bak or turkiyem is that, since the arrival of sattelite tv, the turkish community of berlin (which would be the natural target audience for said clubs) would rather stay at home or in turkish bars and watch their favourite teams (basiktas, fenerbace or galata... sorry, can´t bring myself to write that club´s name) in the turkish league than enduring piss-poor footy in a nearly empty ground.

if bak go up this season (which isn´t sure at all as a number of clubs like hansa´s reserves are snapping at their heels) i predict them coming straight down again (and probably going bust in the process). the regionalliga (4th division) is a funny league. first you have the amateur teams (reserves) of bigger clubs who don´t bring any fans. then there are the old east german clubs like magdeburg, halle, chemnitz etc.. who would bring thousands to bfc (a lot of history there, and bfc still are a big name/draw for them) but would only take a handful to bak as no-one (and i mean NO-ONE) cares about them.

on the other hand you need considerably more money in the regionalliga than in the oberliga. a) only to get a license (i believe the officioals will take a very close look at bak´s finances as two of the last berlin teams who got promoted - tebe and turkiyemspor - went bust midway through the following season. and everyone with an ounce of knowledge in berlin football knew that this was bound to happen). b) longer away travels (in the oberliga the majority of teams are from berlin or brandenburg) + bigger wages (if they want to keep your best players, let alone strengthen their squad).

all in all the potential of bak vs. bfc becoming a proper derby imho is non-existent. both clubs have been playing in the same league for quite some time now but bak donte appear on the radar of bfc fans unless the two clubs meet. bak might want to become rivals but it´s not going to happen i´m afraid.

steve

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

@Berlinwhite

Cheers for your comments mate, A bit of self justification if i may.... I did play up the rivalry a bit, but it is forming, and is in many ways a sign of how far BFC have slumped. To be fair i think it is in BAK's interests to have a rivalry with BFC and not necessarily the other way around, but if BAK don't go up I do think the potential is there for it to become a proper derby.

The crowd didn't look as big as they said, but I just took the official number. The police were mostly basking in the sunshine, I didnt mean to imply (and dont think I did) that there was any trouble.

I was directly behind the English boys, so they were the dominant voices by a mile for me. It may not have travelled, but I could hear the Fraktion lot, so presumed they could hear the english. .

However I'm glad we agree that the game was rubbish. I do like the way that BAK are trying to go about things, and think that they also try and play nice football. This helps.

Anyway, thanks for yer comments mate and I'll definitely see you at the Sportforum soon.

Jacob

Sweetman more than 5 years ago

England

What is BAK 07..?? A meal or drink...?

I think it is both, like a pint of Guiness, a bowl of soup or a Choc Ice.


But what is BAK..???

They are the team at the top of your league, i'm surprised you haven't noticed, try looking up every once in a while

Kevin Neuhaus would have destroyed you

Woody more than 5 years ago

bfc

ey up jacob

nice little article of yours that. however, there are a few things that imho are wide off the mark therefore i´d like to set the record straight.

1.) there´s absolutely no rivalry between bfc and bak whatsover. there was (as you mentioned) a bit of bad blood after last year´s berlin cup final (the repeat of which in 2 weeks time will surely be a tasty one) but that aside there´s no history between both clubs whatsoever and the vast majority of bfc fans don´t give a flying eff about bak let alone consider them rivals (that´s union berlin, and maybe some other clubs from the former g.d.r. like e.g. dynamo dresden). this might change next season (provided bak don´t get promoted this year) as there will be a number of clubs battling for 4 promotion spots (i assume bfc will be one of them).

2.) there were nowhere near 500 bfc at the match. i´d say 300 tops. not a lot for bfc standards (they took 2.000 to cottbus last year) but still considerably more than the homeside could muster (i´d say 200 at the best). where the the bak officals got there 900+ crowd figure from is totally beyond me.

3.) the atmosphere was subdued (if not shite). bfc have nothing to play for this season (they´re building a team for next year), it was a nice sunny afternoon so (except for the 50 or so bfc ultras) most of the away support were just enjoying the first beams of sunshine this year and/or chatting away (when they weren´t cueing at the beer stand where the very friendly but rather out of their depth bak staff were trying to cope with the demands of those evil thirsty east berliners. rather unsuccessfully i might add.) and as you mentíoned the game wasn´t exactly thrilling to watch.

4.) i don´t think the vast majority of bfc lads even realised there were english people in the ground. i surely didn´t. tbh i didn´t hear anything at all from the homeside but that may have been due to the fact that i was stood a bit away from the bfc ultras as they were getting on my tits.

5.) gi´s a shout when you´re coming to sportforum will ya.

regards
steve

berlinwhite more than 5 years ago

response

Ah, my dear 'England'...your passion is admirable...your terminology is terrible, but your passion I cannot knock. You would have been a truly admirable foe at last week's game.
I think the reason why we are fans of BAK is purely down to their honest and welcoming approach to football...not something that has been said about Dynamo over the years. Let us not squabble - i wish both teams every success.

Davey Dave more than 5 years ago

....

I'm from cardiff .. I know the bfc dynamo too well .. a great club with a great story .. it is real shame what happened to the club .. I hope you will be back soon and get more successful on ..

cardiff more than 5 years ago

@England

The reason the article was a bit BAK centric is, frankly, because the game was terrible, and they provided a story. full stop. I'll be at the Sportforum to write about Dynamo soon, and then BAK fans can complain about it being not about them. I do like them as a club though.Read the whole thing though, there was no offence to the honour of BFC.
I'm not sure I understand the "Not English" comment, so won't, er, comment.
Jacob

Sweetman more than 5 years ago

.....

What is BAK 07..?? A meal or drink...? You are no english people..You are Yuppies and cringe-making..A real shame for England. I know BFC Dynamo...This team has a long history in europe. But what is BAK..???

England more than 5 years ago

New Haus - New Hero

I agree with all the above - thanks so much to all at BAK 07 for being so hospitable and welcoming. WE WILL BE BACK.

Davey Dave more than 5 years ago

Ha ha!

Drunken? How VERY dare you sir...!

Good article though.

Jamie van der Westhuizen more than 5 years ago

One Kevin Neuhaus

Any article that compares Kevin Neuhaus to Luther Blissett is OK by me!!

A massive thanks to everyone who made us feel so welcome in Berlin.

Good luck to BAK '07 for the rest of the season, we'll be back

Woody more than 5 years ago

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