Hand on heart, dear reader, when was your last hangover?

Mine is still holding up. And this is the umpteenth time in the last few weeks. Why do I keep getting myself into this situation? It’s simple: I have a favorite football club that always gives me this special “hope hangover”, as I call it. I have been following the path, the fate of Hertha BSC with commitment for decades, feel connected to the club and suffer with it (see above). Yes, Hertha stayed in the league at the last minute, but after a great deal of relief and joy, the anxious question is now whether and how things will get better next season. You remember HSV’s long ailment before it was relegated – and how long has it been trying to get back up?

For me, as a native of West Berlin, there weren’t too many local football clubs with which I could develop an “emotional relationship”, so I was only too happy to sympathize with Hertha early on and hoped for interesting and successful times.

But Hertha didn’t have it easy: West Berlin depended on a drip from “West Germany”, but Hertha was allowed to be part of the Bundesliga. The club also had a hard time in the city of West Berlin itself – many men (then as now the main target group) had come to Berlin so as not to have to go to the “Bund” – of course they had brought their enthusiasm for the home club with them and only went to the Olympiastadion if their club had an away game. Also, no hinterland where fans – at least in person – could be recruited.

These are just a few reasons. But those times are long gone and the club has basically just kept going. Meanwhile, there is the city rivalry with Union, a club that was originally the capital club and is popular above all for its opposition to BFC Dynamo, whose support at the same time meant a not silent protest. In its development, Union is something of a counterpoint to Hertha, Köpenick vs. Charlottenburg, two very different districts and histories, whereby Hertha rather shows the behavior of the famous captain: more appearances than reality, big mouth, simple mind. Unfortunately, we don’t really trust the captain anymore, too often he has put our credulity, no, our trust, to the test and thus – felt – upset.

And now? What’s next? If the club doesn’t want to go under, professionalism and culture must finally find their way. The latter is not so easy, because culture has to grow. So the sooner it is sown, the better. Goals must be formulated and an answer given as to which concept the association stands for and which image it wants to create internally and externally. Otherwise the “old lady” will need nursing care.

The sooner we start working towards it together, the better. We, the fans, who are also known elsewhere as “Tifosi” (= “those who suffer from football fever”), are always happy to invest our enthusiasm, our commitment, our hope. Even if the (hopeful) hangover usually follows on the heels. We already know that. Then we are angry and disappointed for a day and say: Never again!

Tomorrow everything will be the same as always: No, we’re not going home.