Ultras without respect: the public humiliation of Hertha professionals is counterproductive

P. Köster: cabin sermon
Ultras without respect: the public humiliation of Hertha professionals is counterproductive

Banal end in itself: Hertha’s Peter Pekarik (right) takes off his jersey after Ultras have asked for it

© Soren Stache / DPA

Ultras forcing players to remove their shirts is unacceptable. And grist to the mill of those who want an aseptic gossip culture in the stadiums. Says star voice Philipp Köster.

Linus Gechter turned 18 on February 27th. And a few weeks later, is he no longer worthy of wearing the Hertha BSC jersey? It can go that fast.

There were bizarre scenes that took place after the derby between Hertha BSC and FC Union in the east curve of the Berlin Olympic Stadium. The Hertha kickers trotted to their supporters to apologize for the 4-1 defeat in the derby and were suddenly faced with angry ultras who forced the players to take off their shirts. Reason: see above. Some players followed the request to “avoid a conflict”, as Hertha player Maximilian Mittelstädt put it defensively afterwards, apparently to avoid greater excitement.

Ultras with a grotesque misinterpretation of their own role

But the excitement was already there. A storm of indignation raged through German football. The public humiliation of the players, who acted helplessly in the derby but by no means lacked the will to fight, caused a lack of understanding and sharp criticism of the behavior of the ultra capos. And rightly so at first: publicly exposing players in this way shows a misinterpretation of one’s own role that has been exaggerated into the grotesque and garnished with false pathos. Playing the executioner and deciding who can and cannot wear the Hertha shirt is totally inappropriate and also raises questions about the self-image of Saturday’s players. If the support from the ranks is not to be just a banal end in itself, then a minimum of respect for the players on the pitch is required. And one can only hope that the Berlin fan scene will ensure that these scenes don’t happen again.

Especially since such scenes are the perfect template for all those who already have deep-seated and often unreflected aggression towards the fan scenes and use every opportunity to demand stricter laws, tougher controls or the complete banning of the Ultras from the curves. This could already be observed when the game between Bochum and Mönchengladbach had to be stopped recently after a cup was thrown at the linesman. What wasn’t expressed as disgust at the active supporters of Bochum and how even the VfL president babbled about fencing in the supporters – it was just stupid that the beer mug was thrown out of the seating area of ​​​​the Ruhr Stadium.

Facts must not interfere with the assessment

And this time, too, facts shouldn’t get in the way when it came to identifying the Ultras as the fundamental evil of fan culture. Who, for example, listened to the retired reporter Marcel Reif on “Bild-TV”, who talked himself into a rage without knowing anything, who no longer wanted to make any difference between a few crazy leaders and the thousands of supporters in the curve and who finally added the aseptic atmosphere Manchester City wanted to be identified as the crown of football culture, who understood that every incident in the curve is now used for bitter general reckoning with the ultra culture.

For almost two years, conservative publicists and advocates of a conservative gossip culture in the stadiums had no opportunity to get angry – because Ultras did quite a lot right during this time and took on more social responsibility in the Corona crisis than some clubs. That must have been hard to bear. But now we can finally hit it again and generalize.

These attacks on active football fans have not been around since yesterday and they are increasing in intensity. Supporters should try all the more not to encourage such campaigns unnecessarily. The Berlin ultra scene would therefore wish to have the insight that they clearly overshot the mark on Saturday. Understanding that and making it public would be a sign of strength, a signal of cohesion to the team and worth much more than any choreography in the next few weeks.


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