The Eight Most-Absurd Moments in Gladbach’s Boycott Call

So, apparently some Borussia Mönchengladbach fan groups are organizing a boycott of next month’s derby at Müngersdorfer Stadium in an effort to provide a completely empty guest block for the match in protest against heightened security measures for the Rhine Derby.

In an online post called “Home game against Köln,” fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets for the match, but then “don’t go to Köln,” to deliver the maximum effect, ostensibly to best draw attention to the fans’ concerns.

When not detailing ideas for the boycott or complaining about the secuirty measure requiring fans to have their name, home address, and birthdate to be associated with the purchased ticket, the post strays into vague ideas about “fan culture” being under attack by politicians through such measures, all accented with a very heavy dose of self-important delusions of grandeur.

Because it’s difficult to thoroughly address the abject absurdity of this proposed boycott, let’s just fish out a handful of the highlights for a bit of fun at the expense of the organized ponies.

Here are the eight most-absurd assertions made in “Home game against Köln!”

The security measures being enacted for the derby result in “collective punishment” of  Borussia Mönchengladbach fans.

The notion of “security” is not generally considered to be something that can be used to punish people.

I suppose that, if you were a teenage girl at a One Direction concert who lacked any notion of how the world worked, you might think you are being punished when the security guard at the end of the corridor turns you away from your quest to find Harry’s dressing room.

“It’s just not fair!”

Otherwise, security is there for the greater good. You can argue about its relative effectiveness, but it’s difficult to say it’s there to punish.

Well, it’s not that difficult to say, apparently. The Gladbachers are saying it repeatedly. Let’s address their grievances one by one.

Instead of the 5,000 tickets usually given to travelling Borussia fans, they’re getting 3,300.

 

 

I had to ask friends why the number of tickets might have been reduced, because, frankly, that seemed like a legitimate gripe.

Turns out to be a fairly simple reason behind the reduction, however.

Now, you don’t have to like it, but you can’t really argue the reasoning, especially if you can accept that security measures are intended for the safety of the masses, rather than something enacted to get to you.

The seats deducted from Borussia’s traditional allotment are not being held to remain empty, rather will be sold to Köln fans. “The measure is not just a de facto punishment for us, but also a ‘reward’ for the home team.

boohoo

 

Seriously . . . do you really expect that available seats would be left unavailable for sale? To what end? To spare your feelings?

I don’t know which is worse: the egotism or the over-sensitivity.

The fans who do manage to get some of the more-scarce tickets to the game must be personally identified as the ticket-holders.

This seems to be the biggest problem the fan groups have with the security measures.

Violent clashes between rival fans are not exclusive to the Rhine Derby. You could almost say they’re incredibly commonplace. Yet, as common as they are, they are equally unwanted by the clubs and the vast majority of fans. I’d go so far as to say that even most of the ultras have little-to-no use for them, either.

Yet, a measure being taken to help facilitate the identification of wrong-doers in these instances becomes the catalyst for the Borussia fans to make their grand stand against the increasing “regulation of fan culture.”

Besides, the Borussia fan scene is completely innocent in the events that led to these “punishments” being enacted!

I’m sorry, but WHAT?!

This was just one year ago and certainly did not escape the notice of those who have schemed to try to be rid of these scenes.

While I think it is fair to pat yourselves on the back for not fully engaging with the white-clad Kölners who went onto the field after the last game (noting that some of the Gladbachers did, indeed, take some liberties), you can’t point to that alone and say that you’re a victim here. These measures are not a response to one incident, rather they simply follow the latest of a long string.

Don’t let that confuse you.

What’s absent here is awareness of a group being responsible for the actions of its membership. Nobody, not the club and not the police, could potentially have as much influence in the reduction of destructive behavior originating from within the ranks of the “active fan scene” than fan-group leadership itself. If there has been any attempt by these groups to self-police and help curb the violence, it’s been an effort conducted in a lot more silent a way than this current temper tantrum.

Actually, the fact that they publicly mention concern over their identities potentially being provided to the police helps refute any notion that the concern over the surrendering of “data” is a privacy concern beyond the aforementioned desire to protect the identities of those who would otherwise be held personally responsible for the things they do on derby days.t

While painful, the boycott was “unavoidable”

List of things that are unavoidable: death.

That’s it! That’s the list!

You don’t want the police to be able to see your name, address, and date-of-birth on a list of visiting fans for a football match, so the ONLY thing to do about it is to call for a club-wide boycott?

Because you definitely are not trying to tell the world that you are protesting the taking-away of 1,700 tickets by purchasing the 3,300 tickets that are still available to you and your fellow fans, only to assure that nobody else can attend the match because you need to make your point.

Right? You’re NOT trying to sell that, are you?

On a scale of “easily avoided” to “absolutely unavoidable,” the reduction of your ticket allocation, in consideration of the physical limitations of the venue, was closer to the “absolutely unavoidable” than is this proposed boycott.

Also not unavoidable are all of the ugly incidents in the history of this rivalry that has ultimately led the DFD and the two rival clubs to work together to come up with these measures to be rid of the long-term problem.

Ultimately, should the Gladbach fans stay home on September 19, and the derby takes place with no ugly fan incidents, what’s to stop the clubs from deciding they can save themselves a lot of grief and money by simply getting rid of visiting fans for the derby altogether and washing their hands of all of it?

This is a legitimate possibility, I would think, but it still remains avoidable, for the time being.

This entire thing is “a matter of honor!

First, let’s talk about the idea of “honor.”

I guess it’s technically up to the individual to determine when and where their “honor” has been infringed upon, but when the defense of your ‘honor’ is triggered by losing anonymity while travelling to a match in Köln, some might offer that your choice of battle to fight comes off as a bit obtuse, curious, childish, poor, etc.

Nobody’s “honor” has been challenged or questioned here.

The real “matter of honor” would be fan groups doing some self-policing to participate in these rivalries in a way that is impressive, but without leading to fistfights and vandalism.

There is nothing about supporting a club and its football team that requires fans to physically fight, other than this absurd notion that your “honor” has been insulted when a supporter of another club bad-mouths your own. Nothing.

“Not even the derby itself is bigger than our fan culture.

Because I cannot roll my eyes hard enough for those in East Holland to see it, let me . . . hold on a second . . . can I get some back-up, Ice Cube?

That’s right. I know I’m dating myself by going with an O’Shea Jackson reference, but, by all means, “You betta check yo’self before you wreck yo’self!”

Admittedly, this is a matter of perspective, so you can certainly make such a declaration, as long as you realize that it only applies to you and yours.

Your fan culture is not bigger than the derby. It just isn’t.

The most-celebrated aspects of the fan culture are the choreographies, the chants, the songs, and the passion exhibited in the stands by the fans during these matches, but even at their greatest, they remain the backdrop to the game on which the rivalry centers.

No matter how majestic, the background is never the bigger element. Never! And no amount of asserting otherwise can change it.

Stay in your lane!

Thinking you’re more-vital to things than you are can lead to an over-playing of your hand.

“Fan culture is at a crossroads.”

How, exactly, is “fan culture at a crossroads”?

It’s a vague-enough concept that it’s virtually impossible to disprove, yet I cannot see anything that is truly an outside threat to the elements of fan culture the post points out are “rightly praised” for being “creative, colorful and diverse.”

The choreographies, the chants, the songs, and the general atmosphere are all VERY important things to German football. You hear increasingly more of disenfranchised fans in England who lament the eroding of their own fan culture to the point of now looking to the Bundesliga for what they miss from the current state of things in their domestic league.

Are we really to believe that the young fans who power these scenes will be unable or unwilling to continue their activities over having to be personally identified for their ticket purchases? Or having to go through more-thorough security checkpoints to enter the guest blocks?

The only way the answer to this with “yes,” is if they unilaterally are stubborn enough to quit in order to protect the anonymity that helps certain factions conduct idiocy with greater impunity.

But even if you believe that these measures are a threat to turn the fan scene in Germany into that which is seen at many Premiership matches (or at Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim matches, for that matter), the derby itself will continue to be a big deal for those who remain. There are plenty of fans who enjoy the rivalry from a sporting perspective.

And I’d offer that such self-importance, in addition to the violent clashes and subsequent fines to be paid by the club, does little to win the sympathy from the rest of us.

So if it is, indeed at a ‘crossroads,’ it’s because you are choosing to put it there.

 

The boycott is meant to lend voice to the fans being against the “rising repression of active fans.”

The boycott call actually uses that word “repression” a few times.

How can I be very clear about this?

You’re not being repressed.

With all the refugees fleeing a war-torn area that have landed in your country, I’d think you’d be less tone-deaf than claiming you’re being repressed. Having to walk through metal detectors to attend a football game, the tickets to which are linked to you personally via your name, address, and birthdate, does not equal repression. In fact, those measures don’t even know where to find “repression” in the dictionary.

Organizers also want people to know they are FOR an “active, self-determined, and free fan culture.

 

 

There is absolutely no way you can make a case that the only way to maintain the health of the fan culture is to keep security lax and otherwise keep from there being negative consequences to the behavior of some individuals.

As far as self-determination, we’ve already touched on that. The time the fan scene had to take care of these problems on their own has apparently come to an end, but it was by no means too little time to have effected some change or even to appear to be making an effort to do so.

You would have a stronger case if there were any indication the fan groups collectively had an appetite for being rid of the negative elements. As things stand, it’s difficult to blame the association and clubs for the measures they took. You might not have been able to expect precisely what has happened, but you should have been expecting something.

And “free”? Well, nothing is truly “free” is it? What you fail to recognize is that the things targeted by the added security are meant to provide better “freedom” to enjoy a safer and healthier atmosphere at the stadium without fear of getting caught up in what some of your group members think of as their “free” expression of being “active” fans.

Ultimately, this entire thing shows that the fan groups have the leadership to direct action from their wider membership. The original publication of this boycott-call was co-signed by 194 fan groups, but the number has swelled to over 250 in just a few days. Sadly, now that they’ve finally decided to leverage this power to effect change on the derby, it’s only to lash-out against measures that are, in and of themselves, relatively harmless.

Even more sadly, but the time these leaders realize their efforts have been misdirected, the fan culture may very well end up being left out entirely, which would truly be a sad thing for the rivalry, as well as the whole of German football.

Do what you will, Borussia. Go . . . don’t go . . . that’s all up to you.

Just do us a favor though, would you? Stop lying to yourselves about some of the elements of your proposal. That’s where the most damage is going to be done.

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