In 2021, BFC Dynamo had the largest membership increase of any club in Berlin

Of course, Norbert Uhlig wants to be there when it happens. BFC president Dynamo will go to the away match at Union Fürstenwalde on Friday (19:00, His players are still missing a point, then they are the champions of Regionalliga-Nordost. And so shortly before professional football. The players from Hohenschönhausen still have to fight to move up to the third division – with VfB Oldenburg from the North-South Regional League.

With three games ahead, BFC Dynamo tops the table with eight points. The regional league championship means the greatest success for the GDR Oberliga record champions since climbing to the fourth division in 2014. “I hope the association congratulates us on the BAK game on May 7: champions,” says Uhlig.

His club has been fighting for his image for years. It was always about the unpopularity of the BFC. The club was sometimes described as a smuggling master by Stasi boss Erich Mielke, then as a reservoir for violent bald heads from the right-wing scene, racism, brutality. In the early 2000s, the Hells Angels were in charge for a short time and former hooligans were given important positions at the club. Sponsors also came from the right scene. A little over ten years ago, within the association began to form a movement that wanted something different. Ultras who resisted right-wing stigma with campaigns like “coffee is not summer red”. Officials changed and tried to distance themselves from the right-wing environment. Great value was given to youth work, the youth center in Hohenschönhausen. Instead of looking to the past, people wanted to look to the future.

The present shows amazing results. Especially in member development. In 2021, BFC Dynamo was the club with the largest membership growth in Berlin. Landessportbund Berlin statistics show the BFC with an increase of 680 members (+ 51 percent). With just over 2,000 members in total, the influx is huge. According to Uhlig, about half of the new members are adults, supporters, fans and sponsors, and the other half are new players.

An important date was the first round of the DFB Cup last August. Many people came to the office to sell tickets in advance for the match against VfB Stuttgart. “The response to membership applications was high,” says Uhlig. “But many young people come to us from other clubs as well.” Apparently they see BFC Dynamo as an alternative to 1. FC Union or Hertha BSC. “Thanks to the success of our first men’s team, many young players and their parents see a perspective with us. You know: “We should not leave here now,” said Uhlig. Success makes you sex.

The work of young people in the BFC has long been known to be above average. 68 coaches and supervisors are responsible for 23 youth teams from U7 to U19, the holiday camps are fully reserved. As part of the day center project, trainers pick up children from day centers by bus. Many young people, whose roots are not in Germany, have long worn the red summer dynamo jersey. In September 2021, the BFC testified that he was a neighborhood assistant for FC Berlin 23 on Storkower Strasse – and rescued 40 or 50 kids from the club, which was to be disbanded, going out. “We always invite two or three youth teams with their parents to our free regional league team games,” says Uhlig. And if the kids or their younger siblings do not last 90 minutes, there is a treadmill, swing, slide and crawling castle right next to the square in Sportforum.

Family instead of hooligan image, integration instead of isolation. Change seems to be happening slowly in the BFC and especially in youth teams. Headlines like 2005, when police officers attacked the Jeton disco before the Oberliga derby against 1. FC Union, which was then a meeting place for the fierce scene of BFC Dynamo hooligans, or like 2012 during the orgy of violence in the cup match against Kaiserslautern. . However, 11 Freunde magazine was still describing “Wagenburg von Hohenschönhausen” in 2021. In the match against BSG Chemie Leipzig, words like “Gypsies”, “Fags” “Jews” could be heard from the ranks of the BFC. How fragile is the new image?

In any case, success puts the BFC in the spotlight. Politicians are watching, too: Wednesday night, says Uhlig, Lichtenberg CDU MP Martin Pätzold attended the exercise. Next week a meeting with the Lichtenberg district is planned for the use of the stadium in case of climbing to the third category. “Gone are the days when it was said that everyone in the BFC was a Nazi, a bandit, a rocker,” said the BFC president. “You can not erase the past. But she is in the past. Today families feel comfortable with us. “Interest in us is growing.”

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