Hertha is at the bottom of the Bundesliga table. The performances over the season so far certainly cannot be simply glossed over. The position in the table and the number of points scored correspond to the performances shown. Certainly, one could now start to investigate the causes. The sale of three key players before the season, the change of coach from Favre to Funkel, the mismanagement in the past, which despite regular appearances in the European Cup could never ensure financial recovery, but also the demands in the German capital, which cannot be kept down. However, today I would like to deal not with the causes but with the effects. My favourite and main target, as usual, is the media, especially the commentary in the Bild-Zeitung of 30.11.2009. The main headline there is:
Save your hold-out slogans!
… no one believes them any more anyway
In order to then draw attention to “another embarrassing record”, namely that after the 14th match day there are already “hold-out slogans” to be heard. To add to this mockery and ridicule in the form of putting the word “achievements” in inverted commas. The author of the report has just managed to leave out a new word creation that is actually appropriate for Hertha’s performances. Here I now quote what some of those involved and responsible at Hertha said, when asked about the current situation, all of which were dismissed as “shallow platitudes”.
President Werner Gegenbauer said: “As long as the Hinrunde is not over, we won’t talk about relegation.” Coach Friedhelm Funkel said, “He who falls down must also get up again. And we will.” Player Fabian Lustenberger says: “Only when it is no longer mathematically possible are we relegated. We have to score against the small ones. There are still 60 points to be awarded.” Again the coach: “Hope dies last.” The president: “We have to create the conditions for the team to turn the corner.” Funkel again: “The team has trained well and has set its sights high.” Final sentence from President Gegenbauer: “We are still a long way from where you have to stop calculating. We still have three games until the winter break, for which we need rest.”
I find all the statements well-considered and coherent. It is a difficult situation that is close to being hopeless. The seven-point deficit is not the biggest problem. The problem is more one of confidence, if it’s not actually an (then irreparable) enabling problem. And a magic spell álá Bibi Blocksberg like “Zicke Zacke Zauberstein, 12 points should be in the table. Hex hex.”, And the amazed reporter looks at the table and… amazed. Would be helpful, but comes from the fairy tale of children’s fantasies.
If one is serious about it, then only as the interviewees have done. As a player and knowing the media, who don’t grant a loser any right to exist anyway, I would have asked the reporter right back which answer he would accept and which one he wouldn’t tear me apart for? Would it perhaps be this one: “We’ve given up on ourselves. We won’t win any more games.” Or this one: “Since Saturday, the planning for the second league season has been in full swing.” Or even this one: “The team, the coach and the presidium lack the quality for the first division. We are resigning as a team.” Or this one isn’t bad either: “We don’t give interviews.” Personally, I like this one best: “We’re chasing Tasmania’s ancient negative record. It should stay in Berlin, but finally land with us!”
I would have liked to hear/read the media response to one of these statements. I’ll speculate briefly. Re 1: “Hertha has given up on itself. Don’t they even have any more fighting spirit?” Re 2: “This is clearly distortion of competition. They have no decency.” Re 3: “No comment.” and Re 4: “Aha, they don’t even put themselves forward in interviews any more.” To 5: “Exactly!”