Auch in England gibt es VfB-Fans, die sich Gedanken zur aktuellen Situation um unseren Verein machen. Folgende Worte erreichten uns von einem Fan:
Its desperate news to hear of the plight of VfB Luebeck. A proud club that looks destined to die.
But this need not be the case.
The club can be saved and prosper in the future. But fundamental changes need to be acted on before it is too late.
In England several clubs have died and reformed. Only then have the local public realised what they have lost. A football team is the heartbeat of the community. They are the Citys sporting representative. They are the flagship for the people of Luebeck, young and old, to show the world I am from Luebeck and Im proud of Luebeck and this football team represents that.
Luebeck has a proud history The Hanseatic League, Marzipan, Thomas Mann and so much more. But what really matters is now, and what puts a city on the map is its football club.
My football team Lincoln City (5th League) were so close to ceasing to exist in 2002. A club formed in 1884 were about to disappear remembered only instead in the history books.
Too many times, owners of the club had preached poverty asking for money to save the club from the public, only then to ask for more, and more.
The people of Lincoln grew tired of handing over money. The club had overspent beyond its means, chasing a dream of Promotion after Promotion and now because of that they should be treated without compassion by the Lincoln public and left to face the consequences like any other badly run business to die.
Lincoln fans, myself included, walked around the city in a group of hundreds collecting loose change in buckets off strangers to keep the club alive. The media saw this and our plight was documented in newspapers, on radio and on TV. At last the city of Lincoln realised they were about to wave goodbye to Lincoln City FC forever.
Suddenly fans started donating £10 here and £5 there. It was enough to pull the club through in the short term. A scheme was set up whereby fans could pay £10 and have their name placed on a seat in the stadium. It was a fantastic ideal for fans to donate, to have their name or that of a family member immortalised in the stadium.
These donations proved to the Courts that the club hadnt reached the end of its life. Creditors accepted reduced terms or extended payment returns and the club lived on just.
The public of Lincoln and fans from around the world had donated the money to save the club and had seen a return for their investment. Whether it be a name on a seat or the club being run by the fans, progress had been made,
But the public only donated money because there was a plan for the long-term sustainability of a club run by the fans.
Changes were made across the club- The Board of Directors changed, now majority representation was by the fan. The playing squad budget was slashed with many players leaving. The coaching staff were changed and cheaper replacements took control of the squad.
The Board took not a single penny. The club was not for profit. The players and the manger were paid small wages and signed from the lowest leagues. But a sense of community pulled the club through. The fans joined the Board of Directors and made active decisions to protect the club. The players backed by a sense of community played incredibly well we were all part of something special from the child who bought his piggy bank to the club office and emptied its pennies into the Save Our Club Fund all the way to the players who played not for the money but to be part of something very special.
The Community had reclaimed the Club.
This is what has to happen with VfB.
For people to donate any money is based purely on trust. The man or woman in the street wants to know that his/her money will be well-spend and be distributed to where it is needed. They want to know that by making a donation, they are changing a bad situation for the better. If they do not believe this, and in fact think the money will be wasted or that the same problems will resurface in a years time, then they will not donate. And the club will die.
VfB needs to win back the trust of the public.
Prove to the public that the club if saved from extinction will be changed for the better.
Success on the pitch of course brings in fans to the Lohmuehle. The club could fill its stadium for the recent visits of Mainz and Stuttgart in the DfB Pokal. So it shows that there is a big fan base who can attend.
Short term success will attract a large crowd for the short term. But long-term sustainability built on a community club and the openness with the all those who invest in the future of the club is what will keep the club alive.
With the end so close for VfB, all supporters groups must move quickly, form strong agreements and engage in complete openness with the public. Now is not the time for disagreement. All the fan froups must be united in one common goal Saving VfB.
Be honest tell the people of Luebeck how much the club is in debt. Release a breakdown of the debt (how much on players wages, travel costs, electricity etc) be completely honest with the public, now is not the time for confidentiality agreements those who are owed money by the club will not get a Euro if the club dies so they will accept that to save the club an honest breakdown of the debt must be revealed.
Get the media involved. Let the people know.
Stage bucket collections, tell the local TV station, write to the newspapers, go on the radio. Like a snowball once momentum is built it will grow and grow. But first you must get the ball rolling and all push in the same direction.
People do want to invest in a project that will outlive us all. For 95 years the club as VfB have been in existence. The right decisions now can mean they can survive another 95 years and more, but the key and crucial decisions that are made in the immediate future will decide whether the club lives or dies.
I desperately hope the club survives. To the people of Luebeck be proud of your club its the representative of the city. VfB is Luebeck and Luebeck is VfB.
The important factor to remember for the public of Luebeck is that Its a Different Team But the Same Club
All those memories passed on through generations of great games, great players, great goals. They can still happen again.
But first the club must win the biggest battle it has ever faced. At stake is not three points, or even a trophy. Its something far more important than that Its existence.
Its the same club that has been watched by citizens for decades. And it is dying.
And if it does die, if all that history is thrown away because of recent financial mistakes then I guarantee that the people of Luebeck will realise one of lifes most reoccurring and important lessons once more - that simply- You Dont Know What Youve Got Until Its Gone.
Russ Taylor (Lincolnshire, England. A fan who visited VfB Luebeck five years ago and has never stopped coming back.)