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    From Ultra to Hertha President? “I am a child of the curve”

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    Kay Bernstein, 41, was one of the founding members of Hertha’s ultra group “Harlekins Berlin”. Bernstein is the owner of an event and communications agency. Now he wants to become Hertha President.

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    Mr. Bernstein, you used to be a lead singer in the fan curve for years. Where will you be watching the Hertha BSC Bundesliga game against FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday evening?

    On the main grandstand, in the lower ring, like it has been for twelve years. We always had a VIP arrangement there from my company. From there I watched the hustle and bustle and the great soccer games of the wonderful Hertha (laughs).

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    Spatially, that’s quite a long distance from the East Stand where you once stood.

    Therefore, the term that is now frequently used, that I am an ultra, is not entirely correct. That was 16 years ago, of course certain values ​​and ideals from that time continue to shape me. But the term “ultra” is just a word that means doing things with passion and extreme.

    Now you want to become President of Hertha BSC. Have you always kept the fan view?

    I’m a little distanced from the curve now, and not just because of the distance. But the main reason I don’t go there anymore for the games is another. The risk of addiction is too great. In the curve, especially as a lead singer, you pour out a lot of adrenaline, which makes you dependent.

    You’ve been out of the ultra scene for a long time, but you’re now associated with it. Is it conceivable that your past will not go down well with fans who are skeptical of the Ultras?

    Every member should have an opinion. If there are people who are bothered by the fact that I have a past in the active fan scene, but have not lost the connection and passion more than a decade and a half later, then everyone can decide for themselves. I always have an open ear and help when I can, so people don’t blame me for the balancing act between the fans and the grandstand.

    So it’s an advantage that you know the fan scene well?
    I see several benefits. For all other candidates who may come, the question mark should be there, will Lars Windhorst send it? That is impossible with me and my vita. On the other hand, by walking through the Olympic Stadium, I took in every angle from the fan habit to the ultra fan to the grandstand. Now I’m a father. I have a completely different perspective on things than I used to. I can understand the fans in the upper ring as well as the fans in the east stand, in the main stand or those who go to the stadium three times a year with a wheelchair user.

    How did the idea of ​​wanting to be president come about?

    The process mentally started the day I saw Mr. Windhorst’s interview on “Bild TV” and threw up my hands over my head.

    That was in mid-March, the investor harshly criticized President Werner Gegenbauer.

    As a member of the association, it was clear to me that I had to think about how things could go in a different direction. Because there is a stalemate, there is no longer a need to mediate. There has to be a vision.

    What are you starting with?

    We made it very clear on the wirherthaner.de website that we want to take a different approach. We want to see it as a substantive impulse to make Hertha better and reunite them. We want to give back the feeling to the Hertha team, who are currently battered through the city and cannot proudly carry the blue and white flag, that there is a club worth suffering for. Suffering comes from passion, and passion is part of it in good times and bad.

    There have recently been a great many of the latter at Hertha BSC.

    Too many. Then came another pandemic that took fans away from football. The club has become irrelevant to some Hertha fans. Then my heart bleeds. Hertha must not be indifferent to the people.

    On wirherthaner.de you can read that the club is “like a laughing stock”. That sounds very disillusioned.

    The club is currently the prime example of how other clubs shouldn’t do it if they make a lot of money. But we didn’t think backwards to throw accusations. You have to think ahead to make things better.

    What qualifies you for the position?

    A lot of humility resonates with me and the question of whether the footsteps are not a tad too big. But when I remember how much we hoped at the time that Werner Gegenbauer as President would increase marketing revenues, improve integration in the city and help his network … None of that happened. I can say that I’m just as well connected, maybe not in the political and public sector, but in medium-sized companies and in industrial Berlin.

    What qualities would you bring to the table?

    It is a communicative task. It needs a lighthouse that tries to inspire people emotionally and make it clear that Hertha can go down the right path. That’s something I trust myself to do because it’s about enthusiasm. And I’m a child of the curve, which brings with it the necessary passion for the club.

    What were the first reactions?

    On my phone it was like New Year’s Eve, birthday and Easter together. A lot of people have written how enthusiastic they are, but how rocky they imagine the path to be. So far I have only had positive feedback, but I would also like negative feedback on the content, according to the motto, you have made a mistake here. Because this is not a manifesto set in stone.

    Do you also see your candidacy as an impetus for rethinking at Hertha?

    So first of all I see my chances at about 30 percent. But right, the kick-off is an aspect that I was thinking about when I was tackling this now. Incidentally, I assume that Werner Gegenbauer, who will get 25 percent, will remain in office.

    You mean the vote on the motion to vote out the president at the general meeting on May 29th. It would only be successful if 75 percent of the members agreed.

    Yes. But now the subjunctive comes into play: doesn’t it take a back seat earlier? Or if he only gets 35 percent of the votes? That’s why we set out to create a vision. Then the club would have to explain, for example, why it considers sports betting providers to be the right sponsors. Maybe then it will finally be dispensed with because Hertha wants to stand for an attitude. This attitude would then result in other revenue opportunities.

    Where do you see these?

    We have a clear approach here. We don’t want money from bookmakers, we don’t want to earn money by luring people into somewhere. One idea is: Let’s put 50 percent of jersey sales into social projects. The Wartenberger SV or Grün-Weiss Neukölln can apply for a new cabin or for a new goal net. I’m sure Nike would go along with it because they say we’ll sell not 20,000 but 40,000 jerseys and we’ll take social responsibility. A win-win-win situation.

    Mr. Bernstein, how are you preparing for the coming days?

    With foresight I recently took a ten day vacation with my family. So it can be even more work-intensive in my life.

    Source: Tagesspiegel

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