Hertha Berlin UK was formed in 2010 to unite UK based fans of the ‘Alte Dame’.
Fan and club History
The history of our fanclub Hertha BSC UK maybe relatively new, but we are proud to be part of a group of football fans who support a team with a long and incredible history.
The name Hertha was the name of a steamboat, the blue and white stripes recognised as the club colours were chosen because of the way the smokestack on the vessel had been painted.
On a street which formed the intersection between Berlin’s Wedding and Prenzlauer Berg districts back in 1892, two sets of brothers aged 16-17-years-old decided to create the club. They chose Hertha and the name and blue and white as the colours after a day trip on the steamboat.
Hertha Berliner Sport-Club von 1892 became a founding member of the German Football Association in Leipzig in 1900, launching a long history as Berlin’s best-supported side.
The early years were among the club’s most successful – winning their first championship final (a competition made up from Germany’s clubs) in 1905. Seeking to improve the team’s finances, the club merged with Berliner Sport-Club to become Hertha Berliner Sport-Club in 1920.
The new team enjoyed success in the Oberliga Berlin-Brandenburg, playing it’s way to the German championship final six times between 1926 – 31 winning twice at the last two attempts.Two years later, the Third Reich reorganised the football leagues into sixteen top flight divisions. Hertha was placed in the Gauliga Berlin-Brandenburg where it took the title in 1935, 1937 and 1944 – becoming the country’s second most successful wartime club.
At the end of the war, the Allied Forces which occupied Berlin banned most sporting organisations and the club was dissolved, before reforming as SG Gesundbrunnen and gaining a place in Group C in the Oberliga Berlin. By 1949, the club had reclaimed the name Hertha BSC Berlin and were back playing top flight football.
Developing Cold War tensions between Allied Forces in Berlin and Soviet Forces added further twists to the club’s chequered past.
Hertha took several players and a coach from successful East German side Dresden club SG Friedrichstadt. The players had fled, unhappy with some events communist control. Hertha were banned from playing East German clubs in the 1949-50 season. Hertha joined the Oberliga Berlin and many East German sides were forced to play in the East German DDR-Liga which formed in 1950-51.
Hertha formed a fierce rivalry with fellow West Berlin club Tennis Borussia Berlin during the 1950s – a rivalry which still exists between “TeBe” and Herthaner to this day.
When the national football league, the Bundesliga, was finally formed in 1963, it fell at a good time. As reigning champions in Berlin, Hertha was adopted as a side in the fledgling competition.
The 1964-65 season saw one of the strangest incidents in the history of the Bundesliga and Hertha Berlin was at the heart it.
The club had attempted to bribe players to join the side, thus breaking the strict salary rules in place at the time. For Hertha’s part it was an attempt to lure players to live in West Berlin at a time when the Berlin Wall was still under construction and Cold War tensions were high.
The club was relegated to Regionalliga Berlin – a regional league below the Bundesliga.
The politics of the time meant the west German authorities wanted a Berlin club in the top flight. as a result Tasmania 1900 Berlin, was promoted into Hertha’s place and went on to the worst season in Bundesliga history.
Hertha fought back and managed to return to the premier German league in 1968–69 and during that time developed a solid following making it Berlin’s favourite side.
However, Hertha was again soon it by scandal again through its involvement, along with several other clubs in the Bundesliga match fixing scandal of 1971.
In the course of an investigation of Hertha’s role, it was also revealed that the club was 6 million DM in debt. Financial disaster was averted through the sale of the team’s former home ground.
In spite of this, the team continued to enjoy a fair measure of success on the field through the 70’s with a second place Bundesliga finish behind Borussia Moenchengladbach in 1974–75, a semi-final appearance in the 1979 UEFA Cup and making it to the final of the German Cup twice.
The Wall comes down
In 1980 they were relegated to 2. Bundesliga, where they would spend thirteen of the next seventeen seasons.
In 1986-87 season, Hertha slipped to the third tier – the Amateur Oberliga Berlin where they spent two seasons.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, Hertha became a popular side in a united Berlin.
Two days after the wall come down, 11,000 East Berliners attended Hertha’s match against SG Wattenscheid.
A fan friendship, something unique to German football, whe fans of rival clubs join forces in support, was formed with with 1. FC Union Berlin. Soon after, a friendly match between the two attracted over 50,000 spectators.
Financial woes once more burdened the club in 1994 as it found itself 10 million DM in debt.
The crisis was again resolved through the sale of property and signing of sponsorship deals and a new management team.
Back at the top
By 1997, Hertha was back in the top flight and things seemed to settle down.
Hertha qualified for the UEFA Cup and, in 1999, the UEFA Champions League, qualifying from the first group stage with Chelsea before finished bottom in the next round in a group containing Barcelona, Sparta Prague and Porto.
Hertha was almost relegated in the 2003–04 season, but bounced straight back and finished 4th the following season, narrowly missing out on another Champions’ League spot.
In 2005–06 the Hertha Berlin finished 6th and qualified for the UEFA Cup by defeating FK Moskva in the Intertoto Cup.
They were knocked out in the first round of the UEFA Cup by Odense BK.
Hertha started the 2007–08 season with optimism and a new manager, Lucien Favre.
Hopes were high as Favre had won the Swiss Championship in 2006 and 2007 with FC Zürich.
They finished 10th, but started in the first qualification round of the UEFA Cup via the Fair Play Ranking, making it as far as the group stage.
The following season, Hertha finished fourth and under Favre’s guidance were still in the title race up until the second to last game.
The following season, despite the renewed optimism around the club, was a disaster and the club was relegated after finishing bottom.
Ups and downs
The 2010–2011 season in the 2. Bundesliga, however, sparked Hertha BSC back to life. It brought in new fans and bigger gates and for the first time, an English fan club was officially founded on the April 24 2010 with full affiliation to Hertha BSC. HerthaBSCUK brought together existing fans from across the UK via twitter and Facebook, before creating this website.
The club secured its return to the Bundesliga by winning 1–0 at MSV Duisburg, with three matches to go.
Despite a great start back in the top flight, chaos off the field involving a dispute between Marcus Babbel and club manager Michael Preetz led to Babbel leaving. Following his departure, the team went into free-fall and to cut a long and controversial story short, Hertha was relegated again.
Currently we are back pushing for promotion, our UK fan base is growing and the future looks bright for all concerned.
Ha Ho He!