Fan-spiration: “I admire how the club treats its fans and members”
As a young boy growing up in Elgin, Scotland, James Andrew Strachan, mostly referred to as Drew, quickly became interested in football. He followed local club Elgin City in the Highland League and played for the Elgin East End Primary School Team.
However, it would still take a while for Drew to discover his passion for FC Bayern – this happened in the 1970s, when he was living in Bad Tölz, a town in Bavaria located around 50 kilometres south of Munich.
“It was the first time I had been in the vicinity of a major club,” Drew recalls. “I began reading about FC Bayern and have been following them from that period onward.”
One of his biggest regrets is that he never managed to attend a game at the Olympiastadium. When he left Germany again, he did so with FC Bayern in his heart, but without ever having had the chance to cheer for his favorite team live at the stadium.
“When I was living in the UK and married my second wife Pam, we actually had our honeymoon in Munich, followed by several holidays in Bavaria – and can you image, I still had not seen a live game involving FC Bayern,” Drew says. “Shame on me!”
But, as they say, it’s never too late to turn things around. In 2006, Drew retired to Elgin in Scotland, where he still lives to this day.
“My wife’s health deteriorated to the point where she could not travel,” the 75-year-old explains. “Since I was an avid Bayern supporter but only managed to watch them on TV, she suggested I go to Munich to watch a game with some of my friends.”
Drew contacted the club to ask about purchasing tickets – but he was told the only way to obtain tickets to a game was through an official fan club.
“I checked for a fan club in Scotland – but there was none,” he recalls.
The path was now clear, and Drew didn’t hesitate: with the assistance from FC Bayern, he set up the Scotland Fan Club, which has now nearly 60 members. The membership is spread over a large area, and therefore it’s difficult to set up regular meetings. As the chairman of the Scotland Fan Club, Drew regularly publishes a newsletter, but due to his advancing years, he says, he may hand over the reins in the next couple of years.
“I feel that I’m part of the FC Bayern family, and I admire how they treat their fans and members. The FC Bayern Fan Support gives advice and support throughout the process of establishing a fan club and during its lifetime,” Drew says, adding that during his first visit to Säbener Straße, he presented his fan support contact a personalised bottle of Single Malt Whisky and an Elgin City pennant to show his appreciation.
“Since 2015, I have taken parties to Munich to watch games at the Allianz Arena, and we also managed to get tickets for the Champions League game against Celtic a few years ago,” Drew continues.
His colleagues and friends are well aware that he supports FC Bayern, and that his number one Scottish team is Elgin City.
“The latter plays in the Scottish 2nd Division, so there is no confict of interest,” he says with a laugh. “Elgin City has a wee bit to go before it challenges FC Bayern.”
Over the years, he has established somewhat of a routine when he’s in Munich, which he usually does to celebrate his birthday: “We go to Karstadt for breakfast, then hop on the train to Frotmanning, visit the FC Bayern museum, head to the bistro for snacks and a beer and continue towards meeting point ‘Treffpunkt South’ for pre-match drinks and eventually watching the game.”
Following this routine seems to be a good luck charm for FC Bayern as well: the team has never lost a game when Drew was at the Allianz Arena: in five games, they managed four wins and one draw.
Even though Drew should know his way around Allianz Arena by now, he admits that the sheer size of the stadium sometimes still confuses him.
“One time, I went to the Telekom Awards Ceremony at the Allianz Arena on a Friday night before the game on Saturday,” he says. “It was a wonderful night, but it was difficult to find our way out of the stadium when the function was over. In the end, we got lost and were cold and miserable – spending over 30 minutes trying to find the right exit.”
Having been a follower of the club since the 1970s, Drew has seen FC Bayern go through many ups and downs over the years – the 1999 defeat against Manchester United was the most devastating moment for him as a fan, he says, while winning the treble in 2013 and this year brought him much joy.
Out of the many players Drew has seen come and go, his all-time favorite is Philipp Lahm – “a gentleman and brilliant footballer.” If he had to pick one from the current team, he’d go for Joshua Kimmich.
“He is very adaptable and can play in many positions,” Drew says. “But the most important thing is that he puts his heart into every performance.”
This year, Drew couldn’t uphold his tradition of celebrating his birthday in Munich due to COVID-19. But he’s optimistic that he’ll get another chance.
“Hopefully, I will be able to sample the delights of Bavaria again next year.”