Fan-spiration: “Football allows us to come together and break down barriers”
When Deri Jindhar met his future wife, she quickly learned about his obsession with FC Bayern – and realized that she’d better get on board if they wanted to take their relationship to the next level.
“I think she already predicted when we dated back then that if we ever were to have children, I’d like to name them after a Bayern player,” Deri says with a laugh. “Luckily, she is very supportive of this.”
The couple expected their first child in 2013 – FC Bayern’s treble-winning season.
“We were considering Bastian or Ribery, but in the end we chose Ribery because in that particular season, I think that he was the best player in the squad,” Deri explains. “Thank God, I ended up with Ribery because Basti moved to Manchester United later on.”
33-year-old Deri, the Marketing and PR Manager of a fully tech-enabled coffee chain, lives in Jakarta, Indonesia together with his family. However, as the child of a diplomat, he partly grew up in Bonn, Germany.
“My first couple of years in Germany as an 8-year-old kid were difficult as I had to learn the language and adapt to the cultural differences,” Deri recalls. “Due to the language barrier, I never really enjoyed going to school – I was bullied for not speaking German – and I even had to move to different schools because it was so hard for me to integrate.”
During recess, Deri watched a bunch of the other kids playing football. It was here that he first realized that football has the power to bring everyone together, regardless of their background and the language they speak.
“A friend of mine asked me to join them,” Deri says. “I actually wasn’t interested in any sports at all, but after joining, I saw that I was able to blend in and communicate with the other kids at school. From then on, my love for football just grew because of its ability to break down language and culture barriers.”
Even so, the first Bundesliga team Deri was aware of was 1. FC Köln. The football club of Bonn’s neighbour city was the one most of his friends at school supported. It was only later that Deri began to watch the Bundesliga regularly, as well as the international club competitions.
“My father watched a lot of the games, and I started to recognize Bayern, their history as a club and legendary players like Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge,” he says. “My interest in Bayern grew further as I watched their road to the 1996 UEFA Cup final and their victory against Bordeaux.”
He still remembers the team vividly: “Klinsmann was a madman bagging the goals, Strunz was a workhorse, Babbel and Helmer were so solid. But the one player that made me fall in love with the club was Mehmet Scholl. He didn’t just score in the final, but had a very different flair compared to the other Bayern players. From then on, my love for Bayern was confirmed!”
This love never wavered – even in 1999, when he suffered through “the mother of all defeats”, the lost Champions League final against Manchester United.
“It was a living nightmare, but also the first time I realized how attached I have grown to this club,” Deri recalls.
If it wasn’t for his dad being a diplomat and moving to Germany, Deri adds, he probably wouldn’t have developed any interest in football and Bayern at all – today, however, he considers Bayern his second religion.
While Scholl was the one player who cemented Deri’s love for FC Bayern, he names another one as his all-time favorite.
“Whenever someone asks me this question, the first name that comes to mind is Franz ‘Der Kaiser’ Beckenbauer, because of the history and glory he has brought to the club, his presence on the pitch during his footballing and coaching days,” Deri says.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Deri named his second son Kaiser.
“After learning that we were expecting another boy, I told my wife that this time, it would be a legendary Bayern player and went with Franz Beckenbauer’s nickname, Kaiser, without a second thought,” he explains. “I’m not too worried that they won’t like football. At least, it’s not looking that way at the moment.”
But what if they decide to support another club in the future?
“I don’t think I’m ready for that, especially if it’s a rival club,” Deri laughs.
Unfortunately, Deri never had the chance to see FC Bayern play live. He once visited the Allianz Arena and joined a stadium tour, but witnessing the team in action is something that ranks very high on his list of priorities.
“Luckily, I have great friends who always remember to bring me FC Bayern merchandise,” Deri says. “But I hope that I’ll be able to visit Munich again soon with the whole family to see a match or a public training session at Säbener Straße.”
Deri’s Twitter account: @derijindhar