Fan-spiration: “Through the years, FC Bayern becomes part of your identity”
As a child, Morten Guldberg didn’t follow club football but was more interested in international tournaments, citing the World Cups 1986 and 1990 as the first ones he closely followed.
“I’m not really sure why I picked Germany as my team to root for,” the 40-year-old says. “When you’re at that age, these things are pretty random. But these particular World Cups were good ones for the Germans, landing them silver and gold, so it stuck with me. From there, it just felt like a natural progression to follow Germany’s most successful club.”
Morten, who lives in Oslo, Norway where he works for a foundation that prevents social control, says that he feels so in tune with FC Bayern that the team’s performance on the pitch even greatly influences his mood, both when they win and when they are defeated.
“It’s a good thing that Bayern do so well, it helps keep my mood great,” he jokes. “Through the years, it becomes part of your identity.”
Besides the club’s success, Morten also appreciates the sense of community he has experienced since becoming a FC Bayern supporter, both online and in local get togethers. He is a board member of fan club Bayern Norge where his tasks are mainly associated with updating social media accounts and setting up events for real-life gatherings to watch Bayern play.
“I sometimes also write articles for our website as well, but sadly there’s been too little time for that lately,” he adds.
Through the fan club, Morten says, he had the chance to meet many amazing people – some of whom have become dear friends.
“Before the loss to Chelsea in the Champions League final in 2012, I mainly hung out with a couple of friends to watch football,” the 40-year-old recalls. “But after that devastating evening, I realized I should do more to show support for the team. When the next Champions League campaign started, I headed down to the local pub where I knew the Norwegian Bayern fan club would meet.”
Morten just showed up out of the blue, without knowing anyone beforehand – and was amazed by the warm welcome.
“When I mentioned I would be travelling to Munich to attend the Oktoberfest a few days later, one of them told me he was also going and asked me if I had already booked seats in one of the tents,” Morten says. “Having never been before, I had no idea you had to book in advance, so I was a bit bummed out when I found out, and it seemed I would be missing out on the best parts.”
However, his new acquaintance promised to help him out – and managed to secure great seats for Morten in one of the bigger tents, which helped him to experience Oktoberfest at its best.
“There he was, helping out a total stranger he had just met a couple of days before, simply because we were both Bayern fans,” he says, adding that this incident perfectly embodies the community spirit among the club’s supporters he has since felt at every turn.
When asked about his favourite player, Morten doesn’t hesitate.
“That’s an easy one: Thomas Müller! Probably because his ascension happened in conjunction with my own interest in the club reaching a new level. It was really in the 2009/10-season I started developing a more intense relationship with Bayern, after having been mainly a casual fan for years. And of course, his whole personality and embodiment of the team spirit, which comes in addition to his performances on the field, really puts him apart from other players.”
Given his relatively close proximity to Germany, Morten has already seen a couple of Bayern Munich matches live at the stadium.
“The most memorable one was the first match I ever attended at the Allianz Arena,” he recalls. “It was when we beat Hamburg 9-2, the biggest home win in 25 years, if I remember correctly, and naturally, it felt incredible to be part of that.”
There is only one thing about Bayern that doesn’t really sit well with Morten: the club’s business dealings with Qatar.
“I know the money is hard to turn down, but sometimes you have to do what is right, no matter the cost,” he says. “It also hurts our public relations, which very well could translate into financial losses over time.”