The players of 2.Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt have taken the unusual step of writing an open letter to their younger fans asking them to stop asking for players’ shirts at the end of matches. From now on the little ones are going to be going home empty handed from the Stadion am Böllenfalltor.
In the letter, addressed primarily to the club’s younger fanbase, the players request that they stop making signs pleading for their heroes jerseys. “As in many stadiums, at the Bölle, too, there are frequent requests on creative signs and banners about our jerseys. Of course, we are honored by these wishes and we definitely appreciate the efforts of our mostly very young fans.
“We would love to give each fan a jersey! Unfortunately, the inquiries have now simply got out of hand across Europe, and thus also here at the Bölle. Most recently, kids with signs were sitting on large parts of the fence on the back straight – with the result that we were told that fans behind us could no longer see anything of the game.
“We simply cannot meet this mass of wishes, which is why it is difficult for us to even issue a jersey to a special person in order not to appear unfair to others. At the same time, none of us players want to be perceived as arrogant if we don’t pay attention to the signs. On top of that, we’ve noticed that many recently released jerseys have immediately ended up on auction platforms and been monetized, which is really not in our interest when it comes to giving away.
“We therefore ask you: Do not use these signs!”
To some this will reek of Scrooge-like behaviour and will be met with some disappointment. How could those big, nasty footballers be so mean to those angelic faced little cherubs. Who just want to get closer to their heroes.
To others, it is something that has long needed to be said. Handing a shirt over as a one-off special gesture is one thing, but having hordes of children blocking the view and clambering to get a shirt just so they flog it on Ebay is another thing entirely.
‘Bah humbug’, or well said players of SV Darmstadt?