What makes football the best sport in the world? Anyone who knows my writing and train of thought will be certain of my answer: the fans. Watching football without supporters kills the excitement for me. Yes, it is nice to watch live sports again after a few boring months, but something crucial is missing.
It gratifies me that the Bayern Munich players feel the same way. Fans aren’t crucial to modern football’s business model, but they are to the excitement of the players, who once were fans themselves.
Bayern Munich recently asked their superstars how the lack of supporters has impacted them on the pitch. Here is how they responded:
Manuel Neuer: “Even though we’ve learned to deal with the situation, it’s important to say thank you to our supporters… Thank you for the passion and closeness that characterize us as a Bayern family. Dear fans, please don’t forget to keep supporting us. Be persistent, stay proud of what we’ve already achieved together — and look forward to shared stadium experiences in the future…. The team misses you very much!”
Robert Lewandowski: “It’s strange when I score a goal and only my teammates and the coaching staff cheer along with me. Something is missing — something very important!... when the fans can return to the stadium and celebrate our goals loudly. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Kingsley Coman on his Champions League final goal: “At that moment I exploded inside – but unfortunately it was quiet in the stands. We miss the fans a lot. They drive us forward, and when we get tired or threaten to stumble in a game, they give us extra strength. They are pure adrenaline.”
©️ @Manuel_Neuer: "Even though we have learned how to deal with this situation, it's important right now to say thank you to our fans. Thank you for your passion and the closeness that embodies our Bayern family."— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) October 2, 2020
️ THANK YOU!! pic.twitter.com/8TqK1GMqpm
Thomas Muller on going to football games as a child: “I’ve seen it myself and I hope it will be possible for our young fans again soon. FC Bayern has always been my club, I’ve worn the jersey for all kinds of occasions, it was my absolute favorite in the wardrobe, and it still is today.”
Serge Gnabry: “The fans give us an extra push in difficult situations. It drives me on tremendously when I see what’s happening around us in the stands and how tens of thousands cheer us on. Hopefully it will be that way again soon.”
For those who doubt the impact fans can have on players, just re-read those quotes above and you’ll know how much some of the world’s premiere players enjoy the presence of fans. Here’s looking forward to the world returning to normal at some point soon.