Indeed, with 667 registered fan clubs from Bavaria to Bangkok, some supporters are quite literally willing to go the extra mile to see their favourite club in action, not least the members of United Kingdom Supporters Club of 1. FC Nuremberg.
Five decades of support
An official entity since 2006, some of the '1FCNUK' members have been following Nuremberg since the 1970s.
“One of our founding members, Herbert Schauer, was born and bred in Nuremberg before emigrating to England in 1977,” fellow member Jon Goulding told bundesliga.com. “We visited Nuremberg and took in a game with a group of friends and family and we all caught the bug!”
Iain Finlayson, Angela Goulding, Trevor Wardle-Paylor and Jason White, many of whom attended Nuremberg’s 3-2 defeat against Arminia Bielefeld in 2005, make up the rest of 1FCNUK’s six founding members, and the club has grown steadily since. “1FCNUK has approximately 30 regularly active members from the United Kingdom and Germany with many more friends and acquaintances joining in with our trips and social events,” said Jason.
Updates via Twitter
“Our first game as an official fan club was the away game against 1. FC Köln in March 2006. A very cold day with snow, an orange ball, seven goals and a 4-3 victory for FCN.”
Jason and Jon make sure all members are kept up-to-date by providing live updates via Twitter - even when they’re not in the stadium. “The hardcore of our group try to get to at least four or five games each season, sometimes in small groups, but at least once per season in a larger group of between ten and 20.”
Their efforts in promoting 1. FC Nuremberg abroad and regularly travelling to Franconia did not go unnoticed and before long 1FCNUK were officially welcomed into the club's official fan family.
Official since 2006
“It was a true honour to be recognised in an official capacity by the club,” beamed Jon. “We were all very proud to be Der Club’s only English supporters club and this was the moment when we became official Clubberer. We felt a part of the club and have always been welcome ever since.”
It’s easy to tell what caught the Brits' eye when it came to both the Bundesliga and their beloved Nuremberg. “Passionate fans, good beer and sausage, cheap tickets, standing to watch the game... all things missing in the modern English Premier League,” said Jon. “However, more than anything it is the supporters that make the experience special. They’re always very welcoming. Wherever we go and whoever comes with us, we always try to reciprocate the reception we’re given.”
Naturally Nuremberg’s storied past plays adds to the attraction. They were one of the early powerhouses of German football, winning nine German championships and four DFB Cups, the last of which, in 2006, the 1FCNUK members were delighted to witness first hand.
Epic cup final
“The importance of the game with FCN collecting their first silverware since 1968 obviously made it special,” said Jason. “However, the match itself had everything with Stuttgart taking the lead, Nuremberg coming back through Marek Mintal, Cacau getting sent off for Stuttgart, extra-time and Jan Kristiansen’s incredible winning goal.”
That epic encounter was ultimately chronicled in Jon’s book For Better or for Wurst, an account which “not only tries to capture the eccentricities and fun of supporting a Bundesliga football club, but also attempts to give the reader an insight into the passion felt for 1. FCN”.
1FCNUK’s stature has grown with every passing year and they regularly feature in both local and international press circles. “For the final away game of the 2006/07 season in Hanover, we were accompanied by a TV crew from Deutsche Welle, who were doing a piece on us to be shown on the cup final weekend,” explained Jon.
More than just a fan club
Yet fame and exposure are not what inspire this group of ardent supporters, whose priority remains to represent 1. FC Nuremberg in the best possible way. “There are plenty of people who take an active interest in the social aspects of our fan club, both in the UK and in Germany. 1FCNUK is more than just a fan club of 1. FC Nuremberg.”
For more information on 1FCNUK, follow them on Twitter @1FCNUK and visit their official website www.1fcnuk.com.