Berlin – Tom has been living in France for going on 21 years now. The 52-year-old lives in Meaux, a rural town located around 55 kilometres east of Paris. The Berlin native grew up in Wedding in the 1970s before moving to Spandau. Football fascinated him from an early age, and he developed a love for the capital city club. Together with his schoolmates he would play on the local pitches in Berlin, and proudly wore a Hertha jersey to school.
On weekends, he would head to the Olympiastadion together with his grandfather. In an conversation with herthabsc.de, Tom reminisces about Hertha’s glory days of competing in Europe. In 1979, the Blue-Whites faced Dukla Prague in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup. An 11-year-old Tom was at the Olympiastadion for the first leg of that match-up, which ended 1-1. He listened to the reverse fixture on a DDR radio broadcast, as Hertha won 2-1 and advanced to the semi-finals where they fell to Red Star Belgrade. A year later, the young football fan travelled to watch the Blue-Whites face 1860 München, accompanied by his stepfather and a few friends. “An incredible trip,” is how Tom describes the trip now. They set off for Munich in the late evening, and were able to watch the Herthaner celebrate a 1-0 win.
Over the years that followed, a teenaged Tom focused on his studies and completed his A-levels. After completing his two years of service with the Bundeswehr, Tom went to university to complete a degree in business administration. With a part-time job as a steward for the Blue-Whites, he continued to maintain his connection to the club. As part of his studies, he spent three months interning in Beauvais in northern France. During his time there Tom reconnected with former acquaintances he met during camping trips to France. It was in this manner that he later got to know his now-wife. After graduating from university, Tom began working as an account manager at a packaging printing company. His dream was to one day transfer to the company’s French headquarters. That dream came true just two years later, in 1999, as Tom packed his bags and moved to Paris. A few years later, he and his wife welcomed their first child, and moved to the countryside near Meaux in the mid-2000s. A suburb of Paris, Meaux is known for its soft cheese. Tom and his family continue to live there to this day.
Father-son trips through Germany
Despite the many kilometres separating Tom from his hometown, his love for the Old Lady remained. He would make regular trips back home each year, and would always make sure to stop by the Olympiastadion to catch a Hertha match. During a match against Bayern München in 2003, Tom and his grandfather were able to experience a special day at the stadium. “He took me to see many games over the years, so I returned the favour,” said Tom. It was the last trip the two would make to the Olympiastadion together, with Tom’s grandfather passing away several years later.
In the years after, Tom’s son would become a tour guide at the stadium. The two share a love and passion for football and Hertha BSC. Despite living far away from Berlin, the two often attend away games. The father-son duo uses each trip as an opportunity to experience a different city, and have gotten to see plenty of Germany along the way. Their first trip together was to a DFB-Pokal match in Kaiserslautern in 2013. Despite the Blue-Whites losing that day, it only made their passion for the Blue-Whites stronger. Since then, the two have attended several other away games and have gotten to know other Hertha fans living abroad. “My dream is to watch Hertha play in France,” said Tom. It’s a dream that will hopefully come true over the next few years. After all, with Lucas Tousart set the join Hertha at the start of next season, the club will already have some French flair in its ranks.