Young Boys Fan Q&A: Daniel Buehlmann

Wednesday 08 December 2021 15:07

Ahead of Young Boys' visit to Old Trafford, we sat down with former ultra and current fan liason officer Daniel Buehlmann to get the inside track on his club...

When did your relationship with Young Boys begin?
“When I was born! I was born in the city and, for me, it was clear to follow the club. I started playing football for Young Boys when I was four years old. At that time, it was not such a professional youth [system], so for me – this boy from Bern – it was just somewhere to go and play. I played for YB for 12-13 years and then I started more and more to get interested by the fan culture. I wasn’t so talented that I had a big career in front of me, so I decided to switch to the stands! Around 2003, when I was around 14, I started to go to the match by myself or with friends, and not my parents.”

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What was it about the culture that captured you?
“It was always fascinating to me. When I could not play on the pitch, I wanted to give my best from the stands. I always had my flag. The culture was very interesting. But that was 20 years ago. There was less people into ultra culture. Nobody cared about [fans using] pyrotechnics and things like that. It was an easy time to become an ultra.”
 
It’s been a big transformation in the last four-to-five years at the club. There was a 32-year gap before you won the league in 2018...
“It was a long time and a really bad time. We weren’t that bad, but we lost all the important games. We had a reputation that we were resistant to winning the title! But Young Boys fans always laughed at ourselves. We love our club but [we thought]: we’ll never win anything! It [the club] doesn’t always make us happy, but it’s always here. And then there was just a big explosion in 2018, when we finally won the championship.”
The day you finally won the Swiss Super League after such a wait, it looked like a very crazy day...
“It was just crazy. I can’t remember a lot of things from this game – not because I was drunk, but because I was so full of adrenalin, it was so impossible. I can’t describe in words. I’d worked for Young Boys for one year [as the club’s supporter liaison officer], and on this day I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep the night before. It happened like in a dream, or if you wrote a film or a play with a lot of drama. It was 1-0 for the opponent [Luzern]. Then we made it 1-1. Then they got a penalty 10 minutes before the end, and our goalkeeper saved it. Then, in the last two minutes, there was this goal [by Jean-Pierre Nsame]. It was just one big explosion in the stadium, and in the city.”
How do you find working for the club as supporter liaison officer? What’s the relationship with the fans like?
“There’s actually a big football fan culture in Bern. The dominant culture in our stands is the ultra culture. It’s very creative. It’s loud. Ultras have their good and not-so-good sides. I think, as a club, we have to accept this. We don’t want to change the fans; we’re happy they are here. The fans have their own way and their own point of view: it’s a very romantic point of view and for me, personally, I support this view. I am still a very romantic fan, and a fan of romantic football. But we have a good dialogue with the fans. We’re a big family. It’s very important to speak to the fans, to show our decisions. They can always come to us and tell us their point of view. Then we can discuss together, drink a beer together, and mostly we find a good way for both sides to go.”
 
How would you describe Bern, the city, to people who have not visited?
“I would say it’s one of the beautiful cities of the world. But I know a lot of people outside Switzerland who say the same as well. It’s a very beautiful and relaxed place. People are very friendly. The best time to come is in summer, where you can take a bath in the river, in the Aare. That’s the culture that everybody from Bern loves.”
You said you liked romance in football. Your win on matchday one belongs in that category...
“Yeah. That’s the beautiful thing about the club. When we play Champions League, every win and every point we get is like winning the trophy. It was a dramatic game as well! When the second goal went in, everybody was jumping around like we had won the Champions League.”
 
Predict the outcome of the game in Manchester...
“We need a lot of luck! It’s very hard for the supporters that they cannot travel, or have to quarantine for 10 days. I think very few will be able to come. United have already qualified, so maybe 2-1 for Young Boys. Atalanta have to lose and we have to win, and then we are third and can play the Europa League. But it’s going to be difficult.”

This interview appears in the Young Boys edition of United Review, the club's matchday programme. Order your copy here.

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