It’s the holiday season! It’s time for tidings of great joy, mistletoe, cookie thieves, and the greatest holiday tradition of all: the Festivus Airing of Grievances. For those of you who are not in the know, Festivus comes every December 23rd, and provides an opportunity for those participating to air their grievances with their friends, family, coworkers, and more.
Complaining is one of the great joys in life, and complaining about other people is the ultimate form of this. There is nothing more cathartic in life than confidently declaring that someone else’s incompetence or negligence is at the heart of all of your problems.
I don’t have any hard polling data to tell me this, but I have a quiet suspicion that Borussia Dortmund fans have a grievance or two with various officials at the club, whether big or small. So without further ado, here are our biggest grievances this Festivus:
Sean: Edin Terzic’s Transfers Suck (and More Importantly, I was Right)
I can excuse being a crappy coach. Well, I actually can’t, but it’s at least understandable for a coach’s tactics to wear out over time, or for his relationship with his players to fray as poor results string together. What I can’t tolerate for sure is a manager who is completely unjustifiably handed the keys to his club’s transfer decisions, and then makes one terrible move after another.
The club desperately needed reinforcements in defensive midfield and at full-back and desperately needed to replenish its ranks of young talent following the departure of Jude Bellingham. Terzic instead wasted millions on Felix Nmecha who has had a dreadful start to his BVB tenure, Marcel Sabitzer has been decent at best, and while Niclas Füllkrug has fit in nicely with Dortmund so far, his heavy price tag has left almost no money for Borussia to afford another full-back in the winter window. Now, despite spending €65 million in the summer, Dortmund fields the least talented and most shallow squad in recent memory.
In the spirit of Festivus pettiness, I’m going to use this opportunity for some blatant self-congratulation, and to indulge in something I usually try to avoid, which is to say, “I told you so.” Six months ago, I wrote an article titled Don’t Let Managers Run Your Transfer Business, in which I described. While most of you in the comments seemed to agree with me, the article was much less well-received on the Borussia Dortmund subreddit, which if anything should have given me even more confidence that I was right. Now that the Hinrunde has passed and everything I wrote has been proven 1000% correct and everyone on the BVB subreddit is complaining about Terzic’s outsized role at the club, I would just like to say, I told you so.
Zac: Alienating Marco Reus Will Destroy Dortmund’s Domestic and International Reputation
When Lionel Messi left Barcelona due to a discrepancy in wages, many Barca fans (through tears) were quick to claim that “no player is bigger than the club”. Barca would go on to find out that Lionel Messi was indeed bigger than the club, and their results showed it for the seasons immediately following his departure. In the case of Borussia Dortmund, for many of its fans of the last 10 years, Marco Reus IS the club. Yes, BVB long haulers will remember the days of Stefan Chaupisat, Michael Zorc, and other club legends. But BVB’s prodigal son, the hometown hero of Black and Yellow who has given his entire career to the club, has galvanized a generation of Dortmund fans to align their hearts with the club. I, for one, am a disciple of the Reus generation.
Reports that Edin Terzic could ice Reus out of the squad due to their differences of opinion should raise enormous concern. To disrespect the years of service that Reus has given to the club in favor of a coach who, supposedly, shares the same Black and Yellow origins as Reus himself, makes one question whether Mr. Terzic is really working in the best interests of the club he claims to love, or in favor of himself.
Anders: Driving a Solid and Transparent Club Hierarchy Can’t be That Difficult, Can it?
I think it’s fair to say that this season is already pretty derailed, especially when considering Dortmund’s performance in the league and DFB Pokal. But it’s not only on the field where The Black-and-Yellows have been making negative headlines. According to basically every reliable media outlet out there, Sebastian Kehl and Edin Terzic have been butting heads since the summer transfer window. Half a year on, going into the winter break, our dear Sporting Director and Head Coach are seemingly still not getting along, and from the outside, the club hierarchy is anything but clear. To be perfectly honest, if Terzic has the power to veto transfers and has been the deciding factor in almost all our summer transfers, then why does the club need Kehl?
Right now in the Bundesliga, there are two very good examples of well-run sporting departments: Simon Rolfes and Xabi Alonso at Bayer Leverkusen Leverkusen, and Christoph Freund and Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich. It’s not a coincidence that Leverkusen have had such a good transfer window because when responsibilities are clearly delegated, it’s the best possible foundation for success. Dortmund are currently looking like a kindergarten from the outside, and I don’t care who needs to apologize to whom or who needs to give up a portion of their power, because it’s currently deeply embarrassing as a supporter of the club.
Joey: Watzke has got to go... It’s Obvious, Right?
So many of the grievances from fans this season can be directly traced back to our aging Chief Executive Officer, Has-Jaochim Watzke. Does Terzic have too much power? Did we waste the Jude Bellingham windfall of cash? Are we tired of buying young, promising players for the purpose of selling when they're on the brink of stardom? We can all thank Watzke- he’s a businessman after all.
In addition to sitting at Dortmund’s helm, Aki is a member of the Executive Committee of UEFA, as well as being the Speaker AND Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the German Football Association. Watzke is the one who spearheaded the recently approved investor program for Germany’s top two divisions of football. It’s a move directly opposing the interests of German fans, but more importantly, DORTMUND fans. If this isn't a clear sign he needs to go, then I don’t know what is. I respect Aki and all he’s done for this amazing club, but with his 234th birthday approaching, I’ll suggest we need someone younger, fresher, and with Dortmund in their heart. So long as Watzke’s personal goals don’t align with the goals of the club, we’re doomed.
Patrick: Our Current Jerseys are Ugly
While my peers have taken the time to squander their portions of our esteemed Semi-Annual Airing of Grievances on frivolous things like sporting results and the welfare of our club, I would like to talk about something meaningful. Our current kits are awful.
All three of our kits this season are easily some of the worst in recent memory. Let’s start with the home kit. Sure, it is supposed to reflect the ‘the greatness and sanctity of the Westfalen Stadion’ but it looks like something a PTA meeting put together for an elementary school’s jog-a-thon. While the vibrant yellow support structures are a notable feature of the stadium, only those in some dark abyss of Dortmund fandom would recognize a blacked-out artistic version of them that takes up just an eighth of the frontside of the jersey. Everyone I’ve shown it to asks if it is a power line or a sailboat. The rest of the space you ask? Well for starters most of the jersey is a blank, untouched, yellow canvas that they were too lazy to get creative with. My biggest criticism, however, is that the black blotch on the bottom of the jersey just abruptly stops when it gets to the seam of the jersey. This is standard on many jerseys but, with this design, my god does it look half-assed. Puma found one of the worst fan-design jerseys, butchered it, and then released it just to have fans stop begging for fan designs. It’s genius.
The away jersey is better but not by much. It shows a birds-eye view of Dortmund’s famous Borsigplatz, which is really just a roundabout, with some lava lamp-esque effects on it. Now, if I showed this to a Dortmund fan without prefacing that, they would believe it was another Rorschach considering most of us should be going to therapy after last season’s game against Mainz. Personally, I think it looks like tie-dye from a dog’s perspective.
The third kit is interesting. It has intricate geometric patterns that pay homage to the steel Dortmund’s steel mills shaped during the late 1800s when Dortmund acted as a major hub for Germany’s industrialization. I am just kidding. It actually has no meaning and serves no purpose other than helping us differentiate if Stuttgart is beating us in a Bundesliga game or a Pokal game.
Air ‘em out! What’s been bugging you this holiday season? (Keep it BVB related please, no whining about your wife!)