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Hertha BSC | “Child of the curve”: Ex-Ultra Kay Bernstein becomes president

The members of Hertha BSC dare the small revolution. With 1,670 out of 3,016 valid votes, they elected communications manager and ex-ultra Kay Bernstein as the new president of their club on Sunday.

The 41-year-old wants to initiate a drastic substantive realignment at the capital club. “Our old lady is in intensive care. Now we can heal her holistically from the inside and make her healthy,” he said in the City Cube at the Berlin Exhibition Center after his election.

It’s a victory for the active fan base and a crushing defeat for the club’s establishment. During the meeting, the estrangement between large parts of the membership and the officials on the stage became clear again and again. “We need an honest, real restart,” said Bernstein.

Huge celebrations at Hertha BSC

When the result was announced, huge cheers and shouts of “Ha Ho He, Hertha BSC” erupted from Bernstein’s supporters. The 41-year-old, who describes himself as a “child of the curve”, was visibly touched and blew through the stage several times. “Thank you for your trust,” he said. Everyone can help to win back the club’s “blue and white soul”.

Bernstein prevailed against the preferred candidate of the supervisory board and long-time CDU member of the Bundestag Frank Steffel and the blatant outsider Marvin Brumme. After 14 years, the controversial Werner Gegenbauer resigned as president at the end of May.

Steffel, who has successfully led the handball Bundesliga team Füchse Berlin for many years and is considered to be well connected in terms of sports policy, started the day as a slight favorite. During the meeting, however, it became increasingly clear how critical he was viewed by large sections of the membership – precisely because of his connections to the establishment.

Once a lead singer in the east curve

Bernstein used to be the lead singer in the East Curve and is still involved in the fans’ social projects. During the election campaign, he had repeatedly sought dialogue with the grassroots. Better internal and external communication, more cohesion and, above all, better integration of fans and members. Bernstein was able to embody that credibly, now he has to implement it.

The fact that he has no past as an official at the club was certainly part of the appeal for his voters. But it also raises questions. In Fabian Drescher, he has someone by his side as a deputy who has known the work of the Executive Committee for years.

He is also the head of his own company. He can’t do it alone, Bernstein conceded, but he can lead one and good people, he said. He wants to build a team, it needs a truce with everyone in and around the club.

An ex-ultra, a connoisseur of the active fan scene, as president: That could change the external perception of Hertha significantly. In quieter times, the club was often perceived as a bit stuffy and boring, since Windhorst joined the expression Big City Club has been a malicious companion of Berliners.

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