This past week we recorded the 200th episode of the Yellow Wall Podcast. It was great to chat about the past 5 years of talking about our beloved Borussia Dortmund. It also got me to thinking a bit about why this podcast, and subsequently the website, started back in 2012. So inspired by this episode, along with an article written by Nuri Sahin, I thought I’d give you a bit of an introspective retrospective.
Before I get into the details of HOW this project came about, I need to let you in on WHY it came about. For those of you that don’t know me, my family hails from Westphalia (Westfalen), which is of course the home region of Borussia Dortmund. It is essentially my “home town” club, even though our home is about a 45 minutes drive north of Dortmund. But I only lived in that region for five years of my life. Aside from annual trips back home, the rest of my 39 years have been spent away from home. This fact was due in part to my father’s career in the German Foreign Service and then my own career choices later in life. I currently live in the United States, outside of the city of Colorado Springs. These are important facts in the story of how the Yellow Wall Podcast came about.
My first true recollection of Borussia Dortmund and the birth of my diehard support came back in 1985. We were stationed in Houston at the time. With no Fox Sports Bundesliga coverage at the time (or Fox Sports really), the only way we could keep up to date with German football was through the VHS recordings my uncle would send us from Germany. So weeks after it actually took place, I saw the final match day of the 1984/85 season. That day, Borussia Dortmund spoiled the title hopes of Werder Bremen. Dortmund were not a good team at that time. In fact, they barely staved off relegation that season and were basically a lower mid-table side. Regardless, my 7 year-old self didn’t care about glory hunting. The kits, the stadium and the stories my father told me of “our” club fascinated me. Thus, a lifelong obsession with BVB was born.
No matter where I lived, Borussia Dortmund was a constant companion. I remember listening to the crazy relegation playoff match against Fortuna Köln in 1986 on the Deutsche Welle radio network while we were still in Houston, along with the glorious cup win in 1989, whilst living in Maryland. Then in South Africa I was finally able to watch BVB matches every week on TV. Luckily, we were stationed back to Germany for the glory years of 1994-1997. I actually got to go to the Westfalenstadion in the years where we won Bundesliga and Champions League titles.
However, life changes and 1998 was the last full year that I lived in my Westphalian home. Nevertheless, I always managed to somehow catch BVB matches, whether living in the USA or in the UK. For someone like me, a Westphalian living everywhere except in Westphalia, Borussia Dortmund was a constant piece of home.
Now let’s fast forward to the year 2012. I had discovered podcasts on a variety of football topics and clubs over the past 12 months or so. Amongst these was the Bundesliga Lounge with Terry Duffelen and Jon Hartley. Terry and Jon were kind enough to let me write a few articles for their website and even invited me onto the show a couple times. That summer I met with Jon in Dortmund and we discussed all sorts of BVB and Bundesliga related topics. On my trip back to the US, I had the thought that there wasn’t a dedicated Borussia Dortmund podcast for non-German speakers. Remember, this was well before all the international exposure (especially in England) catapulted BVB to their current status.
Following another few chats with Terry and Jon, I decided (with their critical assistance) to start the Yellow Wall Podcast in hopes of bringing this club that means so much to me, to a greater audience. Jon was actually the one responsible for naming the podcast (somehow the “True Love/Echte Liebe Podcast” never stuck). Terry put me in contact with Matthew Gerrard and the show was born. A few months into it, Matthew brought on Stefan Buczko and the rest, as they like to say, is history.
Now five years, 200 episodes and countless posts later, the Yellow Wall Podcast has grown to a level that I never expected. But at its core, this show and website are still what I set out to do. It is an expression of my, and all of our, dedication and love for Borussia Dortmund. I have now passed on the BVB fan-gene to my children, who have never lived at “home” in Westfalen. However, just like with me over all these decades, they too will, through my club, have a connection my home.