With over 100,000 registered members, the Berlin Football Association is one of the largest of it’s kind in the world. Its size reflects the scale of participation in the game in the German capital, whether watching, playing or officiating.
For the last two seasons, Jacob Sweetman and Stephen Glennon have written about the beautiful game for the English-language magazine Exberliner. But they have taken their devotion to Berlin football to a new level with a fan magazine and website called inscrutably “No Dice.”
Apparently, Germany striker Lukas Podolski once was misquoted as saying: “Football is like chess, just with no dice.”
But why in English? Co-editor Sweetman said it is not meant as a snub to the German speaking fans who have built up this thriving football culture.
“Football is in itself an international language. The idea behind ‘No Dice’ is that it shouldn’t matter which language it is written in. There is something in there for every football fan, whether they come from Maidenhead, Mohali, Mars or Marzahn,” he said.
The first print issue of the magazine was published this month in limited edition of 100 copies. It contains Sweetman’s extensive interview and profile of Uwe Neuhaus, the man behind the rise up second-division Bundesliga club 1.FC Union.
Stephen Glennon, who has written for FourFourTwo, Deutsche Welle and the Guardian, has contributed a piece on the cult Berlin club Tennis Borussia.
The fanzine also features a beautiful photo essay focusing on the unsung heroes of the game, the referees, by Ian Stenhouse. The issue is completed by Emily Sweetman’s illustrations of a lower-division match between Lichterfeder FC and Türkiyemspor.
“No Dice” hopes to cater to those English-speaking fans looking for a more authentic experience in Berlin. The website contains match reports, previews and Stenhouse’s photography.