The Unión Berlin players celebrate a victory with their fans (REUTERS).
“I have had very busy days. “I arrived in Madrid yesterday afternoon and now I am waiting for the players and members of the club to arrive.” It’s noon and Unión Berlin is about to land in the Spanish capital to make its Champions League debut against Real Madrid. The welcome is offered by Alberto Doblaré, who takes time to attend to Infobae Spain while he strives not to neglect any detail on a historic day for the German club. His name is Alberto, but on social media he writes under the nickname @fcunion_es, the official Spanish account of Unión Berlin on Twitter.
“Since the beginning of this season I have been 100% working with the club. I have gone from telling the story of Union Berlin out of passion to working with them. It’s the charm of the club. Instead of having looked for an agency to make themselves known in another language as another team would have done, they have looked for someone who lives it with passion. It’s still complicated to explain. When I tell my daughter’s schoolmates and her parents what job I do and how I got there, it is very difficult for them to understand. My daughter is still very young, but when I tell her that I’m going to Berlin to watch a game she finds it funny. I live in Castellón and I go to Berlin one week a month, coinciding with match days. For the Real Madrid one, I came by car to Madrid,” Alberto begins by explaining.
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Alberto Doblaré fell in love with Unión Berlin and its fans during his time as a student. “I lived in Berlin for five years, from 2010 to 2015. During that time I went to the stadium several times. I had been on Erasmus for a couple of years before returning to my native Zaragoza, where I found my first job. But I missed living abroad and I said, look, ‘now or never, it’s time.’ And with a friend we went to Berlin, practically on an adventure. There I joined a startup and in the end I stayed working for five years. And at that time, a co-worker told me, ‘hey, today St Pauli is playing against Unión.’ And we went there to the stadium. I didn’t know the team much, but I was fascinated by how football is experienced there. Standing stands, music, rock in the preview, everyone singing, drinking beer… it is a very healthy environment and what we imagined football was like in the 80s. And then I started following the team’s results, to see “How were they doing?”
It can only be defined as a dream come true! From today this account will be OFFICIAL with content in Spanish from Union Berlin
Thank you to everyone who has collaborated on this beautiful journey that continues with more enthusiasm than ever 🔨💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/jshmSiHjHr
— 1. FC Union Berlin ES (@fcunion_es) July 4, 2023
“And when I saw that they had a chance to be promoted to the Bundesliga, I thought ‘there is very little Union Berlin content in Spanish. I’m going to make an account simply to get to know the team a little. And with everything I delved into its history, its fans and so on, I became hooked on the club myself and became another fan. And well, at that time I met many fans, journalists, especially those who follow the Bundesliga. And there came a time when I believed that this had the potential to be something more official and I contacted the club. I met with them during one of these winter preseason sessions that they did in Alicante and there we began to see a little way to collaborate. And until they qualified for the Champions League and confirmed to me that I was beginning to be part of the club,” Alberto is sincere.
As soon as Alberto found out that the German club was holding a mini preseason in Alicante, he decided to move there with his wife to try to make his dream come true. He did not hesitate to get in the car and travel the 250 kilometers that separated him. “I moved to Castellón because my wife is from there. From there I went to the team’s winter training camp in Alicante, my wife and I went down to meet with the club. They had an already created structure and at that time they did not see the need to open to the Spanish-speaking market. I made them a proposal of everything I could give them. And in fact, the fact that he played in Madrid has confirmed that what I said made sense. I contacted them and they were also very willing to collaborate. But being a small club that has grown very quickly, they also had no ambition to be present in several languages. So it was a bit progressive too.”
The Unión Berlin fans during the run-up to a Bundesliga match (REUTERS).
“Now I have access to all the club’s databases. I have the same accessories as the one with the networks in German and the one with the networks in English. And in fact I’m very excited because before I used to take the content from other languages and during the break I put the image of Half Time (break) in English. I took the official content in another language and now seeing that there is the same image, but with my text in Spanish, makes me quite excited,” adds Alberto, who from the beginning was clear that he could work with the club. “I didn’t imagine that it could lead to all this, but it is true that from the beginning I saw it as an ultimate goal. I’m not telling you that I was obsessed, but when I created it I thought this could happen. It was one of the options there was and I was heading in that direction.”
What was born as a passion and has become a job. Alberto went from representing himself on social networks to being part of the club’s communication, a change that, however, he claims has not changed the way he expresses himself. “Let’s see, if it is true that I have had much more freedom than I can have now writing about some topics. It used to be a personal account and now it’s an official one, but I’ve always tried to make it look official because I was thinking about the future. I didn’t get into insults or controversies much because I thought I was unconsciously being a voice for the club, even if it wasn’t official. I have always tried to talk not only about the club, but about its context, about the history of the GDR, about the city of Berlin itself, which in the end makes you more attached to the team because it has a very cool context around it.”
When it came to setting out to fulfill his dream, he did not hesitate. Alberto saw the opportunity and, where other people may be afraid of the unknown, it generated hope for him. “I am a person who has changed jobs several times. Always prioritizing where he could be most comfortable. I haven’t thought about making a career anywhere in particular. It didn’t scare me at all because I saw that it was like working on what I have always wanted. It was a dream and if it cannot be extended over time due to the circumstances of the club or whatever, then everything I have learned in this time and all the experience that I am going to live, I will take with me. But I think that the club is also seeing what I can contribute to them and how I treat the club, that in the end apart from working for them, I am just another fan and that is perceived,” he explains.
Unión Berlin’s historic debut in the top continental tournament will be in style. Against the champion of champions of the competition and a stage, the Santiago Bernabéu, which breathes Champions from all sides. They have been waiting for the clash since August 31, the date on which they were drawn with the white club in the same group. “I experienced the draw at the Unión stadium and when Madrid played it was a rush. At first they thought of opening the venue for all fans, but since it had started two days later, the logistics were complicated, so in the end they did it simply for workers, players… And of course, there were people from the board who had been there for 20 years at the club and has seen the team in the fourth division. To be experiencing a Champions League draw there was crazy,” says Doblaré.
“The game is very complicated. I think that the Unión fans are clear that the objective is to come to the Bernabéu to enjoy themselves. If we end up losing, even by a landslide, no one will complain and it will continue to be a party. But man, while we’re at it, we’re going to be a little ambitious and say 0-1 with a goal from a corner that would also be very representative of what the Union stands for.” Alberto already represents him every day on social networks. Unión has gone from competing in the Fourth Division and being on the verge of bankruptcy to debuting in the Champions League against Real Madrid. Another golden page to write in that book that completes match by match.