This Swiss is the most loyal food fan: My heart beats...


Essen – What are 678 kilometers if you can see Regionalliga ..?

Before every Rot-Weiss Essen home game, Alf Gardyan (70) climbs into his gray Ford Transit, which is covered with RWE logos, and tiles at night from Ebnat-Kappel in Switzerland to his old home to his love of ball games .

There he sits on the Rahn grandstand and, together with Hupen-Günni, Glocken-Horst and Happo, is excited about better football times. “It was probably because of my grandmother Else that I became an RWE fan,” recalls Gardyan of the beginnings, “in the 1950s she had many well-known players like August Gottschalk at the kitchen table at home.” Because Grandpa Willi was a miner. Like many kickers back then. We knew each other and little Alf got a free ticket.

Alf Gardyan with Essen’s defender Marco Kehl-Gomez (28)

Photo: Stefan Schejok

The way to the stadium on Hafenstrasse was still a stone’s throw for Alf back then. “I’m a young Vogelheimer.” It wasn’t until decades later that the trained chef and former newspaper delivery man moved to Switzerland. But his red and white heart continued to pulsate in the pot. He has set himself the budget for RWE 6,500 euros a year and even watches the second team and U19 games on site. The club says “Alf is an ambassador for RWE and a great example of how tradition-conscious our fans are.”

Everyone on Hafenstrasse knows Alf and Alf knows everyone. He celebrated his 70th on Friday evening in the “Hafenstübchen” fan bar. His wish? “Also to celebrate the 80th here and the promotion.” Because then he would have more games “on the doorstep”, for example at Bayern’s second or Unterhaching. But he wants to continue touring the 678 km. “As long as I am still driving – if not, I’ll just take the public transport.”

For the home game against Fortuna Düsseldorf II on October 2nd, spectators will again be in the Essen stadium for the first time. 5000 are allowed. Alf Gardyan cannot come – kidney and bladder infections. “I really want to be there at the next home game against Münster.”

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