Fuerth fan Kissinger drops in for Schalke game
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Saturday he hopes Gruether Fuerth win this season’s Bundesliga title after returning to his Franconian hometown to watch his football team play.
The 89-year-old, who served under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, was born in Fuerth.
His Jewish family fled Nazi Germany in 1938, but not before he had watched Gruether Fuerth play as a boy.
Having won Germany’s second division in May, Fuerth are playing their first season in the Bundesliga in the club’s 109-year history and Kissinger, who served as Secretary of State from 1973 until 1977, is a life-long fan.
“I wish Fuerth win the title,” he said with a wink having travelled from the US to visit Fuerth’s Trolli Arena ground, formerly known as the Ronhof, for the German league match against Schalke 04.
“The Ronhof I know has changed a lot. I used to watch the game from the terraces, but I will be treated a lot better today.”
Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his role in the Paris Peace Accords, which eventually helped lead to the end of the Vietnam War.
While in office, he insisted on being informed of Fuerth’s results.
“My father always advised me, opera visits were better than going to the Ronhof,” he said.
“Whenever I went there, I always got into trouble when I got home. I had always hoped they would be promoted.”
Fuerth’s president Helmut Hack was delighted Kissinger had paid the north Bavarian team a visit.
“It’s wonderful that he kept his promise to come and see us,” he said. “He’s our most famous ambassador to the world.”