The presentation of Köpenick’s new football team.
Stefan Grünwald | July 2019
The aim of Plan Köpenick was to set up a football club in the south-eastern part of Berlin that carried the same name as the project: Köpenick. His ties to this town made him an ideal candidate to lead this project. Instead of forming a completely new club, my dad and his team decided that the football club should be a continuation of the rich footballing tradition within Köpenick. In line with these criteria, they sought out TSC Berlin.
TSC Berlin was the newest name of a club that originated in 1906: FC Olympia 06 Oberschöneweide. By 1910, this club had become SC Union 06 Oberschöneweide – a club by and for metalworkers from Berlin’s south-east. The club – which played in blue and white colours resembling the workers’ outfits – became a working-class team. During this time, the chant Eisern Union! (Iron Union) was often chanted from the terraces (remember that for later).
The first club from Berlin that carried the name “Union”: SC Union 06 Oberschöneweide
Union became a national force in the period between World War I and World War II, with its biggest achievement being a national final against Hamburger SV. During and after World War II, Union went through a number of reorganisations. Some forced (by the Nazi’s), some self-inflicted (by infighting and splits). To make a story that covers both East- and West Berlin, about four splits and ten club names short, in 1963 the club that once started as SC Olympia 06 Oberschöneweide had become TSC Berlin. A second-tier team just promoted from the third tier.
The project team approached TSC Berlin, telling them the club would be reorganised and sponsored by the state-controlled Free German Trade Union Federation. Fans had the opportunity to submit new names and logo’s for the club. The name 1. FC Union Berlin was eventually chosen, harkening back to the successful working-class outfit SC Union 06 Oberschöneweide. The club’s colours did however change, to red, white and yellow – the colours of the Trade Union Federation. It was official: Union were refounded as 1. FC Union Berlin, and were to participate in the 66/67 season of the second tier of East-German football.
My father – who knew that jobs were scarce in Köpenick – suggested this new team be sponsored by the association of state-owned high-voltage devices and cables. Not the most exciting sponsor, but it meant factories and jobs were coming to Köpenick after a difficult recovery from World War II. He is still proud of his work to re-establish Union, and visits every match – home or away – together with me. He also gave me the picture I added to the top of this post. “That’s me!” he exclaimed when pointing at the man third from right.
To be fair, he has every right to be proud of “his” Union: it's a unique, beautiful club. I’ll tell you more about the club he also made me fall in love with next time.