Fans keep Tide pride alive overseas

Adrienne Burch

An 11-hour time difference and 5,224 miles has not stopped Marcel Gromotka from being a die-hard University of Alabama football fan.

Gromotka grew up in Munich, Germany and moved to the United States in 2006 when his dad was offered a job with Mercedes in Tuscaloosa. Before he arrived, Gromotka never dreamed he would become attached to the city of Tuscaloosa and especially not because of something called American football.

“Before I came to the States I didn’t really care about football,” Gromotka said. “I was all about soccer. But living in Tuscaloosa, I realized you eventually get pulled into it.”

He attended Tuscaloosa Academy for two years and then enrolled in UA to study design and photography. After a year at the Capstone he moved back to Munich, where he was offered a job from Redblue Marketing, and is currently a media designer.

Despite the move, Gromotka said he never lost his connection with Tuscaloosa for two main reasons: his family still lives here and he simply fell in love with the city, the University and the Crimson Tide.

Since moving back to Germany, Gromotka has kept up with Alabama football, and he recently started a Facebook page and Twitter account dedicated to German Crimson Tide fans.

“We had the idea for the Facebook page after we won the national championship in January of 2010 because a lot of my friends here in Germany were suddenly interested in Alabama Football and wanted to watch the games,” Gromtka said.

Gromotka recently updated his fan club account, @CrimsonTideGER, tweeting, “It’s Iron Bowl Week!!! #ROLLTIDE #beatauburn.” He uses this account to keep his fan club up to date with the Tide, even tweeting in German sometimes.

Gromotka said he still finds time to watch every Alabama football game and keep his fan club updated despite the 11-hour time difference.

“Usually my Saturday nights are reserved for football,” Gromotka said. “But since the games start late here they can be long nights.”

As far as the numbers of Tide fans in Germany, Gromotka said he thinks there are more than one would think. He even said he gets lots of “Roll Tides” when he sports his Alabama attire around Munich.

“Sometimes it’s American tourists, but I think there are a bunch of Germans who know about Alabama football,” Gromotka said. “And the first Crimson Tide Fan Club of Germany is a way for them to connect with each other and be informed.”