'We're just so proud to say we're Leeds' - Meet the Berlin Whites Leeds United group flying the flag in Germany

The YEP's explores Leeds United's clutch of fans in Berlin in our latest We All Love Leeds feature.
The Berlin Whites fans group is picking up steam.The Berlin Whites fans group is picking up steam.
The Berlin Whites fans group is picking up steam.

No matter where Leeds United fans travel or settle, there is always a pull that yearns for a little slice of home and the togetherness of what it is to be part of the football club.

Whether it is the far reaches of America or Johannesburg in South Africa, the Whites take up an unshakeable part of the football fanbase whether from the city, or not.

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Allan Howe - who is a born and bred Beeston lad - is one of those devoted supporters who has been going to Elland Road since he was just six-years-old.

The famous old ground which dominates the skyline in south Leeds was home to many childhood memories, having first tasted the Leeds experience with his grandparents before his brother was also bitten by the bug.

In 2013, though, he opted to give up what had become the Leeds United compulsion for good - in person at least - as life took over.

'It's been up to people like us to keep it going here' - meet the Leeds United Johannesburg supporters groupMany would say one love overruled another after he met a German girl whilst studying, opting to settle down in Berlin to get married and start a family.

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Twenty-years as a season ticket holder and travelling home and away were put to one side, as other things in life took over.

A little part of home was needed in his adopted city and that is there where the story of the Berlin Whites begins: a small group of passionate supporters in Germany's capital city.

"I ended up here through luck and love about seven years ago," Allan told the YEP.

"There's a guy who I got in touch with through the infamous 'WACCOE' message board - he's known to many as 'Berlin White' but his real name is Steve.

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"He's a born and bred Berliner and has followed the club since he was a kid. He's the one hardcore German member we have. He's a great guy and his passion for the club is unmatched.

"I started watching games with him in town and we've gone from there really. We aren't official or anything but it is that community you crave that makes being a Leeds supporter that bit better.

"There's two or three British lads who live here too, some who go to games quite regularly and even have season tickets still.

"It just started like that. We'd meet up in one of the Irish pubs. We get a lot of people passing through Berlin as well because it is that sort of city.

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"You quite often find on social media people are asking for places to watch the games so we've had plenty join us on their travels through.

"We all pitched in for a flag as well - which was Steve's idea. We're just so proud to say we're Leeds."

'We have built up an amazing brotherhood of like-minded people' - meet the Leeds United Americas supporters groupThe city in West Yorkshire is a place in which people are proud of their roots and the football club based in LS11 certainly feeds into that idea.

The Whites have been through thick and thin over the past 16 years since their relegation from the top flight in 2004.

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Players, owners and managers have been and gone but the support has never wavered, despite some bleak days both on and off the pitch.

"There's very few places where people are as proud to say that is where we are from," Allan said.

"That is part of the pride in the city and the loyalty that we have to it - but we like to tell everyone that's where we're from and it goes hand in hand with the football team.

"Let's be honest we have been awful for the best part of two decades but we have still been there and followed them through it all.

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"I work with nationalities from all over the world in Berlin - it's a very international city. They all know who we are no matter where they're from. There's a bit of pride in that for us.

"I don't think our profile has dropped as much in Germany compared to other countries because there is that football culture and that recognition. Being a traditional club is a big thing here.

"In the Premier League, we're entering into a whole different world.

"We've been relatively untouched from the sanitised version of the top flight that we now know and I think a lot of people are in for a shock once fans are back in the stadium.

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"I think we'll appeal to quite a lot of people who like that and see our support for what it is."

Allan has previously been a member of the Johannesburg supporters club and also met up with a fellow supporter in Vancouver during a gap year.

It is that love of not just the football club, but of the community Leeds United creates that has driven the Berlin branch.

Plans are in place to toast the new Premier League season with a meet-up next month for the opening day trip to Anfield to take on reigning top flight champions Liverpool.

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"One of the things I miss about being at home is the buzz on a matchday," Allan said.

"It's still a link to home and it's part of your identity. If I can't be in the ground then I'd rather be with people who fully appreciate what Leeds United means.

"I love living in Berlin and the life I have got here but it's always quite cool as well to have others that are Leeds fans and not just have to sit at home and watch it on your own.

"My wife has no interest, understandably, and my two-year-old just shouts "Leeds, Leeds, Leeds" at the TV - I've taught her well!

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"It does create that community and it's the reason you do it if we're honest with ourselves.

"In Berlin you can find a supporters club for every team in Germany where they all meet up for games.

"They all have their own bars that they meet in, so we kind of created an unofficial group with Leeds doing the same thing. There's nothing better."

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