A PUB boss who shot to fame with his “A German Team” sign has starred in a German football league video after enjoying watching a game at the home of his adopted team.
A Twitter post showing an advertisement outside The Tiles Bar in St Andrew Square became an internet hit before Borussia Mönchengladbach beat Celtic 2-0 in their Champions League tie at Celtic Park in October last year.
Ahead of the game, assistant manager Brian Pickering, 36, from Drylaw, gave up attempting to spell “Mönchengladbach” – nicknamed the Foals – and instead wrote that Celtic were playing “A German Team” on a blackboard outside the popular city centre bar.
The light-hearted response sparked a friendship between Brian and the club, who arranged tickets to a recent Europa League match against Italian side Fiorentina at their home ground, Borussia Park.
He then teamed up with Swedish defender Oscar Wendt, who became Brian’s teacher in the new video. During filming, attempts by Brian to spell German football terms such as Dreierkette – back-three formation – failed but he did get one right.
Wendt said: “On matchday I noticed the post on Twitter. As a Swedish player I know how hard Borussia Mönchengladbach is to spell and to pronounce. So I found it funny and shared it in the teams’ Whatsapp group. But of course we didn’t expect the story to go that viral.”
Racking up 30,000 retweets, Brian’s original post gained more interest than new player signings.
But instead of taking offence, the Bundesliga team saw the funny side and embraced their new “name”.
They even changed their Twitter account to “a German team” for the afternoon and commissioned specially branded scarves which sold out within two days.
And the club has now sold more than 8000 scarves inscribed with the alternative name.
Brian said: “At the time there was a load of building work going on in St Andrew Square, scaffolding and signs everywhere.
“I tried to do something to try and catch people’s eye. I had no idea, it would take off. A blackboard getting way more hits than their club news is just insane.”
As a parting gift, Wendt presented Brian with an away strip – and above the number 11 on the back it reads “A German Team”.
The former Royal High pupil said: “I consider myself a supporter of Mönchengladbach now, and I can now spell it!
“I did French at school so I know little-to-no German. I did learn how to order some beers while I was over there.”
Brian hopes to return to see his new team play before the end of the season.
“Gladbach’s match was great and the whole experience has been brilliant,” he said.
But the lifelong Hibs fan dreams of his two favourite teams meeting on the pitch. “It would be amazing to watch a game between Gladbach and Hibs – even a friendly – but I’m not sure it’s going to happen.”