In the newspapers the management defended me and said it was disgraceful for the fans to boo their own player, as it was never Dortmund’s supporters’ mentality to do this. As a player you would expect the fans to stand by you when things were not working out. The club arranged for me to meet with the fan club to explain my poor form. I didn’t make any excuses and agreed that I was not good enough to play for their beloved Dortmund.
I was honest because I knew that my form was putrid! The meeting with the fan club started off quite aggressively and it revealed the disgust they had for me – they said that I was the worst transfer ever made by Borussia Dortmund. A 9-year old fan asked why I was playing so bad compared to the last season, when I had scored 20-goals. I replied, “It was all a new experience. At Bielefeld they were a smaller club compared to Dortmund. Therefore, it could be that I needed some more time to settle in, I guess.”
My manager, Michael Zorc, saw that the pressure was becoming too much and he intervened to take some of the questions. When Ela and I were out shopping, I often received insults from some of the fans – even when I was doing promotions for the club at schools and malls. There were a lot of negative comments directed towards me. At an indoor fan club tournament a fan started berating me, “You should leave the club. You are the poorest signing Dortmund ever made.” Some of his pals had to quieten him down and they apologised to me for his bad behaviour.
I told them it was fine as I was used to it by now. I couldn’t believe I was playing so bad and to feel so worthless was scaring me. That season I fell into a hole, a depression I couldn’t get out off. I had trouble sleeping and was a nervous wreck, being tormented by thoughts in my head telling me I was useless, a failure and the best solution was for me to end my life. To be honest, taking my life seemed like the best option to escape the turmoil in my head.
I couldn’t speak to anyone to share my feelings, as I was too embarrassed. If there was ever a time I needed a father it was then. This thought brought me to my senses – if I took my life, I would deprive Charlize of her dad. I couldn’t do that, especially as I knew what it was like growing up without a father around!