As a player, he achieved hero status back in 1988 against Hannover 96 with what was fastest hat-trick in Bundesliga history at the time, and above all with the brace in the cup final against Werder Bremen in 1989. And his second career, too, has seen Norbert Dickel's popularity ratings rise to a level no other stadium announcer enjoys. He has held this position for exactly 30 years.

12 September 1992 is a Saturday. It is the day Norbert Dickel is celebrating his debut as stadium announcer. He starts not with a "normal game", but one which the whole of Germany is watching or listening to, as there is a live TV broadcast from the Westfalenstadion at 20:15 CET – prime time: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich – DFB-Pokal, second round.

He has the honour of announcing four goals during the 90 minutes. He announced two goals for BVB – Knut Reinhardt's opener in the 8th minute, and Stéphane Chapuisat's equaliser at 2-2 in the 84th minute, as well as Bayern's two goals in between, which came from Bruno Labbadia on 16 minutes and Mazinho after 58 minutes. In the penalty shoot-out, all five Dortmund takers scored, while Mazinho missed for Munich. His voice still sounds a little nervous – no wonder, as president at the time, Dr. Gerd Niebaum, had given him this task only a few days before. "I had no choice but to start at the stadium. I have to admit that I was absolutely bricking it," says Dickel in the latest issue of the member magazine "Borussia", which is published this Friday.

For him, it was the end of a nearly three-year odyssey, which began after his last game as a professional, when on 15 December 1989, as he so often did, he found the back of the net in the 90th minute to bring his BVB level at 1-1 against Fortuna Düsseldorf. He did not know that day, nor indeed did he intend, that it would be his last on the Bundesliga stage. Rehab built up his hopes time and again, before there was finally no doubt that his overloaded knee would no longer allow him to play the sport at the highest level. In the following period, Dickel proves that he can do anything – even sell drive drums for conveyor belts or fitted kitchens.

Norbert Dickel has been the voice of the BVB since 12 September 1992. It is one of countless activities that the well-known face and cult hero performs for the eight-time German champions. Managing director Carsten Cramer calls him "our Swiss army knife" and stresses: "Nobby is not only the Hero of Berlin and a well-known face at BVB, but also the voice of our club." His friend and PUMA representative Helmut Fischer, says: "He was never the big star, but is more popular than some stars who have played for Borussia." (br)