Heineken Says “Cheers To The Real Hardcore Fans,” – But They Aren’t Who You Think

Heineken is kicking off the UEFA knockout stages with its new campaign building on the established ‘Fresher Football’ platform that aims to make football more inclusive.

The brand has been working to level the playing field by campaigning to make the sport a more positive and welcoming space to enjoy football together. This new campaign has set its sights on refreshing what it really means to be a hardcore fan, reclaiming this badge of honour that has for too long been associated with negative behaviour in football.

“The ‘Real Hardcore’ fans make me proud and appreciative as a player. I think reclaiming this phrase is important, the historic negative connotations are something we need to remove from the game, no one is born a racist, I think the key things to make change are education and communicating with each other. I hope we can be part of that change, that’s why I’m glad Heineken is challenging the perception of what a real fan is to show there is a place for everyone in the game.”

Virgil van Dijk


At the heart of the campaign is a film created by Australian director Mark Molloy. It represents the true face of modern football fandom. The comedic and heartwarming film, inspired by real fans, shows the devotion people have to supporting the beautiful game. Click to watch the film here.

Virgil van Dijk captain of the Netherlands national men’s team alongside existing ambassador Jill Scott MBE, former Lioness have joined forces on this next chapter in Heineken’s drive for inclusivity in football.


“I used to go to The Stadium of Light with my granddad almost every weekend without fail, come rain or shine, but when you think about what a hardcore football fan looks like, most people don’t picture a teenage girl. That’s what I love about Heineken’s new campaign. It’s showing you what real football fans look like and playing on people’s expectations of who a real ‘hardcore’ fan is.”

Jill Scott MBE


To emphasise the message of supporting inclusive hardcore fandom, Heineken has set aside seats at the UEFA Champions League Final for a select few real hardcore fans that share their stories with us. The winners will be provided with a once-in-a-lifetime final weekend experience. To learn more about the competition and to get involved, visit: www.heineken.com/realfansseats

To learn more about how Heineken is helping to refresh football perspectives and foster a more positive and inclusive experience for all fans, visit: https://www.heineken.com/realhardcorefans

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