Crawley boy, 13, who builds Bundesliga stadiums out of Lego receives surprise visit from German ambassador
A 13-year-old from Gossops Green, Crawley was paid a visit by an unlikely guest after he posted a picture of one of his Lego creations on Twitter.
Joe Bryant, a long time lover of German football, has built 16 Bundesliga stadiums out of Lego, including Belgian outfit Anderlecht’s, and his creative skills caught the eye of a high-ranking member of the German foreign office.
Joe welcomed German ambassador Andreas Michaelis, and his wife, to his home on Thursday, August 5 after Joe created Union Berlin’s Stadion An der Alten Försterei out of Lego.
Michaelis, a huge fan of Union, posted a tweet liking Joe’s Lego stadium, and the wheels were set in motion for an unexpected visit.
Joe’s dad, Phil, said: “Joe replied saying he had five stadiums in the house and that the ambassador would be welcome to visit.
“He didn't really expect anything after that but the ambassador sent a message and an email and it all came about from there.
“It was a big shock when we heard he wanted to visit with his wife. He was a really nice guy, very friendly and he was very impressed with the detail in Joe's stadiums.”
Joe, who has been building Bundesliga stadiums out of Lego since he was nine, received surprise gifts from the ambassador.
Phil added: “He brought Joe a Union Berlin shirt and some other presents, which was very generous of him.
“It was really kind of him to come round, I am sure he is a very busy man and Lego stadiums are not necessarily high on his list of state business.”
Joe’s builds have been incredibly well received on the continent.
Some clubs have decided to keep Joe’s Lego stadiums in their museums, fan shops or VIP areas.
His stadiums live permanently at German clubs Mainz, Werder Bremen, and Hertha Berlin, as well as Anderlecht.
And after his visit to Joe’s home, ambassador Michaelis tweeted: “Thank you for the warm welcome. Joe connects Germany and Britain in an astonishing way.
“He builds Bundesliga stadiums in amazing detail and quality from Lego. Had a very good chat.
“Great to see how much fans in Germany and Britain support Joe.”
Phil was delighted that his son’s Lego creations had brought the two countries together, and said that the response from the Bundesliga and the German people has been ‘brilliant’.
He said: “Joe loves Germany and he gets a lot of kind comments and praise on social media.
“He has become a cult figure in Germany and has appeared live on Sky Sports out there and on other TV channels in Britain and Germany.
“The Germans think it's quite unique that a lad in England is building their stadiums but they seem to love it.
“The Bundesliga clubs are brilliant and they love what Joe does, as do the German fans.
“They are phenomenal with him, very welcoming and treat him like royalty.
“He takes the Lego stadiums over with him and he gets to present them to the crowds either before the match or at half-time. Often he will meet players, managers and chairmen.
“We cannot thank the Bundesliga and the clubs enough, they have been incredibly supportive to Joe.
“And the fans and atmosphere at the grounds is the best in the world. It's quite surreal hearing 30,000 fans chanting for your son just because he built their stadium in Lego.”
Joe has six German top-flight stadiums left to create, but it looks like his creations won’t end there.
He has been inundated with messages from across the world, asking him to build stadiums from all corners of the globe.
And Joe may very well take a trip to the Caribbean to showcase one of his builds in the not-too-distant future.
Phil added: “He put out a social media post ages ago asking what people wanted and he now has a list of more than 100 teams from all across the road.
“Recently, he has had a lot of interest from Brondby fans in Denmark who are even offering to crowd fund their stadium.
“He also gets lots of interest from South American clubs and he has even been asked to build the national stadium of Iran. Every week there seems to be a new request.
“When Joe built Borussia Dortmund, the Cuban branch of supporters asked for their flag to be put in the stadium, so Joe built it across the halfway line and posted it on Twitter.
“Within a day he was on Cuban national television and receiving invites to visit Cuba.”