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Bayern president Uli Hoeneß turns 60

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Bayern president Uli Hoeneß turns 60

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:10 am

If you were to erect a monument to Uli Hoeneß, what would it be? A sculpture of him leaping to his feat in celebration of a Bayern goal? The players hoisting him on their shoulders after a famous victory? And what would he hold in his hand: the Champions League trophy? The Bundesliga shield? The famous savings account book? And how would you represent his role as the heart and soul of the modern Bayern Munich?

'Mr FC Bayern' turns 60 on Thursday. "He thinks Bayern, he breathes Bayern, he lives for Bayern, he is FC Bayern. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, his entire life," said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, reflecting on the unique role at Bayern occupied by Hoeneß for the last 42 years, first as a player, then as general manager, and now as club president and supervisory board chairman.

"He's made an enormous contribution to this club's magnificent standing in the world of football," continued Rummenigge, announcing a major birthday celebration for 13 January. "He deserves it," continued the chairman, "and in his own way, he's a party animal too."

There is plenty to celebrate on Hoeneß's 60th birthday. The Ulm-born striker joined FCB in 1970. Quick and boasting deep reserves of stamina, he would go on to win the Intercontinental cup, the European Cup on three occasions, three Bundesliga titles, and the DFB Cup. He was a World Cup and European championship winner with Germany, but after scoring 86 goals in a total of 239 Bundesliga appearances, a knee injury ended his playing days in 1979. However, that simply marked the start of a second, arguably even more illustrious career. Uli Hoeneß subsequently presided over Bayern's transformation from provincial Bavarian football club to a globally recognised brand.

When he became general manager in May 1979, there were two questions on everyone's lips: Could a 27-year-old ex-pro really become a successful business manager? And especially, could he succeed as a manager at Bayern, a club that Hoeneß himself - alongside Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, Gerd Müller and Paul Breitner - had lifted into Europe's elite?

Laying the foundations

Hoeneß answered these questions quickly and decisively, in the way familiar to all who know him today: it's not age that counts, but performance. He also faced two significant problems. Bayern had not been German champions for five years, and the club's coffers were six million Deutsche Marks in the red. In order to return to financial health, Bayern had to establish a name as Germany's top team.

Wind back a year, and Hoeneß, then still a Bayern player, had been instrumental in the return to the club of his longstanding friend Paul Breitner, brokered by the Ulm truck manufacturer Magirus Deutz. With Breitner, the young Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Klaus Augenthaler, the team again possessed a high-quality core, while a series of championship triumphs in the 1980s laid the foundation for a financial turnaround. Bayern won the title six times in that first decade under Hoeneß's management, and 10 more were to follow, as well as nine German cup victories, the UEFA Cup in 1996 and the Champions League in 2001, followed by the Intercontinental Cup.

That night in Milan when coach Ottmar Hitzfeld led the Bayern team of Stefan Effenberg and Oliver Kahn to a penalty shoot-out victory over Valencia saw the fulfilment of Hoeneß's greatest ambition as general manager. "We've also aimed for maximum sporting success from a sound financial base. Today's victory is proof it can be done," Hoeneß delightedly proclaimed. Today, his office is decorated with a huge image of the Bayern support at the San Siro with their famous banner: "23 May 2001 - Today is a good day to make history!"

Right from the start he had envisioned Bayern as a top club on the international stage, on a par with Real Madrid or Juventus, later with Barcelona and Milan. Reaching six European finals since 1979 means the president's vision has been fulfilled, although four ended in defeat: two in the European Cup to Aston Villa (1982) and Porto (1987), and two in the Champions League to Manchester United (1999) and Internazionale (2010).

Prudent and responsible

But while the club's competitors in Italy, Spain and England dominated the transfer market and to some extent, through not invariably, European competition thanks to easy credit, extravagant TV income and tax regimes indulgent toward professional sports, Hoeneß stuck to the simple but sustainable principles of prudent business. He would not yield on his insistence on spending no more than the club took in or that was available from the club's steadily increasing financial reserves.

In the late 1980s, when merchandising became the magic formula for Bundesliga clubs to boost their income, Bayern was quickly in pole position. Hoeneß was the first to recognise the coming trend and quickly put in place the necessary infrastructure. There were soon Bayern bedclothes, Bayern hand towels, Bayern fashion and Bayern perfume. Today Bayern's merchandising division stocks more than 600 items.

From 12 million DM to €300 million

As a club Bayern had income totalling some 12 million DM in 1979, most of which came from match ticket sales. Rummenigge's transfer to Internazionale in 1984 for the then astounding fee of 10.5 million DM wiped out the club's debts. Today the same Rummenigge presides over a football club with turnover of more than €300 million.

Right from the start Hoeneß was determined to link football with the prevailing economic environment, which required a prudent stance on the relationship between income and expenditure. His philosophy on brand-building and partnership continues to this day in the area of sponsorship. Contracts should be sustainable and therefore should be concluded for the long term - and Bavarians are faithful to their agreements. Hoeneß understood above all that football is a service industry, in which the money paid out by individuals is repaid by the club and the team in the form of entertainment, in their unique character, and in sporting success.

Hoeneß, the visionary

The aggressive targets that Hoeneß set reflected his self-confident disposition. Many of his ideas were initially resisted or scorned, such as his predictions about the TV market. In 1990 he still expressed excitement that the value of the Bundesliga TV rights would rise to 100 million DM, yet a few years later he stunned the world by predicting that annual receipts from the central marketing of TV rights to German football would reach one billion DM, or €500 million. The latest TV rights agreement struck by the German Football League (DFL) yielded €412 million in 2008.

Since his withdrawal from the day-to-day management of the club, when he was elevated to club president with 99.3 percent of the votes at the November 2009 AGM after three decades as general manager, Hoeneß has regularly addressed leading German business forums, explaining his method of achieving financial security and profit despite the emotional roller-coaster and unpredictability of sport. The secret, as so often, is balance.

You have a problem? Call Mr Hoeneß

Hoeneß was one of the first to recognise and speak out about what was for decades a political hot potato in Munich, the Olympic city with the world-famous stadium architecture: Bayern, he announced in 1989, needed its own football stadium. The award of the 2006 World Cup to Germany, which incidentally was down in significant part to the efforts of Bayern president Beckenbauer in his role as head of the organising committee, played an important role in the stadium plans coming to fruition. The Allianz Arena, inaugurated in 2005, embodies everything brought together in the modern style of football management that Hoeneß created in Germany, offering an environment attuned to the needs of spectators, sponsors and television as well as the teams.

But the hard-nosed businessman and outspoken commentator is also well-known as a warm, generous and genuinely human private individual. There's a rule at Bayern that newcomers quickly learn: if there's a problem, call Mr Hoeneß. It is a rule many players remembered after they had driven their car into a ditch late at night. Others sought financial advice, and Hoeneß regularly helped players who had got into difficulties find their way out of debt. Everyone who works for Bayern warms to his human kindness and no-one who leaves the club has spoken ill of the general manager.

Strength equals responsibility

More than any other German club, Bayern has helped other clubs overcome financial difficulties, as well as supporting a range of charitable goals. St Pauli, now in the second division and in better shape than for many years, is one beneficiary of Bayern's willingness to turn out for benefit matches, as is Mainz Cathedral, currently being restored in part thanks to funds raised from Munich's friendly match in Mainz.

Hoeneß, father of two and now a grandfather as well, has always seen sporting and financial strength as a responsibility. He represents a kind of social market economy in football, in which success and the development of one's team is the centrepiece, but which also looks after the less well-off, and people who generally have not been blessed with the same good fortune in life.

Defining the managerial role

He has sat in players' hospital rooms as they awaited complex cruciate ligament operations, he has raised funds for the chronically sick and destitute, and publicly committed himself to the cause of civic courage. Uli Hoeneß has risen above most others on his way to the top, but no-one could ever say he looked the other way. As he looks back on 60 years of life so far, his personal conclusion is justified and correct: "At the end of my working life, I can see that I seem to have made more people happy than unhappy."

Congratulations and best wishes have poured in from all sides. "If Uli Hoeneß didn't exist, you'd have to invent him," said DFB President Dr. Theo Zwanziger. Christian Nerlinger, who has stepped into Hoeneß's shoes as director of sport, described Hoeneß as "the definitive general manager. I don't think we'll see a record of individual achievement like his ever again." Günter Netzer expressed amazement at "the unceasing energy" of Uli Hoeneß. "He never lets anything bad happen to his club. Uli Hoeneß's defining attribute is unconditional love for FC Bayern."

So if you were to erect a monument to Uli Hoeneß, what would it be? They are, in fact, everywhere you look in Munich. The Allianz Arena, the Säbener Strasse facility, the trophy cabinet, and wherever he has stepped in to help people in need.
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Re: Bayern president Uli Hoeneß turns 60

Postby CroCHEF » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:40 am

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Re: Bayern president Uli Hoeneß turns 60

Postby FCBayernMunchen » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:59 pm

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