Petition of the week: uli hoeneb must stay

The president of FC Bayern probably wants to retire. Some fans are calling on him to stay. With prominent support.

40 years with the club is not enough for the fans: Uli Hoeneb in the stadium of FC Bayern Munich Photo: reuters

An almost messed-up season, the urgently needed squad shake-up and crazy transfer costs: FC Bayern Munich is facing troubled times. And then there is also the news that Uli Hoeneb intends to retire from the club management.

But now Stefan Kreutzer from Munich is appealing to the Bayern boss with an online petition bearing the pathetic title "Mia san Uli – Uli Hoeneb must stay." In his appeal, Kreutzer sings a hymn of praise to the current president: "The world is changing, certainties are wavering. But there is one thing we have always been able to rely on like an amen in church: a strong FC Bayern Munchen with championships in a row and top European soccer."

Among the 5,700 or so supporters is Helmut Markwort. The 82-year-old ex-Focus editor-in-chief, who himself sat on the club’s supervisory board until 2014 and is a "long-time companion" of Hoeneb, was the first to sign Kreutzer’s signature campaign. And in an emotional video message, Markwort explains that he is "shocked by the speculation" that Hoeneb is urgently "needed" by the club.

Stefan Kreutzer, the initiator of the petition, sees it similarly and warns of the consequences of a withdrawal. Above the petition text, he has placed a picture that depicts Hoeneb together with the club emblem. It is reminiscent of the famous "Dropping the Pilot" cartoon by Bismarck in the British satirical magazine Punch. If the pilot Hoeneb were to leave the ship, the club could plunge into "an age of extremes. In 1890, the Reich Chancellor had resigned under pressure from Kaiser Wilhelm II. Without knowledgeable leadership, so the signal, it would also go down the drain with the record champion.

This text comes from the taz am wochenende. Always from Saturday on the newsstand, in the eKiosk or immediately in the practical weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter.

The allusion to Bismarck paints Hoeneb as an iron president, the only person in the country who could manage the club. Whether the military aspect that resonates in this allegory correctly represents Hoeneb remains to be seen. The club is not a one-man show, it does not only consist of Uli Hoeneb. Fans like Stefan Kreutzer form the foundation of FC Bayern Munchen, they have made the club great – the sports club with the most members (291,000) in the world.

What’s more, there’s no reason to fear that the Bayern veteran will now relax and put his feet up in his idyllic home on Lake Tegern. FC Bayern Munich is too important to him for that. It doesn’t matter at all whether Hoeneb considers a top post at the DFB or elsewhere. He will remain as loyal to his club as the fans are to him.

Especially since they have forgiven him for all his scandals and missteps. Just remember the legendary press conference in 2007, when he insulted fans. "Your shitty atmosphere," Hoeneb raged on the podium at the time, "you’re responsible for that, not us!" And then there was the prison sentence for tax evasion.

If it were up to Hoeneb, one person would be out of the question to succeed him: Lothar Matthaus. In 2002, the Bayern manager reckoned with the record-breaking national player in the DSF format "Doppelpass": "As long as me and Kalle Rummenigge have something to say, he won’t even be the greenkeeper in the new stadium. Should Hoeneb actually step down, the impossible now seems possible again.

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