TSV 1860 Munich.
Treble winners Bayern Munich are blessed with Josep “Pep” Guardiola. The Spaniard’s test is illuminated by a Danish postman acquiring a tribute tattoo of Josef “Jupp” Heynckes. Whilst Guardiola and Bayern are the talk of the Bavarian capital, another team in the district are going about their business – fierce rivals TSV 1860 Munich.
To share the Allianz Arena is one thing but in 1959, Bayern’s honorary president Franz Beckenbauer had the chance to sign for 1860; the club he supported as a boy but opted for Bayern, after an 1860 youth team player slapped him. “Der Keiser” felt the burning disrespect, taking his loyalty to Die Roten; coaxing present president Ulrich “Uli” Hoeness and Paul Breitner to join him.
A highly prosperous 60’s era with Viennese manager Max “The Great Zampano” Merkel, (renowned for his “with cake and whip” shibboleth) included players in the ilk of Alfred “Fredy” Heiss, Hans Küppers and Rudolf “Rudi” Brunnenmeier, yet the club continue to be in Bayern’s illustrious shadow; compounded further via relegation from the Bundesliga in 2004, despite exquisite players such as Thomas Hässler, Jens Jeremies, Harald Cerny, Piotr Nowak, Roman Týce, Davor Šuker, Abedi Ayew and Martin Max representing them.
In 2006, they sold 50% of their previously co-owned ground, to appease a serious financial crash, that forced bankruptcy. This occurred again in 2011, with even Beckenbauer speaking out to save them but staunch 1860 supporters cynically rejected any form of help from Bayern. They were eventually salvaged by Jordanian Hasan Abdullah Ismaik; bolstered with extra investment from luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin.
Bayern themselves once suffered, through the evil of Nazism; persecuted for having Jewish associations, stunting the side, leading them near bankruptcy in 1955, before flourishing during the mid-60’s, right through to 1976. Although having achieved greater success than 1860, it has not been plain sailing. Monetary difficulties, high profile managers and players coming and going, dressing room egos and constant press speculation, resulted in the “FC Hollywood” appellation.
Still, 1860 deservedly have the palpable aura of a hard done by side. 153 years ago, they were one of the establishing members of the Bundesliga, accomplishing a salubrious sum of 20 years in top flight German football, after being founded in a local pub, in 1948. Amidst a turbulent political backdrop involving Monarchists, Republicans, Liberal Protestants and Conservative Catholics, the club were potently punished by the Monarchy, for Republican interactions, via the 1848 Revolutions; subsequently being banned until 1860, when they were re-established.
From the 70’s onwards, where Bayern’s brilliance shone, 1860 severely struggled to grasp any form up until around 1994, where performances considerably improved, to the point where they were finally consolidating their place in the Bundesliga but league demotion put paid to all of that. From 2004, they have only managed to finish above 6th once, corresponding to terrible, off field fiscal health, regular managerial departures and a youth policy, without enough sagacious playing experience to sustain it.
However, there are positives for the future. Although Sven-Göran Eriksson decided against becoming assistant manager, in order to be the head coach at Guangzhou R&F, Friedhelm Funkel is creating a galvanised, vigorous and upbeat atmosphere within the camp. With knowledgeable players like Moritz Volz, Guillermo Vallori and Rob Friend, blended with blossoming talent such as Christopher Schindler, Stefan Wannenwetsch and Bobby Wood, they have a bright horizon ahead of them.
Morale and relations with supporters have also been boosted thanks to a combined autograph and free beer session, provided by official partner Hacker-Pschorr, as gratitude for their complete devotion, even during training. Die Löwen will be hoping that their utter dedication can help them roar to an opportunity of promotion, in their new, slick kit, in the spirit of former club legend Rudolph “Rudi” Völler, for the remainder of the 2013/2014 season.