Franchise Vs Club

Bayern München are managed by an ex-player with an emotional or communal attachment to the club. Arsenal are not

afc vs bayern


Right after Bayern München lost last year’s Champions League final, their president Uli Hoeness said. “We used to laugh about Leverkusen always finishing second. Now that is us”.

He was humiliated and rightly so. The club he has been associated with since 1970, lost in the Champions League final, for the 2nd time in three years – on their home ground.

Hoeness looked to change Bayern’s fate and fired Sporting Director, Christian Nerlinger. The former midfielder had annoyed the president in March 2012 when he had conceded the title to Dortmund after a defeat against Leverkusen that left Bayern seven points behind the leaders. “When a sporting director says that the title is lost when nothing has been decided then I am of the opinion that someone in the club must say: ‘No, no, that is actually not the case’,” Hoeness told die Abendzeitung in October. “It gives the wrong signal to the team, when the club lies on its back and puts its four legs up in the air.”

Instead of affable Nerlinger, Matthias Sammer was brought in and Hoeness explained: “At least he will fight until the bitter end”. Javi Martinez, a tough defensive midfielder was bought for €40m along with Mario Mandžukić (€13m) Xherdan Shaqiri (€12m) and Dante (€7m).

The team went on to conquer back their Bundesliga title (It’s practically over) and even that’s not enough for them. Pep Guardiola will coach the team next season and according to reports he will be able to point out to the players he wants and probably get them.

Bayern Munich are not owned by an ego-maniac billionaire who just throws his money around to feel better about himself. Bayern is a supporters association which provides members with a community, local pride, sporting culture and doing that while netting profits for 20 years in a row. The club understands it represents its members and they want the team to be about winning or at least “fighting until the bitter end”.

Hoeness represents that spirit and that’s why the members vote for him year after year.

Arsenal, like Bayern, are “self sustainable”. Both clubs have shiny new stadiums, both clubs deal with debt and both clubs have a strong youth policy.

Now spot the differences.

Arsene Wenger on 8th of April 2011:  ”As long as you are second in the league, I am ready to sign for the next 20 years and stand up for that”.

Wenger is a lot like Hoeness in the sense that he is the spirit of his club – and the “supreme authority”. However, he did not “fire” anyone because of years of underachieving. He is not the “boss”. His boss, Stan Kroenke, doesn’t make a sound. He is businessmen, with no emotional or communal attachment to the club. He is looking for profit  from his “franchise” and Wenger provides him with that.

That’s the difference between a club and a business. That’s the difference between Bayern Munich and Arsenal.



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