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Uli Hoeneß’s address to the Bayern Munich AGM

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The once and future president of Bayern Munich gave an emotional speech before his re-election.

FC Bayern Muenchen - Annual General Assembly Photo by Johannes Simon/Bongarts/Getty Images

“Two and a half years ago, I also stood here, but I didn’t know at the time what would become of me. I owe it to various factors that I can stand here today at all: my friends - and my two families. The one family is my private family, my wife, who fought like a lioness, my children, my son-in-law, my daughter-in-law - and my four grandchildren. (We have four grandchildren, not three as I read everywhere, all of them boys.) And then the family of Bayern Munich.

“At the time, when I came to the assembly when Karl Hopfner was elected president, I wondered for a long time whether I should go, what business I had there at all. I had resigned, on account of my tax affair. And then I decided to go after all - at the last moment. When I came in here and received these ovations, this support, I said these very words: ‘It isn’t over yet.’ Because I was so overwhelmed. By the sympathy, by the love, by the friendship that I was allowed to experience here. That spurred me on, again and again, the entire time I was in prison: the will to come back to these people.

“During that time I received 5,500 letters, including many from members of the club, fans of Bayern Munich. And every time I didn’t know how to go on - usually on Sundays, since you are locked up for 40 hours on the weekend - I would read these letters. And sometimes I would sit or lie in bed and cry like a baby, because I couldn’t understand how people who didn’t know me could send me pages-long, hand-written letters to encourage me, to give me the strength to pull myself together and carry on. And I believe it was that above all that helped me get through this difficult time so well.

“I made a huge mistake, no question about that. I respect everyone in this hall who refuses to give me his vote today because of my misconduct; I’m a democrat. But I have done everything to make good this gigantic mistake. I have paid off tax debts with interest and compound interest and the church tax down to the last cent. I behaved in prison as well as a prisoner can possibly behave. And the assessment by the director of Landsberg Prison [i.e. Monika Groß] helped me get a half-sentence, which in Bavaria is not so simple. The standards for a half-sentence are extremely high, and you have to fulfill everything, everything one hundred percent, to have a chance at receiving a half-sentence. And I did it. Now I am here.

“I am happy that the Supervisory Board unanimously voted to nominate me as president of this magnificent club. I ask you to give me a second chance - and I promise you that I will do everything to meet your expectations. I’m not someone who looks at the clock when he goes to work. My whole life, I have always finished the work that needed to be done. And if it sometimes takes seven days a week, then seven days a week it is. My wife will and must understand.

“I would like to be a link between the members - between you, who own 75% of the club - I would like to be a link between you and the club. I would like to be a link between the Supervisory Board and the Chairman. I’d like to be a link between the Advisory Board and the Presidium. I’d like to be a caretaker, an adviser for all members of this club; I’d like to be there for the basketball and soccer players, when they need me, and even the coaches can come to me, if they need advice.

“I think that one often becomes contemplative as this time draws to a close. This strength - the club has restored this strength in me. I also wish to thank Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for giving me the opportunity to work for Bayern Munich while I was on day-release - in the youth department. That opened my eyes to many things that I will be able to make good use of in the future. But I also believe I will take pains to ensure that the club fulfills its immense social responsibility as it has up to the present. That is very important to me. Soccer is the one thing, society is the other.

"Bayern Munich is an important part of this society and has important tasks to do. The power to address problems in clear, unambiguous language has not been lost. It isn’t sleeping, only resting, and can come back at any time. I would now like to ask you to give me your trust and to give me your vote at this election for president of this magnificent club.”

Translated by John N. Dillon; source: Süddeutsche Zeitung.