It’s no secret that Bayern Munich’s club president, Uli Hoeness is reluctant to spend big in the transfer market to bring top targets in to the club. Bayern’s record signing came last summer in the form of acquiring Corentin Tolisso from Lyon for a fee of around €41.5m, which in today’s transfer market is a rather modest fee. Hoeness, instead, believes in a protracted approach of building the squad that will play as a team, without too much reliance on big-money superstars.
After securing their sixth-consecutive Bundesliga title, Bayern fell short of the treble by virtue of losing out in the Champions League semi-finals to Real Madrid and then losing in the DFB-Pokal final to Eintracht Frankfurt. This, combined with rumors that Bayern will be letting some of their important players leave during the summer transfer window, has prompted a sour response from some fans, resulting in #UliOut trending on Twitter. A portion of fans are of the opinion that Bayern might’ve been better off had Hoeness not approached the transfer window(s) with a perceived level of stinginess and been more open to spending large sums of money on top players.
Here at Bavarian Football Works, though, we need to shed some insight on why #UliOut shouldn’t even be a thing, as both he and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are a massive part of what makes Bayern Munich such a well-run organization.
John N. Dillon: The recent criticism of Uli Hoeness is, in my view, a knee-jerk reaction to recent Champions League campaigns and short-sighted covetousness. Blaming Bayern’s knockout by Real Madrid on Hoeness’s fiscal conservatism is ridiculous. Bayern outplayed Madrid with half their starters injured. That shiny €100 million player could just as easily been injured and unavailable—which is exactly what happened to mega-transfer poster-boy Neymar and PSG. Hoeness’s critics see clubs that are bankrolled by billionaires or state-enterprises buy up talent, but they forget that Bayern simply cannot sustainably compete with them. UEFA has to change by getting serious about financial fair play, not Bayern. Bayern will inevitably spend more as the market escalates, but Hoeness has done wonders to keep the club competitive yet grounded. Promoting (and selling) youth players and buying smart keep Bayern in contention with the plutocrats of European soccer.
Ineednoname: Hoeness has not been stingy. He has been prudent. Fans seem to be under the impression that you need to spend hundreds of millions to win the UCL even though going by that logic Manchester United and PSG would win everything. Squad building is more complicated than buying whoever is most popular on the latest twitter poll. Bayern Munich is what it is today because of Hoeness. To say that he is holding us back betrays such a huge misunderstanding of Bayern’s history that it makes me wonder what team people think they are supporting. Hoeness is the difference between us and the rest of the Bundesliga. Without him, we’d be irrelevant on the European stage—no better than the likes of ‘Gladbach. Hoeness is one of the most shrewd businessmen in football. He knows what he is doing, and he has a 30-year track record to prove it. Maybe trust his judgement?
Phillip Quinn: I haven’t been given a good reason to see Uli Hoeneß removed from his current position. Should he have been given that position upon his return from prison? No. However, he was voted back into that position, so what’s done is done. There isn’t anyone in the game better at doing Uli’s job than Uli. It’s as simple as that.
Ryan Cowper: There is no person more suited to leading Bayern Munich than Uli Hoeness. Hoeness has lived and breathed Bayern Munich to a greater or lesser extent every day of his life for nearly the last 50 years. Over that time, he’s seen and been responsible for their growth into one of the three greatest clubs in modern football.
Viewed in that context, it’s ridiculous to call for his resignation over what amounts to a trend shift in modern football where clubs eschew prudent development, long-term planning, and smart decision making for playboy billionaire football. Is Bayern Munich a business whose product is the best football in the world, or another arm of an entertainment or oil conglomerate whose point of being is to satiate some rich idiot’s desire to play Football Manager 2017?
Bayern Munich will be playing the best football in the world long after the PSG’s and Chelsea’s of the world are their owners’ used-and-discarded toys, and the culture and leadership of Uli Hoeness is a big part of that reason
Let us know what you think about Hoeness in the comments section. Is #UliOut an overreaction? Should he be more open to spending more? Should he keep doing things the way he’s been doing them?