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Uli Hoeness looks back: “I’ve never seen myself as an employee, rather always as the number one fan”

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Forty-nine years of association with FC Bayern officially comes to an end for Uli Hoeness on November 15. The president looked back in an extensive interview.``

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

FC Bayern Munich and Uli Hoeness have been an association which has lasted forty-nine years. Since joining the club as a player in 1970, Uli contributed to the success of the club on and off the pitch. After winning four Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal, three Europeans cups and one Intercontinental Cup in his playing career, Hoeness transitioned into the role of Bayern’s general manager in 1979. After thirty years as the general manager, Uli was elected president of FC Bayern Munich on 27 November 2009. The rest is history.

In a full-length interview with fcbayern.com, Hoeneß detailed the highs and lows of his forty-nine years at FC Bayern and his decision to retire.

Hoeness’ decision came as a surprise to many. The announcement signaled a new and unknown era at the club. Uli is comfortable and happy with his decision to retire and is looking forward to the future. He said,

I’m fine. I’ve made the decision and not regretted it for a single second. It will definitely be interesting — and I’m probably the one most excited by it.

The 67-year-old believes that Bayern can and will continue on an upward trajectory as Die Roten commence a new chapter in their storied history with Herbert Hainer and Oliver Kahn.

My maxim is that the club should do even better in the future. For me, it’s always about FC Bayern and not individuals.

I think our ideas will prosper like never before in the next few years.

What’s next for Uli Hoeness?

I’m particularly looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren. Amongst other things, I’m chairman of the advisory board at the Dominik Brunner foundation and on the board of [the club’s charitable foundation] FC Bayern Hilfe eV. I’ll continue to give lectures and speeches. Plus there’s playing golf and cards.

I’ll still keep up intensive contact with FC Bayern, invite players out for a meal and, when it’s required, say what I think behind closed doors. In future, I see myself as an elder statesman who offers advice but doesn’t force it on anyone.

Uli’s tenure at FC Bayern came with controversy in 2014 when he was found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He said about the affair:

My biggest mistake was my tax affairs. I deeply regret that and criticism of it is highly justified.

The highs of Uli Hoeness’ association with FC Bayern as a player and in management can be encapsulated in the triumphs of scoring the European Cup Final against Atletico Madrid, winning the Champions League in 2013, and his return as president of FC Bayern. Each event has a significant importance to the 67-year-old.

The goals in the European Cup final were my international breakthrough at the age of 22. The triumph at Wembley was very emotional for me because I knew I was going to prison. Franck Ribéry cried and the fans sang my name and it was incredibly moving. The fans didn’t desert me and when I went on stage [at the general assembly in 2013] to speak it all came flooding out. I was happy in spite of everything.

How should we remember Uli Hoeneß?

People should remember me as a man who didn’t want to be given anything, who always tried to make something of his life, and was always prepared to get involved for people and issues that were important to him. And someone who will never forget where he comes from.

The full-length interview with Uli Hoeneß can be found at FCBayern.com.