Created on 01-07-2008 at 00:00 AM
The lead characters knew nothing of the brief drama in which they were cast as the stars. “I had a board meeting in my diary,” Karl Hopfner revealed. However, midday on Tuesday saw the Bayern finance director and media director Markus Hörwick attend a meeting of a very different kind. In front of the entire Bayern staff, including Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeneß, Jürgen Klinsmann, the coaching staff and the senior professionals, the officials were guests of honour at a surprise ceremony at the Säbener Strasse multifunctional sports hall, where Hopfner and Hörwick were honoured on completing 25 years of service to the club.
“It’s a momentous and important day,” chairman Rummenigge declared, congratulating the pair on “your silver wedding anniversary with Bayern Munich“. Hopfner and Hörwick started work at the club on 1 July 1983, since when they have “helped to write and shape the success story of FC Bayern,” Rummenigge commented, “it is no coincidence that these have been the most successful 25 years in the history of the club.“ Hopfner and Hörwick were presented with certificates of merit of the Free State of Bavaria in recognition of their long service.
25 years of Hopfner
Bayern boasted turnover of 8.855 million DM and a profit of 142,000 DM when MBA holder Hopfner joined the club after answering a newspaper recruitment ad for a new managing director. “The ten best candidates failed to show up,” he jests to this day. After overseeing the club’s transition to a joint stock company (AG) in 2001, the 55-year-old took a seat on the board and recently announced record turnover of €225.8 million and profit of €18.9 million.
“I feel highly honoured,” Hopfner commented on receiving his long service award. The event was “a huge surprise. I’ve never seen our sports hall so full and beautifully decorated.“ Hopfner, renowned as a meticulous behind the scenes operator, passed on his gratitude to the staff. “I’d like to thank you all for putting up with me for 25 years.“
25 years of Hörwick
Hörwick has also been at the Säbener Strasse for a quarter of a century, after Uli Hoeneß and then President Willi O. Hoffmann brought him to the club in 1983 - or to be more accurate, brought him back to the club. Hörwick played for the Bayern youth section before spending four years reporting on the club for a tabloid newspaper. On taking over media responsibilities at FCB, he became the sole member of the only club press section in the Bundesliga at the time.
Apart from liaising with the media, Hörwick single-handedly wrote and published the Bayern-Magazin match programme and club magazine. His department has grown enormously, commensurate with Bayern’s increasingly global image and brand awareness. “This is a huge achievement by Markus Hörwick,” commented Rummenigge, praising the “exceptional quality“ of Hörwick’s work. “I really enjoy working for Bayern,” commented Hörwick, speaking both for himself and for Hopfner: “We’ve now worked for Bayern for 25 years, but there are definitely a few more years to come yet.“