Standing ovation for Hopfner
"Many thanks. That's it." Karl Hopfner bowed out as concisely as ever. The departing Bayern president was greeted by a long standing ovation at Friday's Annual General Meeting. "It really moves me," he said at the beginning of the event, when he was initially unable to speak as the 7,152 members at the Audi Dome drowned him out with their applause, a ceremonial farewell for the president.
"Uli [Hoeneß] and I have accompanied Karl from his first working day in July 1981," commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, calling the FCB president the "creator of FC Bayern's economic miracle" and a "completely loyal and first-class servant of our club. There's one thing he dislikes as much as red figures: public appearances. Karl is a very modest person. He's been an extremely important partner for me and Uli. Dear Karl, on behalf of the whole of FC Bayern I'd like to thank you 33 outstanding, fantastic and successful years and for your friendship."
Board colleagues thank Hopfner
Hopfner's board colleagues Rudolf Schels and Prof Dr Dieter Mayer found warm words for the 64-year-old. "Karl has led FCB in difficult times without Uli Hoeneß in an excellent way," said Mayer, "he's a paragon of competence and reliability."
"Karl Hopfner has achieved incredible things with his outstanding commitment. We'll continue to associate many things with you, dear Karl," praised Schels, who like Mayer mentioned the youth performance centre, which "is going to be our pioneering talent pool. It's a milestone in the club's history."
Schels bows out
Hopfner in turn thanked his first vice-president Schels, who chose not to run for another term. "You've always had the finances under control. We'll play a few rounds of golf in the future." Schels addressed the members: "I tried to do my best for you and the whole club," thanking the FC Bayern board "for the exceedingly good cooperation. We've achieved a lot. FC Bayern eV was in an outstanding situation when we took over, and today it's in a better situation than ever."
Hopfner bowed out by announcing a new, impressive membership roll: 284,041. "We still are and we'll continue to be the world's biggest club." As he concluded his last speech as FCB president at 20.34 CET the members stood up once again. "Thank you for your trust in me as president," said Hopfner, "now it's time. My active time at FC Bayern in several positions has come to an end after more than 33 years. It goes without saying that I'll continue to watch our teams in all competitions and keep my fingers crossed at the Allianz Arena. Many thanks. That's it."