Fritz Scherer: "I was immediately fascinated by FC Bayern"

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Photo by Manuel Nieberle

It was under the tenure of Dr. Fritz Scherer that FC Bayern became the record German champions in 1987. The Augsburg native sent in his membership application straight after he first attended a Bayern match 49 years ago. In 1979, he became the treasurer, and then led the club as president from 1985 to 1994. As he turns 80 on 16 February, we say, “Happy birthday and think you for everything!”

The interview with Fritz Scherer

Dr. Scherer, how many of your 80 years have belonged to FC Bayern?
Dr. Fritz Scherer:
 “Forty-nine. I moved to Starnberg, outside Munich, from Augsburg after university in 1971. After going to my first Bayern game, I applied for membership. Back then, 1860 were actually the more famous club in Munich, but I was immediately fascinated by FC Bayern.”

You became treasurer in 1979, starting alongside young general manager Uli Hoeneß.
Dr. Scherer: “Back then the term general manager didn’t actually exist in football. Uli definitely made the position his own. I still tell people that Bayern then had a turnover of 12 million Deutschmark, so six million Euros. People always laugh. Those were exciting times as we kick-started things because FC Bayern still had debts of eight million Deutschmark then.”

Uli Hoeneß and Fritz Scherer both started working at Bayern in 1979, pictured here alongside president Willi O. Hofmann and vice-president Karl Pfab (l-r.).

The idea of Bayern being in debt sounds very strange nowadays.
Dr. Scherer: “And it was a huge burden. Uli and I swore an oath that Bayern would never again be in debt. We went about things step by step. Uli managed to bring about calm and create a hard-hitting team.”

Could you imagine Bayern having to make savings again?
Dr. Scherer: “No, I can’t imagine that. First of all, there’s an enormous amount of money in reserve. The finances are healthy, the stadium is paid off – very few clubs in Europe can say that. Secondly, the people in charge are sensible. FC Bayern will surely never do something crazy in the transfer market.”

As the former treasurer, do you sometimes get sweaty palms when transfers nowadays go over €100 million?
Dr. Scherer: “Those amounts shock me. It’s also about 11 players on the pitch, not some 100 million star. But it’s also a question of context. Back then a transfer of two million Deutschmark was a crazy amount because you only had five million in the bank.”

Would you like to be president or treasurer today?
Dr. Scherer: “It’d be fun but I honestly couldn’t do it today. These are real full-time jobs.”

Under his presidency, FC Bayern won the Bundesliga five times and won their 10th league title to become Germany’s record champions. He’s seen here celebrating on the balcony at Marienplatz with general manager Uli Hoeneß, head coach Jupp Heynckes and assistant coach Egon Coordes.

You succeeded Willi O. Hofmann as president in 1984. He was known as ‘Champagne Willi’, but the champagne also flowed under you, with Bayern becoming record champions with you in 1987.
Dr. Scherer: “You can’t imagine how excited we all were. And we all know what had gone before us, with all the debt and turbulence. And it continued to improve.”

What were the greatest coups of your time, did you have a favourite player?
Dr. Scherer: “I liked everyone who played because I always said that it’s 11 men who create success, not an individual.”

What is the biggest challenge for Herbert Hainer in his role as president?
Dr. Scherer: “He has to constantly look to the future. Financial parameters are becoming increasingly dramatic. FC Bayern has to ask itself to what extent it wants to play along, and where the alternatives are to remain at the top in Europe. I’m sure Herbert Hainer is the right man.”

Franz Beckenbauer (r.) took over as FC Bayern president from Scherer (l.) in 1994.

How often are you at the Allianz Arena nowadays?
Dr. Scherer: “I think I’ve missed at most 10 home games since 1971, and I love it in the stands just as much as my first day. As president, I went to every away game. The only one I missed was the first round of the cup at fourth-tier Weinheim. I jokingly said, “You don’t need me there.” And of course we lost. (laughs).”

What do you wish for this birthday? And for FC Bayern?
Dr. Scherer: “Quite simply to remain healthy. And for Bayern and its fans, I want the club to remain at the top. And I’m very optimistic about that.”

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