Funeral for former FCB president Willi O. Hoffmann
FC Bayern, together with many companions, said goodbye to former club president Willi O. Hoffmann in a funeral service at St. Peter's parish church in Munich. "Even in the long history of this club, Willi O. Hoffmann was unique," said current president Herbert Hainer in his speech. Honorary president Uli Hoeneß told of the drive and eternal optimism of the long-time decision-maker during his emotional recollections: "Willi O. Hoffmann was the epitome of 'mia san mia' at FC Bayern. A man whose creative ideas made this club what it is today. I'll never forget the wonderful times with him."
Hainer and Hoener, together with Dr. Edmund Stoiber and executive vice chairman Jan-Christian Dreesen, sat on the front row next to the family of the deceased. Former players such as Jean-Marie Pfaff, Raimond Aumann, Manfred Schwabl and Wiggerl Kögl, as well as long-time team doctor Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, also attended the requiem in Munich city centre. So too did many companions from outside football, while a number of Bayern fans from the South Stand, a few former 'Montagskicker' colleagues and members of the Kurt Landauer Foundation also came to pay their respects to the Munich native.
Willi O. Hoffmann was a "son of this city", said Hainer. "Born and raised in Sendling, his father was a Red. The love for Bayern was handed down to him from birth - and it constantly fuelled him." Hoeneß told a fitting anecdote related to that: in an away match during his presidency, the chant "Zieht den Bayern den Lederhosen aus" ("take off the Bavarians' lederhosen") was very popular among away fans at the time - so Willi O. Hoffmann ordered that the entire Munich team enter the stadium in traditional costume. "He led by example as president – with his chamois hat, it was a show," added the former general manager. The Bayern fans revelled in the Bavarian self-image, and Willi O. Hoffmann always had a special sense for that - because it came from within.
Hoffmann shaped Bayern for 27 years in leading roles: as president from 1979 to 1985, and before that as secretary and treasurer. "He was president during a turbulent period, and he was a blessing for FC Bayern because he made pivotal decisions," said Hainer. "He appointed Uli Hoeneß as general manager, and the team got back on track with the unforgettable duo of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Paul Breitner. Just one year after assuming office, FC Bayern celebrated the German championship after a six-year wait. We're losing a person who made history with FC Bayern."
In this image gallery, we look back on Willi O. Hoffmann's life with FC Bayern:
Many moments stick in the memory, continued Hainer, "and with 'Champagne Willi' a legendary nickname that earned cult status among our fans". In the recent 2-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg, the club held a minute's silence for its former president before kick-off, which ended with thunderous applause from the 75,000 spectators inside the Allianz Arena. In the South Stand, a banner read in large letters: "The last champagne is on you - rest in peace!" On that note, Hainer ended: "Thanks for everything, Willi O. Hoffmann! We will never forget you."