Ger­many tough times for 1860

World Soccer - - Contents - Nick Bid­well

One of Ger­many’s best­sup­ported and his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant clubs, 1860 Mu­nich face an ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis fol­low­ing yet an­other sea­son of dis­as­trous per­for­mances on the field of play and sham­bolic stew­ard­ship off it.

One of the found­ing mem­bers of the Bun­desliga, 1860 were rel­e­gated from the sec­ond divi­sion in May af­ter los­ing 3-1 on ag­gre­gate to Jahn Re­gens­burg in a play-off – and then made a dread­ful sit­u­a­tion worse by fail­ing to come up with the money for their third-tier li­cence.

League statutes say no pay, no play

and Die Lowen (“The Li­ons”) could be de­moted fur­ther, to the Bavar­ian group of the Re­gion­al­liga, the fourth floor of the do­mes­tic pyra­mid.

With pro­fes­sion­al­ism con­fined to the top three leagues in Ger­many, the bulk of the 1860 squad are likely to take the high road. Al­though the club has an ex­cel­lent youth scheme it would be un­re­al­is­tic to ex­pect kids to spark the hoped-for re­nais­sance.

Un­cer­tainty cur­rently rules at 1860. Al­though the club’s prin­ci­pal in­vestor, Jor­da­nian busi­ness­man Hasan Is­maik, in­sists he will stay, thoughts of mak­ing tracks must be tempt­ing, while me­dia sources in Mu­nich claim that wages have gone un­paid and that the club’s ac­counts have been cleared out.

A re­duc­tion in tele­vi­sion in­come of around € 5mil­lion is a huge blow, while spon­sor­ship cash is likely to dry up and they will prob­a­bly have to cut their host­ing costs ac­cord­ingly, swap­ping the Al­lianz-Arena – which they share with Bay­ern Mu­nich – for their old Grun­walder Strasse sta­dium.

For the vast ma­jor­ity of fans, the vil­lain of the piece is Is­maik. On ar­riv­ing at the club in 2011, he cast him­self as the white knight, the man to clean up their fi­nan­cial woes and lead the team to top-flight pro­mo­tion and the Cham­pi­ons League. But, when push came to shove, he was sim­ply un­able to de­liver.

Fre­quent mis­cal­cu­la­tions in the trans­fer mar­ket – such as the € 2.5m wasted on Brazil­ian striker Riba­mar last sum­mer – have been com­pounded with rel­e­ga­tion strug­gles in each of the past three years, a re­volv­ing door of coaches (13) and pres­i­dents (seven), and four chief ex­ec­u­tives this term alone, in­clud­ing ex-Liver­pool ad­min­is­tra­tor Ian Ayre, who lasted just a cou­ple of months be­fore quit­ting on the morn­ing of the sec­ond leg against Re­gens­burg.

Yet prior to Bay­ern’s emer­gence as a

The club’s fans see them­selves as the true beat­ing heart of the game in Mu­nich

do­mes­tic and Euro­pean force in the late 1960s, 1860 were Mu­nich’s num­ber one out­fit, com­ing run­ners-up in the 1965 Cup-win­ners Cup – los­ing at Wem­b­ley to West Ham United – and win­ning the Bun­desliga the fol­low­ing year.

The club's fans see them­selves as the true beat­ing heart of the game in Mu­nich, the non-cor­po­rate face of foot­ball in the city, and good for­tune or ill, they res­o­lutely stand by their club. The proof? The 62,200 packed into the Al­lianz-Arena for the sec­ond leg of the do-or-die Re­gens­burg en­counter. Th­ese are tough times ahead for Die

Lowen. Will they roar again?

Down...1860 striker Sascha Mold­ers

De­nied... Jahn Re­gens­burg keeper Philipp Pen­tke saves at the feet of 1860’s Levent Ay­ci­cek

Pas­sion...1860 have a huge fol­low­ing

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