Germany tough times for 1860
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