Keir RadnedgeComment


Keir RadnedgeComment

The bitterness behind the Franz Beckenbauer shock, and the audacious dreams of Bayern Munich's future planning are only just emerging. But it is already clear, as the ex-West German skipper's £700,000 transfer to New York Cosmos goes through, that it was Beckenbauer himself who instigated the latest, vital talks. The reason? Anger at what he considered a West German press campaign against him involving his private life and his recent income tax troubles.

Cosmos have been interested in Beckenbauer for two years. But it was only under the pressures which have been building up lately that Kaiser Franz decided to ask his agent, Robert Schwan, to reopen talks.

Schwan's double role finally brought about his downfall. Since 1965 he had also been Bayern's general manager. Now president Wilhelm Neudecker has kicked him out.

Neudecker had hoped to hold out against the Cosmos offer. Despite an agreement that Bayern would release Beckenbauer free to a foreign club, this was only to take effect at the end of his current contract - and that lasted until June 1979.

For Beckenbauer however the chance to escape the jealousies of Germany and earn nearly £2 million in the United States, was too good to miss.

The only hold up was between the clubs. Bayern held out for £750,000, but Cosmos wanted Beckenbauer to buy out his own contract. Beckenbauer refused.

“That would cost me too much of YOUR money”, he told Cosmos's Clive Toye. And so Cosmos will themselves pay the £700,000 fee. Meanwhile the ramifications in West German soccer in general have upset more than a few people.

One of them is DFB president Hermann Neuberger, who is now being attacked left, right and centre for letting the cat out of the bag on his desire to see Beckenbauer eventually become national team manager.

It's suggested on Neuberger's behalf that his move was in the hope that national opinion would cause Beckenbauer - like Use Sealer in the early sixties- to put aside any thoughts of a lucrative couple of years abroad and put himself at the DFB's service.

But Beckenbauer himself clearly has a very different opinion about public feeling in West Germany. Though Bayern are not so despised, particularly in Northern Germany, as they once were when they were winning everything, there were still whistles and jeers a-plenty for Beckenbauer and his team during and after their recent 5-0 thrashing in Hamburg. Fans there haven't forgotten the World Cup defeat by East Germany.

Beckenbauer, of course, because of the controversy, dropped out of the West German team to play friendly internationals against Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia. But his proposed move has led the DFB to ban any more transfers abroad before next year's World Cup Finals. And that has upset Real Madrid's £450,000 bid to replace one German - Paul Breitner - with another, in Borussia Moenchengladbach's Uli Stielicke. Borussia were ready to release Stielicke, who was understandably most upset when the barrier came down.

''Franz Beckenbauer thought of his financial future at the age of 31. I am doing the same at 22," he said “Borussia have made me an offer, but I cannot compare it with what Real Madrid is ready to pay." Though Madrid still hope to swing the deal, Neuberger has remained adamant.

"The only exception to the new rule is Beckenbauer," he said. "And we are only doing this because of his past services to the national team."

And so, what of Bayern in all this? Gerd Muller is back in storming form, Sepp Maier has just passed the milestone of 400 Bundesliga appearances (only Overath has played more) but the next couple of years will see a revolution.

And incredibly their hope is to be able to rip the heart out of the Liverpool attack to provide the transplant to put them back on top of Europe.

Not only are they hopeful of persuading Kevin Keegan his future lies in West Germany, they are also casting envious glances in the direction of the Welsh centre forward, John Toshack.

Bayern are about to begin a dramatic clear-out. The Swedish pair, Conny Torstensson and Bjorn Andersson, are both going home. The injury-prone Dane, Kjell Seneca, will be transferred. Franz Roth has just suffered a new leg injury and his playing future is in doubt. Uli Hoeness has gone into hospital for his fourth knee operation in two years; Jupp Kapellman may not stay.

This article was written by Keir Radnedge and published in the May 1977 edtion of World Soccer magazine.

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