Yesterday I made the tour of the Allianz Arena home of Bayern Munich. It’s a fifteen-minute drive from the centre of the motorway near the main BMW sales office.
You see what looks like a giant padded football from distance. Our guide explained that the facade is composed of 4,756 unique panels made of durable plastic foil. This can be lit in 60 colours but at home matches is displayed in red.
They have 106 boxes, one on the centre-line will set you back €300,000 but that includes drinks and catering.
ou can design these yourselves and all but one are taken by companies.
There is a strong corporate feel about the club and its stadium. Whilst 60% of shares are owned by individual members, 40 % are held by large corporations like German Telecom and sponsors like Audi and Allianz.
I saw that Bayern’s number of trophies are on the wall in the zone of entering the pitch to remind the opposition just how good they are.
Bayern are not a popular club and are derisively termed Hollywood.
It is rather like Manchester United at their eminence under Sir Alex Ferguson, there is a triumphalism about them.
I picked this up in the dismissive way the guide referred to the second team team and club in the city – TSV Munich 1860 – who played there till recently. After demotions and irregularities they moved elsewhere and the guide did not seem sad to see them go. They did have their own dressing rooms and when they played at the stadium it was lit up in their colour blue. Older readers may recall the 1975 Cup Winners Cup Final when West Ham beat them 2-0.
Despite the stadium being deserted I certainly enjoyed the experience. After the tour we visited the museum and, with 5 European and Cup and champions league and ex-players of the stature of Beckenbauer Hoeness and Rummenigge, they are one of the titans of Europe. Manchester United beat them as did Chelsea inthe Champions League Final. but reading the text of the matches it was Bayern that deserved victory and were the better side on the night.
They don’t do modesty in the Allianz Arena.