• Germany's news in English

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light

The Local · 22 May 2015, 12:14

Published: 22 May 2015 12:14 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A pamphlet looking back on the first 25 years of FC Bayern's history after its foundation in 1900 has been digitized and can now be read in its entirety online.

Full of brilliantly archaic language and old photos, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the origins of Germany's greatest football club.

"Hard struggles for honour and victory, rapturous applause and unfulfilled hopes all were steps along the long road to the lofty heights where FC Bayern today finds itself," reads the opening of the book.

"May all achieved here be a gospel to all Bavaria, to believe in the future of FC Bayern with firm, imperturbable confidence, even when disappointments and defeats here and there temporarily threaten to shake this belief," it continues.

As part of the celebrations in 1925, commemorative matches were organized, including one for "Alte Herren" (elderly gentleman).

The club's ground back in the early 20th Century looked very different to its current home at Munich's Allianz Arena.

The one stand and changing room of Bayern's original home ground. Photo: Jewish Museum

The Allianz Arena - slightly more impressive. Photo: via christian zeiner: http://bit.ly/1Gtpuwj

The book also presents readers with an overview of footballing history in Germany, dating back to the 16th century.

The organized version of the game with set rules came from England, specifically schools like Eton and Harrow, which banned players from using their hands.

It goes on to explain how the English exported the game to Germany in the late 19th century, especially the Rhineland and Heidelberg.

The first modern football club in Germany, the Dresden English Football Club, was established in 1874.

"From city to city of the German Empire the development of the sport of football lead to the foundation of city associations, the first of which was the German Football and Cricket Association in Berlin, set up in 1890."

In 1893 the South German Football Union was founded, but things developed relatively slowly in Munich.  

The club logo in 1925 and 2015. Photo: Jewish Museum and Wikimedia Commons

FC Bayern München was eventually founded in 1900 by photographer Franz John and eleven other men. The German Football Federation and many other clubs across Germany were also founded in 1900.

The first competitive match in spring 1900 was against FC Nordstern. The final result was a record 15-0 victory for FCB. Not a bad start really, and perhaps a harbinger of the great things to come.

The founding team of 1900/1901. Photo: Jewish Museum

The original club colours were blue and white, the colours of Bavaria. The first team kit then changed to a white shirt and black shorts. In 1905 the shorts changed to red.

It was not until 1968 that the red and blue worn today became their home strip. From 1974 onwards the home colours have more often than not been red.

Bayern did not win the South German Championship until 1926, but won a Bavarian league in 1910. Their first national title came in 1932, when they won the new German Championship.

The Bundesliga as we know it today became the first professional national league in 1963.

Story continues below…

Bayern had managed to create a carefully developed youth system with over 200 young players by 1914, but it was destroyed by the outbreak of war, as promising youngsters became old enough for conscription.

The book included a list commemorating all the players who were killed in the First World War.

A commemorative list of names of FC Bayern players who died in the First World War. Photo: Jewish Museum

Not only was the club's progress ravaged by the First World War, in the 1930s they suffered under the Nazi regime.  

At the time the president and coach were both Jewish, so had to flee the country. FC Bayern were then dubbed the "Jew's Club" and support severely waned during the Third Reich.

The club has certainly come a long way since this period, and it is fitting that the history of their first 25 years was rediscovered in the year that the club won its 25th Bundesliga title.

By Matty Edwards

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd