The 12th man or PR gone wrong ⋆ An Old International

The 12th man or PR gone wrong

Bayern Munich, the best team in Germany have scored a rare own goal last week when they announced to present a new striker, ‘a real bomb’, a player who can ‘always play’, at ‘Barcelona or Manchester.’ Fans of the club were told that the presentation would be broadcast via an Internet channel and had to hit the ‘like’-button on the facebook page of the club.

Cheap PR Gag goes awfully wrong

When it was finally time to reveal the new player it turned out that Bayern were simply using a cheap PR gag to lure fans on the club’s facebook page where they were told that they themselves are the new signing. On op of that, sporting manager Christian Nerlinger was shown holding a replica shirt with the name of the facebook user. In all fairness, it was meant to highlight the importance of the fans to the club. However, it went awfully wrong and there has been outrage at the club’s lack of common sense.

Fans are important as Ryan Hubbard has pointed out here; they are the ‘soul, identity and dignity of a football club.’ There is nothing to add to that statement. In times of increasing ticket prices, rising player’s wages and exploding TV income however, this statement needs to be considered with some serious doubt as it appears that clubs no longer see fans and spectators as important to the club’s soul and dignity. The relationship between club and supporters has become dangerously imbalanced with the latter seen as customers rather than fans, thus bringing the cold world of economy into this relationship. Therefore question marks remain at Bayern’s real intention to highlight the importance of the fans to the club as the club is the richest in Germany and one of the richest in Europe, too.

Dortmund again smarter than Bayern

The contrast with Bayern Munich could not be bigger when today Borussia Dortmund, also on their official facebook page, posted the announcement that sporting director Michael ‘Susi’ Zorc and coach J

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