Bayern’s directives want to convince Jupp Heynckes to remain in charge of Bayern for the 2018-19 season. While the move would certainly be welcome, it comes in direct conflict with Heynckes’ intention to retire. The club should respect that.
As Bayern march towards the summer, they are firmly planted in the here and now. Jupp Heynckes has done a masterful job of focusing a dressing room that seemed completely fractured under Carlo Ancelotti.
The 72-year-old has Bayern poised to win the Bundesliga for a sixth consecutive year. The club also remains in all competitions as the hunt for a treble is still a possibility. All of this comes with the realization that Heynckes is once again retiring this summer. Whether or not Heynckes can ride off with another treble, Bayern needs to find a new manager for 2018/19.
The most perplexing aspect of Bayern’s search for a new manager seems to be President Uli Hoeneß and his insistence that Heynckes extend his contract for another season. Hoeneß almost seems to be publically twisting his manager’s arm and that seems incredibly unfair to the coach. Heynckes has given more than enough to the club and his wishes should be honoured.
Hoeneß should not be asking more of a man that gave up a life of retirement to save Bayern. Perhaps the Bayern legend is simply trying to show many fans, who would no doubt love for Heynckes to continue coaching, that he is trying. But every public statement from Hoeneß comes off as trying to pressure a 72-year old into a job he no longer wants.
No one can say Heynckes has not been clear on the matter either. The former German international is not wavering on his position that he is leaving this summer. Heynckes owes Bayern nothing. He has provided the club with more than his share of memories, including the side’s greatest ever season in 2012/2013. Publicly pressuring the man into staying is not behaviour befitting a club that generally treats its legends with the utmost respect.
Delaying a replacement
If Heynckes has no intention of staying beyond this season then Bayern need to find a new coach. Hoeneß and his fixation on his good friend staying another season could potentially harm the club’s search for a replacement.
By all logic, Bayern should be looking for a successor already. Perhaps they are, but Hoeneß’s public comments suggest he is putting all his eggs in one basket. That’s potentially damaging to the team as early as next season.
Without a long-term plan in place, Bayern runs the risk of a number of issues. Chiefly among them are transfers. If Hoeneß thinks he can convince Heynckes to stay on, scouts might focus their efforts on players that work with Heynckes, not another coach. This potentially limits Bayern’s managerial search to similarly minded coaches. Or, a new manager is asked to take over a squad that fails to fit their philosophy. That is trouble either way.
Another issue is that football is a sport where managers are tossed away like yesterday’s trash. Good managers available right now might be gone when another attractive job opens up. Hypothetically, if someone like Thomas Tucel was desired by Bayern would he wait around forever if the Arsenal or Chelsea jobs suddenly opened up? It is not wise to wager the club’s future on the slim possibility that Heynckes stays. As President, Hoeneß should know that.
Heynckes is a crowd favourite. He is a legend for Germany and for more than one club. Maybe he is the best man for the job. Maybe Hoeneß knows this and that is why he is trying so hard to convince him to stay. But the fact remains, Heynckes seems steadfast in his determination that he is once again stepping away from football. Bayern should let him bow out with the grace they afforded him back in 2013. The sooner Hoeneß and Bayern realize this, the sooner the club can start moving toward the future. As much as some of us may wish, a 72-year-old is not the future. If you love something, sometimes it is best to let it go.