On February 27, 1900, something prodigious was created.
Little did Franz John and ten more young men realise at the time, as they supped on their Weißbier and swallowed their Weißwurst in the Gisela café in Munich’s Schwabing district, that they were laying the foundations to what has since grown to become the biggest sports club in the world.
On that day, FC Bayern Munich saw the light of day, and 117 years later, the record German champions boast over 280,000 subscribed members and over 4,200 official fan clubs.
February 27 will be inextricably linked with the foundation of a footballing juggernaut.
The Bavarians have lifted the German title 26 times and a further 18 times, they have lifted the DFB Cup aloft.
Five times they have been crowned the continent’s finest club, and twice they have climbed to the zenith of world football.
The UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup also belong in Bayern’s burgeoning trophy cabinet.
And to think that the most successful club in German football were left out of the inaugural Bundesliga season.
1860 Munich, backed by their three German titles as opposed to Bayern’s one, were selected as the Bavarian capital’s representatives in the 1963/64 Bundesliga kick-off campaign.
Two years later, the golden trio of Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Müller ensured Bayern took their pew at the top table of German football and the rest, as they say, is history.
The 1967 European Cup Winners’ Cup was the first trophy to adorn a cabinet which is now the envy of clubs all over the world, yet it is not only their on-field accomplishments which have made Bayern such a unique entity.
Few clubs are as committed to their social responsibility as Bayern.
Their success has inevitably generated revenues that all of their Bundesliga rivals could only dream about, but while the record champions may show a certain greed when it comes to winning trophies, they are anything but self-indulgent towards those in need.
Hertha Berlin, St. Pauli, Darmstadt, Kickers Offenbach – even arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund and city rivals 1860 are among the muted 15 clubs to have benefitted financially from Bayern’s charitable core.
Donations have been made to victims of flooding and natural disasters, while Bayern also offered free German lessons, meals and sports activities to the waves of refugees entering the country in recent years.
Earlier this season, Bayern also showed their environmental awareness, creating a strip with their kit manufacturers Adidas which was made entirely out of recycled plastic recovered from the world’s oceans.
And to hammer home their benevolence, they joined forces with 1860 just a week ago to raise funds to reconstruct the club house of Munich-based amateur club FC Teutonia, which burned to the ground.
The number of trophies that they had won made Bayern the envy of clubs all over the world.
All this on-field and off-field success and glory would not have been possible had 11 Bavarian boys not taken that historic step of separating from a gymnastics club opposed to welcoming footballers and penned the opening chapter in an epic story which goes by the name FC Bayern Munich on this day in 1900.