1860 Munich in chaos after shame of relegation to German third tier
Former Bundesliga champions 1860 Munich's relegation to Germany's third division has plunged the club into chaos amid recriminations over who is responsible.
"Nobody around the club ever expected or wanted that we dropped to the third division," 1860 said on their website on Wednesday. "We know that this scenario is not acceptable for the whole 'Lions' family. In such a situation, there are only losers unfortunately."
It could yet get worse for the Munich-based club, which will be forced to declare insolvency unless Jordanian investor Hasan Ismaik reaffirms his commitment to the club. 1860 has untli Friday to transfer about €5 million to the German Football Federation (DFB) to receive a license for the third division.
"The license cannot be obtained unless there are further payments from Mr Ismaik," DFB vice president Rainer Koch told Sky Sport News.
Ismaik didn't attend the game on Tuesday and his intentions remain unclear. Many fans would rather he left the club altogether. However, the club faces possible insolvency if he withdraws his support, and a free-fall to the lower levels. Most 1860 players are set to leave the club as they don't have contracts that are valid in the third division.
1860 president Peter Cassalette resigned after the match. The club announced that chief executive Ian Ayre, the former Liverpool chief executive who only took up the position in April, had already tendered his resignation before the game.
Ayre was scathing in his criticism of 1860's backers, telling the Liverpool Echo: "Unfortunately, during my short eight-week tenure I have found an organisation in which the shareholders are not aligned in a common interest, nor have a shared vision for the future of the club."
Ayre said Ismaik's investment in the club "will not bear fruit unless all shareholders align behind shared objectives for the future with respect for each other. Currently this is not the case."
Equipped with the third most expensive squad in the 2. Bundesliga after Stuttgart and Hannover -- who both secured their return to the top flight -- 1860 finished third from bottom this season. It was relegated Tuesday after a playoff defeat to Jahn Regensburg, a team that had been playing fourth-tier football the season before.
1860's 2-0 defeat at home in the second leg was marred by violence from angry fans, shouting "we're fed up," as objects, including seats, were flung onto the pitch toward the end of the match. Around 1,000 riot police lined up to prevent the situation escalating as the game was held up for 15 minutes. Munich police said 10 officers were slightly injured.
"A shameful evening in Froettmaning," Kicker magazine said of the neighborhood where 1860 shares its stadium with city rivals Bayern Munich. Whether the ground-share continues remains open.
1860, which won the Bundesliga in 1966 and had played in the top flight as recently as 2004, returned to the third level for the first time in 24 years. It's just the latest in a series of embarrassing setbacks for the club, funded primarily by Ismaik, who had promised to lead it to the top levels of European football.
"We're on the right path to turn 1860 into one of the best clubs in Europe," Ismaik said last September. "Then the players will also be proud to be part of this club."
1860 brought in players like Stefan Aigner from Eintracht Frankfurt and Brazilian forward Ribamar from Botafogo. Croatian veteran Ivica Olic joined on a free transfer from Hamburg, believing, like many, that 1860 was a club on the way up.
But the season didn't go as planned. Kosta Runjaic was sacked as coach amid acrimony in November after seven defeats and just two wins from 12 league games. 1860 was also knocked out of the DFB Pokal in the second round.
Meanwhile, Olic was fined and suspended for two games for illegal betting on second-division matches. To make matters worse, 1860's under-21, under-19, under-17 and under-16 teams were all also relegated this season.
Sports director Thomas Eichin followed Runjaic out of the club; chief scout Peer Jaekel was next to go. All three subsequently brought proceedings against 1860.
Daniel Bierofka took over as interim coach, the latest at a club where no coach had seen through a whole season since Rainer Maurer from July 2010 to November 2012.
Former Porto coach Vitor Pereira was eventually appointed in December to turn 1860's season around, but even he had no answers when the worst was confirmed on Tuesday.
"It pains me immensely that the project failed," Pereira said. "My conscience is clear that I did all I could."
The Portuguese coach, who is unlikely to hang around in the third division, received sympathy from Jahn counterpart Heiko Herrlich, who said, "1860 is a historic club. I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart for the club, which actually belongs in the Bundesliga."
The DFB is investigating the disturbances that marred the end of the game and 1860 faces heavy consequences.
"It's a catastrophe," 1860 midfielder Michael Liendl said.