Fan-spiration: “Football has changed over the years, and so have FC Bayern”
David Unadze’s love for FC Bayern goes all the way back to 1987, when he watched the Champions Cup final against FC Porto – Bayern took the lead in the first half, but Porto turned the game around and scored twice in the second half. Even though the Bavarians lost, David was hooked and has been a loyal supporter ever since.
The 43-year-old, who lives in Tbilisi, Georgia, says that he admired the team’s discipline and tactics. Looking for like-minded football enthusiasts in his city, David and his friends eventually created a Bayern Munich fan club, which was officially recognized in 2014. FC Bayern, he says, has always been and still is a big part of his life.
The fan club, which counts 75 active members today, usually gathers on matchdays to watch their favorite team play. “We have our own area that we decorated with jerseys, flags, scarves and other Bayern-related memorabilia,” David says.
When asked about his favorite player, David has a hard time naming just one – a very hard time. After all, he’s been around for a while.
“Matthäus, Kahn, Elber, Zickler, Augenthaler, Schweinsteiger, and from our present team, I like Neuer, Kimmich, Alaba, Süle, Lewandowski, Gnabry, Coman Goretzka and more,” he says with a laugh, adding that each player has a unique skillset he admires.
But as closely as he is following the current sextuple-winning team – and regardless of how happy their success has made him – David still points to another decade when thinking about the best assembly of individual players to have ever worn the Bayern jersey.
“In my opinion, the best team we ever had was in 1970s, including the legendary Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeneß and Gerd Müller,” he says.
“Of course, football has changed since then, and so have my favorite team FC Bayern,” David continues. “The game became faster and more aggressive.”
His favorite FC Bayern moments, he says, were the Champions League triumphs in 2001, 2013 and 2020. After all, they don’t come around so often – but when they do, he says, they feel extremely gratifying. David doesn’t like to speak about the times when his heart as a fan was broken.
“They still make me hurt,” he says.
Despite having been an avid FC Bayern supporter since the late 1980s, David never had the opportunity to see his favorite team live at the stadium. He hopes that will change in the future – even though at the moment, making concrete plans is nearly impossible because of COVID-19.
It’s not only the inability to travel that makes him sad, but also the fact that the matches take place without any fans in the stadium to chant, celebrate and cheer on the players.
“It’s just awful when the stadiums are empty,” he says. “Football is for fans.”
Nevertheless, David is happy that FC Bayern remains in a relatively strong position during the pandemic, especially in comparison to other great European football clubs that are vulnerable and struggling with financial problems – a testament to the FC Bayern’s ability to operate economically for many years.
“In the future, I hope FC Bayern can resume their international tours and camps during pre-sesaon,” David concludes. “And at some point, they might even visit Georgia, too.”