In all the years of decline, Hamburger SV had become accustomed to, or rather: tired, when it was time to say – new coach, new head of sport, new board. And Klaus-Michael Kühne’s rumblings from Schindellegi in Switzerland were part of the background noise of this big, small club, which has shrunk to a fairly normal second division club.
The waves of indignation were usually quickly smoothed over and were only of interest in Hamburg, because nationally and internationally completely different topics move the football world than HSV’s desperate and often embarrassing struggle to take the right path. In this respect, Kühne’s attack on Thursday afternoon can also be classified in this larger context – it is the next attempt to bring the club back to the Bundesliga with a lot of money. The reaction to this on the part of the competition may well be: Yes, yes, HSV.
The fact that Kühne has stuck to his favorite club like Pattex since joining twelve years ago and has survived many board members who wanted to get rid of him amuses all football fans who meet the Hamburgers with sarcasm or scorn. And the rivals can be happy: As long as HSV continues to argue, as is currently the case in the showdown between the board members Jonas Boldt and Thomas Wüstefeld, and not without Kühne, but also not with him, he will continue to weaken in such a way that promotion is ever greater moves: Everyone gets the investor they deserve. In any case, no one in Hamburg spoke of the game at Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday (1 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the second division and on Sky).
Is the Uwe-Seeler-Stadion coming?
Kühne wants to give HSV Fußball AG 120 million euros. On the one hand, he wants to have the Volksparkstadion renamed the Uwe-Seeler-Stadion and pay three to four million euros a year for this for ten years. In addition, the 85-year-old billionaire wants to increase his stake in Fußball AG from the current 15 to almost 40 percent and donate capital of 60 to 80 million euros to the club. In return, Kühne calls for the management and supervisory board of HSV to be re-staffed with two faithful members of the control committee. In other words, whoever gives the money decides – in other words, Klaus-Michael Kühne or his envoys.
When you see how carelessly Kühne’s money has been handled at HSV in recent years, you can understand Kühne all too well. It would be naïve to believe that he would simply give play money to the next HSV management. More shares meant more influence. To which one could say: After all that HSV has unsuccessfully undertaken in recent years, why shouldn’t we now put everything on the Kühne card?
Before this could happen, however, an extraordinary general meeting would have to be convened to vote on whether HSV Fußball AG may sell more than the 24.9 percent of its shares permitted under the articles of association. Kühne needed a two-thirds majority for this. It’s not so unlikely, because clever as he is, he turns to HSV with his offer in times of greatest need. It’s not just the crippling Boldt/Wüstefeld dispute. Above all, there are outstanding investments in the stadium that cannot be made because HSV simply spent the 23 million euros allocated and transferred by the city differently.
Wüstefeld is now feverishly looking for solutions to finance the air conditioning required by UEFA, among other things. In between, Hamburg was even on the brink as a venue for the 2024 European Championship. With the urgency to strengthen the squad and the need to modernize the stadium, the club was completely hanging between tree and bark.
Now Kühne promises 25 million for the stadium renovation, 20 million for debt reduction and 20 million for the team: who could say no to that? Kühne has already said no to Wüstefeld and proved once again that he never shys away from discrediting management personnel. He hopes that Wüstefeld will soon be history “at HSV,” Kühne told the “Abendblatt” a week ago.
The medical technology entrepreneur only got involved as an investor at the beginning of the year and slipped into the board of directors via his supervisory board mandate. Entangled in the dispute with Boldt, Wüstefeld must have regretted this step long ago, although club president and chief controller Marcell Jansen has so far stood by Wüstefeld’s side instead of Boldt’s.
But here it gets so confusing that only Hanseatic insiders understand who is shooting against whom. And why. Meanwhile, the big football public should sit back between horror and amusement and think: Oh, HSV again.