Windhorst does it like Klinsmann
The explosive end of an unspeakable farce
By David Needy
10/05/2022, 7:31 p.m
Hertha BSC is experiencing its next Facebook mess: Investor Lars Windhorst announces the end of his involvement with the club in the style of Jürgen Klinsmann. Instead of the bitterly needed calm, the capital club is experiencing absurdity, ridicule and madness again. But the whole thing is also an opportunity for Hertha.
The fact that it’s Facebook again somehow suits Hertha BSC. A bit old-fashioned. Out of time, tumbling and impersonal. After 80 turbulent days, Jürgen Klinsmann resigned from coaching in early 2020 in a now infamous Facebook video. “HaHoHe, your Jürgen.” It was a Tuesday morning. Now it’s a Wednesday afternoon and Lars Windhorst is also hitting the keys on the aging social medium. The investor, who is unpopular in the capital, writes that he would like to end his involvement with the Bundesliga club with his Tennor Holding. He doesn’t leave a HaHoHe behind.
Windhorst bought majority shares in the old lady for 374 million euros in 2019. 64.7 percent. He now wants to get rid of them for the same price. Buyers shouldn’t be queuing up, to put it mildly. At the original price, no one at all. Both Hertha and Windhorst are said to be exploring the market, but Klinsmann’s successor was certainly easier to find. After all, who wants (or should, with common sense) put themselves through this mess in the capital these days?
Hertha has only been looking for calm waters for years. Especially after the catastrophic last season, when you only held the class in the relegation. Now, instead of calm, absurdity, noise and madness are set again. The Windhorst posse is probably over, but the club’s reputation is further ruined. The network mocks. Once again. How else should it be with the club that was once supposed to be a “Big City Club”. On the one hand, Herthan breathes a sigh of relief because the investor is probably gone. But on the other hand, they tear their hair out and have an extra Engelhardt tapped in the corner pub they trust in the middle of the week. Because once again they are faced with a heap of broken glass.
Memorial for 50+1
Even a brief summary of what happened reads like real satire: after Windhorst has pumped many millions into the club over the years, dozens of players have been signed and released again and the umpteenth new beginning has been heralded, there is still no sporting success. Because the investor probably wants to have more say in the club, according to the “Financial Times” he is said to have started a spy affair against then-President Werner Gegenbauer. Fans and the club were allegedly manipulated by means of a purchased smear campaign and false social media accounts (not just Facebook this time!) until Gegenbauer actually resigned. CDU major donor Windhorst then presumably wants to have CDU man Frank Steffel, who wanted to become governing mayor in 2001, elected as the new president. But Kay Bernstein, the ex-ultra, rushes in between and wins the election. The alleged espionage affair soon comes to light because the investor probably doesn’t want to pay his hired miscreants properly. Uff.
Windhorst dismisses the espionage reports as nonsense. However, the files on the cooperation between the Israeli company Shibumi and Tennor, which were commissioned to carry out the smear campaign, and which are available to ntv.de, show that Windhorst’s description of the situation is anything but solid and credible.
Shortly thereafter, the investor wants to end his involvement with Hertha BSC. It remains to be seen whether his statement only forestalls the sacking. Hertha and Windhorst destroy each other. And prove in an impressive, cinematic way why the 50+1 rule makes sense. Whatever the end and outcome of this mudslinging, Hertha’s next spectacularly sad chapter has been written. In the office in the Friesenhaus as well as on Facebook.
However, completing this posse also holds an opportunity. Because the new club management can now break away from the structures that are exactly the opposite of what they want to stand for. A kind of rebirth through the greatest possible chaos. Can this restart, which this time not only affects the team and also includes the fans in considerations, really change something in the club in the long term? Will the Bundesliga soon see the new Hertha?
HaHoHe, Euer Elon?
Those responsible for the last presidency, who got Hertha into trouble, should rather remain anonymous in the Olympic Stadium in the future. The old lady could have found out quickly before signing the contract that Windhorst might not be the most serious business partner with a few quick glances at his entangled and sometimes seemingly dubious company networks and many court cases. Many Herthaners expected exactly this earthquake-like end from the first day of the investment. The CDU-affiliated entrepreneur Windhorst, “child prodigy” Helmut Kohl, and Hertha – somehow it never fit.
Incidentally, in 2020 Windhorst complained about Klinsmann’s way of resigning via social media. “You can maybe do that as a youngster, but in business life, where you have serious agreements between adults, that shouldn’t happen,” he said at the time. Well, in retrospect, the bitter irony of that sentence fits the whole farce.
After all, it’s good for Hertha: If the club has had enough of Facebook messes, luckily there are a number of social media platforms that haven’t (yet) crashed for new Real satire. If the club didn’t have a new club management in the meantime, the Herthaners would probably even trust the old lady that now that Brandenburg’s Tesla mogul Musk really wants to buy Twitter, it would soon be: HaHoHe, your Elon.