- Over Christmas, I was delighted to find that a Bayern Munich kit history had been published. The German club’s strips have always been a source of curiosity for me so I got in touch with the author, Raimund Simmet, to congratulate him and ask him a few questions about the project
- The book can be purchased here
How long have you been a Bayern supporter and why?
I’ve been a Bayern fan since the mid-1970s, so since 1974 or 75, my whole family has traditional been and has always been Bayern fans, including Granny! And especially then in the 1970s, I got a lot of pride because Bayern was very successful and we were very proud of our team in Munich.
On top of that, I like the colour red much more than any other!
When did the idea of a Bayern kits book first arise? Were you surprised that, despite the many sites dedicated to Bayern shirts, there was no book on the subject?
The idea actually started quite late, I have indeed always been surprised that there is no such book for FC Bayern, and so I had to sample by myself.
I drew a lot and didn’t even know what for, until then, with the 120th-aniversary book, there are graphics by me on several pages because I also work for the FC Bayern Museum on a voluntary basis (unofficial ‘jersey guru’!) and that’s how I came into contact with my publisher, Die Werkstatt.
He called me and asked me how many jersey graphics I had and I did said a couple of hundred, and then the programme manager, Thomas Lötz, said: “Great! We’re going to make our own jersey book.” I am grateful to Thomas, who immediately recognized the potential he had in his hands! This book was very hard work but we are all very proud of it!
What level of research went into compiling the book, making sure you had every single variation? When did you first begin illustrating Bayern kits?
A really mad lot of research – for decades! And more and more research…I’ve been drawing since I was eight years old (I’m now 53) – first with felt-tip pens, then later on the computer. My first (halfway) complete list took place around 2004, I published it on my former website, www.stickerfreak.de (I also collect football sticker albums – and I have them all!) which I have now discontinued. I am currently considering whether I should revive this site – but unfortunately the domain is gone in the meantime…
Where do you stand on Bayern’s home kits being limited to just red and white, as seems to be the case since 2018-19?
For me as a historian, the color white is the most important one at FC Bayern! Red elements approach in 1906 with the merger with the rich Münchener SC, and here wine-red, which was then retained after the separation from the MSC after the first World War. Then gradually came wine-red alternative jerseys.
It wasn’t until 1973, when they started working with adidas, that Bayern were really ‘the Reds’, previously just the ‘red pants’. So I like it a lot that people there are now more restricted to red and white. But personally, I have absolutely nothing against wearing blue elements, because our very first jersey was blue – like the Bavarian national colors.
I don’t care about the rivalry with the blue 1860s in this regard (but only in this regard! It’s interesting to note that the Bayern-1860 game in 1990 had Bayern in blue and 1860 in red. Bayern won 3-0!).
There was a fan revolt in 2018 – there should no longer be any blue elements in Bayern’s jerseys (because of 1860), which the board promised and kept. Basically wine-red has more tradition than this adidas fire-engine red!
From 1991, I call this the ‘phase of the design jerseys’. They gradually realised that the jersey was not just a piece of fabric but a cult that sold incredibly well in the fanshops. Here, too, Bayern was the first club in Germany to set up its own really marketing department, headed up by Hansi Pflügler, a World Cup winner in 1990.
Bayern often wore many different variations in the 1980s – was this down to adidas trying out new things and using Bayern as guinea-pigs because of the close relationship between the two?
I think they already tried to work with other colors a little. In addition, the shorts of the ‘Brazil kit’ were applied. I think they wanted to establish a third color here and this should be blue, like on the crest. But first they had to test how this 1860-blue was received by the Bayern fans (not so good for most of them!).
What is your favourite colour combination for a Bayern away kit and goalkeeper kit?
White as away kit, goalkeeper sky-blue, home red and third blue – I basically don’t like too much frills on the kits. I also like red and white striped ones, I think the next home shirt will be one of these ones again, like in the 1970s.
What is your all-time favourite Bayern kit?
The ‘Viennese model’ (Wiener-Modell), worn from 1931-1965.
Your illustrations are used on the official Bayern site; were the club able to provide much assistance in your research?
There were only a scaled-down form of my illustrations and only the ones since 1965. Artwork of 110 of the most important kits in the club’s history are currently hanging on the wall of jerseys in the museum, in the form as they are shown in the book.
The club wasn’t able to help me – at first they had nothing at all, when I had been asked to research. Recently, even Uli Hoeneß himself called me to thank me for my great work.
And do you collect Bayern shirts? If so, what is your most-prized possession?
I don’t collect jerseys. I wanted them all, but I could never do that – so I had to draw them to have really all of it!