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'I cried like a baby in my prison cell' – Bayern chief Hoeness opens up on tax evasion

9:00 AM GMT 01/11/2019
Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich
The club's supremo will step down in November and hopes fans will accept that he always gave everything for the cause

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has admitted that he 'cried like a baby' due to the support he received during his time in prison for tax evasion and stated that he knows that the club's fans always knew that he would 'rip his a** open' for them.

Hoeness has spent 49 years on Bayern's books, first as a player, then as general manager and finally as the club's president, a position he will step down from on November 15 this year.

Various domestic and European honours have been won with Hoeness both on and off the pitch and the 67-year-old will doubtless go down as a club legend. However, being sent to prison for tax evasion in 2014 has left a stain on an otherwise successful career.

“My biggest mistake was my taxation,” Hoeness told Bayern's official club magazine, 51. “I deeply regret it and criticism of it is highly justified.

“In hard times, I remember the fates of some of the people that I saw in there. One day, somebody sat in my cell, even though he was free to go. He said he did not know what to do. At some point, he was just sitting in a taxi with nowhere to go. Experiences like that are not lost on me.”

It became apparent to Hoeness and others in and around the Bavarian outfit that a trial might be forthcoming after police raided his house and arrested him in March of 2013. 

Bayern went on to win the Champions League that year, but it was bittersweet as the threat of jail time loomed.

“I knew that I would have to go to prison,” he said of that night at Wembley, a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund. “Franck Ribery cried and the fans sang my name. That moved me beyond belief.”

That unconditional support from the club's faithful fans would continue even after Hoeness was prosecuted.

“Some of the letters I got in prison were so touching that I cried like a baby in my cell,” he said.

Hoeness has had his fair share of detractors over the years, but he remains wholly satisfied by his time with the club and feels that fans know he always had their best interests at heart.

“When I look out the window in the morning, I'm happy with my 49 years at Bayern," he added. "I have not regretted a single day and I owe everything to this club – not even as an employee but I've always felt like the number one fan. I feel nothing but gratitude.

“I can only smile about [criticism]. I think the fans know that, deep down, I have always ripped open my a** and given everything for them."