Creator Series introduces the individuals who are using their inspiration and talent to push football culture forward.
Named after Antonin's penalty-kick, Panenka FC - and their founder, Thilo Molders - have put their unique stamp on Munich football culture.
What was the thinking behind Panenka?
I was playing in the Munich hobby/sunday league for about 7-8 years, starting when I was 15-16 years old. Even though I still look like a teenager, I’ve already played 110 games in that league. I never liked the strict rules and the training sessions in an official, registered club. It was always way too serious and I didn’t like the challenge between the players, so I decided to leave club football.
At that time, friends of my older sister, Lili, were already playing in that league. I enjoyed watching their matches, as I kinda looked up to them. I mean, come on… the cool, older friends of my sister. One day they asked me if I could help them out. So I did. And to be honest: I was 15 years old and nervous as fuck. But I managed to score twice in that game and got into the team.
I always thought about ‘founding’ my own team, and in 2016 I decided to give it a shot. The idea behind that was to form a team of boys, who I met in former clubs, on the pitch, in my school’s sports class or on the terraces of the stadium (we’re talking about 1860 Munich, of course). I wanted friends around me who are as passionate about football as me. And what can I say? I found them.
I knew everyone, but not everybody knew each other, until we had our first get-together in our local pub – the Fendstüberl. From this day on, new friendships were born and we are one unity. But I never had a doubt that it wouldn’t work out.
So basically, the thinking was to form a team of my friends, to play football on an official pitch on a regular basis, who knew how to drink beer and have fun. That we ended first in our league and in our first year was even better.
Where did the inspiration come from for the Panenka logo?
The inspiration was pretty obvious. Hops is the main ingredient of beer. And it’s beautiful as well. We love to drink beer. And we’re from Munich. So that was clear that hops has to be in the logo.
But such a logo won’t design itself. I started a brainstorm with Mixen, one of my best friends. He’s a graphic designer (@wiethausmichael on instagram) and our oldest member (he will be happy that I mention that). One evening, as we started the brainstorm, we came up with the name, the colours of our club and the logo. Probably the most important meeting in the short history of our club. He’s amazing and besides our friendship, I love his work. So it was clear, he had to design it.
What do your members have in common?
As I mentioned, we’re all passionate about football. It doesn’t matter if you cheer for 1860 Munich, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or Manchester United. We all have the same view on football.
We grew to an unity and how the members support each other in any situation is just overwhelming for me. That’s what it is about: playing football, going to the pub afterwards and have 8347 pints together and talking shit.
Who do you compare yourselves to?
Tough question, but when I really think about it… No one. Football lives in the rivalry with other clubs. And I totally agree with that. But, since we started the PFC I learned to not give a shit about other teams. That may sound pissed, but I’m absolutely not.
I can’t put in words how happy this project makes me and that there are always more than 30 fans at our games, that really don’t care what other teams are doing or saying. That sounds like all the other teams are dickheads, but that is definetly not the case.
That’s why we chose the slogan “We do what we want” for our merchandise. Inspired by the famous english chant, you all know.
What is the cultural scene like in Munich around football?
In general you can say that there are only two sides in Munich: 1860 or Bayern Munich. Blue or Red. A long time ago there were Derbies in the first Bundesliga, but then 1860 went down to the second division. They played there for years (and pretty badly), until they lost in the relegation last year and went down in the third league. But that wasn’t it. They were so broke, that they were forced to go down in the fourth.
That’s not professional football anymore. The good thing about that: we’re back in our traditional, old stadium and don’t have to play in the shithole called Allianz Arena anymore. Far away from commercial football, that has probably been the best season I had with 1860 so far. So as you can tell, there is no rivalry on the sporty aspect, but as it is in many cities, the fans hate each other. You know the deal.
Hopes for the World Cup?
The World Cup has two sides for me: Normally I wouldn’t watch it, because I hate the idea and the scheming of modern football. But on the other hand, the little kid in me gets excited watching that tournament.
Have an example: The transfer of Neymar and the 222 million Euros is so wrong, in so many ways, But, watching that bloke playing football gives me goosebumps. Back to the topic: I think Germany will play a big role in the title race, but so will Spain, France and hopefully Belgium (finally). Not because of you guys coming from the UK, I’m also really excited about how England will perform.
What’s the team like? Any good?
I can proudly say, yes. We had to start in the 4th of 5 hobby leagues. We didn’t lose a single game in the league and were promoted to the third division. Every player is unique in his way, on and off the pitch. But what we have to mention: Paul Wieberneit, our striker, netted 36 in 15 games. This guy is insane. And he’s the one who probably drinks the most before and after the match.