Overath – Self-made Man
Whereas some people carry on playing for the sheer joy of it, Overath would charge around the football pitch like a man possessed. For him, football was not about fun. “Football is the reason I am here. It always has been.” That did not change for many, many years. Even when it was no longer about money, just about the thrill of victory. It proved once and for all that people like Overath do not play football to earn money. He simply wanted to score one goal more than the opposition — anything else was a bonus. The money that he earned in Cologne — rejecting all offers from abroad in the process – he invested astutely. He also accepted a lucrative job as an adidas representative in the Middle Rhine Valley and traded well in the property market. In other words, Wolfgang Overath was and indeed is a self-made man, someone who has always been too clever to have to rely on someone else’s money. That explains why he has been able to approach the Cologne presidency in a relaxed state of mind. “I’m not earning a cent here. I can walk away whenever I like.”
Overath is a man who has never walked away from a challenge though, and he does not intend to do so with the club in such a turbulent phase. He has been president for three years now, two of which Cologne have spent languishing in the second division. The 2006-07 season will unquestionably go down as the bleakest in the club’s long history despite significant investment and the signing of a respected coach in Christoph Daum. Overath did suffer, though, when those who had campaigned for Daum to be brought on board suddenly began to criticise him for doing just that. “That hurt,” he admits.
“Some of the criticism has been justified, but not regarding Daum.”