On the 6th April 2005 Red Bull took control of the Salzburg Sport AG company and therefore also took control of the football club Austria Salzburg. Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz publicly introduced his football advisor, Franz Beckenbauer, and the resigning chairman, Rudi Quehenberger, announced he was thrilled to see that "years of hard work for the benefit of football in Salzburg" had finally paid off.
The initial reaction to the takeover was euphoric, even amongst the long-standing and most loyal fan groups. No more than a handful of fans harboured any feeling of foreboding as regarded the possible course of events in the following few months. However, during the initial few weeks following the takeover the first rumours of a break with the traditional deep purple and white club colours began to circulate amongst the fans. The talk was of a new FC Red Bull kit in red, blue and silver. This triggered demonstrations, petitions and a flood of open letters to newspapers from every corner of the Violett/Weiss fan community.
Despite several activities organised by the fans in defence of club traditions the new managers remained completely unimpressed. Although the general assembly on the 4th June 2005 resolved to placate more traditional-minded club members by supporting a decision to keep the Violett/Weiss club colours, nine days later the truth came out. On the 13th June 2005 the team for the new season was introduced to the press and the general public at a venue known as Hangar 7. The players appeared with red and white home kits and blue away kits. Deep purple had been erased from the club’s identity!
To add insult to injury, instead of bearing ‘1933’, the club’s true year of foundation, the management had decided the club had been established in ‘2005’, something the Austrian F.A. insisted be changed immediately. Being the legal successor of the previous owner and club title the official identity of the club had to be maintained in order to entitle the club to the license to play in the Bundesliga, otherwise the newly-founded club would have to begin life in the bottom division in the country. Further evidence of this clean break with all the traditions of the past, and proof it was a completely new start, was to be found in the player profiles; the profiles of players who had played for Austria Salzburg in the previous year: ‘Previous club: SV Salzburg’.
Red Bull Salzburg made it very obvious that it saw itself as a completely new entity, with quote: “with no history and no records", and no longer wished to be associated with SV Austria Salzburg in any way – other than the fact that the club had served as a means of obtaining the licence to play Bundesliga football. These and countless other absurdities led a large group of supporters, fan clubs and sympathisers to launch the Violett-Weiss Initiative (IVW) on the 30th June 2005. The aim was to uphold the traditions of SV Austria Salzburg, also within the new Red Bull Salzburg environment. At first IVW cause fell upon deaf ears. However, the more the new ‘wonder team’ failed to perform to their inflationary expectations, the more column space was devoted by the press to the so-called ‘club colours conflict’. Red Bull strategists sensed the image of the club was being damaged and invited the IVW to hold talks.
Four rounds of discussions took place in total, the results of which would have been best exhibited in the window of a curiosity shop. Red Bull’s final offer to the IVW team was a deep purple adidas logos on white kits, a purple captain’s armband and purple socks for the goalkeeper! By the end of the third round of negotiations there was a definite suspicion that the whole procedure had only been initiated to misrepresent the cause of the IVW in public as that of a group of backward die-hard hooligans. The IVW saw no other alternative than to break off talks after fruitless fourth session.
Proof positive that the Violett-Weiss faithful were anything other than a group of stupid hooligans was delivered in the autumn as, immediately after the end of the final round of pointless negotiations, moves were made to establish an independent club, to move forward while treasuring the traditions of Austria Salzburg. On the 7th of October the phoenix rose from the ashes! SV Austria Salzburg was back again – as if it had simply been away on its summer holidays. Under the leadership of a collective of idealists, with the support of selfless players, some having left teams in higher divisions to pull on their SV Austria Salzburg shirts with pride, and with the vocal support and visual presence of up to 2000 fans, the first step was completed as the team were promoted as champions of the Austria 7th division at the first time of asking. Salzburg has its team in purple and white again, the ‘Violetten’, and the world is bit more colourful for it!