The Black Fog
A Meeting Of Major Importance Took Place In Dresden, As Schäfer's Career Initiated
Germany had fast become the most powerful country in Europe, overtaking the giants who had previously claimed victory in both World Wars. With nothing but debt and shame to their names, the Germans persevered to recover their dignity and their fortune. It is fair to say that their efforts were not in vain, as the country quickly became a superpower once more. Germany was certainly economically stable with a fully committed work-force, and the country had begun to invest heavily in sport and leisure, a side of life which was very much appreciated by the residents of the state.
Dresden was certainly a symbol of the rebirth of Germany; a city which was bombed to oblivion in the second World War but had become a marvelous urban landscape. For all of its treacherous history, Dresden had become a shining light in Germany. Dresden itself was a beautiful city, with a fantastic garden called the Großer Garten. Of course, there were fine pieces of architecture too, with the Frauenkirche and Semperoper coming to mind. The Neumarkt, reconstructed in 2008, was a plaza home to the famous Christmas market Striezelmarkt. Of course with it being a June night, not a single Christmas stall was to be seen. Instead, it was the figure of a Christian Schäfer in a suit with his hands in his pockets and walking briskly towards a local restaurant. A nervous grimace covered his face, as his jaw was clenched and the squinting eyes behind the silver-rimmed spectacles darted from side to side.
He pushed through the door of the restaurant and marched past the reception area. Through the kitchen was where Christian walked and to a hidden door in the far corner of the establishment. He knocked three times before opening the door and stepping inside. He sat on a leather chair at a desk, and on the other side of the desk was another man. Robert Schäfer was his name, no blood ties to Christian. The two men shook hands with a nervous laugh and sank in to their seats.
"Thank you for coming Christian. I do apologise that we have to meet here. My current office is being refurbished and this was my only other alternative today."
"Don't worry about that Robert! I just wanted a meeting, I didn't particularly care where it was set."
"That's good. So I did have a look at your application. You're qualified and you have a good understanding of the game, as shown by your blog. However, you don't have much experience with coaching. Quite frankly, a year assisting in coaching an U16s team isn't what we'd consider valid experience."
"I understand that yes, but then why did you call me for this meeting?"
"Since Uwe Neuhaus decided to take a surprise sabbatical, we have been rethinking our approach in running this club. That is, the rest of the board and myself. As you know, I am just the managing director. The president of the club is Andreas Ritter and we have a couple of directors working with us. We want to transform this club in to something great. Before the wall came down, this club was very successful in East Germany. Now, the club is not where it should be. But we understand that it takes time and patience.
Christian, do you know what this city is associated with? During the second World War, over 6000 Jews were killed here. Over 1,300 'enemies of the state' were slain in the public courthouses. This city played host to German infantry, as a defensive strong point for the country. Then what happened? The Dresden Bombing. Over 90% of our city center was left in ashes. Nobody stayed there. A cloud of smoke remained. It was black. The people called it 'The Black Fog', because it was all that you could see of the city. That was Dresden. Of course, the city has come a long way since then. It has healed and prospered and become strong again. But it has not recovered its pride.
We believe that through this football club, we can revive this city. We want this club to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. We want a feel-good atmosphere associated with the club. I understand you're a librarian, yes? You're a normal guy, you're a part of the community. If we can get the community on our side, we can go a long way. Why do you think you can be the man to make this happen?"
"Listen Robert, I won't lie to you. I know I'm not experienced. I know there are candidates who may seem better equipped than I am. But what I lack in experience, I more than make up for in my desire to learn and to improve. I can promise you now that I would try my damn hardest to become the best manager I can be. Managing a professional football team is my dream and I would take the opportunity with both hands and never let go. When things look bleak, I don't let go. I will never let go of my dream. That's the type of man I am.
"Okay. Now, what do you think of the squad of players that we currently have? Do you think you can win the Third Division this season with them?"
"I think that it might take time for me to adjust to new surroundings and a new environment, but I am confident that the quality of the players will see us make a strong title challenge this season. Of course, I can't promise you the league title, but I will try my hardest to make it possible."
"I appreciate your honesty. We currently have a Director Of Football, Ralf Minge. Our new manager would work with him on a daily basis. What is your opinion on this?"
"If that's how you want things run here, then I don't mind. Hopefully we can prove to be very productive together and come up with a number of solutions which will see the club grow and prosper."
"What do you value most in a team?"
"I like a team who works hard for each other on and off the ball. If every players works hard to make it easier for his team mates, the team itself will play much better. Hard work and determination pays off. But of course, getting the fans behind you is important. I like action-packed football and the fans should find plenty of entertainment, if I get the job."
"Truth be told, you became one of our leading candidates ever since we read your blog. You have a great knowledge of the game and an understanding of how it works. I've been impressed by your honesty and how you want this team to work. We will need to meet up in the coming days to fill out paperwork, but I guess I can congratulate you now on becoming the new manager of Dynamo Dresden!"
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