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Christian Schäfer - Der Professor

Can the librarian from Dresden revolutionise football?
Started on 3 April 2016 by Justice / First Post
Latest Reply on 25 June 2018 by Justice / Last Post
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amazing, that you turned it down.. Respect!
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Justice's avatar Group Justice
3 yearsEdited

Guest Of Honour


Christian Schäfer Was An Honorary Guest At The Final Of The European Championships

14/07/2024

My return to Germany had been an enjoyable one. While I was initially greeted by a host of reporters upon my arrival, I was fortunate enough to remain free of the intolerable and persistent questioning of the media, which I suffered throughout my time in Madrid. I have been able to enjoy a new-found freedom, a luxury which has not been known to me for nine whole years.

My time at home was spent mostly with my family. My mother, a former nurse, and my father, a retired mechanic, were decent and honest people. They drilled in to me the value of family and friends, and guided me in my early years. To them, I owed everything. Each and every victory in my career proved to be a testament of their undying love and nurturing. I dedicated my trophy haul to them.

I had two siblings; a brother and a sister. They both served the people, patrolling the streets of Dresden as policemen. They believed in honesty and in diligence, two characteristics which I liked to believe I shared with them. Reuniting with them had been a moment of great fondness for me, and I cherished each moment I had with them.

My family set time aside to view the UEFA European Championships of 2024 on the television together. Germany were one of the favourites to lift the trophy, and we urged Luis Enrique's men on in each game. We were very loyal to 'Die Mannschaft', and I had personally dreamed of leading my own country in a major tournament, such as the European Championships.


Christian Schäfer And His Family Idolised Die Mannschaft And Watched Every Game

Germany began the tournament brightly, defeating Denmark 2-0 in their opening group stage fixture. Albania and Portugal were Germany's other two opponents in the group stage, but they stood no chance as Maximilian Meyer inspired his side to a total of three victories in three games in the group stage. This one hundred percent record had set the tone for what looked a promising campaign.

Germany would face England in the second round, and the media had hyped up the fixture as one of Germany's greatest challenges. Under Gary Bowyer, England had become a settled and composed group of players. With Southampton striker Brian Laight and Liverpool attacking midfielder Steven Forde leading the line for England, they had no fear.

The game was a tense one, and England's Saido Berahino scored the first goal of the game after seven minutes. The West Ham star powered a header past Germany goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen. Minutes later, England had doubled their lead through Brian Laight, who curled a fantastic effort past ter Stegen following great player from Nathan MacDaid.

Germany struck back in the first half through striker Nurettin Topaloğlu, but were unable to secure an equaliser. England proved to be too strong defensively, breaking the hearts of Germany with their astute defending. Composed performances from Brendan Galloway and Luke Shaw secured the victory for England, knocking Germany out of the competition, and costing Luis Enrique his job as manager of Germany.

England defeated Croatia in the quarter finals by an impressive two goal margin, setting up a tie against Holland in the semi finals. However, the Dutch proved to be resistant, and broke English hearts on penalties. Holland manager Jaap Stam had ensured his team played with defensive resilience, and this proved vital as the Dutch secured a spot in the final, where they would face Portugal.

A close friend of mine, Cristiano Ronaldo, had offered me a seat in Portugal's VIP box in the San Siro for the final, and I graciously accepted this kind gift. Portugal's greatest ever player had just completed his final season as a football player, and was an honorary guest at the final. Cristiano had offered me a seat alongside him, as a sign of gratitude for the past season with Real Madrid.

The atmosphere at San Siro was incredible. The orange-clad supporters of Holland and the those in the proud colours of Portugal were in full song ahead of the game, and an excitement grew among the spectators. Riechedly Bazoer and Rui Patrício lead their teams out, and a historical game in Portuguese football had begun.

It took less than three minutes for the first goal of the final to occur, and it was Ronaldo's countrymen who broke the deadlock. Keeping possession in the opposition half, Portugal looked to create an opening. Midfielder Renato Sanches was at the heart of the move, and his one-two with Bruma lead to the former with the ball at his feet with just the goalkeeper to beat. The Schalke midfielder comfortably beat Jeffrey de Lange with a low shot, giving Portugal the lead, and sending the ecstatic Cristiano Ronaldo in to raptures along side me.


Renato Sanches Was A Key Figure For Portugal And Starred In The Final Against Holland

The ten minutes following the opening goal of a football game were often the most vital, in my opinion, and Portugal certainly did not let up on the pressure. From a Renato Sanches set-piece, the ball found its way to Bruma and from thirty yards out, the Portuguese winger powered a shot at goal. Jeffrey de Lange dived low to his right to parry the ball away, but only as far as Portugal's Gonçalo Guedes who doubled his side's lead before ten minutes had been played.

The second goal had sent the Portuguese fans in to hysteria, and the party had already started in the stadium with eighty minutes remaining. Alongside me, Ronaldo was in dreamland, but held a weary smile. Had Cristiano not retired from international football two years previously, he could have been leading his country out in this final, and could have been involved in the 2-0 lead. However, his regrets did not deny him his joyous celebrations, and he willed his country on to hold on to their lead.

It was Portugal's final to lose, and they very nearly added to their two early goals as they game drew on. Bruma struck the post with a curled shot from the edge of the box, and Renato Sanches saw his rasping effort from range palmed away by Jeffrey de Lange. In the second half, André Silva attempted to chip the Dutch goalkeeper, bu de Lange moved swiftly to tip the ball over the bar.

Holland offered no sign of getting back in to the game, and they were dejected long before the full-time whistle at the San Siro was blown. As the match officials called time on the fixture, the Portuguese players and fans alike burst in to cheers of utter delight. It was their country's first ever major trophy victory, and a precious moment in their history.


As Rui Patrício lifted the trophy, I felt for Cristiano Ronaldo who sat alongside me. Cristiano had accomplished everything in football on the club scene, but he had never lifted a trophy for his country. He would not speak of it, but the regret to have never guided his country to international glory was written on his face. Had he not retired so soon, he could have accomplished this task.

In my eyes, Cristiano was certainly capable of still contributing to Portugal, having scored 54 goals for Real Madrid in the past season, his final season of football. I did not agree with Cristiano's decision to retire, as he was certainly capable of playing for three or more seasons, but I certainly understood it. Cristiano had achieved all he felt he could, and he had begun to burnout enormously. The time was right.

I spent two more days in Milan, visiting historical venues and admiring the local cuisine and architecture. Prior to my return to Germany, I enjoyed lunch with Cristiano. We discussed the future of football, and the future of each of our careers. Cristiano revealed to me that he had aspirations to become a successful football manager, and I supported his desires. I believed Cristiano had everything required to become a successful manager, and I knew he would have an impact on the game.

Following our meal, we said our goodbyes to each other and we wished good fortune upon each other's careers. It had been a pleasure to enjoy Cristiano's company outside of a professional relationship. While I was unsure of when our next encounter would take place, I was certain that Cristiano would play a role in my career in the future, whether that be with or against me.



Previous Update: #79 - Christian Schäfer Rejected Old Trafford Move
Next Update: #81 - Klopp Named As Manager Of Die Mannschaft
Hmm are you hinting at managing the German NT lol
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Interesting. What does it mean though?
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Super psyched you turned down United but I wanna see you in the Premier League!
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So I'm gonna guess it's international management.....
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I'd love to see you go to AC Milan while you're there ;) But I'm getting the feeling of international management?
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Justice's avatar Group Justice
3 yearsEdited

Klopp Named As Manager Of Die Mannschaft


Jürgen Klopp Has Been Named As The New Manager Of Germany's National Team

21/07/2024

One week after the final of the UEFA European Championships, and the day Germany had announced the departure of Spaniard Luis Enrique, an announcement regarding the new manager of Die Mannschaft has been made. Former FC Porto manager, Jürgen Klopp, has been named as the new manager of Germany, and he will take control of Germany in their upcoming European League fixtures, as well as in next year's World Cup qualifying campaign, where the finals will be held in Mexico in 2026.

Former Real Madrid gaffer Christian Schäfer was the favourite to take the role as manager of Die Mannschaft, and received an interview invite, but his agent Roberto Wagner revealed that while it had always been Schäfer's dream to manage his country of birth, the timing was not right. As a result, Germany's second choice candidate, Jürgen Klopp, was offered the position, and the beloved Stuttgart-born manager was quick to accept the role.

Roberto Wagner:
"Christian received an offer from the German Football Association to take on the role as manager of the national team. It is his dream to lead his country in a major international competition, but he feels that it is perhaps not the right time for him to do so. He appreciates the opportunity, but he has graciously turned down the offer."

Jürgen Klopp played eleven years of senior football, all for FSV Mainz 05 of Germany. His eleven years at the club as a player were then succeeded by a seven year tenure as manager, which began in 2001, where Mainz enjoyed notable success; earning promotion to the Bundesliga for the very first time. However, Klopp resigned in 2008, and was hired by Borussia Dortmund that summer.

Klopp's spell at Dortmund was where his reputation grew, and he brought plenty of success to the club. In 2011, Dortmund secured their first Bundesliga title in nine years, and Jürgen Klopp guided the team to a second consecutive league title in 2012. Dortmund's success under Jürgen Klopp was epitomised by their appearance in the UEFA Champions League final in 2013, where domestic rivals Bayern München claimed victory.

A poor 2014-2015 season prompted Jürgen Klopp to resign from his role at Dortmund, paving the way for a new adventure in his career. An opportunity to do so arose in late 2015 when Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was sacked for a disappointing start to the league season, and Jürgen was named as his successor. In Jürgen's first season at Anfield, he guided the team to a respectable 5th place finish in the Barclays Premier League, and lifted the FA Cup.


Jürgen Klopp Enjoyed Two Spells As Liverpool Manager, Guiding The Reds To Two FA Cups

However, his time at the Merseyside club was short-lived, as he made the switch to Manchester City in the summer of 2016. Unfortunately for Jürgen, he only lasted 302 days with The Citizens, eventually being sacked in April 2017, despite winning 26 games of 41 played, only losing 8. The dismissal of Jürgen Klopp was not appreciated by the Manchester City fans, who were very disappointed to see that Marcelo Bielsa would become Klopp's successor.

Jürgen would return to Liverpool in December 2017, this time succeeding Frank de Boer. Liverpool were early relegation candidates at this stage, but Klopp guided the team to a 10th place finish. The following two seasons saw Klopp's Liverpool side finish in 5th place in the league, winning the FA Cup in the latter of the two. A third place finish, and qualification to the UEFA Champions League, followed in the next season, and Liverpool seemed set to return to the big stage once more.

The following season, Liverpool's performances in cup competitions and in Europe were exemplary. Under Klopp's guidance, Liverpool reached the semi finals of the Capital One Cup, FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. However, defeat in each competition at this stage, combined with a 10th place finish in the league, brought the end of Klopp's association with Liverpool, and he was relieved of his duties.


Jürgen Klopp And Germany Will Be Targeting World Cup Success In Mexico In 2026

FC Porto would prove to be Klopp's next great adventure, and he signed with the Portuguese club in the summer of 2022. Porto had finished in third place the previous season, with SL Benfica dominating the league in recent seasons. In Klopp's two seasons at the club, he secured two second-place finishes, and claimed victory in the Taça da Liga in the second. In Europe, Klopp's Porto reached the semi finals of the Champions League last season, where Manchester City defeated them for a place in the final.

Jürgen Klopp has now made the next step in his managerial career, signing for his home country Germany. The fifty-seven year old will be hoping to lead his country to World Cup success in two years time, and has the perfect squad to do so. A mix of experience and youth will provide the base of a good team for Klopp, and he will be looking to key players, such as Marc-André ter Stegen, Emre Can, Maximilian Meyer and Nurretin Topaloğlu, to produce the goods.

Klopp expects the road ahead of Germany to be a tough one, but anticipates plenty of happy memories. He spoke of his excitement to be in charge of Europe's most successful football country, and he wishes to add a fifth FIFA World Cup to their collection in 2026.

Jürgen Klopp:
"I am delighted to have become the manager of my country. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am grateful to the German Football Association for granting me this chance. This is a very proud footballing country with many excellent footballers, and a history to cherish, and the reputation of the manager's job is one to admire.

I feel that my career to date has been building up to this point. My experiences with Mainz, Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester City, and FC Porto have helped me to grow as a manager and to learn how to deal with a number of different situations. While I may lack experience as an international manager, I feel that my dealings in football to date have proven to be more than enough to give me the confidence to lead this country.

The next few years are certainly exciting times for Germany. The World Cup in Mexico in two years time will be where we will look to showcase our talents, and hopefully bring home this country's fifth World Cup title. I am excited about the prospect of managing Germany in such a tournament, and I can assure the population of this magnificent country that Die Mannschaft will give one hundred percent in each and every game."



Previous Update: #80 - Guest Of Honour
Next Update: #82 - The Commitment
Damn I was hoping you would manage Germany
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Jurgen <3
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Justice's avatar Group Justice
3 yearsEdited

The Commitment


Christian Schäfer Travels The World Before Making A Long-Term Commitment

01/09/2024

Just under three months ago, I resigned from my role as Real Madrid manager. I had left the world of great riches and fame that was associated with Los Blancos in order to rest and to discover where my future lay. My time away from football was spent at home, in Germany, as well as travelling the world. I had taken the time to explore a number of the world's most famous cities, delving in to the various world cultures, and considering each location as a potential home for the future.

The first of many stops was Istanbul, the most populated city of Turkey. Over the years, Istanbul had been known as Constantinople and as Byzantium. The historical significance of the city was a major one, as it straddled both Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. It was a major shipping area, with many sea journeys passing through. As a result, Istanbul's importance was not one to be underestimated, with the Turkish city holding great stock on a global scale.

During my time there, where I basked in the Mediterranean climate, I spent my time understanding the cultures associated with the world's finest city. It was a true gathering of cultures, and the heart of the city was certainly located at the Grand Bazaar. This was possibly the finest market in the world, where strange spices caused unusually attractive fragrances and the heartbeat of the city could be felt as residents and visitors alike swarmed around the many stalls which were laced with goods of the rarest qualities.

In terms of football, Istanbul held some of Turkey's, and Europe's, finest clubs. Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş all named Istanbul as their home, and I visited their stadia to explore the sacred grounds of Turkish football. I had experienced the atmosphere associated with the Turkish football grounds in the past, as an opposing manager, and I was intrigued to learn more of the footballing culture surrounding a place I might well end up calling home one day.


Istanbul Was The Gateway Between Europe And Asia; A Tapestry Of Global Unity

Istanbul was, in my eyes, the most beautiful city in the world. While I desired to remain there for longer, I was destined to travel across the Atlantic Ocean towards the United States of America. Washington D.C. was my destination, and I spent more than a week studying the home of the American president, Caitlyn Jenner. In the dawn of a new era of political movement, Washington D.C. was perceived as one of the figurehead capitals of the world.

Aside from its political significance, the city itself was a wonderfully attractive one, although it had certainly bought in to the idea of consumerism, and many busy shoppers plagued the streets. The shops were crowded, and many ignorant tourists, mostly British, blocked routes and spoke at uncomfortably high volumes.

I visited the Lincoln Memorial, and admired its beauty. It commemorated former American president Abraham Lincoln, and symbolised the fundamental characteristics of an ideal citizen. In an era where humanity has often come under question, it was the legacies left by the great leaders of the past who inspired people to be of sound nature.

During my time in the American capital, I visited the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium; the home of MLS side D.C. United. The famous stadium seated 20,000 for football, or soccer as it was known in the US, fixtures, and was very homely. While I did not appreciate the city itself, the soccer culture was one to enjoy.


Washington D.C. Was Perceived As One Of The Figurehead Capitals Of The World

A return to Europe was much needed, and I set for the not-so-sunny island of Britain. The north-west English city of Liverpool was my next destination, and I enjoyed the dramatic change in culture once I arrived. The people were warm and welcoming, and the city had an exciting atmosphere. The urban sprawl was alive, and I felt a new lease of life as I strolled through the many streets of the Merseyside city.

I visited the famed docklands of Liverpool, examining the many boats which docked and departed. In recent years, vast sums of money had been spent on expanding the city, and many new shopping centers and social-friendly locations had been built. While they appealed to me, it was historical buildings such as St. George's Hall which caught my fancy.

Of course, nobody goes to Liverpool without understanding the significance of its footballing culture. The very people of the city lived with football a major part of their lives. Whether they support the red team, Liverpool, or those in blue, Everton, football was as important to the residents of the city as water. I visited the historical stadia of Anfield and Goodison Park, and I felt alive as I saw the hallowed turfs.


Liverpool Was The True Capital Of English Football

Next up in my worldwide journey was the Danish capital, Copenhagen. The city itself was based on the Danish island of Zealand, very near to the Swedish coast. Copenhagen has been renowned as one of the happiest places in the world to live, and its attractions were evident. The Danish culture was certainly of remarkable standard, while the people were kind, polite and welcoming. The food was exquisite and the city was like a dreamland.

I spent many days exploring the Danish capital, visiting historical venues such as the Christiansborg Palace and Frederik's Church. These wonderful pieces of architecture symbolised the unique culture of Denmark. The Scandinavian city was one of Europe's most popular destinations, and the city basked in its popularity. The streets themselves almost seemed to glow with the happiness of its residents, it was remarkable.

Two major football clubs were situated in and around the city. F.C. København was the major club of Danish football, and the Parken Stadium was a wonderful venue where football was played. Brøndby IF was located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, and promised some very exciting football over the years. Both clubs had good European standing and fantastic fan bases. Danish football had certainly become a potential challenge to consider, in my eyes.


Copenhagen Was One Of Europe's Most Attractive Cities

My adventures across the world brought me to places such as Cairo, Dublin, Perth, Beijing, Tokyo, Prague, Helsinki, Athens, and to many other magnificent locations. I had experienced a variety of different cultures and gained a great deal of information to consult in my free time. I did not consider myself to be very knowledgeable of the world, but I felt I had experienced enough to consider myself to be aware of the many different ways of life.

My journeys had given me plenty of food for thought. By the time I had returned home to Germany, I had become tired of the constant travelling and new discoveries. I had experienced my fair share of journeys, and I required a stable lifestyle at home. I had become ready to settle down and to begin the rest of my life. I had become ready to step back in to work in a stable environment where I could remain for years.

I spent months pondering important life decisions. I often questioned decisions I had made in the past and wondered of what could have been, had I taken a different path. In retrospect, I was proud of everything I had accomplished so far. The previous nine years had been somewhat grueling, yet more than equally rewarding, and the lessons learned would serve me for life.

And yet, on the first day of September in 2024, as I sat with a pen and paper in front of me, I was faced with the biggest decision of my life. My future lay in front of me in black ink, on a white page. This piece of paper would dictate my future, whether I sign it or not. As I read the page from top to bottom, I visualised the years to come. I pictured what the future would hold for me, if I were to sign the paper.

This paper, this contract, was a commitment which would alter my life for years to come. The realisation of how bound I would be to this promise had hit me, but I was neither scared or nervous. In my heart, I knew I was presented with a match made in heaven, excuse the cliché, and I would never be so fortunate as to have the ability to seal the deal on an opportunity like this again.

Slowly, I put pen to paper and signed my name. I set the pen back down once more and from that moment on, I had become legally bound. The contract which sat in front of me had just changed my life, and by more than I knew it would. I had made a commitment which would shape not only my life, but certainly my career as a football manager. Was I truly ready for this? Yes, I was born ready for this.



Previous Update: #81 - Klopp Named As Manager Of Die Mannschaft
Next Update: #83 - Settling Down
American President Caitlyn Jenner :)) How could you tease us like this?!?
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Herning > Copenhagen.....just saying
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Justice's avatar Group Justice
3 yearsEdited

Settling Down


The Newly-Wed Christian Schäfer Continued To Search For His Future Home

09/12/2024

The last three months had been somewhat hectic for myself. On the first day of September, I had made the biggest commitment of my life. The contract I had signed confirmed my marriage with Ida Lindström, a Swedish-born teacher. We had met while she was studying, and later teaching, German in Dresden many years ago and had been close friends since. My return to Germany from Madrid had prompted a rekindling of our friendship, and the rest became history.

While we had only been romantically involved with one another for three months, our previous friendship and understanding of each other stood in good stead, and we were more than comfortable with settling down and tying the knot. It was certainly an exciting moment for both of us and while the ceremony itself was a quiet one, we rejoiced with friends and family.

Ida, two years my junior, had degrees in teaching Swedish, German and English. She was quite the linguist, and our shared interest in learning new and interesting languages brought us closer, as we traveled the world together. We embarked on a journey which brought us to Istanbul, Washington D.C., Liverpool, Copenhagen, and many more centers of world culture.

While we thoroughly enjoyed our experiences in a number of these cities, we still had not found a place where we felt fully at home. We wished to settle down and locate long-term jobs which would allow us to spend time together, which was certainly a big ask for a football manager and a teacher. Never-the-less, we continued our search for what we perceived as the perfect home, and we never gave up on this quest.


Christian Schäfer And Ida Lindström Tied The Knot In September

Our journey brought us to Ida's birth home of Stockholm, Sweden. It was a truly remarkable city, if not somewhat cold in the latter stages of the calendar year, and the people were of the kindest nature. Upon our visit, we were greeted warmly by Ida's family and friends, and great suppers were enjoyed each evening.

During my time in the Swedish capital, I took it upon myself to become accustomed with the many traditions of the city, and the country, and I explored the culture of one of Europe's finest cities. I strolled through the cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan, the old town district of Stockholm, and I took in my surroundings with great respect. I visited major landmarks, such as the royal palace of Kungliga Slottet, and I sampled local cuisine.

In terms of employment opportunities, a variety of major football clubs were situated in the Swedish capital. Djurgårdens IF and Hammarby IF were Stockholm's footballing pride, while AIK, Malmö FF and Helsingborgs IF also stood in good stead in Swedish football. Finding a job in this country would not have been a problem for a manager with my CV.

Unfortunately, teaching opportunities were somewhat limited at the time, especially for those who have spent significant spells working outside of the country, as Ida has. Ida had not lived in Sweden for many years, and Swedish teaching policies prohibited teachers who had not spent the recent years in the country, absorbing the culture. Personally, I had many qualms with this policy, but there was nothing I could do to alter the country's culture.


Stockholm Was A City Full Of Exciting Traditions And Culture

Following our visit to the Swedish capital, we set our eyes on another Scandinavian country; Norway. Inter-Scandinavian flights were certainly cheap, as we embarked on yet another trip, this time to Oslo. The Norwegian capital was located in the south of the country, similarly to Stockholm in Sweden, and was just as beautiful as Ida's home town.

We explored every nook and cranny of the city, leaving no stone unturned. Traditionally a trading place, the many markets of Oslo attracted tourists from far and wide to its enthralling culture. We indulged in the fine Norwegian cuisine and explored the many museums which dotted the city. A venture to the world-famous Oslo Opera House did not go unappreciated, as a fine show of musical talent took place.

However, the trip to the Norwegian capital was not solely to enjoy the available attractions, and our job hunt continued. While there were plenty of teaching jobs available throughout Norway for Ida, and several potential jobs available for myself, such as at Molde, Rosenborg and Tromsø, the country itself was very stretched out and this would require many hours of travelling between fixtures, which was not of interest to myself.


Oslo Was Home To The World Famous Oslo Opera House And Many Museums

Our final venture in Scandinavia brought us to Helsinki of Finland. The city itself was very similar to Stockholm, and the people and culture certainly drew comparisons with that of the Swedes. Just like Oslo and Stockholm, Helsinki was located in south of its country, beside the sea. Its beauty matched that of Stockholm and Oslo, and felt as homely as any city I had set foot in.

Unlike Sweden and Norway, Finland did not have a rule of monarchy. The history and traditions of the Finnish was somewhat different, but equally as exciting. Exploring Helsinki brought great joy to Ida and myself, as we delved in to a culture and way of life which was similar to others, yet completely different at the same time. The National Museum, Parliament House and Kiasma contemporary art museum were fantastic pieces of architecture with great shows of history and tradition, and we explored each fine detail of the Finnish capital in tremendous depth.

Job opportunities throughout the culture were certainly more welcoming. Ida had no problem locating potential job openings at schools that welcome foreign nationals with experience teaching abroad. In terms of football management, the standard of club football in Finland was certainly lower than the level of Swedish or Norwegian football, but the job opportunities were there. The potential of a low wage offer did not frighten me, as I was certainly on a very generous pay at Real Madrid, Brazil and Dynamo Dresden.

There were a number of Finnish clubs in and around Helsinki, such as HJK, HIFK, FC Viikingit and Atlantis FC, while there were many more spread across the country. Travelling between fixtures seemed more feasible in this country than in Norway, with the vast majority of top flight clubs based in the central and south areas of Finland.


Helsinki Was A Center Of Cultural Difference And Home To An Attractive Lifestyle

Upon completing our tour of these three major cities, Ida and myself began the process of discussing where our future home would be. We had enjoyed our stay in each city and wished to delve further in to the cultures which surrounded each country. The three Scandinavian countries had certainly caught our fancy, and we did not consider any other region in the world.

Potential job opportunities played a key role in our decision making. While employment in Sweden would be hard to come by for Ida, working in Norway was not a feasible prospect for myself. This left one country to be considered. Helsinki had impressed us and having discussed the country as a whole with residents of the city, there was plenty more to discover outside of the capital. Opportunities to work in this country were endless for both Ida and myself and while the standard of football was considerably lower than that of other countries, I was more than comfortable with the idea of managing there, having won my fair share of major trophies in the past.

We officially moved to Finland in November, where we moved from hotel to hotel in search of jobs in the same vicinity as each other. Ida was fortunate to receive several offers from schools based in Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä and Kuopio. A teacher with her qualifications had no problem with earning employment, and she was eager to throw herself in to working in Finland.

This left myself in the job hunt and there were two managerial vacancies which I considered; FC Ilves and JJK Jyväskylä. The former had been enjoying a spell in the Finnish second division, Ykkönen, since 2021, while the latter had just been promoted to Ykkönen from the Finnish third division, Kakkonen.

I applied for both positions and received an interview offer from one of them. With great excitement I journeyed to the club to attend the interview and to, hopefully, begin a new chapter in my career. The prospect of managing in Finland had never crossed my mind when I began my managerial adventure in 2015. However, in 2024, it seemed like the right thing to do.

I sat outside the chairman's office, across from a young secretary who was hard at work. I read over notes which I had prepared prior to the interview, hoping to have a reasonable amount of knowledge of the club's history, and I focused myself. At 14:05 local time, the secretary lifted her head and announced that the chairman, Markus Knuutinen, was ready to meet me.

I stood up and re-positioned my tie, which had been swept to one side by a gust of wind on my way to the office. I took a long self-assuring breath before stepping towards the chairman's door. I knocked twice before entering, closing the door behind me on my way. Another chapter of my career was about to begin.



Previous Update: #82 - The Commitment
Next Update: #84 - Welcome To The Club
Finland will be fun as hell.
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