June 4, 2017.
Sunday afternoon, football on TV. Liverpool against Arsenal. Klopp against Wenger. The score? 3-0 to the Reds.
"Arsenal doesn't find a way to handle Liverpool's attack. Did Arsene Wenger's side bottle a big game once again?", the commentator asked.
Arsene Wenger came out of nothing to take over Arsenal, to revolutionise English football and to build a legacy at Arsenal.
But it's kind of ironic to see the aged Wenger in his suit sitting there helplessly, watching his own legacy falling apart while a young manager jumps up and down the line, giving his players instructions just to celebrate the fourth goal for his side in front of Wenger moments later.
"Another frustrating afternoon for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal", the commentator said while I was looking on my phone.
One new message.
"Hi mate. Listen! I've just had an interesting chat with an old friend and I might have something interesting for you. Are you at home?"
Well, is there another place where you would expect a football enthusiast to be on a rainy Sunday when his girlfriend is currently on a business trip at the other end of the world?
"Of course. Come over whenever you like but don't you dare to arrive without something to eat.", I responded to the sound of my growling stomach.
Alex was one of my best friends when I was a kid. We grew up together and played in the same team before he left Austria to become a professional footballer. It was certainly the right decision for him. He ran through Bayern München's youth system before he left the giant to play for Eintracht Frankfurt where he has been an important player ever since he joined the club.
I certainly did not take the same way as him but we ended up in the same city at last.
I moved to Germany five years ago at the age of 25, taking up a job that was offered to me after I received my master's degrees in Sport Science and International Economic and Business.
I am working for a company that develops funding ideas for the concepts of NGOs and start-ups. It is not great fun but it is not a bad job either.
The thing is that this subject area just isn't my passion. Yes, I have a great interest finances and economy and I’m earning heaps of money but is it my passion? No. I have always been passionate about the same thing, football. I have always dreamt of a job in football. When I was a child I wanted to be a footballer at all costs. I played all day long and that didn't change when I grew older. I just loved the game and I love it still. I always was the first one who entered the pitch and the last one to leave it.
But no matter how much effort I put in, no matter how much I worked on myself, no matter how well I performed during training and matches - I have never been able take the final step into professional football.
I did several coaching courses and received the UEFA Pro License while I was still an active footballer for my local club and despite putting 100% effort in in my own matches, I still wanted to manage a team.
That was why I trained the kids twice a week and no matter how much work I had to do at university, I never lost sight of the youth team that I managed. During that time I have not only learned so many things about football, I have made so many experiences on a social level as well.
Working with children opens a new perspective on how to see things. They always take the things as they are. They don't have those future worries that adults have and they have one really important ability: they always have a positive point of view. They don't say "I don't know if I am good enough to be a footballer one day", they say "I will be a footballer when I am older".
That positive point of view is something that I always wanted to learn from the kids. It was one of the things these children had that made me jealous. Another thing that I envied them for was that they still had the chance to shape their future. That they still had the chance to get a job they dream off.
Something that just wasn't meant to be for me.
I thought that my future was already written. That I would have a "normal" life. A nine-to-five job, a wife and a house with a little backyard where the children could play.
But the 18-year-old Tobi Thaull didn't know what the future would hold for him...