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Max Kofler: Die Revolution

Started on 7 June 2019 by ScottT
Latest Reply on 23 August 2019 by Jack
No idea what to say. Manchester United and Chelsea. In one story.

Don't let Max become a rentboy, nooooooo!
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT
4 yearsEdited

Chelsea appoint Luis Enrique

Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of former Barcelona and Spain manager Luis Enrique on a one-and-a-half year deal, which keeps Enrique at the club until June 2022.

Luis Enrique has been confirmed as the successor to Pep Guardiola at Stamford Bridge, following Guardiola's dismissal on Boxing Day after a 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal, which saw Chelsea lose further ground on the top-four. Enrique, 50, has signed a deal which will keep him at the club until June 2022, with supporters hoping the Spaniard can guide the club back into the top-four.

The Blues currently sit sixth in the Premier League, with Under 23's manager Joe Edwards having managed the first-team's last three fixtures - two of which came in the Premier League, with a 2-0 victory against Cardiff City and a 3-2 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Either side of these victories was a 3-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup. Chelsea are due to play either Norwich City or Sky Bet League One side Gillingham in the fourth round.

The 50-year-old began his managerial career at former club Barcelona, having played for the club between 1996 and 2004 - making over two hundred appearances - after leaving arch-rivals Real Madrid following five years of services. Enrique took the reigns of the 'B' team, succeeding the man he succeeds at Chelsea, Pep Guardiola, who went on to manage the first-team.

Enrique spent three seasons with the 'B' team before announcing he would resign at the end of the 2010/11 season, despite having a further two years left on his contract. He led Barcelona B to the playoffs, but promotion wasn't - and isn't - viable for the side due to league regulations.

Two weeks after his contract expired, A.S. Roma confirmed the appointment of Enrique on a two-year-deal. The Giallorossi were eliminated in the play-off round of the UEFA Europa League following a 2-1 loss to Slovakian side ŠK Slovan Bratislava and later went to lose their Serie A opener to Cagliari. Following a seventh place finish - which resulted in Roma failing to obtain any form of European football for next season - Enrique opted to resign at the end of the season.

The Spaniard enjoyed a year-long break from management before returning to La Liga to take over at RC Celta de Vigo, replacing former Spain teammate Abel Resino in doing so. Enrique made a reputation for himself in a fantastic season for Vigo, as they finished ninth. His highlight of the season was a 2-0 victory against former club Real Madrid, which arguably brought an end to their bid for the league title.

Following the sacking of Barcelona head-coach Gerardo Martino - who failed to win the La Liga title, surrendering the crown to Atlético - Enrique was approached by the club's hierarchy. Three days after resigning from his role at Celta, he was confirmed as the Blaugrana's new head-coach.

In his debut year in the job, the former Blaugrana player faced criticism for tactical changes made in consecutive games and also, allegedly, quarrelled with star player Lionel Messi. However, Enrique delivered the treble to the Camp Nou, following a La Liga triumph, a Copa Del Rey victory against Athletic Bilbao and a 3-1 win against Juventus in the Champions League final, held in Berlin.

He would add a further double to the trophy cabinet - winning the La Liga title alongside the Copa Del Rey, defeating Sevilla in a 2-0 win after extra-time - the following season, before announcing he would not extend his contract, which was due to expire in June, in March 2017.

Again, Enrique spent a year away from management before agreeing a deal with the Spanish FA to lead the Spanish national team from July 2018, following World Cup disappointment in Russia - which saw Spain lose to the hosts in the round of sixteen.

However, Enrique struggled to find success over his two-year reign. Spain were relegated from the UEFA Nations League 'A' Group, finishing bottom of Group D behind Croatia and England. Enrique's side qualified alongside Croatia to reach the 2020 European Championships, finishing top of the group - despite losing to Croatia and struggling to a 0-0 draw against third-placed Serbia, who finished just three points behind.

After cruising through Group E - which consisted of Belgium, Iceland and the Republic of Ireland - La Furia Roja failed to make it past the round of sixteen, losing to Ukraine in a 2-1 loss after extra-time. A 119th minute strike from Sergiy Sydorchuk sent Andriy Shevchenko's side through, before they eventually crashed out in the semi-finals to runners-up France. Following calls for Enrique to be sacked, the 50-year-old resigned two weeks later.

Since his resignation, Enrique has been out of work for the last six months and is said to be "relishing" the opportunity to manage his new side. Chelsea have been without Champions League football for the past three seasons, failing to obtain a top-four finish since Antonio Conte led them to the league title in 2017.

It is unlikely Enrique will be present on the touchline for Chelsea's upcoming clash against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night. The Baggies currently sit bottom of the Premier League, with former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri in charge.

Ranieri was appointed on 20th December and has yet to taste defeat, recording a 1-0 victory against Bournemouth, back-to-back draws against Leicester and Spurs and a 4-1 win against Swindon Town to ensure his side's progression into the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup, so far.

The new Chelsea boss is expected to take charge when Chelsea visit St James' Park to take on Newcastle United on Sunday, instead.


LFC: No need to worry now. ;)

Maguire: Well it won't be Chelsea, but there's no ruling any team out. Could Lazio be on the cards?

SoA: Don't worry... He wouldn't have accepted anyway...
Good to see Max didn't give up his soul. I wonder what comes next for him though!?
Now you're just teasing.
Stunned that you walked out of Koln, but your reasons are more than credible with the lack of backing following such success. Now that the Chelsea door has shut it is most intriguing to see where Kofler picks his next move.

A Step Forward

Holding discussions with Roman Abramovich was a surreal experience that highlighted where my standing in football may be. I was given some indication over the previous few weeks about where my stock was positioned in management through the clubs interested in my services, but I never expected Chelsea to have the slightest of interest in me. Even though I was unsuccessful in my application, I was always well-informed that I was never the first-choice and whilst that was slightly disappointing, I appreciated the honesty from Roman. It was refreshing to hear in a sport which is often fuelled on lies and gossip, misleading many that have been a part of it.

The offer I received from Lazio was still on the table at the time Luis Enrique was announced as the new Chelsea boss. Roman had informed a couple days before that I wouldn't be appointed, with paperwork all but preventing Luis' imminent arrival. Talks between Lazio and myself had been fairly limited in the days prior to the announcement of Enrique, but the club's hierarchy were still interested in my services and had me labelled as their primary target, so I was informed. As a result, upon confirmation of Enrique's appointment, I flew out to Rome to conduct advanced talks.

I was greeted by the chairman and majority shareholder in the club, Claudio Lotito. He spoke positively of me throughout our discussions, with my translator, Paul King, informing me of every utterance he made. My career gave me the opportunity to experience many different cultures and languages, but I had no experience of speaking Italian, it was one language I was never taught throughout my education or through my adulthood thus far. So, I relied on Paul to carry the conversation for me and enable me to understand everything Claudio conveyed. For all I knew, Claudio could easily have been criticising me, although the idea he would do that to somebody he was interested in appointing as first-team manager made no sense, in reality.

Claudio was glowing in his report of the club in an attempt to dazzle me into accepting the job. It was clear from the moment he met me that he was a man who knew how to sell whatever he had the pleasure of gaining possession of. He was a businessman and one of the highest order. He focused, primarily, on the history of the club and transitioned into the club's modern history after a while of proudly mentioning its past. His admiration for the club was visible in every word that left his lips.

Everything was transitioning smoothly; until Claudio begrudgingly informed of the club's current situation. Numerous players were unhappy with the club's league position and subsequent upheaval in management once again. My appointment would mark the fourth different personality to take post within the dug-out in the past eighteen months. For a club of proud traditions and history, it was understandable why the players were disappointed with the constant turnover of management on such a regular occurrence.

As a player, it is difficult to adapt under different managers because each has their own style and wants to bring their own methods to the forefront. I can only imagine the frustration a player must feel when they finally come to grips with a new manager, only for them to be sacked and ultimately replaced by somebody else who wants to work a completely different way, abandoning the previous methods set by the former manager. Adaptability is key, but only a select few can boast of being able to adapt at the flick of a switch. For others, it's an extremely tough process, in which I have just detailed.

The club's financial situation wasn't particularly pleasant either and perhaps explained the slight decline Lazio had, and were, experiencing. From an outsiders perspective looking in, it may have been difficult to pin-point the exact issues the club were experiencing. The pedigree of management was strong, especially with the appointment of Rafa Benitez in June 2019, which only continued to puzzle neutrals. A manager such as Benitez couldn't under-perform without an alibi, surely? The alibi was most certainly the club's ailing financial situation.

Unsurprisingly, Claudio admitted he wouldn't be able to give me much of a budget to work with, in order to bring in the players I needed and to replace the existing players who were on the verge of leaving. He briefed me on the financial low-down at the club and recognised my slight frown at the current situation. It was certainly manageable, but I was worried that the current circumstances could only get worse. The club were due to lose some of their top assets in the January window, which Claudio conceded when discussing the squad with me. It would be a tough ask to replace them with equally talented players at such a cut-price.

Alongside this, my head was still plagued with the idea that a move to England would be within mine and Laura's best interests. She would be reunited with her closest allies; her friends and family. She could really profit from that at this stage in her recovery. Choosing to reject such an opportunity to move back to England would mean a significant opportunity would have to arise elsewhere. Was Lazio that significant opportunity? Their offer toyed with me, but I came to the conclusion that it wasn't. The move to Lazio was off the table. It wasn't the right time.

Several days passed and any worries I had that I wouldn't receive a further opportunity to get back into management were soon answered. I received a formal approach from Watford. The Hornets were eighteenth in the Premier League at the time of their enquiry into my availability, with Michael Laudrup having been sacked on New Year's Eve - three days after Watford's 0-0 draw to Wolverhampton Wanderers, which witnessed their slide into the relegation zone.

The Danish head-coach spent just under a year at Vicarage Road, guiding the club to safety last season after Javi Gracia's poor start saw the club slide precariously towards the Championship around Christmas-time. Gracia posted a fourteenth-place finish the previous season, but was unable to build upon it, before Laudrup took over the reigns to guide the club to sixteenth and safe them from relegation, furthering their stay in the Premier League for another season.

Now into their sixth consecutive season in the Premier League, Watford had cemented themselves as a credible side in the top-flight. Despite their recent struggles, the side still boast of real quality in certain areas of the squad with the likes of Abdoulaye Doucouré and Gerard Deulofeu still prevalent figures in the starting eleven on a weekly-basis.

The underlying issue at Watford was clearly a lack of know-how when recruiting players. Last season alone played witness to this. The club needed to change their approach because the current system was clearly failing. Watford were paying top fees for players with little reward for their investment. Essentially, the club was pouring money down the toilet - something which clubs like Watford, who are in a much weaker financial position to many of their counterparts, cannot afford to do.

I opted to stall on my decision whether to open serious talks with Gino Pozzo. Watford's managerial history has been turbulent to say the very least and that was something which troubled me. Should I not present immediate success, there was a risk my job could be on the line. Whilst this didn't seem to be an issue more recently with both Gracia and Laudrup given time before their dismissals, I still had serious doubts.

Plus, with Director of Football Fillipo Giraldi still present at the club and chiefly to blame for such mismanagement on the transfer-front as I mentioned, would I be open to working alongside someone I considered incompetent? Perhaps I was being too harsh on him and perhaps Watford operated similarly to how we did at Köln, with my Director of Football, Armin Veh, merely acting as a chief adviser to myself and the scouting team. It was something to consider.

I pondered my decision for the next few days and in doing so, I received further interest from another club which immediately caught my attention. Whilst the offer made by Watford had me split in two-minds about whether or not it was the right opportunity for me, the most recent offer certainly did not. I was ready to throw myself at the opening presented. Negotiations were smooth and done in very little time at all. With one swift motion with the pen on the dotted line, I accepted the next managerial position of my career just like that.

That's how football works sometimes, after all...


LFC: ;) One more update and you'll find out!

Justice: A good writer has their readers on the edge of their seat, dying to find out... that was the aim, anyway. :P

Jack: Everyone was surprised by Max's decision but when the reasons came to light, I think the majority were understanding of his decision. Unfortunately, when you aren't backed by those who are in charge, it leaves you in a difficult position. It shows very little trust and doesn't show faith. Hopefully Max's next job presents him with just those things and he can deliver success, similarly to how he did in his first two seasons in Germany.
Another cliff-hanger..... your Wiener has me very impatient.
Another one bites the dust then. Unsurprised at Max's decision to turn down Lazio given that he could face similar treatment to the previous four managers. Watford is a good call, good stable club structure, however the director of football aspect is definitely worth looking into before leaping into another role.
It is always better to wait out an important decision like Max's as if you have a slight doubt in mind it is often the wrong move. Thankfully Max has found the right fit, so he thinks. I wonder where it will be...

Leicester complete Kofler appointment

Leicester City have confirmed the appointment of former FC Köln boss Max Kofler as head-coach on a one-and-a-half year deal.

Kofler resigned from his role as head-coach at Köln last month, with the club sitting eleventh in the Bundesliga table following a seventh-place finish last season. The Austrian cited "a conflict of interest" with club president, Alexander Wehrle, as the reason for his sudden departure after two and a half years at the RheinEnergieStadion.

The 40-year-old has been surrounded with speculation since, with Chelsea, Watford and Lazio all strongly linked with the former World Cup winner in recent weeks. Kofler is said to have rejected both Watford and Lazio in favour of the reigns at the King Power, with Chelsea opting to appoint former Barcelona and Spain manager Luis Enrique instead, earlier this month.

Leicester have been without a manager since 20th December. Brendan Rodgers was relived of his duties after over two years of service, following a 1-0 loss to West Ham United, which saw the Foxes slip to fifteenth in the Premier League table. City currently sit just a point clear of the relegation zone.

The loss marked an eighth consecutive game without a win, a record which stretches back to October following a 2-1 win against Burnley at Turf Moor - with Jamie Vardy's double enough to cancel out Chris Wood's early strike. Leicester were also dumped out of the Carabao Cup after a 3-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford during the week, which added further uncertainty to Rodgers' future.

Under the Northern Irishman's stewardship, Leicester recorded eighth and eleventh-place finishes, respectively. The former Liverpool and Celtic boss joined the club at the start of the 2018/19 season, resigning from his role with the Scottish champions after winning the domestic treble in Glasgow in the same season.

Kofler has signed a deal which will keep him at the club until June 2022. The 40-year-old began his managerial career with Köln, guiding the club to the 2. Bundesliga title at the end of the 2018/19 season during his first season in management.

Last season, Köln finished seventh in the Bundesliga - which granted them a place in the UEFA Europa League - as well as appearing in the DFB-Pokal final in a losing effort to German champions, Bayern Munich.

Köln qualified from Group K in Europe earlier this season - which consisted of Sevilla, FC Krasnodar and Jagiellonia Białystok - to set up a clash with Eddie Howe's AFC Bournemouth in the last thirty-two.

With plenty of acclaim in Germany from his work over the previous two years, Kofler joins Leicester with great optimism for the future.

Speaking to the club's website, he said: "I am delighted to have been appointed Leicester City manager and to have been given the opportunity to manage this great football club."

"I cannot wait to meet the players over the coming days and get things going. This club has a bright future, with a fantastic fan-base and a fantastic set of players. I am keen to really push the club to the next level and build upon the foundations set by previous managers, like Brendan [Rodgers]."

Leicester City Managing Director, Susan Whelan, added: "Max was the outstanding candidate from the shortlist we compiled of top-quality managers, who we thought would really propel the club to where we aim to be."

"We have absolutely no doubts that Max will deliver the upmost success to the King Power [Stadium] and excite the fans with his footballing philosophy. He has established himself as a fantastic mentor for young players, which is something we welcome here at Leicester City Football Club, whilst maintaining an excellent record in competitive games."

Kofler is keen to stick with the existing staff currently at the club, with assistant manager Chris Davies the only casualty of Rodgers' sacking at the King Power. Former Barcelona 'B' assistant, Pau Marti, has been appointed as Kofler's assistant, with Tom Cichon - the Austrian's number two at Köln - opting against making the move to England on personal grounds.

Kofler will take charge of his first game on Wednesday 13th January, with his side travelling to Anfield to take on Unai Emery's Liverpool side. The Reds sit third in the Premier League, five points behind league-leaders, and Emery's former side, Arsenal.

Leicester's first home clash under their new management will take place three days later, when the Foxes host AFC Bournemouth. Without a win in eleven, Leicester are in desperate need of points in-order to preserve their position above the bottom three.


Justice: Happy now? ;)

Jack: The situation at Lazio is something that isn't too appealing, admittedly. The challenge is something Max would usually relish, but with current circumstances, it would have been a huge risk to take. Of course, every job offers a level of risk, but the Lazio job presented a bigger one than any other offer that was on the table.

LFC: We'll have to see whether Leicester and Max are to be a match made in heaven!
Good choice in going to Leicester. Should aim for at least top half i reckon. I'm certain Max will turn things around.
Finally have our answer! Interesting move for Max, hopefully it is the right one! Going to be a tough first test going away to Anfield. Thankfully Bournemouth current form isn't the greatest so that could really kick start Max's career at the club.
Listen Susan, you have your work cut out for you now. Give the Wiener what he wants and he'll leave you satisfied.

In all seriousness, you were as cunning as a fox to throw us so many cliff-hangers and then leave us with a club who's stadium is named after the famous Paul King. Coincidence? No. Hotel? Trivago.
FINALLY caught up. What a journey. Won the CL, WC, took charge of Koln, returned them to the Bundesliga and now you're at England. Hope you lead this club to another fairytale like their famous 15/16 Premier League campaign. I'm sure you'll justify their decision to hire you. Onward to greatness! :D

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