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Troubled Schalke turn to Christian Gross as manager

Paris (AFP) – Struggling Schalke unveiled veteran Swiss coach Christian Gross as their new manager on Sunday as the Bundesliga’s bottom side try to end a miserable run of league games without a win.

“I am really happy to be able to welcome Christian Gross as our new head coach,” sporting director Jochen Schneider wrote on the club Twitter account. 

“We are in a tough situation. Our aim is to survive. I am sure that Christian Gross is the right man to help us be successful in that goal.”

The 66-year-old Gross becomes the fourth manager since late September at a club whose run of Bundesliga games without a win has stretched to 29.

David Wagner was fired after the club opened the season with an 8-0 loss to Bayern Munich and a home defeat to Werder Bremen.

Manuel Baum was in turn axed on December 18 after drawing four and losing six in the Bundesliga. 

Huub Stevens took over as caretaker and oversaw another Bundesliga loss and a cup win at fourth-tier Ulm.

Gross spent nine months at Tottenham Hotspur in 1997-8, taking over with the club in the bottom three and leading them to 14th.

He enjoyed his greatest success in a 10-year stint at Basel where he won four Swiss league titles. He also won trophies with Grasshoppers in Switzerland, Al-Ahly in Saudi Arabia and Zamalek in Egypt.

In a previous 10-month spell in Germany, he led Stuttgart to sixth place and Europa League qualification.

This is his first appointment at a European club since 2012.

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  1. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Schalke has had some really good players over the past 5 & 1/2+ decades. Names like Klaus Fischer, Rolf Russmann, Rudiger Abramczik, and Olaf Thon(among others) head the illustrious list. Among those who are still living, what must these star players think about the current situation as created mostly by total mismanagement on the part of the club’s caretakers? Surely they must be shaking their heads in amazement(of the negative kind) and frustration. Even these folks, who at one time did so much for the club, can only look on helplessly, just like everyone else not on the inside. They certainly deserve so much better, as do we all.

  2. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    With Schalke owing so much money I have to wonder about the identity of the creditors, or at least the major ones. Some, if not all, of these people would, I would certainly think, have the power to shut down this club. They really should to some extent flex their financial muscles and get the Schalke braintrust(?!) moving off their collective rear end to seriously start taking the necessary steps to meet the club’s financial obligations. That’s called doing the right thing.

  3. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    So, this new gig with Schalke is the first head coaching job for Christian Gross since 2012. Could it be that somebody out there knows something? This choice of head coaching jobs must be considered as a desperate move by Gross. Lots of coaching candidates probably wouldn’t want to go anywhere near this gig.

  4. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Another current soccer story has a female pundit in England coming under undue criticism and mockery for her comments relating to the promotion of the Leeds United club. That is the exact type of treatment Jochen Schneider and the rest of the management of Schalke should be getting for the total mismanagement of the club. They have earned that treatment in spades, no doubt about it.

  5. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Judging by the above photo it seems safe to say that this Schalke team is lacking something in the way of fashion sense. Those shoes just don’t belong with the rest of that uniform. This is eye pollution and probably deserves a fine(as if this club can afford that!).

  6. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Too bad the current Covid lockdown in Germany doesn’t include Schalke. The German government would be doing the Bundesliga a favor in such a case. Schalke has become an albatross around the Bundesliga’s neck.

  7. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 11:12 am

    So, Schalke has a Twitter account. Really, that account should be a prime target for hackers and anyone else interested in getting this club to face facts and act accordingly. Lord knows, nothing about this sorry situation will improve until and unless somebody, anybody, takes action. Clearly, the status quo doesn’t work.

  8. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 11:05 am

    The above article title starts with “Troubled Schalke”. Boy, is that an understatement. The title would be more accurate starting with “Trainwreck Schalke”. That better calls it like it is, I believe.

  9. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 10:51 am

    The new Schalke coach, Christian Gross, seems to be well named for this job. The debts piled up due to outright mismanagement and other causes outside the club’s control are indeed REALLY gross. That’s just the simple truth.

  10. James Noone

    December 30, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I just had a partial look at a newly released video clip titled Anatomy of an Own Goal. Content aside, Schalke’s new coach, Christian Gross, would do well to show something like this to his team. Some of the players might actually learn something. It couldn’t hurt in any case.

  11. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Ralf Faehrmann, the current Schalke regular goalkeeper, returned to the club this past summer from a loan spell with the Norwegian club SK Brann Bergen. One might well wonder if he had any inkling of all the trouble waiting for him and the other Schalke players. He no doubt would have been better off staying in Norway the way things have been working out up to now.

  12. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    At present Schalke has the dubious distinction of allowing 3 own goals after 13 matches in the current season, which is worst in the Bundesliga. Perhaps the new coach, Christian Gross, can coach this tendency out of these players. We shall see.

  13. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    The 8:0 embarassment in the season opener against Bayern Munich might have set the stage for further difficulties yet to come. It seems that the players have still not recovered from that bad beating. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. How curious it all is(to me, anyway).

  14. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    I wonder how well the Schalke players are able at this stage of this season to respond positively to any coach, be it Christian Gross or anyone else in the position. Club morale must be quite low at this point, what with all the negative results on the pitch combined with Schalke’s financial struggles behind the scenes.

  15. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    I just read where a women’s football/soccer club in Sweden is halting operations at the top level due to, of course, financial considerations. This comes right on the heels of the club’s winning a championship. In practical terms it means that the players on the club are now without a team and are free to sign with any other club, be it foreign or domestic. This should serve as a lesson for Schalke in its current financial plight. All of the club’s operations should, one way or another, be halted and the players should consequently be freed to find other clubs that can afford their services. Fair is fair, after all.

  16. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Other than player contracts I wonder if Schalke owns any other major assets, like, perhaps, the Veltins Arena, that it might sell in order to raise revenues to pay off as much of its massive debts as possible. Here again, beggars can’t be choosers, so the club must do all it can(legally, of course) to erase that big negative number in the club’s books.

  17. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 11:59 am

    So that there is no doubt I believe it behooves me to say by way of clarification that the overwhelming majority of Schalke’s massive debts – around 200 out of a total of around 250 million Euros – is due not to Covid or the like but rather to pure and simple mismanagement. To put it bluntly, these folks did this to themselves. They have to come up with and fully implement a proper and universally fair solution. To do anything less will be unfair to all of the other clubs, period.

  18. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 11:46 am

    I just read where Juergen Klopp at FC Liverpool just poached Herbert(?) Schlumberger off Schalke’s medical staff. It would make a lot of sense if Herr Klopp would do the same with several Schalke players. Schalke needs the money(as I keep saying). Liverpool could likewise use some help on the pitch.

  19. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Not too long ago I saw a story in print in which a football/soccer club in the Slovakian league had an issue where 17 of its players refused to take a pay cut and, with the club struggling financially, all 17 players were released. That story immediately made me think about the Schalke situation, which is not too dissimilar. The fact is that the club simply cannot afford to keep, really, any of the players on its current roster with its monetary debts as large as they are. How this has happened anyway I just don’t understand. Maybe – MAYBE – there is a key element to this whole story that I simply do not know. If that is true it surely would be nice if someone in position to do so would please explain how this situation has been allowed by the powers that be in Germany to continue as is. On its face this whole story just doesn’t make sense, especially in the context of the bigger picture. I seek enlightenment here – please!

  20. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Some people are apparently expecting Schalke to be relegated at the end of the current season. While I agree that would serve as a sort of cleansing that would be good for the club I wouldn’t count on it just yet. There are just too many bad clubs now playing in the Bundesliga to convince me that relegation is assured at this still early date. At the moment there are still 4 matches to play just to get to the halfway mark of this season. This leaves plenty of time for the worst of the competition to show its collective true colors and play down to Schalke’s level. Mainz 05, Arminia Bielefeld, FC Cologne, Werder Bremen and possibly FC Augsburg all look to me like they have a legitimate shot at making the drop at season’s end. It only takes a jump over 3 of these clubs by Schalke to assure the “Royal Blues” of safety for at least another season at the top level. So it is that I’m in “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode and I fully intend to stay there for a good while.

  21. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 2:01 am

    Back in the day new Schalke head coach Christian Gross logged some time as a player with Schalke’s Ruhr area rivals VfL Bochum. Bochum has always been a financially limited club, both then and now, but even with that said VfL is still in better economic shape than sorry Schalke. As an announcer once said about the latter club’s management, Schalke has been led down the primrose path by wellmeaning amateurs. That was true back in the 1980s and it is certainly true today.

  22. James Noone

    December 29, 2020 at 1:51 am

    The Weston McKennie deal between Schalke and Juventus was handled strangely by Schalke considering the club’s supposedly desperate financial state. Sending the player on any kind of a loan arrangement denies the chance for the club to get the full amount of cash involved in a proper sale. This should have been an outright sale. There were other teams interested in Mckennie beside Juventus and some team easily would have been interested in making an outright buy.

  23. James Noone

    December 28, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Schalke’s club management is so bad that it is ready to fight with its own supporters over ticket price refunds for matches at the Veltins Arena that have been played behind closed doors. For these fans to get their money back as they should it’s like pulling teeth. This club, as desperate as it currently is, cannot afford to alienate the one group of people that it will so greatly need for economic sustenance for many years to come. Those are just the cold hard facts.

  24. James Noone

    December 28, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve read where Schalke’s players are so bad that no other clubs want them. That must be something of an overstatement. It’s just a matter of the club and other clubs agreeing on a deal. Schalke needs to take whatever money it can get for these players since it apparently can’t afford to keep them. Beggars can’t be choosers, after all.

  25. James Noone

    December 28, 2020 at 11:24 am

    In a worst case scenario Schalke’s debts would be so great that the club would be unable to pay them all off and would then be forced to declare bankruptcy. Legal proceedings to dissolve the club would likely be the next step. A series of promotions of worthy clubs would then have to happen to fill the successive vacancies that would appear as each division down the line would in turn get its own vacancy filled by a worthy club from the next lower division. At the bottom of the whole structure it should, finally, be possible for someone to resurrect and reform the Schalke club from the very beginning. All of these clubs got such a start at various times in the past. Schalke simply would have to start at Ground Zero and work its way back to its former status as best it can. That would be the only fair way to proceed in such circumstances. It can hardly be otherwise.

  26. James Noone

    December 28, 2020 at 11:03 am

    For people that remember this Schalke had financial problems to the approximate tune of 8 million marks back in the mid-late 1980s. The club was forced following the 1986-87 Bundesliga season to sell star players like Claus Tauber, Jurgen Wegmann, Bernd Dierssen, Gerd Kleppinger, Dietmar Roth and several others. The sold players, of necessity, had to be replaced by other players that were younger and cheaper. This resulted in the team finishing the 1987-88 season at the bottom of the league standings and its subsequent relegation to the second division. Its time away from the Bundesliga lasted 3 seasons before Schalke gained promotion back to the top level. Not too long after that the club managed to win the UEFA Cup. This club needs to face the truth of the situation NOW so it can take the necessary steps to get back on its feet, both financially and sporting wise.

  27. James Noone

    December 27, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    It’s a wonder how there isn’t a massive player revolt at Schalke. What player discontent did manage to surface hasn’t really changed anything, sad to say. The players surely know how bad the situation is with the club behind the scenes as well as between the lines. The winter transfer window opens for business on January 2nd. I wonder just how many of these players will push to get out of Gelsenkirchen in favor of greener pastures. If there were any justice or common sense in the world they all should, truth be told.

  28. James Noone

    December 27, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Jochen Schneider is the biggest B.S. artist that there is. Everything Schalke-related that comes out of his mouth is pure dreck. He would probably be better off just saying nothing at all. With all the changes at the club it must be a wonder that the man still has a job. That is, and will continue to be, bad news for the club going forward. What a pity!

  29. James Noone

    December 27, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    It is remarkable to see comments from Schalke’s club officials who act and speak as though everything is business as usual. Meanwhile, it seems that the government at some level has guaranteed something unspecified relating to the club. What level of government did this? I guess state level. Also, what was guaranteed? Was it the club’s ability to pay it’s debts? Inquiring minds want to know.

  30. James Noone

    December 27, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    How does this club still hang on to its players owing so much money? 200 or 250 million euros isn’t small change. Schalke should have had a massive fire sale even before this season.

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