Schlagwort-Archiv: No future

The final straw

Today, 1. FC Magdeburg, placed dangerously close to the relegation zone, faced league leaders Chemnitzer FC in the MDCC-Arena in Magdeburg. The game began with two shocks for the hosts. After Wolf almost scored in the opening minute, Chemnitz did better and took the lead after a bit of sleepiness in the home side defense. A few minutes later, right-back Rainer Müller limped off with what looked like an ankle injury.
Magdeburg were in shock, and if Eren Sen hadn’t headed a corner off the line, Chemnitz might have decided the game after just seven minutes. The way it was, Magdeburg were allowed to suffer a bit longer, until former Magdeburg forward Dobrý made it 2-0 after a horrendous pass to the opposition from Magdeburg’s Friebertshäuser. The game was lost then and there, considering both sides‘ quality, but Verkic offered some hope when he scored of a Wijks cross ten minutes before the break. Now came the moment of glory for the referee – who looked generally too lenient, with only two bookings in the entire match, despite plenty of opportunities to caution Chemnitz players for tactical fouls and the like – Verkic headed a long ball on to Wolf who scored the equalizer only to have it turned down for a Verkic foul that never was.

Magdeburg began the second half with new confidence, and put the pressure on Chemnitz. Early on, Wolf scored again, but this time Verkic was adjudged to have interfered with the goalkeeper in the six-yard box. Unjustly, in my humble opinion. As the match continued, Chemnitz were given more and more room by Magdeburg’s desire to equalize – and being the top team they are, they capitalized on the space they were given.
In the end, Magdeburg will feel harshly done by the 1-6 scoreline, the biggest home defeat in the club’s history (unless 0-5 seems worse), and might turn to the referee for a scapegoat, but in reality, a Chemnitz win accurately reflects the reality on the pitch.

The real question to be asked, however, is not if the team are unable to compete in the Regionalliga, or if manager Ruud Kaiser is unable to create a winning team. The question is the same that I have laid out in this blog time and time again: How much longer will the inept leadership of Volker Rehboldt and his cronies be allowed to lead the club down the road to disaster. As a Chemnitz supporter rightly observed in his match preview, Magdeburg have turned from a contender for promotion to the Second Bundesliga to a fourth division side with no hope of promotion at all. And all this within four years.
The problem, of course, is not limited to the board with its chairman Volker Rehboldt, but extends to the supervisory board, with its chairman Dr. Rüdiger Koch. Koch, responsible for sports and culture in the city of Magdeburg, is head of a group of people who are charged with overseeing the performance and actions of the club’s board – and to prevent the board from harming the club.
In the past years, the actions of the board have led to the club missing all season targets, losing the advantage of a 10,000+ spectator average, and to the club having to reduce its budget year after year. All these factors apparently do not constitute acts that would bring the club into danger, as the supervisory board has repeatedly proven by its inaction – and, in the last winter break, a 6-0 vote of confidence for Rehboldt’s board. This year, however, the club face the very real threat of relegation (what with three points between Magdeburg and the first relegation spot), so maybe now the club is in danger?

I’m not claiming everything will get better with a new chairman and a new board. But with a new chairman there is still the possibility that he is not some inept person. Rehboldt has proven that he is incapable of leading the club to a better future time and again. It is time for someone in the supervisory board to grow some balls and stop Rehboldt before it’s too late, before the club slip into division five and oblivion.

Selling out instead of shelling out

I might have mentioned some degree of incompetence and inability to understand what’s what on the side of the youth department at 1. FC Magdeburg before. Last time I talked about this, seven players of the successful Under-19 had left despite being young enough to add another season, this time in the top flight at that age, the Under-19 Bundesliga. I added that I wasn’t holding my breath with regard to the management’s ability to secure the services of Daniel Ujazdowski, last season’s U-19 top scorer, for another year or two.
Today, I was proved right. According to youth department chief Carsten Müller, the club could „only go so far“ with regard to a contract offer. Ujazdowski was offered a „perspective in the Under-23 side“, but apparently the offer was not good enough. Naturally, the exact nature of the offer is unknown, but Ujazdowski’s mentor (and former FCM star) Wolfgang Seguin is quoted as saying that „Daniel can only play football, and the club’s offer was really beneath contempt“. [Source]
Assuming that the player was not unreasonable in his demands, it should have been possible to keep him at the club, but instead another talented youth is let go in the desire to save money. But the longterm goal of the club cannot be to be the only Regionalliga side that makes a steady profit – the goal must be promotion and securing a position in the the top 50 of German football (finishing 14th in the 3rd Liga would do that). This will hardly be possible, if the top youth players leave the club year after year. At some point the management has to learn that it is not enough to provide a perspective with regard to the sporting side of things, but that you have to provide for the financial needs of the players – and for their post-football future, by getting them apprenticeship positions for example.

Until then, everything done in forming young talented players will be in vain, as the majority will continue to leave the club once they finish school at the nearby sport schools.

Future? What future?

In the last post, I casually mentioned that the Under-19 squad of 1. FC Magdeburg won promotion to the A-Jugend-Bundesliga, the top flight for teams of that age group. As usual in the youth teams, there is a more or less high degree of fluctuation, as players naturally age.
It is therefore especially annoying when a player leaves who can still play in the side for another year. In the case of the FCM U19 squad, ten players have left at then end of the season, seven of which could still have played in U19 for another year. Three of those players, including the captain, leave for RB Leipzig, the German „project“ of Austria’s Red Bull company, the modus operandi of which is well-known: Money, money, money, and everything must happen quickly. In the case of these three players, maybe one must be lenient with FCM management, seeing as how they just cannot compete with the amounts of cash RBL has available. But when six players leave without having a new club or to fellow Bundesliga side Carl Zeiss Jena who do not exactly possess mountains of cash, the question as to the cause of this exodus must be raised.
Another player has already told the club he is leaving, but the youth center manager claims there is still a chance for his staying. Don’t hold your breath.
It is not understandable how the management expect to save the squad from relegation, if they let go such a large number of players. On the other hand, this fits in well with the incompetence that you get used to when following 1. FC Magdeburg.

In other news, the senior squad won a first test yesterday, beating Askania Ballenstedt, an eighth-tier side, 15-0.

End of an Era

How I’d have loved to write about the end of Volker Rehboldt’s time as the chairman of the board at 1. FC Magdeburg. But alas, it is the end of Steffen Baumgart’s time with the club instead.
Yesterday, the board had a meeting and apparently determined to send Baumgart on gardening leave, but also told the media they would not confirm this, because they wanted to tell „the affected party personally„. (Emphasis mine)
Well, today, Baumgart confirmed he was sacked when asked by several media outlets. Via the telephone, apparently.

This is just the last straw in a long row of ineptitude and incompetence put on display by the current board. It all began way back in 2007, when the board decided that the 1. FC Magdeburg squad was strong enough to reach tenth place in the following season. This led to the club signing exactly zero new forwards, although one of the team’s top scorers had left for a 2nd Bundesliga side. Of course, Magdeburg finished 11th, outranked on goal deficit by a mere three goals. New manager Paul Linz was then signed to reach the top spot in the 2008-09 season, with a budget that was arguably the largest in the league. Naturally, he failed and the team he had constructed was then taken over by Steffen Baumgart. I suppose a club with a notoriously over-expectant audience is not the best place to start a managing career, but as Baumgart himself pointed out, it was his choice. Well, Baumgart finished the season decently, winning the regional cup and thus qualifying for the DFB-Pokal. The league performance was somewhat poor though.

His contract was extended nevertheless, and several players that his predecessor had signed were let go, claiming they were „Stinkstiefel“ who poisoned the atmosphere at the club. Baumgart was given a number of new players, with some decent signings such as Denis Wolf or Lars Fuchs. However, Denis Wolf has only played about ten minutes of competitive football due to injuries, and several players were outright disappointments.
At the winter break, Magdeburg were ten points behind the coveted top spot, but Baumgart – and the players – were radiating confidence that they still could turn things around. As the other teams‘ results have shown, Magdeburg could have significantly reduced the deficit with a decent start. But it couldn’t have happened any other way – Magdeburg gained one point from five matches in 2010.

Of course, sacking the manager is now the logical consequence, you say? It would be, but if the chairman of the board keeps stating publicly that the team is a bunch of lazy sods who do not deserve to wear the shirt…and that in the 1-4 defeat at Hannover 96’s reserves „a characterless team had failed a decent manager“…
Then one has to wonder why the consequence is sacking the manager and allowing the team to continue.

The club are now looking for a new manager to pick things up from July 1, until then assistant manager and youth center boss Carsten Müller will be responsible. As Magdeburg are forced to reduce their budget by half a million Euros, it appears that nothing ever changes: No professional football in my home town.