Grassroots | Seeking ‘introverted tactical fox’ for management opportunity

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From an initial bid of €50 on Jan 8 to €3,310 ($4,900) two days later, 102 chancers on ebay Deutschland have demonstrated that 24 hours of managerial service to bankrupt fourth-tier Oberliga side KFC Uerdingen is worth paying for. Bidding lasts until Jan 15, four days before the winner assumes tactical oversight during a fund-raising friendly versus Rot Weiß Oberhausen.

KFC Uerdingen has cast its survival as a question of community choice: “Krefeld decides: Save your football,” reads the graphic promoting fund-raising friendlies.

The auction forms but part of the club’s dream to beat insolvency by Jan 31, initiatives grouped under the heading “Krefeld wählt” (Krefeld Decides). The club states it needs to raise a “six-figure sum,” in euros, before this deadline, with most of the emphasis on drawing 10,000 to a Oberliga match against MSV Duisburg on Jan 22. This is ten times its normal gate. The club is asking regular supporters to sell or to buy 10 tickets apiece; the excess will be given away to children’s homes in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Winner of the ebay auction will receive an “official unveiling” and be called upon to deliver pre- and post-game team talks while assisting regular coach Aleksandar Ristic. “Krefeld wählt” organizers spare no hyperbole in urging managers-in-waiting to live out a fantasy, perhaps to occupy, for a Willy Wonka–like interim, the persona of legendary Ernst Happel, guiding Hamburger SV in 1983 to Happel’s second European crown.

“Whether you’re an old school drill sergeant, an introverted tactical fox, an emotional motivator or a completely different kind of coach is entirely up to you,” says the club in its pitch (“German Soccer Club Auctions Chance to Be Coach for a Day,” Deutsche Welle, Jan 9).

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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