So far this summer the biggest rumors that have gained the most traction in the world of Rangers Football Club have come to fruition. First, there was the signing of Kenny Miller & then there was Kris Boyd’s return to Ibrox. Now what will happen to the tantalizing speculation that former Bayern Munich Sporting Director & former Rangers midfielder Christian Nerlinger is being courted to become the club’s Director of Football.
It is a move that would be largely progressive for British football, especially for Scottish football. The time has come for teams to embrace the model where a general manager is in charge of managing the football operations – overseeing the finances, youth development, a scouting department, & composing the squad of players. Given how far the game has progressed in the last decade or so – with advanced statistics & the evolution of tactics – it is now more appropriate then ever for a manager to embrace the role of being a coach & let someone else build the team. This does not devalue the role of the manager so much, that it enhances the focus on preparation for match days, along with developing a culture in the dressing room & still being the ‘face of the club.’
Is Christian Nerlinger the right person for the job? That is difficult to say from afar without relying on generalities to make that assessment.
So I decided to reach out to three bloggers who cover Bayern Munich to discuss Nerlinger’s legacy with the club & evaluate his time in charge of the German giants. I have decided to present their analysis as a round table discussion to allow for their voices be at the fore & to allow the readers to interpret what they have to say through their own lens & not mine.
The roundtable includes:
- Michel Munger the editor of FC Bayern Central
- Marco Thielsch who covers Bayern Munich for Mingablog
- Stefen Niemeyer who writes for Über die Linie
Rangers Report: How would you define Christian Nerlinger’s philosophy of running Bayern Munich?
Munger: He had the patience to build and maintain a team along with a reluctance in making short-term changes. This can be good for a club that wants to build or rebuild. But Nerlinger doesn’t have the strong personality and hands-on approach of his successor, Matthias Sammer.
Thielsch: Nerlinger’s philosophy was that he didn’t really have one. As the replacement for Uli Hoeneß, he had way too big footsteps to fill and he didn´t have the charisma to do so. He surely is a good, humble guy. Maybe too good and humble for the job he had to do there. Matthias Sammer took over that position in a rush. So it could be done just not by Nerlinger.
Niemeyer: Nerlinger failed to get Marco Reus while publicly saying if Bayern wants a player we will get him. In 2012, he congratulated Borussia Dortmund for winning the German championship while it was theoretically still possible for Bayern to win it. Giving up early is not Bayern’s style (especially with the experience we had in 2001) though he was right in the end.
RR: What were some of Nerlinger’s most well-received successes?
Munger: Probably the signing of Manuel Neuer for only 18 million euros. Schalke was greedy on that one, yet Bayern signed an extension with an established veteran to signal that they were ready to wait for a free transfer. He also handled transactions well when selling Miroslav Klose, for instance.
Thielsch: Since we don´t really know what Nerlinger exactly has done beyond him giving an interview before each game in which he said nothing I can´t answer that.
Niemeyer: Some people say he had a good relationship with players and they with him. He wasn’t in charge long enough to leave a remarkable legacy (at least I don’t really see it), though signing Claudio Pizarro and Mario Mandzukic were great results.
RR: What were some areas of his management that was often criticized by supporters &/or media?
Munger: He had a reluctance to make decisive moves. He reportedly missed out on a Marco Reus transfer. He also was criticised for a lack of ambition shortly before he was sacked. He made a comment about forgetting the Bundesliga title after a loss in March 2012 – that’s a no-no at Bayern. You have to fight to win each game and each trophy.
Niemeyer: Not Bayern’s style.
RR: Now that a couple of years have passed since his departure – how would you assess his legacy at the club & do you think he would be successful at an economically challenged club like Rangers?
Munger: He wasn’t a good fit for a huge club like Bayern where the pressure is intense and constant. I think he will be a much better fit with the Rangers. He could build and manage a team smartly, if given time to do so.
Thielsch: I don’t want to be unfair. He just wasn’t the right guy for us at that particular time, which wasn’t only his fault. He wasn’t really accepted from day one and also didn’t have the authority given by the club. It was from day one that there wasn an “okay we’ll try this but don’t really know if it works” kind of feeling coming from the club. Combine that with the huge footsteps of Uli Hoeneß & this had to go wrong. So if Nerlinger gets a new job I will be curious to see what he can really do.
You can follow Michel Munger on Twitter @fcbayerncentral & read his work at FC Bayern Central. You can follow Marco Thielsch on Twitter @Mingablog & read his coverage of Bayern at Mingablog. You can follow Stefen Niemeyer on Twitter @FCBlogin & read his work at Über die Linie.
- What do you make of the comments from these Bayern bloggers? Is Nerlinger right for the job? Is the job even right for Rangers?