After declaring his love for his new club, gertjan verbeek went straight to the training ground. Some applause from the fans, a few words to his new team – then the 51-year-old cautiously followed the practice session at 1. FC nurnberg.
On wednesday, the dutchman, who is known for being a strict representative of his profession, was already allowed to put an end to his reserved attitude. "I’ve been head coach for a while now, and of course I have a few ideas. We want to play attractive football and have our own face," verbeek had previously made clear his own signature in prospect.
A lot of experience – that’s probably what the management of the franconians is hoping for after the unsuccessful experiment with the young coach michael wiesinger, who tried hard but was ultimately too reticent. "Gertjan has worked very successfully in holland as a head coach over the last ten years," recalled "club" sports director martin bader on tuesday at the presentation of the surprise man and equipped him with a contract until mid-2015.
However, in view of the difficult sporting situation, he made it clear to TV station sport1: "he also knows that it won’t be easy to get everything back on track by the winter. It will be a tough ride for the 1. FCN."Verbeek doesn’t have much time until the first test of his mettle. On friday, the coach, who has been rather unknown in germany so far, faces a serious case with the away game at vfb stuttgart.
The nine-time german champion’s search for the right man took a good two weeks. The traditional club is still without a win this season, so everything has to fit with the new man. "The cut is the roughest," said bader, explaining the decision in favor of verbeek, who beat off competition from compatriot rene meulensteen and austrian national coach marcel koller. "We decided in favor of gertjan verbeek and not against someone else," affirmed bader.
Verbeek had most recently worked for dutch first division club AZ alkmaar, but was unexpectedly forced to vacate his coaching chair at the cup winners at the end of september. Successor became dick advocaat. Ten days ago, contact was made with the french, verbeek said, giving a brief insight into the events of the past few days. They got closer and closer – and now it’s clear: "i’ve fallen in love with the club. I’m happy to be working here."
In his home country, verbeek is considered a tough dog, but at his first appearance in nurnberg, the dutchman showed his relaxed side. He answered the reporters’ questions in an upbeat manner and with a good sense of humor – and in surprisingly good german. Verbeek, who grew up near the border in enschede, also provided the explanation. "I watched a lot of german television when i was a little boy."Even the comparison with rod stewart because of its wild hair splendor he took calmly, clarified nevertheless: "I cannot sing."
The first training session with verbeek and new assistant raymond libregts was led by ex-public favorite marek mintal. "He belongs to this club. He knows this club inside and out," said bader, explaining the involvement of the former bundesliga goalkeeper conig. Mintal is also to assist verbeek in the future – and help the "club" on its way out of the bottom of the table.