New manager: Jurgen Kopp appointed to Liverpool FC – October 8, 2015
THE great football managers are often charismatic, but seldom in the sense of faith and they’re known more for being feisty than friendly.
Some of the most effective ‘old school’ managers are notoriously aggressive and foul-mouthed at times – and they get results. Although I think this way of leading is fading, and so it should.
Jurgen Kopp, appointed today as manager of Liverpool FC, is clearly an outstanding manager – and he is also a Christian believer who is not shy about speaking directly about his faith, and about Jesus.
I dare to say, that is a bit of a gamechanger in the world of top-level football.
Nobody knows a lot about Jurgen. I’m sure he’s better known in his native Germany, where he played for Mainz for a dozen years as a striker, then as a defender, before moving to coaching at a high level.
Now he moves to Liverpool, a city known for a particular facet of faith: the Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals are striking buildings in striking proximity, and the relationships of trust between them, built up over many decades, have been groundbreaking examples.
Christians have a way of being ‘nice’ – too nice, sometimes. It can come across as not quite real. Being nice and being a football manager just don’t go in the same sentence. Is is possible for smiley Jurgen to be the objective, decisive, focused decision maker and coach that his position surely demands?
The quick answer is: “He’s done it before”.
The rest of us know that love has to be tough sometimes, and that ignoring issues out of an unwillingness to confront might be nice but is seldom kind.
I’d like a ticket to stand at the back of the locker room, even more than a ticket to a game, to learn how he does it.