JOS LUHUKAY | German football expert on new Owls boss

JOS LUHUKAY | German football expert on new Owls boss

On New Year’s Day I contributed to the “half term report” blog.

It was on a day where we’d just been roasted by Burton and were managerless. A grim day.

By Friday of that week we had our new guy in charge.

Not the much touted Lambert; not the much sought after Fonseca nor the much maligned McLaren; not the return of Megson, nor the late speculation surrounding Sven (phew).

Step forward Jos Luhukay.

Whooooo?!

Well, that was the response from most Wednesday fans.

Twitter was quite honestly an embarrassment to look at.

People calling themselves fans immediately having a go at the club simply because they’d never heard of this manager in their world of FIFA and Football Manager.

Other armchair experts quickly took to Wikipedia to spout “knowledge” that they’d gleaned from reading the guy’s CV.

The official website’s introduction and first interview presented a man touted as a “promotion expert” having won promotion from Bundesliga 2 with three different clubs.

On whirlwind nights like this it is easy to either get carried away with propaganda or get sucked into the bowels of twitter despair and sarcastic GIFs.

Then something twigged.

I remembered that I’d made a contact with a German ground-hopper and football blogger called Cristoph (@fussball_freund on twitter), and after I managed to sort him some tickets for the ill-fated Sheffield derby in October, he offered to repay the favour any way he could.

I dropped him a tweet and his response was fascinating.

I decided to delve a little deeper and see if we could get some information straight from the horse’s mouth, so I asked Cristoph if he’s mind doing a brief Q&A.

He duly obliged and his responses can be found below.

He did ask if I would edit his broken English (which is, by the way, so much better than I could manage in German), so I hope my translations do his answers justice, though I have tried to keep the responses as close to the originals as possible.

 

Luhukay has promised “discipline, effort, commitment and creativity” in trying to revive our fortunes. Does this match with what you’ve seen of teams that he has managed?

 

Yes, those characteristics match with the teams he managed. Especially at Augsburg and much more Hertha BSC. Discipline and effort are important for him.

Typical for a Dutch Manager. He was also strict towards young players. But when they followed him, he developed important first team players from average young players and improved their personality and class.

This was most noticeable at Hertha Berlin. What he needs is support from the Club bosses and a little bit of time. He had both in Augsburg and Berlin. And Berlin is really unique concerning Club bosses and media.

 

Jos has a couple of impressive periods on his CV, at F.C. Augsburg and then with Hertha Berlin. What can you tell us about how these teams played?

 

His philosophy is to play an attractive football.

The team pass in the front and not crossfield.

They aim to disturb early. Both teams (Hertha and Augsberg) played that football in the second league. Sometimes they needed patience, because the opposing teams played often defensively against them.

Luhukay broke the 2. Bundesliga points record with Hertha BSC

During the Cup Winning season you could see very good games against higher ranked opposition.

 

What are his transfer dealings like? Does he go for big names, experience or young prospects?

 

He formed and integrated young players. Added with some experienced players. Definitely not big names. Augsburg and Hertha were not rich clubs and couldn’t spend a lot of money for players at that time. Hertha less than Augsburg.

 

At SWFC, Luhukay will be coming in to an expensively assembled and under achieving squad. How do you think he will approach the situation?

 

Oh, that`s an interesting question.

Sometimes, when the players were really bad, he criticised them in public (in Berlin).

But after that he supported them in groups and made team building a priority to give them trust. In Augsburg he fired the player Michael Turck. He was very undisciplined.

 

You mentioned that in his last role (Stuttgart), there were lots of problems. Could you explain further the problems?

 

Hopefully this will be a more stable relationship

The time in Stuttgart was unique.

The whole club, including fans, were estranged.

There was a fight between the sporting director and him as manager. The sporting director signed up with players who Luhukay didn’t want.

Luhukay wanted to have players to get the best results in the short term. But the Club wanted a long term orientation.

Luhukay has his own mind and is strong willed, so he was gone after a few weeks. He doesn’t like it when other people interfere in his work.

 

Although Jos is Dutch, he has spent his whole career managing in Germany and is therefore well accustomed to German football. German managers are becoming more and more desirable in English football. From a German perspective, why do you think this is?

 

Yes, he is Dutch not a German.

But he is one of the few Dutch managers who was successful in Germany.

German Football is more and more a show than football.

And many players complain in the media when they have to be disciplined or when more effort is demanded. The new generation of German manager has a modern idea of football.

Fast and attractive. Good for sale on TV. They have different style of leadership than old one.

More cooperative, positive mentality. But there is a big difference in the character between Wagner and Klopp on the one side and Luhukay on the other side. I wrote he has really his own mind. That will be the most exciting question.

 

Jos’ first game in charge will be the Steel City derby, a game that you attended at Hillsborough in October. How did you find the experience? And how do you think Luhukay will deal with such immediate pressure?

 

It couldn’t be worse for the Owls than in September, or could it? The Owls’ football was without passion and courage. I think he can motivate the team in the short term, if the players follow him…

 

 

Some really important and interesting points came out of that little dialogue for me.

Firstly, the fact that Luhukay appears to be strong-willed and has clashed with sporting directors when they have interfered with the management of the football team is interesting, given the recent appointment of Katrein Meire.

Has Meire learnt her lesson from her time at Charlton, will she leave Jos to run the footballing side of the business, or will this double appointment be a marriage made in hell?

Good luck, Jos

Only time will tell, and if it’s the latter, then it might not take long to find out.

Secondly, Luhukay’s approach to squad building may have been one of the pre-requisites for Chansiri during his search.

Having already pushed FFP to its limits, finding loopholes (sponsorship) and avoidance strategies (transfer fees spread over four seasons) to build this expensive, failing squad, Chansiri would surely have been looking for a manager who has had success working on a budget, getting the best out of youth products whilst having the strength to discipline under-performing experienced players.

Finally, it looks like a return to playing the kind of high pressing, counter attacking football that we saw under the first season of Carvalhal’s tenure.

We know we have the players to do this as they have shown that they can do it before.

With a few astute additions, the injection of some self-belief, and much hard graft on the training ground then Luhukay may just be able to get this failing squad firing again.

During my piece in the January mini blog I wrote: “I just hope that the appointment is a manager who is strong willed, passionate, a little bit mean, well respected and ultimately his own man. I hope he’ll focus on playing to our strengths and not worrying about the opposition too much.”

Well if what Cristoph says is accurate, then I may just have got my man!

I don’t care for big names or club legends.

I just want a manager who can get the best out of what we’ve got, inject some passion and get us believing again.

In Jos Luhukay, I hope we’ve found that man.

So let’s drop the fact that you’ve never heard of him and get behind him. Support him and support the club. Most importantly, let’s support the players that Jos has at his disposal… let’s get them believing in themselves again. They need us now more than ever.

Good luck Jos!

With special thanks to @fussball_freund whose blog can be found here – albeit in German.


Joe
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @GrenoOwl

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


6 Comments

  1. Cheers mate.

  2. Nice to read a balanced view amid chaos of the last week. Did more to raise hope and confidence going in to derby week than anything else WAWAW

  3. Thanks. A really helpful perspective. Now let’s all get behind this guy and show him the value of the fans backing!
    #wawaw

  4. He sounds like the guy we need for the next step in our journey back I’m especially pleased we’ve not gone for another failed championship manager..

    Finger’s crossed this is real progress for our great club..

  5. Insightful article.
    However where is the Europe in 5 years pledge!

  6. Outstanding article. Excellent insights well above the usual opinion based media trough. This looks like a shrewd and intelligent decision by Mr Chansiri.

Leave a Reply to John Alexander Askew Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *