Despite having no European internationals, December is always a busy month with a string of end-of-year interviews and articles, and it didn’t take long to guess what the main topic of those interviews this year would be for Joachim Löw, as I review December 2012.
The first article of the month was to some extent a repeat of 2011, Marca again leading with a Jogi front-page touting him as the next manager of Real Madrid, following a particular controversial decision by Jose Mourinho to drop Iker Casillas and the consequent defeat by Malaga. Madrid fans have voted him as the man they would most like to see in charge, said the influential Spanish paper, and many tweets from ‘Madristas’ continued in this vein, singing Jogi’s praises.
As I write Joachim Löw is currently 7/4 favourite with one leading UK bookmaker to be the next permanent manager of Real Madrid, amazingly short odds for an event which, if it happens, is most likely to be eighteen months off.
A visit to Fenerbahce for the final Europa Cup Group match against Borussia Mönchengladbach also resulted in fans of the Turkish side showing a desire to see him return to the club who sacked him in 1999.
The month continued with Jogi showing his charitable nature, visiting a Berlin school, and taking part in Ein Herz für Kinder, manning the telephones – reminding us all of the 1 Million Euros his famous blue jumper sold for in 2010!
And so to Jogi’s admirably frank ‘end of year’ interviews which continued to circulate throughout the second-half of the month. Naturally many reports were to concentrate on his comment that knowing what he knew now, he would have chosen a different formation for the Italy game. Perhaps we should use this opportunity to ask ourselves how many of us would have done things differently in our lives with hindsight? Probably most of us! Or at least those of us honest enough to admit it! It is very easy to be wise after the event, and even easier to use hindsight to criticise others, but ultimately none of this means that any decisions were ‘wrong’ when originally made, with the facts available at the time of making them.
However, as usual, several media reports took Jogi’s comments to the next level – Löw accepts blame for Germany’s struggles, they declared.
Perhaps, as 2012 draws to a close, I can remind everyone of those ‘struggles’ – setting a new world record for the most number of consecutive competitive wins in world football history, taking the youngest team there to the semi-finals of a major tournament, and ending the year maintaining a No 2 ranking in the world to what is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest international sides of all time.
Such ‘struggles’, I am sure, 99.9% of coaches would be lauded for.
Sadly this seems not to be enough for some German football supporters, who seem to feel they have a divine right to win a trophy, and should it not happen due to the opposition on the day being better, or more experienced, believe this gives them the justification for the banal comments and, worse still, considerable personal abuse I have witnessed throughout the latter half of 2012. Some it would seem are not even satisfied with apologies or admissions of errors. Nothing less than a full-on Henry II-esque sackcloth and ashes walk of penance might quench their desire for retribution for the apparent disgrace of a defeat in a football match.
I shall return to Spain for a breath of common sense, FIFA Coach of the Year Vicente del Bosque feeling the need to tell the German population that they should be proud of Löw,
Maybe it is now time for the German media, fans and everyone within their football world to take notice of the Marquis, accept his pearls of wisdom from life at the sharp end, and appreciate what they have in Joachim Löw – a man who is universally admired throughout the world, apart from it would appear factions within his own country.
So I’ll say to all supporters of German football (and, yes, I am aware you are not necessarily German nationals!):
The time has now come to fully show your support for the months ahead and get behind everyone involved in the national set-up. Your talented players, football management, development and organisation, and, yes, your coach, – perhaps, I could even add, particularly your coach – are the envy of the world.
As and when you finally come to realise it, that is surely something worth celebrating.
Happy New Year Everyone! See you in 2013 !!