Following the sporting glory of the FIFA World Coach of the Year and the IFFHS award, the accolades for Joachim Löw have gone beyond the world of sport with the presentation to him of the Deutscher Medienpreis, awarded to those who contribute to the social and political fabric of society. Previous winners have included Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Kofi Annan, members of European royalty, as well as icons such as Sir Richard Branson and Bono.
This award, as its name states, is selected by the chief editors of German publications and so gives me personally a great deal of pleasure.
Before Germany’s World Cup victory, one of the bones of contention I had with the German media was the complete lack of regard for what Joachim Löw had achieved in making their team universally admired both professionally and personally. The term ‘role model’ is perhaps over-used in terms of the footballing world, but it was with a great deal of anger that I saw writers such as Uli Hesse and his chronies believe their superior all-round football knowledge and Jogi’s lack of a trophy gave them the right to pour disdain on us mere mortal’s admiration for him. Any ’embarrassment’ of such rare moments as the 4-4 draw with Sweden paled into insignificance beside the cringeworthy behaviour of a country blind to his exemplary conduct as a person, as each media outlet climbed over the next to condemn him, and rubbished those of us who saw him in high regard (if our comments were allowed to be published at all, that is!).
Though the World Cup has given him the ultimate glory, there has never been a moment that Germany should not have been proud to have him represent their nation. Win, lose or draw. The simple truth is that Joachim Löw has ALWAYS been a fantastic ambassador for his country.
Germany, you have finally woken up and realised what I have spent the last four years trying to tell you.
Deutscher Medienpreis, 23 January 2015 – my Special Event page