After the highs of winning the World Cup with Brazil came the trophy-less wilderness that was Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga…although I did have one trophy-less season with Hertha before my World Cup glory. Did I mention I’ve won the World Cup? I feel like Franck Lebouf…
We managed to avoid relegation and I include the relegation playoff in that, thanks to a 1-0 over Bochum at home. Not exactly a great game for the neutral and we should have done a lot better but we got the job done. We don’t have a lot of money to play with and the squad is in need of a massive overhaul because…well…it’s complete and utter rubbish. Sadly, I can’t attract the types of players I’d need to achieve what I want so it’s the young regen market with potential for me.
After some wheeling and dealing I felt quite positive about the season ahead. A 4-1 demolition of Bayern Munich at home was the main reason behind my optimism but that didn’t last too long to be honest. Success wasn’t on the card this season as we struggled yet again and only just managed to avoid relegation. This time it was thanks to a 2-1 win over Schalke on the final day of the season. Up until this point I was actually enjoying the save but my enthusiasm has started to drain somewhat due to my inability to lift this club up to where I believe it should be. We have improved our data analysis facilities, our training facilities and everything to do with our youth setup too. So we ARE making progress, just not on the pitch YET.
In my final season as Hertha Berlin manager we started to show what we were capable of. We had also agreed a deal to buy the stadium but I didn’t realise the huge loan that it would cost the club to acquire it. So I had inadvertently given myself an even tougher job by restricting our finances further. However, I had already decided that I was going to leave the club at the end of the season regardless of what happened. I wanted to start challenging for trophies at club level again and when my board decided to sell my best striker in Ciaran Graham, I knew I had made the right decision. I don’t tolerate the board undermining my authority at the club and selling my best players without my permission. If you look at Ciaran and his attributes you can understand why I wanted to keep him.
Juventus came calling, Spain came calling…and the unexpected happened.