Felix Magath is the latest figure to throw his hat into the ring by purchasing a one per cent stake in Rangers football club with the aim of becoming the Ibrox side’s technical director of football once the current power struggle in the boardroom finally settles down. As a player, the German was a very formidable opponent in midfield – especially during his time as a regular in the West Germany side of the 1980s. At club level, he also wrote himself into folklore when scoring the winning goal for Hamburg that won the Bundesliga side the European Cup against Juventus in 1983.
There is a sketch from the 1990s comedy show “The Day Today” which has a news story about a wacky scientist in America, played by Steve Coogan, who has brought a corpse back to life and expresses a wish to be in a tower controlling many other corpses. When asked ‘why don’t you just let nature take its course and let these bodies die out’ he replies, “because I wouldn’t have my tower…. I want my tower.”
If Magath dons a Rangers tie and a crested blazer, like the control freak that Coogan portrayed, he’s going to want his tower.
The biggest job in football that Magath has arguably had in his coaching career was when he was appointed as head coach of Bayern Munich back in the summer of 2004. Not knowing who Bayern midfielder, Bastian Schweinsteiger was upon first sight was not the best of starts (especially as Schweinsteiger was the only German player who had emerged from a poor European Championships with any credit just a couple of weeks earlier) and his standing with the rest of the squad would get progressively worse during the two and a half years he was there.
While there is much to criticise about Uli Hoeness’ ability to correctly count the beans these days, as Bayern’s general manager, he was ideally placed to assess Magath’s methods. If the Rangers players of old thought Jock Wallace making them run up and down Gullane Sands in pre-season during the 1970s was bad, the current crop at Ibrox might as well be forging the sick notes should Magath be let loose upon them.
As Hoeness said of Magath early last year: “He goes well beyond the limits of physical challenges with players. He is pushing players to a ridiculous stage. Well over the edge.
“For him it is natural to squeeze the body of a professional player like a lemon to the final drop. It goes well beyond the stage where it gets unhealthy for the body of a player.
“This can lead to a short revival but in the long term it leads to disaster. Felix Magath has proved that at every club he has been.
“I would never want to treat human beings like he does. I would never want to hurt a player as much as he does.”
Not to mention that Felix, as implied earlier in this piece, very much likes to adopt a ‘hands on’ approach to all aspects of how the club functions – not just the playing side as Hoeness went on to claim: ”Felix wants total power. He is also a very suspicious guy. He sees ghosts and is convinced everyone is always talking about him.
“This is why, at every club, he wants to become manager, director, coach, and even print the match day programmes. He should ask himself why all the players at the clubs where he worked throw a massive party when he has left. Even when he was successful, they still had a blast once he was out the door.”
In a separate interview, Hoeness even highlighted Magath’s lack of ability in spotting a player. When returning from Argentina to scout a young Sergio Aguero in 2006 at Hoeness’ request, Felix said: “Never waste my free time again” adding that Aguero was “lazy”. Aguero eight years later would score a hat-trick for Manchester City in a Champions League match against…. Bayern Munich. A scout’s eye which does little to suggest that the quality of signing made at Rangers is set for a rapid improvement under him.
And then there is the small matter of Magath’s time at English side Fulham and the curious incident of the cheese which is best explained in the below clip:
Then again, maybe the current board at Ibrox will welcome the arrival of Magath if pilfering cash via petty fines is his thing. There’s a lot of high-earners in that dressing room who will no doubt given the likes of Mike Ashley and the Easdale brothers the added bonus of wanting to leave after encountering the control freak that is Magath and thus removing themselves from the wage bill. It’s a ludicrous idea of course.
But nothing at all would surprise you if the circus under Ringmeister Magath pitched up at Ibrox.