SC Freiburg head coach Christian Streich’s answer to a question in a pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s Bundesliga game against Bayern on April 8, 2023.
Question by Martin Quast from Sport1
“Mr. Streich, I would like to ask you one or two questions about the coaching situation in general. FC Bayern has fired its coach because the season’s goals are in jeopardy.
“Marco Rose in Leipzig, eight matchdays before the end of the season, is talking about how he feels that the end of the world is happening at his club.
“Sandro Schwarz [Hertha coach] has been getting his nose kicked in for weeks now. VfB Stuttgart now has moved on to their fourth coach.
“The half-life of coaches is currently only about one year. Only you and a handful of others have been around longer.
“Of course, you are a special exception because you have nothing to do with all this “hire and fire”.
“How do you see this development? Can you understand Marco Rose when he says: ‘It’s the end of the world here’? Even though they are in the cup semi-finals and are closely behind SC Freiburg in 5th place.
“How do you see this situation of coaches in the Bundesliga at the moment?”
Christian Streich’s answer:
“The pressure [on coaches] is immense. But the pressure in society is immense. And because we are always on TV and because many people still love football even though there are things in football that are catastrophic. Disastrous. But that goes hand in hand with society as a whole.
“The pressure is enormous. Ask, if I may say so, the people who are responsible for cleanliness in hotels and clean the rooms. Ask them how much time they have to clean how many rooms.
“Everything is individualised. There are hardly any chains of connections in many areas of life. By chain of connections I mean…in the past, hotels were often family-run. People you knew worked there. From the village, from the city. You knew them. There were connections. Over decades, through families. It’s all different now. We live in a world of big corporations.
“We have major issues. We always talk about the middle class. Small and medium-sized companies are having an incredibly hard time. Yet it is that middle class that has brought us this incredible prosperity and wealth. And not the big corporations. They are the ones who ruin it. They destroy prosperity. They have become independent. And in football you can see that directly, so to speak.
“The way things have developed, it’s extremely difficult. We have an incredible number of people with mental health problems. These people have mental health problems because they are totally overburdened. Because they no longer get any warmth. Because there are no more reference points. No connections. This is a problem for society as a whole. That’s concerning from my point of view. It’s scary too.
“I don’t want to speak for all coaches…I’m not directly affected by this issue, so I can’t say anything anyway. You have to ask the coaches who do a good job and still get fired after eight months or after ten or after twelve or after four.
“But football has always been an expression of society as a whole. The sporting directors are also under enormous pressure. It’s madness. Because the connections are missing. The club loses two, three games, and then people lose their minds and spread things on social media, it’s terrible. That wouldn’t have happened in the past. Not to this extent at least.
“Not that people were any better before. Not one bit. We weren’t better, not at all. And there were much worse times than now, 80 years ago and earlier. But the reference points are missing. If you know someone personally, you think about it before insulting them. Saying something directly to someone’s face, that’s becoming less and less.
“That’s one reason why with us — I mean we’re also a company if we are honest. That doesn’t sound all that nice because we are a football club. But we are also a company — that’s one reason why with us it’s not like that because we have continuity because we have connections. But I’ve already said it. The crucial point in our club will be how we deal with this growth. Whether we are able to meet and mentally deal with each other.
“In the areas where that is not the case, things are going downhill. Sure, there are huge corporations these days. The small companies pay all their taxes and that’s of course right because they have to support society. But the mega-corporations hardly pay any taxes and when they are supposed to pay taxes, they change countries and blackmail the countries.
“This is the situation. This is neo-capitalism. We live in neo-capitalism. And neo-capitalism destroys. That is my personal opinion. Of course, I am only a football coach. But since you asked me, I am giving you an answer.”