Stasis ⋆ An Old International

Stasis

Monday, October 5 is deadline day for any transfers during the 2020/21 season. This is due to the corona situation in Europe. It provides a lifeline for clubs to rectify some of the summer’s transfers and bolster their squads.

Magdeburg are in a state of decline ever since they were relegated in spring 2019. In just a year and a half, three coaches have tried their luck; the incumbent Thomas Hoßmang is currently experiencing the difficulty of this job at first hand. Coaching any team in this situation is no enviable task. Add to that the utterly failed start to the season with one point from three matches, one goal scored but five conceded. Looking at the table of division three you will find four clubs with more than hundred European cup games between them and all seem to struggle to get to grips with this season. Lautern at the bottom, above them Magdeburg, then Uerdingen and Duisburg.

Standstill

The term stasis describes a state of standstill and no movement. In later years of antiquity, it wa sused to describe two rival parties in a conflict. Some sources speak of a state of civil war. However, we can speak of a stasis when both sides of the conflicting parties are not making concessions and thus there is no progress. Either side insist on their points of view. The current situation at Magdeburg can be seen as a moment of stasis.

No reaction

The situation at Magdeburg has become worrying since no reaction from those responsible off the pitch has been recorded. There were some heated arguments following the second home defeat in as many matches at home this season between the managing director Mario Kallnik who also acts as sporting director and some sponsors. Of course it is never beneficial if issues that better stay behind closed doors come to the fore and are seen in public, yet sometimes they can just kickstart some necessary reaction from all parties involved. That is the supervisory board but also the economic council of the club. A member of the latter was said to be the cause for Kallnik’s eruption. And it is delicate; after all the sponsors bring in the money that the club need to finance the squad and at the end of the day, they pay Mario Kallnik himself. Their footballing nous may be limited yet their financial clout is important and vital. If they go, Magdeburg will become ‘have beens’ again. For the supporters this is the worst case: going down into the fourth division, always being seen as the favourite who has to make the game. For 25 years, a quarter of a century, supporters of this club have been suffering this perceived ignominy and they do not fancy going there again any time soon.

Action must be taken. Swiftly. It is deadline day, October 5.

Now something must be done.

The whistling and jeering at the final whistle, the outburst of Kallnik in the midst of an argument: signs that the club is entering a crucial phase. The work of the past eight years, most of it thanks to the shrewd decision making and leadership qualities of Kallnik, are at stake. Within months all this could be undone.

Patience is like bread I’d say,
I ran out of it yesterday

Evan Dando of Lemonheads once sang. Some people among the supporters have lost theirs and not only in the past weeks since the season began, but since autumn 2018 at least. They point to the allegedly well filled coffers of the club; monmey which could allow a short term fix. Now these might not always work but it is better trying than going down without a fight. The promotion of Thomas Hoßmang last season proved to be the right decision at the right time. He saved the club from going down. There is no time, in fact it is running out as fast as water flushes down the toilet bowl.

Over the past few weeks, the networks have been full of names of players who might represent a solution to the club’s woes. There are currently five players missing due to injuries, most of them defenders. This is bothersome, yet the bigger issue is up front. There are only two centre forwards, a third is injured and has asked the club to terminate his contract. The player in question, Anthony Roczen claimed to have been unhappy and without a perspective in Magdeburg. This may have been the case. There are rumours he may sign for Mannheim, a direct rival of Magdeburg in this division.

As an answer to the arguments at the end of the match on October 3, the club have decided not to comment on the incident. The board of directors are now confronted with a union of supporters and sponsors which have voiced their dissatisfaction. This has been in the making for months now and has boiled over. If the fans stay away – there were only 4400 at the match from a possible 7500 – so will the sponsors and thus the revenue. It is a tricky situation for the decision makers but not to react at all would be a throwback to the dark days. There is no civil war at FC Magdeburg but unrest from the own camp signals that more than problem are pressing the club.

Thirty years since unification. Back in 1990 it sparked a crisis for Magdeburg, from which they almost never recovered. The corona crisis of 2020 sees them again in danger of turning up at the losing end.

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