Christian Beck: the Player, the legacy ⋆ An Old International

Christian Beck: the Player, the legacy

Football has become superficial, players and coaches migrate between clubs in short periods. The more remarkable it is when a player stays five years or even longer. In the case of Christian Beck whose departure was joylessly announced last week, it has been eight and a half! During this time he has become a legend for Club fans and been the face of the rise of FC Magdeburg.

No one is bigger than the club

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to have said when players did not adhere to rules he installed at Manchester United. However, there are a few people in football who transgress this line. Think Ferguson himself and one of his predecessors, Matt Busby, think Bobby Charlton, Bill Shankly, Brian Clough, Pele, Maradona, Totti. For FC Magdeburg Heinz Krügel must be named and since May 2021, Christian Beck must be added to this exclusive group of football people. During the eight and a half years at the club, he like no other, stood for the rise of the Club from fourth division ignominy to nation wide attention with two promotions in the space of three years. Since his arrival in January 2013 he has always scored goals in double figures, except in 2020/21, where only goal stands at the time of writing. He outstayed six coaches, among them Jens Härtel, the one coach achieving the two promotions and Michael Oenning, previously at Hamburg. He could have gone, he had offers, instead he decided however to stay, assuring his popularity among supporters. As if to prove a point, he continued to score more goals – during the 2019/20 season – eleven and eight assists.

The club board however dished out some terrible treatment in accusing him and his partner upfront, Sören Bertram, of being responsible for the situation the club found themselves in after being relegated in 2019. Then, Magdeburg were in the top half of the table, within reach of the promotion places, so all was good and such verbal attack not necessary. At this time Beck had scored eight goals and had five assists to his name; again a good work rate for a striker who for some was misfiring.

Worse, there were no consequences for the person responsible for those words and the situation worsened with the club just avoiding relegation. Additionally, similar accusations were brought up against him again earlier this year, at a time when things were really not looking good. What was missing here was some intuition, some common sense that such behaviour by club officials would not go down well with supporters and may have consequences for the players and their morale in an already difficult situation. Thankfully, Magdeburg saved themselves, again.

Christian Beck is possibly the player who has most profoundly shaped the identity of FC Magdeburg post-1990 and that says a lot about the player and those who have been here before him since 1990. It is the end of an era at Magdeburg and despite the positive sign-off for this season, it remains debatable whether we are on the brink of a new era or experiencing just an interlude.

Without a doubt, Christian Beck deserves a much better treatment than that which he has been receiving over the past two years. Additionally, he deserves a farewell in front of a capacity crowd with pyros and noise – in short a moment that no one present will ever forget. Alas, corona makes all this impossible which makes this situation even worse.

Further, are nine words enough to announce the departure of a long serving player? The official tweet indicates that communication is not the strong point of the press department at the MDCC-Arena.

It is not the first time and won’t be the last, surely, that communication is inadequate for the situation but is not the subject of this post. From a sporting point of view, the decision is comprehensible; since the Corona break in spring 2020 Beck has not scored as he had before. However, the club have not grasped the historical scope of the decision and the way it has been communicated.

Here’s to look back to the 2015/16 season and the goals Beck scored in what was Magdeburg’s first season in division three.

Good writing does not come by chance, so consider this:

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