“To go down is to free fall, you have to gather yourself first,” says club president Helmut Schwarzl. In the summer, SKN St. Polten had to go down to the second Admiral League. The low point of the turbulent years in which “wolves” regularly made negative news headlines.
“We never got to the Bundesliga, it was a constant battle. We thought: can we continue like this or are we at a dead end? It soon became clear to us that we had to make massive changes,” sums up Schwarzl.
In the summer, a new philosophy of the game was brought to the state capital with coach duo Stefan Helm and Emmanuel Bogatz. At the end of the fall season, it was announced the separation from long-term general manager Andreas Blumauer. At the beginning of the year, Jan Schlaudrav (sport) and Matthias Gbauer (company) took over their management positions. Total renovation completed.
Now things should look better in St. Polten. Not only an athlete, but in general. Schwarzl’s wish list is extensive: “We want a suitable team for the Bundesliga. We want to see attractive football. We want to offer a platform for young talents that gives us the opportunity to generate transfer revenue. We want to boost our team’s economy. We want to be interesting to us again.” Be a sponsor. “
These are only “short-term measures”. Because half a year after landing, SKN is already dreaming of a lot. “We want to become a real player in the Bundesliga for the long term,” says Neo Gebauer’s managing director.
The 30-year-old Tyrolean has completed a law degree and has been the CEO of several companies and most recently the U15 coach at SKN. Schwarzel reports: “We’ve seen someone standing up to us as a young, dynamic, well-educated manager. He’s the kind, energetic, and has a good entrepreneurial spirit.” Communication and empathy are Gebauer’s strengths.
This will initially focus on three pillars:
internal operations – “We want to create structures as I imagine, it often happens that certain operational blindness creeps in,” he says. Collaboration with other departments should be “full of life”. Because: “The women’s team is a giant in Europe. Our basketball players are also on top. Our disabled team is doing an excellent job.”
Strategic Partners and Supporters – “There’s some kind of dissatisfaction, there have been a few failures in the past few months and years. It’s important for me to rebuild trust. We have to improve communication,” Jaipur admitted. The “unbelievable potential of St. Polten” must be exploited.
masses – “This is very important to me, without our fans, football is no longer relevant. We want to be closer to St. Pölten and Lower Austria. We have not been in the city in recent years, so we lost proximity,” says Gebauer.
Tyrolean shares his office with a German. Jan Schlaudrav is the new GF Sport for the Lower Austrians. The 38-year-old, who played at Bayern Munich and Gladbach, was most recently the sporting director of Hannover 96.
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Schwarzl justified the decision for him as follows: “With all the negative, the success of the cooperation with Wolfsburg in FL was an important historical event for the club. The cooperation must be full of life. One person in the sport, someone with a direct relationship represents the line to Wolfsburg an advantage. Great. It was important for us to have an expert who can look at his own experience. He is an upright personality and fits well in our team.”
But the German immediately tried to free himself from Wolfsburg VFL: “It is important to emphasize that we make our decisions independently of Wolfsburg. However, we want to try to fill the cooperation with more life than we have done in recent months.”
And he credibly confirms that there are no plans to bring in more players on loan from Wolfsburg in the winter.
transportation time – The team must be strengthened. We are looking for a man for the midfield headquarters, a striker who can also play on the wing, and a left man in the center of defence. “But we are not going to do wild things, they should be sporty and economic,” he asserts.
consistent philosophy – What follows now looks a lot like RB Salzburg. “We want to introduce a certain philosophy into the club. We want to play actively, push hard and maintain high intensity. We want to demonstrate that across the club. We want to inculcate that concept independently of the people at the club. We want to set certain guidelines that everyone adheres to. ‘ says Schlaudrav.
Cooperation with the Academy The theme is repeatedly boiled down to St. Polten. “The truth is that the academy is not ours and we are not currently in a position to afford it,” explains the German. However, work is underway to reach out to the talent factory run by the regional association.
The new sports chief says SKN St. Pölten is a “training club”. There are plenty of examples to show that coaching clubs can also succeed in the Bundesliga – or even become the champions of the series.
No one on the new management team wants to comment on when the “wolves” will rise again. “We don’t want to set a deadline for promotion,” says Gebauer. “We want to prepare the club for Day X. We want to be a real player in the Bundesliga for the long-term.”
It’s a long way to get there. Schlaudrav and Gebauer treat it with great motivation. Gebauer declared, “We will prove in the next few months that it was a good decision to participate. We will prove that there has been a transformation, a breath of fresh air.”
Text: © LAOLA1.at
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