Ex-Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann is probably the loneliest man in football today.
Yes, you read that right. "Ex".
After much fanfare at the time of his hiring, Bayern Munich have shown him the door without even letting him complete one full season as manager of the club. Some egos are never satiated.
One of the greatest servants of German football, Klinsmann had been unable to replicate with Bayern the type of form shown by the German national team during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. So is it safe to say that he is a victim of his own past success for having set expectations too high at a club which was looking to fall by the wayside in the Bundesliga?
Hardly, I say. This was his first year as manager of any club, let alone the biggest club in German football. It's not easy seeing a team through three or four different competitions during the course of a 10-month season, and Bayern did not even let him have one full year.
This sort of thing highlights exactly what is wrong with football having egotists such as the Bayern management hierarchy. Bayern's officials and board have been savagely critical of every mis-step of the team during the season. Is it because expectations placed on the first-year manager's shoulders were too high?
It has to be noted that Klinsmann inherited most of the players from the club's previous coaching team. If superstars like Luca Toni and Franck Ribery continue to underperform on the big stage against the big teams, can all the blame be laid at the feet of the manager?
Is Miroslav Klose's injury at a critical time in the season the manager's fault? That other teams have improved tremendously, has not even been considered by the Bayern hierarchy before arriving at this hasty decision.
Let's look at Klinsmann's record as manager. He had the club in third place with a goal difference second only to first-place Wolfsburg, and only three points off the pace in the Bundesliga.
He got the worst draw possible in the Champions League quarterfinals, being drawn against Barcelona. Okay, so the 4-0 drubbing at the Camp Nou was an aberration, but Bayern were just coming off a 12-1 demolition of the second most successful team in the Portuguese League.
If Bayern had drawn any other team in the quarterfinals, their chances of making the Champions League semifinals would have been quite good, to say the least. A loss to the best team in Europe means that one of most knowledgeable football managers has to be given the sack?
If football players like Ribery are causing dressing-room unrest by constantly marketing themselves to other clubs, can the manager control it? It's touch-and-go, but a player will always do what he wants to, and these things to tend to affect performance on the pitch.
Remember the first few seasons when Sir Alex Ferguson took over the helm of affairs at Manchester United? A second place finish in the Premier League in 1987-88 was followed by an eleventh place finish in the same league in the very next season. Was Sir Alex unceremoniously fired?
We all know what happened in the years that followed, and which club is now the most successful in the last two decades of English football. Arsene Wenger would definitely be out of a job, and wandering in the wilderness of European football trying to convert some up-and-coming team into a genuine contender.
Why do boardroom officials want to win now and always? Whatever happened to building a team, and allowing the manager time to settle in? Klinsmann wasn't even allowed to evaluate the shortcomings of the team during the summer break.
The top brass at Bayern didn't even deem him worthy enough of at least one chance to redeem his managerial capabilities. Who knows what signings he might have made during the summer, and which players he may have let go? What would he and his players have learned from their mistakes to come back stronger in the next season?
Bayern's board seems to have shown indecent haste and immaturity in letting go of one of the best managers possibly available to them.
First you pursue a man with such fanfare and adulation that he is forced to leave his quiet life in the USA to relocate himself in Germany. Then you drop him like a can of sardines.
Bayern's boardroom officials need to realize that the era of domination of one club doesn't last forever. If they want to build another dynasty in the years ahead, it will have to be done with the utmost patience. Otherwise, no top-class manager would want to come and manage the team, while most of the time trying to manage the whims and whinges of the board as well.
And what of Mr. Klinsmann? Will he retreat to sunny California once again to pass away his years in footballing obscurity or will he be up to the task in seeking another challenge? Is the US national team waiting to welcome his managerial genius? Or should Roman Abramovich be alerted to this little news byte, as maybe there has been divine intervention in making his search for Guus Hiddink's replacement all the more easy?
Only time will tell, but as the saying goes, "what goes around, comes around."
Bayern may have dug themselves further into their ostrich-hole without realizing that times are changing, and so are management styles. If they didn't approve of Klinsmann's techniques, of which they already knew, why hire him in the first place?
Will London be the next stop for Klinsmann? All I know is that someone as talented and dedicated as him deserved at least one full year, in fact a full two years to be able to see whether he can right whatever is wrong with FC Bayern Munich.