Rio Ferdinand expressed his surprise most clearly. The dismissal of Thomas Tuchel I "completely" shocked him, the former English centre-back said recently on the BT Sport TV channel: "I feel for Thomas Tuchel. I think what he has achieved in a short time deserves some dignity."
Ferdinand, 43, may have only retired seven years ago, but given the speed at which football is evolving, it's safe to say he's from a different generation. Having played 432 games under coach Sir Alex Ferguson, he has laid down one of the most impressive examples of consistency and recognition in the industry in his career - virtues that are difficult to associate with modern football.
Of the Chelsea FC fired the reigning world coach this week: a 49-year-old coach who is certainly controversial in content, but equipped with a clear playful concept, celebrated by the people at Stamford Bridge as "Tommy Tuchel" since he won the Champions League in 2021. And who did not flee when it was unclear a few months ago whether Chelsea would continue in its current form.
According to an official statement, Tuchel was fired because he failed to convince the new management under the American Todd Boehly 100 days after he took office. One can call this communication quite undignified. The British tabloids have been debating for days whether there are other reasons for the lack of understanding between the owner and the coach. One way or another, insights can be drawn from the dismissal at a crucial point.
The Champions League trophy? Nice, but just a bonus
One of them is that big football clubs have long been run like corporations. No wonder, because where money rules, the technocrats come into play and oust those who were once responsible: the managers who, following the example of Uli Hoeneß, were integrated into the club from the start of their career. A coaching dismissal was a difficult human decision even for Hoeneß, meanwhile it is a necessary restructuring. Just as, by the way, a Champions League win is so great mainly because it adds value to the club; comparable to the value of all shares that a public company brings to the market. The trophy is a bonus.
So far, one could at least assume that only those clubs with relevant political backgrounds are willing to say goodbye to the venerable principles of the Ferguson/Ferdinand generation: Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Newcastle United work on behalf of the regime Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia; Accordingly, decisions are made ruthlessly. Locations such as Chelsea and Leipzig - where Oliver Mintzlaff, a trained business economist, makes the decisions in the sports department - are now proving with their layoffs that every day counts when striving for success; the product must not lose value.
Of course, there are counterexamples, even outside of the Bundesliga gems like Freiburg. Was at Liverpool FC Jürgen Klopp asked this week if he was worried about his job. He would have every reason to be if Todd Boehly were his boss: the past 100 days under Klopp were marked by mixed transfers, a weak start in the Premier League and a heavy defeat in the Champions League. Klopp, however, is not worried: "The difference is the owners," he said. Tom Werner and the Fenway Group would keep calm: "They expect me to take care of themselves and not think that someone else will do it."