Christian Jürgen Gross (born 14 August 1954) is a Swiss football manager and former player, who is currently in charge of Saudi Professional League club Al-Ahli. He played as a sweeper and central midfielder.[2]

Christian Gross
Christian-gross.jpg
Gross in 2009
Personal information
Full name Christian Jürgen Gross[1]
Date of birth (1954-08-14) 14 August 1954 (age 65)[1]
Place of birth Zürich, Switzerland[1]
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Playing position
Club information
Current team
Al-Ahli (manager)
Youth career
0000–1965 SV Höngg
1965–1972 Grasshopper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1976 Grasshopper
1976–1978 Lausanne-Sport
1978–1980 Neuchâtel Xamax 50 (3)
1980–1981 VfL Bochum 29 (4)
1981–1985 St. Gallen 109 (11)
1985–1987 Lugano
1987–1988 Yverdon-Sport
National team
1978 Switzerland 1 (0)
Teams managed
1988–1993 Wil
1993–1997 Grasshopper
1997–1998 Tottenham Hotspur
1999–2009 Basel
2009–2010 VfB Stuttgart
2011–2012 Young Boys
2014–2016 Al-Ahli
2016–2017 Al-Ahli
2018–2019 Zamalek SC
2019– Al-Ahli
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Gross was manager of Basel from 1 July 1999 to 27 May 2009,[3] winning four Swiss Super Leagues and four Swiss Cups.

As manager of Tottenham Hotspur between November 1997 and September 1998, Gross became the first Swiss to manage in the Premier League.[4]

Playing careerEdit

Gross began his playing career at SV Höngg before moving to Grasshopper in 1965,[5] which he left in 1976. After two years at Lausanne-Sport and two seasons at Neuchâtel Xamax, he moved to Germany in 1980 to play for VfL Bochum of the Bundesliga. In two seasons Gross made 29 appearances in the Bundesliga and scored four goals. He then returned to Switzerland and spent three years at St. Gallen, Lugano and Yverdon-Sport. Gross was capped once for Switzerland, making his debut on 8 March 1978 in a 3–1 friendly away defeat to East Germany.[6]

Managerial careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Gross began his managerial career at Swiss side Wil in the 2. Liga (then the fourth-highest level), for whom he was active as player-manager. During his reign from 1988 to 1993,[7] Wil climbed into the 1. Liga and then the Nationalliga B (now the Challenge League). While at Wil, Gross developed a reputation for an emphasis on fitness and hard work.[8] He then joined Grasshopper as head coach in 1993.[9] Under Gross, Grasshopper won two Swiss championships and the Swiss Cup. Gross's success with Grasshopper meant he was a very highly rated coach in his native Switzerland, but he was still little-known outside central Europe and it was a major shock when in November 1999 he was chosen to succeed Gerry Francis as manager of Tottenham Hotspur.[10]

Tottenham HotspurEdit

Gross was hired on 19 November 1997,[11] and endured a tough time; lasting nine months with Tottenham starting in the relegation zone.[12] To further his troubles, his most trusted aide, the Swiss fitness coach Fritz Schmid, who had been an integral part of Gross' training plans at Grasshopper, was denied a work permit by the British government and so was unable to take up this role at Tottenham.[13][14]

Gross' initial fortunes were mixed; his debut was a 1–0 loss to Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane, followed by a 2–0 win over Everton at Goodison Park, with a heavy 6–1 home defeat at the hands of Chelsea. However, despite some signs of improvement, he was relentlessly ridiculed by the British tabloids.[8] The tabloid ridicule of Gross was often linked to his poor grasp of English and first Spurs press conference, where he arrived late from Heathrow Airport brandishing a London Underground ticket with the words: "I want this to become my ticket to the dreams".[15][16][17]

Gross' position became increasingly untenable as the 1998–99 season approached, and when Spurs lost two of their opening three matches, chairman Alan Sugar ended Gross' contract on 5 September 1998, blaming the media for destroying his reputation.[18] He had won three of his last ten matches.[12]

BaselEdit

Gross returned to his native Switzerland, finding work as the manager of Basel on 15 June 1999.[19] He worked to rebuild Basel into the premier force in Swiss football and achieved greater success than when manager of Grasshopper.

Under Gross' guidance, Basel won four Swiss championships, four Swiss Cups, and mounted a fairytale run in the UEFA Champions League in the 2002–03 season, beating eventual finalists Juventus as well as knocking out Celtic and drawing with Liverpool (twice) and Manchester United. Gross' success in these games against British sides went a long way towards restoring his reputation among the British media and fans.[8] He took Basel on another European adventure three seasons later as they reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup in 2005–06, before bowing out to English side Middlesbrough 4–3 on aggregate despite leading 2–0 after the first leg at St. Jakob-Park.

On 17 May 2009, Gross was attacked by fans of Zürich on a tram after Basel defeated Zürich that day. He received no serious injuries.[20] On 27 May, he was sacked after ten years at the club.[21]

VfB StuttgartEdit

On 6 December 2009, Gross was revealed as the new manager of VfB Stuttgart.[22] Sensationally, he guided Die Roten to qualification to the UEFA Europa League. Gross was dismissed from his managerial job on 13 October 2010 after six defeats in seven matches, when Stuttgart found itself at the bottom of the table.[23]

Young BoysEdit

Gross signed a two-year contract on 8 May 2011 to become the new manager of Young Boys, following the sacking of former manager Vladimir Petković.[24] However, after a run of poor results, Gross was sacked on 30 April 2012.[25]

Al-AhliEdit

Gross was appointed manager of Al-Ahli on 18 June 2014,[26] but refused to renew his contract allowing him to leave on 30 May 2016.[27] On 3 October 2016, with the sacking of José Gomes, Gross returned to the club for a second spell.[28]

ZamalekEdit

In April 2018, Gross initially signed a two-year contract with the Egyptian club Zamalek, the deal appeared to collapse in May, but it was confirmed to be a one-year deal on 3 July 2018.[29] On 1 June 2019, Egypt Today confirmed that Gross had been fired from his position, President Mortada Mansour of the club told Mehwar TV that "Gross is specialist in failure".[30]

Al-AhliEdit

On 16 October 2019, Gross returned to Al-Ahli for a third spell.[31]

Managerial statisticsEdit

As of match played 23 November 2019
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref.
P W D L Win %
Wil 1 July 1988 30 June 1993
Grasshopper 1 July 1993 19 November 1997 161 88 41 32 054.66
Tottenham Hotspur 19 November 1997 5 September 1998 30 10 8 12 033.33 [32]
Basel 15 June 1999 27 May 2009 498 289 115 94 058.03
VfB Stuttgart 6 December 2009 13 October 2010 36 20 7 9 055.56 [33]
Young Boys 8 May 2011 30 April 2012 36 14 13 9 038.89 [34]
Al-Ahli 18 June 2014 30 May 2016 83 58 19 6 069.88 [35]
Al-Ahli 3 October 2016 20 June 2017 37 24 6 7 064.86 [34]
Zamalek 3 July 2018 1 June 2019 51 30 14 7 058.82 [36]
Al-Ahli 16 October 2019 Present 5 4 0 1 080.00 [37]
Total 937 537 223 177 057.31

HonoursEdit

PlayerEdit

Grasshopper

ManagerEdit

Grasshopper

Basel

Al-Ahli

Zamalek

Individual

  • Swiss Super League Coach of the Year: 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008[45][46]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Gross: Christian Jürgen Gross: Manager". BDFutbol. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Christian Gross at Sport.de". Sport.de (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  3. ^ FC Basel. "FC Basel – Die offizielle Homepage". FC Basel official website. Retrieved 8 April 2009.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Around the World: Switzerland and the Barclays Premier League". Premier League. 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  5. ^ Herzog, Peter (14 May 2011). "Der neue Trainer hält YB bereits auf Trab". Tages-Anzeiger (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  6. ^ Huber, Mac; Leu, Daniel; Berger, Nicola (6 September 2018). "Gross und andere Eintagsfliegen im Natitrikot". Blick (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Christian Gross" (in German). kicker. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Doyle, Paul (20 November 2007). "Guardian Unlimited: Sport blog: On Second Thoughts: Christian Gross". London: Blogs.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  9. ^ "Grasshoppers Zürich » Trainerhistorie". World Football. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Sugar set to explain Gross appointment". FA Premier League. 19 November 1997. Archived from the original on 22 February 1999. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  11. ^ Davies, Christopher; Bose, Mihir (19 November 1997). "Spurs find Swiss replacement as Francis departs". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 March 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  12. ^ a b Macaskill, Sandy; Gilmour, Rod (30 September 2008). "Christian Gross to Juande Ramos: Tottenham managers that came and went". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Coach Gross' future at Tottenham in doubt after permit refused". Turkish Daily News. 31 December 1997. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  14. ^ Doyle, Paul (20 November 2007). "On Second Thoughts: Christian Gross". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Christian Gross: 25 November 1997 – 5 September 1998". Topspurs. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  16. ^ "September 5 – Sir Alan Sugar's Apprentice". 5 September 2007. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  17. ^ "F365's Most Memorable Press Conferences – F365 Features – Football365 News". Football365.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  18. ^ "Gross: 'I was sacked'". BBC News. 6 September 1998. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  19. ^ Zindel, Josef (16 November 2013). "120 Jahre FCB!". FC Basel official website (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  20. ^ "Former Tottenham manager attacked by yobs". Daily Mirror. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  21. ^ "Gross to leave Basel". Sky Sports. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  22. ^ "Gross soll es richten". kicker (in German). 6 December 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  23. ^ "Gross beurlaubt – Bobic: "Keine Lösungsansätze"". kicker.de (in German). 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  24. ^ "Gross übernimmt die Young Boys". kicker (in German). 8 May 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  25. ^ Birrer, Peter B. (30 April 2012). "Ende des grossen Traums". NZZ (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  26. ^ "Gross übernimmt club in Saudiarabien". Berner Zeitung (in German). 18 June 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Gross verlässt Al-Ahli". Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (in German). 30 May 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  28. ^ Youssef, Ram (3 October 2016). "Gross returns as Al Ahli coach". Goal. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  29. ^ Tarek Talaat (3 July 2018). "Swiss coach Christian Gross agrees deal with Zamalek after all". BBC. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  30. ^ "Zamalek president fires team coach Christian Gross". Egypt Today. 1 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  31. ^ "Official: Christian Gross returns to Al Ahli". KingFut. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  32. ^ "Christian Gross manager statistics". Managerstats.co.uk. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  33. ^ "VfB Stuttgart" (in German). kicker. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  34. ^ a b "Christian Gross at FootballDatabase.eu". FootballDatabase.eu. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  35. ^ "Al-Ahli fixtures and results". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  36. ^ "Zamalek SC fixtures and results". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  37. ^ "Al-Ahli 2019–20 fixtures and results". Global Sports Archive. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  38. ^ "Switzerland – League Cup finals". RSSSF. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  39. ^ a b "Switzerland – List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  40. ^ a b "Switzerland Cup Finals". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  41. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia – List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  42. ^ "Saudi Arabia – List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  43. ^ Maher, Hatem (6 October 2018). "Egypt's Zamalek win Saudi-Egyptian Super Cup with 2–1 victory at Hilal". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  44. ^ Mbewa, David Ochieng (27 May 2019). "Zamalek beat Berkane on penalties to win CAF Confederation Cup". CGTN. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  45. ^ "Bester trainer in der Schweiz". Swiss Super League (in German). Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  46. ^ Logan Holmes. "FC Basel, Christian Gross and Tottenham's Swiss Connections". Fansided.com. Retrieved 29 April 2018.

External linksEdit