An Insider’s Look at the Talents of FC Köln Coach Holger Stanislawski

Former St. Pauli player Ian Joy, a defender who played 67 league matches under the tutelage of Holger Stanislawski between 2005 and 2007, shares an insider’s thoughts on Stani’s new position leading the Billy Goats of  1. FC Köln into the 2012/2013 campaign.

I was extremely shocked and surprised when Holger Stansilawski left FC St Pauli, as it was always my feeling that he would spend 20-30 years at the helm of the Millerntor club. However he made the decision to test himself at the highest level in the Bundesliga with a Hoffenheim side that had money to spend. Its hard to blame him because he has the coaching talent to be one of the very best.

Its very easy to coach a bunch of lowly paid Regionalliga or 2. liga players, because those players play for the love of the game and not the money.  When a coach moves up to take over a Bundesliga club with enough money to burn on players, the probability is that one is also taking on a squad of players that may just have an ego or two in the mix.

Stani, 42, was one of the best man managers that I have ever had the pleasure to work under as he always made himself available, not just on the field but off the field, on a personal level. The number of times we would have one on one conversations is remarkable.  I always thought he was just being nice, but getting to the bottom of it, Stani knew exactly how to make each individual player tick on the field!  He knew how to motivate players into taking their game beyond their own talent levels.

At Hoffenheim I can only imagine he came up trumps with some of the massive ego players they had. Its hard to turn on a player day in and day out who earns millions of euro a year. I read about the bust ups with players and the fall outs with the Hoffenheim board and I can only imagine that there possibly was someone in the camp who didn’t get on with Stani and was trying to stick the knife in. Nowadays the player power is so immense that players often have the ear of the GM or even higher, the President of their club.

After less than a year in charge Stani ended up getting fired.  He was hired on May 14 of this year as the newly appointed Head Coach of 1. FC Köln.

I love this fit for Stani more than I ever liked the Hoffenheim appointment.

Köln is a club with massive tradition, similar to what St Pauli has.  With massive expectations not only from the fans but from the press Stani will feel right at home.

Holger Stanislawski thrives of the pressure from the press and knows exactly how to handle their wants and needs. Stani was under the spotlight from the Hamburg media and knew exactly how to manipulate the media into putting the correct amount of pressure on his players, a situation that successfully motivated his players into proving the media wrong.

There is nothing that can effect Stani from being himself and he feels no pressure.  The players are the ones that feel it from him. His cold as ice look puts fear into everyone in his presence and makes you listen to everything he has to offer.

At the end of the day, if Stani can bring in the players he wants before the season begins, I would go as far to say that 1 FC Köln will be clear Champions of the 2. Bundesliga. It won’t be easy because the competition in the 2. Bundesliga is more fierce now than ever, and the pressure of expectations from supporters of the Billy Goats to bounce right back to the top flight can sometimes cause players to fold.  But I fully expect the Genius that is Holger Stanislawski to take Köln beyond their own limits and lead them into the Bundesliga dance one more time … a dance that he knows only too well.

Köln begin their season this Sunday, August 5th, at Eintracht Braunschweig.  See Randall Hauk’s recent preview of the Billy Goats upcoming campaign.

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