Despite Veljiko Paunovic expressing his desire stay at least one more season with the Chicago Fire, his future remains muddy at best. Even with Nelson Rodriguez publicly expressing warm regards for Pauno, it seems like the club is shopping around for a potential replacement for the Serbian.
On Saturday, German news outlet Berliner Zeitung reported that Peter Neururer could potentially be Pauno’s replacement.
63-year-old Neururer seems to be the Sam Allardyce or even the Roy Hodgson of German football— a managerial journeyman. His first crack at being a manager was with German side TuS Haltern for the 1984/1985 season, where he only lasted a year. Since then he has managed a staggering 17 clubs.
To give Neururer some credit, some of those 17 clubs aren’t all “pub-tier” sides. Notable clubs he’s managed include FC Schalke 04, Hertha BSC and Hannover 96. His shortest stint was with Fortuna Dusseldorf, managing just 8 games before getting the sack. His average time as a manager is roughly around 1.1 years.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, who cares if he managed 3000 clubs or so, anyone including my nan is an upgrade over Pauno at this point.”
There’s nothing wrong with being a manager for so many clubs, but the reason for many of his appointments is a bit worrying. Earlier I mentioned that he could be compared to Allardyce. Like Allardyce Neururer, has built a name for himself as a manager who saves struggling teams from relegation. In 1994, when Hannover 96 was in the bottom of the Bundesliga table, he was appointed their manager and managed to rescue them from the drop. He left after the season. The next year he rescued 1. FC Koln from oblivion in much the same fashion. He did his job and was eventually sacked.
Now the Chicago Fire doesn’t have to worry about being relegated, but potentially appointing a manager who is known to only show up when a team is struggling doesn’t bode well for the Fire in the long run. The Fire need someone for the present and the future, not just a stretch of games.
Yes, the club is struggling at the moment, but a move like this shows truly the lack of direction and commitment the front office has for the club.