German billionaire and Hamburg SV investor Klaus-Michael Kϋhne has launched a venomous attack on the club's management.
The Hamburg-born investor, who owns a share in the Bundesliga outfit, has criticised the way in which his boyhood club were run last season, and believes that someone has to pay for the previous ill-fated campaign.
The nine-time Bundesliga winners survived relegation to the second tier of German football by the skin of their teeth having only secured seven wins out of a possible 34.
Having accumulated a total of 27 points out of an available 102, the Imtech Arena outfit finished the season third from bottom, having narrowly escaped automatic relegation following five straight defeats at the tale of the club’s embarrassing campaign.
However, they were able to redeem themselves for what had been a campaign seasoned with on and off the field troubles as they battled it out over two legs to secure a 1-1 draw against second division side Greuther Furth in the Bundesliga relegation play-offs.
Hamburg have started their preparations for the new Bundesliga season in earnest, with manager Mirko Slomka carrying out a light training session on Tuesday as they hope to avoid a repeat of the previous campaign.
Despite recent words of encouragement directed towards Slomka from the board it seems that his job is far from safe despite saving the club from a costly relegation, with Kϋhne suggesting that the 46 year old was lucky and needs to be dismissed.
He is quoted by Bild as saying: “As a businessman and Hamburg fan I have to say that I have no trust in this trainer. Towards the end of the season he didn’t record a single point, and he was extremely lucky to avoid relegation. I don’t want to witness such a chaotic season ever again.”
Although the Kϋhne and Nagel owner feels that Slomka’s dismissal is more of a matter of “when” than “if” he has reiterated that the decision will come down to the chairman, Dietmar Beiersdorfer.
He said: “Mr Beiersdorfer has to decide whether he sees Slomka as a temporary solution or a permanent solution, I am not going to meddle with him. But my personal opinion is that the coach needs to be changed again.
Indeed, the 1983 European Cup winners have gone through seven managers in the space of three years, and it seems that the board will make their decision in the next few weeks as they aim to find a suitable replacement before the season kicks off on 22nd August.
The 77-year-old has indicated that the time might be right for captain Rafael van der Vaart to find a new club, having alienated the board, management and fans with his poor form and obvious lack of effort associated with the team.
In 2012 it was Kϋhne who not only influenced Hamburg to re-sign the Dutch international from Tottenham Hotspur, but in fact financed the £10 million move, which so far has failed to pay off, with the 77 year old critical over his involvement in the side.
He said: “I am very disappointed. I haven't been able to come to a suitable conclusion with him. He has suffered from private problems which have unfortunately had a negative impact on his form. He has not been able to train properly, and he hasn’t found his old form.”
Despite van der Vaart’s cocktail of troubles both on and off the field, the 31 year old is still considered a club legend, due to his iconic spell at the Imtech Arena outfit towards the end of the previous decade where he scored over forty goals in just under 70 appearances.
However, Kϋhne feels that the former Real Madrid midfielder is unlikely to his old form and has suggested that his position at the club has become unattainable.
He said: “I think it would be good if he demonstrates his old capabilities at a new club. I think that the Hamburg environment has become too difficult for him. He doesn’t help us anymore.”
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