– I thought it was a lie, says former sports manager of FC Copenhagen Johan Lange about the shocking news that shook football Denmark.
Last week it became clear that Ståle Solbakken had been fired from FCK after a total of 13 years as head coach of the club. Johan Lange worked closely with Solbakken for a number of years at FC Copenhagen, and had both an assistant coach and sports manager role in the club. Lange was also with Solbakken to Wolverhampton when he trained there. This summer, he was hired as Aston Villa’s new sports director.
Since the firing, rumors have abounded about why Solbakken had to resign. One of the rumors is that Solbakken has made all the decisions in the club and been a sole ruler in FCK. Lange rejects this.
– If anyone thinks that Ståle Solbakken led FCK as a one-man show, they are wrong. That is very far from the truth, says the Aston Villa sports manager to Ekstra Bladet.
– Took responsibility
Lange has had a strong relationship with Solbakken for a long time. In Lange’s last six years at the Copenhagen club, the two had a shared responsibility as sports manager and managed, among other things, player logistics together.
In the interview with Danish Ekstra Bladet, Lange praises the Norwegian and says he was a very good leader for the club.
– He allowed people to work and develop, and then he took responsibility for all the noise that came from outside, says Lange and continues:
– This also affects me personally, because I have been such a big part of it for so many years.
– It is a very special day for all of us who love FCK. It is sad to say goodbye to Ståle Solbakken. On the other hand, we have made a decision that we believe is right. I think we can do better than we did in 2020, said chairman of the board of FCK, Bo Rygaard, at the press conference on Saturday when the firing became official.
During his coaching years at FCK, Solbakken won the league eight times as well as a dozen cup titles. He is described by most as the club’s most successful coach of all time.
Now that Solbakken is unemployed, he has been strongly connected to the coaching job for the Norwegian men’s national team.
After the loss against Serbia in the European Championship play-off match on Thursday, Lars Lagerbäck opened up to resign as Norwegian national team coach, at the same time as several Norwegian experts thought it was time for the Swede to resign.
– The pressure will not be any less on Lars Lagerbäck now. If Ståle wants, then I expect him to be the Norwegian national team manager. He needs enough time to find out what he wants, but this is what we have been waiting for for many years, TV 2’s football expert Jesper Mathisen told Dagbladet.
In 2009, Solbakken entered into an agreement with NFF to take over as Norwegian national team manager after the European Championships in 2012, but it never happened. Instead, Solbakken trained Cologne in Germany and Wolverhampton in the Premier League with mixed success, before returning to Copenhagen in 2013.