After the dismissal of Fredi Bobic on Saturday, club president Kay Bernstein, board member Klaus Brüggemann and managing director Thomas Herrich spoke at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. They were joined by Benjamin Weber, who has assumed the role of sporting director at the ‘Old Lady’. At the 42-minute-long conference, the club management explained the reasons for the change and introduced Weber to the media. The four also spoke about Andreas “Zecke” Neuendorf, who will be the club’s new director of academy and first team football. “In Benny and Zecke, we have two figures who people can identify with who live for Hertha. That’s exactly what we need,” said the president. Brüggeman added, “The decision was about Hertha BSC, not about Fredi Bobic, Kay Bernstein or the advisory board. After taking everything into consideration, we fully support the decision taken by the board.” Weber was looking forward to the task of his new role. “I’m a Berliner, I’m a Herthaner. I’m really happy to be returning to my club and I’m fired up to get to work. I’ll talk to Sandro Schawrz and his coaching team. We absolutely have a clear plan that we want to follow as a team. I have always been a team player and one of my main tasks will be to get the whole Hertha family on board.”
The 42-year-old worked for the club for almost 18 years until the beginning of last year, the last eight of which were spent as head of the academy. His tenure not only saw numerous home-grown talents make the step up to the professional squad, but also a number of honours: winning the U19 league title in 2018, participating in the UEFA Youth League in 2019 or and winning the youth DFB-Pokal on two occasions in 2015 and 2016.
herthabsc.com has summarised the main points.
Kay Bernstein on:
… the change within club management: I think Fredi Bobic, Sebastian Zelichowski and Thomas Westphal for all the work they’ve done. It’s not a case that we’ve fallen out and parted ways. There was an honest discussion on Saturday evening, and I informed Sandro Schwarz and the team of our reasoning on Sunday morning. We also told the coaching staff that they have our full support, as does Thomas Herrich. We’re convinced of the direction and approach we want to take. Benjamin Weber also has our absolute trust.
… reasons behind the decision: Given our overall circumstances, as a board, we saw the responsibility for a strategic change of course and carefully considered the options. This was not a knee-jerk reaction. Fredi Bobic came to our club a year and a half ago under circumstances that are different to those we’re in now. We want to continue the transformation process that he began. Therefore, this is not a decision against Fredi Bobic, but rather in favor of a direction for Hertha that our economic framework also forces us to take. We have to make a virtue out of necessity.
… Benjamin Weber and Zecke Neuerdorf: The academy is a fundamental part of the club that Benjamin Weber helped to establish. He embodies the Hertha DNA and is an absolute for the role. Benny suggested Zecke Neuendorf for the role of directing the academy and first team. He bleeds Hertha blue and gets people on board. In Benny and Zecke, we have two people who people can identify with who live for Hertha. That’s exactly what we need. We definitely have a bold journey ahead but we’ve often been able to find good solutions over the past 15 years.
Klaus Brüggemann on:
… agreement within the board: Even if such decisions are unpopular, Hertha BSC is always the reason behind them. It’s not about Fredi Bobic, Kay Bernstein or the advisory board. After taking everything into consideration, we fully support the decision taken by the board. As club leadership we stand as one and the goals of the club always come first. The main priority is of course to avoid relegation. We’ll do everything we can to keep the club where it belongs – in the Bundesliga. As well as that, we must continue with our financial consolidation.
Thomas Herrich on:
… the identification of the club: I would also like to place on record my thanks to Fredi and his team. We had eight months of trustworthy, collegial and friendly work together. I’m 100% behind the decision. Benny’s expertise is well-known and he is Hertha through and though. The club’s approach will always have my support and what matters now it going through with is with courage and conviction. The main objective is staying in the league and everything else comes after that.
Benjamin Weber on:
… his ties to the club: I’m a Berliner, I’m a Herthaner. I’m really happy to be returning to my club and I’m fired up to get to work. I’ll talk to Sandro Schawrz and his coaching team soon and I’ve already spoken with Dirk Dufner. The transfer window closes on Tuesday and we’ll see what we can do given the circumstances we’re in. We absolutely have a clear plan that we want to follow as a team. I have always been a team player and one of my main tasks will be to get the whole Hertha family on board.
… Zecke Neuendorf: I was able to work alongside him when he took his route into coaching after his playing career and was involved with the academy. He’s very empathetic, is very approachable for the young players and is absolutely motivated. He always has football and Hertha on the mind, from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night. He’ll be close by my side when it comes to any decisions and will be a good link between the academy and first team.
… his new role: After 18 years at Hertha BSC, the eleven-month break was good for me. I was still busy during that time; I was involved a lot in football and was sitting in at clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool FC and Dinamo Zagreb, for example. Now it feels like I’m coming back home, but I’m completely aware that we have some challenges ahead of us in the upcoming months.