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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Book Review | "Bring The Noise": The Jürgen Klopp Story by Raphael Honigstein



Image credit:
Amazon.com and
Nation 
Books.
Synopsis:

German football guru, Raphael Honigstein, authors a definitive biography in English about the current manager of Liverpool F.C., Jürgen Klopp.


My Review in Brief:


Raphael Honigstein captures the man, the manager, and the coaching brand in this illuminating, impressive and detailed biography about Jürgen Klopp. From his origins in the Black Forest, to his current home at Anfield, the author paints a complete portrait about one of world football's elite coaching talents.
 In a word, wunderbar.

Contents:


1. Format

2. Writing Style
3. Illustrations
4. A Few Notable Quotes
5. About the Author

" 'He's not yet a hero, but Liverpudlians have already accepted him as one of their own,' Carragher adds. 'They see him walking his dog in Formby and having a meal in the local pub, he reminds them of themselves. Liverpool is very down to earth. You remember who you are, you remember where you come from. He doesn't blow his own trumpet, he gets on with the job, he's passionate about football. I know he's from the Black Forest. But to me, he's a typical Scouser'." 


--- Jamie Carragher quoted on pages 297 and 298 from "Bring The Noise" : The Jürgen Klopp Story published by Nation Books in February 2018 with list prices of US $16.99 and CAN $22.49, respectively.


When I first saw Jürgen Klopp on the touchline many years ago, he reminded me of that nerdy classmate we all had in high school. The one who everyone underestimated but in the end, had surpassed us all by leaps and bounds. Klopp's managerial ascent has been steadfast in one aspect and meteoric in another. At times, he has benefited from glowing tributes normally reserved for more veteran managers with fuller trophy cases. What I liked most about Herr Honigstein's portrayal is that it focused on facts instead of banal media hyperbole to give us an educated and objective view of "Kloppo."

Let's take a longer look at this book's educational, informative and fascinating content.

1. Format

There are 16 chapters, an acknowledgments section, a list of illustrations along with a precisely detailed index. The latter was one of the best indices that I have ever seen.There are 298 pages of written text in the paperback version.

This book does not follow a logical progression of Klopp's life. It goes back and forth between his time in Germany and England, respectively. 
When we think of managers, we usually see a timeline to orient us similar to a C. V. Some readers may prefer a more chronological presentation; however, the content does not suffer because of this aspect.

2. Writing Style



Honigstein mixes a journalistic objective tone with a more engaging raconteur style. 
His research is precisely detailed and top shelf in its application. He weaves an intriguing portrait of Klopp backed by many cited publications, sources, players, sporting directors and former teammates. The reader learns significant details about the manager both before and during his current role as Liverpool's boss. The author also provides much historical background about German football and the Bundesliga.

Coaching Education Aspect

You may be surprised to learn that Klopp is closer to the Italian school of tactical and daily training thought rather than the German model. One reason is due to the early influence of Wolfgang Frank who worshiped Arrigo Sacchi's fabulous Milan sides. Honigstein provided many tactical discussions and examples in this book which will add to its impressive coaching education aspect. This book is not for a casual fan. Thankfully, the contents were not dumbed-down for an American audience. 

The Manager's Role in English Football

This book reinforces how important the manager's persona is in English football. He almost becomes the team in the eyes of the media and fans. England attracts the best coaches and it was no accident that Klopp was a prime candidate on the wish lists of several top clubs.

A German-Language Primer

Since there was no listed translation credit, Honigstein did a stellar job to write this book in his non-native tongue of English. He also added many German phrases that will educate the reader and provide a linguistic bonus. For example, lehrmeister for mentor.

3. Illustrations




There are eight pages of small black and white images from Klopp's personal and professional lives. My favorite was when he returned to "The Yellow Wall" at his former club, Borussia Dortmund.

4. A Few Notable Quotes
On his first team meeting as manager of Mainz 05:

"If the team were as sure as I was, we had to win, we would win. I can't tell you the exact words but it was a mixture of tactics and motivation, more of a lecture. We could have played immediately. He talked and talked until the team believed they were good." Christian Heidel, then of Mainz 05, quoted on page 12.


On his initial meeting with FSG for the Liverpool job:


"It was very hard to find anything that was in any way deficient and that is the honest truth. What I am saying is: it was clear that Jürgen, as a football manager, really was on the same level as a corporate leader or someone you would choose to run your company." Fenway Sports Group President Mike Gordon quoted on page 29.


On the innovative tactical methods of his mentor, Wolfgang Frank:

"Instead of the usual fun-packed training German pros were accustomed to, they spent entire days without the ball. 'But we thought: if (Ruud) Gullit and (Marco) Van Basten had to learn that at Milan, we could put up with it as well'." Page 55

"He was the coach who has influenced me the most." Page 74

On how he interacts with his players at Liverpool FC:

" 'He can give you a bollocking, he can really praise you. The hugs, they are really genuine as well. He will tell you when he is not happy with you. He is just genuine, straight-up. He can't hide his emotions, can he?' " Adam Lallana quoted on page 104.

On the value of a college education at Goethe University:

" 'They (university studies) are the basis of everything I later did,' he said in December 2013. He learned about training theory, ergotherapy and psychomotility, the connection between mental traits and bodily movement. 'Without knowing it at the time, I was working on the thing I could do best and wanted to do most: coaching'." Page 142

On Klopp's Training Regimen at Borussia Dortmund:

"Training felt like war. The starting eleven playing v. subs. By the middle of the week, you sort of knew the line-ups. You can't imagine how difficult these games were... These games were as hard as the real ones, perhaps even harder." Neven Subotic quoted on page 194

On his initial stints in TV commentary during the Confederations Cup and World Cup:

" 'A couple of matches into the Confed Cup, Beckenbauer was totally in awe of Jürgen. (Franz) Beckenbauer's approval was like getting knighted for Klopp. If the Kaiser thought he knew his stuff -- he really knew his stuff'." Dieter Gruschwitz of the ZDF network quoted on page 246.

On his legacy at Borussia Dortmund:

" 'He was more than a coach, he was a coach for the whole club. Jürgen was the most resplendent ambassador any club could wish for'." Hans Joachim Watzke quoted on pages 291 and 292.


5. About the Author
Image credit and
 biographical
text courtesy of
Nation Books.










Raphael Honigstein is the author of Das Reboot and the top expert on German soccer. He is a columnist for the Guardian and ESPN, writes for Süddeutsche Zeitung and Sport 1 in Germany and appears as a pundit for BT Sport and ESPN, as well as Sky Sports in Germany. He is also a regular fixture on the Guardian's award-winning podcast, Football Weekly. Born in Bavaria, he lives in London.

Please Note:


I have received a complementary review copy of this book from a representative of the publisher, Nation Books. I was not financially compensated by the author, publisher or any party who would benefit from a positive review.


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Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. 

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