Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Caught in the Brexit loop
Rangnicks eagerly awaiting the exception
By Stephan Uersfeld
Ralf Rangnick has been Manchester United’s interim manager since the beginning of the week. Really. If it weren’t for Brexit, which left him and his new club in despair. To train in the UK, the exception trainer needs an exception permit from an exception body.
Do you remember Viktor Navorski? That he’s stranded at New York’s JFK airport with nothing but his luggage and a can of peanuts. In whose country, Krakosia, a civil war breaks out. That is no longer recognized by the US Who, therefore, cannot enter and leave the country? And you will have to spend the next nine months in the terminal, feel at home there and live all kinds of adventures.
Steven Spielberg’s 2004 film “Terminal” with Tom Hanks as Navorski about being lost in a world of bureaucracy and isolation in a foreign country is currently being told by new Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick in England. With new content, of course, with new problems. In Rangnick’s homeland, Germany, as far as we know, no civil war has broken out and Britain continues to recognize the country.
Very few hours of training
But the 63-year-old is still caught in a never-ending Brexit loop and is also in quarantine after arriving in Manchester, where he could leave soon if his PCR test is negative. Otherwise, Rangnick’s hands are tied. He is not yet allowed to train his new team around superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. The reason is as simple as it is confusing: Brexit keeps causing Brexit things. And these Brexit things are currently massively preventing Rangnick from practicing his profession.
Rangnick, revered in the English press as the “godfather of counter-pressure”, last exercised this, that is, the profession of coach, in 2019. Too long ago for the harsh rules of the former member state of the European Union. Because you have not been a trainer for two years and have not had enough hours as a trainer in the last five years, you do not automatically qualify for a UK work permit.
Instead, an independent body created by the English Football Association now awaits the German. They should assess, among other things, whether Rangnick, already a revered cult in England and highly praised by Jürgen Klopp, is “capable of making a significant contribution to the development of football at the highest level,” as the Telegraph reports. The panel, an “exception panel”, could issue an approval, an “exception authorization”, at the end of a long process. So the UK Home Office would finally issue the visa.
The timing of the hearing is out of the control of his new club, where Rangnick will act as a consultant for two more years after his job as interim coach until the end of the season. It can be summoned at any time, it can take a while. A frankly Kafkaesque situation for United and Rangnick, who was hired as a savior. Delivered to a system that no one wants or can understand, which is so complex and confusing that one can only hope to find at least the right space for the audience.
This may take a while. Take a long time. At least more than Rangnick would like. On Thursday, Manchester United will host Arsenal at Old Trafford, a few days later they will play against Crystal Palace, then in the Champions League against Young Boys Bern and on December 11 they will travel to relegation candidate Norwich City. This is already mentioned in the English press as a possibility for his debut on the bench. You can hear that there should be no fundamental doubts about the abilities of the former RB Leipzig coach.
A picture on a can of peanuts
Nine months after Navorski’s arrival in New York, the civil war in Krakosia ends. You can finally return, not without Benny Golson’s signature on a picture. He carried it with him all the time. In the peanut can. Your work is done. His father was missing this autograph in the famous photo “A Great Day in Harlem” with 57 jazz musicians, first published in 1959 in Esquire magazine. Navorksi had managed to escape from the airport. By this time. For that autograph.
So Ralf Rangnick is the Viktor Navorski of world football? Does the new Manchester United manager end up with a can of peanuts with a photo of all the Ballon d’Or winners? The only thing missing is Ronaldo’s signature? You do not have to worry about that. The wheels of the Brexit bureaucracy are moving slowly, but they will come to an end.
Until then, you can still feel a bit like Tom Hanks in Spielberg’s wonderful movie. And already this Thursday, if he should give negative in the PCR test, as a visitor to the Manchester United game against Arsenal at Old Trafford. But then Michael Carrick is on the sidelines. The interim coach is still waiting for the interim coach to replace him.
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