FC St. Pauli announced on Monday, as expected, that Jos Luhukay is no longer head coach after a disappointing spell in charge.
Although it had already been reported last week that he would be let go, the club said the decision had been mutual and made following the defeat to Wehen Wiesbaden on Sunday.
The Dutchman was appointed in April 2019 following the departure of Markus Kauczinski, with the clear goal of ending the club’s long stay in the 2. Bundesliga, having already guided Borussia Mönchengladbach, FC Augsburg and Hertha BSC to promotion in the past.
Ultimately though, they were closer to dropping out the league at the other end, and finished this season in 14th, just two points clear of 1. FC Nürnberg in the relegation play-off place.
Luhukay had the lowest points-per-game ratio of any St. Pauli coach who had managed 20 or more games, and his antagonistic style of coaching proved ineffective and alienated many of the squad, with the last straw seemingly being the on-pitch rant at striker Henk Veerman at half-time in the game against Erzgebirge Aue recently.
There were some memorable victories though. They beat eventual champions Arminia Bielefeld just before the winter break, and did the double over fierce rivals Hamburger SV.
Speaking on the club’s website, Luhukay felt that the club had come “near” some of their targets with “a decent home record and some excellent performances against the league’s top sides,” but rightly pointed to their away form – the second-worse in the league – as a big hindrance, adding that “we cannot be satisfied” with the season as a whole.
Sporting director Andreas Bornemann added that Luhkuay had ben appointed “to put his finger on some uncomfortable truths” about the club and team, but did this “a bit too hard for the club’s liking at times.”
He praised Luhukay’s work with the younger players and the “necessary changes of direction from which we will continue to benefit.” He finished by saying that Luhukay, due to the double over HSV and being the club’s first foreign coach, had “secured himself a place in the club’s history.”
Whether the club’s fans – and certain players – would agree, is doubtful at best.
Read more: Why Jos Luhukay’s time was up (written 20th June).