FC St.Gallen has only two games left before the championship ends. President Matthias Hüppi would never have thought that the team would go this far. “One hopes and works for it,” he says in summer talk with the CH Media stations.
St.Gallen is five points behind YB. What is your assessment?
I don’t want to make a forecast. We focus on every game. I know that as a former television presenter it was always said that this is a pigeonhole answer. But it’s true. If you lean too far out of the window and deal with things that you cannot influence yourself, you only lose energy. It is better to prepare well for the game and then win.
How much would it hurt to miss the championship title?
We are the underdog and stay with him until the last game is over. There can be no question of pain. I am very excited about what we did – so the minimum is third place, a podium. There has to be so much coordination that you can even make it onto the podium.
Would the players cope not to win?
An athlete always wants to win and get the most out of it.
Would you have expected to sit here today?
No, I didn’t expect it. One hopes and works for it.
FC St.Gallen often takes unconventional paths, such as the five-year contracts. Why do you go this way?
This is the St.Gallen way of which we are convinced. The decision on these contracts was not born out of necessity, we have discussed this in the Board of Directors for months. The time goes so fast. We wanted to break that.
Is that a risk?
In sport you always have a certain risk. We always say we want to act courageously. The young players in particular should play bravely. But that also means that they make mistakes because playing courageously is risky.
What happens to the young talent? Do you make them money?
When a young player comes to us, it is clear that it does not mean St.Gallen at the end. If a big development is made and it keeps increasing, then he wants to take the next step soon. We don’t want to get in the way.
What is your relationship to the team?
A good mix between closeness and distance. Under no circumstances am I talking to the trainer about the sporting issues. We have a good exchange and discuss. My function is to support, to give support. I try to put what I have experienced in my life into the service of FC St.Gallen.
How do you deal with it when FC St.Gallen loses? You are pretty emotional.
I am never loud and never angry. I really live with. Of course I’m also upset about something that happens in the game. But there are never loud words against the coach or the players.
Are you getting reactions?
I have learned to distance myself from certain things. It is important to be open to criticism. You have to learn to deal with criticism. It only hurts if you can’t classify it. My job is to help the players and coaches classify them so that little energy is wasted on them.
Do you get more criticism as president of FC St.Gallen than when you work on television?
When I am traveling in Eastern Switzerland, I get immediate feedback, both positive and negative. Also in Bern I am greeted with «Hopp Sanggalle». We are the underdog and therefore feel a general support. But I also think it’s because of the way we performed as a team.
What is fan support like?
Great. We had sold 7,000 season tickets for the next season, although we didn’t know if there would be any spectators to play with. The support is incredibly nice. Many have even refrained from reimbursement, which is demonstrated by the anchoring of our club. We have to do everything to ensure that the fans have confidence in us.
How was the corona crisis for you and FC St.Gallen?
There came a time when we had no idea what was going to happen. In the beginning, we hoped that it would only be a few weeks or a month. But it wasn’t like that. We flipped the switch very quickly and figured out how to get through the time. We started planning different scenarios. It was nice because everyone was of the same opinion in which direction it was going.
You once criticized the city of St.Gallen. Why exactly?
We would have liked to be asked: “Can you do it? Can you get through? » Because if we can’t let viewers in, we won’t have any revenue and at some point without revenue we won’t be able to.
How expensive is the crisis?
That is difficult to say. I am not a person of numbers. A sold-out game is lost at a loss of 450,000 to 500,000. In addition, we have a large youth organization with 800 children and adolescents that we look after. We shoulder it all ourselves.
Do you have sleepless nights?
I am currently dreaming very intensely and realistically.
How are you?
I feel healthy. I am well supported by the family environment. If my wife didn’t move along, I wouldn’t have a chance.
How was the switch from SRF to FC St.Gallen?
I never had much time to think. I had little time when the request came. I thought about it very intensively for a very short time. I was clearly nervous. I am very happy that I did it. I’ve never looked back. (red)