Felix Magath will have looked for only one thing if he has already visited
Harrods for a shopping trip since taking over at Fulham
– medicine balls.
From my experience of playing for Magath at Eintracht Frankfurt, Magath loves
medicine balls and I just hope for the Fulham players’ sake that he cannot
find any at Harrods or in London.
The hardest training session I had to do in my life involved Magath and
We had to run fast through the forest for 45 minutes and somewhere there was
suddenly a hill. We had two medicine balls under each arm and we had to run
up to the top against the clock. If we failed to get up there in time, we
had to do it again. I used to die at the end of every training session with
At Frankfurt, his nickname was ‘Qualix’, which in German meant somebody who
ran people to death. We called him Qualix Magath, but never to his face.
Nobody was that brave, or stupid.
The only way to survive Magath’s training sessions was to focus on his blue
jacket and make sure you kept up with him. That was the most impressive
thing – he did all the sessions himself and that made it very difficult to
complain. He is just as tough on himself as he is with his players.
Magath once did an interview when he said that I was the only player who ever
understood his sense of humour and I think it was easier because I was in my
thirties when I played for him.
I used to sit at the back of the room and laugh when he did his favourite
trick. He would call a team meeting, but go for a long run beforehand.
He would come into the room of 25 footballers with his hair all over the place
and sweating. As he looked at the players in silence, he would stir a
teaspoon in his cup of tea again and again, and again. Then he would eat the
biggest piece of cake and keep looking at you.
It made me laugh, but I would not suggest that any of the Fulham players
laugh. You cannot interrupt his tea stirring because it is his holy trick.
You just have to wait and be patient until he asks you a question. Sometimes,
he might just ask you to leave without speaking.
Another tip for the Fulham players would be never to sing in the shower, no
matter how good they might think their voices are.
My only fallout with Magath happened after we lost at home to Wolfsburg and he
blamed the result on me singing in the shower in training more than 12 hours
before the game. I thought to myself, ‘Jan, do not say anything’, but when
Magath repeated that my singing was to blame I could not help myself. We had
a big argument in front of all the other players and that night I went home
to my wife and said: “Tomorrow, I will either be sacked or made captain.”
When I went into training I was called to the manager’s office and he was
there with the president, the secretary, the assistant manager and the
I asked if I could talk first and said that I argued because I cared about the
club and how we did. I was told I could leave and later that day Magath told
the team that I had been made one of the vice-captains.
So I survived my argument with Magath, but it took me eight months to talk
back to him and I certainly would not suggest the Fulham players take him on.
He will look for the players at Fulham who he believes have the same attitude
to work as him and who he thinks he can improve. He will not care about
reputations or who has the most experience.
In the situation they are in, I do not think Fulham could have appointed
anybody better than Magath.
At Frankfurt, he came in with 17 games to go and we were eight points off
safety. We survived by two points and had the third best record in the
league under him for the rest of that season.
I saw Lewis Holtby say he was not afraid of Felix Magath, having been at
Schalke with him. That is like saying ‘Who’s afraid of the big, bad wolf?’
The Fulham players will not know what has hit them, but the old-fashioned
methods can work.
Former Middlesbrough striker Jan Aage Fjortoft played under Felix Magath at
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