More Than A Manager

On January 26, Jurgen Klopp announced his intentions to leave Liverpool at the end of the season. An air of collective mourning began amongst the Liverpool faithful. Yes, fans are upset that the best coach Liverpool has had since the 1980s is leaving and the winning environment he has created could be going with him, but that truly only tells part of the story. To understand this, just read some of the letters sent to the British publication “The Guardian” in the wake of his announcement. One will read stories of a man who has changed people’s lives in a way that many politicians and pastors could only dream of. Jurgen Klopp is more than a football manager.

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You see, Jurgen Klopp always remembered the saying that “football is the most important of the least important things.” It is a mantra he lived out. The man was deeply committed to building a winning machine at LFC. He did so as a manager but never lost sight of the bigger picture.

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Klopp always looked for ways to help build the community of Liverpool. He encouraged those in need and found ways to impact the culture around him in tangible ways. He is a man of deep conviction and passion, a romantic if ever there was one, and the club has displayed that during his tenure.

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It is those attributes that, for me, made this announcement, while hard to hear, extremely refreshing. In a world that is so consumed by sport and other frivolous pursuits, here is a man who was deeply involved in those things and yet is willing to walk away because he believes there is more to life than that. Klopp’s announcement showed that his beliefs are not just some front he puts on. They are a core part of who he is.

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I’m sure there are cynics out there who roll their eyes at that but for me, the body of work speaks for itself. The man always coached with energy and zeal. But when those things began to take their toll, he was willing to say that’s enough. As someone who often struggles with keeping sport in its proper place, it was convicting to see someone immersed in it in a real way essentially say enough is enough. May we all learn from our departing manager while we praise him over the next four months.

Another Monday of looking for answers as we look at the recent struggles but put all of it in perspective as we talk about the 35th anniversary and what it means to us
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