Things are bad enough for Schalke 04 right now with their abysmal Rückrunde form creating an unwanted club winless streak. Now things are turning against the Königsblauen off the field with the fans finally losing patience and hitting out at the club in quite stark terms.
The fact that the Corona virus crisis has forced the latter stages of the 2019-20 Bundesliga season to be played behind closed doors is probably a blessing in disguise for Schalke. Just imagine the outpouring of frustration and rage that would have rained down from the Veltins Arena stands had the fans been present to witness first-hand their dismal end to the season.
After holding their tongues over the past few weeks, the fans’ silence has been broken and it doesn’t make for pleasant listening/ reading for those in charge. In a statement posted on their website on Monday, the Ultras Gelsenkirchen didn’t mince their words. “The entire season is a moral declaration of bankruptcy. A sell-out of the Schalke values, which are often used for marketing purposes, but are otherwise trampled on” it read.
It hit out at “a club increasingly losing credibility and identification with Gelsenkirchen. Rarely has the club given a more catastrophic picture.”
The supervisory board were slammed with chairman Clemens Tönnies and board members Jochen Schneider and Alexander Jobst also getting it in the neck. The fact that the players waived part of their salaries and the fans didn’t demand season ticket refunds to help the club, and then saw the most vulnerable, lowest paid staff members laid off was wholly unacceptable they said.
The statement concluded by saying, “The family feeling that makes this club so special only seems to exist among the fans. We are shocked to see that decision-makers have long since turned away from our values and ideals. In the meantime, the majority of the members are stunned at what has become of our club. One thing is certain: we will not allow the club to be taken away from us, let alone be destroyed. The club must return to its mission statement and live up to the social responsibility contained within it.”
Harsh words and evidence that what has been happening off the field has hurt the fans just as much as the debacle that had unfurled off it. For the final Bundesliga match of the season this weekend, a protest has been organised to take place to coincide with the Königsblauen’s away match with Freiburg. A human chain will form around the club’s Veltins Arena home. The motto of the demo: “Schalke is not a slaughterhouse! Against the disassembly of our club!” is a clear dig at boss Clemens Tönnies, whose meat business has made headlines in Germany this week for a localised surge in Corona virus cases at one of his slaughter houses in Gutersloh leading to a localised lockdown.
The crisis taking place within David Wagner’s squad in the past few weeks is just the tip of the iceberg. The rot at Schalke goes much deeper and some real action is going to be needed if the fans are going to start to trust those in charge.