In February 1987, knives were out for Harald ‘Toni’ Schumacher. The German national team star and captain of 1. FC Köln had decided to release “Anpfiff”. In his book, the brilliant keeper lashed out at lacklustre teammates and ignorant football association officials. He unmasked training camps as boozy sex parties and claimed doping was ubiquitous. Schumacher was sacked by his club and subsequently ignored by national team managers, missing out on the triumphant 1990 World Cup.
“Einwurf” is not a continuation of those vicious attacks which Schumacher still declares as completely true. In his new book, the 1. FC Köln vice president shares his points of view on technologies in refereeing and contemporary football multimedia entertainment but also lists his 1. FC Köln all-star side. Toni’s dream team features, of course, Hans Schäfer, Heinz Flohe and Wolfgang Overath while Thomas Häßler, Pierre Littbarski and Luks Podolski did not make the cut.
Schumacher can unfurl a decent array of stories as interesting experiences have passed his way – from losing two World Cup finals to being dismissed as manager by a plastered club president at half-time. Unfortunately, “Einwurf” lacks detail when fans surely wished he would have revealed more.
Schumacher reflects on his childhood (his mother would take on sewing jobs from neighbours to finance her football-mad son’s trips to games) and turning points of his career – from playing the 1980 UEFA Euro final with a metacarpal fracture to kung-fu kicking Patrick Battiston at the World Cup two years later.
The former Schalke 04 and Fenerbahce keeper’s medical record is impressive: serious knee damage, numerous fractures and various other ailments would surely keep the average football pro of 2018 sidelined for much longer than they kept ‘Toni’ from getting between the goalposts again.
“Einwurf” is far off from being as contentious as “Anpfiff” and unlikely to cause a hurricane in the press as the goalkeeper’s 1987 oeuvre. Quite dull stretches offering rather general assessments on recent developments in soccer take turns with short chapters featuring anecdotes about his time in Turkey (immense hospitality), at Bayern Munich (poor season but grateful for working with Sepp Maier) and in Dortmund (one final Bundesliga appearance at the age of 42).
Einwurf. Wahrheiten über den Fußball und mein Leben
By Toni Schumacher
Published by Heyne (www.heyne.de)