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PersonalFullname: Jozef Venglos
aka: Dr Jozef Venglos, Jo Venglos, the Gentleman, Dr Jo
Born: 18 Feb 1936
Birthplace: Ružomberok, Czechoslovakia
Celtic manager: July 1998 - June 1999
- Was the first foreigner to manage a club in the English top/first division (now it's the EPL): Aston Villa.
- Won the European Championships at under 23 level and, arguably his finest moment in coaching, the full European Championship with Czechoslovakia in 1976, beating Holland in the semi-finals and West Germany in the Final, as well as reaching the quarter finals of the Italia '90 World Cup.
- Appointed President of the European Coaches Union in 1995 as well as being chosen to coach European and World select teams in the 80's and 90's.
- Signed the great players Lubo & Mjallby for Celtic.Truthfully, he never made a bad signing.
- Disgracefully treated by the press (quite petty racism in some cases).
Manager 1998 - 1999
| "I have such a strong attachment to the club and it’s impossible not to feel passionate about Celtic when I watch the team. Most of the time, I watch European games as a coach. But when Celtic play, I am like any other fan.” |
Jo Venglos (2012)
The appointment of Dr Jozef Venglos as Celtic Head Coach to succeed Wim Jansen came as a complete surprise when it was announced on 17 July 1998. The tabloids were quick to ask in predictably mocking tones, 'Dr Who?' with the infamous and derogatory 'Celtic sign a blank Czech' headline by the Daily Record. Despite being the head of the European Coaches Union, a member of FIFA's technical committee at France '98, and having coached Czechoslovakia to European Championship success 1976 and the quarter finals of the World Cup at Italia '90, very few Celtic fans knew a great deal about him.
The dignified Slovak had also coached at such clubs as Sporting Lisbon, Aston Villa, and Fenerbahce, but this counted for nothing as far as the press were concerned. He had a hard act to follow, and many fans were irate at the time it took to land the new man.
All the indications before his appointment were that Venglos was not the first choice. It appears that that distinction belonged to Egil Olsen, who initially agreed to take the job but then backed out for reasons which are still not entirely clear. Egil Olsen has claimed it was due to the 3 month quarantine rules for his dog, and he couldn't do it! Daft idiot, and looks like we got a lucky escape as his previous role was as Norway manager which saw that side play the long ball game to the letter (very dull football) and his career afterwards was nothing much to write home about.
Hampered by the lateness of his own appointment, a severe injury crisis (exacerbated by the World Cup), a bonus row, and a much delayed entry into the transfer market, Venglos got off to a worryingly poor start. Only three of the first ten league matches were won, the team made an ignominious early exit from the League Cup, and after failing to qualify for the Champions League, matters reached a head on 3 November 1998 with the disastrous loss to Zurich in the UEFA Cup.
One immediate casualty was General Manager Jock Brown, but Venglos' own job was hanging by a thread when Celtic faced Rangers at Parkhead on 21 November. Strengthened by the signings of Riseth, Mjallby and Moravcik, Venglos' team responded with an unforgettable 5-1 thrashing of Rangers, which went down in history as "The Humping!". That gave Venglos much needed breathing space and results gradually improved. The support was very much behind him now and grew to love him.
A major setback occurred when the long-sought after new striker, Mark Viduka, went AWOL immediately after completing his transfer, and the team promptly lost 2-1 to Hearts at Tynecastle. After the winter break, Celtic began to play some of the most exhilarating football seen in years, with Larsson in stupendous form. Notably, it was Venglos who converted Larsson into the free-run central striker that was make him a legend. Some would argue it was more Venglos than even Jansen who really set off Larsson onto the road to greatness.
The biggest problem for Venglos was to turn around the team having started late in his job. When he brought in players, they could be sublime (Lubo and even the much maligned Viduka) but other players need time to bed in, and he had no lengthy pre-season to settle the squad of players and embed some tactics into their general play. There were numerous great performances through the season and we racked up high scores against many sides, such as a 7-1 win over Motherwell and a 5-1 win over Aberdeen, so it was highly entertaining to watch.
However, at the end, it was always asking a lot to make up the lost ground in the title race, and the challenge faltered on 24 April with a 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone which brought a long healthy run of performances to an end.
The league title was conceded in traumatic circumstances at Parkhead on 2 May in a controversial match v Rangers which was lost 3-0. The shocking performance by the referee (Hugh Dallas) was overshadowed by his being coined by an idiot supporter! That incident took the focus off of what was a bad refereeing performance onto our support, and the referee and Rangers got away with it.
The Scottish Cup remained the sole hope of consolation but in the final against Rangers, a much criticised team selection failed to rise to the occasion, giving an insipid performance which left many muttering darkly about the Head Coach's future.
Must add about the treatment met out to him by the press. Venglos was quite a placid gentleman in comparison to his counterpart at Rangers, yet he was the one being personally attacked and mocked too often. It was a slight on the state of Scottish football and journalism the way that Venglos was treated. On signing Lubo, the amount of mockery that was aimed at him was ridiculous with media commentators ignorant on the player and using his transfer as a way to take cheapshots at Venglos. How Lubo proved them wrong, but the underlying media attacks on Venglos should not after be brushed under the carpet.
Venglos was simply done by this point and had to handle too much. He did state that he wanted to continue but it was best that he stepped down for his own sake.
It says much for the genuine esteem in which Venglos was held that he was able to retain much of his dignity even after the new management team of Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes was installed a short while later. Venglos retained employment at Celtic, moving to the newly created post of European Technical Advisor, however nobody seems to know what he actually did in this role for the club in later years. The position was likely nominal and given out of respect.
The circumstances surrounding his season in charge were most unfortunate but many had felt at the outset that he was never really the man for this most demanding of jobs given his age. In truth he wasn't a man to stick around. In around a 32 year period he had been involved with around 18 different clubs! So it wasn't just age which was to possibly stop him from carrying on, as his history showed he was one to like to move around. However, he was highly respected by Chairman Fergus McCann (who was not an easy man to please for team managers), and McCann stated that Venglos was the manager he worked with that he favoured the most (and McCann worked with far more than he should have in his own short tenure).
We still all respect Venglos a great deal and hope him the very best.
Managerial Career at CelticLEAGUE
|LEAGUE CUP||SCOTTISH CUP|
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (European Cup)
Honours with Celticnone
|1953-1955||Began promising career as midfielder with Tatran Bratislava|
|1955-1965||Made his name with hometown team Slovan Bratislava; Capped 25 times at Junior, B and Olympic level; Awarded Ph.D in Physical Education from University of Bratislava in 1955.|
|1962-1963||Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport|
|1967||Appointed manager of Australian National team|
|1969||Returned to Czechoslovakia to manage FC Kosice|
|1973||Joined Slovan Bratislava as manager; League and Cup successes in 1974 & 1975|
|1976||Part of Czechoslovakia coaching group which took the National team to win the European Championship final against Germany|
|1978||Appointed Czech National Team Head Coach; leads the team to third in 1980 European Championship.|
|1982||Resigned after poor showing by Czech national team at the World Cup in Spain|
|1983||Appointed Head Coach of Sporting Lisbon|
|1985||Leaves Sporting Lisbon; coaches in Malaysia|
|1986||Head of FIFA study Group, World Cup in Mexico|
|1990||Czech National Team Coach again taking the side to quarter finals of the World Cup in Italy|
|1990-1991||Manager of Aston Villa|
|1991-1992||Head Coach of Fenerbahce|
|1993||With the separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, becomes Head Coach of Slovakia|
|1994||Head of FIFA Study Group at World Cup in USA|
|1995||President of European Coaching Union|
|1998||Head of FIFA Technical Committee and led Study Group at World Cup in France|
|1998-1999||Head Coach of Celtic Football Club|
|2000||Acted as Coach, Scout and Technical Adviser to a number of clubs whilst in the process of setting up his own football academy in Slovakia|
|2002||Appointed Manager of JEF Utd; Head of FIFA Technical Study Group at Korea/Japan World Cup|
|2004||Acted as Technical adviser and scout to Aberdeen|
|2004-2007||President of European Union Football Trainers Group in which role he gave coaching seminars worldwide|
Quotes"Celtic sign a blank Czech!"
Daily Record's wonderfully warm headline for a Scottish welcome on Jozef Venglos' appointment in July 1998
"I see myself as a coach not a diplomat. You have to realise I am a new coach and this is a new atmosphere. When you are a coach you always hope to find a good dressing-room. The players are doing their duties very well."
Jo Venglos (on questioning by media over player bonus wrangles)
"I don't want to mix up one game with another. When you go to the market, apples are apples and plums are plums."
Jo Venglos (1999)
“In my position, I watch a lot of European games and study them. I look at the tactics, psychology and pattern of play. But when Celtic play I act more like a fan. I was impressed by their tactics against Barcelona, but during the game I didn’t act like a neutral. Afterwards, I looked at what happened in greater detail. But when the game was on, I kept my fingers crossed for everyone at Celtic. I have such a strong attachment to the club and it’s impossible not to feel passionate about Celtic when I watch the team. Most of the time, I watch European games as a coach. But when Celtic play, I am like any other fan.”
Jo Venglos in interview with the Sun (Dec 2012)
"What a smashing guy he is, I've said it before and I'll say it again, he is the finest man I haver ever met in my life. That's quite an accolade. The most decent, honourable, full of integrity, warm, friendly, supportive."
Jock Brown (Celtic General manager) on Jo Venglos CU Podcast 210 (2014)
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