There was an English Premier League-esque atmosphere and all the banter that comes with it when Hout Bay United Football Club hosted Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp last week.
Klopp, who previously managed Borussia Dortmund and played for Mainz 05, attended a fund-raising event in Hout Bay last Wednesday.
During his time at Borussia Dortmund, he won back-to-back German league titles. He became Liverpool manager in 2015.
Last week fans had travelled from around the city and from as far as Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Johannesburg to hear their idol speak.
“Earlier I heard a little bit of a boo. Is there a Man United fan? Goodbye,” he joked. The crowd of at least 100 people lapped up the charismatic manager’s thoughts on football management and life in general.
“There was a lot of luck and coincidences, especially with my playing career.”
But, he said, he always wanted to be a manager. “I had no clue if I could do it, but I knew I wanted to try. I loved it. I knew early that I wanted to do it.” Klopp then went on to study sports science.
When asked about his managerial style, he said: “I believe the most important thing in life is common sense. It makes lives easier. We have to entertain the people. It’s not about boring football, I know a lot of fans of other clubs are used to it. I really think it is an important part.
“I love the spectacle. I love when it is going up and down and when there are chances. I love more a shot on the crossbar than a cross. You have to try and that’s how life should be. If you don’t try, you are not going to get it.
“I’m not sure of my management style (but) to be honest, but I love football players. They are much more skilled than I ever could have been. That is the biggest honour in my life – to work with them.
“I watch them and think. ‘How is he doing that?’ I can’t help them in a technical way, but I can help in a tactical way.
“I don’t like a victory with 80%. If you are not completely done, not exhausted, it is a waste of time. I know that in professional football that’s not always possible because you need to go for the result. But I still have this feeling. I’m not the smartest manager, but maybe I’m the most passionate.”
When asked about the drama of the Premier League that most Cape Town fans only get to see on TV, he said it was not all about what you read in the newspapers.
“The coaching area is like Las Vegas; what you say in the coaching zone, stays in the coaching zone. The most important thing is, I want to win. I’m not really concentrated on what other people are doing. We are not all divas,” he said.
When a few lucky fans in the crowd got to ask Klopp a question, one asked him what had made him choose Liverpool.
To this he replied that after having left Borussia Dortmund, he had the chance to join “another historical English club” but turned down the offer. When Liverpool had come knocking, though, he said it just felt right.
Asked about regrets, he said the one game he’d love to be able to replay would be the 2013 Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, which the latter won 2-1.