"It was not my fault!"
Rudi Gutendorf talks to Andre Kruger about Australia, Terry Venables and oh, oh, John Yzendoorn....

AK: You are now living near your hometown Koblenz and working as a technical director for the club TUS Koblenz. Does it mean that your time as a globetrotter is over?

RG: Of course not! If I get an interesting offer, I want to take it. Even from Australia, if it is a first division (Ericsson Cup) club.

AK: I think you worked in 52 different countries as a coach. Do you still feel home in Germany?

RG: It's nice to come back to Germany all the time, especially if I have been away from home for a long time. I feel very well in my beautiful 180 year old house in Westerwald near my home town Koblenz. Our seven year old son Fabian goes to school here and also plays football, as a forward.

AK: What is the difference between Germany and Australia?

RG: The weather in Australia is wonderful, there is not so much rain and no cold days like in Germany. Also the mentality of the people and the relaxed 'savour vivre' is great on the fifth continent. Sometimes my wife and I are homesick for Australia.

AK: Your time as a coach in Australia was a long time ago. Are you still interested in Australian soccer?

RG: I love Australia and the soccer there, although I had the big disappointment in 1981. But I also had some successful days there, and I have never forgotten these times.

AK: Soccer Australia signed Terry Venables as their new coach. Do you think that a trainer of that international class can change something in Australia?

RG: I think that Venables, a coach of great experience. can change many things. His positive influence is a big chance for Australian soccer. I hope and wish that he reaches the World Cup with his team.

AK: Do you think that Australian soccer has got stronger in the last twenty years, or since you finished there?

RG: For sure it is going upwards, because of the fantastic youth work over the years. I started this work together with my assistant coach Les Scheinflug.

AK: Time for some word (name) association! Just a few words about the following people please. Sir Arthur George?

A very distinguished President and a great personality. Today you don't find many people in the football business like him.

Eddie Krncevic?

One of my loveliest players, who was very successful in Europe. I selected him for the national team when he was only 18 years old.

Alan Davidson?

A great talent, who did not use the chance to do more with his career.

John Yzendoorn?

A player who never thanks me that I selected him for the national team, on the contrary. From the first day on he sabotaged my work. He was the most unpleasant player I met in my career as a soccer coach.

AK: The loss against New Zealand on May 16, 1981 in Sydney (0-2), known as 'Black Sunday', was one of the biggest disasters in the history of Australian soccer. What do you think about that game? Did you make mistakes and do you feel responsible for the Socceroos missing the 1982 finals?

RG: It was not my fault. In the deciding game against New Zealand some of my top performance players are injured or half-injured (?). Add to this the fact that the Kiwis had their team of the century. Never again was a New Zealand team as strong as the one from 1981. They had many great players, much more better than the ones from Australia.

AK: Most of the people in Australia said that your national team was too young. What do you think about that today?

RG: I put up with that. I had too may young and inexperienced players in my team.

AK: You also had some successful games during your time in Australia, against New York Cosmos, CSSR, Milan and some English clubs..

RG: First class clubs!

AK: But you had some people from the press and some of the coaches against you. Do you think that was envy or just because you weren't born in Australia?

RG: It was out of envy! Especially from the Victoria coach at the time. Thank god that I forget his name, I think Mac Andrew or Andry?? (Len McKendry) He and his friend John Yzendoorn made sabotage of my work. Yzendoorn put a little Walkman inside our team sessions and put things that I said ontape. Later he played a few of my words in front of people from the press, but seperate from their context.
Another point was that many people, especially the coaches, get angry that not an English guy got the job of the national coach.

AK: If you could turn back the clock would you do things differently?

RG: I had done the best I could, day and night. I worked fanatically for the big aim, the World Cup. It was not possible to do more.
"Who does what he can, is worth to be living" (Goethe)

AK: Even today, you still have fans in Australia. What would you like to say to them?

RG: I have a house in Sydney (Coogee Beach) and many friends there. On the occasion of the interview for Studs Up I send many regards to my friends in Australia.

AK: Mr Gutendorf, thank you very much and good luck for the future.

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