Ahen Christian Keller started his work as managing director at Jahn Regensburg in May 2013, the club from the Upper Palatinate had just been relegated to the third division. Two seasons and three coaches later, the Regensburg team was relegated to the fourth division, the Regionalliga Bayern, under his aegis in 2015. The opponents in the newly built and 52 million euro football arena were henceforth Illertissen, Memmingen and Buchbach. For the Jahn fans, the sports economist Keller was the “gravedigger of football” at the time. His departure – just a matter of time.
Around eight and a half years later, Christian Keller is still in office and has developed Jahn Regensburg into a stable and recognized second division club, which is currently experiencing a soaring position with second place after nine match days. And right now the club is saying goodbye to Keller. Not at the end of the season in June, as is usual in football, but at the end of October, in less than three weeks. The Bavarian derby on October 31st in Ingolstadt will be the 42-year-old’s last game as managing director. Right now, after the best second division start in the club’s history.
It’s a long-planned farewell of his own free will, with which he surprised all non-insiders. “I already decided at Christmas 2019 that my time at SSV Jahn should end in autumn 2021,” said Keller in a statement from the club. As the sole managing director, Keller is currently responsible for both the sporting and commercial-administrative areas in Regensburg. In order to develop more clout, according to Keller, two managing directors will be needed in the future, as is the case with other clubs. “I’m paving the way for this solution. If change, then completely. ”He also stands by this in times when he could actually reap the fruits of his commitment.
For the time being he keeps his apartment
The second motivation: All of the goals on the “Jahn to-do list” that Keller set himself when he took office in 2013 have been completed. Jahn is economically on solid foundations and is heading for his fifth year in the second class. The last major milestone for Keller was the move into the new, modern functional building in the south of the city.
Despite the rational attempts at explanation, the question arises for outsiders why the end of the contract was kept secret for so long. “We wanted to prevent speculation and shift the focus away from myself so that my successor can be prepared in peace,” says Keller now. “And that a contract ends in autumn is better than in June, because strategic preparations for the new season will begin in November.”
The association seems to see it the same way and has been working for some time on the replacement of the management, which is to be presented in October. “The departure of Christian Keller naturally means a turning point,” said CEO Hans Rothammer in a press release. Whether the development has a negative impact on the team around coach Mersad Selimbegovic in the league will show – on Friday evening (6.30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the 2nd Bundesliga and on Sky) at Jahn’s second division top game at third-placed SC Paderborn.
Keller is prepared to keep his apartment for the time being and to train his successors if necessary. However, he is silent about his future plans. He rules out a comeback as a university lecturer in sports management for the next 15 years. After a four-month break, it will probably result in a job in football or in business.