Christian Gross

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Christian Gross
Personal information
Full name Christian Jürgen Gross[1]
Date of birth (1954-08-14) 14 August 1954 (age 64)[1]
Place of birth Zürich, Switzerland[1]
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1975 Grasshopper
1975–1978 Lausanne-Sport
1978–1980 Neuchâtel Xamax 50 (3)
1980–1982 VfL Bochum 29 (4)
1982–1985 St. Gallen
1985–1988 Lugano
National team
1978 Switzerland 1 (0)
Teams managed
1988–1993 Wil
1993–1997 Grasshopper
1997–1998 Tottenham Hotspur
1999–2009 Basel
2009–2010 VfB Stuttgart
2011–2012 Young Boys
2014–2016 Al-Ahli
2016–2017 Al-Ahli
2018–2019 Zamalek SC
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Christian Jürgen Gross (born 14 August 1954) is a Swiss professional football current manager and former footballer. He was manager of FC Basel from 1 July 1999 to 27 May 2009,[2] winning four Swiss Super Leagues and four Swiss Cups.

As manager of Tottenham Hotspur between November 1997 and September 1998, Gross became the first Swiss to manage in the Premier League.[3]

Playing career[edit]

Gross began his playing career at Grasshoppers, which he left in 1975. After three years at Lausanne Sports and two seasons at Neuchâtel Xamax, he moved to Germany in 1980 to play for VfL Bochum of the Bundesliga. In two seasons Gross made 29 appearances in the Bundesliga and scored four goals. He then returned to Switzerland and spent three years at FC St. Gallen and FC Lugano. Gross was capped once for Switzerland.

Coaching career[edit]

Early success[edit]

Gross began his managerial career at Swiss side FC Wil in the 2. Liga (the fourth-highest level), for whom he was active as player-manager. During his reign from 1988 to 1993,[4] Wil climbed into the 1. Liga and then the Nationalliga B (now the Challenge League). While at Wil, Gross developed a reputation for an emphasis on fitness and hard work.[5] He then joined Grasshoppers as head coach in 1993.[6] Under Gross, Grasshopper won two Swiss championships and the Swiss Cup. Gross's success with Grasshopper meant he was a very highly rated coach in his native Switzerland, but he was still little-known outside central Europe and it was a major shock when in November 1997 he was chosen to succeed Gerry Francis as manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

Gross was hired on 20 November 1997,[7] and endured a tough time; lasting nine months with Tottenham starting in the relegation zone.[8] To further his troubles, his most trusted aide, the Swiss fitness coach Fritz Schmid, who had been an integral part of Gross' training plans at Grasshopper, was denied a work permit by the British government and so was unable to take up this role at Tottenham.[9]

Gross' initial fortunes were mixed; his debut was a 1–0 loss to Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane, followed by a 2–0 win over Everton at Goodison Park, with a heavy 6–1 home defeat at the hands of Chelsea. However, despite some signs of improvement, he was relentlessly ridiculed by the British tabloids.[5] The tabloid ridicule of Gross was often linked to his poor grasp of English and first Spurs press conference, where he arrived late from Heathrow airport brandishing a London Underground ticket with the words: "I want this to become my ticket to the dreams".[10][11][12]

Gross' position became increasingly untenable as the 1998–99 season approached, and when Spurs lost two of their opening three matches, chairman Alan Sugar ended Gross' contract, blaming the media for destroying his reputation.[13] He had won three of his last 10 matches.[8]


Gross returned to his native Switzerland, finding work as the manager of Basel in July 1999.[4] He worked to rebuild Basel into the premier force in Swiss football and achieved greater success than when manager of Grasshopper.

Under Gross' guidance, Basel won four Swiss championships, four Swiss Cups, and mounted a fairytale run in the UEFA Champions League in 2002, beating eventual finalists Juventus as well as knocking out Celtic and drawing with Liverpool (twice) and Manchester United. Gross' success in these games against British sides went a long way towards restoring his reputation among the British media and fans.[5] He took Basel on another European adventure three seasons later as they reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup in 2005–06, before bowing out to English side Middlesbrough 4–3 on aggregate despite leading 2–0 after the first leg at St. Jakob-Park.

On 17 May 2009, Gross was attacked by fans of Zürich on a tram after Basel defeated Zürich that day. He received no serious injuries.[14] On 27 May, he was sacked after ten years at the club.[15]

VfB Stuttgart[edit]

On 6 December 2009, Gross became head coach of VfB Stuttgart[16] Sensationally he secured qualification to the Europa league. His dismissal from this job was announced on 13 October 2010 after six defeats in seven matches, when the club found itself at the bottom of the table.[17]

Young Boys[edit]

Young Boys sacked the former manager Vladimir Petković on 7 May 2011 and appointed Gross as the new head coach.[18] He is signed a two-year contract with the club but was sacked at the end of April 2012 after a run of poor results.[19]

Al Ahli Jeddah[edit]

Gross was appointed manager of the Saudi club in 2014 but refused to renew his contract allowing him to leave. In 2016 with the sacking of José Gomes, Gross returned to the club for a second spell.[20]

Zamalek SC[edit]

In April 2018, Gross initially signed a two-year contract with the Egyptian club Zamalek SC, the deal appeared to collapse in May, but it was confirmed to be a one-year deal in July.[21] On 1 June 2019 Egypt Today confirmed that Gross had been fired from his position, President Mortada Mansour of the club told Mehwar TV that "Gross is specialist in failure".[22]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 26 May 2019
Team From To Record
G W D L Win % Ref.
FC Wil 1 July 1988[4] 30 June 1993[4]
Grasshoppers 1 July 1993[4] 19 November 1997[4] 161 88 41 32 054.66
Tottenham Hotspur 20 November 1997[7] 6 September 1998[13] 30 10 8 12 033.33
Basel 1 July 1999[4] 27 May 2009[15] 498 289 115 94 058.03
VfB Stuttgart 6 December 2009[16] 13 October 2010[17] 36 20 7 9 055.56 [23]
Young Boys 8 May 2011[18] 30 April 2012[19] 40 16 15 9 040.00
Al-Ahli 1 July 2014 1 July 2016 82 57 19 6 069.51
Al-Ahli 2 October 2016 20 June 2017 37 24 6 7 064.86
Zamalek SC 13 July 2018 1 June 2019 47 31 11 5 065.96
Total 908 515 219 174 056.72



Grasshopper Club Zürich

FC Basel


Zamalek SC



  1. ^ a b c d "Gross: Christian Jürgen Gross: Manager". BDFutbol. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  2. ^ FC Basel. "FC Basel – Die offizielle Homepage". Retrieved 8 April 2009.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Around the World: Switzerland and the Barclays Premier League". Premier League. 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Christian Gross" (in German). kicker. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Doyle, Paul (20 November 2007). "Guardian Unlimited: Sport blog: On Second Thoughts: Christian Gross". London: Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  6. ^ "Grasshoppers Zürich » Trainerhistorie". World Football. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b Doyle, Paul (20 November 2007). "On Second Thoughts: Christian Gross". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  8. ^ a b Macaskill, Sandy; Gilmour, Rod (30 September 2008). "Christian Gross to Juande Ramos: Tottenham managers that came and went". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Maier claims first downhill skiing victory Jordan equals Abdul-Jabbar record as Bulls down Mavs Kallis leads South Africa to safety in first test cric". Turkish Daily News. 31 December 1997. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  10. ^ "Christian Gross: 25 November 1997–5 September 1998". Topspurs. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  11. ^ "September 5 – Sir Alan Sugar's Apprentice". 5 September 2007. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  12. ^ "F365's Most Memorable Press Conferences – F365 Features – Football365 News". Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Gross: 'I was sacked'". BBC News. 6 September 1998. Retrieved 8 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Former Tottenham manager attacked by yobs". The Daily Mirror. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  15. ^ a b "Gross to leave Basel". Sky Sports. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  16. ^ a b "Gross soll es richten". kicker (in German). 6 December 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Gross beurlaubt – Bobic: "Keine Lösungsansätze"". (in German). 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  18. ^ a b "Gross übernimmt die Young Boys". kicker (in German). 8 May 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  19. ^ a b Birrer, Peter B. (30 April 2012). "Ende des grossen Traums". NZZ (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  20. ^ Mohamed Farouk (3 October 2016). "Gross reappointed as Al Ahli manager after the sacking of Gomes". Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  21. ^ Tarek Talaat (3 July 2018). "Swiss coach Christian Gross agrees deal with Zamalek after all". BBC. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Zamalek President fires team coach Christian Gross". Egypt Today. 1 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  23. ^ "VfB Stuttgart" (in German). kicker. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  24. ^ a b "Switzerland - List of Champions". Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Switzerland Cup Finals". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  26. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia – List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Saudi Arabia - List of Champions". RSSSF. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  28. ^ Maher, Hatem (6 October 2018). "Egypt's Zamalek win Saudi-Egyptian Super Cup with 2-1 victory at Hilal". ahramonline. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  29. ^ Logan Holmes. "FC Basel, Christian Gross and Tottenham's Swiss Connections". Retrieved 29 April 2018.