Christian Gross

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Christian Gross
Personal information
Full name Christian Jürgen Gross
Date of birth (1954-08-14) 14 August 1954 (age 61)
Place of birth Zürich, Switzerland
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Al-Ahli (manager)
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– Al-Ahli

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Christian Jürgen Gross (born 14 August 1954 in Zürich) is a Swiss professional football manager and former footballer, currently manages Al-Ahli in Saudi Professional League. He was manager of FC Basel from 1 July 1999 to 27 May 2009,[1] winning four Swiss Super Leagues and four Swiss Cups.

As coach of Tottenham Hotspur between November 1997 and September 1998, Gross became the first Swiss to manage in the Premier League.[2]

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,[3] 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.[4] He then joined Grasshoppers as head coach in 1993.[5] 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[6] and endured a tough time; lasting nine months[7] at Tottenham starting in the relegation zone. 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.[8]

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.[4] 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.[9][10][11]

Gross' position became increasingly untenable as the 1998–99 season approached, and when Spurs lost two of their opening three matches, chairman Alan Sugar decided enough was enough and ended Gross' contract, blaming the media for destroying his reputation.[12] He had won only three of his last 10 matches.[7]


Gross returned to his native Switzerland, finding work as the coach of Basel in July 1999.[3] 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.[4] 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.[13]

On 27 May 2009, Gross was sacked by Basel after ten years.[14]

VfB Stuttgart[edit]

On 6 December 2009, Gross became head coach of VfB Stuttgart[15] 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.[16]

Young Boys[edit]

Young Boys sacked the former manager Vladimir Petković on 7 May 2011 and appointed Gross as the new head coach.[17] He agreed a two-year contract with the club and was sacked at the end of April 2012 after a run of poor results.[18]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 10 February 2016
Team From To Record
G W D L Win % Ref.
FC Wil 1 July 1988[3] 30 June 1993[3]
Grasshoppers 1 July 1993[3] 19 November 1997[3] 161 88 41 32 54.66
Tottenham Hotspur 20 November 1997[6] 6 September 1998[12] 30 10 8 12 33.33
Basel 1 July 1999[3] 27 May 2009[14] 498 289 115 94 58.03
VfB Stuttgart 6 December 2009[15] 13 October 2010[16] 36 20 7 9 55.56 [19]
Young Boys 8 May 2011[17] 30 April 2012[18] 40 16 15 9 40.00
Al-Ahli 1 July 2014 Present 63 44 18 1 69.84
Total 828 467 204 157 56.40



Grasshopper Club Zürich
FC Basel



  1. ^ FC Basel. "FC Basel – Die offizielle Homepage". Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  2. ^ "Around the World: Switzerland and the Barclays Premier League". Premier League. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Christian Gross" (in German). kicker. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Doyle, Paul (20 November 2007). "Guardian Unlimited: Sport blog: On Second Thoughts: Christian Gross". London: Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  5. ^ "Grasshoppers Zürich » Trainerhistorie". World Football. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Doyle, Paul (20 November 2007). "On Second Thoughts: Christian Gross". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "Christian Gross: 25 November 1997–5 September 1998". Topspurs. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  10. ^ "September 5 – Sir Alan Sugar's Apprentice". 5 September 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  11. ^ "F365's Most Memorable Press Conferences – F365 Features – Football365 News". Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  12. ^ a b "Gross: 'I was sacked'". BBC News. 6 September 1998. Retrieved 8 April 2009. 
  13. ^ "Former Tottenham manager attacked by yobs". The Daily Mirror. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Gross to leave Basel". Sky Sports. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  15. ^ a b "Gross soll es richten". kicker (in German). 6 December 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Gross beurlaubt – Bobic: "Keine Lösungsansätze"". (in German). 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Gross übernimmt die Young Boys". kicker (in German). 8 May 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Birrer, Peter B. (30 April 2012). "Ende des grossen Traums". NZZ (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "VfB Stuttgart" (in German). kicker. Retrieved 29 January 2014.