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Christian Gross
Personal information
Full name Christian Jürgen Gross
Date of birth 14 August 1954 (1954-08-14) (age 55)
Place of birth Zürich, Switzerland
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current club VfB Stuttgart (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1975 Grasshopper
1975–1978 Lausanne Sports
1978–1980 Neuchâtel Xamax 50 (3)
1980–1982 VfL Bochum 29 (4)
1982–1985 FC St. Gallen
1985–1988 FC Lugano
National team
1978 Switzerland 01 (0)
Teams managed
1988–1993 FC Wil
1993–1997 Grasshopper
1997–1998 Tottenham Hotspur
1999–2009 FC Basel
2009– VfB Stuttgart
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Christian Gross (born 14 August 1954 in Zurich) is a professional football coach and former player, currently managing VfB Stuttgart. He was manager of FC Basel from 1 July 1999 to 27 May 2009.[1]


Playing career

Gross began his playing career at Grasshoppers Zurich, which he left in 1975. After three years at Lausanne Sports and two seasons at Neuchatel 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.

International career

Gross was capped once for Switzerland.

Management career


Early success

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 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.[2] He then joined Grasshoppers Zurich as head coach in 1993. Under Gross, Grasshoppers won two Swiss championships and the Swiss Cup. Gross's success with Grasshoppers meant he was a very highly-rated coach in his native Switzerland, but he was still relatively 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

Gross endured a tough nine months 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 Grasshoppers, was denied a work permit by the British government and so was unable to take up this role at Tottenham.[3]

Gross' initial fortunes were mixed; a 2–0 win over Everton in his first game in charge of Spurs was quickly followed up by a heavy 6–1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea on the manager's home debut. However, despite some signs of improvement, he was relentlessly ridiculed by the British tabloids.[2] The tabloid ridicule of Gross was often linked to his poor grasp of English and first (infamous) 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.[4][5][6]

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.[7]

FC Basel

After being fired from the Tottenham job, Gross returned to his native Switzerland, finding work as the coach of FC Basel. Although the British tabloids retained an image of Gross as a largely incompetent figure, he didn't care and worked steadily to rebuild Basel into the premier force in Swiss football and achieved greater success than when manager of Grasshoppers.

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.[2] He took Basel on another European adventure 3 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 F.C. Zurich on a tram after Basel defeated F.C. Zurich that day. He received no serious injuries.[8]

On 27 May 2009 Gross was sacked by FC Basel after ten years.[9]

VfB Stuttgart

On 6 December 2009 he became manager of VfB Stuttgart[10] and signed a contract until 30 June 2011[11].


Career as Coach
Period Club Titles
1988–1993 Switzerland FC Wil Promoted to 1. Liga
Promoted to Nationalliga B
1993–1997 Switzerland Grasshopper Club Zürich 1994 - Swiss Cup
1995 - Championship
1996 - Championship
1997–1998 England Tottenham Hotspur
1999–2009 Switzerland FC Basel 2002 - Swiss Cup
2002 - Championship
2002 - UEFA Champions League 2nd Group Stage
2003 - Swiss Cup
2004 - Championship
2005 - Championship
2007 - Swiss Cup
2008 - Swiss Cup
2008 - Championship
2008 - Super League Coach of the Year
2009– Germany VfB Stuttgart


  1. ^ FC Basel. "FC Basel - Die offizielle Homepage". Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  2. ^ a b c Logged in as click here to log out. "Guardian Unlimited: Sport blog: On Second Thoughts: Christian Gross". Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  3. ^ 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 Dec 31, 1997
  4. ^ "the world famous unofficial home of Spurs on the internet". Topspurs. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "F365's Most Memorable Press Conferences - F365 Features - Football365 News".,17033,8750_4239904,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  7. ^ "FA Carling Premiership | Gross: 'I was sacked'". BBC News. 1998-09-06. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  8. ^ Former Tottenham manager attacked by yobs-The Daily Mirror
  9. ^ Gross to leave Basel-Sky Sports
  10. ^ "Christian Gross is new VfB trainer". 2009-12-06. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  11. ^ ""I demand passion"". 2009-12-06. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 


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