Former Wicker set to take on Fergie in Champions League

SOUTHWICK Football Club were filling the columns of the national sport pages last week after it was revealed that Schalke boss Ralf Rangnick played for Wickers in the 1979-80 season.

Rangnick has guided Schalke into the last four of the Champions League and he will pit his wits against Sir Alex Ferguson when they take on Manchester United in the semi-finals, with the first leg next week.

He made two starts for the Southwick first team that season, both in the Gilbert Rice Floodlight Cup, and came on as a substitute in eight Sussex County League games and an FA Vase tie.

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He joined Wickers while he was a student in Sussex and the club finished second in the County League that campaign.

Southwick secretary Paul Symes first found out about Rangnick’s involvement with Wickers at the beginning of the season when Sky phoned him as the German had been linked with the Liverpool job.

Symes said: “That was the first I’d heard of it so, since then, nothing has really been a surprise.

“I’ve had phone calls from The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, who have all run stories and there’s a fairly good chance that he’ll be a Premier League manager in the next 18 months, which is why the nationals are making so much fuss about it.”

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Gary Brown was Wickers’ manager the season that Rangnick played at Old Barn Way and said: “It’s just amazing what he has done.

“But he was one of those people who always gave it his all.

“He was a really nice guy, who worked hard and was great in training. He was a midfielder and didn’t play many games for us as we had a very good side, but he was probably the best trainer we had.

“Gary Player once said that the more you practise, the luckier you get and you can see that with Ralf and I wish him well for the future.”

After returning back to Germany, Rangnick started his coaching career in Germany at Viktoria Backnang and has since managed Stuggart, Schalke and Hoffenheim, before he returned to Schalke in March and guided them to the semi-finals of the Champions League after a 7-3 aggregate win over defending champions Inter Milan.