GIF Sundsvall Parts Ways with Manager Douglas Jakobsen as Superettan Struggles Continue
Date: August 21, 2023
Jakob Svensson, Swedish Football Express.
Sundsvall, Sweden – GIF Sundsvall, currently positioned 13th in the Superettan – the second tier of Swedish football – has announced the dismissal of their head coach, Douglas Jakobsen, as the club’s disappointing season continues. Jakobsen’s tenure was marked by a string of underwhelming performances, including just three victories, two draws, and a staggering nine losses. Coming off the back of a shock relegation from the Allsvenskan just the year before, the pressure was really on Jakobsen to build a competitive squad, but it appears he has been unable to do so.
The decision to part ways with Jakobsen, who had been in charge since the start of the season, was announced by GIF Sundsvall’s management during a press conference held earlier today. The decision comes on the heels of growing frustration among fans, who have witnessed their beloved club’s descent into the lower echelons of the Superettan standings. Jakobsen, 28, hired as an ‘up and coming’ football manager, had been brought in with high hopes to turn the team’s fortunes around, but the results proved elusive. GIF Sundsvall had previously set their sights on promotion to the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s top-tier league, but the club’s current performance has left them lingering dangerously close to the relegation zone.
The sacking of Douglas Jakobsen comes after a string of disappointing results, including three defeats in a row against Orebro, GAIS and Helsingborgs. The team’s inability to secure consistent wins despite producing high quality chances had left supporters disillusioned, and mounting pressure from stakeholders within the club ultimately led to the decision to part ways with Jakobsen. In a statement released by the club’s board, GIF Sundsvall Chairman, Hans Selling, said, “We would like to express our gratitude to Douglas Jakobsen for his efforts during his tenure with the club. Unfortunately, results on the field did not meet the expectations we had set for the season. We believe a change in leadership is necessary to revitalize the team and navigate the challenges ahead.”
The search for a new head coach to guide the team out of their current predicament is already underway. GIF Sundsvall is looking for a manager who can bring fresh ideas and strategies to the table and, more importantly, reverse the club’s fortunes in the Superettan.
Fans are now left to ponder the club’s future, hoping that this change in leadership will spark a resurgence that can salvage what remains of the season. GIF Sundsvall’s next match, under interim management, is scheduled for this weekend against Landskrona BoIS, and it will be closely watched by supporters who are eagerly anticipating a turnaround in their club’s fortunes.
In the age of the mighty Norsemen, when battles raged and clans vied for glory, there arose a fellowship that would etch its name into the annals of the Northlands. This is the saga of GIF Sundsvall, a club whose journey through time mirrors the heroic tales of yore, filled with valour, trials, and enduring legends.
In the year 1903, under the watchful gaze of the Allfather, Odin, and the spirits of the North, GIF Sundsvall emerged from the mists of time. They were known as “Gymnastik och Idrottsföreningen Sundsvall,” meaning the Gymnastics and Sports Association of Sundsvall, and their journey began with the passion of warriors for sports and competition. Like the early Viking settlers of Scandinavia, GIF Sundsvall navigated the unknown waters of regional leagues, marking their presence with each victory. As they conquered these lands, the clan of Sundsvall climbed the football hierarchy, akin to the Norsemen who ventured west to new territories.
The ultimate quest was to reach the shores of the Allsvenskan, the highest league in the land. In 1955, they attained this grand ambition. While the Viking clans sought the elusive treasures of the world, GIF Sundsvall held the line in Allsvenskan, their shields strong and their battles fierce, though the coveted league title eluded them. In the tumultuous 1980s, the club faced their Ragnarök, a period of relegation and hardship. The call to rebuild, much like the thunderous roar of Thor’s hammer, resounded through the ages. They embarked on a quest to regain their former glory, much like Odin’s determination to regain his lost eye. With the dawn of a new millennium, GIF Sundsvall rose from the ashes like the phoenix. A resurgence, similar to the legendary tales of rebirth, saw the club re-enter the Allsvenskan. In the year 2001, they reached a lofty 4th place, their finest hour in the modern era. Like the brave Viking warriors of old, they dared to challenge the giants of the league.
The halls of Valhalla echo with the clamor of GIF Sundsvall’s devoted fans. They rally behind their warriors with the fervour of a Viking horde. The sacred battleground, known as Idrottsparken, welcomes the valiant and can host over 7,700 souls, becoming a sacred place where legends are made. In the spirit of the Northmen, GIF Sundsvall Football Club’s saga is one of resilience and valour. They have fought like the mightiest of warriors on the football field, navigating the stormy seas of competition. Through their strong youth development and unwavering community ties, GIF Sundsvall will continue to etch its legacy upon the sagas of the North, ensuring its name is remembered for all time.
We. Are. In!
The coaching team are poor and we are somewhat understaffed: Benny Mattsson will start as my assistant and offers nearly ten years of experience in that role, Marcus Tilly is the Head of Youth Development and we are lucky enough to have our own Director – Tommy Naurin, who feels like he might be in the job due to his close connections with the club, dating back to 2009. Initially, this backroom team will do – simply because I haven’t got the links within football to extend them. I’ll pop some adverts out but, if I was Benny, or Marcus, or Tommy, I’d be pretty annoyed to see me usurped from a manager with no prior experience in the game – so I’ll recruit around them.
My first foray into a club is always to look at where they were before so that I can measure the impact of my changes. There are some nice new statistical graphs on FM24 (I think) but the key things I want to change are here:
We score pretty well but are pretty weak defensively, with a high number of blocks (4.61) and clearances (17.17), indicating that our defensive work has been pretty last ditch, especially when combined with over twenty tackle attempts, too. My goal is to always move away from tackles and focus on interceptions as they indicate more control in the defensive area. Digging deeper into the league stats, you can see we’ve completed the least amount of passes in the opposition area and have allowed the second most in ours, explaining why the pitch tilt shows us a side who can barely get out of our own half.
Whilst I am not a manager who requires possession for the sake of possession, I feel that we need more control of the ball, particularly in the area where we progress the ball up the pitch. Our pressing intesity chart – which I think is new – doesn’t work yet, as only two teams have played since I became manager but I want us to allow the opponents to pass but in more of a mid block, forcing them away from our goal where possible and becoming impenetrable.
There appears to be a lot of work to be done…
In terms of the playing squad, I’ve inherited four players who the previous regime had noted as important:
This issue with these four is that Abundance and Elias are not permanent members of the club and will return to their parent teams at the end of the year. Abundance will provide some physicality in the middle and will get himself up and down the pitch, although his intelligence when on the ball is not quite where it should be. Durmaz is reasonably well rounded and will be useful as a wide man but will need to improve on a goal every seven games, given his quality. Andersson has been integral and looks a really strong player but will miss the next two months due to injury. Pontus is the top scorer and appears to have been rotated with the ancient Linus Hallenius, who has come back ‘home’ to end his career. There is little to shout about – performance wise – but Engblom’s stats show, at least, a man who can put the ball into the net when given the chance. Elsewhere, I like Rasmus Lindkvist – an ex-international – and Marcus Berman’s return from a six month injury layoff will only help us.
In the wider squad, I like Ludvig Nåvik, although interest from Malmo may mean I am forced to cash in to maintain a solid financial base here – although I will very much stress that this is not my job at present.
My task is simple.
Get the team winning again, build the morale and set a precedent for what I expect as a football manager.
My tenure here may not be the longest. Our league position is difficult and the board expect mid-table this year and promotion playoffs next. Rightly so. They’ve taken a punt on an inexperienced manager: it either goes really well or they move on without the huge costs and upturns from a complete change of ethos. I envisage that, compared to other teams in the league will be weaker than us, given our historical standing, so I must capitalise on that, and quickly, too.
On a side note – this part of the game, for me, feels very much like head coach. I’ll oversee our finances, which, right now, aren’t good but I’ll have little say in the recruitment process at this point:
This will lead to quicker progress, initially, but – obviously – at the peril of my Director of Football.