FCA President resigns“People in Aarau expect too much”
A messed-up season at FC Aarau reached its new low with the fan riots last Saturday. President Philipp Bonorand announced his resignation two days later.
That’s what it’s about
Bang at FC Aarau: President Philipp Bonorand resigns at the end of the season.
The fan riots on Saturday would have made the camel overflow.
20 minutes asked the 42-year-old what exactly was going wrong in Aarau.
There is a smell of decay in Brügglifeld: With Philipp Bonorand, FC Aarau has lost the president who, as a regional identification figure, should have brought the club back to the top flight. The 42-year-old announced his resignation on Tuesday, a good three days after the fan riots, which only he – as a former member of the Aarau fan scene – was able to get under control. It was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says the animal feed producer to 20 minutes. He is neither happy nor recovered – but somehow relieved.
But one after the other: Bonorand took over the scepter in 2019, made assistant coach Stephan Keller (43) the boss and set up a sustainable plan with ex-player Sandro Burki (37) as sports director. Months after the barrage horror against Xamax, when they still missed promotion despite a 4-0 win in the first leg, the return to the Super League should be planned with calm and many homegrown talents. The club was on the right track for a long time – until last summer, when they were not promoted because of a single goal.
“Keller dismissal was not right”
The young squad around Donat Rrudhani (to YB), Kevin Spadanuda (to Ajacco) or Randy Schneider (to St. Gallen) was torn apart. A quick solution was needed, the lift season was coming up: instead of a direct promotion and a barrage place, three clubs could potentially be promoted in the summer of 2023. Money was spent on a new team. “Contrary to our strategy, we did a lot that didn’t help in the end,” admits Bonorand himself. With the additional promotion place, the pressure had increased. “People are demanding a hack that can be dangerous.” The beginning of the decay.
In terms of sport, things did not go well in this important season. In the fall, the team publicly opposed coach Keller, which resulted in his dismissal. Boris Smiljanic (46) took over. “Personally, I didn’t find the right step to take based on the initial situation,” Bonorand clarifies. And in terms of sport, things continued exactly the same way. The next bang came in February: managing director Roland Baumgartner had to leave immediately, with militia president Bonorand having even more tasks to do. “To hold the office for free and with a huge effort and to run a company with 100 employees at the same time,” says Bonorand, “was really exhausting.”
The escalation on Saturday
The resignation was therefore not a short-cut decision. Nevertheless, the situation became more and more critical – and escalated last Saturday: The team gambled away the 2-1 lead against Lausanne-Ouchy in added time and even lost in the end. Some Ultras lost their nerve, confronted the players on the field and tried to get inside the stadium. Pragmatist Bonorand used his historical proximity to the fans and negotiated: The leader of the Aarau scene was allowed to speak to the players in the dressing room, but the other ultras would leave peacefully.
The deal saved from worse, but it was criticized. Bonorand: “I had managed to calm the situation without injuries and without further damage to property.” He lacks understanding for the fact that he was then attacked in various e-mails. The tone had become increasingly rough with the sporting failure, which resulted in a sad picture with the current 6th place in the table. “There is an immense gap between the huge expectations of the people of Aarau and reality,” he explains.
According to Bonorand, without the extraordinary commitment of individuals, the demands would have to be adjusted in the long term. He himself will no longer be one of those people in the future. The effort, the handling and the recent events no longer allowed that. In general, one should consider relying on the model of a full-time president who also acts as managing director in the future. Bonorand: “I’m looking forward to standing in the stands with a beer in my hand again.” Not as President, and not as CEO.
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