Matthias Hüppi (64) has lost a moving cup final with FC St. Gallen for the second time in a row. The day after the painful 1: 4 against Lugano and the sometimes delicate incidents in the spectator sector, the president of the severely disappointed eastern Swiss spoke in an interview with the Keystone-SDA news agency about his emotional state.
You have a turbulent Sunday behind you.
Matthias Huppi: It was indeed very impressive and stirring. Early on Sunday morning I dived into the green and white sea and walked with the fans from the train station to the stadium. People really appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to be chauffeured to the venue in just any limousine, but soaked up everything on the spot. However, no one had to persuade me to do so, I was happy to be part of this green and white migration of peoples, which in my opinion was absolutely peaceful and happy.
St. Gallen frustration runs deep: “It’s incredibly bitter – especially for the fans”(04:23)
Despite the final disappointment – the FCSG moves the masses.
We have been receiving intensive support for a long time. Over 10,000 have a season subscription. We are very happy about the trust. And that’s exactly what we felt in Bern. Right through the population of Eastern Switzerland – whole families, many young people but also older people were present. That moves me, that’s what drives our crew, that also corresponds to the way we communicate and approach people. We built that trust. That’s why such a defeat hurts twice; we are not an artificial product, we are an association that stands for maximum transparency and closeness to the people.
How deep are the furrows?
Deep, logical. We really wanted to give our fans a trophy. That didn’t work – also because FC Lugano played very well and did almost everything right with an experienced team, while we made a few too many mistakes in important phases. That has to be respected. But I promise something: We’ll be back!
Your club has achieved something extraordinary by taking part in the second final, but also lost twice in a row. How did you perceive the protagonists?
It really, really hurts, no question. It will be important to give everyone the space and time they need to deal properly with this setback. After a self-critical analysis, you have to move on. I’m counting on us getting back up, gathering ourselves again, getting the energy drain of the last few months under control. I don’t allow too much negativity, the way goes on.
Do you already have the big picture in your head again – thanks to the many positive reactions?
I myself have received a lot of encouraging and motivating messages, which of course are mainly related to the events after the game.
This is what winners look like: «Tonight we are wilder than normal»(03:20)
You address your courageous action against St. Gallen hooligans.
This intervention at the end was necessary, otherwise the situation would unfortunately have escalated. It was a small group of violent people that forced me to intervene immediately, even though my mind was on consoling the coach and our players. My motto was to start right away with the construction work. But then I realized what was about to happen.
Was it immediately clear to you that you had to intervene at the forefront?
I overcame all barriers at a full gallop. For me there was no doubt: you have to stop these aggressive and destructive guys now, otherwise something will happen. Thanks to the generally constructive dialogue based on mutual trust with the majority of the open curve scene, I got the situation under control fairly quickly, also with the help of committed people from the fan sector. I managed to find the right tone under uncomfortable circumstances and to contribute to their deduction. I don’t need applause for this; it is my duty. I don’t want to be Bern’s hero, but the support of so many fans is good in this situation – the whole thing took a lot of energy.
Disappointment in St. Gallen: “Frustration drinking is also a party”(00:57)
The image of an entire club was at stake last night.
If it had degenerated, I probably wouldn’t have slept a second that night. There is an incredible amount in it, because I put my heart and soul into this club and therefore also into its fans, the personal dismay is great. But it is also about overarching issues and the future of this much-discussed topic. A lot is under scrutiny and the majority of fans are fully aware of it. It is also clear: I bear responsibility and will not allow anyone to put themselves above the club, literally trample on our values and cause immense damage.