Peter Knäbel: We will shape the future of Schalke with Schalker

After having taken over general sporting responsibilities on an interim basis a month ago, Peter Knäbel was unanimously appointed as the club’s new Board Member for Sport and Communication by the supervisory board on Tuesday (30/3). The 54-year-old said that he was proud to have been selected by the board and that he is looking forward to the tasks at hand. He added, “We are continuing to pursue the path we’ve embarked on together.”

Peter Knäbel

Knäbel explained that he is pleased to have key figures such as Norbert Elgert, Mathias Schober, Gerald Asamoah and Mike Büskens at his side in order to tackle this project. “They have all taken on responsibility during this difficult time recently,” he said, adding that there are three points that are important to him. First, “We want to shape the future of Schalke with Schalker.” This will involve all club employees, as well as all die-hard Schalke fans who work behind the scenes. 

Secondly, now that a decision has been made in terms of filling the position on the board, it will now be important to ensure that, after various discussions on various topics, that the football be brought back to the forefront. “There have been a lot of controversial discussions that have emerged about the club recently. But, once a decision has been made, you carry it forward together, both internally and externally,” said Knäbel.

We are continuing to pursue the path we’ve embarked on together.

Peter Knäbel

Finally, “We can now think long-term with regards to personnel and structure. We have the planning security we need. We will do everything we can to build a solid foundation for Schalke and to set the groundwork for a successful future.” Knäbel shared that, over the last four and half weeks, he has been able to gain a thorough understanding of how both the team and the backroom staff function. He added that he had held many good discussions as part of that process.

Improving processes together

The joint conclusion that’s been drawn is that there must be improvements made to certain areas and processes. “We have no time to practice for next season. We need to start coordinating all our processes now, so that we can take that momentum into the new season. This will be the key when looking at the mountain we have to climb,” he said. 

According to the 54-year-old, he is not bothered by the fact that the supervisory board had also led talks with other candidates. “I took on the job of overseeing all general sporting responsibilities on an interim basis in order to help FC Schalke 04, which is something I want to continue doing.” However, at the same time it’s important to bring in some clarity. “This clarity is something that I had hoped for,” said Knäbel. “We have several decisions to make, which we cannot put off any longer.”

We need the mentality and players who can perform under pressure.

Peter Knäbel

The new Board Member for Sport and Communication has already been able to bring in one reinforcement for next season, with the return of current Mainz 05 captain Danny Latza. The 31-year-old will be returning to his boyhood club. There are expected to be further transfers announced in the coming weeks. First and foremost, it is important that these new additions bring both quality and a willingness to tackle the tasks at hand, both in Bundesliga 2 and in terms of the outside expectations. “On the one hand, the players have to take on this fight, while on the other, we need the quality on the pitch to cement ourselves near the top. We need the mentality and players who can perform under pressure,” Knäbel said.

Knäbel is in constant contact with the team in charge of squad planning, which also includes Elgert and Schober. He will also concern himself with the members of the current squad. This will include comparing the expectations of the players with those of the club. “It’s important that we take on this challenge and don’t wait,” said Knäbel.

Knappenschmiede will remain a key cornerstone

The Knappenschmiede will also remain an important building block in the club’s future. “The academy is an essential part of FC Schalke 04. We will continue to call upon our academy players in the future. I’m confident that we will be able to develop several exciting players in the coming years,” said Knäbel, who most recently played a key role in talent development at the club as the technical director of young talent and development. A successor for the role has yet to be announced. 

Another role that needs to be filled is that of a director, whose focus will be on the first-team players. This is a position that will definitely be filled, “as we cannot approach this huge challenge we’re faced with on our own. We are discussing the requirements of the position and I think that we will be able to find a good solution for Schalke 04 in the foreseeable future.” 

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