Culture
Football
Smiter-In-Chief Abandons The Longship: Heimir Steps Down As Iceland Manager

Smiter-In-Chief Abandons The Longship: Heimir Steps Down As Iceland Manager

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published July 17, 2018

Heimir Hallgrímsson, the head coach of the mens A group of the Icelandic National Football Team will not continue in his position, according to a press release from KSÍ, the Icelandic Football Association. His contract finishes at the end of next month.

Heimir has been with the team for seven years, first as assistant coach to Lars Lagerbäck. They became co-head coaches in 2014 and brought the team to the Euros for the first time in 2016. He subsequently took over the lead when Lagerbäck left after the European tournament, and took the men’s team into their first ever World Cup finals.

Should he stay or should he… oh

According to Guðni Bergsson, chairman of KSÍ, the association had hoped Heimir would stay on. In his statement, Heimir expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be part of this historical era, for being able to leave a tightly run ship, with successes that have created international respect for Icelandic football. He also mentioned that even though the greatest honour over the success goes to the players, the contribution of the support staff has been immeasurable.

Heimir hasn’t made any statements regarding his next steps. However, on his decision to leave, he stated he chose to depart at this time because in the same situation, with the same motivations, values and ideas, the team’s ambitions might fade. Therefore, the team would benefit from a new voice and a new vision to shake things up and move forward.

A new era

As things have gone well, he considered staying on for a while to take the team to UEFA Nations League, but concluded that in order for a new head coach to fully gel with the team, having ample time before the next tournament was of the greatest importance, and the Nations League could be ideal preparation for potential Euro 2020 run.

He also mentioned that his co-operation with the supporters was unique. The mutual respect between the supporters and the National Team was unique in the world.

Guðni Bergsson says KSÍ has fielded a number of interesting requests since Heimir’s departure was announced this morning. in that vein, the Icelandic media has today toyed with ideas about possible successors. While naming legends such as Louis van Gaal, Thierry Henry, Michael Laudrup and David Moyes, the running theme in a humorous compilation on Vísir was coaches that are so well off that they could live off the comparatively paltry Icelandic head coach salary of 1.2 million ISK a month (€10,000, 11.2k USD, £8.5k).

This story is based on reporting from RÚV and Vísir.is. Read more about Icelandic football here.


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