Are the same New York Red Bulls who saw their sporting chief leave for England on the eve of the 2022 season about to see a similar upward exit from their head coach just ahead of the MLS playoffs?
On Wednesday morning English journalist Jordan Davies reported that recently-promoted Premier League club Nottingham Forest, currently sitting at the bottom of the table, were beginning to sound out candidates to replace embattled manager Steve Cooper. According to Davies, one of the main names being discussed is none other than Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber, currently wrapping up his second full season in Major League Soccer.
Struber, who worked in England with Championship side Barnsley before moving to New York in 2020, said recently in an interview with Austrian outlet Sport1 that one of his ambitions was to work in the Premier League. He may now finally get his best chance after past links with Watford and Crystal Palace as well as the assistant role at former Red Bull emperor Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United.
Nottingham Forest are currently run by Dane Murphy, the fast-rising American executive who hired Struber at Barnsley three years ago. But the duo clashed over transfer policy at the Yorkshire club before Struber’s move to New York in late 2020 — ironic given that Murphy is also reportedly on the Forest chopping block along with Cooper after a summer in which the club made a staggering 22 first team signings.
Struber has seen his New York team hit inconsistent form over the second half of 2022, most recently with a 2-1 loss in Columbus over the weekend. But Struber has comfortably steered the 4th-place Red Bulls into the MLS Cup playoffs beginning in just two weeks. The already-clinched Red Bulls have spent the last few games effectively troubleshooting before the start of the postseason tournament, but the loss of their head coach would be quite the monkey wrench in any plans being set in place.
But then again…the team’s immediate response to the exit of head of sport Kevin Thelwell to Everton in February was to run rampant in a 3-1 season-opening win in San Jose. The Red Bulls play Charlotte FC in their regular season finale on Sunday, while Forest’s next game is against Aston Villa the following day.