For him, the WSG has definitely arrived in the domestic upper house after its rise in 2019. “I think we’ve made a very good name for ourselves,” said Köck, but also emphasized the “humility” that the club has. “It’s only thanks to Mattersburg (insolvency, note) that we didn’t get relegated in 2020,” recalled the 47-year-old, who himself u. played for FC Tirol in the Bundesliga and for Wattens. “Fortunately, we made good use of the second chance.”
Under long-term coach Thomas Silberberger, who has been in office since 2013, the Watteners have developed into serious competitors for places in the top half of the table. A good autumn was followed by the quietest transfer phase of all twelve Bundesliga clubs for the Tyroleans, attacker Nik Prelec was the only departure, which was also very lucrative with a reported transfer fee of 1.3 million euros.
“We have enough potential”
Köck is convinced that the departure of the six-time goalscorer Prelec to Cagliari in the Italian Serie B can be intercepted. “We have enough potential up front,” said Köck, referring to Tim Prica (six goals this season), Thomas Sabitzer (two) and 19-year-old self-made player Justin Forst. The latter in particular “demonstrated really well” in the preparation.
Prelec is not the only WSG player who has been sold for a profit in the recent past. i.a. Kelvin Yeboah (1.2 million euros), Leon Klassen (900,000) and Nemanja Celic (400,000) brought some money into the club coffers, which urgently needed to be bolstered after the end of Swarovski as the main sponsor for the 2021/22 season. “Of course it hurts. It’s all the more important that we’ve earned transfer fees. That was not to be expected,” said Köck.
“I think we’ve made a good name for ourselves,” said Köck. He wants to continue on the path taken with the transfers, even if capacities are limited. “We don’t have a full-time scout, that’s what I do, the trainers and analysts.”
There are still some construction sites
As in the case of the five-time ÖFB U19 selection player Forst, you can also fall back on the Tyrolean Academy. Ideally, this would not be with the state, but with the association itself. “That’s our goal sooner or later. But that will be difficult, we would need a much higher budget,” said Köck.
Last but not least, the situation in the stadium is difficult. Because the Watten stadium isn’t suitable for the Bundesliga and won’t be in the foreseeable future either, the game is played 15 km away at Innsbruck’s Tivoli. After the economic end of Wacker Innsbruck, which is currently fourth-rate, they are trying to position themselves as a Tyrolean figurehead – with limited success so far. On average, around 2,200 spectators came to the games in the current season. “We’re happy that we can play there, but we miss the home advantage a bit,” said Köck. “I don’t want to persuade anyone, but of course one hopes that the Tyrolean football fan appreciates that and watches our games.”