Former Brighton student stands between Manchester United and Champions League final

Posted On 24 Apr 2011 at 11:48 pm

A football manager who studied at Sussex University stands between Manchester United and another Champions League final.

Ralf Rangnick, 52, took over as manager of Schalke 04 five weeks ago and on Tuesday (26 April) the German club face Sir Alex Ferguson’s side at home in Gelsenkirchen.

The match is the first leg in their UEFA Champions League semi-final.

Rangnick was a guest scholar at Sussex from 1979 to 1980 where, as a 21-year-old English student, he enjoyed reading Dickens at the Falmer campus.

In his spare time he played briefly for Southwick in the Sussex County League.

But almost immediately he suffered three broken ribs and a punctured lung and ended up spending a month in St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

He watched Brighton and Hove Albion at the Goldstone Ground in Hove during their first season in the First Division which was then the top flight of English football.

The Albion side of the era was managed by Alan Mullery and included Mark Lawrenson, Brian “Nobby” Horton and star striker Peter Ward.

The German’s experience of life as a student in Brighton is retold in a profile in The Mail on Sunday today (Sunday 24 April).

Apart from watching Albion, the manager known in Germany as “The Professor” also went to Highbury to watch Arsenal play.

The last match he saw in England before going home to become an English teacher was the 1980 FA Cup Final when West Ham beat the Gunners at Wembley.

If his current club get the better of Manchester United over two legs, he can return to the same ground to face either Real Madrid or Barcelona in the Champions League final.

It would be a fitting graduation for the former Sussex student to go from Old Barn Way in Southwick to London’s Wembley Way.

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