An history in violet and white
1997-2005: The last years in violet?
1997/98:Being champions, the club was a big favourite for the coming season, even more by the signing of Lithuanian Valdas Ivanauskas, a long awaited centre forward. From the start, it all went wrong: the opening game of the season was lost to newly-promoted Lustenau (0:2) but things got even worse. Austria Salzburg failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Sparta Prague was to strong for the team. The home tie ended in a goalless draw , the away turned out to be a disastrous 0:3 defeat. The away performance was a disgrace for Austrian football. In the following UEFA-Cup campaign, Anderlecht was to strong. After a 4:3 home victory, the team squandered a 2:0 lead in the away game in Brussels. (final score 4:2, with 4 goals in almost 15 minutes). The defending of the championship was soon over to devastating away performances. The dream of a domestic cup win was shattered by Sturm Graz. The “Blackies” winning 1:0 at Salzburg`s Lehen home. Coach Heribert Weber stepped down after the winter-break and signed for Rapid Vienna. The legendary Hans Krankl was presented as the new coach. Despite a run of wins, the club only finnished fourth and thus qualified for the UI-Cup.
1998/99:After another save mid-table season, the club finished once again on the fourth place. Edi Glieder scored 22 times and thus became Austria’s top scorer. Apart from that, the club one indoor football tournament of the Austrian FA. Cup dreams were ended by Rapid Vienna in the quarterfinals, while the final in the UI-Cup was reached, where Spain`s Valencia proved too mighty. (0:2 and 1:2).
1999/00:In 2000 Hans Krankl’s reign came to an end, he was followed by his assistance coach Miroslav Polak. The foundation of the Salzburg Sport AG (a private limited company) put the club on an new economical basis. Austria’s leading scorer Toni Polster was signed but “Toni Doopelback” did not score that many goals. The club finished on a disappointing sixth. The long hoped for cup victory was shattered by Graz AK. Despite a 5:1 thrashing in the league some days before the final, Austria Salzburg lost 3:4 on penalties (2:2 after extra time).
2000/01:New coach Hans Backe from Sweden left his marks on this season. The club aimed to reach a place between 4 and 7 and finally finished 6th.( 13 wins, 10 draws and 13 defeats). In the third round of the UI-Cup Standard Liege knocked out the club. The domestic cup-run once again ended in the quarterfinals. This year, Admira Wacker was too strong (0:2).
2001/02:Once again, the club’s coach name changed: Hans Backe left for Copenhagen and thus his assistant Lars Söndergaard took over. Söndergaard turned out ot be a brilliant tactician just like Backe. Apart from that, former president Rudi Quehenberger returned to the club. Quehenberger and his partner Kluppenenger took 90% of the Salzburg Sport AG (see above) and displaced chairman Toni Pichler. After a fourth place in the autumn term, Salzburg fell behind 2 places despite a 6:1 thrashing of Rapid Vienna. The third tim in a row the club finished 6th. This time the club made it to the semifinal were Graz AK won 2:0 after extra-time.
2002/03:4 defeats in as many games at the beginning of the season, devastating 0:4 defeats against Austria Vienna (home) and Ried (away) and a 1:5 thrashing away to Bregenz brought relegation fears to Salzburg-Lehen. A superb 5:2 victory over Ried accompanied by a gigantic flag (“Lehen remains in our hearts”) covering the whole main stand and a 2:1 victory against Sturm Graz were the last games at Salzburg’s traditional Lehen home. Helped by the new ground in Wals-Siezenheim the club managed to qualify for the UEFA-Cup. With a new ground, a good team with young players and returning euphoria among the supporters, the future looked bright. The new euphoria soon gave way to internal affairs, leading to keystones leaving the club.
2003/04:In the 70th anniversary year of the club, German international and former world champion Thomas “Icke” Hässler was signed. Apart from that, Kahraman, Bilic, Kocak, Teber and Amoah moved to Salzburg while Roland Kirchler left for Pasching due to the so-called “Sheikh-Affair”. UEFA-Cup games had to be played at Linz’s Gugl due to the synthetic turf at Wals-Siezenheim. Austria Salzburg knocked out Italy’s Udinese in the first round thanks to an uexpected 2:1 away win (home tie 1:0 to Udinese). In the second round, Parma proved too strong and Salzburg was thrashed 4:0 and 5:0 by the Italian side. Domestic action did not look bright at all, after 15 games popular coach Söndergaard was sacked and replaced by the German Peter Assion. In-between Walter Hörmann took over but finally Assion was again in charge. After a hard-fought relegation battle the club finally finished seventh. The best place of the season after 11 weeks at the bottom. Many players left the club at the end of the season, Roman Szweczyk, the legendary defender, being one of them. The club made it to the last sixteen in the cup but lost 0:4 to Carinthia.
2004/05:Only 3 points above the bottom after the autumn season led to various new “emergency” signings. Spring season did not look any better. A 5:0 humiliation by Rapid Vienna and an unexpected and devastating 5:1 defeat at division three-side St.Pölten were the lows of the season. Various changes on the bench (Jurcevic, Assion, Linzmair) made life for the violet- faithful pretty hard. An incredibly weak Bregenz side meant that Division 1 football was secured early and the Red Bull takeover should have meant euphoria among supporters. Red Bull plans were unveiled and it dawned to supporters that their beloved club would no longer exist in the way they followed their team over the years. German legend and long serving captain Heiko Laessig hung up his boots at the end of the season and changed to the club’s youth section.
Foundation and Promotion // Austria as a "jo-jo club" // Changeable Years // Golden Years // Last years in violet