Who Is Eugen Bopp?
Eugen Bopp agreed to sign for the Railwaymen whilst on a tour of the Reaseheath training ground and with a glowing CV in football at the age of 23, can he make the desired impact?
Bopp arrived in England at the age of 16 when the, then, Nott'm Forest Academy Director Paul Hart convinced him to leave Bayern Munich behind for Forest. It was quite a coup for Forest as they fought off fierce competition for Dutch Academy specialists Ajax.
When Paul Hart got the manager's job in 2001-2002 he wasted no time in showing his faith in Bopp, and 3 days after his 18th birthday Bopp was given his first team debut as he was subbed on in a 1-0 defeat at Norwich. Within the week he had signed a 5 year contract at Forest.
Bopp managed a further 20 games from midfield, starting 12, and claimed his first goal in English football against who other than us, Crewe Alexandra. The following season Bopp was looking good to establish himself as a important part of Forest's promotion bid. After 9 games in the 02-03 season disaster struck Bopp's season when a harsh tackle from Derby's Rob Lee ruled Bopp out for 5 months with a broken leg.
It was an injury that Forest fans felt he never fully recovered from but he did return for the final month of the season helping Forest secure a play-off spot. Despite this he didn't make a play-off appearance, which Forest dramatically failed in.
His stop-start time at Forest started to frustrate Forest fans and him alike and after another season under his belt he had still failed to peg down a starting place. 2004/05 proved to be fairly decent for Bopp making more appearances than his previous three with a grand total of 20. And this is where he made a name for himself in Crewe!
On the final day of the 04/05 season with us and Gillingham scrapping for one safety place Bopp was to face the Gills. With five minutes left, although Crewe were winning 2-1 at home to Coventry it may not have been enough, and Gillingham winning 2-1 we were almost certainly down. That was until a spectacular goal from Bopp sent both Forest and Crewe home happy, Bopp claiming minor cult status in Crewe in the process. Forest, though, were down.
A season in League One proved tough for Forest and Bopp, Forest could only muster a late surge to finish 7th, outside the play-offs, whilst Bopp failed to build on his previous season. Injuries and such prevented him from making more than 15 games for the season and after the season had come to an end Bopp was released after 6 years at the club.
From there he joined Rotherham United where he became an instant regular having his most successful season in his career. 29 appearances, with 24 of those in the starting 11, was only ended when he once again broke his leg during a 3-0 defeat at Northampton in February.
During last season he managed to muster up five goals and two sendings off. Crewe fans saw one of each when we traveled to Rotherham to see an appalling 5-1 defeat - yes, we lost 5-1 to ten man Rotherham. Two yellows meant a red to go with his unspectacular bobbler of a goal.
Unspectacular goals aren't the norm with Bopp though, you only have to put his name into YouTube to see a host of longe range volleys - he truly has the reputation of the long range specialist in the lower leagues.
During the 5-1 thrashing he was also sent off for the 2nd time that week with two yellows meaning a red, but he's far from a thug having only picked up one other [yellow] card last season.
Bopp saw out his one year contract at Rotherham but Rotherham's relegation meant a new contract offer was unlikely to be accepted and so he agreed a surprise move to Crewe as Dario & Holland started building for a new season.
Bopp is described as a 'very quick and skillful player who also has a deadly eye for goal' and fans will be hoping to see plenty of those long range goals. His attacking midfield style will be a nice sight in the Alex midfield as lack of goals from the middle became apparent last season.
Bopp starts his Alex career still nursing a broken leg but whilst Dario doesn't see him making the start of pre-season there is hope he will be ready for the first chunk of the 2007/2008 season.
Bopp's stop-start career hopefully kick-starts itself back into action here and hopefully be the man who can help shoot us to promotion in the same way he shot us to safety a couple of years ago!