Top of the Flops - Filip Sebo

Hi Folks,

My name is Colin and I present Top Of The Flops on Patreon, a show where we look at the life and times of player who arrived at Ibrox but for which things just didn’t work out for.

Now that we have the website - a month or two after my shows go out I’d like to blog about the player using the information I found ahead of the pod while doing my research.

Heart and Hand Podcast Filip Sebo


Filip Šebo started his professional career with German team FC Koln but did not make a first team appearance, playing only for the reserves. In 2003 he was released and then signed for Slovakian side Inter Bratislava, eight goals in twenty-five appearances earned him a transfer to Artmedia Bratislava - remember them?
 
In the summer of 2005, after 22 goals in 29 games he was the league's top-scorer and was rewarded with a move to Austria Vienna who paid £400,000 for him.  Šebo played 32 times, scoring 5 goals for the Austrian side which amazingly was enough to help them achieve an Austrian Bundesliga and Cup double.  
 
Let me just reiterate that, as a striker he played 32 Games and scored 5 goals. This is the when alarm bells should have started ringing but oh no… enter stage left Rangers…
 
Rangers had new manager Paul Le Guen in charge and according to David Murray were set for European domination…  PLG was on a signing spree.
 
To give an idea of the size of the overhaul at Ibrox we lost or moved on

  • Oliver Bernard
  • Marvin Andrews
  • Bob Malcolm
  • Jose Karl Pierre Fan Fan
  • Hamed Namouchi
  • Soto Kyrgiakos
  • Peter Lovenkrands
  • Alex Rae
  • Ronald Wattereus.  

Fernando Ricksen was also shipped out on loan after an incident on a plane.
 
PLG made the following signings:

 

  • Sasa Papac - bet nobody remembers it was PLG that signed him eh?
  • Libor Sionko - Czech international who Martin Bain let go for 40k a year later
  • Jeremy Clement - stayed 6 months then followed PLG to PSG, we made a profit 700k on him though to be fair
  • Makhtar N'diaye - had played for PLG before in Rennes but had recently failed to win a contract after a trial at Grimsby, that didn’t put us off though. He played 3 games
  • Lionel Letizi - French international goal keeper, 8 games, 1 clean sheet, released in January
  • Karl Svensson - paid 600k and given a 3 year deal - he was a shite bag which is an issue as a centre half. He was gone the next summer
  • Dean Furman - the new Frank Lampard from South Africa, 1 appearance as a sub
  • William Stanger - played 1 game for us, released in february, to give an idea of his prowess he retired in 2010 aged 25.
  • Antonie Ponroy - 0 games and now playing in the French third tier at age of 32.
  • Lee Martin - 10 appearances, lots of skill but very lightweight. Was  loaned to 6 different clubs after us.
  • Phil Bardsley - fell out with PLG after a bad tackle in training, sent back in December to Man United.
So after all that surely Sasa Papac isn't going to be the only success?
 
We needed a striker!

At the time our striking options were
  • Dado Prso - who was going into his 3rd season with us and his knee’s were gone
  • Nacho Novo -  who had scored only 3 goals the previous season, I think he had broken his metatarsal and when fit played mostly on the wing however his lack of goals was a concern
  • Kris Boyd - who we all loved at the time but he didn't seem like a PLG player with everything we were hearing about PLG and how fit his teams were so we definitely needed someone to come in

We chased Johan Elmander but we couldn't afford him or wouldn't pay the fee. He subsequently moved to Bolton a couple of years later for £8.5m so our attention then went to Sebo.
 
The Sebo transfer played out for quite some time and there was a fair bit of back and forth between the 2 clubs with Vienna not wanting to sell, however Sebo seemed to push for the move and demand a transfer towards the end of the negotiations. It turns out though that Vienna were quite happy to sell they just wanted as much money as possible.
 
So much so in fact that Graeme Spiers wrote a book which had an interview with the Austria Vienna General Manager who said that manipulating Martin Bain into paying over the odds for Sebo was one of the easiest things he's ever done.
 
Our first bid was £400,000, we eventually paid £1.8 million.Vienna made a 400% profit on him. Vienna general manager Markus Kraetschmer was quoted as saying

“Sebo will now concentrate on the our game against Red Bull Salzburg on Saturday before turning his attentions to completing his move to Scotland next week.”

“Sadly for us Sebo wants a move and he said to me it would be a big dream to go to Rangers and that he will do everything he can to get there,”

"I have to respect that and because he's given a lot to the club I won't destroy his dream.
 
So Šebo became LeGuen's ninth signing on 3 August 2006 for a fee of £1.85 million. We were his dream so what could go wrong?

Right after he signed for us he made his debut for Slovakia and scored 5 goals in his first 2 games and I started to get excited, I was fully aboard the Sebo express, the fact the goals were against Malta and Cyprus didn't dampen my enthusiasm for him.
 
Paul Le Guen gave him his first start on 17 September, against Hibs in an league match, and he scored a header from a Chris Burke cross.  His first goal at Ibrox came on 1st October, a late winner in a 1–0 victory over . He went absolutely mental celebrating as did every fan in the stadium.
 Heart and Hand Podcast Sebo
Šebo played his first European match for us on 28 September, coming on for the last 15 minutes of a UEFA Cup first-round second-leg tie against Molde FK. We won, 2–0, to qualify for the group stage.
 
He finished the season with just the 2 goals from 25 appearances only 7 of which were starts.
 
During the summer break between before the 2007/2008 season Filip's best friend died in a car crash, Filip vowed to celebrate his memory by score goals and honouring him with them. To assist with this, he employed a personal trainer and worked all summer on his fitness.
 
Sebo always came across well in interviews and was very honest, in pre-season he was quoted as saying
 
“Last season was more difficult than frustrating. In many ways it was all about learning for me. I had to adapt to a new country, to new team-mates and to the rain. But I learned a lot about the Scottish lifestyle and about the people and it will be better for me from now on."
 
“At the moment I definitely owe the fans,”
 “I have to score goals for them because they have been wonderful.
 “I was surprised last season at the patience the supporters showed but I think they knew I was trying very hard to make it work.”
 
Pre-season started well with a goal in a summer tour of Germany and he scored an absolute belter against Chelsea in a 2 - 0 Friendly, it was his first goal at Ibrox in almost 10 months.

I’d suggest looking this goal up on YouTube as it was great.
 
He also found time in the summer for a new Girlfriend an Ex Miss Slovakia, Magdalena Sebestova, if you didn’t look up the Chelsea goal, def google her!
 
In non-competitive games to be fair to him he was pretty prolific, as well as the goal in Germany and the Chelsea friendly, in his time with us  he scored In a friendly against Airdrie United  In another friendly, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 defeat of Gretna.
 
Despite the improved fitness and efforts, it wasn't to be and with the introduction of Daniel Cousin and Jean Claude Darcheville his Rangers career would end with just the 2 competitive goals for us. 
It was a shame as you never know how he would have done with a full pre-season under Walter but when you look at the 2 strikers we signed, you aren't going to play Sebo ahead of either of them, so the move was probably right.
 
Interestingly when we did move him on Richard Gordon on the BBC made the comment on the radio that we had sold him to Edinburgh Zoo, a comment the BBC later had to apologise for. - A nice reminder that the BBC being pricks isn't a new thing. But at least they have their own wee press box on the grass outside Ibrox now
 
So where did Sebo go next?
 
In August of 2007 he went to Valenciennes on loan for a year, they were managed by former Aberdeen defender Toni Kombouarea and in May of the following year they paid us 750 thousand pounds to make the move permanent. 
He did not do much better for them scoring 6 goals in  62 appearances for them though his work rate and effort was enough for them to make the deal permanent I suppose.  I'm sure he will have had a great goal scoring record in friendlies…
 
In September of 2010 he found himself as a free agent and he moved home to Slovakia to join Slovan Bratislava, and in his first season was the league’s top scorer with 22 goals. Hannover 96 tried to buy him but Slovan rejected their offers.  After 29 goals in 53 games Felip announced that he was retiring from football at the age of 26.
 
Why was he retiring?  Because he wanted to do triathlons. Yes fucking Triathlons.
 
"I chose Triathlon because I love this sport. It’s so intense.  I aim to complete them in under 5 hours” said Sebo at the time
 
A triathlon is 1.5 kilometer  swim / 40km bike / 10 km  run or to call it by its other name 1 day in pre season under Steven Gerrard.
 
He did flirt with football again slightly when Art Media Bratislava had two quick fire relegations, followed by financial troubles and consequently were demoted to the Slovak 5th tier.
 
They renamed themselves FC Petrzalka Akademia. After which I’m sure every club in Slovakia took great delight in taunting them and saying they were dead, or maybe that’s just Scotland…  anyway in the 5th decision along came Filip Sebo who found his level with 9 goals from 9 games then he was back to his triathlons.
 
He therefore retired with a record of 15 caps and 7 goals for Slovakia and 293 appearances and 111 goals,
 
One of the things that comes to mind when I think of Sebo is an amazing story from the FollowFollow messageboard about a poster who called his dog Sebo, I love the idea of some guy getting excited about the signing and calling his new dog Sebo. The thought of him walking about Glasgow shouting Sebo at his dog is brilliant.
 
I also remember Sebo coming on against Celtic when it was 2-0 and we started singing "Sebo's on we're taking the piss, Sebo's on we're taking the piss" that’s what I love about us, you wouldn't hear many clubs singing something like that but you did with us.
 
Doing my research for this I came across a few comments online about a youth coach in Scotland that have a thing where a player misses a sitter they all say to each other “Oh Naw Sebo's back in Scotland…”
 
Sebo has also kept a keen eye on Rangers over the years and often posts about us on instagram or twitter, particularly when kicking about with his wee pal Vladimir Veiss. Now I don't usually subscribe to the whole love us love us mentality of some clubs, but to see that sort of affection for the club from someone who struggled so much here is great to see.

There were a few rumours about him coming back to us during the banter years, I say rumours I think it was more some fans calling for it, I think this was around the time he was back scoring 9 in 9 in Slovakia league 5 so I think it's probably a good thing it never happened.
 
Check out his social media @SeboFilip on Twitter and Instagram, where you will see a very happy looking lad, who has turned into a hipster covered in tattoo's and occasionally owning a marvellous beard.
 
Here's the thing, Sebo was awful for us but it was not for the lack of trying, the emotion in his face the few times he did score and that goal against Aberdeen combined with his reaction and the noise in the Stadium, just won't let me dislike or think badly of the guy. He was a mess of a player in a lot of ways, but he was quite exciting at times purely because he was lightning fast, I remember a couple of games when he beat 2 or 3 men and the crowd was on their feet only for him to inevitably trip over the ball.
 
So that is Filip Sebo, certainly an enigma, retiring at the age he did although I do believe he was struggling to find a club at the time.  He seems to have found something he loves with no pressure and going by his Instagram he saved his money and is enjoying travelling the world and living a pretty awesome life.
 
I've enjoyed researching this article originally for the podcast and putting this together and I'd love it to become as interactive as possible so as well as sharing your own thoughts on Sebo or the blog in the comments thread below please also give me any suggestions you have for a flop you would like to see me cover in the future.
 
You can also find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/atcolin
 
Until next time,

Cheers
Colin

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