Belarus coach Bernd Stange is The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

If you thought Vinnie Jones’ long spell with Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang followed by several appearances as a rough nut Cockney gangster made for a formidable CV, think again. Belarus coach Bernd Stange counts Saddam Hussein and the East German secret service among his former employers.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, German citizens have been able to check Stasi records to see just who was spying on them. The information showed that during his time with the East German national team and Carl Zeiss Jena, Stange was employed to spy on his players.

Tired of accusations of being a cog in a brutal machine of tyranny, Stange left Germany to become coach of the Iraqi national team. He again found himself at the centre of controversy following Saddam’s demise when a photograph of him smiling in front of the dictator’s portrait was published in his homeland.

He said: “I have worked for communist regimes, a dictator, capitalists and for a sultanate. But my work is always the same. It’s only ever about one thing — putting the ball in the net.”