He joined Turkish club Genclerbirligi and enjoyed a successful pre-season, but after two losses in the opening two fixtures, he has been let go. Muhsin Ertugral said July that Baxter would face a tough task at a club who fires, on average, two coaches per season. Baxter has given some insight into his sacking in Turkey – and his stories make Chippa Mpengesi seem like the most stable club owner in history.
Genclir won all their pre-season matches, including a 5-0 drubbing of Dutch side Twente.
“I think the owner thought we were going to win the league after that,” Baxter chuckles ruefully. “But two narrow defeats and I’m out.”
Genclir are a mid-table club that has won the Turkish League twice – in the 1940s. Baxter’s team lost their opening league match, at home to Rizesport 3-2, despite leading 2-1 with a minute to go. We conceded an 89th minute penalty. It was a bad decision and the players were angry. They were flustered and started to panic … and we let in another goal,” Baxter said. “We were unlucky but these things happen, especially when a side is new together. Second game, we’re leading [against Antalyaspor] with 15 minutes to go, but the ref misses a bad tackle and we concede. We end up losing 3-1."
Antalya, after equalising in the 76th minute, secured the points with late goals by two Cameroonians, M'Billa Etame in the 88th minute, and Samuel Eto’o in the 90th. That’s when the trouble started for Baxter and his technical team, his son Lee and Josh Smith, the fitness coach he brought with him from Chiefs.
“The chairman calls me in and rants at me, even going on about my family. Then he stops ranting and simply says; ‘Okay, you can pack your things and go.’ I’ve never met anything like him. He couldn’t even remember my name,” Baxter says.
“He’s bonkers … off the wall. He had me in meetings every day. Injured players, he’d force them to attend four sessions a day with a personal trainer. The club’s general manager comes to me and says ‘What now?’ I say; ‘you tell me, do I have a job or not?’ He replies; ‘I don’t know’. I tell you, anything I experienced in South Africa is nothing like this … that was like Sunday school in comparison.”