Ex-banker Fabian Schar sees rise in Newcastle fortunes as Mike Ashley puts club on market
And should a buyer need any help getting their finances in order, they need only ask one of the Toon’s own players.
That is because Fabian Schar worked as a banker for five years — and is now doing a degree in business administration.
Up until the age of 20, the defender juggled his job at Raiffeisen Bank with playing for Swiss second-tier side FC Wil — his hometown team.
But Schar’s big break came when he joined Basel before moves to Hoffenheim and Deportivo La Coruna.
He then ended up joining Ashley-owned Newcastle for £3million during the summer.
And Schar, 26, hopes to become a banker in Rafa Benitez’s Toon team — even though he is already studying to one day take over his family’s firm!
Ahead of tonight’s trip to Everton, Schar said: “When I started to work in the bank, it was not in my thoughts that I’d be a footballer. So it was normal to try to do a job. It was a good five years and I liked working there.
“I had to do all the different things you do in the bank — every six months you changed.
“It was not always easy as I was working in the day and then training at night, then coming home and having to study for tests. But I am so happy to have done it and to have some qualifications.
“I stopped working when Basel wanted to sign me. At that point, you have to decide whether you are going to be a footballer or not. And if you get a chance like that, you just have to take it.
“But I am so thankful for the experience at the bank and I think it also helps me for the future. I know now what it is like to work five days a week!
“And when I stopped working in the bank and ended up becoming a pro footballer, I saw the difference and I think that you enjoy it more.”
Despite thriving in his preferred profession, the studious Schar already has one eye on life after football.
He said: “I’ve just started a bachelor’s degree in business administration with IST University in Germany.
“The course is four years and I am doing almost everything from home on my own, so it’s not easy. It’s quite hard after such a long time without doing school stuff.
“I try to do a little bit every day. I have four different books to study at the moment and then some tests in February.
“If you study something like this, you open doors for the future. We have a family window company in Switzerland and it could be possible that I will continue the company.”
It was in the last transfer window that Schar headed to Newcastle after impressing for Switzerland at the World Cup. But the tournament in Russia also brings back painful memories as he was suspended for the last-16 tie with Sweden. And they lost 1-0, missing out on a quarter-final against England.
Schar, who first played at St James’ Park in the London 2012 Olympics, said: “It was the worst 90 minutes of my life to be in the stadium unable to do anything.
“It was really hard. I don’t want to think about it too much. The second yellow against Costa Rica was the worst yellow card that I’ve ever got.
“It was the 85th minute and I grabbed the player a little bit — but for me it was not a yellow. So it was especially hard and I was a little bit angry.”
Schar was also suspended for Switzerland’s stunning 5-2 win over Belgium earlier this month.
That saw them qualify for the last four of next summer’s Nations League, where they will play Portugal for the chance to meet either England or Holland in the final.
Schar said: “It is something we are looking forward to as it is the chance to win something and also qualify for Euro 2020.
“We are a young team who are all looking to do something great.”
For now, though, Schar’s only focus is Newcastle and their fight for survival, which continues at Goodison Park tonight.
He only played one of the Toon’s first ten Premier League games — a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea.
But Schar has impressed since he replaced the injured Jamaal Lascelles at half-time last month against Watford.
He helped turn that game the Toon’s way as they claimed their first win of the season. And Schar kept his place for victories over Bournemouth and Burnley.
Although he did manage to break his nose against the Cherries after accidentally colliding with team-mate Salomon Rondon’s head — which was “like a stone!”
The Swiss ace, like the rest of Newcastle’s defence, found the going tough in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to West Ham. But Schar will hope to keep his place against Everton, even though fit-again captain Lascelles is waiting in the wings.
Schar said: “The first few months were not easy. I had to settle from a different league, different country and different style of football.
“So I needed some time and then when you get your chance, you have to take it. Now I will try to do everything to stay in the team.
“It is difficult because we have five centre-backs who are all possible first-teamers.
“It’s always good for a team when you have competition in the team — but everybody wants to play so you have to do your best.”
After that Hammers hammering, Newcastle now sit just three points above the drop zone.
But Schar added: “We have everything — we have enough quality, team spirit and the supporters in our stadium are crazy.
“Newcastle should be in the Premier League and we will stay there.”
As far as Schar is concerned, you can bank on that.
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