Kind of an update on the plans. On the 10th season, regardless of what happens, there will be a special 'chapter'. And from the responses of the 10th season and the 'chapter', this will either end then and there. Or will go for another five seasons. Incase you haven't noticed there is a build up for something, which will come clear after this is over.
Playing season 9 now, but just started so hopefully will be up sooner then the 8th was.
Right hasn't worked out as i would have hoped, but to say that season 8 was the end. I will write an ending soon to see out the story, but after nearly 3 years (on/off), the end is nigh. Stay tuned for the final write up, and thank you to those that have continued to have read, had at one point read, those who replied and especially those that participated.
14 years ago there was a project on the horizon of the footballing world.
A mad Russian billionaire, with more money then sense and a questionable mysterious history, came to England with one goal: build a legacy of football. From the muddy pitches in near-abandoned stadiums on a rainy afternoon to the spotlight, fuelled by the cheers of the thousands strong chorus of fans dipped in red and white in the final minutes for the quest of glory.
The clubs name etched into the plate of glory, the halls of fame hanging their proud faces for generations to look upon. For every generation their story to be shared, to inspire, to agitate, to be remembered.
To make his ambitions become reality, he sought out an historic small town, similar ambitious people who would become associates and crafted what would be a stampede for success. The name would forever be known as Newark Athletic Football Club, aptly nicknamed 'The Fearless Warriors'.
Back with the financial support of the Russian media mogul, with a brand new stadium, the club acquired a pool of young talented characters, each that had different experiences of football – if any – and different personalities. Under the guidance of young workaholic scout Zander Champman – whose real birth name is still unknown among numerous rumours – the backroom staff started to gather.
Anton Relikovic, the party-boy son of the chairman, forced to be a coach in order to limit his partying exploits. Joel Power, the womanizing journeyman who had low European success but an untrustworthy nature, was the head first team coach as Riley Bartley, an aggressive former American international defender who had earned more disciplinary fines then wins as a manager, as the assistant manager.
But there was one main man, the manager: Niko Bergstrom.
A man who had perfection in his blood. No literally! He was a genetic experiment to be the best human being ever to rule over the word, as the heir of the tyrannical terroist/relgious cult named Phetrovolgy. But that wasn't what made Niko the right choice, it was his managerial expertise.
Even at 18, the Croatian started his career at Finnish side HyPS, who had low ambitions for success, but with a positive personality, a pragmatic approach to life and a random personal life it went from:
And the fans being miserable every weekend, to singing the praises of the young manager that had taken over and shown, in only his second season in charge, that this young ambitious and talented man was the person to herald the club to the echelons of the Finnish Premier League :
But, fans are fickle and easily swayed.
As tension grew between Niko and chairman 'Jules', plus the unwanted attention towards the young managers personal life, sitting in 6th in the table in their debut season in the Premier League, the fans turned against there once celebrated manager.
It didn't take long for the progressive manager to move on to another club, the 20 year old had taken over Belgian Third Division relegation battler THES Sport. After a resurgence in transfers, and again a weird altercation with the chairman, Niko was able to turn the club's fortunes around to save the club from relegation.
And building a squad with both experience and youth, he got the team that was once certain for relegation to be within the top division within 2 years with back to back titles.
Finish Second Division, Belgian Third and Second division to his name, the then 23rd year old had earned unwanted media pressure. The pressure amounted to his third season in charge with extreme allegations based upon his rumoured bizarre personal life:
Finishing 3rd in the league earned the manager his first shot at European glory with UEFA Cup, but soon the unwanted attention caused more harm then good.
Belgian First Division
Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts
1st C AA Gent 34 11 2 4 35 20 10 3 4 38 25 68
2nd Anderlecht 34 13 2 2 39 17 8 3 6 31 30 68
3rd THES Sport 34 9 4 4 33 22 9 4 4 38 26 62
With also a Semi-Final display in the Belgian Cup it was also the best showing that Niko had in his career at that point. Cruely beaten by an away goal, it would be the last time Niko would appear in the Belgian Cup.
Type: Belgian Cup Semi Final Leg 1
Date: Wednesday 1st April
Teams: THES Sport vs Mouscron
Scorers:(Ulivi pen 32, Van Rompay '39)(Lepoint '40)
MoM: T. Spotbeen
Type: Belgian Cup Semi Final Leg 2
Date: Wednesday 8th April
Teams: Mouscron vs THES Sport
Scoreline: 1-0 Agg. 2-2 - Mouscron Win on Away Goal
MoM: O. Werner
With the media spotlight on him, a perfectionist who wants only the best and dismayed by the dissapointments of last season, Niko called that his second season in the Belgian First Division would be his last. This was further encouraged after revelations of an attack on a base of 'Phetrovology', resulting in the death of the owner of the club – a personal friend of Niko Bergstrom – and the new ownership wanting a more, 'relaxed' and 'proper' manager at the whelm.
Niko agreed to retire and pursue a career in music, but continued to put his manager career once again in the forefront one last time. He signed two new Brazilians, Vladmir Diaz for £275k and Jelson de Oliviera for £250k plus many more from a scout trip he did over summer.
Hoping that a mixture of the Brazilian attacking skills would add more depth, especially striker Diaz, he recruited fromer HyPS starlet Mika Savolainen in what he would help be a rotated and contested striker position – Niko would only see Diaz and star striker Van Mieghem succeed.
After only two months of the new season, which had seen THES Sport demonstrate impressive result, the club sacked Niko Bergstrom among an investigation of corruption by FIFA.
Date Opposition Ven Competition Res Attend Scorers
15.7.15 FCN Sint-Niklaas A Friendly 4:1 922 McDonald, De Ridder, Dias 2
23.7.15 Sérésien A Friendly 4:4 425 Verhelst 2, de Oliviera, Habarugira
13.8.15 Dudelange LUX A UEFA Cup Qual. Rnd Leg 1 5:0 3819 Dias 3 (2 pens), Kanu, de Oliviera
16.8.15 Lierse H First Division 4:1 2991 Eikrem, Dias 3
22.8.15 Mouscron A First Division 3:2 6048 Verhelst 2, de Oliviera
27.8.15 Dudelange LUX H UEFA Cup Qual. Rnd Leg 2 1:1 2960 Verhelst
30.8.15 RC Genk H First Division 4:1 2998 Verhelst 2, Dias, Swinkels
9.9.15 Zulte-Waregem A First Division 5:0 6519 Dias 2, Verhelst, Van Mieghem, Euvrard pen
12.9.15 Anderlecht H First Division 3:1 2963 Dias, McGrath 2
17.9.15 Larisa GRE A UEFA Cup 1st Rnd Leg 1 2:0 5230 Euvrard pen, Verdure
20.9.15 KV Kortrijk A First Division 1:1 6087 Van Mieghem
26.9.15 Virton H First Division 5:2 2966 Van Mieghem 2, de Oliviera 2, Kanu
Despite his protests, Niko reluctantly agreed to retire 7 months sooner, as the club was heavily-fined, kicked out of the UEFA Cup and was forcibly relegated to Third Division for the next season – which resulted in a play-off for a team replacing them in the First Division as they were suspended for the season.
Without football, the club started to frail and fall apart under the ownership – which turned out used the club for laundering and did 'dodgy' dealings in the negotiations for Diaz and de Oliveira. Players left for better pastures, and the owners jailed. The club was once again forced to be relegation fodder as the once manager focused on a career he would never succeed at.
Before his 'retirement', Niko had achieved:
Finish Second Division Championship
Belgian Third Division Championship
Belgian Second Division Championship
Belgian First Division 3rd Place
After two years away from the game, Niko Bergstrom returned aged 26 to be the man of the ambitious project. Backed with his management staff, the 'Fearless Warriors' battled to champions four seasons in the row, with triumphant wins in the Vans Throphy, League Cup and FA Cup, Niko become an instant world great at the age of 30.
But due to growing medical concerns, it was announced that Niko Bergstrom would be stepping down as manager at the end of his first season in the Premier League with Newark. Stating that he had 'accomplished' his job, he was openingly handing over the reigns to his second in charge, Riley Bartley.
Recruiting former players that had left during the previous seasons, Niko wanted to go out with the team he started with. And although the team continued to succeed on the pitch, Niko's health started to decline more and more – though, never telling anyone about it.
With success on the field, the more the health of the manager worsened. Failure in the League Cup Final edged the manager, who had know had possible criminal convictions on his head, for the final showdown that mattered most – the UEFA Cup Final.
The European gold that the owner had dreamed about and the one that Niko seeked. As the game went on, Newark started to gain more control. Typically they were leading into the final minutes of the game, among the celebrations of Zbimg's sealer, Bergstrom was taking his final moments.
As the whistle rung to see out the historic game, it echoed the end of a remarkable era that the footballing world would never forget. Niko had become one of the greats, and somewhat fittingly died in what were the highlight of his life and career. The 'perfect' human being succumbed to being 'perfect', and the long shadow that layed out on the touchline would be ever present.
In 8 years since the death of it's finest and only manager, Newark Athletic still couldn't find a suitable manager. The teams core started to disperse and the successful run that had become nature at the club had dried up.
An Internationally known manager, a promising managers and somewhat ambitious hiring had tried to replicate only a small amount of success, but none could come close to the tenacity that was Niko.
The club was becoming less and less of the identity he had built in five years at the club, the backroom staff went – Riley, his replacement, left due to grief – and soon went the players. Replacements never came in, and soon the results started to wander.
Consistentcy was no longer there, and the identity crisis had started to emerge.
The long shadow that had stayed a constant reminder would be solidified into bronze as the club celebrates it 15th anniversary this season. A statue of Niko Bergstrom will be unveiled outside the Boltsky Stadium entrance. Beside the newly-named Bergstrom Stand, it will be former captain The Eejit, topgoalscorer Lorenzo Zbimg, best friend Theodore Eejit and Newark manager Erland Johnsen who would be at the ceremony.
As the legacy of Niko Bergstrom is to be celebrated with a statue, the forthcoming season will be a telling one for Newark.
A third season with Erland Johnsen, the second longest manager now at the club, who has started to push the team towards higher positions in the Premier League and more presence within the cups, Newark seem to taking small steps to finding a new breathe of fresh air without Niko.
As the ageing remnants of Niko's 'team' enter the twilight years of their career, the emergence of fresh young talent from the accomplished youth team – founded and somewhat achieved by former scout Zander Champman – into the first team, it is a passing of the torch to the next.
Former players had struggled without the tutelage of the man they still call 'gaffer', though some have found a second home. After the hiring of Mark Hughes as the replacement or Niko's replacement, Zander Champman had fall-out with the manager's direction and left to become a coach at Burton Albion, which turned to be a caretaker role turned full-time manager.
Since then Zander, whose only 40, has won 2 league titles and the Vans Trophy prompting similarities to his former boss. Though never a public speaker, Zander seems to shy away from comparisons and continues to dedicate improving himself as a manager.
As the possibilities start to build for both the club, it's players, it's 'Warriors' and even former employees: the question of the future remains. Would they replicate the success? Would the club ever find the same kind of success?
It seems unlikely. But, no one will ever know and it doesn't matter.
Fifteen years ago, a group of random players gathered and with time, grew to become a community. That community strived to push the successes that, through time some left, some came back. But, in the end, it is what they represented, achieved and pass on that matters.
The future is up to them for themselves, but at Newark Athletic it is about a changing of the guard. Warriors of old alas of glorious victories, choose their battles as the recruits continue their former battle.
It is always A Golden and Fearless Ambition that strives.
“In every season I aim for Newark to reach the ambitions that I have for this club, I want to gain something to celebrate for every year, minor or major.” - Newark Athletic Owner, Yermolai Relikovic
Hard-drive failed over summer, was able to reformat and thought nothing of it, but it happened again and it took the save file with plus the edited db etc. was able to Uni work off the hard-drive, but got a new one, and sending other one back (under warranty). Idea was to end at ten seasons, with this kind of ending (open ended and review kinda thing) but with a massive 'What If' with a save i continued on as Niko where i won the EPL, CL etc. and had players like Lewandoski at the club.
But instead decided to detail Niko more (actual TEJ pics and prints there ! ).
So thanks again, and for the first time ever i am able to end a story on my terms
Won't be doing any Fearless Warriors anymore - Wato has the whole CM-into-players down, and plus Vipers - so nice to be able to end one finally. Have a few ideas for new stories, none as weird as this though, and would be more a long-term football challenge then anything.