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Thread: [STORY] The World of Football Management - Chapter 1 - Wheeling and Dealing

  1. #1026
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    Exactly, show me the money!
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  2. #1027
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    Long time lurker, have registered mainly to say what a cracking story!

    Pretty pleased I've got all the other chapters to read still, will fill my commute for the next month

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  4. #1028
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    Cheers, Fred. Finished this one already then? Fair play
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  5. #1029
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post

    The final quarter of the season and it's going to be the fight of our lives. If there are any advantages to be gained from those final 12 games of the season, it is the fact that only 5 of them are away from home meaning that 7 are in front of our own fans which will hopefully be a boost to our team. Things being so tight at the bottom of the league is possibly good news too as just a couple of wins would see us right up immediately. Let's just hope that we can actually get the results to do that!

    Alfreton vs Reading
    We start with a tough game at home against Reading who are 2nd in the table. Straight away, we're on the back foot as Reading score within 4 minutes and add another just after the half hour. Kjell Karlsson, who has been a firm favourite this season since arriving at the club pulls one back just before half-time. But a disastrous start to the second half puts paid to any hopes of a comeback as Aaron Martin picks up an injury and gets replaced by Valtteri Moren only for the Finnish defender to last less than a minute before being given a straight red card for upending his opposing number. There were no further goals scored in the game but to add further insult to injury, Ryan Atkinson was also forced off the pitch with a shin complaint.

    The board were reportedly unhappy with the performance after the game while there were signs of discontent amongst the supporters as the final whistle blew. Things needed to improve and fast as Alfreton moved back to the root of the table after MK Dons had won.

    Burnley vs Alfreton
    Playing at home against a team in 2nd place was bad enough. Playing away to the top of the league was even worse and that's exactly what we were up against with Burnley topping the table after being relegated from the Premiership last season. The theme of the previous game seemed to continue when Stefano Pettinari was sent off after just 7 minutes shoving a Burnley player. We then lost our other winger Jacopo Dezi to injury in the second half yet somehow took the lead through Jesús Maciel. Of course, such is our luck this season, it wouldn't last as Burnley equalised in between two penalty shouts for us and Chris Stokes joined Pettinari in the referee's notebook with a red card of his own. We'd managed a point but I was left exasperated yet again.

    Alfreton vs Crystal Palace
    Crystal Palace were only 16th which was 6 places ahead of us but they were a whopping 12 points clear. Having said that, I highlighted the need to win this game as we aimed to narrow that gap to give ourselves a better chance of getting out of trouble and hauling others into the relegation battle. The likes of Jorgen Strom and Jack Holland got a chance to impress as injuries and suspensions kicked in and we looked to be on the way to victory with goals from Shane Ryan and Andrew Ainsley. Yet... Yet again... Crystal Palace scored twice in the final 8 minutes of the game to ensure the game ended as a tie.

    I could feel the frustrations beginning to bubble up inside me. By my reckoning, it was the 6th time this season that we had lost a winning lead in the final 10 minutes of the game. It was also the 4th time we'd lost a TWO goal lead in those ten minutes. The concentration of the players were beginning to grate me although we did find ourselves up to 23rd after the two draws but only on goal difference. We'd have been 21st if we hadn't conceded twice against Crystal Palace.

    Preston vs Alfreton
    Sam Walker put Preston in the lead after 11 minutes and we felt we had a decent shout for a penalty turned down before half-time. Hopes of a third draw in a row after Willie Hutchison had equalised were dashed with a 71st minute winner by Kris Carter put Preston just two points behind league leaders Burnley. It's a result that puts us bottom of the league and a point behind Millwall who have a game in hand.

    Alfreton vs Bournemouth
    5 points ahead and 6 places in front of us are Bournemouth and I was left bemoaning our bad luck once again when a goal from Willie Hutchison was disallowed by an offside call. Were we ever going to get a break? We were playing well with Joe Lewis in good form for the away side. It was with a sense of delight that I saw Harry Crawford score his 95th goal for the club (and make it an 8th successive season in a row that he'd scored for us) and Joey Hoskins came off the bench to score only his 2nd goal of the season.

    I was desperate for a win by this stage and had repeated what I'd said prior to the Crystal Palace match and this time, we got a win AND a clean sheet. Despite banking a valuable 3 points, we were still bottom of the league with literally all the teams around us picking up points too.

    Bristol City vs Alfreton
    Bristol City were chasing a play-off place so this game was by no means an easy feat especially given our struggles away from home. But we were given an advantage when Michael Thornton was pushed over by their midfielder and he was given a red card after just 8 minutes of play. Within 12 minutes, we were 1-0 up through Aaron Martin. 6 minutes later, a Jacopo Dezi goal was ruled out. I was worried that we weren't killing the game off with the extra man as Bristol City kept looking to catch us on the counter but we managed to hold on to the lead and see the game through.

    The league table was great viewing afterwards. By banking an additional three points, we had flown from the bottom of the league right up to 19th in the table. We were still just a point away from the bottom three and with 6 games left, it was nowhere near over.

    Alfreton vs Southampton
    Now this was a big one. Like ourselves, Southampton had just missed out on a play-off spot last year and in alarmingly similar circumstances, had also found themselves embroiled in a relegation battle this season and were now bottom of the league, only two points behind.

    Goals were the order of the day... For Southampton as they went 2-0 up into the interval. We lost Jesús Maciel to injury and his replacement Valtteri Moren also went off later on in the game but not before Southampton scored another two goals. Sam McMahon's 80th minute strike meant nothing as they overtook us in the table and we moved down to 22nd. It has to be said that it was not a fair reflection on the game though. We had managed twice as many shots at goal and as many on target as well yet we were the ones who'd lost 4-1.

    Middlesbrough vs Alfreton
    If only we hadn't lost to Southampton. If we hadn't, we'd be just two points behind Middlesbrough with the chance to break away from the bottom three even further. As it was, we travelled to The Riverside Stadium desperate to close that 5 point gap.

    Credit to the players, they started very well with Aaron Martin meeting a Willie Hutchison corner to put us ahead. In typical fashion though, we conceded with Middlesbrough's first foray forward but soon restored the lead with Hutchison this time driving home after an Andrew Ainsley layoff. In the 2nd half, Kjell Karlsson's 4th goal of the season put us 3-1 ahead and firmly in the driving seat. But just as we had done in the first half, we conceded almost immediately with Lewis McGugan making it 3-2. Benjamin Siegrist then tripped up Joey Hoskins in the box and Chris Stokes had no problems scoring from the spot to confirm a 4-2 win. We were out of the bottom 3 again!

    Alfreton vs Leyton Orient
    With Leyton Orient just a point and a place behind us, this was an even bigger opportunity than the Southampton match to create a gap between ourselves and the bottom three and there was a surprise in store for everybody as Bondz N'Gala was named in the team to lead the side out for the first time in over two years. There was even a rare sight of Christiano Kisuka on the bench as fans hoped he'd get a run out to link up with Harry Crawford who'd been playing regularly once again behind the front man.

    It was Michael Thornton who put Alfreton ahead with his first ever goal for the club and Robbie Weir achieved a similar feat in the 49th minute before Christiano Kisuka was immediately introduced to the action alongside Joe Walsh, another long serving player. But then the collapse took place... Leyton Orient scored in the 79th and 84th minutes and it ended as a draw. Instead of being 19th and 4 points clear, we were 20th and a point clear of the bottom three. It had happened yet again!

    Swansea vs Alfreton
    Our final away game of the season was against Swansea who were 6th in the league and who the fuck knew how we'd get on? We struggle to beat teams around us yet pull off results against those up the top tier, the lack of consistency in our results was cutting my lifespan shorter and shorter by the game.

    I knew it would happen... Willie Hutchison's 7th of the season was the difference between the two teams as we dictated the game and restricted the play-off hopefuls to just two shots on goal. With two games left, it's a vital win for us. We were by no means safe, but did we have an advantage in playing both of our final matches at home and against top half teams who were had been raising our game against lately? We had Northampton (9th) and Liverpool (4th). It certainly doesn't help when not even a single place had been confirmed in the relegation slots yet:

    19th - Alfreton (48). Northampton (H) and Liverpool (H)
    20th - Middlesbrough (46). Blackburn (A) and Portsmouth (H)
    21st - Southampton (45). Millwall (A) and Blackburn (H)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    22nd - Leyton Orient (44). Portsmouth (A) and Tranmere (H)
    23rd - Bournemouth (43). MK Dons (A) and Torquay (H)
    24th - MK Dons (42). Bournemouth (H) and Bristol City (A)
    Need to work on fitness for those final 10, don't you change formation to protect the lead eg men behind the ball, press, direct pass??

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  7. #1030
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post

    I saw the notice and immediately collapsed into my chair. Or should I say the vacant chair?

    I have no idea who wrote the note so I did the first thing that made sense, I got up and strode straight to the chairman's office and without knocking walked right in and the sight that greeted me confirmed that I had indeed been given my marching orders.

    Mark: You?!

    It was Amy sat right there in the seat that was usually graced by Wayne.

    Amy: I told you that you'd pay for what you did, Mark.

    She then picked up the phone and called security, requesting that they clear out my office and have me removed from the premises immediately.

    I didn't say anything. I was in too much of a shock to actually grasp what was going on and was led away in silence to my office to pack my belongings and awards into a box which included:

    • 1 FA Trophy runner up medal
    • 2 Conference winners medals
    • 1 Third Division playoff runner up medal
    • 1 Third Division winners medal
    • 1 Second Division playoff runner up medal
    • 1 Second Division 2nd place medal
    • 10 Conference Manager of the Month awards
    • 2 Conference Manager of the Year trophies
    • 2 Third Division Manager of the Month awards
    • 1 Third Division Manager of the Year trophy
    • 1 Third Division Manager of the Year runner up medal
    • 4 Second Division Manager of the Month awards
    • 1 Second Division Manager of the year runner up medal
    • 1 First Division Manager of the Month award

    I think one of the security guards took pity on me as he went to collect three more boxes and helped me pack them all in.

    Security Guard: I'm really sorry about this, Mark. I've got no choice but to follow orders but I don't agree with what is going on.

    Again, I couldn't even speak to reply back to him, instead just nodding my head in thanks for his words. Somehow they didn't mean a lot right now.

    Without even realising, I was back in my home and sat on the sofa and pretty soon the news that I had been sacked was being filtered through to the media as a Sky Sports reporter was stood outside the Impact Arena interviewing fans who were both happy and sad at the news. My phone was vibrating away as text messages came through from former family, friends, colleagues and players who were all just as shocked as I was about the events that had unfolded since the end of the Millwall game. Tears started to stream down my face as I read heartfelt messages from the likes of Corey Barnes, Harry Crawford and even Paul O'Leary who thanked me for helping him become the player that he is today.

    The next seven months passed me by in a haze as I moved back to Stoke-on-Trent and tried to get back to the life that I had 15 years ago before that email from Sean Egan. The Stoke City manager's job became available but the thought of applying for it never even crossed my mind.

    Meanwhile, I learnt of what had happened at Alfreton. Amy had finally persuaded her dad to take a step back as a chairman and retire and having failed to appoint a successor, she had taken on the role herself which led to an immediate dismissal for myself and the appointment of Adam Johnson who it transpired she had been dating for the past couple of months since our break-up at the end of last season.

    Johnson was seen as an exciting coach and one tipped for a big future since retiring from the game with 50 caps for England. He had led Macclesfield to a Third Division promotion before jumping ship to Chesterfield where he had them mid-table before the call came to take over at Alfreton.

    The structure that was established by Wayne was broken apart by Amy as she gave Johnson a free reign to sign players and do as he pleased in the transfer market. It led to the signature of Ashley Miller from Fulham as the club's first money signing for £425k as well before then signing Ryan Rooney from Gillingham for £1.1m and Joris Delle from Doncaster for £150k with the latter the much needed goalkeeper in the squad. Mason Springthorpe, Jeff Bradshaw and Matthew Alexander also arrived on loan.

    Johnson wasted no time getting rid of the "deadwood" as well, releasing Kevin Pritchard, Stefan Vasilev and Valtteri Moren within days of his appointment before also letting Carl Winchester and Aaron Martin go later on in the season.

    On the pitch, he failed to save Alfreton from relegation as he recorded just 4 wins and 15 draws after his appointment where the team scored only 31 goals all season with Joey Hoskins the top scorer with 7 to his name. As the season ended, Johnson found that he himself was a victim of Amy's rashness and found himself sacked at following relegation.

    After Johnson was sacked, there were called for me to be reinstated as manager as fans found themselves bored senseless by the rigid 4-4-2 formation employed by Johnson. I had not been seen in public since September and had insisted to friends and family that there was no going back. But then, a culmination of events changed everything...
    Typical woman,. They howl and protest for equal rights then when the opportunity arrives true to form they act totally unprofessional venomous and malicious....mind you the results were shit!!

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  9. #1031
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeybeefboy1966 View Post
    Typical woman,. They howl and protest for equal rights then when the opportunity arrives true to form they act totally unprofessional venomous and malicious....mind you the results were shit!!
    Was Johnson sacked for molesting the youth team players girlfriends??

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  11. #1032
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    Nah, I used the same formation all the way through this story. 4-5-1 was a favourite of mine.
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  12. #1033
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    For a while it was "The Mark Formation", although you've confused us all with trying something else in Chapter 4

    . . . . SC
    AML AMC AMR
    . . . . MC
    . . . .DMC
    DL DC DC DR
    . . . . GK

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  13. #1034
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    That's the one Smash 'n' Grab as I liked to call it. It was built on Mourinho's first term at Chelsea when he had Duff, Robben and Cole playing behind Drogba.
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