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Thread: [STORY] The World of Football Management - Chapter 4 - Man City Madness

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    [STORY] The World of Football Management - Chapter 4 - Man City Madness

    The past couple of months have been an absolute dream since I stepped down as manager of Stoke City. For the first time in what felt like an age, I decided to have a holiday with the missus! It was an unusual choice but we decided to have a unique holiday that would live long in the memory. The destination? The United Arab Emirates! The exact location? Abu Dhabi!

    After the usual hassle that goes hand in hand with the search for passports, packing of suitcases, travelling to the airport, checking in and boarding the plane, we eventually landed in the UAE. A further hour later, we'd managed to check in to our hotel and were greeted with a breath taking view from our balcony...


    This truly was paradise!

    After a few days, we'd done the usual sight seeing and decided to spend the remainder of the holiday just enjoying the local night life, dining out and drinking wine as though we were incredibly sophisticated! In one such place, we were getting through a few bottles and enjoying the scenery:


    "This is the life... I could do this every day!" said the missus. Before I had a chance to reply, I spotted someone sitting in the table behind the missus and he was was flanked with a large crowd. Obviously, someone of a high status, I recognised his face but I couldn't quite place who he was. I let it go for the time being and resumed my conversation with the missus whilst eating my shawarma.

    Not 10 minutes later, it clicked.

    It was Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan!


    I have absolutely no idea why I didn't realise that earlier, given that I'd met him before a couple of times as manager of Stoke when we've played against Manchester City! Clearly, I'd had too many bottles of wine.

    Indeed, I had a small dislike of Man City after they'd delayed my success at the Britannia Stadium by a good few years! Nevertheless, that didn't stop me from excusing myself at the table and approaching Sheikh Mansour.

    "Mr. Mansour! It's a pleasure to see you again!", extending my hand in the process.

    "Mark Henderson? Is that you?", the Sheikh asked, after a few seconds of pondering who I was.

    "Yes, absolutely! I haven't seen anybody that I know on this holiday so it is great to see a familiar face! Me and the missus, look, she's over there, we're on a holiday. A break from the world of football management, you might say!"

    "A break? You no longer manage Stoke City?" he asked.

    "Oh, no. Didn't you know? I decided to step down as manager as I felt that I had taken the club as far as I could. It's been a long 14 years, don't you know?!"

    "I'm sure it was. I didn't realise that you were out of a job! That's a coincidence..." muttered the Sheikh.

    "A concidence? I don't understand."

    "Listen, Mark. I have been hugely impressed by your work in the past. The Champions League with Stoke, winning the league title there. Winning the Bundesliga in Germany, you've got a fantastic pedigree. You should know... I have sacked Mark Hughes!"

    "Hughesy? What have you gone and done that for then?"

    "It's not working out. He's spending too much money and we are getting nothing in return. Robinho, Jo, Benjani, these players are not doing very well. He had to go!"

    "That's a bit risky, isn't it? Isn't the season starting in less than 2 months?"

    "Well, actually, it starts a bit earlier for my club as we are in the Inter-Toto Cup this year."

    "Blimey, that is cutting it close. I think you need to sort it out pretty quickly!" as I said that, a huge smile beamed out on the Sheikh's face.

    "What?" I asked.

    "I think I'm looking at the answer..."

    "Ey, what? I know I've had a couple of bottles of wine tonight but are you serious?!"

    "Why not? Only for this season because there is no time to go through a proper interview procedure to hire Hughes properly. All I ask is that you play with fire, you play five attackers, you score goals, you entertain!"

    "Wait, five attackers?! Oh, I'm not sure about this."

    Deep down inside, I was itching to snap the Sheikh's hands off. My CV so far has seen me control Alfreton Town, Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart and Stoke City. Manchester City with their neverending bucket load of cash would be a fantastic job and another major notch on the CV. But five attackers? I have played in one style in my entire management career and that's with one striker. He is usually supported by three advanced midfielders but that's still one less than the Sheikh just mentioned. It would be a challenge but I think I was ready for it...

    "The missus ain't gonna like this..." and as I said that, I shook his hand and agreed to become the new manager of Manchester City Football Club.

    In the background, a wine bottle smashed to the ground.
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    Had a feeling it would be Man C madness.
    It's some challenge to take on.

    A very difficult one in the Challenges section.
    Will certainly be a change for you after your years of playing the one up top.

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    A short challenge with a top club, how very unorthodox of you mark.

    Expecting 10 minutely updates

    And a firing

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    I can't wait for this one to get going. Don't see many 0-0 draws at the Etihad in the next 12 months.
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    I'll be following this one Mark, best of luck! I assume you won't be wibwobbing for this story as traditionally you don't bother with it?

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    Nice to see chapter 4 already starting.

    From 14 seasons, youth development, money making and 1 up top, to this!! Pretty much the polar opposite. Hope you survive a whole season!
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    Glad to see you're starting a new story, I wouldn't have been surprised if you took a break! Good luck with this, should be exciting to say the least...

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    Will read this tomorrow!

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    Personally looked for a tease but to start with this is kind of a kick in the balls!

    Of course, i can't be kicked in the balls since i only have a Snake, but the Zan is!

    Can't wait to see what this begins

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    Nice intro!

    I never thought I'd see the Hendo took on a job with more than 1 up front :

    It sure is a tough challenge!

    Has the chairman put a limited on "x" amount of players beiong signed or do you have free reign to bring in as many as you want?

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Has the chairman put a limited on "x" amount of players beiong signed or do you have free reign to bring in as many as you want?

    Good luck!
    I think he allowed to make four signings and that's it.

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    Great to see you start another story mate, and as people have said, it couldn't be much more different to Stoke! I look forward to loads of high scoring games

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Had a feeling it would be Man C madness.
    It's some challenge to take on.

    A very difficult one in the Challenges section.
    Will certainly be a change for you after your years of playing the one up top.
    I've never even played with three strikers before, never mind 5! A difficult challenge indeed!

    Quote Originally Posted by merkezekrem View Post
    A short challenge with a top club, how very unorthodox of you mark.

    Expecting 10 minutely updates

    And a firing
    No faith in my abilities, ey, merk! We shall see!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Eejit View Post
    I can't wait for this one to get going. Don't see many 0-0 draws at the Etihad in the next 12 months.
    Haha, that's got to be a given. Although now you said, I expect the first game to be 0-0 now!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus View Post
    I'll be following this one Mark, best of luck! I assume you won't be wibwobbing for this story as traditionally you don't bother with it?
    Good to know you'll be following! Definitely not bothering with wib/wob mate!

    Quote Originally Posted by BobMem View Post
    Nice to see chapter 4 already starting.

    From 14 seasons, youth development, money making and 1 up top, to this!! Pretty much the polar opposite. Hope you survive a whole season!
    Definitely a big change. I'm really looking forwards to it!

    Quote Originally Posted by kuy View Post
    Glad to see you're starting a new story, I wouldn't have been surprised if you took a break! Good luck with this, should be exciting to say the least...
    I just couldn't keep away, could I?! In some ways, a short challenge will be as good as a rest!

    Quote Originally Posted by ZanSnake View Post
    Personally looked for a tease but to start with this is kind of a kick in the balls!

    Of course, i can't be kicked in the balls since i only have a Snake, but the Zan is!

    Can't wait to see what this begins
    Haha, no need for a teaser at this stage!

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Nice intro!

    I never thought I'd see the Hendo took on a job with more than 1 up front :

    It sure is a tough challenge!

    Has the chairman put a limited on "x" amount of players beiong signed or do you have free reign to bring in as many as you want?

    Good luck!
    You shall find out!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus View Post
    I think he allowed to make four signings and that's it.
    This man is correct though, it's part of the rules in the official challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    Great to see you start another story mate, and as people have said, it couldn't be much more different to Stoke! I look forward to loads of high scoring games
    Here we go!
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    The next few days was a bit of a blur.

    After that chat with Sheikh Mansour, I'd signed a contract there and then that confirmed my appointment as Manchester City manager. If you were wondering who broke the bottle of wine, it was the missus as she turned around and knocked it over in shock as she saw me shaking hands with my new chairman. We were due to fly home the next day anyway but she still had a big sulk on as we flew home. That suited me anyway as I needed the peace and quiet during the flight to think about the task that lay ahead.

    It was an unusual position for me to be in. A one year contract. Don't get me wrong, I knew that I was simply a 'quick fix' given that the season was starting in just a few days time for the Manchester City squad. The Sheikh saw me as an opportunity to save the hassle of a rigorous interview process which he'll undergo at the end of the season instead in the hope of hiring the likes of Inter's Jose Mourinho, Milan's Carlo Ancelotti or perhaps even AZ's Louis van Gaal.

    I was secretly delighted to be coming back into the world of football management already. It had been the right time to cut my ties with Stoke, even though it was an incredibly hard decision to make as they were my home town club and I'd turned them into the best in the country and the best in Europe. But the truth is, it'd been a long journey and I was tired of it. I'd needed only the two months before that chance meeting with the Sheikh and I was back in the saddle, fully refreshed. It was a new challenge, a short challenge and I was ready for it.

    At least, I hoped that I was.

    I knew it wasn't going to be easy. The Sheikh specifically asked that we play with five attackers and I was going to be trying my best to make that work. I've always been an advocate of playing a lone striker in my teams and that player would be flanked by three midfielders with flair. You could argue that was actually four attackers but I was still one short. How was I going to pull this off? The true dilemma lay in the shape of the team. With half of the team at one end, how do I make sure that we remain strong defensively? Another hallmark of my teams is that I adopted a defensive midfielder. I would certainly be using one here but I didn't know whether to play with two for extra protection. In that situation though, there'd be a massive gap between the midfielder and the attackers.

    The missus kept glancing over and tutting every time she saw me scribbling ideas of tactics on a piece of paper. I knew I just had to ignore her to avoid getting into an argument. I'd made my decision and it was up to her to get used to it! By the time we'd landed, I'd made my mind up. This was how we were going to play:

    Would it work? I have absolutely no idea!


    Before long, we were back at home. Of course, after unpacking the holiday clothes, I was soon packing the suitcase once again as I prepared for the drive to Manchester from Stoke, leaving the missus behind for the time being. It was just a two hour drive to the City of Manchester Stadium. Once I arrived and checked in at reception, Garry Cook himself came down to greet me and take me to my new office.


    "Welcome to Manchester, Mark! The blue half, of course! We know it is going to be a huge job to try and overtake our neighbours but we'll give it a bloody go, ey?"

    "Thanks, Garry. Yes, we'll certainly do that."

    After the usual drivel that is spouted from an executive, Garry left me to my own devices. I had a big decision to make. You see, I wasn't the coaching sort as a manager. My usual policy and always has been my policy, was to oversee the training sessions with my right-hand man and let a team of five coaches organise the players during the training sessions themselves. That's why I had a big decision to make because they were the ones who had the hardest job of all. They were the ones who were going to have to drill this new style of play into the players. As a result, I needed to be able to trust that the coaches were good enough to work on adapting the players game.

    As I was only going to be at Man City for the best part of 10 months, I did consider working with those who were already on the payroll. Before long, I decided that wasn't going to be the route that I'd take. After all, I needed the best in the business to be able to do the coaching for me. That led to me letting go the entire coaching team as well as the two physiotherapists who were also contracted to the club. Poor old Mark Bowen! He was part of the coaching staff at Stoke when I took over and I had given him his P45 back then. Eddie Niedzwiecki had also been at Stoke then but I'd kept him around. This time, Niedzwiecki joined Bowen on his way out of the club along with Eric Steele, Kevin Hitchcock and Stefano Marrone. The two physios to leave were Rob Harris and Alan Raw. With regards to scouts, this was an area that I didn't bother working on as I don't foresee signing many players while I was around.

    After calling each and every one of those guys to tell them they weren't needed any more, I'd started to pull out dossiers on the current playing squad when there was a knock on the door. It was Garry.

    "Mark, a word?"

    "Come in, Cook." I thought I'd stamp my authority early on by referring to Garry by his surname.

    "Right... Listen, we've just had a few angry phone calls from Mark, Eddie and the rest. Why are you letting these guys go?"

    "Because they're not good enough? You said yourself, if you want to overtake the 'red' half of Manchester, you need the best to help you do so!"

    "Well, that's understandable... But who is going to do the training?"

    "What do you mean? I'll bring my own men in, of course!"

    "Well, yes. But I mean today?"

    "What do you mean today?"

    "Today! The squad is out there and there's nobody there to lead the team! That's why I am here! The timing is not good, Mark. There's a game tomorrow!"

    "Tomorrow?! I thought it was in a few days time!"

    It suddenly struck me what'd happened. I'd lost the time difference after flying back from the UAE and got my dates all mixed up...

    "Yes, tomorrow! We've got Elfsborg in the Inter-Toto Cup!"

    Oh, s**t! Looks like I'll have to do the coaching after all!
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    Good luck in the inter two-bob. Looks like you're going to need it
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    you'll do a zan and get fired after two games?

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    Love the dialogue with 'Cook'

    Bloody hell - best of luck in the first game!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Eejit View Post

    Good luck in the inter two-bob. Looks like you're going to need it
    Fingers crossed that the quality of the opposition is enough to see me through for now!

    Quote Originally Posted by merkezekrem View Post


    you'll do a zan and get fired after two games?
    He got fired after 2 games?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Love the dialogue with 'Cook'

    Bloody hell - best of luck in the first game!
    We don't like that Cook, y'know! Haha!
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    After the revelation that I would be forced to handle my own training sessions, there was only one thing I could do.

    Get Lee on board.

    Lee has had a huge part to play in my career in the past. Firstly, it was down to him that I was even in the management game having drunkenly sent my CV to Alfreton Town which actually got me the job. Secondly, his words of wisdom helped me get started at Alfreton although he never officially joined me on the team there due to attending University. Neither did he get involved while I was in Germany which wasn't surprising given that I had been forced to take the job out there anyway! He did though, get involved in my later years at Stoke City and I always gave him credit for the turnaround of fortunes that led to the success at the club.

    He was also my cousin.

    Obviously, I couldn't very well expect him to drop everything and come straight away so for the time being, I grabbed my mobile and typed out a very quick message before hitting send. The general gist of the message was "Need your help again, come to Manchester ASAP. There's a crate in it for you!". Knowing Lee though, he'll end up at Old Trafford instead of the City of Manchester Stadium!

    In the meantime, I tried to quickly read through the current roster of players on the books at Manchester City before I headed to the training ground. For a club that was aiming high, they were some absolute dross hanging around.

    GOALKEEPERS
    There were just three goalkeepers on the books which actually suited me just fine. The trouble was that two were 21 years of age and the other was 20. Was I still doing the challenge of Under 21's?! The 20 year old was Richard Martin and I can't see him playing at all over the next 12 months. The two 21 year old's certainly had the potential to be top goalkeepers in the future but they were still young. Nevertheless, I'd say that Joe Hart has the edge over Kasper Schmeichel.

    Spoiler!


    DEFENDERS
    I had five options at left-back and the trouble here is that the best of the lot isn't even a natural full-back. Tal Ben-Haim is easily the better player although it's not his natural position and he isn't even left footed. Javier Garrido will probably come closest to being a starter followed by Michael Ball. There are also two young lads with Shaleum Logan and Ryan McGivern unlikely to feature much.

    At right-back, I definitely had better options with Micah Richards heads and shoulders above the rest. However, he won't even be able to play for 6 months as he is currently out of action with a slipped disc. That's a huge blow to me and again, it puts Tal Ben-Haim as the best of my options at right-back. There is Nedum Onuoha who is a decent option and beyond that, even Pablo Zabaleta or Danny Mills. Shaleum Logan also has the ability to play in this position while Javan Vidal has virtually no chance of any game time.

    Micah Richards and Tal Ben-Haim both look like better options at centre-back as well but we also have the experience of Richard Dunne that could prove to be handy. In addition, the energy that can be supplied from Vincent Kompany may also be useful. Beyond that, I have backup options in Nedum Onuoha and Glauber who has somehow managed to pick up a cap for Brazil. There is also Sam Williamson in the squad who I don't expect will play.

    Spoiler!


    MIDFIELDERS
    The combative talents of Vincent Kompany may well be better used as a defensive midfielder. Michael Johnson looks to be a great option to have in this position as well while I will no doubt be glad of the experience that Dietmar Hamann will provide. There is also a fourth option in Gelson Fernandes which actually makes this position look strong in the team.

    Given the way that I expect to line up for this season, there'll seven players who are not likely to play any part in the team. Kelvin Etuhu, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Martin Petrov, Elano, Vladimir Weiss, Stephen Ireland and Karl Moore are all attacking midfielders and while I could put them on the wings of the attacking quintet, I feel it's going to be a better option to play natural forwards in those spots. As a result, these four players are not likely to feature at all this season but I will keep them around just in case they're needed to play out of position.

    Spoiler!


    FORWARDS
    The one area of the team where I need a lot of magic. There's no doubt who may well line up on the left flank as Robinho will be the player who I will be pinning my hopes upon. Felipe Caicedo is the only other player who could play on that side of the pitch.

    I'm actually surprised to learn that Robinho is in fact the only player who can play on the right side so my priority in the transfer market will be to add some competition to this side of the attacking force.

    My mood was dampened by the lack of quality that I had in attack and it didn't get much better when I looked at who could play in the middle. Again, Robinho would be a better striker than the rest of them but the closest challenger is probably fellow Brazilian Jo. He'd be closely followed by Benjani and Valeri Bojinov but the 22 year old Bulgarian is with Richards in the treatment room, being out of action for 5 months with torn ankle ligaments. As a result, Darius Vassell may well get some playing time here along with Felipe Caicedo who can play in the middle too. There are also two youngsters who are extremely raw with Danny Sturridge looking a better option than Ched Evans who seems to have a few screws loose!

    Spoiler!


    Christ, this was going to be a much tougher challenge that I had expected!

    It was time to see what these players could actually do in training.
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  38. #20
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    Kompany and Hamman as a midfield duo ...... There could be more red cards than goals !

    That is an exceptionally bad City strike force. You forget how bad they were quite recently.

    Edit to add .... You can't consider wasting Robinho by stuffing him out at FL or FR. Surely you want your best striker as one of the middle 3.
    FL/FR are virtually useless players unless you can come up with some tactical genius that I have never found. Why not stick Evans out there. You never know, he might surprise you and find some way to rape the opposition.
    Last edited by Kingsley; 30-10-14 at 11:41 AM.
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    Chef Evans has a few screws lose



    Petrov can do a job in th FL position. Now I've read your summary I realise I made some errors in my signings
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    Martin Petrov might work good on left with 17 crossing, if you can make him cross, that is

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    Agree with the above, Petrov and Wright-Phillips could do a job as your FL and FR - maybe you could train them to be forwards?

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    Echo the above suggestions, the wingers should do a more than decent job in the F L/R positions and you won't be wasting Robinho out there.

    Hard to remember them having such a poor squad!

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    Don't discount Petrov, Elano, Wright-Phillips or Stephen Ireland. If I was you I'd look at moving one of the DMCs in to midfield and utilising the squad you've got. You only have four transfers and realistically you need a defender, two strikers and possibly a new midfielder to pull the strings. Failing the midfielder, get yourself another defender who can stop you shipping goals when your five up top are busy trying to get the ball in the net. Personally, I'd rate Benjani second to Robinho, and following him is Sturridge for me.

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