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Thread: The County Championship

  1. #451
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    I bet he does have him on a cheeky release or contract expiring soon - maybe a cheeky 2 weeks fine for "no reason" before you quit

    Suprised Shariff got so much game time - brilliant stuff from all the strikers though

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  3. #453
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    Now a tough decision lay ahead of me.

    Should I resign from my post at St James' Park and hope that whoever replaced me came from a decent job and I could go there or should I hold out in the position until the summer and see if any jobs become available then?

    There would be problems with both ways of going about things.
    If I resigned, I had no idea who my successor would be. Yes, I believed that it was one of the best jobs in the country but in the stark reality, Newcastle were a club that had fallen a long way. They would only be a second tier side next season and they were not going to be attracting the worlds best managers. And what if they chose a manager that was out of work at the time to avoid a compensation payment. That would leave me stranded on that famous creek and without a paddle even in sight let alone reach.

    On the other hand, if I were to hold out, there would be no guarantee a decent job would come up. There wasn't even a guarantee that ANY job would come up. Sometimes managers retire over the summer but there had been no confirmations from anyone really that they were going to step away from football. Sometimes managers spring a surprise but I had heard no murmurings of anyone going.

    It was to be a very tough decision and I decided I would sleep on it for a little longer before making a final decision.

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  5. #454
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    I'd stay and just apply for any jobs that interest you if they are going!
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  6. #455
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    carry on and apply - but that tarnish your reputation with the board and fans

  7. #456
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    I'd say leave, the club's got plenty of cash to pay compensation for a manager if needs be, and you've still got a hell of a lot of counties still to go!

    By the way in the OP you've got Newcastle FA Cup Winners 2017 not 2019.

  8. #457
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    By the way in the OP you've got Newcastle FA Cup Winners 2017 not 2019.
    Thank you. Amended.

  9. #458
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    at St James' Park
    Published: SATURDAY 11th MAY 2019


    Newcastle United have today confirmed that manager Eb Fatz has stepped down as manager of the club by mutual consent.

    The club wish to put on record their utmost gratitude to Fatz for getting them back on the road to the top and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. The club are also keen to place on record that Fatz would be welcome back at the helm at any time.

    The outgoing manager lead his now former charges to the League One title in the season just ended but also won the Vans Trophy and also amazingly the FA Cup to complete a stunning treble.
    This means that despite being in the second tier, the Magpies will be also playing in Europe next season.

    Fatz though has decided to leave this all behind and will leave the Newcastle fans wondering what he could have achieved if he had stayed.

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  11. #459
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    Correct decision I reckon mate, no clues as to where you're off next?

  12. #460
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    None at this point. Depends who takes my job as there are none available at the moment.

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  14. #461
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    Let the managerial merry-go-round begin!

  15. #462
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    a month between updates - I bet you have been twisting and turning on whether to leave your boyhood club during that time

    A massive decision taken - but agreed the right one

  16. #463
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    Been a lot on in the last month. Unfortunately my Mum passed away at the beginning of December and then her birthday and then Christmas came along. Been the last thing I could get myself into if I'm honest.

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    Sorry to hear that, man...

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  19. #465
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    Sorry to hear about your mum, ebz.
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  21. #466
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    Sorry for your loss eb.

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  23. #467
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    Condolences mate...

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  25. #468
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    And that was that. I was unemployed. I was having to walk away from my beloved team who, I had taken back into the second tier but also had taken into Europe after winning the FA Cup.

    The toughest thing was that I didn't have a job to walk into. There weren't even any whispers of who may be on the ropes or who might take my job.
    It was now just a waiting game.

    I didn't have to wait long. One full week after my resignation, my successor was announced. A man the Newcastle faithful knew well.



    In his defence, he had just had a very good season, gaining promotion to League One via winning the League Two playoff final.
    His team was Bristol City.

    A job was available, in the same division that I had just left. There may not be another job for some time. But would I throw his hat in the ring for the job?
    Last edited by ebfatz; 17-01-17 at 02:19 PM.

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  27. #469
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    I'd have stayed at Newcastle and kept on applying for jobs

    Definitely don't miss Pardew in the EPL IRL
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  28. #470
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    Big club is Brizzle - get in there

  29. #471
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    Despite the fact that in the long run, I will only have Bristol City or Bristol Rovers available to me to tick off that county, I decided not to apply. I couldn't do another season in League One. I needed to be further up the league ladder.

    Jobs as wide ranging as Hednesford, Droylsden and Durham came and went. I was tempted when the Reading job became available but left it for Phil Parkinson to take. Cardiff City of the Premier League also dismissed their manager but being Wales and not an English county meant I wasn't going to apply.
    It was a full SIX MONTHS out of the game before I found myself travelling to Staffordshire, hoping to impress a club who had just sacked their manager, Paul Lambert.

    That six months took the date to:


    November/December 2019

    I stated my case in interview. That I felt I was the man who could save them from their current predicament, that given time, I could make the club great. Take them into Europe, take them on to silverware.
    The club in question I knew about. The only major honour in their history was a League Cup win back in the 1970's when a former Newcastle man got the winner. The player was infamous as he took his employers to court and effectively changed the way players contracts were handled and clubs were not allowed to retain a players registration in the same way anymore.

    They were ripe for success and I knew football and how to turn an underperforming side in to one at the top of their game.

    It obviously worked as 48 hours I was announced as the new manager of........

    Spoiler!


    Matches and Roundup

    I was a Premier League manager. That said I had to start right at the bottom of the tree as Stoke City were firmly rooted to the foot of the division.


    But as I left my first training session at the bet365 Stadium, I couldn't for the life of me see why they were. I had no idea why they had shipped 5 goals in both of their last two away games. I didn't know why they had won just 2 of their opening 13 games of the season. The squad didn't look too bad.

    Goalkeepers

    David Ospina, the Colombian international, was the first choice keeper. Still just 31 so a few years left in him. The fact that he has let in 21 goals in his 9 games so far is a bit of a worry though. Matthew Dunn, Matthew Moran, David Watt and Jonathan Mitchell were also at the club as goalkeepers but none were of the standard needed and would need to be sold replaced.

    Spoiler!


    Defence

    A couple of faces I know with Ross Killock and Emil Salomonsson in the squad along with decent looking players in Cristian Gamboa, Chris Smalling, Jamaal Lascelles, Aaron Cresswell and Maya Yoshida. These players may stay. Young Grant Rowley, Stephen Moss and Jody Doyle may have the potential to be kept on. The likes of Anthony Bennett, Jeff Scott, Richard Stearman, Stewart Robinson, Nick Shaw, Ben Godfrey and Phil O'Brien may find their time in Stoke may be up.

    Spoiler!


    Midfield

    Aaron Bower, Glenn Holden, Miquel Angel, Lloyd Blundell, Oliver Shenton will not be used and will be available for transfer. Ruben Jenssen doesn't really have age on his side and will be playing for his future. Ante Coric is also a borderline one that will have to start well to stay on. Adam King, Tom Ince, Jonathan Williams will be retained, whilst Ryan Freeman and Julien Ngoy looks like he could offer something. The midfield will need some moulding.
    Demarai Gray, Brendan Tait are unfortunate that I don't plan to play wingers so will be sold.

    Spoiler!


    Attack

    Simon Cox is a little too old for my liking but will probably stay in the short term. James Alabi and Adam Armstrong, another I have previously sold, may well be the first choice at this stage. Sam Winnall will be back up. Will Keane is someone who I will look to ship out as are Jordan Rose, Adam Gill, Luke Kinnear, Robert McGregor and George Waring.

    Spoiler!


    After overseeing that first training session, I went to find my office and settled in to look a bit more deeply at the club I had joined. I had yet to meet the chairman as he had delegated the task of interviewing of me for the job to one of his managing directors but I knew that the mans name was Jeff Wilson. Once I had learned a bit more about him, I started to regret my decision a little.


    The man had no patience with his staff, was not adept at creating new income for the club and had absolutely no interest in the club bettering itself. He might be facing a rude awakening with me now at the helm and with things that I might have planned for the future.

    As for the subject of finances. They were not great.
    In the bank was an amount of 6.2m and of that just 3.1m was available in transfer funds. What was worse was the fact that they ran a loss of 1.7m in the last month alone and were 18.3m in the red for the financial year. Money was seeping out of the club. What I would need to do first and foremost was stop that hemorrhaging. Then I could maybe start to build. Looking at the wage structure, it confirmed to me that the likes of Ante Coric (55,000 a week), Richard Stearman (50,000 a week), Simon Cox (46,500 a week) and Ruben Jenssen (41,500 a week) would be on their way if I had my way.

    Those big earners went straight on the transfer list along with Demarai Gray and I waited for the offers to come in. I then turned my attention to what would be my first game as Stoke manager, my first game in the Premier League in what would be the 247th game of my career. I would stick with my tried and tested 4-1-3-2. Now I just needed to decide on my first starting XI. The game would be away on the South Coast at the AMEX, home of Brighton and Hove Albion.
    I would have some thinking to do ahead of the game as I knew that I was missing a number of players through injury. Chris Smalling and Aaron Cresswell were missing, both with torn groin muscles and Tom Ince was out with a sprained ankle.

    I finally decided on this as my first team.


    It was so nearly different. In the run up to the game a bid I had made was accepted and a contract offer was also agreed to. I already had the number of the player concerned and I told him if he could get to Brighton before kick off, he would play.

    Unfortunately, he didn't make it in time and so the original team I picked was the one that took the field.
    I met the player in question after the game and heartily shook his hand as I welcomed him to the club. We both smiled as we knew each other so well. A man who had made just two sub appearances in the season. This despite having a career record of 99 goals in 166 games to date. It could possibly turn out to be the best 2m I spend at the club.

    Spoiler!


    When we met, my mood was good as my new team had taken to the field and followed the instructions I had given them to the letter. We had been solid and compact and held Brighton at bay. So much so that they only had three shots and none of them were on target. We managed to have some influence at the other end as well and nine minutes from time we were given reward for our work as Sam Winnall rose highest to head home a Ross Killock cross to give us the win.
    Brighton 0-1 Stoke


    It was a good week for us in the lead up to the next game and my home managerial debut against Leicester City. The one thing I did know was that my new man would be coming into the side. I resolved that after scoring the winner I just could not drop Sam Winnall so it was Adam Armstrong who dropped down to the bench. That was the only change.

    In the build up to the game, Oliver Shenton was moved on to Fulham and we also agreed to sell Ante Coric to LA Galaxy, although that deal would not be completed until the early days of January.
    I was given a rousing welcome by the home faithful as the teams took the pitch and I took my place in the dugout ready for kick off.

    8 minutes later, I was sat there with my head in my hands as my goalkeeper David Ospina trudged past me after being sent off. Leicester scored the resulting penalty past the sub keeper to give them a 2-0 lead and it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon.
    I rose from my seat and screamed at the players, giving instructions and restructuring the remaining 10 men into some sort of solid formation and with instructions to soak up and hit on the break.
    They did just that. We got back in the game and after 35 minutes we pulled one back through Jenssen. Just four minutes after that, Andy Hopkins announced his arrival and started to pay back some of that transfer fee by mopping up a shot spilled by the keeper and sweeping home. 2-2 and we had got back in it.
    That was until Leicester scored again after 63 minutes. I honestly didn't think the players had anything more in the tank but again they surprised me as Hopkins exchanged a one-two on the edge of the box and rifled in his second of the game. It was no less than we deserved and by the end of it, I was happy to take a point.
    Stoke 3-3 Leicester

    After the game I completed some more transfer activity as Richard Stearman was sent to Cardiff City. What we got in return was a competent defensive midfielder who would be able to push Ross Killock for that position in the side. A former England U21 international, Chalobah's career had stalled somewhat and he had never really lived up to hype. I hoped to kick start it for him.


    The next game would be Derby County away and they were in turmoil. Steve MacClaren had been sacked the day after the last round of games and they were currently without a manager. They were just one place above us in the table and a win for us in the game would take us above them and closer to safety. A loss however would leave us 4 points behind them and in trouble. It was a must win if we wanted to avoid having to fight harder against the bigger boys.

    Chalobah did not come straight in to the side as Killock had been playing well. Tom Ince and Jonathan Williams were also back fit but again they would have to wait for their chance although Ince did make the bench. It was an unchanged side that took to the field and they fell behind after just 5 minutes. The players seemed out of it for most of the first half before I put a rocket under them at half time. We got slightly better but it was not until Tom Ince replaced Ryan Freeman that we really kicked into gear and after 68 minutes, Scottish international midfielder, Andy King scored an equaliser and the game finished in a draw.
    Derby 1-1 Stoke

    Unbeaten since I took over was a decent enough stat but we had not played that well for a sustained period in any of the three games. The first was probably the best but the players were probably just extra pumped up trying to impress me in my first game. We needed to be more consistent and make sure that we could string passes together, create chances and also be solid at the back and try and plug the leakiest defence in the division.

    Steve Clarke's Norwich were to be the next visitors to the Britannia Stadium and in preparation for the tie I firstly gave the players a couple of days off. Whist they were off, Julien Ngoy, who had told me he was homesick, signed for Crystal Palace for 1.6m. I guess he was slightly closer to Belgium but it was an interesting one to me!

    Everyone else had played by the time our game came around on the Sunday and we had dropped back to the bottom of the table. Before kick off though we had 2 games in hand on everyone around us so Norwich would be one of them. A win by two clear goals would take us not only off the bottom but would lift us out of the relegation zone all together on goal difference so a positive result was almost vital for morale. A draw would keep us in touch and a defeat may not be the end of the world. I obviously didn't tell the players that. I sent them out to get the win.

    Ospina's suspension began so Jonathan Mitchell was handed the keeper's gloves. Jonathan Williams came in for Jenssen and Tom Ince started ahead of young Ryan Freeman in the midfield. The final change saw Adam Armstrong restored to play alongside Hopkins in place of Winnall.

    It took us just 6 minutes to put a stamp on the game and it was one of the players coming in who made the difference. Tom Ince lined up a free kick and curled it over the wall and past the keeper. After 20 minutes, we lost a keeper again, this time to injury not a sending off but Mitchell was carried off and David Watt coming on to replace him.
    That stunted our attacking prowess somewhat but we got back to it in the second half and after a couple of substitutions to freshen up and bring pace, we finally got our second through Jonathan Williams to seal the win and lift us to the heady heights of 17th!
    Stoke 2-0 Norwich

    We remained at home for the next match and it would be my first big test in the division. Arsenal were coming to town. Arsenal, a side that spent a whopping 230m on players over the course of the summer on the likes of Alaba (74m), Benteke (29m) and Jerome Boateng (27.5m). They had bought Neymar not long before. They were a world class outfit and I had my work cut out trying to devise ways of stopping them. Doing that without my first choice keeper, a young man who had only played 5 games in his life at left back and some of the squad still apprehensive about how I would change things, made things all the more difficult.


    And I'll tell you what. Boy were we up for it. We matched them stride for stride. We were snappy in the tackle, we hunted them down when they were in possession and we didn't lose our men. As the haf time whistle blew, it was difficult to say for sure who was on top.
    There was nothing I needed to say in the changing room, they just had to go out again for another 45 minutes and it would be a famous victory.

    They did even more three minutes into the second period as Jonathan Williams scored with a deflected shot. We had the lead but that would have angered Arsenal. We would need to redouble our efforts to keep them out now. We had a goal disallowed from Armstrong which would have made it to but Arsenal went up the other end and hit us with a sucker punch to level the game. We had 14 minutes to hold out to grab the draw and that is what we did.
    Some of the fans celebrated like we had won the game, others were disappointed that we hadn't.
    Stoke 1-1 Arsenal

    For the Boxing Day fixture, we found ourselves at home for the third game in a row and the visit of Q.P.R., a side languishing in and around the relegation zone with us. Confidence was growing in the camp and I felt we had every chance of winning this one comfortably. Ross Killock wasn't quite 100% fit so he was rested with Nathaniel Chalobah coming in to make his first start.

    We were laboured in the first half. That was until the last three minutes of it when Andy Hopkins hit a quick fire double to put us firmly in control. He completed his first Stoke hat trick in the 67th minute and the game was won. He was brought off early to a rapturous reception and we played out the game for a fine win.
    Stoke 3-0 Q.P.R.

    The final game of the month saw us travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea. A side comfortably top of the table, seven points clear with a game in hand at the half way stage of the season. We had never beaten them in 8 attempts before I came to the club. I had already written it off as my first defeat as Stoke boss but I wanted the players to go out and give a good account of themselves. As long as they showed some aptitude to taking on board the instructions I gave them, I wouldn't be bothered whatever the result.

    We started ok and contained them but there were to many individual poor performances for us to get anything out of the game. Gamboa at right back got a 5, Doyle at left back a 4, Andy Hopkins up top could only muster a 5. That said we were not outplayed but the quality told in the end and we fell by the odd goal in three.
    Chelsea 2-1 Stoke





    Transfers

    IN -

    Andy Hopkins - 2m


    Nathaniel Chalobah - player swap


    OUT -

    Oliver Shenton - 1.5m (plus 25% future fee)


    Richard Stearman - player swap


    Julian Ngoy - 1.6m (plus 25% future fee)


    Jeff Scott - End of Season Loan




    The end of my first month in charge of Stoke City. It had gone pretty well I thought.

    Six matches since taking over and only losing the one was pretty good going. At the end of December, the club was still running at a loss and it was a concern. It would be plugged somewhat when the Coric money comes in but it was still pretty bad. Income for the month was 4m and expenditure at 5.59m. A hefty deficit for one month. That meant balance for the club was just 1.65m and almost all of it acvailable, 1.2m. A far cry from what I had at Newcastle, two divisions below!

    Of the six games played in the month, four were home game. Attendance figures of 30258, 32621, 32714 and 32649 show that the 35,000 capacity Britannia is almost full every week. I can't ask more from the fans.

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  31. #472
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    Massive and quality write up mate

    Mark will be pleased with this!

    GK is OK and for me the DEF looks alright as well

    Midfield needs a lot of work and Hopkins coming in certainly improves the limp attack - still a lot more to be done in those areas for me

    MBut what a start you have made - confiendence boosting out of the botom 3 for a start and a nice unbeaten run until Chelsea

    Seems like some horrific contracts been shelled out over the years there!

  32. #473
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    Whoa, massive update!

    Nice touch in going to Stoke Full faith in you keeping the team up after taking over with them bottom. Certainly made an impact already

    Some wheeling and dealing going on already, great fees earned for Shenton and Ngoy. Great to see Hopkins in a Stoke shirt too!

    Shame about the chairman's stats - Peter Coates always retires a season into the game so it's random as to what sort of chairman then takes over.
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    A great start at your new club mate, and awesome to see Hopkins already hitting the back of the net regularly!

    Shame about the money situation, like you say just a bit different to what you had at Newcastle, and if possible the chairman looks worse than Mike Ashley as well!

  34. #475
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    Good start with the Potters and you're really asserting your authority on the team. I suppose it's all about building something for next season now.

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