Well atleast you can get clean now you've moved to Bordeaux. Celtic don't know what soap is !
The artist formally known as The Eejit
I'm more of an Aberdeen guy but they didn't pay as much :3
Crikey, that's some going at Celtic!
Well done and good luck at Bordeaux!
With just “A”, “K” and “T” to go, I thought it might take a while to find my next job, but there were 2 available immediately. I didn't even apply for the Spurs job after my last stint there, but I did get a reply to my other application on the same day as we won the Turkish title.
So, off I trot to Russia for the next chapter. The season has only just started, so hard to make any judgments.
I have a squad of 33 including the maximum of 11 foreign players. Most of the squad looks crap …. and the transfer window is closed so I can't sign or loan any replacements. I have a bit of a history of dumping “T” clubs for better offers - Terek, Twente and Tottenham. I suspect that Tom Tomsk might get added to that list.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
*sighs* The battle goes on in Spain for me with Valencia. As you can see, we finished this season in place. We started the season with enthusiasm after a pre-season in which 25 players left the club and 11 arrived with the aim of boosting the defence even further, whilst also adding two strikers and two midfielders.
The exact moment that I knew the title challenge was over though was when we took on Barcelona and Real Madrid in a double header, losing both 3:1 and 2:0. We surrendered 2nd spot in doing so and went on to win just once in the next five league games, dropping to 4th. It was almost as though the players had given up as we embarked on this poor run that also threatened to ruin my hopes of continued progress year on year since arriving. Thankfully, we found some form again to win the final 3 games of the season and drew the last match that put us back up to 3rd and giving me my best points tally. Unfortunately, the defence conceded 3 goals more than last year but we did get a season high of 82 goals.
All was not lost though as we were also competing in Europe this year having qualified for the UEFA Cup. Split, Celje, SC Freiburg, Real Sociedad, Atalanta and Dortmund were all brushed aside as we reached the Final to take on Portsmouth. Likewise, we also beat Alcorcon, Real Sociedad, Granada B and Zaragoza to make it to the Spanish Cup Final against Real Madrid.
The first one was a trip to Germany for the UEFA Cup Final but the players may as well have stayed at home, conceding twice in the first half and then being reduced to 10 men in the second half. Clowns!
On to the other big match and it was a tough one against Real Madrid who scored after just 10 minutes and gave us a beating.
Absolutely gutting. While I'm delighted to finish with a high of 3rd, we missed a good chance to earn some silverware. But hopefully it can be agreed that the squad is getting there and with a few more tweaks, we can hopefully win something next year. On the plus side, I've jumped nearly 100 places in the world rankings to 75th.
Improving year on year in the league, and making a European final is a sign of improvement. Will 4th get you Champions League next year ?
Edit: Just seen that one of your defenders is called Moron .... kind of sums it up !
The artist formally known as The Eejit
I had high hopes for him too. Activated a release clause to sign him but not quite worked out. Going to be part of a group that get relegated to the B squad.
I was right to be doubtful about seeing out my time at Tom Tomsk. After sorting out the backroom, I set to work on the squad and found 21 players who could make up a first team squad. It was far from perfect, the goalkeepers left a lot to be desired, there was very little width in midfield and there was very little depth in many positions. I started out with a 4-1-3-2, but quickly revertrd to 4-1-3-1-1 as if suited the available squad better. The remaining 12 players were immediately transfer listed to generate some funds, and some foreigner places, ready for the transfer window opening in 7 games time. I had moved on 8, including 5 foreigners before the Russian window opened and had accumulated a further £4m in transfer funds.
On the pitch it started ever so well. 5 wins on the bounce and this looked to be too easy. It culminated with a 6-1 thumping of Zenit at their place, with my striker, Prokofjev, orchestrating the proceedings. He was on song and his movement balletic. (Is it worth a joke about the club harmony ? Probably not). These wins were despite not having a full bench on several occasions.
What I hadn't appreciated was that these 5 wins were against the bottom 5 clubs in the league. We lost the next 2 and after the transfer window opened, were beaten by CSKA, to leave us 12 points adrift of the leaders. Was it too much ?
The arrival of 6 permanent and 2 loan signings certainly helped. These included Pedro Robles, my captain for Zaragoza, Hoffenheim and Spain, who had been unemployed for 2 years, and Ludovic Pinson from Utrecht. It was just under £4.5m spent. 7 more departures gave me a further £6m which allowed me to bag another midfielder and a Brazilian central defender.
The results came back and we soon established ourselves in second place, but were not making any inroads on the unbeaten leaders, Krasnodar. Even before the head to head which we had to win, I had started looking around and considered a return to Avai and an offer from Atletico Bilbao which might have been fun to get promoted with just Basque players, but not likely to speed up the winning of titles.
On the eve of the Krasnodar game, it suddenly got very interesting when Youn Jung-Hwan was sacked at Atletico Madrid. Krasnodar beat us 2-1 to go 12 points clear with a game in hand and that was the final nail in the coffin.
A few days later, this happened.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Good night everyone. Just finished a couple seasons so I'm bringing a tiny update.
So the 1st impressions with Bordeaux were alright, our budget was massive and the roster seemed apt for a quick title challenge.
My plan was to try and use the first half of the season for roster testing while remaining competitive and use the winter transfers to then mount a serious assault on the top spot.
The idea was OK but it was flawed, specially when I thought my roster was on par with the top ones in the league... It wasn't by miles.
We struggled a lot with irregularity from start to finish and I believe we had a stretch of more than 10 games where we always played against an early 0-1 result.
Eventually I managed to fix a bit of our defensive woes but only at the expense of my team's offense so we tended to draw a lot for my standards.
In the end we were no match for Monaco and lost the Ligue 1. But we managed to secure an hard fought 2nd place.
It was a somewhat hectic year because I was pretty careless with contract renewals, thinking I would bag the title in the 1st year.
Had to make some pretty lame contracts by the end and lost a couple of good players due to my hubris.
For the 2nd season I didn't plan on making it easy for my opponents so I opened my treasure chest and started massively retooling the starting 11.
We didn't end there but you get the point.
I was pretty happy with the end result, not saying we were unbeatable by any means... but we were unbeatable by any means!
I was sort of unfortunate though to spend around 9M€ on a player only for him to retire a week later under his doctor's advice.
Still managed to find another last minute replacement from Mexico. And we were on for the homefront and abroad.
Until about 2/3s of the league it was a breeze only then we struggled a little, and a 5-1 away victory in Old Trafford showed we meant business in Europe.
We passed the 1st stage, leading a group defeatless against United and Real Madrid.
Unfortunately we were quickly ousted in the 2nd stage by a combination of Barcelona and Bayern. (unbeatable yeah...)
Fortunately at home things went on cool.
And we managed to do it! B done.
In the meantime I got an offer from Lyon but declined since they were to face us on the Cup finals and I felt a bit lame for it.
I never got to play those finals since I ended getting this offer:
And that will be the next stage, not the easiest route but it might be interesting.
”K” is done ….
And it was very easy. It took just 7 league wins where we scored 28 goals and conceded just 4. We sealed the title in style my smashing 5 past Zenit.
To be honest, there wasn't much between the squads at Tom Tomsk and Krasnodar. Krasnodar had a squad of 47 which had to be cleared out. The midfield and defense were probably on a par with each other. Tom had by far the better goal keeper, but £5m to meet the minimum fee of Russian international keeper Victor Cherepanov sorted that. The outlay was mitigated by £2m received for the veteran Algerian keeper that I didn't like. He was 1 of 23 departures.
The big difference was upfront where Nikolay Prokofjev looked a close match for Albanian hot-shot Dritan Elezi on paper, but Elezi just knew where the back of the net was. He bagged 12 in the 7 league games following my appointment.
I probably didn't need to, but I did complete 2 other deals, a Russian international midfielder who was unhappy at Zenit and Mikhail Cherepanov (keeper Victor's big brother) who had been on loan at Tom and would slot straight into my Krasnodar team as an AMC and captain.
There is very little on the horizon for new jobs, with just “A” and “T” to go. Aparecidense, a Brazilian Serie C outfit is available, but I'm not sure I need to step down that far yet. Nothing else is even on the radar, so I'll stay on at Krasnodar until the end of the season. I do have a Europa League tie to complete where we are 3-1 up on Brugge following the away leg.
With Scotland, we have made the playoffs for the World cup where we will face an Israel side that dumped out Gary Monk's England. It did look as if we might qualify automatically when we raced to a 2-0 lead at home to France. A 3rd would have put us top of the group on goal difference, with identical head to head. Unfortunately that 3rd goal just didn't happen, and France scored twice late on to draw level on the night. We followed it up by losing 2-0 to 12 man Bosnia. 3 goals disallowed, umpteen penalties denied and a player sent off.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Rapture moving up the list a bit now and Kingsley getting ever so close to completing the alphabet!
The penultimate chapter is going to take me back down under.
Krasnodar lost the last league game (thanks to an early red card for the left back) which was the only domestic defeat all season. After the game I resigned as the Russian winter break takes ages of clicking “Continue” with bugger all to do. Earlier we had lost the home leg of the Brugge Europa League tie 2-1, but went through 4-3 on aggregate. Zulte-Wargerem went down 5-0 so the new gaffer will have an eye-watering tie with Roma to look forward to.
On the job front, nothing much was happening. Some more Bazilian Serie C clubs were rejected, along with French 3rd tier outfit Toulon Var. Spanish Segunda side Alaves looked interesting as they were just outside the promotion places, but they are heavily in debt, so I decided to pass up the chance. All the time I was watching Trabzonspor who were getting ever closer to sacking their gaffer.
Then this happened …..
My acceptance was delayed by a last second news flash
Strange choice by England. The Ayr job might have been very interesting as they currently lead the Scottish Premiership, but other than a couple of exceptional defenders, the squad looks poor and the club is bankrupt. I think that Adelaide with £9.25m looks a better bet for a title.
That said, there must be a reason why they are bottom of the league and were bottom last season. That said, I have 15 games to make up the 6 points needed to be top 6 and after that, the slate is wiped clean for the second phase.
Scotland made me sweat, but we have qualified for the World Cup. After going behind at Hampden, we lead Israel 3-1, only to concede a second away goal. In the return game, we conceded first (so were going out on away goals) but found an equaliser in first half injury time. Second half and Israel threw the kitchen sink at us. 1 goal would take them through. We held on until injury time, when a breakaway gave Kevin Campbell a one-on-one with their keeper. The youngster showed nerves of steel to claim his first goal for Scotland and send the Tartan Army delirious.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
My 5th year at Valencia has resulted in a 3rd placed finish for a second successive year so as far as I am concerned, we've not regressed at all. However, our point haul of 62 points is a disappointment given that it's my 3rd best tally during my time in Spain. The major disappointment is that we were right up there and top of the league midway through the season but a horror run in February put paid to any title hopes. We actually lost 6 games on the trot and didn't even score in the final 5 games in that run! That says it all when you look at the goals scored column, scoring just 51 times. Conceding 33 is my best ever record though defensively. Thanks to that run, Barcelona cruised to the title with Real Madrid having a poor start, they won the title with 7 games to spare!
Andy Ball had been my talisman last year with 32 goals. He hit nowhere near the same heights with a disappointing 10 this time out whilst my other striker broke his ankle in February! I also started to get 3/4 players failing to settle into the Spanish lifestyle which I think contributed to the downturn of form.
There were no finals to participate this either, having lost to Sevilla in the first hurdle of the Spanish Cup when a player was sent off after just 20 minutes. I did steer Valencia into the Champions League though for the first time in 13 years, reaching the 2nd Phase. Unfortunately, we crashed out despite possessing the best goals scored and conceded record, needing Leverkusen to beat Arsenal Tula in their last game but it was not to be.
I must admit that I am tempted to try my luck elsewhere. If I had finished 4th which to me is a step backwards, I definitely would have walked away and tried my luck elsewhere. Being 48th now in the world rankings, I'm sure I could get another job!
Liverpool are proving a hard nut to crack.
I took over on their 1st season back in the top flight (they had secured promotion easily at the first attempt). On paper some of the players looked very good and I had decided to try and use the players I had inherited with a few of my own additions. I had to bring in a whole new set of coaches as they were missing an entire back room, maybe there was some staff protest at the dismissal of the previous gaffer I had missed? By the time I had decided the players just weren't up to scratch it was too late and I had missed the transfer window. We finished in 7th place.
A whole new squad took the field the following season. A lot of foreign faces were brought in and I seriously think the lack of a common language cost us. That and some very poor goalkeeping displays! We finished 4th with 70 points (I'm sure I've won the premiership with less points before!) Watford were the deserved winners 15points ahead of us. I seem to have sorted the goalkeeping issues and brought in some more players. I have high hopes for the next season!
The more interesting side story has been my appointment as manager of England around the same time as I took over at Liverpool! I immediately removed everyone and looked about building my own squad. Only after I had filled the team with an unusual amount of division 1 & 2 players did I realise I had only picked players from my shortlist. Oh well it's only friendlies!
They ended up winning most games comfortably (except for one 1-0 loss to France). Why change it? It's only the World Cup qualifiers. They won every qualifying game.
Being the England manager I thought I had better tinker. I had been using the 2 goalkeepers from Liverpool, both were prone to the odd howler. The last game before the finals was a friendly with Belgium and the big man from Watford would get his chance between the sticks, his worst performance seemed to be an 8! Watford were an unstoppable force and it must have been partly down to this man mountain! He deserved his chance.
Over the past year or so most of my England team had been picked up by premiership clubs. There were however one or two that weren't quite up to scratch and I had decided they probably lacked the kahunas needed for the big tournament! So they were also replaced with a few premiership players who had played well recently, mostly coming in from Norwich, Millwall and one player I had eventually sold from Liverpool to Fiorentina.
This was it! Finally some players with star quality in the England squad. A golden generation with a chance to shine!
35 mins into our final friendly and we were 3-0 down to Belgium. Pinning my hopes on finding a new great goalkeeper on the eve of a major tournament had backfired. He was hauled off with a 4 before half time. Everyone else was mediocre and the game finished 4-1. Maybe it was just big game nerves. I decided the keeper would stay and when Watford went on to win the league and the goalkeeper went back to his weekly score of 8 I decided he would start the tournament.
We were drawn in a group with China, Ghana and up first Spain.
We were 3-0 down again before half time and I was busy booking the goalkeeper a plane ticket home instead of planning how to save the game. I had started the game with a mixture of the players that had seen me through qualifying and some of the newer additions who seemed far more talented but performed far less admirably. After some substitutions and a disallowed goal the game ended 4-3 to Spain.
The next game was Ghana and I reverted back to my Lower League players despite going 1 behind to a Bong goal we ran out easy 4-1 winners thanks mostly to a 35 year old striker from mid table Chelsea. He scored another in the 3-0 win over China, along with a youngster I had poached from United. Rooney in midfield was performing well (maybe its his son? I think it's the law a Rooney has to be in the England team for a world cup) and a young left back from Brentford was supplying a lot of assists.
We went on to the next round despite our debacle against Spain and our reward was a tie against a strong France team... the only other team to have beaten me in my England reign, oh well we had reached the FA's goal already. 0-0 after 90 mins. This can't go to penalties, we're England and we have a dodgy keeper! Up steps Mr Fiorintina and England win 1-0 in extra time! Cue scenes of the manager running down the touch line discarding items of clothing in a state of delirium.
Back to reality and my Lower leaguers are shattered. I would have to play the better players against... Brazil!. We lose 1-0 in an underwhelming performance. We do however have a 3rd place playoff against Holland and my favoured side have been rested. We go 2-0 down... but wait Mr 35 year old doesn't want it to end like this and quickly bags a brace! It ends 2-2 after extra time and I'm looking for a white towel to throw on the pitch but I'm too late and we've started to take part in a Penalty shoot out. I try to run on the pitch "what are you doing?! don't embarrass yourselves!" But Holland have missed their first two spot kicks and I watch on in disbelief as we actually win (only just mind) 3-2 on pens!
Mr 35 year old goes on to receive world wide praise and gets into the team of the tournament... I wonder if he'll be available in 2 years time?
Evening guys, another report coming up.
So we got to Mainz with just 3 games left and a shot maybe to reach Europe which was unlikely in 3 games.
Financially the club was really healthy but I felt our budget to be a bit small all things considered, probably due to the somewhat low expectations the president had. [Funny in hindsight...]
We ended up winning 2 games drawing also one in our final 3 games which was good for an 8th spot and qualifying for the Europa League Qualifiers.
Next season started and the Board wanted the title!!! I didn't want anything less but it sure came as a surprise considering what I had at my disposal.
Then Senegal won the world cup just so as to reinforce how shocking those news were.
Unfortunately we didn't cut it to the Europa League proper. Losing 3-1 agg vs Schalke. This was disturbing considering we were to win the championship and I felt we were no match whatsoever for them.
I upgraded the team slowly but steadily, not rushing exorbitant amounts of money as before. Trying not to be as cancerous to the clubs future as I previously was.
In retrospective that gave me an idea to check on my former clubs.
Primorac is on a seesaw between the first and second leagues, never again challenged for a title.
VPS is also decaying having been relegated this year.
Elazigspor have managed to remain competitive having won another cup since my absence.
S-Pulse are the Asian powerhouse now with multiple AFC champions leagues and even a FIFA Club World Cup
Fidelis and Carpi were both relegated and Celtic hasn't been able to win another championship but they are up there obviously.
Bordeaux started the season with 5 wins and they're 1st, that team is great it will be hard to screw it. (They did end up winning Ligue 1 with 100 points, 22 more that 2nd place.)
So it's about 4-4 between complete failures and decent teams.
We got an early exit from the cup, losing in a 2nd round penalty shootout vs 2. Bundesliga Fortuna Dusseldorf. Not encouraging.
Thought this team was the typical case of Strong with the Weak and Weak with the Strong but then they went and beat Bayern at their stadium!
This year I was going with a wacky variation of my standard 4-3-3 which looked like a really attack minded 4-1-2-3. While generally I tend to swap between an offensive classic 4-3-3 and a more solid 4-2-3-1.
I did this because my team lacked strong box to box type midfielders, with the only guy resembling it being a 35yo Ukrainian whose stamina at 4 barely lasts one half. So I put together a couple of wingers at the 8 spot and it was working really well, defense was hanging tight even though my fullbacks were lacking and the offense was pretty venomous also.
At the winter break, just before the match with Dortmund. 1st place with some leeway but I' wasn't confident that we were able to do it this year. I tend to get worse results as the season progresses and we didn't have nowhere near the star-power of a lot of the teams. Still this league seemed to be very uneven and we were having strong results against the lower end teams. There's hope.
We did play well against Dortmund and we still took 3 in our bag.
With 6 games to go we had only a 1 point lead on Dortmund and Hertha. We again lost the match vs Schalke and receiving Bayern next wasn't a good omen. Fortunately we managed to beat them on our turf 2-1 again.
Now with 3 games to go, Dortmund was still on our heels but we might had edged Herta out. Our last match was to be a home effort vs Dortmund so that could be this league climax.
Dortmund did draw, that put's us up by 3. Although it isn't much of an advantage considering we had worse offense, defense and we lost against them on the 1st round.
Damnit Dortmund choked, so much for the climatic ending. But we'll take it!!!
We did managed to draw the last match so we have that going for us as well.
FSV Mainz 05 Bundesliga Champions! M done.
This time I'm not yet sure what to do next but I wanted to write report and get on with playing, hopefully I'll get some nice offers.
And that's all for today, take care guys.
Congrats! You seem to flying through the letters at the moment!
The 3rd years a charm! We were running away with the league, losing just once and drawing a hand full of times in the first 3/4 of the season. After a terrible run of form (that coincided with half of the squad wanting to be transfer listed) we somehow managed to hold on.
Mostly thanks to this guy:
At the moment I'm the 30th best manager in the world! Which has helped me land a new job in a new country:
”A” is done ….
Having learned about the Ozzy championship with Melbourne City, I had a better idea of what to expect. There are 3 parts to the championship. Opening Stage where the 10 A-League clubs compete over 27 games. The top 6 progress to a Closing stage where all points are wiped out and there is a 5 game mini league to come up with a top 2. The top 2 then play off in a 1 game title decider. There is a transfer window of 1 month which starts on 9th January and there are no loans, transfters or free signings outside of that window. I could therefore split what remains of my season into 4 parts
The squad was pretty poor. I had an OK starting 11 …. make that 10 as all the keepers were garbage. Of my squad of 33, I found 17 outfield players that I thought could do a job. The 2 least bad keepers were added to this and the other 14 players were transfer listed. I had 5 games to play until the transfer window opened and the aim was to survive without dropping too much further behind the team in 6th place. If I could hold it at the current 6 points, I'd be very happy.
I said straight off that there had to be a reason why they were bottom of the league and were bottom last season. The answer was goals. Only once had they scored twice in the 12 games played this term and only 3 times in the whole of last season. The previous gaffer had addressed that with a decent looking Kiwi arriving in January (along with some garbage which I canceled)
To be honest, the current crop didn't look that bad and Neil Preston had 12 goals for the Ozzy national side. It took him just 9 minutes to add to his Adelaide tally before he limped off after 16. We went onto record a 3-0 win over Perth Glory despite having a defender sent off late on. It was the first time we had scored 3 goals in a match for over 18 months, but 2 starters out, the squad had been decimated. Despite the setbacks, we went on to defeat the Jets, the Roar, the Victory and Sydney FC.
We had done a bit better than survive. We were upto 5th !
I did think that this would be a stage where we had to drive on for the top 6, but we had already done the hard work. The top 3 were away and clear, so all we had to do was stay in that top 6 until the end of the season. I did of course have a transfer window to help me and that saw 18 departures mostly for free, but I did raise £2.5m. Coming in were 11 new faces on permanent deals, plus 3 on loan. One of the loanees had to turn permanent following interest from other clubs. In total, I spent £3m.
I've never believed in players having to settle in and always thought it was just numbers, but despite a massive improvement in the squad ability, the form dipped, before coming good and we ended the Opening stage with 6 straight wins to claim 4th place
We had 5 games of the Closing Stage where we needed to finish top 2. With 3 away games, including both of the top 2 from the Open Stage, it was as tough a draw as it could be. We did carry forward the best form, followed by Perth Glory, so we went in with some confidence. Jeremy Green had come into some form and he bagged 6 in those 5 games. It also coincided with a remarkable lack of injuries and suspensions which resulted in a very settled starting 11. Unfortunately my Keeper, Con Duncan, had a dramatic loss of form. Having recorded 6 clean sheets in the run in, he kept just 1 in the Closing Stage. We came out of it with 4 wins and a draw with Western Sydney, although only 1 of the wins was by more than a single goal. It was enough to top the stage and we progressed to the Grand Final.
It had gone to form and it would be The Glory that we meet in the final
Disaster. On the eve, Jeremy Green twists an ankle in training and is out for a month. Neil Preston gets recalled to the starting 11 for the most crucial game, otherwise we were full strength. It started perfectly with Kiwi Scott Jacobs netting in the 14th minute. The lead didn't last long, Jackson finding a reply before half an hour had been played. After that it was cat and mouse with neither side able to take any dominance. The crucial goal was just after halftime. A low cross from right winger Jason Harris was intercepted by Daniel Addo, who was only able to divert it past his own keeper 2-1 to Adelaide, and that is how it ended. United are the champions ! Bottom to Champions in 23 games !
The artist formally known as The Eejit
sunmancisco ... Well done for persevering with Liverpool. They didn't half make it hard work for you.
Rapture ... Another one in the bag and time to move on. Mainz (or rather Dortmund) made it quite comfortable in the end.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
I have a new job, probably my final one, but my record with “T” is not good. This will be my 5th “T” and I've not gone the distance yet.
I was actually offered a job, with £26m to spend, by Terek Grosny a few days before the Australian A-League Grand Final. Obviously I rejected it, but reapplied. This time I was overlooked in favour of Thomas Muller. How often has he shattered my dreams ?
There was virtually nothing else, Toulon Var and Trapani from the French and Italian lowest tier. I can do better. I resigned from Adelaide Utd to concentrate on Scotland's World Cup bid, but first built up a list of all top-flight “T” clubs
Thes Sports (Belguim)
Tochigi SC (Japan)
Tom Tomsk (Russia)
For the time being this was my hit list and anything else would be ignored.
The World Cup opened with a bang ! Not for the first time, the opening game was Brazil v Scotland. The dignitaries had barely sat down when Scotland kicked off, won a free kick and Keith Watt thumped it into the top corner. The goal was officially timed at 56 seconds !
Now 89 minutes and 4 seconds is a long time to defend against Brazil, and way beyond the capability of this Scotland team. The equaliser came in first half injury time. Veiga wndered into the penalty are unchallenged, sat down, had a cup of tea and dunked his ginger nut before prodding the ball over the line. Where was the defense ?
The start of the second half was just as interesting as the first. This time it took 7 minutes to win the free kick. Allan crossed to the far post and Ross Gibson lept like a salmon to head Scotland back in front. Could we hold on this time ? The task was helped by Milan right back Medeiros' clumsy challenge on Harvey which saw Brazil down to 10 men. Their challenge was done. Danny McKenna added a 3rd late on for a dream start.
I have to say that this is a very strange Scotland squad. Usually you can rely on a choice of very good keepers, a strong midfields, but an iffy defense and powder-puff attack. This time, the keepers are awful. My starter is a 21 year old from Championship Northampton who averaged 6.86 last season. The midfield is uninspiring, but I have 4 top strikers and an excellent defense. If only I could put the 2016 and 2038 squads together !
Back to business a 2-2 draw with Nigeria where we led then came from behind with all goals in an action packed second half ment that we only needed a draw with Qatar to progress. We won 3-1 to top the group and avoid Spain who would meet Brazil. Our reward, former charges Algeria. As a last 16 it doesn't get much easier, especially as this is the “dodgy” game where most of the first 11 are struggling for fitness. There were 9 changes, but we still had enough for a 1-0 win. Spurs veteran left back Colin Findlay scoring in the last minute of injury time to save the lottery of injury time and penalties.
We looked to have the worst half of the draw. As expected we had Netherlands next, however Mexico unexpectedly knocked out Germany and Cameroon dumped Italy out. The prize was now a much easier semi final than anyone could have imagined.
Netherlands. The first half was so uneventful that it wouldn't even make the last game on Match of the Day. Actually, the first 35 minutes of the second half was no better, so lets go straight to 79 minutes.
Un-be-*******-leivable. Especially as Mexico needed penalties to get past Cameroon and would be nackered for the semi final.
Mexico parked the bus, the tractor, the transit van and the horse and cart. They offered nothing, but still opened the scoring with their first attack on 56 minutes. To the assorted vehicles, the now added a steam roller and a car transporter. Deservedly Watt managed to find a way through with 7 minutes left. Extra time. Alexander finally got us in front with 8 minutes to play and Mexico had to come out of their shell. One minute left, Ramirez equaliser … Penalties.
Both sides missed 2 of the initial 5. Perez scored for Mexico and our hero to date, Ross Gibson, sliced his spot kick wide. No final for Scotland.
Denmark took 3rd against a makeshift knackered Scotland and likewise Spain regained their title beating Mexico.
Back to the job hunt.
Lots of Intenational jobs came up. In the merry-go-round The Tochigi SC job came available and I was on the brink of going back to Japan when Milan appointed former Portugeuse midfielder Petit as manager. He had been the Tondela manager the entire time since this save started in 2016. I have no idea what tempted him away this time, but a crack at Portugal sounded like more fun so I told the Japs where to go and waited for a few more days
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Good luck! All set to be the first to complete the Alphabet Game