View Full Version : [STORY] It's Fergie time

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08-05-13, 12:53 PM
I had started this last week, but today's events make this the ideal time to put up my first post.

Sir Alex Ferguson. Love him or loath him you can’t ignore his achievements as a manager and his records would put him in the top echelon of all time.


I have loved reading past stories based on real life careers AMC’s story on Sir Bobby Robson (when are we going to get the next update ?), Adnams started one on Bill Shankly (although he did completely ignore his playing days at Partick Thistle) and I remember one on the old site around Brian Clough although I can’t remember who started it. Although I am no fan of SAF or United, this is my attempt to replicate his career and it has some achievements which will be hard to match even in fantasy land. This may take some time, but I did want to start on the March 2013 database as the challenge is made harder by a certain club being in the Scottish Third division, which is where my story starts. Milestones in my story that I have to complete are highlighted in my summary of what Sir Alex has achieved.

After a playing career as a striker with Queen’s Park, St. Johnstone, Dunfermline, Rangers, Falkirk and Ayr , in which he scored 170 goals in 317 apperances, Fergie retired from playing aged 32 to take up his first management job at East Stirlingshire. When he took over, it was a club with no goalkeepers and although he never won anything (they finished 4th in the old Scottish 2nd division) he had done enough to be offered the St. Mirren job when it became available just over a year later.

He was in Paisley for 4 years during which he won the league (then the old second division) with a team who’s average age was under 20. Bizarrely Fergie was sacked for the only time in his career. Not much is documented about the reasons behind this however the then St. Mirren chairman claimed at the time that Ferguson had “no managerial ability”. There are stories of some issues with his secretary.

He was not out of work for long as Aberdeen snapped him up (it may have been pre-arranged and the cause of the sacking) and this started the glory years. 4 League Titles including one Scottish Double and all domestic trophies came to Pittodrie under his guidance. Better still, Aberdeen picked up a European Trophy in the shape of the 1983 Cup Winners Cup, beating Real Madrid in the final. He was also part of the Scotland national set up and when Sir Jock Stein tragically died at the end of qualifying, Fergie took over the reigns for the World Cup finals campaign. Unfortunately he never took them past the group stage, due mainly to some shocking foul play from Uruguay and a week referee.

Job offers from England flooded in, but he was in no hurry to jump ship waiting for the right chance to move on. That chance came when Ron Atkinson was sacked by Manchester United in 1986. It may not have been the best of starts and it is rumored that he was close to being sacked for a second time and it maybe that winning the 1990 FA Cup on a replay was just enough to keep him in a job. Since then, the trophies have flooded into Old Trafford. All domestic trophies including 2 English doubles made his United side the dominant team of the last 2 decades. 1991 saw the first of his 13 League titles, along with the European Cup Winners Cup, the equivalent of the UEFA Cup and he has gone on to take 2 Champions League titles and a World Club Championship.

Although he hasn’t been slow to pay out big money for the right players, his record in developing talent should not be ignored. While being registered with United as players, future captains of all home nations were given professional debuts. Beckham (England), Healy (N.Ireland), Fletcher (Scotland) and Giggs (Wales)

If I can do all of that, then I think I can happily retire with a nice bottle of red wine.

Technical details
I am playing on the March 2013 Update with the Tapani 2.19 patch. The only changes that I have made are to release the 2 keepers currently on the East Stirling books, and to change their away colours to Orange and Black. I have also edited my managers profile to make me 32 (same as when SAF started) and to give me the exact attributes that he has.

08-05-13, 01:04 PM
You are quick on the draw my friend!

Did you have inside info he was going!?!

08-05-13, 01:10 PM
You are quick on the draw my friend!

Did you have inside info he was going!?!

If I had then I can assure you that I would now be in the bookies collecting my winnings rather than writing some rubbish for a football game website :frusty:

08-05-13, 01:59 PM

But we all know that it is not really rubbish :ok:

08-05-13, 02:09 PM
Nice! I also really enjoyed the Sir Bobby Robson story, so this should be good.

Even though Fergie just got lucky at Man U, and Sir Bobby was a real hero. :D

Cam F
08-05-13, 03:28 PM
Hmmn, yeah that would be a good challenge...

Start at East Stirling, get the St. Mirren job, get the sack by making too many board requests or ultimatums then get Aberdeen, then part time Scotland then Man U job.

Would be fun.

09-05-13, 01:50 AM
This should be good! I forsee European success with Aberdeen being the hardest part...

Will the future Home Nations captains have to come through the Man Utd youth set-up (either promoted or signed as, say, under-18s)?

get the St. Mirren job, get the sack by making too many board requests or ultimatums

This is a cracking idea :ok:

09-05-13, 07:23 AM
Good idea! Will be watching this one!

09-05-13, 08:31 AM
Thanks for all the feedback.

Hmmn, yeah that would be a good challenge...

Start at East Stirling, get the St. Mirren job, get the sack by making too many board requests or ultimatums then get Aberdeen, then part time Scotland then Man U job.

Would be fun.

I've not yet worked out how to get the sack. It's not something I've done too often. The obvious way was with bad results, but ultimatums might be easier.

This should be good! I forsee European success with Aberdeen being the hardest part...

Will the future Home Nations captains have to come through the Man Utd youth set-up (either promoted or signed as, say, under-18s)?

This is a cracking idea :ok:

I think that the St. Mirren with kids (assuming that they are still SPL) and Aberdeen jobs might be the hardest, although I am looking forward to facing Sevco 5055 Ltd in the Scottish 3rd division :D
As for the future captains, anything goes, just as long as they haven't played a single game, even as a substitute, for any other club.

09-05-13, 03:14 PM
The cry of the pygmy in long grass
The 3rd of July 2010. The day I had made it.

I had the sharp suit


I had the Fiat car


I even had on the lucky underpants incase some nymphomanic secretary was wanting to be nailed on the first day

You didn't seriously think you were going to get a nymphomaniac secretary this early in the story !

I was a professional football manager and at 32 years of age, one of the youngest. But more than the material trappings that go with the job, I had dreams. Dreams of lifting league trophies. Dreams of lifting European trophies. Dreams of lifting World trophies. There were no limits to what I could achieve if I put my mind to it, after all I only had to look at what my namesake Alexander Chapman Ferguson had achieved. There was no reason why I couldn't match his record, or even exceed it if I put my mind to it.

I pondered on the possibilities as the stat nav gave me instructions to turn the Fiat off the M90 at Junction 6, with the destination set for Firs Park. This was my first job in management after hanging up my boots and I have to say that it was easier to get the job than I expected. It was the first advert I had seen, I had completed the application form, sent it in and was offered the job by return of post. No interview, no request for references, just a straight job offer. Now I know that I am good and have confidence in my ability, but I did expect to have some competition for the job. I also know that it is only East Stirlingshire, not even the whole of Stirlingshire, but surely someone else would have wanted the job. After all, everyone has to start somewhere.

at the roundabout take the third exit

Nearly there

turn left
turn right

And there it was in front of me …... My Theater of Dreams !


I have to admit to being a wee bit disappointed. This didn't look the sort of place where you could welcome Barcelona, Juventus or Bayern Munich. Even with the lick of paint that it clearly needed, it was still underwhelming. The sign clearly told me I was in the right place “Welcome to Firs Park …. East Stirlingshire F.C.” so, despite the initial setback, I parked the car, making sure all of the doors were locked and set off to meet my chairman.

Closer up, it was worse than first impression. I knew that preseason training had not yet started, but the padlocks and hinges were all rusty and didn't look like they had been opened for quite some time. With all of the doors locked, at least I could be happy that I wasn't late for the chairman on my first day.

Maybe things were better on the inside of the ground. On the door furthest to the right, I noticed a letterbox. I crouched down, pulled it open and looked through. It was even worse on the inside !


Jesus Christ ! Forget about signing any players, first thing we need is a groundsman. Something didn't add up here. That pitch had not been played on last season, yet the sign made it clear that this was the home of The Shire. I took my eyes away from the disapointing desolate landscape on the inside and checked out the disapointing desolate landscape on the outside. Hidden in a corner, minding his own business was an old tramp, even at 8am he was swigging at a bottle of Buckfast, a refreshing tonic wine popular in this area ! The best way to describe him was as A Manky C**t.

Me: Hey Jim ! Is this tha East Stirling home ?
AMC Naw. Yi need Ochilview pall. Gonny geeus a quid fur a wee cuppa tea ?

Fuck this for a game of soldiers ! How could I have got it so wrong ? A red mist descended and I kicked out at the nearest thing to me, an empty can of Carlsberg Special Brew, probably last owned by the old tramp. It was a perfect connection with the outside of the boot and had it been a freekick, one that I would have been proud of in my playing days. The can cleared the the wall with a bit of bend that migh have deceived a keeper, before dipping into what I imagined would have been the top corner. I almost put my had up to celebrate, but before I could, there was an almighty crash, a huge flash and a creaking noise as one of the floodlight pylons started to lean over. I could only watch as it fell onto the wall, just above where the tramp sat in a drunken stupor. For a moment it looked like the wall would hold, but then one brick fell, followed by another and before I knew it, the whole wall had collapsed on top of the tramp, followed by the floodlight pylon which emitted one last flash of electricity before fizzing out. I had no idea if he was crushed or electrocuted, but one thing was certain …...

AMC was dead !

From behind me I heard a voice, there was a hint of french in the accent


Me: What the fuck are you gawping at bytheway ?
Stranger: My name is Wenger, Arsene Wenger, and I'm afraid I didn't see the incident.
Me: Aye well pall. Just remember that if our paths ever cross again.

Time to vacate the scene. I jumped into the Fiat, set the sat nav for Ochilview and put my foot down. It wasn't too far, just the other side of Falkirk in the adjoining town of Stenhousemuir. It wasn't long before the sat nav was directing me to turn onto Gladstone Road, and there was the ground and this looked a lot more like it !


I parked up and headed for the enterance, but something here was very wrong !


As the pygmy in long grass crys ….... Where the hell am I ?

09-05-13, 06:26 PM
Another Eejit story, another AMC death :D

Great stuff mate, looking forward to this, and I may just have to resurrect the Sir Bobby Robson story.

09-05-13, 07:43 PM
Another Eejit story, another AMC death :D

Great stuff mate, looking forward to this, and I may just have to resurrect the Sir Bobby Robson story.

I always thought it was rude to speak in third person?

96th Winners on the horizon :D??

Baron Zbimg
09-05-13, 10:00 PM
Nice start. Where the heck is this stadium ?

10-05-13, 10:08 AM
Are they ground sharing now? Never knew that! Good start :cool:

10-05-13, 06:38 PM
After some research into the stimulus, i have been to deduce that indeed Ochilview Park is a shared stadium between Stenhousemuir F.C. and East Stirlingshire F.C., though Stenhousemuir has been the occupants since 1890 (whereas the club was established in 1884). East Stirlingshire has since shared it since 2008, there former home was demolished in 2012. Of course, there is an outstanding different between the two stadiums: Firs Park had a capacity of 1,800 with 200 seats whereas Ochilview Park has over 3,746 with 626 seats. Another interesting piece of information is that Stenhousemuir is in the Second Tier of the Scottish League and East Stirlingshire is in the Third tier, meaning that any derbies on there ground is unlikely, especially with East Stirlingshire being at the bottom of the Third division table, and Stenhousemuir being sixth.

No need to thank me for the information, i am just doing a kind service,


12-05-13, 11:14 AM
Great to come back from holiday and find a new Eejit story on its way!

13-05-13, 01:40 PM
No ticket for the gravy train

Had the old tramp been taking the piss and sending me on a wild goose chase ? It wouldn't look very good going upto the Stenhousemuir office to ask for directions to East Stirlingshire. I'm sure there is some rivalry between the clubs with the grounds so close together. Reality was restored by the interjection of a guy wearing an East Stirlingshire training jacket.


Him: Smartly dressed and looking lost. I'd put money on it that you are Alex Ferguson.
Me (think): Tosser …. Looks like some chav
Me: That's me. Am I in the right place ?
Him: Pleased to finally meet you. I'm Spencer Fearn, Chairman. Please don't tell me you went to Firs Park !
Me: Ehm. Yes. Are you not supposed to be vice chairman at Stockport County ?
Him: Yes, but you can't expect the database updaters to keep up with all boardroom changes, so for now I'm back in my old job as owner and chairman of The Shire. Maybe one day they'll get it right and get Tony Ford in the job. As for the ground, we're sharing with Stenny at the moment. Moved out of Firs park in 2008 as we couldn't keep up the maintenance costs.
Me: OK, that's sorted out that confusion. At least I now know where to come for the home games. pointing at the stadium Is my office in there ?
Him: Ha ha ha. Office ! Who do you think you are ? The Alex Ferguson ?
Me (think): Tosser ….. Maybe not yet, but just watch me !
Me: Just remember he started here too.
Him: Touche ! We have a room at the back of the shop in town


It's pretty cramped, but I'm sure we can find you some space if you really need to come in. We'd expect you to work from home most of the time, except for training, 3 evenings per week and of course matches when you will be here.
Me: That's a good point. I don't have a home. Is there a club flat I can stay in ?
Him: CLUB FLAT ! Are you having a laugh ? Best I can do is point you to the Plough Hotel. It's just round the corner and cheep as chips until you find somewhere of your own.


Why don't you check it out and come into the office this afternoon. We can go out for a Latte and have a more comfortable chat before going to the first day of training when you can meet John Brownlie, Barry Daniel and the lads.
Me (Think): Tosser …. I'll fucking touche this wankers latte
Me: Sounds like a plan. Can't wait to get down to work.

The rest of the morning was spent at the Plough, literally a 5 minute walk from the ground. It was basic but comfortable and more importantly cheep. There was a small bar that sold a decent pint of Belhaven (it would be a few years before I develop a taste for good red wine) and a greasy breakfast was included. Even so, despite not knowing my salary, my money would not last long, so a priority would be to find my own place. It did have a wifi service which gave me the chance to gen up on East Stirlingshire F.C. and the competition for Scottish Football League 3.

East Stirlingshire's achievements can be summed up quite simply. The square root of fuck all. Established in 1881, they were elected to the League in 1900 and, with the exception of 2 individual seasons, have played at the lowest tier for their entire existence. The best they have ever done in the Scottish cup is the quarter finals although they do claim a Scottish Challenge Cup semi final in 2000-2001. Winning the Stirlingshire Cup 21 times is hardly anything to boast about. The last Shire player to be capped was James McKie in 1898 ! Add to all that, the club no longer had a ground it could call it's own.

Looking at the competition for the Third division, no-one was betting against Rangers winning the league. There were even expectations that they might win every single game and finish with maximum points such was their superiority. That left 9 clubs looking for the runners up spot to join them in promotion. Stirling Albion would surely be looking to bounce back after relegation last term while Queen's Park were expected to do well again after failing in the playoffs last time round. Peterhead and Montrose were also fancied by some in what looked like a very open race. Elgin City, Annan and East Stirlingshire were most peoples tips for finishing bottom of the pile.

Depressing reading, but I was determined to put that right. Any success and I would become a club legend.

It was time for my second meeting with Spencer the chav. I picked up a local paper on the way, so that I could start checking out flats when I got back. I immediately regretted the delay that caused. As I approached a level crossing, the alarm sounded and the gates started to close. I was right at the front of the queue and had to wait for ages before a freight train chuntered through hauling wagon after wagon, all carrying the “Bisto” logo, clearly on it's way to or from a food processing factory. Just as the last wagon cleared the crossing, something fell from the top, blocking the road. All the drivers got out to examine what it was

It was a body.

A lifeless, dead body.

Eventually someone spoke. “Bastard ! Another Moronic Cretin, train surfing to save on his ticket”. We kicked the body to the side of the track and continued on our journeys. This AMC was someone else's problem.

In the end I was just a few minutes late. In a small room at the back of the shop, Spencer was waiting and I was shown in by a rather attractive young lady. She may be a bit younger than me, but her coy smile told me that there may be some potential if I play my cards right.


Him: Welcome to our home. It's not much, but it's all we have. I'd like Julia to join us, which will make this room a bit cosy …..
Me (think): Wouldn't mind getting cosy with Julia given half a chance!
Him: ….. so why don't we shut up shop, not much business today anyway, and head across the road for a coffee.
Me: Fine by me.

Five minutes later we had found seats and Spencer was ordering the coffee. I had asked for my usual Americano, Julia a Flat White (subtly different from the mainstream without going over the top was my opinion)

Him: …. and I'll have a skinny caramel macchiato, decaf with an extra shot.

I turned to Julia and mouthed Tosser without making a sound. She replied with a nervous, innocent smile. It also gave me the chance to check out her left hand …... Kerching ….. No ring !

Spencer returned with the coffees.

Him: Before we get down to business, I should have introduced you to Julia. She is our office. She mans the phones, works the shop, sells the season tickets, keeps all of the paperwork in order and generally gets things done. Anything you need, call Julia.
Me: I will.
Him: And this is Alex Ferguson, our new manager.
Julia: Just like Man United !
Me: Maybe one day, but I think I'm less grumpy and better looking !

Again I got the nervous, innocent smile back, with just a hint of a blush.

Him: Right. Lets get down to business. I'm under no illusions that this is going to be a particularly difficult season ahead. With Rangers in our league, opportunities are naturally going to be limited, although we should get in a decent crowd for the home games. Every cloud and all that.

I raised my eyes in Julia's direction, hoping that Spencer couldn't see, suggesting I'd heard it all before. She replied with another of her subtle smiles.

Me: So what are your expectations of me then ?
Him: It's a fair assumption that next season will be easier, so if you can improve the squad in preparation, I can't ask for more than that ….. Second thoughts, I can. It would be nice if we weren't bottom of the league again.

Under the table where he couldn't see, but Julia could, I imitated the international sign for wanker. There was a definite blush this time. Don't want to push to far.

Me: I've not met the squad yet, but buying a few players and finishing 9th out of 10 doesn't sound overly taxing. What sort of budget do I have to play with ?
Him: Budget ! Have you not noticed this isn't Old Trafford ? If you can't find the players you need on free transfers then you'll have to beg, steal and borrow from other clubs. Change that, beg and borrow ….. we play everything by the book.
Me: Getting free players is always tricky. Every man and his dog is after the decent ones and we'll have to provide something to attract them. What sort of wages can I offer ?
Him: We do have a very strict wage structure. I won't allow you to go over two-seventy.
Me: TWO-SEVENTY ! Julia. Get me the number for the agents of Wayne Rooney, Christiano Ronaldo and Chris Erskine. Might not be enough for Messi, but get me his agent too.
Him: That's pounds, not thousands !
Me: An hour ?
Him: A week !

There was a pause while I considered this devastating news. Who the hell was going to come to this crappy club to play for peanuts ? It gave Spencer the chance to tun round and order more coffees. While his back was turned I made a dick head gesture in Julia's direction. Again I got back a smile and an innocent blush.

Me: Anything else that I should know ?
Him: Only that we have a friendly with Dumbarton in 6 days.
Me: In that case, we had better get up to training so that I can check out the squad.
Him: If that's what you want, I'll join you. Meeting closed.

Julia: If you're going upto the ground, I'll leave you boys to it. See you at home Dad !


What the hell have I done with Julia ?
Come to think of it, What the hell have I done joining East Stirling ?

The meeting had though confirmed something. Like AMC before me, I didn't have a ticket for the gravy train.

Baron Zbimg
13-05-13, 05:21 PM
Awesome start, You Mr Ferguson have a long way to go.

13-05-13, 06:46 PM
Good start indeed, and with Julia the chairman's daughter I can think one way of getting the sack :D

13-05-13, 07:15 PM
Awesome start, You Mr Ferguson have a long way to go.

Indeed I do and a lesson learned from Centurion is that there will be boring bits when the team goes on winning runs (United winning league after league), so I'm going to skip over them a bit quicker and add detail to the bits where I can

Good start indeed, and with Julia the chairman's daughter I can think one way of getting the sack :D

Except that I don't need to get the sack from this job .... I need reputation to get the St. Mirren job. As for Julia :pray: :tape:

14-05-13, 09:19 AM
I knew all the wanker/dickhead signs was a bit too much :D

14-05-13, 12:45 PM
This story already contains too much wanking..

14-05-13, 02:06 PM
This story already contains too much wanking..

Try this if you prefer :embarassed:


14-05-13, 04:35 PM
Are you actually gonna try to stay at United as long as Fergie then?

14-05-13, 06:21 PM
Are you actually gonna try to stay at United as long as Fergie then?

No. Unlike Mancini, I know my targets :smokin:

15-05-13, 12:19 PM
Who is the wurst ?

The training session took my mind off my disastrous attempt to seduce Julia. If we were going to work together, I’d have to sort out our relationship, but nothing much I could do about it for now. The training took my mind off that problem, but gave me an even bigger headache to sleep on. Not that there was anything wrong with the facilities. Ochilview couldn’t be faulted on that score.

The ground was laid with an artificial pitch and from what I could tell looked to be pretty good one. The ball appeared to have a true roll across the surface although there was always a problem with an uneven bounce suffered by every artificial pitch I’ve played on.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cd/Ochilview_Park,_Stenhousemuir.JPG/640px-Ochilview_Park,_Stenhousemuir.JPG http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7m7C3ECyM1U/SstWCiVt37I/AAAAAAAAAD8/U9k-xKc-AO0/s320/turf.jpg

We could use this to our advantage. Other sides won’t be used to the surface and if we could put together some sort of passing game then I fully expect to get some results from the home fixtures. It certainly won’t help any team coming here and looking to punt the ball up the park and there was no problem with us using the main pitch for training.

Overall, I’d rather play on grass, but this pitch was not the problem.

As we arrived, Spencer introduced me to Billy Gibson the club scout and Iain MacIver the physio. After the formalities of handshakes, we sat down in the main stand to overview the proceedings. Gibson appeared quite young to be a scout, early 30s and as we chatted he admitted that he had been forced to retire early having played most recently for Cambridge Utd and Yeovil. He had a sound footballing knowledge and I liked him, so I was prepared to give him a chance. I asked him to suss out any players he could find who were out of contract, and asked him to leave his phone on as I may have some specific players I was interested in. MacIver was in his early forties and pretty clueless about anything, even the basic medical knowledge that any physio should know.

There were 2 groups being put through their paces out on the pitch and one lad who was sitting on a wall with crutches by his side, eating a sausage roll.

Me: Who’s that with the crutches ?
MacIver: David Greenhill. He came to me complaining of a back problem, so I gave him a rub down with a cold sponge and put him on crutches for a couple of weeks.
Me: No thoughts of sending him to an Osteopath to see if there is a root problem ?
MacIver: Nah ! Cold sponge and crutches works for most injuries in my opinion.
Me: And are sausage rolls on your diet plan ?

He patted his belly

MacIver: They work for me !

I made a note in my book ….. Find a physio ….. And marked it with 3 stars to show its importance.

One group of players were been taken through some passing drills, while the other were jogging round the pitch, occasionally stopping to do press ups or squats. Before I could ask it, Spencer answered my question.

Field: John Brownlie prefers to do the technical stuff and Barry Daniel the fitness. It’s a combination that’s worked so far.
Me: Worked to get you where exactly ? What the hell is Daniel doing with them ?
Field: I asked them to build up the fitness levels before we face Dumbarton on Friday.
Me: He could do something a bit more relevant to football. This is stuff kids do at school.

I made a further note ….. Get rid of Daniel ….. This was also marked with 3 stars.

I counted the players and, including the injured Greenhill, I made it 15. The rest must be out on a training run or something. I checked with Spencer.

Me: Will the rest of the squad be back soon. I’d like to see them all today.
Him: That is it. If you need any more players, you’ll have to sign them.
Gibson: I’ve already cast my eye over the youth teams. I don’t think any of them are ready yet, but I guess you can call on them in an emergency.

I didn’t think this could get any worse. 14 ½ players, a crap coach, a crap physio and no cash available to put it right. I was also tasked with improving the squad and my first 2 actions would be to get rid of staff.

I was wrong, it could get much worse, not just for me, but also for A Mangy Crow who was roosting on top of the main stand.


For now I had seen enough of the drills. I wanted to know if any of these guys had any ability. I headed down from the stand onto the hallowed plastic to take things over myself.

Me: Ok lads gather round …… I’m Alex Ferguson, your new manager.

A few sniggers went round. I picked on one of them looking at the initials on his top.

Me: You …. Pee Zed …. Something you want to share ?
Philipp Zufle: Nein Chef. Es ist nur so, dass der Manchester United chef den gleichen namen hat
Me: What the fuck ! Is this some fucking Falkirk interbreeding dialect ?
JG: Jamie Glasgow boss. Phil is German and we just thought it was funny that you have the same name as Fergie.
Me: Well I hope it’s just as funny when you find out that me and Fergie share a hair drier. For now, youse can call me “boss” or “gaffer”. Got it ?

Lots of head nodding and mumbled OK gaffer.

Me: Right. You know nothing about me and I know nothing about you, so that means it’s clean slates all round. I don’t care what you’ve done before, it’s what you do from now on that counts in my book. We’ve got a game in 6 days time. It’s only a friendly but Dumbarton are a couple of leagues above us. It’s my job to turn you lot into something resembling a football team before then. First I need to know how you play. I had hoped for an 11 aside, but we can make do with 7’s. First off, sort yourself’s out. Keepers over there, defenders there, midfielders there and forwards there. If you’re not sure, goto your preferred position.

There was a scuffle of activity as they all went to their places.

Me: Where the fuck are the keepers ?
Field: We did have a couple last year, but they didn’t sign up again and we were waiting on your appointment to see who you wanted to bring in.

Jesus wept ! Another note was entered ….. KEEPERS ….. this was given 4 stars and underlined ! What I had was 4 defenders, 2 attackers and 8 midfielders, plus the injured David Greenhill who I later discovered was a right winger. Most of them were young and I would guess the average age to be under 21. The injured Greenhill looked to be the oldest and he turned out to be 26 !

Eventually we got a game going across the pitch, with the midfielders taking turns to play in goal and one team playing with bibs. Not that the makeshift keepers were overly tested. The two strikers, Mickey Herd and Paul Quinn were so bad that nothing came close to a goal. After 15 minutes it was still 0-0 with no sign of the score ever changing. Showing a burst of pace I didn’t know he had, Scott Maxwell sprinted down the right and sent in a low cross for Mickey Herd just 2 yards out. All he had to do was tap it in and we could all go home.

He absolutely hammered it ! Hammered it skywards, clearing the cross bar by several feet and with laser guided precision smashing into the aforementioned crow with a flurry of feathers. The ball came down from the roof first, bouncing just inside the goal mouth. The dead crow followed, hitting the ball at the top of it’s bounce with just enough force to deflect it over the line.

Mickey Herd spun away, arm aloft as if he’d just scored in a Champions League final.

Herd: Last one to the chippy has to eat the pickled onion !

With my head held in my hands, the rest of the team ran off after him with Zufle at the back shouting

Zufle: Ich möchte eine Wurst und frites

I was left thinking that wurst pretty much sums him up.

15-05-13, 12:22 PM
For those interested, here is the entire squad.

Jamie Glasgow and Nathan Shepherd look to be adequate, with maybe David Greenhill and Craig Donaldson able to make the grade. The rest were simply not upto it even at this level. I was tempted to play the 1st season with this squad as it is, but this adventure is going to be long enough without making life any harder than it needs to be. (spoilers are for those not on a good internet bandwidth)


15-05-13, 12:38 PM
Enjoying this thus far Eejit :ok:

15-05-13, 01:04 PM
Good write up, that one. Sounds like you've got a LOT of work to do, especially finding a keeper within 6 days!

Baron Zbimg
15-05-13, 01:05 PM
Great write ups, and a terrible team, should be interesting.

17-05-13, 08:11 AM
A second chance to make a first impression

I didn’t get much sleep, so many thoughts going through my head. Where was I going to find a team from ? Julia. What goal keepers did I know ? Julia. How could we face Dumbarton in 6 days …. Scrap that …. Now 5 days ? Julia. How could I improve the diet of some lads from central Scotland ? Julia.

There may have been many questions, but there was just one picture that filled my restless sleep. I must though have got some sleep as the alarm woke me just as my dream was getting interesting. Fucking typical !


A quick shower to freshen up and I was ready for a busy day. First call was to the Dumbarton FC offices, where I got put through to player manager Ian Murray. I made my apologies but explained that we just didn’t have a team ready to give him any sort of challenge, so unfortunately I would be forced to cancel our friendly. He understood, we wished each other luck for the season ahead and one of my headaches had been resolved. It did look as if we would be starting the season without any match practice, so it made it all the more important that we got some solid training in before a scheduled League Cup first round game against as yet un-named opponents. 27 days to go, I had bought myself time.

I did have a new problem. John Brownlie couldn’t do it on his own and Barrry Daniel wasn’t going to be much help. Who did I know that might be interested in some part time coaching work. I had a list of contacts in my phone, but I was pretty sure that all would be in work. As I scrolled through my contacts list, a name came up. It would be a major coupe if we could get him, maybe even as a player coach, but nothing to loose, I pressed the dial button.

Me: Is that Craig Gordon ?
Gordon: Speaking.
Me: Hi mate. It’s Alex ….. Alex Ferguson
Gordon: I thought United were on a Far East tour. What can I do for you ?
Me: Not that Alex. We had trials together at Hearts. Remember ?
Gordon: Aye. I mind you now. What’s happening with you ?
Me: Well, for my sins I’ve got a gig as manger at East Stirlingshire …… Stop laughing ! We all have to start somewhere ….. anyway that’s why I’m calling. Heard you’d been released by Sunderland and wondered if you’d got yourself fixed up yet ? Maybe the part time would allow that knee to fix itself.
Gordon: Sorry mate. Firstly, I think I’ve hung up my gloves for good and secondly, I’ve just started working for Dumbarton. Thanks for the thought and good luck at Shire. You’re going to need it.


Bugger Dumbarton.

I flicked on further and found another possible. How ironic if he was to work for “Alex Ferguson” again, although he may be past playing now. I pressed the dial button, but was put through to a voice mail, so I left a brief message and asked him to call back.

It was time to make the most important call of the day. There was a slight nervous shake in my hand as I dialed the number. I got a reply …. Not an answer phone.

Julia: East Stirlingshire football club. Julia Fearn. How can I help you.
Me: It’s Alex here. Alex Ferguson.
Julia: Oh.
Me: I just want to apologise for my behavior yesterday. I’ve been a bit of an idiot.
Julia: A bit ?
Me: Look, I’m not normally like that. I think that the nerves of my first day in the job got to me and I was trying to act big to impress
Julia: You call that acting big ?
Me: Julia, I had no idea that Spencer was your father.
Julia: So it would have been OK to act like that if it had been someone else ?
Me: Eh … no. Not really, but like I say Julia, It was a one off..
Julia: If you’re to get anywhere you need to show a bit of respect. My father has worked hard to get to where he is, so OK, East Stirling might not be much, but he’s kept the club afloat when others would have given in. How would your namesake Fergie behave ? Even when he’s putting someone down, he still shows respect. You could learn a lot from him.
Me: You’re absolutely right. I’ve been an eejit and need to show you the new me.

I crossed my fingers for the next section of the call

Me: I know that you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, but as we’re going to be working together, I’d like to try.
Julia: What do you have in mind ?
Me: I’d like to take you out and show you the real me

There was a pause while she considered this offer.

Julia: On 2 conditions
Me: No problem Julia. What do I have to do.
Julia: Firstly you need to show me the respect that you think I deserve as a colleague and a friend
Me: Goes without saying Julia. So we’re friends ?
Julia: For now.


Me: What’s the second condition ?
Julia: You’re paying !
Me: A gentleman like me wouldn’t have it any other way.
Julia: There’s a third thing
Me: What’s that Julia
Julia: You can start calling me Jools like everyone else. Only tossers like my father call me fucking Julia !

17-05-13, 09:06 AM
Only tossers like my father :lol:

Shame about Craig Gordon, would have been good to have him as player coach. Intrigued as to who the ex-Man Utd player (coach?) could be.

17-05-13, 09:09 AM
Blossoming relationship.

She's gotta have some contacts as well if she's been involved in running the club.

17-05-13, 09:51 AM
Only tossers like my father :lol:

Shame about Craig Gordon, would have been good to have him as player coach. Intrigued as to who the ex-Man Utd player (coach?) could be.


17-05-13, 12:17 PM

Legends Lift Struggling Shire

By Succulent Lamb (Sports Editor)
Wednesday 7th July, 2010

The word legend is often overused, particularly when discussing football, however today tiny East Stirlingshire lodged the paperwork with the SFA to complete deals on not 1, not 2 but 4 such names, all fully deserving of the tag legend. Joining new manager Alex Ferguson’s coaching team at Ochilview will be none other than John Barnes, Jim Leighton, David Phillips and Tony Cottee.


Barnes (49) played 79 times for England, scoring 11 times and enjoyed great success in club football, at Watford, Newcastle and Charlton, however it is his 314 games for Liverpool that he will be most remembered for, winning 2 English League titles and 2 English FA Cups. He arrives with coaching experience at Celtic and Tranmere as well as the Jamacan national side. The Herald understands that he is to take the role of assistant to Ferguson at Shire.


Leighton (54) kept goal for Scotland on 91 occasions, including 3 world cup finals. In a club career that spanned 22 years he played a total of 635 times, most famously for Aberdeen, where he won 3 Scottish league titles, 4 Scottish cups and a European Cup Winners Cup and Manchester United where he won an FA Cup.


Phillips (49) played 62 times for Wales, scoring twice. In his 620 club games he is most famous in Coventry where he was part of their 1987 FA cup winning side


Cottee (47) has 7 England caps, however it is a club career where he scored 239 goals in 602 starts that made him a hero at West Ham, Everton and Leicester City, where he won an FA Cup.

But how did the Scottish minnows manage to pull off such a major coupe ? Leighton tells us the story. “We were all round Barnsie’s place playing a bit of poker. The guys had cleaned me out and we had just taken a break to top up our drinks when I noticed I had a missed call on my mobile. Turned out it was from Alex (Ferguson) except I thought it was from “THE” Alex Ferguson. Well that would have been a turn up for the books, as we've hardly spoken since the 1990 cup final replay. Once we realized it was East Stirlingshire, we had a laugh about it, I mean, it had to be a joke. Right.”

“Anyway, Tony is always one for a laugh and he offered to lend me money to get back in the card game, but only on the condition that I accepted this part time work for Shire. Being part time, it still allowed me time for my media commitments, so I agreed, but countered it with a deal that they had to join me if I won the money back and repaid Tony before the end of the night.”

“It was probably the beer talking, but hands were shaken and from there on my luck changed. I've never been delt such good cards before and I won all my money back, and that it why we are all here at Ochilview.”

It may be a strange way for the four to land in East Stirlingshire, but what are their thoughts now that they’ve had a look around. Barnes takes up the story.

“This is a great little club and the lads are keen to learn. It’s a couple of weeks before I can formally take over, but I’m looking forward to working with the lads. Alex (Ferguson) will be doing most of the day to day hands on stuff, but we will be dropping in when we can between our other commitments to lend a hand.”

A spokeswoman for the club commented that she was “delighted to welcome such famous names to East Stirlingshire”, and that it was “a testament to the energy and enthusiasm brought by the new manager” that had seen these deals completed.

In other Shire news, Alex Ferguson announced the first addition to his playing squad. Former Bairn academy graduate Paul Sludden returns to the area after a season with East Fife.

http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009__034__players__Paul_Sludden__1280479551_standa rd.jpg

Sludden, a striker, played 6 times for The Fifers without finding the net and was released by them last month. “I thought that my chance had gone when East Fife released me, but Mr Ferguson has offered me a second chance and I’ll be looking to repay his faith in my ability”.

When asked, Ferguson said he was “very happy” with his first signing and advised the support to await more names coming through the doors in the next few weeks.

17-05-13, 12:46 PM
Big names!

None of them have any coaching quality (Barnes proved that!) but big names all the same!

17-05-13, 02:05 PM
That's a fabulous list! Love the back story too.


17-05-13, 02:08 PM
I love it :D Bet their coaching stats are actually quite pathetic :D

Good to see you've got a signing too, hopefully the goalkeepers are coming.

17-05-13, 02:28 PM
For a laugh, I'll put up their coaching stats when I get home tonight. They are not that bad, especially for this league

17-05-13, 08:17 PM
And here are my famous coaching staff


17-05-13, 08:59 PM
Awesome stuff mate, some absolutely terrible players there, I bet them coaches could still perform better than some of the playing staff!

I'm claiming that goal as well! :ok:

17-05-13, 09:34 PM
Not bad mate, not bad at all for the level you're playing at. Definite coups, for sure :ok:

18-05-13, 02:23 AM
That's some good quality at this level, and their reputation might help with attracting players.

Loving the Dreama Walker, looking forward to some Krysten Ritter too maybe

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Krysten+Ritter+Art+Elysium+6th+Annual+Black+nUvu_H dyvbFl.jpg

18-05-13, 07:34 AM
After some research into the stimulus, i have been to deduce that indeed Ochilview Park is a shared stadium between Stenhousemuir F.C. and East Stirlingshire F.C., though Stenhousemuir has been the occupants since 1890 (whereas the club was established in 1884). East Stirlingshire has since shared it since 2008, there former home was demolished in 2012. Of course, there is an outstanding different between the two stadiums: Firs Park had a capacity of 1,800 with 200 seats whereas Ochilview Park has over 3,746 with 626 seats. Another interesting piece of information is that Stenhousemuir is in the Second Tier of the Scottish League and East Stirlingshire is in the Third tier, meaning that any derbies on there ground is unlikely, especially with East Stirlingshire being at the bottom of the Third division table, and Stenhousemuir being sixth.

No need to thank me for the information, i am just doing a kind service,


Sorry, I thought that I had replied to this earlier. Is SwanLake another of your underworld assassins who bores his victims to death by endlessly reciting useless facts ?

18-05-13, 07:36 AM
Sorry, I thought that I had replied to this earlier. Is SwanLake another of your underworld assassins who bores his victims to death by endlessly reciting useless facts ?


How did you know?

Testing him out, to see if it can do some damage a Eejit story, doesn't seem to work though :P

20-05-13, 10:23 AM
An unexpected guest

Me: Right lads. Well done, it's been a good week and you've worked hard. Go and get changed and enjoy a well deserved weekend. You've deserved it.

It had been a good week, if very busy. In addition to the signing of Paul Sludden and the four coaches, we had 6 players in on trial (2 had been offered contracts) while a further 41 players had been offered deals without even a trial. 22 had rejected the terms we could offer while 12 were still considering their options. The remaining seven had all signed up on 2 or 3 year deals and I was delighted to be able to add them to a squad that was starting to take shape. We now had 23 players on the books, although 4 had been transfer listed.

Finally we had enough players for some practice games, although still no goalkeepers !

First to arrive was Johnny Lindsay, a 19 year old left sided defender who could play in the center if needed. He was a lad I knew quite well having watched him many times in the Partick Thistle reserve side and twice in the first team. His previos club, St. Johnstone had given him just 1 game off the bench although 2 loan spells, at Dumbarton and Brechin had given him another 11 starts. Sadly a move to Stalybridge had failed to workout and he had been released at the seasons end. He is tall and strong, has a bit of pace and should do a job for us.

Steven Hogg brings some badly needed experience. The former Man Utd trainee is now 26 and has 44 starts to his name with York, Gretna, Shrewsbury and Rochdale. Primarily a central midfielder, he is hard working he can put in a shift on the left wing.

The third player is also left sided and an out and out winger. He is also the second ex-Jag to sign up. Marc Corcoran is 31 and has chalked up 249 games and 19 goals in his 9 seasons with Hamilton, St. Mirren, Partick Thistle and Ross County. “Corky” is quick, can run all day and will cause defenders problems if he can improve his final delivery.

Josh Pritchard is the second Man Utd trainee to join the ranks. The 19 year old had been released by Fulham after a loan spell at Tromso where he played 7 times. He has twice been called on by the Welsh U21s, but has yet to get off the bench. Primarily a right back he can play central defense or midfield. His versatility will make him a good man to have on the bench, as I am concerned that he might not have the stamina to last a full 90 minutes.

Charlie Howard snapped up the chance to return to senior football after a couple of seasons out of action. The 22 year old central midfielder made 1 appearance in 3 years at Gillingham and was released after unsuccessful loans to Dulwich Hamlet and Thurrock. He's another hardworking player and I'm looking forward to him forming a partnership with Hogg.

Raphale Evans was picked up from the Lancashire leagues after spells with Rochdale and Northwich Victoria were ended by a prison sentence for violent disorder. Since being released, the 22 year old left sided defender has been a reformed character and is looking forward to a fresh start in a new town. He may need to wait his chance, but I think he is a valuable addition to the squad.

Finally, our second young striker. 20 year old Stephen Reynolds was snapped up after being released by St.Johnstone. He played 18 times for The Saints and a further 31 on loan to Ayr and Raith Rovers, finding the net 5 times. He also has 2 U19 caps to his name, scoring once. Before his release, he was widely described as “The New Kris Boyd” and I would be more than happy if he turns out to be half the player Boyd was.

The transfer listed players were Phillip Zufle, Scott Maxwell, Jamie Benton and Stephen Jackson. There had been some interest and scouts had been to look at them, although as yet no bids had been received.

Although I had spoken to her many times during the week on club business, the date with Jools hadn’t been mentioned again. To be honest we were both too busy, I had to do a lot of my own scouting, while assessing the trialists, overviewing the training and attending the League Cup first round draw, which paired us with Queen's Park at Ochilview. That would be my first match in charge. Jools had been tied up with the paperwork, player registrations and press releases as well as manning the club shop. I did have some flowers sent round to the shop with a big “Sorry” written on the card and had got back a text message with “The flowers are lovely XXX”.

Three kisses. That had to be significant. One kiss could be dismissed as casual, but you had to mean it to give 3 kisses …. And they were all in capitals !

However this was the end of the week and tonight was the night.

We had agreed to meet up in Cheerz Bar in the middle of town at 7pm, to start off with a drink and take it from there. That left me with plenty of time to have a shave, a shower and put on something smart, but not looking as if I was trying. The lucky underpants were left in the drawer. No need for them tonight as it would need to play the long game to catch Jools.

The taxi dropped me off just after 6:30, no way I was going to be late and I settled down at a table to slowly supp my pint of Belhaven. Although I was very early, I didn’t want it to look like I was and there is no way I was going to get drunk tonight !


The sports news on the TV was all about Rangers selling Carlos Bocanegra to Serbian side Smederovo for £90k and Fran Sandaza to Inverness for £40k. There was also a lengthy piece on how their new signing, right back Scott Durie, was going to be the greatest rightback since Cafu. I was certainly not going to loose sleep over a £60k signing from East Fife that I had never heard of, even if he is the son of their former star Gordon “Jukebox” Durie.

Jools was late. Fashionably so and I would have been disappointed if she hadn’t been. In the 45 minutes I had been in the pub I had supped about 1 inch of my pint while trying to practice acting cool !


Me: Wow ! You look stunning ! Must be my lucky day.
Jools: You scrub up well yourself

I tried to act calm and nonchalant

Me: Just some old gear, probably the last clean stuff I could find in the wardrobe
Jools: Hahaha ! Does all your “old gear” still have price tags on ?

Bugger. How could I have missed that. I quickly pulled the tag off my brand new jacket and hoped that this latest cock-up wouldn’t cost me.

Me: Sorry, I was really wanted to do my best to impress you tonight. Failed again I guess. Let me get you a drink. See if I can at least get that right.
Jools: White wine. Dry.
Me: Champagne surely for a girl like you !
Jools: I’d prefer a white wine. The bubbles tickle my nose.

If gave me time to recompose myself while I ordered her wine, although I have to admit that my mind did wander towards tickling her nose, and various other parts of that beautiful body.

Me: So, been a bit of a week. Thanks for all your help and I hope you’ve not been working you too hard.
Jools: Not a problem. It’s been great. Season tickets sales are up 10% on last year since the news that Barnes, Leighton, Cottee and Phillips will be joining.
Me: Wow ! That’s great news. How many have we sold then
Jools: Seventy two.

Seventy two ! How could we have only sold 72 season tickets ? How can any club sell only 72 season tickets ? At £157 a pop, that was only £11,704 coming in which is absolute peanuts. There had better be plenty of punters queuing at the gates if we are to get any revenues in. Even then, I was having trouble making the numbers add up to be able to offer £270 a week in wages.

Jools: We also sold 2 shirts and 4 scarfs from the shop, so it’s been a pretty good week.

72 season tickets, 2 shirts and 4 scarfs wouldn’t even cover Jools wages. And this was supposed to be a good week. This was disastrous news to me, but nothing compared to what was to follow. If that registered 1 on my internal richter scale, the next sentence went straight to 10 !

Jools: But that’s enough shop talk. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve invited my partner to join us.

PARTNER ! That sounds like something more permanent than boyfriend. I don’t mind a bit of competition, It would be amazing if there was noone on the scene. But what exactly am I up against here ? Have I completely misread the situation ? Jools definitely said “See you at home Dad” when she left us. No mistake. How can you have a “partner” and live at home. I needed answers, but somewhere in my subconscious the word “respect” arrived at the front of my brain. Stay cool Alex.

Me: Not a problem. I’d love to meet the lucky bugger

Was bugger to strong ? Bugger sounds soft for someone who’s teeth I’d like to punch down their esophagus. Too late to take it back now. Respect. Stay cool.

Me: I thought you lived at home with your parents.
Jools: Hahaha ! What gave you that idea ? I’ve been living with Charlie for a couple of years now. You’ve met my Dad, could you seriously live there ?

Charlie. What sort of a name is that ? She is far to good to be shacked up with some tosser called Charlie. Respect. Stay cool. All is not lost yet. You’re better than any Charlie

Me: Must have got it wrong. Again ! So unlike me ! I was just sure you said you would see your father at home when we left on Saturday.
Jools: Hahaha ! I just go round there every Saturday. More to keep my Mum sane than anything else.

There was a pause she looked perplexed.

Jools: Wait a minute ! You didn’t think “you and me” did you ? YOU DID think “you and me” ! Hahahahaha. Here’s Charlie now.


20-05-13, 10:52 AM
She's a LEZZER?! :eek:

Meanwhile, some decent signings there, I think. I predict a good start for Hogg :ok:

20-05-13, 03:35 PM
Lol, carpet munchers!!

You're all thinking what I'm thinking, right... ;)

20-05-13, 10:00 PM
She's a LEZZER?! :eek:

Meanwhile, some decent signings there, I think. I predict a good start for Hogg :ok:

Have to agree that Hogg looks the pick so far. I have hopes of a few others in the pipelines though.

As for what I'm thinking ...better ask kuy :frusty:

21-05-13, 11:20 AM
As for what I'm thinking ...better ask kuy :frusty:

I've ruined it :D

22-05-13, 04:48 PM
Two weeks is a long time in East Stirlingshire

It took me a while to recover from the shock of Jools and Charlie, but once I stopped trying to pull Jools, I really didn't stand a chance, and started acting myself, we actually had a great night. It was the first of many great nights that we had and an important lesson learned on respect, because these 2 girls deserved it. Falkirk is not a place that could be described as “cosmopolitan” and the culture is a long way from “bohemian”, so they had a pretty hard time of it. Respect is definitely due. Hanging around with beautiful women does though have it's advantages as it does provide opportunities to meet other beautiful women. Let’s just say that in my time with East Stirling, I didn't always go back to my flat on my own.

A flat, that was another thing that happened in the final 2 weeks of the close season. It wasn't much, but it was home and cheaper than living in a hotel. Besides, it offered better prospects for not going home on my own, especially after Jools and Charlie had help to decorate.


Work wise it had also been very busy. Firstly there was the recruitment drive which carried on at a pace. Liam Dolman was the next man to agree terms. The former Northampton and Kidderminster defender can also provide cover at right back, although he was exposed to wingers with pace. Lets be honest, the 24 year old would be exposed by a tortoise with pace, however he did have other attributes in his locker and with 52 games under his belt was one of the more experienced players.

Andrew Cave-Brown is a tremendous player to have captured. At 24, the Scottish right back or winger has 2 years experience with Orient following his graduation from the Norwich academy. He is hard working and his pace will worry teams at this level.

Goal keepers are like number 32 buses. Having waited so long to find one and been rejected by so many, two come along together. Martin Taylor is bad, very bad, but at 21, he might improve and unless Phil Carpenter gets injured, I wont need to find out just how bad he is. His experience is as extensive as his talent. In any other side, Phil Carpenter would be sitting on the bench for the reserves. Sadly for us, the 23 year old would be our first choice. He did have a season with Barnet, but was released without making any first team apperances.

On the eve of the Queen's Park game we signed an international. In case you think you might have misread that, I'll say it again ….. On the eve of the Queen's Park game we signed an international. As a clue, it wasn't Lionel Messi ! 28 year old English born Ellis Remy has 1 cap for Montserrat and as far as I can tell, that is the only senior game he has ever played. If he gets selected again, he would be come the clubs first international player for over 100 years. I suspect, however, that even Montserrat may have better left-wingers who can play as attacking midfielders.


I still had hopes of another 6 players who were considering offers from other clubs, I had offered them the best deals that I could and tried to sell the East Stirlingshire dream as part of my pitch so it was now a waiting game to see if they decide to sign up.

And then there were some good byes. As expected, Scott Maxwell and Phillip Zufle both left, bringing in much needed revenue as well as improving the squad by their departure. Maxwell decided a fresh start in Croatia was what he needed and left for NK Varazdin for £40k. Zufle headed for Carquefou for £24k. I almost felt guilt for extracting cash. Almost. And then there were 2 departures from the back room. Sadly one of them was not Iain MacIver, the useless physio (I had no idea that you could get physios that didn’t have 20 for physiotherapy).


MacIver remained as my only physio and Billy Gibson remained my only scout. Clearly East Stirlingshire was not the dream job for anyone in this line of work. The arrival of “The Legends” allowed me to terminate Barry Daniels' contract (although it didn't take him long to find a new role at Hibs), then, with a week to go before the season's opener, coach John Brownlie declared that his dream job had always to be a scout for Tranmere. I liked him and told him he could do a job for us, even offering him a pay rise, but his mind was set. He left and that resigned me to looking for 2 coaches, 2 or 3 scouts and 2 or 3 physios. Offers had been made, many offers, but as yet, many had been rejected and none accepted.

Then there was the media work. Even at East Stirlingshire the media want their pound of flesh, even if it is only the Falkirk Herald. The call came from their sports editor Succulent Lamb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succulent_lamb) and he was wanting to do a preseason interview with all the local sides, Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and ourselves. Alarm bells should have been ringing when he arrived wearing a blue, white and red scarf, however naively I agreed to answer his questions.

Succulent Lamb: So, with the start of the new season just days away, how are you preparing for having 54 times champions, Rangers, in your league ?
Me: Rangers are just one of 10 clubs in our division. Obviously we are underdogs, so we will be giving equal respect to every side we play. Every underdog has his day, so how are the other sides preparing to face us ?
Succulent Lamb: Rangers have just signed 37 year old Darren Dodds from The Bairns. Would he not have been on your shopping list ?
Me: He’s a quality player, no question, but our philosophy is to build on youth, so I am very happy with the squad we are building here and with our coaching staff onboard, I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop their skills as the season progresses.
Succulent Lamb: You mentioned the coaching team. Are you not disappointed that none of them ever played for Rangers ?
Me: Who they played for is irrelevant to me. What I’m interested in is the job they can do for East Stirlingshire.
Succulent Lamb: Are there any of your players who you think might want to move to Rangers ?
Me: All of my players are very happy here. Obviously the finances force us to listen to any offers and in that respect Rangers are just like any other club. Now, do you have any questions that don’t involve Rangers ?
Succulent Lamb: Ehm ….. Wouldn’t you rather have the job at Ibrox ?
Me: Fuck off !
Succulent Lamb: But I didn’t mention Rangers !
Me: Fuck off ! You’re barred !

Barring the sports editor of the local paper is not normally a good idea and it took a great deal of diplomacy from Jules to resolve the situation. Even then the article he wrote came under the heading of “Tiny Shire Terrified of Giant Gers” and most of the answers had been made up by himself. Not for the last time in my career, I refused to speak to elements of the press and my assistant, Barnesy would be conducting the post match interviews with The Herald.

Now, it was the eve of the seasons opener. Football was about to break the virtual calm of the pre-season. Queen’s Park would be the visitors for a League Cup first round tie and the losers would have one of their cup campaigns terminated before the end of July. It was a particularly harsh way to start the season.

Without knowing what to expect, I was reasonable confident. We had put in a lot of hard work, practiced our skills, toned our fitness and studied our tactics. With the possibility of further additions to the squad, I was not going to make any predictions of a final outcome, but I did hope that we might still be challenging for promotion as we go into the final quarter of the season. All would depend on how quickly the new players would blend together. One milestone I did want to pass was to beat Rangers, even if only once, I was determined to see it through. Do that and I would be more than satisfied.

East Stirlingshire v Queens Park, League Cup First Round 2010 may not register in many football minds, but it would be a momentous day for me.

23-05-13, 10:28 AM
Nice little flat there, could do with those decorations in my own place :D

Got to admit I've never heard of the two goalkeepers, let's hope they don't prove to be the weak link in the team.

Dolman and Cave-Brown sound like a decent signings though, definitely got to be good enough at this level, at least.

23-05-13, 11:07 AM
Taylor is crap. I hope that I never have to use him, but he is better than having to put in an outfield player. He is also on only £60 per week !
Carpenter is not great and if I get the chance, a better keeper is certainly on the shopping list, maybe a loan from an SPL side.

He's not the best, but Remy is my fave. A Montserrat international with 1 cap and no other senior games !

23-05-13, 11:27 AM
:lol: Someone forgot to add his history? Looks like he's played 4/2 IRL for Montserrat and never played any higher than the conference! http://www.national-football-teams.com/player/40202/Ellis_Remy.html

23-05-13, 12:59 PM
I think my back story to Remy (when I bring it out) is better than real life.

23-05-13, 02:04 PM
Oops, I'll pipe down then :D

23-05-13, 02:22 PM
Looking out for a hero

Not long now, just minutes to go. We had covered everything over and over again and the blackboard in the corner of the dressingroom still showed evidence of some of the set piece moves we had worked out.


The team sheet had been posted and the lucky 16 knew that they had been given the job of securing my first ever match as a manager.

1. Carpenter
2. Dolman (c)
3. Shepherd
4. Evans
5. Glasgow
6. Hogg
7. Cave-Brown
8. Howard
9. Reynolds
10. Sludden
11. Corcoran
12. Pritchard
13. Lindsay
14. Hunter
15. Jackson
16. Herd

It may be a risk not having a keeper on the bench, but I'm not sure that Taylor would be much good if he was and also I thought the extra outfield player might be of more use. The players who hadn’t made the squad were joined in the stand by 6 prospective signings taking a look at the set up before making a commitment. It was encouraging that they were giving East Stirlingshire serious consideration.

Back in the dressing room there was one last chance to go through the tactics.

Me: OK lads, listen up. I know your all nervous, this is a big day, but win or lose, this is not going to be the end of the season. Enjoy yourselves today. We've discussed it before, but just so that you remember, we'll start off with the 4-4-2 we've been practicing, and I want you to push on for the early goal. This could be a tight game, so we want to score first.


Remember to watch my hands. If Iput my palms towards the ground and push down, it means sit back a bit. If I point them towards our goal and wave back, we go defensive. If I point them to their goal, we're going for it again. Understand ?

Yes Boss
OK Gaff

Me: Hand up in the air is what Liam ?
Liam Dolman: We're going 4-3-3 boss


Me: Good. And Stevie, what if I pat my knee ?
Steven Hogg: We drop back to a 4-1-3-1-1.


Me: I hope we don't need to use it as it is a bit more complicated, but we've practised, so we're ready if I call it out

Me: Corkie, what is the difference between hands crossing each other in a wave and the same with 1 finger up ?
Marc Corcoran: Ehm … I've forgotten gaff
Me: Fuck sake …. How many times ? Fingers is strikers switch sides. Hands are for wingers. Think you can remember that for the next 90 minutes ?
Me: One last signal. If I form an “O” with my thumb and index finger on my right hand then moved my hand up and down from my groin, it indicated that the opposition striker had just scored a hat-trick.

There was a knock on the door. That meant 5 minutes to go.

Me: Now get out there and show everyone what you can do. Lets put East Stirlingshire on the football map.

Everyone jumped to their feet and yelled SHIRE at the top of their voices.

Waiting in the tunnel, I was imagining walking out to the roar of the crowd and the smell of the freshly mown grass. I knew that it was imagination as the pitch was laid with Astroturf, but how big would the crowd be. The ground could take 3,776, with 626 seated in the main stand. 1st round of the league cup, and not a glamour tie, so I doubted that it would be full. Could we fill the stand ? How many would Queen’s bring.

Minutes later, I got my answer. A small cluster of fans in the main stand welcomed us with polite applause. Fuck me ! I could almost count them. I was joined by Spencer and Jools who had come to wish me luck.

Me: Where the hell has the crowd gone ? I could probably count them from here.
Spencer: You know what ? I think I could name them. That’s Davie McPhail, Pete McPhail, Gordon Cowan, Jamie Smith ….
Jools: No dad. That’s Johnny Smith. Jamie is over there.
Spencer: Dammit your right. I must get to specsavers ! Hahaha.
Me: That’s ridiculous. The crowds can’t possibly be this low. Do we know how many came through the gates ?
Jools: Just added it up. 145.
Me: Fuck me !
Jools: However much you want it, you know that ain’t going to happen !

Focus was soon transferred to the game as the ref blew his whistle to start my career.

We started off on fire. Howard collected a loose pass in midfield, but his run was forced wide by the Queen's Park defense. He made room for a low cross that was collected by Reynolds who only managed to drive his shot at the keeper. Soon though he would go better. Evans free kick was taken by Parry in The Spiders goal, but he failed to hold the ball and Reynolds was on hand to tap into an empty net. Just 4 minutes played, how ever as he spun away to celebrate, attention was brought to the linesman's flag, and we were back to 0-0. Bastard.

Seven minutes later and it was another freekick, this time taken by Glasgow, that found Reynolds in behind the defense. With the ball coming over his shoulder, he took it first time and gave the keeper no chance. Again he wheeled away in triumph and again the linesmans flag was up. If the first was borderline, this was an appalling decision. Reynolds had timed his run perfectly and was atleast a yard onside. With some suitable lowland Scots vocabulary, I suggested as much to the 4th official. Bastard.

A goal surely had to come. The pressure was unrelenting and in the 18th minute it did. Longworth picked up a panicked Queen's Park clearance. Chased down by the defender, he got into the box and squared a pass for Smith who was in support. One touch beat his man and teed him up to find the corner of the net. East Stirlingshire 0 Queen's Park 1. Completely against the run of play. I beckoned my captain over.

Me: What the fuck happened. You were all asleep !
Liam Dolman: Boss. We saw you scratch your nose and didn't know what to do !
Me: Fuck sake ! It means a fly has landed on it you muppet. Forget about hand signals I’ll shout out the instructions from now on. Now fucking get back on and get us that goal back !

They did just that. Hogg, Cave-Brown and Sludden all worked short passes on the left of the area. The Queen's defenders were drawn out of position leaving space at the far post for Reynolds to ghost into. Sludden found him. 1-1 and no flag this time. Get in there ! The lead had lasted 90 seconds.


Reynolds continued his run behind the goal, kissing his badge to celebrate with the fans. He soon realized that there was nobody there and turned to run towards the mainstand, again kissing his badge. I’ll decide later whether to fine him for “kissing club badge without having played sufficient games to warrant a genuine love”

Saddly it was the end of Shepherd's afternoon. The left back had hurt his knee and Johnny Lindsay took his place at left back. I shouted out orders that we shouldn't push on quite so much. We had started at a pace that we couldn't possibly keep up for 90 minutes. It developed into a decent game, with us having most of the possession without creating too many clear chances, while Kennedy and Longworth both looked dangerous for Queen’s Park on the break. Half time arrived with a Kennedy pile driver that cleared our bar, but no more goals.


Andrew Cave-Brown had been given treatment for a stubbed toe, however I decided not to risk him and Michael Hunter was given 45 minutes to show what he could do on the right wing. It was almost an immediate impact. An ambitious step over completely bamboozled the defender and with space to cross, he picked up a late run from Hogg. His touch to control the ball took him a little wide and that was probably why he could only hit the outside of the post. I was thinking that a goal had to come, but that thought was replaced by a spell of pressure at the other end where Queen's won 3 corners in a row, Finally Liam Dolman cleared and we could gather our composure.


An hour was on the clock. I had one change remaining and some of the lads were looking a bit tired. Maybe fresh legs on the left would be needed. Before I could do anything, Howard burst forward from midfield and fed Corcoran on the left. It was a low, hard, first time cross. It was a low, hard, first time cross that found Reynolds. It was a low, hard, first time cross that found Reynolds who smashed it into the back of the net. 2-1, but maybe it wasn't a good idea for the teenager to go over and celebrate infront of the linesman that had chalked two off earlier. Fortunately he was not booked, or worse.

It might have been 3 earlier when Sludden scuffed a shot that squirmed under the keeper. There was no power, however with defenders and attackers racing to get there first, it some how trickled past the post. It was now all Shire and even the break aways had dried up from Queen's Park who were getting everyone back to clear their lines. Another goal would kill this. Reynolds hit the bar. Little cleard a Dolman header off the line, Parry saved from Hunter's drive.

10 minutes left and I made the change. Corky had played a blinder and deserved a rest as Jackson came into midfield with Hogg moved out to left wing. I gestured to attack for the final few minutes

Again Parry denied Hunter from wrapping up the tie and we failed to convert the resulting corner. The 4th official indicated 4 minutes of extra time.

Me: Where the fuck has that come from ? There's not been a bad foul in the game ! Who's side are you on pal ? Two offside goals and now you want us to play for half the fucking evening …..

My rant was interupted. Carpenter thew out to Jackson. Sludden picked up his punt and found space to put in a low cross for REYNOLDS ! Hat trick on his debut ! Get in there my son !


23-05-13, 02:54 PM
Great start to life at the Shire! Hopefully a few more results like that will see your attendances pick up as well.

Completely agree with Reynolds celebrating in front of that cunt of a liner :ok:

As for this:

Me: One last signal. If I form an “O” with my thumb and index finger on my right hand then moved my hand up and down from my groin, it indicated that the opposition striker had just scored a hat-trick.

Brilliant :lol:

23-05-13, 03:24 PM
Great result, great write-up! Four minutes added time, looks like you are the new Alex Ferguson...

25-05-13, 03:45 PM
That's not the Munsters, that's the Addams Family

The cup win over Queens Park was encouraging, more than encouraging as The Spiders were one of the sides expected to be in the running for second place. We had deservedly won, however as Aristotle said, “one game does not a season make”. (I think he was some old time Greek manager). Clearly we had a decent 1st XI, but the squad lacked depth, particularly upfront where Sludden (22) and Reynolds (20) couldn't last the whole season. What I needed was an experienced striker so that I could rotate the 2 youngsters. As luck would have it, just such a player turned up the very next day.


Paul “Herman” Munster a 29 year old Ulsterman signed on for a 4 year contract and was keen to get going having watched the Queens Park match. He is a hero at Windsor Park where he scored 35 goals in 112 games. His other clubs include Slavia Prague, Orebro, Hradec Kralove and Anker Wismar. We beat off competition from 6 other clubs to get his signature and I was delighted.

Also signing on was 19 year old midfielder Marc Lamont who joined on youth terms. He'll have to make do with reserve action for now, but injuries or suspensions may well give him a chance before the season is out. Just infront of him in the queue will be former Rangers trainee Gordon Dick, now 20. He doesn't have any first team action, so he will be a backup to Hogg and Howard for central midfield.

Going out the door was Steven Jackson, bizarrely the second Shire player to join NK Varazdin in Croatia. We still had 2 players transfer listed, so I was happy that this squad was certainly taking shape. Sadly the same couldn't be said for the backroom which remained unchanged despite my very best efforts.

The next game was another testing encounter, an away trip to promotion hopefuls Peterhead. A German manager, at Hoffenheim, recently said “there will be no easy games at this level”. I've news for him. There are no easy games at any level. There was just the one change, Herman making his debut for Sludden who dropped to the bench, replacing Herd. (I couldn't drop hat-trick hero Reynolds).

The Blue Toon kicked off and punted the ball down our end. What followed was a bout of head-tennis brought to an end by Herman having the composure to get the ball on the deck. It was there for a fraction of a second before he lashed it into the Peterhead goal. 32 seconds 1-0. Some debut. The home side were rattled and it didn't take long for us to make it 2-0. Hogg's slide-rule pass splitting the defence and leaving Reynolds with a simple finish. 14 minutes played.


That really woke up Peterhead. They responded by creating a bit of pressure of their own. From one attack they pulled a goal back. Bavage had an effort blocked by Carpenter who couldn't hold on and left McAllister with an easy finish. That got the crowd (516) going and Peterhead attacked trying to get on level terms. Carpenter made 2 great saves to maintain our advantage to the interval. It had been a bit backs to the wall and we really needed another goal to feel any safety. We got it with 62 minutes played. Cave-Brown put in a low cross and when Reynolds is given space, he is lethal. That is 5 goals now for the youngster.

I could relax for most of the remaining half hour although it was a bit tense when Winters pulled one back, but Munster responed with his second on his debut to restore the 2 goal cushion.

Clearly the Queens Park game was no fluke. That was 2 of our rivals soundly beaten and a Challenge Cup home tie against Annan made it 3 out of 3. Reynolds again on the score sheet, along with Glasgow and Dolman in a 3-1 win. Our reward was a trip to league 1 Cowdenbeath, although quite how anyone could describe a trip to Central Park a reward for anything is beyond me.

Back to League business and a return by Queen's Park. Paul Munster is becoming a bit of a fans favourite. On his home league debut, he took just 3 minutes to open the scoring. The crowd had more than doubled to 328, and that goal was greeted by

do do do do clap clap do do do do clap clap do do do do …. do do do do …. do do do do clap clap.

I was pissed off. I'm not having it. I turned to the crowd

Me: Fuck off you morons. That's not the Munsters, that's the fucking Addams family. Don't you know your fucking 1960's American sit coms ?

They didn't listen and carried on regardless, as did we. Corky made it 2-0 before they pulled one back and Reynolds wrapped things up with his now obligatory goal.

Midweek saw a return to cup action and the visit from premier League side Ross County. It was the penultimate before our first trip to Ibrox and so I rested 8 of my starters in hope that they would be fit for the more important league game. The cups were not a priority. Any way, we didn't stand a chance against County. No one was therefore surprised when former Celtic youngster Rocco Quinn put them ahead. The only question now being asked was how many and so it was a major shock to everyone when Sludden set up Gordon Dick to score on his debut, just past the half hour mark. Could we survive to the interval ? Despite 3 minutes of injury time added for nothing that I can remember we could and did. Infact in the final seconds of the half Greenhill, McKernon and Dick exchanged passes. A neat 1-2 with Corky gave Dick the chance to chip in for Sludden to head us in front. Not even time to kick off !

Derek Adams must have given his boys the hair drier treatment, soon to become my trademark. They came out a different side and demonstrated their SPL class. Quinn got his second to resume normal service and a third looked almost inevitable. It didn't happen for them and the extra time, that nobody wanted, was almost on us. 2 minutes time was added.


Sludden found some space. Sludden got behind the last man. SLUDDEN SCORED …... 3-2 ! I love extra time, the more the better as far as I'm concerned

The crowd, all 359 of them, went mental ! Played 5, won 5 and next we play top of the table (on goal difference) Rangers who had the same record, but were yet to play at home this season ! This should be a big crowd.

I shook hands with every single player as they left the pitch. They had deserved it and Spencer thanked me. For once he was also right, I too deserved it. We were just heading back down the tunnel when I spotted a small group sitting in the hospitality area and wearing Shire shirts, but they were the most ugly family I had ever seen. Disfigured, unwashed and quite disturbing to look at.

Me: Who the fuck is that ? The Addams Family ?
Spencer: That's not the Addams Family, that's Paul's parents. Don't you know your 1960's American sit coms ?

28-05-13, 01:26 PM
Goals in added time in both halves, you truly are Ferguson!

28-05-13, 01:54 PM
Great start mate, and it looks like you've already got the luck of Fergie on your side!

29-05-13, 12:39 PM
You have to say it was worth it

Fat Sally at Rangers had been almost as busy as me in the transfer market.


Gone were Fran Sandaza, Carlos Bocanegra, Fraser Aird, Dorin Goian and Robbie Crawford. Replacing them were the likes of 37 year old Darren Dods, Athos Chrysostomou an uncapped Cypriot keeper, Ben Symons from Gloucester, Adrian Williams from Weston-super-Mare and Greg Burnett from Linlithgow Rose. Even the most die-hard bluenose was questioning his recruitment policy. He now had the legal limit of 50 players in his squad and he could select from 9 goal keepers, 27 defenders, 18 midfielders and 6 attackers. The squad was as unbalanced as he was.

Despite Fat Sally's best efforts, Rangers still had a squad to die for in this league. Players like Ian Black, Kyle Hutton, Lee McCulloch, David Templeton and Lee Wallace, I could only dream of managing. We may have beaten an SPL side already, but on their own patch, this would be the biggest test so far and in front of the biggest crowd.

My normal first team was restored, all except Corky who had picked up a knee injury in the Ross County game. Ellis Remy replaced him on the left wing. We were not going to do anything different just because of who we were playing. The dreams of a big crowd were dashed as we arrived at Ibrox to find a demonstration by their supporters about the plight they were in. It was to be backed up with a boycott of this game.


Some Rangers supporters are not revolting and so we still managed to walk out in front of over 12,000 for the kick off. Immediately we were on the defensive. Black had an effort that cleared the crossbar and Templeton drove a freekick into the wall. After 7 minutes where we had barely strung 2 passes together, Evans showed some composure and a neat passing move involving 4 players got us into Rangers territory. It was a bit of a loose ball from Howard to Evans and he had to streatch to collect it, which he did, well before Ian Black arrived with a two footed lunge that caught my central defender just below the knee. It was a horrific challenge and one that might have ended young Evans' career had he not been built of steel. A rub down with Iain MacIver's wet sponge had him on his feet within a couple of minutes although he was hobbling. The ref reached for his pocket and decided that a yellow card was in order although I've seen a red given for much less. Incredulously, he showed it to Evans, indicating a dive, despite the evidence of the stud marks all down his leg. The freekick was given to Rangers.

I was speechless. Unable to comprehend the decision I looked to my left hoping for support, but all that I could see was Fat Sally on the edge of his technical area looking straight at me with a cheesy grin.


Nothing much came of the freekick, and nothing much happened until first half injury time. Rangers had won a couple of corners and were generally on top, but there was little goal mouth action. Just as the board displayed that 2 minutes would be added, Hutton search out McCulloch, who held up play before releasing Templeton on the left wing. Black was free in the box and as the cross came over, Glasgow intercepted and headed downfield for Hogg. Hogg turned his man and picked out Munsters run. He was though one-on-one with the keeper, played it round and was flattened by 15 stone of Cypriot blubber. A stone wall penalty. Goal kick said the ref. Un-be-leivable ! Guess who was on my left looking straight at me from the edge of his technical area with a cheesy grin ?


It was the end of the half and time to regroup. We had done well. Very well and if I was offered 0-0 at full time now, I'd take it.

Second half kicked off with Naismith on for McCulloch, but the flow remained the same. Lots of Rangers possession, but no penetration and Carpenter, although busy, was never truly tested. There was just 10 minutes to hold out for a memorable draw. Another Rangers attack broke down. Evans released Shepherd down the left wing. He made it all the way to the bye line and floated in a beautiful cross fro the unmarked Paul Munster to head into the empty net. I jumped with joy and turned to give McCoist a bit of his own medicine, but there he was looking straight at me from the edge of his technical area with a cheesy grin ?

The linesman's flag was up. No way it was offside, Shepherd picked up the ball in his own half and Munster was behind the ball and a defender when the cross came over. Free kick to Rangers the decision. John Barnes had to hold me back from running onto the pitch to confront the ref.

The incident did liven up the last 10 minutes which became end to end punts with anyone in midfield completely out the game. Munster headed wide. Carpenter saved from Naismith. Chrysostmou punched out Ellis' cross. Just 4 minutes left. Evans was judged to have committed some sort of foul although me him and the rest of the side were baffled as to what. Durie blasted the freekick straight into the wall. It fell for Hutton who went for the top corner. Despite being held in Sheils headlock, Carpenter somehow managed to get a hand to keep it out and with Carpenter and Shiels looking more like WWE than SFL3, Black pounced on the loose ball to put Rangers in front


No holding me back this time. I was on the pitch and in the face of Mr Johnstone telling him what I thought of his refereeing. Eventually I was brought under control by 2 beefy stewards who dragged me down the tunnel. Just as I was passing, there was Fat Sally looking straight at me from the edge of his technical area with a cheesy grin ?


It was at that point, I did what anyone would do. Summoning all my might, I released my self from the grip of the stewards and nutted the bastard right on the nose.


We may have lost the match, but you have to say it was worth it.

29-05-13, 12:44 PM
Gutted, but the refs will soon come around to your way of thinking!

Nice work on the head-butt, they call it a Glasgow kiss don't they?

29-05-13, 02:24 PM
Got to love Super Ally's cheeky grin, even if his transfers leave a lot to the imagination!

29-05-13, 02:26 PM
I'd be interested to see the other attendances at Ibrox as well please. I realise that was their first home game, fucking SFL!

29-05-13, 03:51 PM
I'd be interested to see the other attendances at Ibrox as well please. I realise that was their first home game, fucking SFL!

I'll post something up on attendances when I get home. As for Fat Sally, don't worry, The Ginger Nut will also get some sort of treatment should I ever meet his mob.

29-05-13, 09:31 PM
As requested, here are all of the average attendances for the first half of the season. Disappointed to see us bottom.


29-05-13, 09:40 PM
Had you played Rangers at home when you took that pic? That should boost your average if not, only 12k for Rangers though!

29-05-13, 09:43 PM
Rangers home 962.
Biggest attendance at home is 1045 for a League Cup derby with Falkirk.

29-05-13, 11:30 PM
Just caught up with the last 2 updates.

Munster looks like a great signing and Reynolds is on fire. Great start to the season and you were clearly robbed at Ibrox. Two potential red cards for them, a penalty and a goal disallowed. Astonishing! Completely agree with nutting him after that!

PS, there's no easy games at this level - Who on Earth comes out with such cliches?!

31-05-13, 09:55 AM
Enjoying the view

I was banged to rights, so I didn't even contest the charges that the SFA brought against me. The punishment administered was a hefty fine, a session of anger management and an 8 game touchline ban. It might have been worse and I certainly enjoyed the view when I attended anger management although I don't think it is proper etiquette to try to pull your counsellor. She could possibly use some treatment of her own.


The fine was a problem, however I managed a smile when the note that accompanied the news said “It is a disappointment that you chose to plead guilty. Fat Sally is an odious little prick who has been asking for that for years. Had you contested the decision it is highly likely that you would have been cleared of all charges. Love The SFA.” A few days later, a brown envelope with a Republic of Ireland postmark came through the letterbox. It contained enough used banknotes to pay the fine and had a note attached “Gidonya sham”.

Besides, I got the opportunity for revenge much sooner than I had expected. My first game watching from the stands was the Challenge Cup second round tie away at Cowdenbeath. Reynolds put us 2 up before Cowdenbeath pulled one back. All of the goals were in the first 22 minutes. We already knew the draw and I was excited about visiting either club. We were away to the winners of Rangers v Partick Thistle. That finished 4-0 and so we would be back at Ibrox just 10 days after that travisty of a match.

Before then, Berwick came to Ochilview and were sent home 2-0 losers. Howard in the first half and Remy in the second did the damage. Ellis Remy is becoming a bit of a cult hero. There's not many Montserratians playing in Scottish Football. Reluctantly, Succulent Lamb was given access for an interview.

SL: Remy. You appear to have taken to Scottish Football like a duck to water, but how have you settled in Falkirk ?
ER: Man dem beef in dis hood need some rays man and yas herb renk
SL: You arrived here with virtually no experience except for 1 international cap. How did that come about ?
ER: So I-man sittin' on de beech, mindin' me own, puffin on me weed. I-man enjoying de veiw, but ain't no biscuit passin', so i-man ready di bunks mi res when dis hitty-titty sees mi. Him sez “you doin' anyhing a three ?” An I-man looks mi ganja. “Tree tirty braa”. An him tell i-man be at da stadium. I-man in da team yah nuh see.
SL: Would you like to play for Rangers if you keep up this form ?
ER: Cha ! Dem butoos. Dat slaba slaba notch.
SL: Thanks, I think, Remy
ER: Feel no way.

The interview was never published.


The Berwick result left us 3rd, still 3 points behind both Rangers and Clyde who had yet to drop a point. Next up was that return to Ibrox. The ground was packed with over 43,000 for a Challenge Cup game. Maybe the fall out from the previous encounter had attracted some expecting round 2 with no Queensbury rules in sight , however this time I was sat in the stand along with Spencer and Jools.

Me: Bet you can't name the crowd this time !
Spencer: Lets see. That's Bobby Johnson, Stuart Urquhart, Alastair McPhail, SwanLake, …..
Jools: Did you say SwanLake ! Quick …. put these in

She passed round some earplugs (as you would have in your pocket going to a football match) and set off down the 3 rows to where Alastair and SwanLake were sat. Fortunately the ear plugs prevented us from hearing SwanLake say

….During the twenty years between the Corn Laws and the Second Reform Bill Disraeli hoped to forge a Tory-Radical alliance, to little avail. Prior to the 1867 Reform Bill the working class …..

Spencer pulled some gaffer tape from his pocket (as you would have in your pocket as a visiting football club chairman) and taped SwanLake's mouth to prevent any further boring drivel. The ear pugs could be removed. Alastair McPhail's eyes were glazed over and he sat slumped in his seat. I checked the pulse. It was very weak. The Physio Iain MacIver was just down on the pitch. I beckoned for him to come up. MacIver arrived with his magic sponge and tried to rub his face. The pulse got weaker. He rubbed some more. The pulse vanished.


In so many ways, the game was a repeat of the match 10 days earlier. There was very little goal mouth action of note and very few decisions for Mr Robertson to get wrong. In the first game, the only goal came in the 86th minute, this time it was the 87th. Shepherd headed a clearance to Hogg. Hogg fed Remy on the left and continued his run to pick up the return pass. It arrived and was quickly dispatched towards Reynolds in the area who turned his marker and found the corner of the net.


From up in the stands, celebrating with the Shire fans, it was a view to enjoy.

31-05-13, 10:06 AM
Great result!

And all the more important at the moment.
Great attendance! That is going to boost the coffers no end!

Fergie Mark II's magic is already shining through!

Baron Zbimg
31-05-13, 10:15 AM
Reynolds is on Fire!!

31-05-13, 10:32 AM
That's one death I wouldn't mind, losing at home to East Stirling! I didn't mind Annan and Montrose IRL but never East Stirling!

03-06-13, 10:28 AM
A clean break

That game might be seen as a turning point for both sides. Rangers confidence had been blown and ours was sky high. 2nd place in the league was restored when we went to Clyde and beat them 6-2 with Sludden scoring 5. Munster may still be my first choice striker, but now I had the nicest of headaches deciding on who to partner him.

I also had a transfer budget. We made nearly 100k from that game at Ibrox, from gate receipts and prize money. The club was already running a small profit from the player sales, so when the money from Rangers finally arrived, I had £50k available to spend. I didn't want to waste it, so the first new arrival was another free signing.

Congolese defender Patrick Kanyuka was returning to the game after taking 2 years out. Previously he had been with Orient, QPR, Northampton and Lincoln, all playing at a much higher level, so I was sure he could do a job for us. Despite the good start, there had only been 2 clean sheets and there would be times when weed need to grind out a result rather than letting Reynolds, Herman and Sludden outscore our opponents


Jools had also been busy and had arranged a deal with a local health clinic to provide medical support in exchange for some free match tickets and some free advertising in the program and around the ground. It felt good being able to list Allen Quinn, John Roberts and Dave Hancock on the medical staff and even better to say good-bye to Iain MacIver and his magic sponge. He needed a clean break to retrain in some modern therapies.

The clinic also provided as with a dietitian to help weed the players off junk food. They appeared to be paying close attention, but I'm not convinced that they were taking in everything that she was saying.


Rangers held top spot with an unconvincing win at Annan, but followed that up drawing at home to Berwick and then loosing 3-1 at Peterhead. We were now just a point behind with a game in hand having beaten Montrose 3-1 (Sludden 2, Dolman) and had the chance to go top if we could beat Annan at their Galabank ground.


500 of the most faithful football fans in the world watched in awe as Hogg, Herman, Cave-Brown, Corky and Sludden destroyed the home side. We went home from Annan 2 points clear at the top of the league.


There was a snooker club near my flat and I had taken to relaxing there after a match. As soon as we were back in town, I was down the club for a few frames. Sadly the evening was to end with an Accident Most Cruel. My partner was at the bottom of the table watching me break. I wasn't in the mood for a namby pamby tactical game, so I gave it some welly, looking to split the pack and spread the reds around the table. Was it the adrenalin still pumping through me from the match earlier ? Was it a kick caused by chalk dust or static on the table ? Who knows, but as the white ball hit the pack, it jumped of the table straight towards my partner. He gazed open mouthed in astonishment as the round white missile hit him smack on the teeth. I had been looking for a clean break on the table, but what he got was a clean break for the dentist. He never got to the dentist. The white ball lodged it's self in the back of his throat, and if you have ever tried breathing with a snooker ball at the back of your throat you will either know it is not easy, or be dead. I needed him to cough it up, so I punched him 3 times in the chest. That succeeded in a clean break of 3 ribs, but no white ball. He turned first pink, then red, then blue, then ghostly white. (It only needed yellow, green, brown and black to make the set). Nothing we could do. Bastard. I shoved him under the table and found a new partner to finish the frame.

For the final 2 games of my ban, I witnessed two derby matches. firstly, a crazy League Cup tie at home to Falkirk, in front of our biggest crowd of the season … 1045. We slaughtered them by every statistic except the one that matters. From their 2 shots on goal, they scored twice. We had 19 shots and scored once. However I'm not going to complain so long as we keep performances like that for the cups.

It was back to league business and the first derby visit of the season from Stirling Albion. Sludden opened the scoring only for The Bino's to hit back through Phillip Johnstone. With the score tied at 1-1 news broke that Rangers had given up a lead to be behind at home to Montrose. If we could get another goal, we could go 5 points clear ! Reynolds replaced a tired Herman, and Ellis Remy provided fresh legs on the left wing. Howard was asked to push up from midfield in search of a winner at we went all out attack. The 4th official was preparing his added time and I managed to catch his eye


5 minutes. Keep pushing. 4 minutes. 3 minutes. 2 minutes. 1 minute. Sludden tracking back made an important tackle in midfield. He found Hogg. Remy was available on the left wing and Hogg completed the pass. Remy had space. Remy put in a low cross. Reynolds was on the end ….. REYNOLDS !!!!!!!!!!!

That was the clean break from the pack. We were 4 points clear of Clyde who found a late winner in their game and 5 clear of 3rd placed Rangers !

03-06-13, 10:44 AM
Crikey, things are going incredibly well!

Has Kanyuka played for you yet? He looks to be a great signing :ok:

03-06-13, 11:16 AM
Kanyuka has played 5 games at an average of 7.0. Pretty good for a team that is on a winning run and defenders tend to get low ratings.

No question that he is a big step up in class from any of the other central defenders that I currently have. I'd love it if DR Congo selected him (or Remy for Montserrat) so that we can have our first internationalist for over 100 years ! He is far from my best player, but Ellis Remy is definitely my fave in the current squad.

03-06-13, 12:55 PM
Great work. Inspired by this story (and as a play-test for a story I'm cooking up myself) I've been playing in this league at Queen's Park.

By the way, never play as Queen's Park. They have about £100k a month ground maintenance and constantly move from -£100k to -£500k before getting a bail out and starting the whole cycle all over again! I may have to try and pick up some of the free transfers which you managed :)

Keep giving me ideas!

03-06-13, 01:40 PM
Queen's Park must be the hardest club to manage because of the finacial restraints of running Hampden without the International and Cup Final revenues that the real club gets. Also, try running it as the real club do where their amateur status forbids them from accepting (or offering) any transfer fees and they will never block the transfer for a player that wants to leave.

05-06-13, 09:49 AM
Dull and boring

As far as the league campaign was concerned, that was that. The 5 point lead soon grew. By New Year we were 14 points clear of Rangers who were ahead of Clyde on goal difference. Promotion was confirmed on the 26th of February (my real life birthday !) with a 1-0 home win over Rangers. It was a second half wonder goal from Gordon Dick that sealed it. He rampaged trough the heart of the midfield, played a one-two with Munster and volleyed the return in off the post.


One week later and a very disappointing crowd of 655 watched as we clinched the title by beating Elgin City 5-2. It was time for a celebration.


As for the team that was supposed to have won the title so easily, they never quite managed to break away and while they held onto 2nd place for a while, they were never safe from the challenge of Clyde and Peterhead. They did take a couple of points lead into the run-in and if they had managed to find any sort of form in the final quarter of the season then they would have easily earned the promotion with us. Sadly (he says trying not to laugh) 7 blanks in the last 12 games (5 wins, 3 draws and 4 defeats) was not the form they needed. One of the defeats allowed Peterhead to leap frog them and it was The Blue Toon, rather than The Blue Arsecheek who will contest the Second Division with us next season.


Amazingly Fat Sally's job is not at any risk at the moment.


If the league didn't have the excitement that I had expected, it did give me time to dabble in the transfer market. My £20k budget was blown on signing a decent keeper. Phil Carpenter had done OK, but didn't give me any confidence, so when he became available, I splashed my entire budget on Dundee's 22 year old keeper Ross Grant. He had only played reserve football, but you could tell he was going places and proved to be well worth the deal. He became 1st choice on signing

The kitty was restored with 4 departures – Ricky Miller to Elgin for £20k, Craig Donaldson to Dumbarton for £30k, Rhys Devlin to Raith for £40k and Jamie Benton to Montrose for £5k

I wasn't expecting to do any further business, however our form was starting to attract some interest from SPL sides. Some I was absolutely not interested in loosing and the players were happy, however left back Nathan Shepherd and Winger David Greenhill were replacable and thought they could play for a bigger club, so I decided to see how far I could push the buyers. Hearts eventually did a deal for Shepherd which brought 25 year old central defender John Armstrong to us in a straight swap. Think I got the better deal there !


It left a hole to fill at left back, and that was sorted with a £20k cheque that Spencer gave to Hibs for Callum Booth. He is a 21 year old with 17 games of SPL experience behind him and can also play as a left winger. An absolute steal !

The offers for Greenhill went mental. I finally agreed a deal with St. Mirren for £45K + defender David Barron. Barron is 25, can play anywhere across the back line and will be my regular right back, allowing Cave-Brown to step forward for the wing role vacated by Greenhill. Barron has played over 90 times for The Buddies.


With only one scout available, it made the annual Bosman negotiations a little more difficult. I decided on a new tack and would offer deals to anyone who was interested. I'd then get them scouted if they accepted and cancel the deals that I wasn't interested in. About 200 contract offers were sent out. Around 20 accepted and after scouting, 8 were cancelled as being no better than I had. That left 12 deals to review in the close season, one of those names belongs to a striker with over 50 caps for England !!!


Back to playing, and if the league was tied up, we still had the cups to sort out, with Falkirk having already put us out of the League Cup. Our win at Ibrox ,which turned round the fortunes back in September, earned an intriguing Challenge cup semi final derby with Stenhousemuir, the owners of Ochill Park. It was a close game, Scott opened the scoring for Stenny after just 42 seconds, but Herman levelled just 5 minutes later. After that it was very even, both teams had chances, but perhaps we had just the better of play. The decider arrived with 10 minutes left. Cave-Brown crossed for Sludden to volley home and we had made the clubs first ever final.

The final was played at East End Park, Dunfermline and First Division Livingston were odds on favourites. In honesty, it was a disappointing game. Munster and 2 from Sludden in the first 12 minutes ended the game as a contest. The final score was 4-1 with Sludden getting his hat-trick and East Stirlingshire lifted the cup

(I'd love to put a picture here of East Stirlingshire lifting a cup, but it has never ever happened !).


That left the Scottish cup campaign. Montrose 3-1 and Cowdenbeath 2-0 were routine wins. Next up was Premier League Ross County, at home, with the visitors looking to avenge that League Cup defeat we handed out. It was much the same as before. They dominated and took the lead. Against the run of play, Munster and Sludden scored to give us a half time lead. Ross fought back and drew level with 5 minutes left, only for Sludden to pounce on a goalkeeping error and strike seconds before the final whistle.

Quarter final and we get a fellow Third Division side ….. Rangers ….. at Ibrox. The decisive incident came early. The Cypriot keeper pulled down Herman as he was clean through. Red Card. Penalty. Sludden. 1-0. Rangers had nothing to offer but aggression. 1 shot on goal all match, and that missed the target. Sadly Herman reacted to an overly robust challenge and also received a red card for his shove on Rory McArdel (a 45k signing from Bradford), but even 10v10 saw little to worry me. We had a semi final. We also had a played 6, won 4, drawn 1 and lost 1 record against Rangers for the season. Far better than I could ever have imagined.

The semi final was played at New Broomfield, Airdrie, and Premier League St. Johnstone arrived as favourites. This was a very good game and to every ones surprise, we took the game to Saints. It was the Premier League side who scored against the run of play to take a first half lead. We fought back and Sludden won and scored a penalty. That became a half time lead with a powerful run from out of defence by Johnny Lindsay ended with the substitute left back cracking a shot from the edge of the box. We were hardly into the second half when Paul Barron picked up a poor clearance to make it 3-1 with another thunderbolt strike from outside the box. European Football in my first season ? ….. Close, but no cigar. Saints regrouped and went on all out attack. 3 second half goals were enough to see them in the final and our campaign ended just short.


Hardly a dull and boring season though !

05-06-13, 10:21 AM
That left 12 deals to review in the close season, one of those names belongs to a striker with over 50 caps for England !!!

Could it be the legend that is Emile Ivanhoe Heskey is coming to Falkirk?!?!

05-06-13, 10:30 AM
Could it be the legend that is Emile Ivanhoe Heskey is coming to Falkirk?!?!

**** OFF

05-06-13, 10:57 AM
Sorting the wheat from the chaff

Once the dust had settled, I sat down with Barnsey to review the squad.

************************************************** **********************************************
East Stirlingshire - Sunday 19th June 2011
************************************************** **********************************************

================================================== ==============================================
2010/1 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Armstrong, John 20 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 6.80
- Barron, David 15 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 7.00
- Booth, Callum 18 (1) 3 0 0 1 1 0 0 7.00
- Carpenter, Phil 15 0 16 0 0 0 0 1 7.33
- Cave-Brown, Andrew 39 (1) 2 0 0 15 1 0 2 7.25
- Corcoran, Mark 34 4 0 0 11 2 0 1 7.29
- Dick, Gordon 24 (5) 5 0 0 4 2 0 3 7.34
- Dolman, Liam 22 (4) 3 0 0 9 1 0 0 7.12
- Evans, Raphale 31 (5) 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 6.83
- Gillespie, Kyle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Glasgow, Jamie 21 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 6.76
- Grant, Ross 34 0 30 0 0 0 0 1 7.15
- Herd, Mickey 2 (3) 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.40
- Hogg, Steven 40 (1) 9 0 0 11 4 0 3 7.34
- Howard, Charlie 30 (1) 4 0 0 5 2 0 0 7.16
- Hunter, Michael 7 (22) 1 0 0 4 2 0 2 6.66
- Kanyuka, Patrick 26 2 0 0 1 4 0 0 6.92
- Lamont, Mark 2 (3) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.60
- Lindsay, Johnny 7 (22) 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 6.79
- Munster, Paul 41 22 0 0 9 1 1 8 7.68
- Pritchard, Josh 1 (7) 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 6.75
- Remy, Ellis 13 (24) 2 0 0 6 0 0 3 7.19
- Reynolds, Stephen 21 (8) 25 0 1 (1) 1 0 0 5 7.72
- Sludden, Paul 32 (4) 41 0 3 (3) 8 0 0 12 8.17
- Taylor, Martin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----

No question we were good going forward. Munster, Reynolds and Sludden had been an awesome strike force and the support from Cave-Brown and Corky on the wings and Dick, Hogg and Howard from central midfield had been the key. There were question marks over some of the defenders.

Barnsey had thought that Ellis Remy hadn't quite performed, however I was more than happy. He was the best hope of getting an International cap and besides, Corky was now 32 and his contract would expire at the end of next season. I won the argument and we agreed to keep Ellis while listening to offers for Corky, although he wouldn't be formally listed.

Kyle Gillespie, Mickey Herd, Josh Pritchard and Martin Taylor were all deemed surplus to requirements and were listed. All attracted immediate interest.

Jamie Glasgow, Mark Lamont, Michael Hunter and Johnny Lindsay would be available if an offer came in, but they were all young enough to warrant a second chance.

As for the signings, I wanted a keeper to challenge Grant for the gloves. Idealy 2 and then Carpenter would be transfer listed. His stats looked OK, but he failed to inspire any confidence.

The defense needed a bit of work, especially a big strong central defender to challenge Kanyuka and Armstrong who were the first names on the sheet. I would like 2 wingers, one for each flank and a 4th striker.

Most of that would be sorted by the Bosman signings, however there was half a million for me to spend if I wanted it.

05-06-13, 11:38 AM
:lol: @ ebfatz/Eejit's reply! A 50 capped England striker though? I'm guessing it must be one who has played at C level or something ;)

Congrats on running away with the league, cracking stuff. Managing the double as well with the Challenge Cup :ok: Shame about the Scottish itself but still a season to be proud of.

Looks like Hogg did well as predicted :) Great form by Reynolds and Munster and I'm surprised Remy didn't play as much (or well, in starts anyway).

05-06-13, 11:48 AM
Over 50 full caps. Double figures in goals (if I told you the exact numbers it would give it away, but double figures proves it isn't Heskey the donkey.
Also played at 2 world cup finals :dance:

05-06-13, 12:11 PM
Owen on a player/coach deal? Awesome.

05-06-13, 02:38 PM
Just to wrap the season up ....

St. Mirren ended up 10th in the SPL. They were never in danger and ended up 13 points clear of relegation. Danny Lennon is not at risk.
Aberdeen were 1 place bellow them. They were bottom for most of the season but climbed above Dundee with 4 games left. It went to the wire and they survived on goal difference thanks to a St. Mirren equaliser at Dundee on the final day. 72 year old Craig Brown is likely to retire.
Scotland have been woeful. Euro qualifying is gone with them 3rd, 5 points behind Turkey and Russia in a group that contains Bulgaria and Albania
Man Utd Won the Premier League on goal difference from City !

Other Winners

SPL Celtic
Scottish Cup Celtic (beat St. Johnstone)
Scottish League Cup Motherwell (beat Inverness)

FA Cup Arsenal (beat Chelsea)
League Cup Man City (beat Spurs)

Champions League PSG (beat Barcelona)
UEFA Cup Spurs (beat Athletico Madrid)

Biggest Transfers
Dani Alves Barcelona to Man City £26m
Vincent Kompany Man City to Barcelona £25m
Yaya Toure Man City to Barcelona £23m
Michael Essien Chelsea to Real Madrid £18.5m
David Villa Barcelona to PSG £18m
Nuri Sahin Real Madrid to Chelsea £16.25m
Daniele De Rossi Roma to Dortmund £15m
Marek Hamsik Napoli to Valencia £14.25m
Klass-Jan Huntelaar Schalke to Milan £14m
Stijn Schaars Sporting to Anzhi £13.75m
Fernando Torres Chelsea to Valencia £13.5m
Nemanja Vidic Man Utd to Real Madrid £11.25m
Jonas Gutierrez Newcastle to Valencia £10.75m

05-06-13, 03:06 PM
:lol: @ ebfatz/Eejit's reply! A 50 capped England striker though? I'm guessing it must be one who has played at C level or something ;)

Congrats on running away with the league, cracking stuff. Managing the double as well with the Challenge Cup :ok: Shame about the Scottish itself but still a season to be proud of.

Looks like Hogg did well as predicted :) Great form by Reynolds and Munster and I'm surprised Remy didn't play as much (or well, in starts anyway).

I was surprised that Remy hadn't played more. The problem for him was that Corcoran had tied down the left wing and I was playing more defense minded players in central midfield.He is a great player to have in the squad though.

05-06-13, 04:08 PM
What in the blue blazes is Jonas doing on that top transfers list!

Valencia obviously don't like crosses into the box!

05-06-13, 09:32 PM
Hmm, Robbie Fowler's still going somewhere - how many times did he play for England?

05-06-13, 10:10 PM
UEFA Cup Spurs (beat Athletico Madrid) Spurs wished!

Biggest Transfers
Dani Alves Barcelona to Man City £26m
Vincent Kompany Man City to Barcelona £25m
Yaya Toure Man City to Barcelona £23m
Michael Essien Chelsea to Real Madrid £18.5m I wished!
David Villa Barcelona to PSG £18m
Nuri Sahin Real Madrid to Chelsea £16.25m Straight swap with Chelsea earning 2 million then :lol:
Daniele De Rossi Roma to Dortmund £15m
Marek Hamsik Napoli to Valencia £14.25m
Klass-Jan Huntelaar Schalke to Milan £14m
Stijn Schaars Sporting to Anzhi £13.75m
Fernando Torres Chelsea to Valencia £13.5m I wished!
Nemanja Vidic Man Utd to Real Madrid £11.25m
Jonas Gutierrez Newcastle to Valencia £10.75m

How did Bradford do??

05-06-13, 10:15 PM
Owen on a player/coach deal? Awesome.

Only one that comes to my mind!

06-06-13, 07:31 AM
How did Bradford do??

You don't want to know.

16th in League Two
1st round League Cup
1st round FA Cup
1st round Van's Trophy

Nahki Wells was sold to Blackpool for £725k. Gary Jones top scorer with 13.

06-06-13, 09:04 AM
Hmm, Robbie Fowler's still going somewhere - how many times did he play for England?

Can't be him, he never played enough for England.

06-06-13, 01:21 PM

Falkirk was buzzing with a rumour that an England International might be joining for the SFL2 campaign. Players like Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Emile (I'm a donkey with dubious parentage) Heskey had been mentioned. All were far from the truth and only Jools, Spencer and myself knew the details of the players who had agreed contracts. My lips were sealed. I didn't want anything to scupper the deals I wanted to go through. Out of the 12 Bosman's that I had lined up, I decided to cancel 5 who were not going to add anything that I didn't already have. That left 7 to fit in for the new season. I left Jools with instructions on which players I wanted to sell and with that, I put on my jacket, picked up my bags and headed for a waiting taxi. In the back seat was Ellis Remy as he had invited me to stay in Montserrat for a few weeks as a thanks for giving him a chance as a footballer.


I returned high as a kite, partly as a result of the massive spliffs that Ellis was able to acquire and partly as a result of anticipation for the new season. Reporting to the office, I was pleased to hear that 3 players had already gone, Martin Taylor and Mickey Herd to Forfar and Kyle Gillespie to Leighton bringing in a total of £36k. There was also a bid on the table from St. Mirren for Corky. It was acceptable, but I decided to push it and suggested a player exchange as part of the deal. That resulted in 24 year old defender Mark McAusland arriving. He is a central defender that can play right back and has over 70 SPL games under his belt.


A few days later and a bid came in for Liam Dolman. He had been in my original plans, but McAusland's arrival had dropped him down the pecking order. I accepted Oxford's £30k bid and he was gone. The final departure over the summer was that of Josh Pritchard who had started just once last season. He became the 3rd player to head for Forfar in a £10k deal.

So, 6 players gone who would replace them ?

Firstly, a keeper and this time one from Forfar. Ewan McLean arrived on a Bosman having played just 3 times last season after spells at St. Johnstone and Dundee Utd. The 27 year old will certainly challenge Grant for the gloves this season.

http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009__034__players__Euan_McLean__1299579327_standar d.jpg

Hemel Hempstead's Jordan Parkes completed a £5k move that took the 24 year old full back to East Stirlingshire. He can play either flank and that versatility will be vital in a small squad. There was a deal lined up for a central defender, but that collapsed when he failed a medical. I'll try to revive that latter.


Midfield was strengthened with 2 wingers and a central midfielder. Ryan Conroy from Dundee is a direct replacement for Corcoran on the left. At 26 he has pleanty of years in him and he can also cover at left back if needed. Also from Dundee came Mark Stewart another former Jag (and Bradford player). Although brought in for the right wing, he can provide another body up front if needed. Again, looking at versatility. The central man was Darren Murphy, an Irish lad who had played for Macclesfield and Stevenage. He is industrious rather than a flair player, but can still knock in the odd goal when he gets a chance.

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Sport/Pix/pictures/2013/4/27/1367085962185/Ryan-Conroy-006.jpg http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01645/mark_1645942a.jpg http://www.cheshire-today.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/files/styles/large/public/Darren%20Murphy_1.jpeg

All 5 would be in the squad for the Stiringshire Cup semi final against Alloa. They would be joined by the mystery striker that everyone had been talking about. It wasn't Michael Owen. It wasn't Robbie Fowler. It wasn't Emile Heskey.

It was a name synonymous with a deadly England duo. It was a name that would go down in Man Utd history for scoring a Champions League final winner. If my man is half as good as his dad, I will be delighted !

http://img845.imageshack.us/img845/7735/sheringham.png http://www.afcb.co.uk/cms_images/002-charlie-sheringham34-216455_478x359.jpg

06-06-13, 01:33 PM
Cheat!!! :lol:

Some decent signings there though mate and definitely have improved on the squad overall. Mark Stewart the one who started at Man Utd? Darren Murphy is definitely going to be good for you, he's one of those defensive midfielders that I love to have who dos the dirty work that nobody notices. I had him at Alfreton and he did well :ok:

06-06-13, 01:48 PM
Cheat!!! :lol:

Some decent signings there though mate and definitely have improved on the squad overall. Mark Stewart the one who started at Man Utd? Darren Murphy is definitely going to be good for you, he's one of those defensive midfielders that I love to have who dos the dirty work that nobody notices. I had him at Alfreton and he did well :ok:

How am I a cheat ? :angel: All I said was

one of those names belongs to a striker with over 50 caps for England !!!
which is absolutely true. If you want to jump to conclusions .......

I'm not sure this is the Mark Stewart who was at United. I'm pretty sure that he came through the ranks at Thistle before moving to Falkirk, Bradford and Dundee. I hope Sheringham does well, but I suspect that Conroy might be the best of the new boys. Still a few places up for grabs in the squad, but other than the central defender, I'll see how this lot settle in before spending any cash.

06-06-13, 02:29 PM
:lol: True, I knew it'd be misleading it some way or another ;)

06-06-13, 09:11 PM
Haha, nice one :lol: My next guess was that it'd be a player who shared a name with someone who had over 50 caps for the England rugby/cricket team - you'd found a Martin Johnson or Alec Stewart, or similar

07-06-13, 07:19 PM
Haha, Charlie Sherringham!

You've just reminded me of my game where I had Owen Ronald up front, couldn't help but call him RonaldO :)


11-06-13, 01:03 PM
Champions of the whole of Stirlingshire

SAS had been a devasting partnership for England and my plan was to pair Munster and Sheringham to be East Stirlingshire's http://a0.twimg.com/profile_images/3658317668/c5374747fd0bcce7e744c49a40324efc_normal.jpeg with the same result. This was the pair that would start the Stirlingshire Cup semi final against Alloa. Ewan McLean, Ryan Conroy and Mark Stewart also started while Parkes, Murphy and McAusland had to be content with places on the bench.

Alloa had picked 41 year old Mike Pollit in goal and I was disappointed to see that Ryan Harding was on their bench, despite failing a fitness test with us a day earlier.

With home advantage we set off at a pace, but that dropped after just 5 minutes when Alloa midfielder Paddy Scullion had to be stretchered off. I didn't see what happened and none of my players were close to the incident. I reminded my boys that it was a long season and this was a friendly, so nothing rash. As a result, the first half was a non event. In the second half, Alloa also lost Rutkeiwicz and Milne to injury in the first 1 minutes, before the scoring started. McAusland, Hunter and Murphy had just been brought on. Remy made room for a cross, found Sheringham 1-0. Munster made it 2 from another Remy cross, Sludden came off the bench to make it 3-0 and Michael Hunter made it 4 in stoppage time. Bring on Falkirk for the final

1,225 in the crowd for a friendly can't be sniffed at although most would go away disappointed. Most were Falkirk fans. We annihilated them from start to finish. They failed to hit the target once and we had 16 efforts, 11 that needed the keeper to save. For all that, the only goal of the first half came from a Steven Black own goal, although I think that Conroy's effort might have gone in anyway. Sheringham and McAusland scored in the second half and we were champions of Stirlingshire. That is all of Stirlingshire, not just the East !

I was still in the market for a central defender and despite several players declaring an interest, their agents had very strange ideas about what sort of wages we could offer. One young italian lad had come for a trial and looked like an excellent prospect. I wanted to sign him and all looked good until the agent asked for £3,400 per week in basic wages, with bonuses on top. £350 was my top and I wasn't going to give that to some spotty kid that had never played a professional game. No point in even negotiating, so I cancelled the deal and sent him back to Sicily.

Next thing I got was a phone call from his dad.

Him: Hey. Senior Ferguson.
Me: Yes
Him: Buongiorno. Questo e Don Valente. Davide's father.
Me: Ah. I sent him home yesterday. Has he not arrived ?
Him: Si Si Si Si. Davide is here but he really wants to play for Oriente Stirlingshire. Capite ? Now, you had better sign him, or else.
Me: My hands are tied. You had better reduce the wage demands quite a lot or there is nothing I can do. Believe me, I would love to sign Davide.
Him: You paya di price or …. you paya di price. Capite ?

With that, he hung up the phone and I did nothing. There was nothing I could do.

Next morning, I got up and showered. Having put on my training kit I set off for work. As the door to my flats opened, a black Alfa Romeo pulled up. 3 guys, dressed in black jumped out and opened fire from their semi automatic machine guns. All that was left was a body that resembled a mangled colander.

Fortunately I had pulled the night before and had spent the night at her place.


Fuck knows who the poor bastard was, probably some neighbour I had never met, but the body had been thrown into a skip before I got back and so this was not my problem.

11-06-13, 01:44 PM
Just caught up!

Sheringham! Didn't even think of him to be fair.

Good start to the season. Is it going to be a cake walk the whole way to promotion?

11-06-13, 02:20 PM
Shame about that Italian kid, no doubt he would be one for the future if he's asking for so much money.

Good preparation for the new season with the wins against Alloa and Falkirk. I think you will challenge for promotion despite just coming into the league :ok:

11-06-13, 02:35 PM
Shame about that Italian kid, no doubt he would be one for the future if he's asking for so much money.

Good preparation for the new season with the wins against Alloa and Falkirk. I think you will challenge for promotion despite just coming into the league :ok:

To be honest, I'm not fussed about the Italian. He might have come good, but he would have only been a reserve at best.
I know a lot about what happens next already, but at this stage, the convincing win over Falkirk had me thinking I'd be challenging for a top 2 finish.

11-06-13, 04:10 PM
Uh oh, not liking the sound of that - "had" you thinking...

12-06-13, 07:08 PM
Congrats on the league win mate, don't know what Ally was doing!

Anything but the league and I'll be disappointed.

13-06-13, 02:34 PM
Silly Season

It was one of those seasons. All I need to do is post up the final table to tell you all you need to know.


We could do no wrong. The 2 blots were both against Stranraer, a 0-0 draw when we played for over an hour with 10 men and a 1-1 draw when we played against 10 men for the last 20 mins. Both games we probably should have won. Strangely only 3 East Stirling players made the team of the year, while 5 from Ayr were selected. Also interesting that Peterhead join us for a second promotion in a row.

If the season lacked excitement after the initial games, the fans had plenty of transfers to keep them entertained. Firstly Ryan Harding completed his move from Alloa that had been cancelled following his medical. He is a 30 year old central defender, a bit of a journeyman, but solid and experienced. A key addition to a small squad.

The next was one that I hadn't planned. Coach Dennis Roffe decided to accept an offer from Kilmarnock and so I approached veteran Scottish International Colin Cameron on a player/coach role. At 40 years of age, he isn't going to get much game time, but he looks a good coach.

Then I got my young keeper. John Vaughan is just 16 and Welsh. He already looks close to challenging Grant and McEwan, so we will see how he develops. It allowed me to transfer list Phil Carpenter who headed for Stranraer and then prevented me from recording a perfect season.

That was it until November when I was forced into action again. Aberdeen met the £250k minimum fee clause in David Barron's contract and so he headed North. I had seen it coming and already had Brian Easton lined up as a replacement. Like Barron, the Dundee defender can play anywhere across the defence and cost me just £26k. Around the same time, a midfield injury crisis forced me into buying Ryan McCord for a club record £40k. St.Mirren had paid £90 just a year earlier and the 25 year old would step straight into challenging for one of the 2 places available. His arrival allowed me, once the injuries were over, to list Mark Lamont who had rarely played . It didn't stop St. Mirren offering £28k for the 21 year old.

The final transfer listed player, Michael Hunter, finally found a new club. Nybergsund Il-Trysil gave me £35k, which was enough, despite it leaving me light on numbers for the right wing. I also accepted a £100k bid from Hibs for Rafale Evans and £6k for Jamie Glasgow which allowed him to head for Armenian side Gandzasar.

That just left the right wing to shore up. Aberdeen's Peter Pawlett initially came on loan, but the 22 year old started to attract attenion and so £20k made that move permanent. Cowdenbeith's Liam Cussak took a similar route. First coming on loan and then making it permanent for £14k. He can play either wing, or up front.

That left me with a 26 man squad (+Colin Cameron) which looks about right and the versatility means I have atleast 3 players to cover every position. I do have 14 Bosman's lined up for review in the summer, but I certainly won't be taking them all.

So, SFL2 Champions and Transfer activity. If that wasn't enough, then there was this …...


Yes, Ellis Remy became the first East Stirlingshire player to have been capped for over 100 years. He played the full 90 minutes in both games, setting up the equaliser in the first game with an inswinging corner. He was less effective in the second, although he did take and score Montserrat's first penalty. Sadly 2 of his team mates failed and it was the Cayman Islanders who progressed. Better luck in 4 years time.


So, SFL2 Champions, Transfer activity and an International. If that wasn't enough, then there was this …...

We had a Challenge Cup to defend.

Queen of the South gave us a fright in the first round. We went a goal behind at Palmerston, and were in trouble until Hogg levelled in first half injury time. Sheringham and Howard made it safe in the second half. Away again at Raith where we dominated. Munster scored first although the home side levelled seconds later. We had to wait until late on for Conroy to give us the win we deserved.

The draw gods were not on our side. A third away game took us to Morton. It was one of our worst performances. For about an hour we were second best to everything. 2-0 down and it could have been worse. All or nothing, I threw on Sludden and Stewart to go 4-3-3. Just 10 minutes remained when Morton hit the bar. Armstong cleared and we broke quickly. Reynolds teed up Sheringham, we had one back. Morton were playing for time and we were all over them. Deep into injury time, Remy picked up a loose ball, spotted Stewart's run …. 2-2 ! No more goals in extra time so penalties. We scored all of our 5. McLean saved one. We were through !

Semi final was a derby with Stirling Albion. The Binos just didn't turn up and it was 3-0 within 30 minutes. 4-1 the final score. That set up a final with Albion Rovers. Again it was a blistering start. A glorious solo effort from Murphy opened the scoring, his viscous drive clipping the underside of the crossbar. Sludden made it 2-0 from a Cave-Brown cross. Despite Kanyuka hobbling off with a suspected twisted ankle, we continued to dominate. Against all odds, Albion pulled one back with still 20 minutes left and for a while, it looked like a nervy finish. Any recovery was soon put to bed. Lindsay pumped a long ball out of defence which Reynolds collected. He had no support, so he took it on himself, beat the last defender, rounded the keeper, 3-1.


So, SFL2 Champions, Challenge Cup defence, Transfer activity and an International. If that wasn't enough, then there was this …...

Last season we went out of the League Cup early when Premier League St. Johnstone came from 3-1 down to win 4-3. This season we extracted revenge. Dunfermline (2-1) and Queen of the South (2-1) had set up the rematch at Ochilview. If the last game was a 7 goal thriller, this was more of the dour midfield battle. There wasn't much in it, just the single goal. It was scored from the spot by Sludden after Kanyuka had gone down (very easily it has to be said) in the middle of a bout of shirt pulling and shoving as we took a free kick.

Another quarter final, another SPL side, another home tie. We drew the big one ….. Celtic.

I met their bus as it drew up outside the stadium, determined to start the mind games early. As each player came off I asked the question

Where's the ginger nut ?

They blanked me. Finally the last man came off, dressed in a suit. He spoke with an English accent.


Me: Where's the ginger nut ?
Him: Strange way to offer a cup of tea, but yes I'd love one.
Me: No. I mean Neil Lennon. Is the ginger nut too frightened to come here incase he gets the same treatment as Fat Sally ?
Him: I'm afraid that Mr Lennon is no longer with Glasgow Celtic. He left for Newcastle last season. I'm Dean Holdsworth, Head Coach.

I was stunned. I had hoped to get a chance to put one over on Lennon, so all I could think to do was to welcome him and show him to the dressing rooms. It didn't change the game plan. The lads all had their individual instructions and we were not going to change our style just for this game.

If Lennon not being in the dugout was a disappointment, the crowd of only 945 was dismal. We had more than that for the Falkirk and Stenhousemuir league games. They sat down to watch a 2nd string Celtic team tear at us from the off. Several players were teenagers making Celtic debuts. McLean was on form and managed a couple of good saves, but could do nothing to stop Miku (The Venezuelan bought from Getafe) from opening the scoring in the 10th minute.


It was desperate defending and fantastic keeping that prevented us going further behind. They may be kids, but they were good kids. Surely it was only a matter of time before there was another goal. It came, but at the other end ! Conroy was sent through on the keeper. He could have taken it himself, but selflessly pulled it back for Munster to tap into an empty net.

East Stirlingshire went mental !

3 minutes later and an aimless punt up the field was headed on by Dick. Sheringham was first to react ….. 2-1 !!!!!


It was totally against the run of play, not that I was complaining, but now we had to defend for our lives. Somehow we survived to halftime, thanks to the width of the left hand post.

2nd half and Celtic abandoned the rigid 4-4-2, bringing on Rogic to form a 4-3-3. Wave after wave of Celic attack came at the East Stirling defence. They had 60% of possession and 33% of the game was played in our third of the field. Some hoe Ewan McLean and the defence held firm. Murphy and Reynolds were introduced to provide fresh legs. Yet another attack was broken up by Harding and Conroy carried the ball upto the corner to use up some time. There was a bit of shoving and pulling as Chilean Gonalo Jara (signed from West Brom) tried to win the ball back. Suddenly, Conroy was clear. From the bye line, he crossed fro Reynolds who headed in off the crossbar !

Bring on the Semi Final !

There was only one thing to say at the post match press conference


"I can't believe it. I can't believe it. Football. Bloody hell."

The semi final was against SPL side Partick Thistle, at Ochilview. This time we looked down and out. Deep into injury time and the visitors had a 1 goal lead, scored just after the interval. With no danger in sight, Sludden collected a loose ball and tried a speculative shot from distance. It squirmed through Jamie McDonalds hands and some how we had extra time. Two minutes in and McDonald fumbled a cross, Sludden was there, 2-1. With 8 minutes left, it was safe. Munster heading home a cross from Stewart

After that, I knew our name was on the cup. Aberdeen had made it to Hampden, but offered very little threat after Hogg scored in the 3rd minute. Reynolds added a brace and East Sirlingshire had won the League Cup !


So, the SFL2 Champions, League Cup winners, Challenge Cup defence, Transfer activity and an International. If that wasn't enough, then there was this …...

The Scottish Cup campaign started with a derby and a trip to Alloa. A penalty from Pawlett and a Sheringham brace set us on our way. It became 5 wins from 7 games in the head to heads with Rangers. A Sheringham hat-trick was too much and they only had a Momar N'Daiye effort as a consolation. Dumbarton away pushed us very close to a replay. They held a second half lead after Sheringhams early goal was over turned. A Steven Reynolds brace allowed us to advance for our second meeting of the season against The Jags.

It was only 3 days after the League Cup semi final and this time we were at Firhill. It didn't matter much though as Reynolds and Sheringham put us 2 up by half time. Sheringham added a third before they pulled one back late on. That set up a visit from Hearts in the quarter final. Twice the visitors lead, only for Reynolds and Sheringham to equalise. I could sense there was a win if we could just grab a goal. Cussak came on to form a 4-3-3 as we pushed for a winner. With time running out, Stewart had an effort that was blocked by Randolph. Sheringham collected the rebound and put us through to a second consecutive semi final.


And what a game it was, played infront of 6816 at New Broomfield where Motherwell were the hot favorites. It was an electric start. Reynolds scored on 6 minutes, only for Momar N'Daiye (yes, the guy had moved from Rangers and had not been cup-tied) to level on 9. Reynolds made it 2-1 in a lead that lasted 30 seconds. Stevenson with the equaliser. Second half an the next goal would be crucial. I was hardly back in my seat when Reynolds had his hat-trick. This time there was no quick reply. Instead Conroy put us 4-2 up and we had a cushion. Motherwell threw everything at us It seemed like we were sure to buckle, but we held firm until 10 minutes from time. Conroy had been on fir on the left wing, and when he hit the bye-line again, floated over a cross that was perfect for Reynolds to score his 4th of the game. 'Well were a beaten side, but Reynolds wanted more. He picked up a pass inside the center circle and set off on a run. He nutmegged McCracken leaving him sitting on his arse before unleashing a cannonball that gave Ben Williams no chance. 6-2 and 5 for Reynolds.


Celtic at Hampden in front of 30,000. How would have believed this possible. This time Celtic were at full strength. Having just lost the SPL title to Hearts on goal difference, loosing to them 3-2 on the final day of the season, with the winner coming in injury time, this was their last chance of silverware. It was very much a full strength side that we faced. We had beaten them once, we could do it again. My confidence had spread round the team. We took the game to them from the off and the midfield duo of Hogg and Howard combined for Hogg to put us into an early lead. Celtic hit back and McLean had to be on top form to keep them at bay. He was helpless though as Stuart Downing and Fabien Delph sliced through the defence, with Johnny Russell just waiting to convert at the back post. It was pretty much all Celtic, although Sheringham came closest with a header that crashed off the bar. 1-1 at half time and Celtic knew they had a game on.

The second half started at a frantic pace. The ball was pinging from end to end with nobody offering the composure to sit on the ball and work an opening. And composure was not what brought the next goal. It was a pump up the park from McLean that was controlled by Ellis Remy. He could have spotted a pass, or made ground down the wing. No, he went for goal from 30 yards out. It was a screamer !

The self proclaimed best fans in the world fell silent


For the first time in the game, we seized control. It was all around the Celtic goal and if we were lucky to be infront, there was no surprise at all with the 3rd goal. Pawlett galloped down the right, swung in a low cross for Reynolds running through unmarked. Celtic were beaten and their resistance crumbled. Reynolds won a Celtic goal kick, set up Sheringham. 4-1. No doubt about the winners now. Not even a second yellow card for Andrew Cave-Brown could give Celtic any hope.


So, the SFL2 Champions, Scottish Cup winners, League Cup winners, Challenge Cup defence, Transfer activity and an International. If that wasn't enough, then there was this …...

Wait for the next update !

13-06-13, 04:20 PM
Holy shiiiiiiiiiiiit! A clean sweep right across the board, has there ever been a more perfect season?! Well done mate! Very, very impressive! I've forgotten what it's like to win things!

Looking forwards to the next update, that last spoiler has left me wondering what else is yet to come! I'm thinking possibly a move to St. Mirren?

PS - Never sell to a fellow team in your league ;) (Carpenter to Stranraer).

13-06-13, 04:30 PM
It is odd. I kept thinking "hope we loose soon. This is too unbelievable" but some how we kept on winning. Never seen a season like it, although it is a bit dull to write up, which is why I did it in a single hit. I honestly hope that next season is not a repeat !

Edit to add ..... Knew you would spot the Carpenter move :D

13-06-13, 04:41 PM
Stunning season, simply stunning.

Come down next year? :P

13-06-13, 06:18 PM
How the hell did you manage that? That's incredible, even more so in your first season in the second division.

You truly are the next Alex Fergusson :P

13-06-13, 06:50 PM
Good start to the season. Is it going to be a cake walk the whole way to promotion?

Well I thought you'd do well but not that well!!!

Defend them all, win the First Division and win the UEFA Cup as well.
It's fully expected of you now! Anything less and you've failed! :lol:

13-06-13, 07:31 PM
Certainly weren't expecting that!

Great work mate, gutted Lennon weren't around though for them two beatings!

Agree with Mark, no mention of St. Mirren so must be that.

14-06-13, 12:26 PM
The Morning After The Morning After The Night Before

East Stirlingshire partied like East Stirlingshire had never partied before. Not that this is a particularly impressive claim as there had never been much reason for East Stirlingshire to party before. All were welcome to the team hotel and the champagne flowed all night. I woke up on the Sunday morning, deservedly, with the mother, father and grandparents of all hangovers. I rolled over in the king size bed, bumping into


Oh my god. What had happened ? Had we ? I can't remember much about the night. I can't even remember going upto bed. Despite her eyes being open, Jools was still sound asleep. I was now very much awake.

Checking around the room, this wasn't even my room. Judging by the bags and the toiletries, this must be Jools' room, but there was no sign of Charlie and I'm sure that she had been at the party. Well, 90% sure as everything was still a bit hazy. I panicked. I had to get away before Jools found me there, so I grabbed a towel from the bathroom and wrapped it round me. Peeking round the door, the coast was clear, so I crept out and made it to my room. Bugger. The door was locked. No option but to get a spare from reception and make some excuse.

The elevator doors opened and just my luck that half the team were already up and stuffing themselves with breakfast. Actually, some looked as if they had never been to bed ! There was the usual round of wolf whistles as I stepped out and the expected childish humour that would normally great a football manager stepping out of a hotel lift dressed in just a towel.

Nice Legs gaffer
Get em off ! No …. keep em on !
Is that next seasons strip ?

There was no mention of Jools though.

The key was obtained and I escaped to the privacy of my own room to sleep off the remains of this hangover. Whatever happened, happened and can't be undone. We can sort that out later, once I could think straight.

Monday had arrived and I was due in the office for a meeting with Spencer to discuss budgets for next season. When I arrived, he was at his desk adding up the figures from the various club accounts. Jools was also there opening the morning mail. I tentatively put my head round the door. Jools behaved perfectly normal, said hello and got back to her mail. All absolutely normal. I sat down with Spencer to go through the figures. We had over £2 million in the bank, but he kept talking about reserves and contingencies, so in the end, only £550k was made available for transfers. That wouldn't be a problem as I didn't intend on spending much, however I would have liked him to raise the maximum wage from £350 per week, but he just wouldn't budge on that.

Meeting over, I tested Jools again

Me: Sleep well after the party on Saturday ?
Her: Like a log. Must have been really drunk as I don't remember a thing until Sunday afternoon.

So what did happen ?

My attention was brought back by Jools who had just opened another letter.

Her: Have you seen this ? Who would have been so stupid as to try that ?

My face went bright red.

14-06-13, 01:14 PM
Ooh, what did you do, Eejit? Iodine? :D

14-06-13, 01:22 PM
Ooh, what did you do, Eejit? Iodine? :D

Does Iodine make her forget things ? :)

I'm not that bad :eyebrows:

It was my own 4-4-2, but heavily wib/wobbed (occasionally a 4-3-3). I just wanted to make it a bit harder next year and had to find a reason

17-06-13, 10:56 AM
End of season review

Barnsie and I sat down to review the individual performances and to decide which of the 14 players that had been lined up for Bosman signing that we would proceed with. We also had to decide what we were going to do tactic wise for next season. Firstly, looking at the current squad and there weren't too many failures

************************************************** **********************************************
East Stirlingshire - Sunday 17th June 2012
************************************************** **********************************************

================================================== ==============================================
2011/2 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Armstrong, John 34 (1) 2 0 0 3 0 0 2 7.14
- Booth, Callum 22 (11) 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 7.03
- Cameron, Colin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Cave-Brown, Andrew 40 (2) 2 0 0 12 2 1 1 7.40
- Conroy, Ryan 45 (1) 5 0 0 24 1 0 4 7.67
- Cusack, Liam 7 (6) 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 7.08
- Dick, Gordon 22 (3) 2 0 0 9 1 1 3 7.48
- Easton, Brian 9 (8) 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 6.71
- Grant, Ross 28 0 25 0 0 0 0 1 7.43
- Harding, Ryan 25 (2) 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6.96
- Hogg, Steven 21 (8) 4 0 0 4 2 0 0 7.21
- Howard, Charlie 28 (4) 2 0 0 12 2 0 2 7.47
- Kanyuka, Patrick 30 (2) 4 0 0 3 1 0 1 7.13
- Lindsay, Johnny 0 (5) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.80
- McAusland, Mark 12 (11) 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 6.74
- McCord, Ryan 22 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 7.18
- McLean, Euan 26 0 21 0 0 0 0 1 7.19
- Munster, Paul 21 (6) 19 0 0 2 0 0 3 7.44
- Murphy, Darren 14 (9) 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 7.04
- Parkes, Jordan 14 (4) 2 0 1 (1) 0 1 0 0 6.94
- Pawlett, Peter 14 3 0 0 7 0 0 3 7.86
- Remy, Ellis 18 (5) 3 0 0 10 1 0 2 7.57
- Reynolds, Stephen 30 (2) 33 0 1 (1) 5 0 0 7 8.16
- Sheringham, Charlie 45 (1) 45 0 0 12 4 0 12 8.57
- Sludden, Paul 8 (11) 9 0 1 (1) 1 0 0 3 7.68
- Stewart, Mark 30 (11) 14 0 0 14 2 0 5 7.63
- Vaughan, John - - - - - - - - ----


Sheringham had been sensational, not just with the number of goals, but so often grabbing a late goal when we were in trouble. Reynolds had picked up where he left off, while Sludden had been unlucky, picking up an injury at the wrong time and struggling to oust Reynolds and Sheringham from the starting 11. Only Munster had been a bit of a disappointment and in fact I had almost sold him in February until he put in a spurt of 10 goals in 4 games. Being able to call on Mark Stewart or Liam Cussak as stand in strikers left me over numbered, so we agreed that Herman could go.

Midfield I was very happy with. I had players battling for every position. I may have had 1 too many central midfielders, but Dick, Hogg, Howard, McCord and Murphy had all done everything asked of them and I would find it hard to let any of them go. On the left wing, Conroy had been everything that I had expected and with 24 assists, more than repaid his free transfer. Ellis Remy had also improved considerably, maybe with the confidence of his 2 caps.


At the back, the figures don't look so good, but that is mainly because we were on the attack for most of the time. Johnny Lindsay has I think come to the end of his run and just doesn't look as if he is able to break into the first team. Easton, McAusland and Parkes all disappointed, but deserve a second chance

No issues with either of the keepers that I used, however they will be coming under pressure from young Vaughan who is developing into a very decent keeper.

All in all, I was happy to take the current squad forward as is and so all but one of the Bosman signings were cancelled. The one I did progress was a 17 year old central defender from Falkirk, Ryan McGeever, who will be close to challenging for the first team already and may develop into a very good player given time.

The biggest worry though was contracts. So far McEwan and Parkes had both refused to even discuss terms and both would be free next season. I'd try again, but if nothing was agreed by October, they would both be put up for sale, rather than loose them for free. I also had 10 players (including Conroy, Reynolds and Sludden) all with minimum fee clauses, some as low as £200k. They would all need to be renegotiated over the summer.

That left the tactic to sort out.

Me: What do you think Barnsie ? I always like to build from the back, so I guess we need to look at either a 3 or a 4
Barnes: Got to be a 4 for me gaff. I've never been keen on the 3 man defence, leaves us exposed on the flanks and the middle defender needs to be very good positionally or he just gets in the way.
Me: Agreed, but lets have the fullbacks pushing up. They can be quite a potent attacking force and assuming it is Cave-Brown and Booth, both can put in a decent cross. I'd also push for a single striker
Barnes: I'm not so sure. Charlie could probably do the job, but if we let Herman go, are Reyno and Sludd able to handle the role. Asking a lot of them
Me: I'd like to give them a chance, besides, we can put Liam or Stewie in behind to back them up. Even Remy could fill in if needed.
Barnes: We can always change if it doesn't work so we'll start with one up, but if we are short of goals, we need to make damn sure the defence is solid. Can we put Murph sitting just infront ?
Me: Good idea, but we don't have a backup for Murph and he can't play every game.
Barnes: I think that Booth could fill in if we need him. Besides, I'm sure that you could find another Defensive Midfielder with that transfer budget you've been given.
Me: That leaves just 3 for the midfield. I think we have to play them all centrally. I'd feel very exposed with just 1 in central midfield, and I've never liked an unbalanced formation.
Barnes: But lets push the wide men forward. See if they can help out the attack.

I drew a quick picture


Me: So, we are looking at something like this.
Barnes: That looks pretty good Gaff. We can review it latter, but that should be hard to beat.

17-06-13, 10:57 AM
Just to wrap the season up ....

St. Mirren were relegated from the SPL. A late bad run allowed Inverness to survive on goal difference. Danny Lennon is not currently at risk, but he will be under pressure to make a strong start in SFL1.
Aberdeen were 9th under new boss Jody Craddock. They were bottom half all season and again the chairman will be expecting results soon
Scotland finished 3rd in their Euro group 5 points behind Russia and 4 behind Turkey. Austria, Czech Republic, Holland and N.Ireland will be the World Cup qualification Group
Man Utd Under new manager Ian Holloway won the Premier League, beating City by 3 points. They were well clear of Chelsea and Spurs

Other Winners

FA Cup United (beat City)
League Cup Watford (beat Chelsea)

Champions League Barcelona (beat Real Madrid)
UEFA Cup Marseille (beat Montpellier)

Biggest Transfers
Mario Gotze Dortmund to Man City £41m
Santi Cazorla Arsenal to Dortmund £24m
Giorgio Chiellini Juventus to Man Utd £21.5m
Arjen Robben Bayern to Juventus £20.5m
Tino Costa Valencia to PSG £20m
Pato Corinthians to Arsenal £16.5m
Dani Alves Man City to Barcelona £16.25m
Eduardo Salvio Benfica to Athletico Madrid £16.25m
Isco Malaga to Inter £16m
Jeferson Farfan Schalke to Werder £15.75m
Antonio Candreva Werder to Schalke £15m
Yaya Toure Barcelona to Spurs £14.75m
Seyou Doumbia CSKA to Schalke £14.5m
Edin Dzeko Man City to Dortmund £14.25m
Robert Lewandowski Dortmund to Werder £14m
Aaron Ramsey Arsenal to Man City £14m
Daniele De Rosi Dortmund to Man Utd £13.75m

17-06-13, 11:17 AM
Holloway at Utd! :lol:

Lets hope the buddies make a bad start next season!

17-06-13, 12:25 PM
Strikers have been superb this season then! Going to 1 striker is risky (although I love it) given their recent good form, hopefully they won't complain too much about it though. Shame you're going to let Herman go but can understand it :(

Looking forwards to seeing how the tactic pans out :ok:

17-06-13, 01:50 PM
Holloway at Utd! :lol:

Lets hope the buddies make a bad start next season!

Holloway often gets that job in my games. Couldn't believe it when Lennon didn't get the sack last season, although Saints didn't look in trouble until the last few games and an Inverness revival under Chris Powell following Terry Butcher's sacking.

Strikers have been superb this season then! Going to 1 striker is risky (although I love it) given their recent good form, hopefully they won't complain too much about it though. Shame you're going to let Herman go but can understand it :(

Looking forwards to seeing how the tactic pans out :ok:

I'm gutted that Herman looks to be off. He was a personal favorite and he scored loads in the first season. This year he's been a bit hit and miss and as I'm overloaded with options for the front and only 1 place up for grabs, it's Herman who has to go.

For the first time in years I'm nervous about playing champ. I can't remember the last time that I played a non wib/wob tactic.

18-06-13, 12:30 PM
August 2013

The new season starts off at a frantic pace with 9 games in 3 competitions in the first month. There were no pre-season warm ups this time, and other than teenaged defender McKeever, no changes to the squad. I can't remember ever having so little transfer activity over a summer. It's not for want of trying as I looked for that Defensive Midfielder to complete the squad.

East Stirling 2 Peterhead 0
Scottish Football League 1

McLean, Cave-Brown, Booth, Armstrong, Kanyuka (McAusland), Murphy, Cusack, Hogg, Sheringham, Stewart (Pawlett), Remy (Howard)

One way traffic right from the kick-off. That said, it looked as if keeper Paul Jarvie was going to stop everything. That was until the 50th minute when Armstrong converted a Cave-Brown corner. The second came with just 3 minutes of normal time remaining and it was man of the match Cave-Brown who pounced on a loose ball to thrash it into the roof of the net.

Alloa 1 East Stirling 3
Challenge Cup round 1

McLean, Parks, Conroy, Armstrong, Harding, McCord, Stewart, Dick (Hogg), Sludden, Reynolds (Munster), Remy (Howard)

7 changes to keep players fresh. Alloa were no match and it took Reynolds just 11 minutes to break the deadlock. Sludden added a second before the break and although Alloa briefly came back into it, Stewart took our third to make an easy passage into round 2 and a home tie with Stranraer.

I finally got my man as Paul Paton signed on the dotted line to complete a £50k move from Partick Thistle. That fee makes him the club's record signing and the 28 year old is straight into the squad to compete with Murphy for the spot in front of the back 4. It was though too late to register him for Europe. McLean and Parkes both refuse to discuss contracts

East Stirling 4 Dinamo Minsk 1
UEFA Cup Preliminary round

McLean, Cave-Brown, Conroy, Armstrong, Harding (McAusland), Murphy, Pawlett, Howard, Sheringham, Stewart (Remy), Cusack (Hogg)

I had no great hopes, but this was a stunning performance. Sheringham on 14 and Howard on 32 set the ball rolling although Khvaschinskiy looked to have snatched a vital away goal right on half time. A mix up in the Belarusian's defence at a corner allowed Murphy to poke home his 1st of the season then Sheringham wrapped it up with yet another headed goal on 75 minutes. Despite conceding that away goal, we have got to be favorites to progress.

East Stirling 2 Cowdenbeath 2
Scottish Football League 1

McLean, Easton, Parkes, Kanyuka, McAusland, Booth, McCord, Hogg (Dick), Reynolds, Stewart, Remy (Cusack)

Games were stacking up now and it was very much a mack shift line up. We were nearly made to pay. 2-0 down after 55 minutes it was time to panic. I switched to a 4-3-3 formation and 2 minutes later Stewart, now playing up front, pulled one back, heading in a Remy corner. It was all out attack, but we couldn't find a way through, not even when Andy MacDonald was sent off. 15 minutes against 10 men. We needed 13 of them, but Dick arrived late to connect with a Cusack cross and the unbeaten run goes on.

We had another arrival to welcome and a second Partick Thistle player arrives. Steven Lawless is a left sided attacking midfielder who can play up front. The 23 year old is currently on loan although I'd like to make that permanent given a chance.

East Stirling 4 Stranraer 1
Challenge Cup round 2

Grant, McAusland, Conroy, Kanyuka, Armstrong, Paton, Pawlett, Hogg, Sheringham, Cusack, Lawless (Remy)

Stranraer were blown away. Kanyuka, Pawlett, Hogg and Lawless made it 4-0 with just 26 minutes played. We took our feet off the gas after that and the visitors were given a late consolation. Stirling Albion up next.

Dunfermline 1 East Stirling 2
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, McAusland, Conroy, Kanyuka, Armstrong, Paton (Murphy), Cusack, Hogg, Sheringham, Lawless, Remy (Stewart)

Just 1 change to the line up for this one and Dunfermline are sure to be contenders at the end of the season. A goal in each half from Liam Cusack was enough to give us 3 important points and an excellent away win. Barrowman pulled one back to set up a nervy finish.

Dinamo Minsk 0 East Stirling 2
UEFA Cup Preliminary round

Grant, McAusland (Easton), Conroy, Harding, Armstrong, Murphy, Cusack (Howard), Hogg, Sheringham (Sludden), Stewart, Remy

With the away goal conceded in the first game, it was important not to give them any early chances. It was the perfect start. Stewart fed Sheringham and my number 9 muscled his way past a couple of defenders and drove in a low shot that beat the keepers dive. Just 4 minutes played and the away goal cancelled out. Dinamo heads went down. They needed 5 to win. Just after the restart that became 6 wne their keeper hauled down Sheringham and was sent off. The first action for his replacement, Dimitri Gushchenko, was to pick Conroy's penalty out of the back of the net. As a reward, we head back to Eastern Europe and a tough tie with Viktoria Plzen who had been eliminated from Champions League qualifying by Spurs.

Queen of the South 0 East Stirling 5
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Conroy, Booth, Kanyuka, Murphy, Cusack (Howard), Hogg, Sheringham, Stewart, Remy (Lawless)

Who needs wib/wob. Stunning performance. Cusack with a brace, Sheringham and Cave-Brown had the game sealed before the half time whistle. Queen's played better second half, but there was still enough in the tank for Sheringham to get his second of the game.

East Stirling 4 Stirling Albion 0
Challenge Cup Quarter Final

Grant, Easton, Booth, Armstrong, Harding, Paton, Cusack, Howard, Reynolds, Lawless, Remy

A fine derby win to end the month. Even playing with 10 men for over 30 minutes we were far too strong. Cusack grabbed the only goal of the first half. Howard was bossing the midfield and he deserved his goal which came just before the hour. The celebrations were marred by a melee of pushing and shoving, in the aftermath of which Liam Cusack got his marching orders. It made little difference, Lawless made it 3 with a solo effort and in the final seconds, Howard snaffled his second when the keeper spilled the ball at his feet. Elgin City await in the semi final.

Sensational month that sees us progress in 2 cups although I suspect tougher games are to come. Looking at the table, we second, behind Dumbarton on goal difference and 1 point clear of St. Mirren. Not even a glimpse of Danny Lennon loosing his job yet.

18-06-13, 12:45 PM
You sure you still ain't playing with ya wib-wob tactic?!

Some fantastic results mate, beating Minsk 6-1 on agg is incredible!

18-06-13, 12:57 PM
My initial thought as well!

Doesn't look like you'll have man issues on those performances.

18-06-13, 01:49 PM
:lol: Thought the same as you guys too. Tactic is working out very well :ok:

Didn't even realise you were in Europe, doing 10x better than my attempt with Hoffenheim!

18-06-13, 03:13 PM
Brilliant month! How did Plzen do against Spurs? That might give you an idea of how tough they'll be

18-06-13, 03:36 PM
The tactic is just the default 4-4-2 with a few players moved and lines drawn to make the formation above. I honestly can't believe the results and although my team are no world beaters, I've had a look around the other 1st division and SLP sides and man for man, we are not bad. Looking for guys with SPL experience, or English league experience has paid off.

Plzen lost 1-0 at home and 3-0 away to Spurs (after beating Baku 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away). Not that inspiring.
Last year they got to the UEFA Cup 3rd round beating Haverfordwest and Rossenbourg before going out to Newcastle 0-2 away and 1-1 at home.
They do have 6 players in the current Czech side, plus one Armenian and one Slovakian international.

Might struggle !

18-06-13, 03:53 PM
Reckon it'll be close but you'll go through :ok:

19-06-13, 07:15 AM
Beetroot and Marmalade sandwich

Playing 2 games a week and taking in training didn't leave much time for anything else. It had been over a month since I'd been in the office. I put my head round the door to say hello and as usual Spence was there with his head in figures. Christ knows what he would be like if we were struggling with debt, but the finances were rosy and he was still a grump bastard.

Me: Lighten up man ! If handling those millions in the bank is causing you this grief, why not up the salary cap and let me spend a bit for you.
Him: Bugger Off ! You're doing well enough with the squad you've got. By the way, Stevie Lawless has signed on permanently

http://i2.dailyrecord.co.uk/incoming/article1268762.ece/ALTERNATES/s2197/Steven+Lawless+celebrates+after+firing+Partick+int o+the+lead

This was great news. The pint sized winger had been sensational since he joined on loan and had chosen us instead of Aberdeen when Thistle had agreed to let him go

Me: Great, that's another 26 grand you won't have to worry about, plus a bit more as we'll need to buy some XXS shorts.
Him: And 26 grand you won't have to spend on a new coach.
Me: But I don't need a new coach.
Him: Yes you do. Colin Cameron has buggered off to Walsall, leaving us a man short
Me: Shit ! I thought that he was happy after hanging up his playing boots. Guess money talks, more reason to up the maximum wage we can offer.
Him: Just because the team are playing well doesn't allow you to be up your own arse.

He threw a crumpled paper ball at me. It missed, but landed right on Jools desk just as she was picking up a sandwich.

Me: What the fuck is that ? It looks disgusting !
Her: I know. I've had this weird desire for beetroot and marmalade sandwiches for about a month now. Wish it would go away as I'm starting to put on a bit of weight.

The “up your own arse” comment was puzzling me. I didn't think that was possible, unless I've led a very sheltered life and if I was, how could I stop it ? I decided I needed help and consulted someone who claimed to be an Anal Masturbation Consultant. During the first session, he tried to give some demonstrations that involved weird contortions. During one, as he bent over double, backwards, there was a crack and a yell. The body went limp as the spine broke in two and there was no point in even calling an ambulance.

I left without paying the bill and decided that if I was already up my own arse, I would be happy that way. After all, many had said that Sir Alex was up his own arse, and if it was alright for him, it was alright for me. If I wasn't up my own arse then I wouldn't try !

19-06-13, 07:27 AM

Good work on the permanent signing of Lawless.

Are we going to see a young Darren Ferguson in the story then? Can't wait to see how that one plans out!

19-06-13, 11:44 AM
I didn't realise Lawless was a loan signing. Great news to sign him permanently then, shame about Colin Cameron. I always like to see ex-pros on the coaching staff, especially well known ones.

I was just about to say, you've got Jools preggers :eek:

19-06-13, 01:09 PM
So THAT's how you're going to engineer a move away from such success! Hunted down by the chairman with a shotgun!

21-06-13, 10:06 AM
September 2013

There is no let up, with another 9 games to play and a 4th competition as the League Cup defence kicks-off (we received a bye into the 3rd round as we had qualified for Europe). Despite interest, there had been no firm bids for Herman or Johnny Lindsay, so I took them off the transfer list with a view to trying again later. We had no players left with minimum fee clauses of less than £500k, so I felt a bit more secure

East Stirling 2 East Fife 1
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Easton (Parkes), Armstrong, Harding, Paton, Cusack (Lawless), Howard, Reynolds, Stewart, Remy (Sludden)

Don't be fooled by the score. This was still a convincing win, even if it was a bit tense in the end and we had to thank the post for earning us the win. A crunching tackle by Guy Kerr on Liam Cusack broke sweetly for Sludden and the ref played a very good advantage allowing Mark Stewart to round his man and fire into the bottom corner. It brought Cusack's game to an early end as he was forced to hobble off. The second was far more simple. Stewart fed Sludden and the striker blasted into a two goal lead. It could have been more and I did have wories when East Fife scored shortly after the interval, but McCabe's shot that rattled off the post was as close as the visitors got.

Elgin City 0 East Stirling 1 aet
Challenge Cup Semi Final

Grant, Cave-Brown, Conroy, Easton, Kanyuka, Paton, Stewart, Howard (McCord), Reynolds (Sludden), Lawless, Remy (Parkes)

On another day it might have been 5-0. We dominated the 3rd division side from start to finish and should have had this wrapped up in normal time, were it not for Greg Fleming in the Elgin goal and defender Kevin Gardner on his debut after arriving on loan from Celtic. Between them they snuffed out everything that we threw at Elgin, Right up to a 103rd minute corner, which Cave-Brown took and Paton headed home. It was Pates' first goal for the club.

Dumbarton 0 East Stirling 5
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, McAusland, Parkes (Easton), Armstrong, Harding, Murphy, Dick (McCord), Howard, Sheringham, Cusack, Remy

120 minutes of midweek football is not the best preparation for a top of the table clash, but what a way to knock the leaders off their perch. 14 minutes gone and Remy over hits his cross, but still finds Cusack ghosting into the back post to head us in front. Another cross and it's 2-0, this time Parkes the provider and Howard the scorer. A moment of Sheringham genius worked number 3 as half time approached, but there was still time for Dick to tee up Remy for a 4-0 lead. The second half was much closer, with just another Howard header to bother the scorers.

Viktoria welcomed us to their city. They laid on a guided tour which included all of the city sites

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rTRTO6Mawjw/TMkxLzIqc4I/AAAAAAAAAAc/xuPvSdOZa3Y/s1600/kostel+sv.+Bart..jpg http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5BEH4eh2sVg/S8ZLovoxDbI/AAAAAAAAAJU/TKBytATmH0I/s1600/007.jpg http://www.discoverczech.com/apictures/z_plzen/plzen/plzen_v.jpg

It was certainly an interesting place, although there was an incident outside the cathedral which involved an Atrocious Malevoice Choir. They were dreadful, warbling through vocal gymnastics, but out of key in a way that only a finalist of The Voice could possibly do. I had to cover my ears to protect them from the din, hoping that somehow the 13th century tower would suddenly collapse. From the crowd there was a shout. "Is it a bird ?" "Is is a plane ?" "No ! It's SuperZan" The comic book superhero flew straight into the tower, knocking it over and it collapsed, crushing the choir dead. Superzan landed. "No need to thank me. Just send round a dead Canadian singer for me to use as a sex toy !"

Viktoria Plzen 1 East Stirling 2
UEFA Cup 1st round

Grant, McAusland, Parkes, Armstrong, Harding, Murphy, Dick, Howard, Sheringham (Sludden), Cusack (Stewart), Remy

An unchanged side for the first time this season ! My hope was that we could come away with still something to play for in the second leg. What I didn't want was an early goal for the home side. With their first attack, the Czechs won a corner. Rajtoral delivered it into the danger zone and Stipek lept highest to head Viktora in front. It looked like my worst fears would be realised, but for some reason, Viktoria sat back, they allowed us to take control and we were soon level. Sheringham was tackled inside the box. It broke for Cusack who blasted in from 10 yards out. A vital away goal was in the bag and we had momentum. It was a decent game and although we had the majority of the ball, Viktora were dangerous on the break. The decider came from another Remy cross and another Howard header. That is 3 in 2 games for the midfielder, all from his head ! I'm expecting more from the Czechs in the second leg, so although we have the advantage, I don't think it's over yet.

East Stirling 4 St. Mirren 2
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Conroy, Easton, Kanyuka, Paton, Pawlett, McCord, Sheringham, Stewart, Lawless

With this result we take a 3 point lead over Dumbarton in the league. More importantly, it must put further pressure on Danny Lennon, not that it is showing yet. It was though a game of 2 halves. Lawless, two from Sheringham and Kanyuka had us 4-0 up, only for McGowan to pull one back on the stroke of half time. It gave the visitors hope, and a second from McGowan with still 30 minutes left had me on the edge of my seat. We held on though t celebrate an excellent win.

East Stirling 2 Ross County 0
Scottish League Cup 3rd Round

Grant, Easton, Conroy, Armstrong, Kanyuka, Paton, Pawlett (Cusack), McCord, Sheringham (Sludden), Stewart, Lawless

Staggies supporters must be getting really pissed off with coming to Ochilview and getting dumped out of the League cup. This is the 3rd time in 3 seasons we have done them over. Pawlett basted a rebound into the top corner to give us a 13th minute advantage and the subs combined for the second in the final minutes. Cusack won a penalty that Sludden converted. That is us into the quarter final where we face Aberdeen next month.

Raith Rovers 0 East Stirling 3
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Booth, Armstrong, Kanyuka, Murphy (Parkes), Dick, Hogg (Howard), Sludden, Cusack, Remy

Back to league business and another straight forward win. Hogg lashed in a volley in the 11th minute to put us ahead. Remy put us 2 up when he pounced on a rebound from his own effort and, just after the interval, Sludden made it 3 following good work by Hogg

East Stirling 2 Viktoria Plzen 0
UEFA Cup Round 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Booth, Armstrong, Kanyuka, Murphy (Conroy), Dick, Hogg, Sludden, Cusack, Remy

Once again I manage to name an unchanged side. I expected a reaction from the Czech side and although they were better, their belief was dented in the 20th minute by a solo effort from Liam Cusack that may be a goal of the season. He picked up the ball in his own half and ran through the defence unaided before picking his spot. Viktoria now needed to score 3 and that was well beyond them. Ellis Remy's freekick to make it 2-0 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate finnished the contest.

There was no surprise from me when we drew another Eastern European side. I had been expecting the return to Belarus and my all time European boggy side BATE Borisov. Something about them that they always win on away goals and I bet it's not the last time I play them in this story.

East Stirling 2 Livingston 2
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Booth, Armstrong, Kanyuka, Murphy, Dick, Hogg, Sludden (Reynolds), Cusack, Remy (Stewart)

3 games in a row with the same starting line-up ! It was also nearly the end of an unbeaten run that is now extended to 76 games. All looked to be on track for another win when Dick scored from the edge of the box with a low drive that the keeper should have stopped. We couldn't find the second and were made to pay when McNulty scored twice in 8 minutes with Livvy's only shots on target. I switched immediately to 4-3-3 and pulled level with 20 minutes left when Cusack headed in a Cave-Brown corner. We laid siege to their goal after that, but just couldn't find a winner.

That point sends us 8 points clear of Peterhead, with St. Mirren a further 2 behind. Still no sign of any threat to Danny Lennon's job from the Paisley side.

21-06-13, 11:48 AM
This is already a precession.

The only question is how far into the UEFA Cup you draw a 'big name' and actually have a challenge on your hands.
A Magnificent Club if you will.

21-06-13, 11:59 AM
Still going great guns, this little run in the UEFA Cup must be doing great for the finances.

It's a shame St. Mirren are still doing quite well, let's hope that changes soon!

21-06-13, 12:17 PM
Still going great guns, this little run in the UEFA Cup must be doing great for the finances.

It's a shame St. Mirren are still doing quite well, let's hope that changes soon!

This is already a precession.

The only question is how far into the UEFA Cup you draw a 'big name' and actually have a challenge on your hands.
A Magnificent Club if you will.

I had hopes that doing away with wib/wob tactics might have made for a more interesting campaign. There's nothing much to play for, other than waiting for the St. Mirren job. Interesting to see if we get promoted or not. The ground isn't SPL compliant and as we don't own it, I'm not sure that it can be upgraded. UEFA cup doesn't bring in much cash. Home gates are only around 1,000 even for Plzen and prize money is about £20k. We have about £2.75m in the bank and £0.5m for transfers. £40k is still my record signing !!!!!

21-06-13, 12:48 PM
Still going strong then! Cracking wins over Plzen, well done :ok:

21-06-13, 01:52 PM
So what now, you just dominate the world until the St Mirren job comes up? You could always make Danny Lennon a bit worse using a save game editor...

21-06-13, 02:56 PM
Maybe we could vote on the tactic you have to use at the beginning of each season, if you need more of a challenge... :lol:

Even if there's not a lot to play for, the writing's still great :ok:

24-06-13, 11:06 AM
It's a keeper


I had just arrived at the office and on entering, immediately notice the pronounced bulge around Jools' abdomen.

Oh shit !

Jools: You noticed then.
Me: It's a bit hard not to. How ?
Her: Ever heard of the birds and the bees ?
Me: I mean do you know who the lucky guy is ? No I don't mean who, that sounds all wrong, I know you don't just sleep around with random guys. Actually, that's the point. I mean you don't sleep around with any guys and it can't be Charlie's, so I do mean …. Oh Christ, please help me out before I dig a deeper hole.
Her: No. I rather like seeing you squirm.

Spencer: Don't mind me, I'll just sit here quietly enjoying this
Me: Let me start again. Who ?
Her: Ah ! Now that is an interesting question.

[i]No it fucking isn't. It is an exceptionally boring question, but a fucking interesting answer if I ever get one.

Me (trying desperately to stay interested but not concerned): And who is the lucky guy ?
Her: I don't know !
Me: So you DO sleep around with random guys !
Him: That's my daughter you're talking to. You might want to consider what you say before I sack you.

This could be good. He's not going to sack me …. Yet !

Her: You're lucky I'm a pacifist other wise I might be tempted to violence in response. The truth is that too my own knowledge, I have never slept with any man. Now the alternative is artificial impregnation, however I'm certain that I wasn't at any hospital prior to this, so I have to conclude that the natural process is not as wonderful as you blokes make out. I mean you would think I might have noticed.

Does that put me in the clear ? No way I can admit it now !

Me: I'm sure you would notice. I mean I would if it was me. No, I don't mean that, I mean …. let me start again. Do you know when ?
Her: The doctor reckons it should be due late Feb.

9 months ….. That means late May. Shit ! …. which means around cup final time.

Her: I know what you're thinking and you could be right

Fuck ! She had better not know what I'm thinking

Her: I think someone must have taken advantage when I got drunk after the cup final. Problem is it could have been any one of about 100. Poor bastard, so good, I didn't even notice.

And if it was me, the poor bastard didn't notice either. Maybe it wasn't

Him: And he'll be a poor dead bastard if I ever find out who he was.

I'm too young to die yet, besides I've still got St. Mirren, Aberdeen, Scotland and Man Utd to manage. At least I know that he will never find out as otherwise would end the story too early.

Me: How's Charlie taken it ?
Her: More than a bit pissed off to start with. I honestly thought it was over when I couldn't explain, but we had been considering the artificial route anyway, so it kind of saves the hassle of the hospitals. Now she's coming round to the idea, she is being supportive.
Me: So you are going to keep it ?
Her: Do you honestly think I'd be sitting here like this if I wasn't ? You are a bit thick sometimes !

Phew ! Looks like I'm off the hook ….. for now. Time to change subject

Me: If there's anything I can do, just let me know. Anyway, Spencer, you called me in ?
Him: Ah yes. We've had a bid in for Euan McLean and he's still not signed the new contract we've offered. The £30k is a bit less than we might have expected. What do you think ?
Me: Who from ?
Him: Raith
Me: Damn. I'd have preferred a club in another league. Lets take it anyway. Young Vaughan is nearly ready, and I can always find another keeper. What about Parkesie. Has he extended his contract ?
Him: Not yet.
Me: List him then.

24-06-13, 01:12 PM
Quality update.

Dirty Jools.
Could have been anyone!

24-06-13, 01:18 PM
it could have been any one of about 100.
You dirty b.tch!

24-06-13, 02:59 PM
Something tells me this isn't over :D

25-06-13, 10:52 AM
October 2013

The 2 week break for international games (John Vaughan was called up to the Wales U21 but not used) gave us a break to allow tired legs to recover. We were very close to having a full squad available for the defence of our Challenge Cup.

Dumbarton 1 East Stirling 4
Challenge Cup Final

McLean, Parkes, Booth (Easton), Harding, Kanyuka (McAusland), Murphy, Dick (Stewart), Hogg, Sludden, Cusack, Remy

The score makes it look as if this was easy to win our third Challenge Cup, but this was anything but. Everything looked fine when Remy cut in off the left wing to fire us into a 10th minute lead. Cusack then collected Murphy's defence splitting pass to make it 2-0 with just 20 minutes gone. It was his 10th of the season. Kanyuka had picked up a knock in the build up and he was the first to depart with a possible ankle injury. The Sons had really upped their game and were on all out attack to try and pull back the deficit, however a neat 1-2 between our 2 scorers put Remy through one-on-one with the keeper. It looked as if his first touch had taken him too wide, but from a ridiculous angle, he still managed to find the net. The goal was harsh on Dumbarton, however they were back in it in injury time. McParland took a free kick that dipped over the wall and curled into the top corner for 3-1.

As their players rushed to collect the ball, a melle developed in the goal mouth. Booth was left on the deck with blood streaming from his nose. Once the ref had regained control, he pulled out a red card and showed it to their manager and captain, Ian Murray. Dumbarton would have 45 minutes to play with 10 men. Booth couldn't continue and Dick had also picked up a knock in the proceedings, so we had used up all of our subs by half time.

Dumbarton were fired up and looking for a fight. Fortunately we kept our cool, but were very much defending our lead. With 10 minutes left, an agricultural challenge from Cranmer left Easton with a twisted ankle and both sides were down to 10 men as I had no subs left. That didn't stop Ellis Remy completing his hattrick heading in a Cusack free kick.
Not the sort of bruising encounter you need before an important European tie

East Stirling 2 BATE 1
UEFA Cup Round 2

McLean, Parkes, Booth (Conroy), Armstrong, Harding, Murphy, Pawlett, McCord, Sheringham, Cusack (Stewart), Remy (Hogg)

It could have been worse. BATE started by far the better side and no surprise when Rodionov fired the visitors ahead midway through the first half. They did have chances to end the contest, but 2 goals in 3 minutes right at the end of the half, turned the game on it's head. Stewart, Parkes and Sheringham all combined to leave space for McCord who arrived late to volley in Sheringham's knock down. McCord then started the passing move which left Remy in space to cross for Pawlett to head us into an undeserved lead. BATE pressed on for the rest of the game but couldn't break us down and so we take a narrow advantage to Belarus. They do have that important away goal, so I suspect we will have to play much better in the second leg.

East Stirling 2 Queen of the South 0
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Conroy (McAusland), Armstrong (Booth), Harding, Paton, Lawless, Howard, Sheringham (Reynolds), Stewart, Remy

Back to league business and back to a routine win. Lawless and Stewart both scored in the first 20 minutes as we took our foot off the gas.

Peterhead 3 East Stirling 4
Scottish Football League 1

Grant, Cave-Brown, Conroy, Armstrong (Booth), Harding, Paton, Lawless, Howard, Reynolds, Stewart, Remy (Cusack)

Just one change as Sheringham had picked up a knock in the Queen's win. For long periods, this looked like the end of our run. The Blue Toon scored early and held on against the odds until the 50th minute when they finally broke. Reynolds pouncing on a rebound. Within minutes they were back infront, Strachan hitting a fierce shot that caught Grant unsighted. It wasn't until the 72nd minute that we were back on terms again, Stewart completing a wonderful solo effort with a bullit into the top corner. Still time for 3 more goals. Reynolds put us ahead for the first time with 10 minutes to play and that looked like being the winner, however Deasley thought he had grabbed a point when he made it 3-3 in the final minute of normal time. Lawless had other ideas though and he powered forward to kill off the home sides hopes. Fergie Time strikes again.

These results leave us 12 points clear of Dunfermline and Dumbarton who have both played 1 game more. St. Mirren are 4th, a point further adrift, but only 2 points separate 2nd from 8th. Queen of the South and Raith Rovers have already been cut adrift at the bottom. Still no word from the St. Mirren board, but I notice that a few players are becoming unhappy with their team's status.

25-06-13, 11:27 AM
Still absolutely flying and no sign of suffering defeat. Hopefully the St.Mirren job comes up soon :ok:

25-06-13, 11:46 AM
Might almost be worth deliberately dropping points to the teams around St Mirren to make their situation even worse :lol:

Going to be tough away to BATE, but I reckon you'll sneak through with a draw, maybe 1-1

26-06-13, 11:54 AM
Two for the price of one

I had been avoiding the office since my last encounter with Jools and she was no longer attending the matches. Spencer did still turn up at Ochilview, but he only discussed business and football maters, so there was no further baby talk. I just didn't want February to arrive and someone to say “Oooh he's got your nose, and everyone to be looking at me.” Poor bastard if he's got my nose.

We had arranged trials for a couple of youngsters who were still out of contract. Tony Cottee was putting them through their paces while John Barnes and myself looked on. We had a right back, a left sided defensive midfielder and an Attacking Midfielder Central.

Me: So Barnsie. What do you make of the right back ?
Him: Not much. He hasn't got much pace and tackles about as hard as you do. Can't see where he would fit in.
Me: Careful ! I'm your boss remember and I think you went an entire career without ever making a tackle. Hands on hips as the man went past you is my memory


Anyway, don't you think he could improve ? He's hard working and has a sense of knowing where to be.
Him: It would be a long shot. I doubt he would ever replace the Caveman, Easto or Mac. You're call boss, but I wouldn't touch him. The lefty looks another matter.
Me: He has pace, I'll grant you, but a right footer on the left wing, I'm not sure about that. His left leg just looks there to keep him upright.
Him: I wouldn't worry about that left peg. Some of the best lefties couldn't use their left foot.
Me: But doesn't that force him to cut inside rather than take the man on ? Anyway, where would he fit into the current set up ? We're playing a more centralised midfield. If he was a left back, then maybe, but I don't see where he would ever get a game.
Him: If it was me, I would have him signed up and see what happens, but maybe keep an eye on him for next season if he doesn't find a club before then.
Me: As for the AMC. Who invited him here ?
Him: I think the agent sent the wrong man. This is a joke !
Me: I can't pass the ball as far as he controls it !
Him: And did you see him at the keepie-upie ? I think he managed 1 ….
Me: …. at the 8th attempt ! Think he might improve ?
Him: Well he can't get any worse !

We had a good laugh as the AMC tried to head the ball back to Tony and it went off at a wild angle. Session over and we told the DML to hang back while we took his contact details while the other 2 got changed. First to leave was the AMC, who tripped falling down the stairs. He tumbled into the carpark, cracking his head on the tarmac, right in front of Spencer's Bentley. Which screached to a halt inches away from crushing the poor young lad. Blood was steaming from the gash on his head and as he got to his feet, there was a pronounced limp.

Spencer: Are you allright son ?
AMC: I'm fine. Just not my lucky day.
Spencer: Let me take you to the hospital to have that seen to
AMC: Thanks, but I'd rather walk

He set off in the direction of town, and Spencer drove past. It wasn't long before his words were proven right. It was not his lucky day. A cargo flight heading to land at Edinburgh was making it's final approach overhead. In a tragic error, the co-pilot flicked the switch to open the cargo bay, rather than lower the undercarriage. The crate at the back slipped out and plummeted to earth. It's contents, an extremely rare Afghan Metropolitan Caribou that was a gift to the zoo. AMC and AMC met with a splat

Pilot: Oh my god ! The AMC has killed the AMC
Co-pilot: Bastard switches. They all look the same.

26-06-13, 12:14 PM
A quite outstanding death indeed.

Nicely poised against BATE, I also reckon it'll be a 1-1 draw.

26-06-13, 01:48 PM
Sign the lefty up!

26-06-13, 04:28 PM

Awesome, keep up the good work!

26-06-13, 08:47 PM
Sign the lefty up!

I just don't see where he would fit into any formation that I'm likely to play. He's certainly not going to displace Conroy, Remy, Lawless or Cusack from any left wing slot.

27-06-13, 02:24 PM
November 2013

How long could this run last ? It is over 18 months since we last tasted defeat, when Peterhead beat us on the 13th of April 2011. I wasn't confident that the defeat wouldn't happen next game

BATE 0 East Stirling 1
UEFA Cup round 2

McLean, Cave-Brown, Conroy, Kanyuka, McAusland, Murphy, Pawlett, Howard, Reynolds (Sheringham), Stewart, Remy (Cusack)

Whoa ! Where did that come from ? It is years since I have managed to beat BATE, and with much better teams than this. The away goal gave the home side a huge advantage in my book and I emphasised to the team the importance of not giving them an early advantage. If they scored it would be tough to get back in the game. We weathered the early storm and had started to build some play of our own, when Kontsevoy struck with a header from a free kick. We were saved by the offside flag. McLean took it quickly, found Remy who centered for Reynolds. The young striker gained control, turned his marker and smashed it home off the underside of the bar. Away goal cancelled out. That knocked the wind out of the Belarusian side and they never recovered. In truth it was a turgid game of few chances and fewer still on target. Who cares, we were in the UEFA hat with the likes of Liverpool, Roma, Athletico Madrid and Inter Millan. Who would we get ? There are no easy games at this level (although I would smile if we got Hearts or Dnipro). Typical of this seasons draw, we were heading back to Eastern Europe and the Russian capital. Spartak in November is no fun trip.

Cowdenbeith 1 East Stirling 3
Scottish Football League 1

McLean, McAusland, Conroy, Kanyuka, Harding, Paton, Cusack, McCord, Sheringham (Sludden), Stewart, Lawless

After an early scare when the home side took a 2nd minute lead, it took a while to knock the European hang-over on the head. Pates levelled just before the half hour and minutes later we were in front through Stewart. Sludden finished them off in injury time. St.Mirren lost to bottom side Raith, knocking them down to 7th. Danny Lennon received the dreaded vote of confidence from the St. Mirren board

East Stirling 4 Dunfermline 2
Scottish Football League 1

Grant (Dick), McAusland (Easton), Booth, Kanyuka, Harding, Paton, Cusack, McCord, Sheringham (Sludden), Stewart, Lawless

The problem with not listing a keeper on the bench is when you get an injury in the 12th minute. Cusack had put us ahead, but 78 minutes is a long time to defend that lead with a midfielder in goal. The defence and midfield worked tirelessly to protect him. McCord made it 2-0 with a powerful run to ease the presure. Stanton pulled one back second half only for Sheringham to restore the 2 goal advantage with 15 minutes to play. Barrowman made it 3-2 and a nervy closing section, but tensions were eased when Harding headed home his first ever East Stirling goal following a corner in the closing minutes. That was our game in hand

East Fife 0 East Stirling 3
Scottish Football League 1

Vaughan, McAusland, Conroy, Kanyuka, Harding, Paton (Dick), Cusack, McCord, Sludden, Stewart, Lawless

Two for McCord. One for Stewart. Need I say more, other than 17 year old John Vaughan was awarded a 9 for his debut performance. St. Mirren beat Livvy so Danny Lennon survives another week.

After the game, we finally managed to put an end to the protracted transfer of Euan McLean to Raith Rovers. They got in a bidding war with Ross County, and we finally got the £50k we were asking for in the first place. The next day, his replacement arrived. 32 year old Rhys Evans completed a £16k move from Doncaster. Despite not playing for a couple of seasons, he looks like a decent squad addition but is probably 3rd behind Grant and Vaughan.


Spartak Moscow 0 East Stirling 0
UEFA Cup round 3

Vaughan, McAusland (Parkes), Easton, Kanyuka, Harding, Booth, Cusack (Conroy), McCord, Sludden, Stewart, Remy (Reynolds)

A 0-0 draw in the freezing Moscow sleet doesn't sound like a game for the purist. Had it been a backs to the wall, do or die, defensive performance then it might have been a heart warming story. Sadly, this was a turgid affair that resulted in the death of several Aged Moscovian Citizens from hypothermia. There was no last gasp defending. No magnificent saves, just a procession of woeful shooting which tested neither keeper. The home side had 3 efforts all game and only Eminike's second half effort made it through to Vaughan. (The same player did hit the bar in the first half). We were worse, finding the target just once in 6 attempts, McCord collecting a rebound from the wall after a free kick and firing straight at the keeper. Very much a game to forget, particularly for Ryan Harding who was forced to limp off with an ankle ligament problem, leaving us to play out the final 2 minutes with 10 men.

In a busy month, it was 2 in and 2 out before the next match. Leaving Shire with our best wishes were Jordan Parkes and Paul Munster. Parkes had been our other contract rebel and when Aberdeen offered £50k, I almost bit their hand off. Instead, I negotiated a player exchange and the return of a familiar face. Herman being transfer listed had raised plenty of interest, but few bids. When an offer came in from Australia, I negotiated a sell on clause before accepting. He left for a new life down-under with Spirit FC of Sydney.

The player exchange brought back David Barron, a player who I would never have let go had it not been for the release clause. He had been a regular in his first season at Pitodrie but had been frozen out recently and was glad to move back for the chance of first team action. He is a like for like replacement for Easton, probably the better player ! The other new boy is 19 year old central defender Colin Kelly. Despite his tender years, he has played 67 times for Bray Wanderers and by picking up 21 MoM awards, must have something about him. He'll start in the reserves, but I'll expect him to get a start before the end of the season.

East Stirling 4 Raith Rovers 0
Scottish Football League 1

Vaughan, McAusland (Barron), Conroy, Armstrong, Kanyuka, Booth, Pawlett, Howard (Dick), Sheringham, Lawless, Remy

No European hangover here. It was 3-0 in 20 minutes. Howard converted Pawlett's cross to start the ball rolling. Pawlett blasted in number 2 from the edge of the box and Sheringham celebrated his return to the side with a trademark header. It was Sheringham who finished things off by collecting Remy's through ball and hitting a fierce shot which gave the keeper no chance. St. Mirren lost 4-2 at Dunfermline.

Livingston 1 East Stirling 4
Scottish Football League 1

Vaughan, McAusland (Barron), Conroy, Armstrong, Kanyuka, Booth, Pawlett (Reynolds), Howard (Hogg), Sheringham, Lawless, Remy

Mark McNulty must have scored every time we have played Livvy. This time it took him just 2 minutes to get his ubiquitous goal. It was about the last thing that Livvy did as, after taking 20 minutes to find our rhythm we then ran riot. Remy, Pawlett, Sheringham and Armstrong all found the net and there could have been many more. Their keeper was their best player ! Good confidence boost for the visit of Spartak. St. Mirren lost 2-1 at home to Queen of the South. Danny Lennon can't survive much longer and the press consider his status to be Very Insecure.

There was still one game left for us in the month, the visit from Spartak, but we go into the game now 18 points clear of Peterhead who them selves are 1 clear of Dumbarton. The midtable is still packed, with just 8 points between 2nd and 8th placed Queen of the South. St Mirren are currently 6th.

27-06-13, 03:01 PM
Well done on beating BATE! Very tough draw and you did well to pick up a point away, shame there was no away goal though but given the run you are on, hopefully you can get the result at home :ok:

27-06-13, 03:09 PM
Well done on beating BATE! Very tough draw and you did well to pick up a point away, shame there was no away goal though but given the run you are on, hopefully you can get the result at home :ok:

I think we've missed our chance. We needed the away goal as I can't see them being as poor again. If they now get a goal it will be a mountain to climb.

27-06-13, 04:15 PM
Just discovered this ..... Great minds think alike (http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2012-stories/87097-sir-alex-ferguson-career.html)

And I thought it might be a long haul on CM !!!!!

27-06-13, 06:43 PM
You'll do them at home. 2 clear goals my prediction.

27-06-13, 07:04 PM
Well done on the win over BATE, and I'd have been happy with a goalless draw away at Spartak. I reckon a comeback 2-1 win in the home leg :ok:

27-06-13, 09:06 PM
This story is great, I should comment on it more!

27-06-13, 10:14 PM
Come on Danny Lemon, c*ck it up!!

Unbelievable unbeaten run, will it continue until you leave the club?!

27-06-13, 11:16 PM
Agree with a couple of other posters here, reckon you'll concede but still win. I'll go for 3-1

28-06-13, 08:35 AM
You'll do them at home. 2 clear goals my prediction.

Well done on the win over BATE, and I'd have been happy with a goalless draw away at Spartak. I reckon a comeback 2-1 win in the home leg :ok:

Agree with a couple of other posters here, reckon you'll concede but still win. I'll go for 3-1

You guys have more confidence than me. Spartak have a VERY good side. On paper they should destroy us.

This story is great, I should comment on it more!

Just keep reading. There may be a short cameo role for you coming up soon !

Come on Danny Lemon, c*ck it up!!

Unbelievable unbeaten run, will it continue until you leave the club?!

At the start of this season, when I went to the non wib/wob, I was really wanting to lose a few games and get tied up in a mid-table battle for a few seasons, until the Saint's job came up. Now that is getting close, I really don't want it to end. This may be my record run ever, just wondering if Danny can hang around long enough to make it to 100 games

28-06-13, 01:26 PM
Out …. and In

On the eve of the Spartak game the first 2 of the 4 League Cup Quarter finals were scheduled. First up saw Peterhead beat Livingston at Balmoor, no great shock there, although a Scullion freekick to equalise in the last second of normal time, followed by a Kelly winner 2 minutes from the end of extra time did make it dramatic. The other match saw St.Mirren visit 3rd division outfit Brechin City. It should have been no contest, but nobody told Brechin that. Carcary headed in a 17th minute opener for the home side and despite intese pressure from Saints, that was how it stayed until 27 minutes from time. Brechin won a freekick. Carcary floated a cross onto the head of former St. Mirren striker David McKenna who made appropriate gestures to the Saint's bench as he celebrated his goal. Worse was to follow. Captain Grant Monroe nutted Andy Jackson and walked to the changing room before waiting for the red card. Carcary rubbed salt in the wound by making it 3-0 in stoppage time.

Chairman Stewart Gilmore had a taxi waiting for Danny Lennon outside the ground and he didn't survive long enough to make it onto the team coach home. Gilmore had my application on his desk before the coach arrived back in Paisley !


Maybe the players had picked up the vibe that my thoughts were elsewhere. I had given them a rousing team talk, but is was still a lackluster start from the 11 in East Stirling shirts. Give a team like Spartak a sniff of a chance and you are going to get punished. Conroy upended McGeady. Christaldo took the freekick. Pareja headed past Vaughan. They had the away goal and we had 77 minutes to put 2 past German international keeper Tim Wieise. Fair play, we had a good go at it, but by half time had still not managed to break them down, despite coming close on a couple of occasions. We new what we had to do. No point on dwelling on what might have been and we had to start taking the chances that we were making. I was going to give it 15 minutes before changing to a 4-3-3 and going all out. Just 9 of them were needed before we drew level. Kanyuka blocked Kallstrom's driven shot and Pawlett scrambled the clearance as far as Conroy. He charged down the wing with Stewart in support, hit the bye-line and delivered a cross to the near post which was met by Stewart's diving, glancing header. The crowd of 1,046 went mental. Could the dream go on ?

Pawlett hit a speculative effort over the bar before I made the expected changes. Reynolds and Cusack on for Murphy and Pawlett. It would be 4-3-3, do or die, to the whistle. The plan failed miserably and Wiese didn't have another save to make ! Spartak had their chances and kept Vaughan busy, but 1-1 was how it ended and we were dumped out, but still unbeaten. That's the run upto 88 now. Dumbarton couldn't end the run, and nor could Aberdeen in the League Cup quarter final, Reynolds and Lawless finding the net in a 2-0 win. The Lawless goal was to be the last one of my reign. The very next morning I received a call from Stewart Gilmore.


I wasted no time. Didn't even say good bye to the players. I dumpped the Fiat 500 and headed off to Paisley in my new wheels.


My destination was Paisley, to sign on the dotted line.


If this was a story, you just wouldn't believe it. My first match in charge will be to try to break East Stirling's unbeaten run !!!

28-06-13, 01:34 PM
Shame you couldn't beat Spartak to leave on a high but at least the domestic run is intact before you left.

But thank God for the job coming up and glad you got it! You really couldn't make it up, what are the chances your team will look completely buggered by the assistant manager and you end up breaking your own run? :D

28-06-13, 01:39 PM
Bad luck against Spartak there. Shame you couldn't hang around at East Stirling to see how long you could make the unbeaten run, but onwards and upwards! I reckon you'll beat them with St Mirren :ok: The league's very congested so you might get St Mirren promoted this year - how many matches are left?

28-06-13, 03:46 PM
You'll do them at home. 2 clear goals my prediction.

Would have if you weren't side tracked.
You genuinely couldn't right that script on your first game. Will be interesting to see what formation/team they put out against you.

28-06-13, 05:18 PM
and there it is! Kept the unbeaten run as I predicted too!

Ferguson admits credit must go to BobMem after 88 match unbeaten run

"BobMem's contribution of reading and sitting on his @rse can't be underestimated"

29-06-13, 11:09 AM

I know how infuriating it is waiting round for jobs (fucking Roy Keane and Ipswich! :frusty:) so pleased to see you finally get the Buddies job.

Awesome stuff with East Stirlingshire too, great to see that unbeaten run continue before you left, so close for my prediction for the Spartak return as well.

Time to get them kids in!

29-06-13, 08:27 PM
(fucking Roy Keane and Ipswich! :frusty:)

Also applies in real life. Glad to see the back of him!

30-06-13, 03:09 AM
I'm sure you can do it!

if not Super Zan is there to help you ;)

01-07-13, 08:07 AM
It's like deja vu all over again

The XX was booming out of the Alfa's infotainment system, while the soothing voice of Miss Satnav guided me to my destination

I get swept away
When I think of you
Take me to that place
Where it's control I lose

at the roundabout take the third exit

I'm soothed by you, you take it all away

turn left

I lose to you, surrendered at the start of the game

turn right

And there it was in front of me …... My new Theater of Dreams !


I have to admit to once again being a wee bit disappointed. It certainly didn't look the sort of place where SPL football had been hosted just 8 months ago. The street sign had said Love Street and the black turnstiles, although locked up, told me I was at a football ground and I knew that there was only one club in Paisley and that they played in black and white stripes, so this had to be the right place.

Closer up, it was worse than first impression. Forget SPL football 8 months ago, there had been no football played here for some time.


Jesus Christ ! How could the groundsman have let the pitch get into that state ? Something didn't add up here. That pitch had not been played on this season, yet this was definitely a football stadium on Love Street, Paisley. I took my eyes away from the disappointing desolate landscape on the inside and checked out the disappointing desolate landscape on the outside. Hidden in a corner, minding his own business was an old tramp, even at 8am he was swigging at a bottle of Buckfast, a refreshing tonic wine popular in this area ! I'm sure I'd seen him somewhere before, but the best way to describe him was as A Manky C**t.

Me: Hey Jim ! Is this tha Saint Mirren home ?
AMC Naw. Yi need New St. Mirren Park pall. Gonny geeus a quid fur a wee cuppa tea ?

Fuck this for a game of soldiers ! How could I have got it so wrong ? A red mist descended and I kicked out at the nearest thing to me, an empty can of Carlsberg Special Brew, probably last owned by the old tramp. It was a perfect connection with the outside of the boot and had it been a freekick, one that I would have been proud of in my playing days. The can cleared the the wall with a bit of bend that migh have deceived a keeper, before dipping into what I imagined would have been the top corner. I almost put my had up to celebrate, but before I could, there was an almighty crash, a huge flash and a creaking noise as one of the floodlight pylons started to lean over. I could only watch as it fell onto the wall, just above where the tramp sat in a drunken stupor. For a moment it looked like the wall would hold, but then one brick fell, followed by another and before I knew it, the whole wall had collapsed on top of the tramp, followed by the floodlight pylon which emitted one last flash of electricity before fizzing out. I had no idea if he was crushed or electrocuted, but one thing was certain …...

AMC was dead !

I had a strange feeling that this would not be the last time that I kick an inanimate object in anger, causing harm to an innocent party. From behind me I heard a voice, there was a hint of french in the accent


Me: What the fuck are you gawping at bytheway ?
Stranger: My name is Wenger, Arsene Wenger, and I'm afraid I didn't see the incident.
Me: Aye well pall. Just remember that if our paths ever cross again.

Time to vacate the scene. I jumped into the Alfa, set the sat nav for New St. Mirren Park and put my foot down. It wasn't too far, just the other side of Paisley. It wasn't long before the sat nav was directing me to turn onto Greenhill Road, and there was the ground and this looked a lot more like it !


01-07-13, 08:26 AM
Can't beat a bit of Buckie first thing in the morning :D

01-07-13, 09:30 AM
Deja Vu indeed!

02-07-13, 11:52 AM
A chance to finish what I've started

There wasn't much time to meet the staff or assess the squad fully before the match. First impression was that this was quite an aged squad with 4 players the wrong side of 30 – former Inverness and Ross County defender Grant Munro (34), Midfielder Jim Goodwin (33) who with one cap for The Republic is the only international, right back David van Zanten (32) and former Motherwell hitman Michael Higdon (31).

http://img.skysports.com/12/08/218x298/Munro_2808844.jpg http://img.skysports.com/12/01/218x298/Jim-Goodwin-St-Mirren-1024_2698916.jpg http://img.skysports.com/12/01/218x298/David-van-Zanten-St-Mirren-1024_2700978.jpg http://img.skysports.com/12/02/218x298/Michael-Higdon_2712585.jpg

There were also 2 familiar faces, right winger David Greenhill (29) and midfielder Mark Lamont (21), both of who had arrived from East Stirling. Neither had improved much and Greenhill had made one appearance off the bench in the last 2 seasons.

http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/1983/w5ii.jpg http://www.saintmirren.net/pages/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Mark-Lamont-240x300.jpg

I also had a few selection problems. Munro was suspended while midfielders Sean Burns (21) and Stuart Armstrong (22) were both out injured. Defender Kyle Faulds (22) and midfielder Jack Smith (19 and my only teenager) were both out on loan (Ayr and East Fife). That still left me with 27 to select from. Without having much time to prepare, and no idea how caretaker John Barnes would set them up (his preference is for a 4-1-2-1-2 attacking line up), I decided to go with the tried and tested. I'd stick with the 4-1-3-1-1 that had worked so well for East Stirling.


I still think I needed something more, something that would give us the incentive to play to the best we possibly could. I had been through the team talk, we had discussed the team and individual tactics and expectations and with 5 minutes before we were due on the pitch, I welcomed to the dressing room the current manager of the world beating San Marino. He may have a reputation for being a bit psychotic and known to try extreme methods, but he certainly knew how to motivate a team of average footballers.

As he entered the room all fell silent. Silent except for the thrashing sound of death metal being played at full volume on a system not designed for such a small enclosed space. There was no team talk.
He just walked down the line of players. To each in turn he looked them in the eyes. There was doubt in everyone of them. They didn't have a scooby what was going on. To each player he gave a not unforceful thump on the chest. Man by man they fell to the ground.

There is no sound quite like 16 men rolling on the floor and gasping for breath.

Had this been a step too far ? It certainly looked like it in the first half. Despite lining up with a defensive looking 3-2-2-3 formation that included Evans and McGeever making their debuts, and Sheringham as the only recognised striker, East Stirling made all the running and we were pressed back in our area for most of the half. A Conroy cross was converted by Pawlett on 14 minutes to open the scoring


And there was no surprise, other than it took them so long, when Cusack made it 2-0 with still 7 minutes of the first half to survive. I had seen plenty of things wrong with that pathetic performance, and told the lads so at half time


This was the proverbial game of 2 halves. I had hardly got myself back in the dugout when McGowan hammered in a van Zanten cross to pull back the deficit. And it was almost all square minutes later after a foul on Higdon resulted in McGowan's free kick crashing off the bar. With 30 minutes left, I introduced Lewis Guy to the attack and we switched to a 4-3-3 formation. Wave after wave of Saints attacks followed, but Evans was having an outstanding debut. As the board was displayed shoeing 4 minutes of extra time to be played, it looked as if they would hold out. Then, in the dieing seconds, another van Zanten cross was controlled by Robertson. He had time to pick his spot and lashed it into the top corner.

Fergie Time strikes again !


02-07-13, 12:16 PM
So you couldn't beat them.
Probably unlikely to engineer a win in such a short space of time.

Now all thoughts to The Saints.

02-07-13, 12:34 PM
A defensive 3-2-2-3? Sounds bizarre! I reckon that's a point won rather than two lost, though

02-07-13, 12:46 PM
Higdon should score a few goals for yourself at this level, shame you couldn't start with a win.

02-07-13, 01:06 PM
The unbeaten run continues! You'll have to keep us posted as to how long Barnes/your successor can keep that run going for!

02-07-13, 01:22 PM
A defensive 3-2-2-3? Sounds bizarre! I reckon that's a point won rather than two lost, though

Definitely a point won, especially after going 2 down. It is one of the oddest tactics that the AI has chosen.


Higdon should score a few goals for yourself at this level, shame you couldn't start with a win.

That's what I thought when I saw his name, but he doesn't actually look that great.


The unbeaten run continues! You'll have to keep us posted as to how long Barnes/your successor can keep that run going for!

Consider it done. Will my personal unbeaten record go on longer than East Stirling's ?

02-07-13, 02:06 PM
Consider it done. Will my personal unbeaten record go on longer than East Stirling's ?

That's an almost definate.

02-07-13, 02:41 PM
No support for the strikers in that tactic, lots of long balls I bet!

02-07-13, 02:46 PM
So let me get this straight: if you put your name in as Alex Ferguson you get loads of goals in injury time?!

Seriously how many is that now?!


02-07-13, 03:41 PM
So let me get this straight: if you put your name in as Alex Ferguson you get loads of goals in injury time?!

Seriously how many is that now?!


Loads, but to be honest, I think I'm noticing them more and certainly highlighting them in write-ups

02-07-13, 08:01 PM

08-07-13, 12:59 PM
These Things Are Never Simple

With the excitement of that first game over I had a chance to properly assess the squad and meet the backroom staff that would help me in my task.

I had 2 missions. Firstly, 2nd place in the league was not unobtainable. With still half of the season to play, we were just 10 behind Peterhead and that looked like a reasonable target, even if there would be some upheaval within the squad. East Stirling looked to be away and, to be honest, I didn't want to win the league this year as I won't have done it with a squad age of under 20.


The second target was to get the average age down from it's current 24.53 (1st team 26.25). Both of these figures were lower than I had expected from a first glance at the squad.

I made my first decision. All players 25 and over would be immediately transfer listed. I'd still play them until they left the club, but one way or another they would be gone before the start of next season, so this would give me 6 month to shift them. This included star players Michael Higdon, Paul McGowan and Paul McIness.

One player that I didn't need to worry about was Keeper David Mitchell. He might have been one to keep, being only 24, but he had already agreed a deal with Carlisle when his contract expires in the summer. He was one of 8 players who's contracts would expire. Jamie McKernon (22, DMC), Graeme McGregor (21, AMC), John McGinn (20, AMC) and Bradley Coyne (21, SC) might get offered new deals if they impressed, but none of them looked up to much on paper.

With all of the over 25s gone, it would leave me with an all Scottish squad. This appealled to me and so my second decision was to try to win SFL1 with an entire team of players eligible to play for Scotland and with an average age of under 20. (The no wib/wob rule is also still in place). That left me with just 17 players to properly assess.

In goal I had 22 year old Scott Bain who looked adequate. He had already built up 4 clubs on his CV and had played 15 times, all in the SPL relegation season, so while his form didn't look great, he should do well in a better side.

http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009__034__players__Scott_Bain_crop__1290525349_sta ndard.jpg

In defence I had 2 central and a left back. All looked to be as good as I could expect. 20 year old Jason Naismith looked to be a particularly good defender and had impressed in his 20 games for Saints. Left back Michael Deland was another with good first team experience although he would be 24 next month. Mark Durnan had just turned 22 and appeared to have all of the basics for a central defender. He also had a good record in his 53 games for Saints and Queen of the South. There was also Kyle Faulds who was currently on loan to Ayr. He is already 22 and boarder line on whether he is good enough, so I suspect that the central defender will be away in the summer.

http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009_034__jasonnaismith_1362141053_standard.jpg http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009__034__news__Michael_Deland__1310563736_standar d.jpg http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009__034__players__Mark_Durnan__1314093360_standar d.jpg http://www.myfootballfacts.com/4955.jpg

Midfield was more of a problem. Sean Kelly, Graeme MacGregor, Jamie McKearnon and John McGinn were all short of the standard that I had expected. That left Stuart Armstrong who is a class act, but will be 23 before the end of the season. His freekicks are going to provide valuable goals and assists once he recovers from his hip injury which will have him sidelined for 3 months. Sean Burns (21) who will run all day like a headless chicken and is also out for 3 months with a hip injury. Mark Lamont (21), the former East Stirling man. 19 year old Jack Smith is currently on loan to East Fife and he looks to be worth a place in next years squad. All 4 are basic central midfielders, so I have no width and no defensive or attacking options from midfield.

http://i4.dailyrecord.co.uk/incoming/article1309488.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Stuart+Armstrong.jpg http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009__034__players__Sean_Burns_crop__1282219311_sta ndard.jpg http://www.saintmirren.net/pages/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Mark-Lamont-240x300.jpg http://www.saintmirren.net/pages/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Jack-Smith-240x300.jpg

Up front was a better story 21 year old Leighton McIntosh would be a key player. He has 11 goals to his name for Dundee , Montrose (loan), Stenhousemuir (loan) and 19 games for St. Mirren. Although he would be 22 by the stat of next season I will be doing all I can to fend off the current interest from Aberdeen. I'll be working on that £275k minimum fee clause in his current contract. Supporting him are 20 year old Thomas Reilly, also a striker and 22 year old Graeme Ramage, who can play in the hole behind the front 2, or on either wing. Bradley Coyne is never going to make it at this level.

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The backroom consisted of 45 year old assistant, Stewart Petrie, who had been signed from a similar role at Arbroath.

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He was aided by 5 coaches. None of them were particularly outstnding and goalkeeping coach Paul Weller (English) and fitness coach Craig Tully were both dismissed, one for not being Scottish and one for not being good enough. Replacing them may be a problem as there are few quality coaches available and I can't go for a player coach as that would increase the average age of the playing squad. The 6 scouts were of mixed ability, but I kept them all on as I would need them to find me the best young talent available. 3 of them were immediately dispatched on that task, while the others were asked to file reports on every single player, that is under 22, and listed in any senior Scottish club squad. I had 2 physios and would be looking to add a third when I identified a good candidate.

I already had some ideas for players lined up, but I needed to know what was expected and what resources I had to achieve these goals. I found the office which had Stewart Gilmour (Chairman) written on a brass plaque attached to it. I knocked.

Him: Come in.
Me: You wanted to see me Mr Gilmour ?
Him: Enough of the formalities. You can call me Stewart

he offered a hand to shake, which I took

Me: In that case I'm Alex.
Him: And this is George Campbell, Managing Director. George helps with all of our finances. Just wanted to bring you in to set the scene and introduce you to the office. You've met your playing staff. What do you think ?
Me: Well they did well to come back against East Stirling, who are not a bad side, and I should know. I have my own plans and I think that some are up for it and some may need to move on.
Him: That's up to you, I'll not interfere with the playing side of the business, but we do need to keep an eye on the pounds and pennies.
Me: Are things bad then ?
Him: Lets just say that relegation cost this club significantly. You can see that this is a Premier League set up and we are having to live on First Division income. We need to get back in the SPL as soon as possible. I would expect us to be challenging at the top next season.
Me: Tell me how bad it is please. It will affect my recruitment drive.
Him: Well, we are roughly £150k in debt
George: £145,479 to be precise.
Me: So let me guess, I don't have any budget to buy players with.
Him: Not until you make some sales first. Aberdeen had a scout looking over Stuart Armstrong on Saturday, so that may help you out.
Me: Lets see how that develops. He is a player that I had long term plans for. What about wages ?
Him: The maximum that we can offer to new players at the moment is £250 per week. We may be able to increase that if cuts are made elsewhere.

It waasn't the news that I had been wanting. This was much worse than East Stirling who I had just left. Perhaps some of my targets may need to wait until the summer when, with a bit of luck, the finances may be in a better state.

Him: Anything else, or shall we have a walk round the offices ?

He led off and showed me into the medical room where Dr Gerry Canning were treating Sean Burns hip injury. I asked them to provide me with a report on the physical state of every player by the end of the week. Next we looked into the fully equipped fitness center where there was no excuse for me not loosing a few pounds. The players restaurant would ensure that they stayed on a balanced diet while at the club and finally the offices, both the public facing and the back rooms. We ended up at a door which already had a plaque “Alex Ferguson (Manager)”.

At last I had my own office. This made me a proper manager, not someone in charge of an overgrown sunday league club. With a big smile, I opened the door. My smile widened. It was nothing to do with the sumptuous high backed leather chair behind the solid wood desk. It was nothing to do with the large glass window that overlooked the pitch. What caught my eye was this …..


Hello ….. Kerrching ….. This was getting into the realms of the legendary managers that I thought only existed in stories.

Him: And this is your PA, Francesca.

Wow ….. A PA ! That has to be one up on a secretary ! I wonder if that gives her extra duties ?

Francesca: Please, everyone calls me Fanny. Fanny Paradise.

Must try not to snigger like a schoolboy, but I do hope she lives upto her name

Me: Pleased to meet you Fanny. I'm Alex. Alex Ferguson !
Fanny: Well anything you need, just let me know. My mother told me never to forget what her mother told her. “Every man needs his Fanny”.

This can't be real. Pinch yourself Alex. It must be a dream

Him: And you had better look after Francesca. She is going to become my Grand Daughter in law. Have you and Malky set a date yet ?

Aw fuck ! Why is there always a catch ?

08-07-13, 03:21 PM

Shame about the debt at the club, massive pain in the arse and another challenge for you to sort out.

08-07-13, 04:25 PM
Work to do there to get yourself a budget.
Or at a least a bump in wages anyway.

Get a few older lads off the books and that average will come down. Might not be quick though as a few young 'uns already on the books.

09-07-13, 12:41 PM
Going to be interesting this, lots going on should make for quite a project. Might be worth signing a few crappy 16-year-olds if you can afford it just to bring the average age down :lol:

09-07-13, 01:04 PM
Yeah! Any 16-17 year-old interested and on a free get them straight in!

Fanny paradise :lol:


10-07-13, 09:05 AM
The Start of a Revolution

Players In

John Maxwell from Free
Barry Hall from Free
Ryan Stewart from Free
Steve McCormack from Free
Neil Clark from Free
Ryan McGeever from East Stirling (Loan)

Players Out

David Van Zanten to Roeselare (£16K)
Corrin Brooks-Meade to Raith Rovers (£30K)
Jim Goodwin to Vecindario (£18K)


East Fife (H) First Division 3:0 Robertson, McGowan, McIntosh
Raith Rovers (A) First Division 2:1 McIntosh 2
Cowdenbeath (A) First Division 3:2 McIntosh, Higdon 2

Having escaped from Francesca unscathed, I made my first decision. It may be the stuff of legends, but this was no story. I had a career to build and getting sacked by an angry club chairman because I'd messed about with his future grand-daughter in-law was not part of the plan. My mission was to keep my distance, not get involved and concentrate on the football, which, on the whole, had started pretty well. Despite the results, some of the senior players were not at all happy about being cast aside, some after years of service to the club. It was essential though to dispose of the older players if I was to have any chance of fielding a squad with an average age of under 20 for the start of next season.

The transfer listing of most of the squad had attracted quite a bit of interest and I expected most to have gone by the summer. David Van Zanten was the first to depart, accepting the first offer that came around and heading to Belgium. 33 year old Jim Goodwin who had played 148 times for The Buddies would be ending his career in Spain, while 3rd choice keeper Corrin Brookes-Meade made the most money despite moving the shortest distance. His choice of Raith Rovers is surprising as they look nailed on for relegation this season. In addition to them, Graham Carey had agreed a move to Ross County when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The loss of 2 of the most experienced members of the side didn't appear to have too much impact on performance as the 3 remaining games in 2012 were all won, mainly thanks to Leighton McIntosh, the striker who I had highlighted as key to the squad for next year. Although we won all 3 games, it was far from straightforward.

East Fife will feel hard done by to come away with nothing from Paisley. They matched us in every department, except from sticking the ball in the net (or maybe it was avoiding sticking the ball in the net, as their keeper had a shocker). For the first, Paul McGowan tormented the defence, pulling them all over the place, and winger David Robertson was allowed to drift into the box and had a free header when McGowan's cross finally arrived. Just 6 minutes played. From then on it was a midfield battle that we were often second best in. John McGinn came on as a precaution for Graham Carey at half time and it was the sub who created the second, but that was with just 17 minutes to play. His cross from the left was collected by McGowan who had just the keeper to beat. McGowan looked to have lost control with his first touch and Scully really should have held onto the loose ball. Instead he palmed it back to McGowan who rounded Scully to be presented with an open net. Number 3 was all McIntosh. He ran from inside the center circle then let rip from the edge of the box leaving Scully with no chance. A good win, but far from convincing.

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Elsewhere, East Stirling's long unbeaten run was finally ended by Dunfermline. In a pulsating game, a Sheringham hat-trick was not enough to prevent the homeside from taking all the points with a 4-3 victory. After that game, they were quick to appoint Stuart Fraser, a 44 year old English coach, previously with Sholing, as their manager. Despite his lowly background, he doesn't look to be a bad appointment

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/resources/images/773458.jpg?type=articlePortrait http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/6241/4me6.png

If my former club's unbeaten run was ended, my personal run was destined to continue. We hammered Raith for 45 minutes without finding the net with my former keeper trying his best to show me that I had made a mistake in letting him go. Two goals in the first 5 minutes of the second half sealed the win. McIntosh got them both, the first from a rebound after his own header had crashed ogg the upright and the second when he lobbed the keeper who was caught off his line. Raith made it a nervy finish with a late goal of their own, but we were able to hang on. Despite the goals, Brookes-Meade was named man of the match.

The year ended with a hard fought battle at Cowdenbeath. Twice we led and twice they equalised. The second equaliser came with just 5 minutes of normal time to play and that looked like being the draw. From the kickoff, Robertson headed for goal and while his drive was parried, Higdon was on hand to claim his second of the game and move us upto 6th place. Dumbarton were now second, and just 6 points ahead of us, while East Stirling had not dropped another point and were still miles clear at the top.


I hadn't really intended to bring in any new players, looking to play the ones I wanted rid of, while testing out the younger ones for next year. I did submit a cheeky loan bid for Islam Feruz, who was still part of the Chelsea Reserves set up, despite having 2 full Scotland caps. He is by some margin, the best Scottish teenager around. The respose from his club was a very polite declining of my offer. He had already announced that he would be leaving on a Bosman and so, as he had nothing arranged, I made contact with his agent. That response from his agent can't be printed on this website, but lets just say that it is unlikely that he will become a St. Mirren player in the near future.


My scouts did though, uncover a few players that might make a difference, not to the quality of the sqaud (they were all bloody useless) but to the average age. All 5 of the new boys were just 16 ! Ryan Stewart is the only one to have any chance of getting in the 1st team and even then, I would hope to have better players available at center of my defence.


The final addition was another central defender. Ryan McGeever had played just once for East Stirling since his move from Falkirk in the summer, however he was still as good as anything I had at Saints. When he was made available for loan I picked him up with a view to a summer signing, although he will have to impress as he is already 20 years old.

10-07-13, 09:08 AM
Going to be interesting this, lots going on should make for quite a project. Might be worth signing a few crappy 16-year-olds if you can afford it just to bring the average age down :lol:

Yeah! Any 16-17 year-old interested and on a free get them straight in!

Fanny paradise :lol:


Great minds think alike

10-07-13, 09:12 AM
Work to do there to get yourself a budget.
Or at a least a bump in wages anyway.

Get a few older lads off the books and that average will come down. Might not be quick though as a few young 'uns already on the books.

I'm already thinking that this might be harder than I first thought, especially if I can't sort out the maximum wage. There are plenty of non-Scottish teenagers available that could do a job, but the best young Scots are all with English sides and being paid more than I'll ever be able to afford. Need to see what happens in the summer.

10-07-13, 09:35 AM
Is the average age a new restriction that you've started? Any particular reason for setting it?

Shame about Feruz, always a bit too ambitious perhaps!

10-07-13, 10:04 AM
Is the average age a new restriction that you've started? Any particular reason for setting it?

Shame about Feruz, always a bit too ambitious perhaps!

Fergie won the old Scottish first division with a St. Mirren team who's average age was under 20 and that's what I have to emulate. I have added the restriction that they have to be all Scots (he had some Irish lads at the time). After that, I have to get the sack before I can join Aberdeen. I'll also continue to play with non wib/wob tactics for the time being.

Didn't honestly think I would get Feruz, but I had to try. I'll keep my eyes on him, maybe get a loan next year.

10-07-13, 10:50 AM
Cheers for explaining that, a great achievement from the great man himself :ok:

11-07-13, 12:43 PM
Women Troubles

Players In


Players Out

Paul McGowan Millwall £220K
John McGinn San Antonio (USA) £14K
Graeme MacGregor San Antonio (USA) £12K
David Greenhill Millwall £90K
Steven Anderson Koprivnica £100K
Bradley Coyne Slovacko £8K
Paul McIness Aberdeen £200K


Dumbarton (H) First Division 4:2 McIntosh 2, McGowan, McGinn
East Stirling (A) First Division 1:2 McIntosh
Dunfermline (H) First Division 1:1 Higdon
Raith Rovers (A) Scot Cup R3 1:0 Carey
Livingston (A) First Division 1:0 Carey
Peterhead (H) First Division 5:0 McIntosh 3, Thomson, Lamont pen
Hearts (H) Scot Cup R4 3:0 Robertson, Higdon 2
Queen of the South (A) First Division 3:2 Stratford, Carey, McKernon
Cowdenbeath (H) First Division 2:0 Carey, Lamont

95 games unbeaten. That is how far my personal run went. The final win was a thrilling match at St. Mirren Park where we twice came from behind, both times equalising within seconds, to chalk up a 4-2 win. Leighton McIntosh was again star of the show with a brace, although Graham Carey with 2 assists ran him close.

The run was finally ended where it started, at Ochilview, and we can have no complaints. Despite McIntosh putting us ahead against the run of play, we were unable to hold back the onslaught that followed. Pawlett equalised late in the first half, then Booth grabbed the winner just after the hour. East Stirling are a very good side and have made it on merit to a second consecutive League Cup final in my absence.

It took us a game to recover from that setback, however we were soon back on winning ways and so with 8 league games remaining, we are right on the tails of Dumbarton for that coveted second place. East Stirling need 1 more point to seal the title, although whether the ground will allow them promotion is up for debate.


There was a bit of a scene when we returned to Paisley after that East Stirling game. We were greeted outside St. Mirren park by a protest led by an Angry Muslim Cleric. He was blaming the defeat on an institutional, anti-islamic mindset within the club and all within the club. He was declaring a jihad against St. Mirren and insisting that blood would flow and all infidels would die unless St. Mirren FC were renamed Prophet Mohammed FC. Sadly he had organised the demonstration just round a blind corner and it soon broke up after the AMC had been mown down by the bus driver who hadn't seen him.

Driver: Bastard's hook has punctured a tyre !

The run of good form was all the more surprising as 7 players had left, leaving just 28 in the squad. Paul McGowan and Steven Anderson were the biggest losses as although they would have to go in the summer, they were key to the current squad. At least I got some decent money for them which has boosted the bank balance upto £293,302 and I have been given a transfer budget of £60k, although the maximum wage is still £250 per week.

In addition to the players who have left, there are a further 4 due to depart in the summer, including 34 year old Grant Munro who is off to Stevenage when his contract expires. The average age of the squad is now down to 22.50, so still work to be done, but moving in the right direction.

One further change may be happening soon as we are in a transfer battle with Aberdeen for the permanent signing of loanee Ryan mcGeever. East Stirling have accepted £18k offers from both clubs so it is down to contract talks. Not bothered too much if he leaves as I should find better and younger for next year which is when it really matters.

However, back to football and the Scottish Cup campaign has started. Raith Rovers should have been a push over, especially after Graham Carey ran onto Greenhill's through ball to score after just 14 minutes. The second goal would have made it safe, but just wouldn't come. Even so, we were rarely in danger of conceding.

That brought up Hearts, reigning league champions and heading for 2nd place this year. It was by some margin the best performance since I joined St. Mirren. The defence weathered an opening storm by Hearst who were looking to put this one away early. Quick thinking by McGeever set up the first goal. McAllister was caught offside and McGeever took a quick freekick. McKernon and Robertson moved it on quickly for McIntosh who could have taken a chance himself, but instead set up Robertson who was racing through from midfield. Our offside trap was working well as both Ngoo and Driver thought that they had equalised, only for the linesman's flag to correct them. It was deep into the second half and still 1-0. Hearts had thrown everything at us and had thrown on 3 strikers in an attempt to break us down. I could see that they were tiring and we were getting more and more possession. Jack Hamilton took a goal kick which was won in midfield by Lewis Guy. Michael Higdon had anticipated the header and picked it up clear of the defence. He drew the keeper out, then bent a wicked shot round him to put us 2-0 up.


The visitors heads went down. They knew they were beaten. It was all St.Mirren for the last 20 minutes. Higdon sealed the win, knocking in a wicked Robertson cross 9 minutes from time. It was a fantastic result and a brilliant team performance as we were far from being the better side. We deserved better than a quarter final home tie with the dreaded East Stirling as a reward.

After the game, I was back in my office completing the paperwork on the referee's report. It had been a stressful afternoon and the seats in the dugout are not the most comfortable. My back ached. As I sat at the desk, I was trying to do some stretches to ease the pain.

Fanny: What's up Alex ? Your squirming around like a worm !
Me: If's my back. Need to have Gerry (Canning – Physio) have a look at it on Monday. See if he can give it a massage.
Fanny: You can't wait until then. Let me have a look. I've done some night classes on massage.
Me: If you could. It's agony at the moment.

She got round behind me and was gently rubbing my shoulders while digging in to some of the more painful spots. It was bliss. Un known to either of us, a couple of buttons on her blouse had sprung open and her short skirt had worked it's way up her leg. Had anyone come through the door at that time, they might have got completely the wrong impression.


The door burst open. It was the chairman, Stuart Gilmore !

Him: What the bloody hell is going on here ?
Me: Ehm ! It's not what it seems. I had a sore back …..
Her: ….. He was in agony. I couldn't leave him like that ….
Me: ….. It was just a massage to ease the pain …...
Her: ….... We weren't …..
Me: ….... I wouldn't …..
Him: Look, I don't know what's going on here. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I've got my eyes on you. Alex, you can keep to football affairs and Francesca, you can restrict yourself to office work. Leave any massage to the physios.

That was a close shave, but it was far from the end of my women problems for the month.

It was immediately after the Cowdenbeath game that I got the phone call. It had been a routine 2-0 win with goals in each half from Carey and Lamont that took the points from a Blue Brazil side that had parked a bus in front of goal and offered absolutely nothing in attack. I was in the dressing room giving the postmatch team talk and as soon as they spoke, the caller didn't have to say who it was. I knew the voice instantly. It was Charlie, Jools' partner.

Her: It's a boy !

11-07-13, 01:15 PM
It's a boy!

11-07-13, 01:44 PM
You'd have got extremely long odds on a girl there I reckon!


11-07-13, 10:33 PM
Tenner on it being called Mark :lol:

If you come second and East Stirling's ground isn't up to scratch, do you go up in their place?

12-07-13, 04:31 AM
Tenner on it being called Mark :lol:

If you come second and East Stirling's ground isn't up to scratch, do you go up in their place?

Same Here!

Though hope it's called after it's father Everyman-Bloke-That-Was-There-That-Night or after what is was: Drunken-Regret



12-07-13, 10:08 AM
We not going for Darren as the sprogs name?

12-07-13, 10:12 AM
Darren is his 2nd son, ebz. Mark's the one that became the agent, I think and the reason why the man himself wouldn't talk to the BBC for so long after a documentary on Mark.

12-07-13, 10:21 AM

I should really do my research on old red nose shouldn't I!

12-07-13, 11:39 AM
Who's the Daddy ?

Players In

Ally Duncan from Slovan Bratislava (£20K)
Scott Craig from Raith Rovers (£9K)
Jonathan Rankin from Dundee (Player Exchange)
Kyle Turnbull from Inverness (£26K)
Jack McCue from Hamilton (£26K)
Scott Ritchie from Dundee (player Exchange)

Players Out

Jason Thomson to Peterhead (£50K)
Michael Higdon to Levski (£250K)
Lewis Guy to Dundee (£90K + Rankin)
David Robertson to Dundee (£70K + Ritchie)
Graham Carey to Ross County (Bosman)
David Mitchell to Carlisle (Bosman)
Dan Stratford to Dunfermline (£70K)
Grant Munro to Stevenage (Bosman)
Jamie McKernon Released at end of contract


East Stirling (H) Scot Cup QF 3:2 Higdon, Carey, Stratford
Raith Rovers (H) First Division 2:0 McIntosh 2
East Fife (A) First Division 3:0 Guy, Lamont, Bolwell og
Dumbarton (A) First Division 2:2 Guy, McIntosh
Livingston (H) First Division 1:3 D.Robertson
Inverness (N) Scot Cup SF 0:1
Dunfermline (A) First Division 1:1 Burns
East Stirling (H) First Division 2:0 Robertson, Lamont
Peterhead (A) First Division 1:0 Lamont
Queen of the South (H) First Division 3:0 McIntosh 2, Lamont

Having got the call from Charlie, I rushed straight to the hospital. Jools was there, obviously, along with Charlie, Spencer and a woman who I assumed to be her mum. And there was a baby, sound asleep. He looked perfect. Good enough to be mine.


Me: Wow. He's gorgeous.
Charlie: “He” is Mark. (Mark is Sir Alex's eldest son. Darren and Jason are his younger twins)
Me: Good name. Nothing to do Henderson, the Hoffenheim manager I hope.
Spencer: If is was, I'd be on the first flight to Hoffenheim and he would shortly be an ex-manager.

Gulp !

Charlie: Don't you think he's got Alex's nose ?
Jools: And I'm sure I've seen these eyes before.

Oh shit !

Me: Ehm ….. My nose is all bulbous and his is a cute little button, and he has blue eyes.
Jools: Why so defensive ? We're only having a laugh !
Spencer: Anyway, we know it can't be anything to do with you ?
Me: Why not ? I was at the party, as far as I can remember, not that it was me, I mean …..
Charlie: ….. because Spencer would have killed you if we had any suspicion, and I would have killed you again, so as you're still alive, you're in the clear …..

Gulp ! I hope they never notice that Mark's nose is very familiar !

Charlie: ….. and, because we have a favour to ask.
Me: Ask away
Jools: Will you be Mark's god father ?

Oh my god ! How can you possibly be the god father to a child who is in all probability your own son ? There must be something legal to forbid such things happening. But how can I possibly say no. What reason could I possibly give without casting suspicion ?

Me: No !
Charlie: What ?
Jools: Why not ?
Me: Because I don't believe in god. I'd be very happy to be his “nothing-to-do-with-god father”. Lead him astray. Buy him his first under age beer. Give him money to take is girl …. or boy …. friend away when he's broke and you don't approve, that sort of thing, but the god bit I can't do.
Jools: Sounds like a deal to me. We do need someone to teach Mark how to kick a ball. Two girlies can't possibly do that.

It may have been the third time of asking, but finally we managed to beat East Stirling. It was the cup quarter final and it was at New St. Mirren Park but I was still delighted to get that monkey off my back. It was a blistering start. Within 10 minutes we were 2 up. Higdon pounced on a rebound for the opener and Carey was left unmarked when a cross came over from Thompson and he had all the time in the world to pick his spot. It might have been more as we continued to batter their goal for the rest of the first half. The second half was a complete change and it looked as if missed chances would cost us. Sheringham pulled one back with their first shot on target, and Sludden drew level with their only other effort that was between the sticks. Despite all our play, it was looking like a replay. With 15 minutes still on the clock, we won a freekick. Stuart Armstrong or Mark Lamont were our usual set-piece takers, but for some reason central defender Dan Stratford decided he wanted it.

Bang !

It was over the wall and in the top corner before you could blink an eye !


And that was effectively that. Stuart Armstrong came on for Jamie McKernon to ensure we closed the game out and that is exactly what we did.

After that, it was a bit of a non-event. In the semi final, we met Inverness in the middle of a 4 game run without a win. Deland was sent off in the first half which didn't help, but it was still a game we might have drawn as both sides had just one effort on target all game. Ours was saved while Inverness took theirs and went through to the final. A nice run of 3 wins (including another victory over East Stirling) closed out the season and allowed us to pull 3 points clear of 3rd placed Dumbarton, but still a long way behind East Stirling.


Finishing second was important as it brought in more prize money. More important though were the 9 players who left, bringing in £530k. That allowed me to start the rebuilding program with 6 players already signed up for next season's challenge.

Ally Duncan was my number 1 target and I had to act quick to sign him from Slovan Bratislava before the transfer window as Kilmarnock had started sniffing. He is a 17 year old goal keeper (regen of journeyman keeper Stuart Webster) and is already easily capable of being my number 1 for next season. He did make one appearance this season and let in 3 goals against Livingston, but that was probably more due to Deland's red card in the 3rd minute than anything he did wrong.
Scott Craig I am quietly excited about. He is a flying right winger who has just turned 20. He can play centrally, but tackles like a fairy so is perhaps more suited to the wing role. 9 goals and 7 assists while on loan with Stranraer shows his potential.
Jonathan Rankin could be another key player. The 17 year old former Dundee striker knows how to find the net when he gets a chance even if 2 goals from 19 appearances (18 from the bench) don't show it. He can play behind a front man and needs to work on his all round game to become the player he has the potential to be.
Kyle Turnbull has played 17 times for Falkirk, Queens Park and Inverness. He's a 20 year old full back who can play on either side. Nothing special, but a usefull squad player.
Jack McCue is another who has already reached his 20th birthday. 8 appearances off the bench for the play-anywhere defender and defensive midfielder have not shown anything to inspire me, but he is another who should be useful in the squad.
Scott Ritchie has just turned 19 (Mark Hutchinson – never heard of him – regen) and is primarily a left back, although he does fancy himself in the middle or as a defensive midfielder. He is quick and can run all day and has made 8 starts for Dundee.

With all that income and just £81k spent on new recruits, the finances are well and truly sorted. There is over £1m in the bank and £900k is available for me to spend. More importantly, the maximum wage has been increased to £1,600 which should be enough to attract a few more players. I'll need that as there are just 24 in the current squad including 2 who are listed and 5 who are the useless 16 year olds I picked up for free.


Faulds and Kelly are currently the only transfer listed players. Naismith is going nowhere unless someone triggers his £500k release clause and he has 4 years remaining on his current contract.

The worry is that the average age is still only 19.88, so although I have hit the target, I will have to shed further players over the course of the season. Deland, Bain (if I can find another keeper), Burns and Durnan are the most likely candidates. Armstrong is absolutely key to my midfield.

12-07-13, 11:57 AM
Can you bat Newark Athletics average age? 18.29 :D

Think your gonna walk over the league now East Stirlingshire is gone!

Unlucky at losing a close game, i HATE that but at least you got to beat your ex, like most Scottish when they drink good ol' Stella :D

12-07-13, 12:18 PM
Interesting to see if East Stirling do get promoted. They don't own the ground, so I don't see how they can add more seats. Even so, coming up are Rangers who have had back to back promotions and are bound to be strong and Inverness would replace East Stirling and they have some pretty good players. Iy's not going to be easy.

18.29 is impressive. Don't think I'll be challenging that.

12-07-13, 12:23 PM
Just to wrap the season up ....

East Stirling as we know, they won the First Division and retained the Challenge Cup. They also beat Celtic 3-2 in extra time to retain the League Cup. I hadn't realised quite what I had built until after I had left.
Aberdeen struggled yet again to end the season in 11th. Jody Craddock replaced Craig Brown when he retired and has proven to be just as useless. They did nothing in the cups. Not under threat yet, but having spent over £2.5m on players, the board must have been expecting better that 11th, 9th and 11th finishes.
Scotland After a disasterous Euro Qualification campaign, wee Gordon Strachan has finally got them playing. They currently lead a tough looking World Cup group by 2 points from Holland, with Czech Republic a distant 3rd. Austria and N.Ireland complete the group
Man Utd Won the Premier League again, 4 points clear of Chelsea, followed by Newcastle, Spurs and Man City. They were beaten by Milan in the Champions League semi final, 3-2 on aggregate and lost the League Cup final to Arsenal

Other Winners

SPL Celtic
Scottish Cup Dunfermline (beat Inverness)

FA Cup Liverpool (beat Spurs)
League Cup Arsenal (beat Man Utd)

Champions League Barcelona (beat Milan)
UEFA Cup Napoli (beat Celtic)

Biggest Transfers

Samir Nasri Man City to Dortmund £29.5m
Lucas Moura PSG to Real Madrid £20m
Kwado Asamoah Juventus to Barcelona £20m
Karim Benzema Real Madrid to Man City £18.5m
Hulk Zenit to Corinthians £16.5m
Sebastian Giovinco Juventus to real Madrid £16.25m
Willian Anzhi to Schalke 04 £16m
Son Heung-Min HSV to M'gladbach £15.5m
Gaston Ramirez Southampton to Liverpool £15.25m
Stephan Lichtsteiner Juventus to PSG £15m
Ganzo Sao Paulo to Juventus £14.75m
Frank Ribery FC Bayern to Barcelona £14.75m
Nikica Jelevic Everton to Tottenham £14.5m
Santi Cazorla Dortmund to Fenerbache £14.5m
Hatim Ben Arfa Newcastle to Liverpool £14.25m

And finally, the squad stats from last year, or at least, what is left of the squad

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Armstrong, Stuart 15 (2) 3 0 0 4 0 0 2 7.35
- Bain, Scott 14 0 8 0 0 0 0 1 7.36
- Burns, Sean 5 (5) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.70
- Clark, Neil - - - - - - - - ----
- Craig, Scott 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Deland, Michael 44 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 7.00
- Duncan, Ally 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 7.00
- Durnan, Mark 3 (4) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.14
- Faulds, Kyle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Hall, Barry - - - - - - - - ----
- Kelly, Sean 5 (2) 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 6.71
- Lamont, Mark 17 (5) 6 0 2 (1) 2 1 1 1 7.00
- Maxwell, John - - - - - - - - ----
- McCormack, Steve - - - - - - - - ----
- McCue, Jack 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- McIntosh, Leighton 19 (3) 15 0 0 2 1 0 4 7.64
- Naismith, Jason 30 (5) 2 0 0 1 2 0 5 7.26
- Ramage, Graeme 20 (5) 6 0 0 2 1 0 0 6.84
- Rankin, Jonathan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Reilly, Thomas 3 (6) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.56
- Ritchie, Scott 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Smith, Jack 1 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.67
- Stewart, Ryan - - - - - - - - ----
- Turnbull, Kyle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----

12-07-13, 02:18 PM
God father my arse!

Finishing 2nd is a good end to the season given you'd put East Stirling firmly on the way to the title before you moved. Definitely expecting the title next year even with the average age restriction ;)

15-07-13, 12:55 PM
Getting away from distractions

It was by any measure you want to set, a pretty threadbare squad. I'd need at least 6 additional players before the season starts, with midfield and defence the priority. Even though I had money to spend, all of the decent young Scottish players were at clubs much bigger than St.Mirren, so even though they would be guaranteed first team football with me, they had no intention of moving to Paisley.

I had 7 weeks to sort out a squad, so while I sent the scouts out to find some talented youngsters and contacted all of the agents who managed Scottish players for any youngsters looking for new clubs, I decided I needed a holiday. Without telling anyone where I was going, I packed my bags and headed for some sea, sand, sun and seclusion. It was bliss. No worries, total relaxation.


After a couple of days of doing absolutely nothing, I needed to get some exercise, so headed off for a walk round the beach. It was deserted, until I got close to the next villa, where I noticed someone bathing in the sun. Getting closer, I noticed it was a woman …. an attractive woman …. an attractive woman that I recognised.

Me: Francesca ! What are you doing here ?
Her: Fanny's are allowed some relaxation you know ! Mr Gilmour owns the house up there, so we come over with them every summer.
Me: Bloody hell ! I go to get away from it all and end up next door from the boss ! Hope you don't mind. I'd love to hang about, but I was wanting some peace and quiet, so I'll just get on with my walk and leave you to it.
Her: Before you go, would you mind rubbing some cream into my back. I've been out here for a couple of hours, and I can't reach it my self. Malky has gone off to play golf and won't be back for hours.
Me: No problem.

I was rubbing the cream into her back, and she had loosened the bikini top so that there would be no mark left. It was all perfectly innocent, but if anyone had come across us, they might have got completely the wrong impression.


Stuart Gilmour: What the bloody hell is going on here !
Me: It's not what you think !
Him: I turn my back for 5 minutes and you're bloody at it again
Me: It's not like that. I was just out for a walk …..
Her: …... And I was going to burn if I stayed out …..
Me: …... So Francesca asked me to put on some sun cream …..
Her: …... We weren't …..
Me: …... I wouldn't …..
Him: Look, I don't know what's going on here. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I've got my eyes on you. Alex, I don't want to see you here again and Francesca, you can go indoors if the sun is getting too hot.

I stayed away and didn't see them again until we were safely back in Paisley where I got confirmation that Ochilview had been extended to a 9,150 all seater stadium and as a result East Stirling were promoted to the SPL. That in turn meant that Inverness would relegated to our league where we would be joined by Rangers and Airdrie from division 2.

Preseason training started and the lads had kept themselves pretty fit over the summer. The squad had 10 trialists added for assesment and I was hopeful of landing a few more of my targets before the season opening League Cup trip to Stirling Albion. Firstly there were still some players to shift out and 3 had lefts before we headed for Stirling.

Gone were Kyle Faulds who had played just twice in 5 years at St.Mirren (once as a sub) and had not impressed on either loan fo Forfar or Ayr. Dumbarton still paid £12k. After 98 games at left back in the black and white shirt, Michael Deland also departed, with Bournemouth winning the auction at £250k. I'd have liked to hold onto him, but at 24 it makes a big change to the average squad age to let him go now. I still have 3 players who can play left back. The final departure was that of keeper Scott Bain, who had a good season, but would now be number 2 to Ally Duncan and I wanted someone younger to be my backup. It did leave me with just one keeper for a few days. Sean Kelly is the only player currently transfer listed.

I was quite pleased with the replacements. Blair Lochhead arrived from St.Johnstone where he had been given 2 successful loans to Stirling Albion. He is 20 and a good shot stopper, although crosses are likely to bother him. The £12k spent wont be too harmful even if he only lasts a season.
17 year old central defender Stephen Brown arrived after playing 29 times for Forfar. Possibly one for the future, but he will be in line for first team action as his prowess in the air is something we lack. £5k is worth the gamble.
Paul Oliver is an 18 year old defensive midfielder, A role that I need to fill, and has just one sub appearance for Peterhead to his name. A lack of options puts him straight in the squad and the £6k spent is not going to be missed.
Assistant Stewart Petrie recommended his son Darren Pettrie who is currently with Motherwell. They were willing to do a loan deal, so his arrival means that I have a second defensive midfielder
Fraser Baillie will be the 3rd option that role. The 16 year old signed his first professional contract and if he can improve his fitness, may become a decent player. If nothing else, he does bring down the average age. Also 16 is Jamie McIntyre who is a central midfielder, but likely to start off in the reserves.
Finally, one of my top targets, and a new transfer record for me. £70k landed Aberdeen's Cammy Smith, a talented 19 year old forward who had played 24 times for The Dons, netting 3 times. He is quick and skilful, so he may be better playing behind the striker(s) rather than up front. He certainly offers me plenty of attacking options, as I now have 5 front men on the books.

The full squad looks like this


Some pretty ropey players in that lot, but the average age is 19.11. That's good enough to start with, but birthdays will soon bump that up, so I'll need to make changes mid season. I'm looking for Duncan, Naismith, Armstrong, McIntosh and Smith to hold the team together. I'm very concerned about the lack of width in midfield. Not sure how to line up as this is still gong to be no wib/wob, 4-3-3 looks the obvious, but is that a bit too aggressive ?

15-07-13, 01:28 PM
Cammy Smith looks the pick of the strikers. He'll score well I reckon.


15-07-13, 01:50 PM
Squad does look very weak, no-one has really caught my eye. Still, I'm sure you'll do well!

15-07-13, 01:53 PM
Cammy Smith looks the pick of the strikers. He'll score well I reckon.


Yes. He was one of my top priorities. Don't think that goals will be a problem. Rankin will get a few and McIntosh scored 15 in 19(3) last season. I worry about the defense and the lack of any wide options in midfield.

15-07-13, 08:45 PM
Been a while since I've managed to read this but great stuff as usual.

Good work in getting under the required average age and boosting the finances into the bargain!

Many of Rangers original squad there?

15-07-13, 09:09 PM
You might recognise some of the current backup players, bur Dean Shiels is the only name I recognise (other than several former East Stirling lads)

************************************************** **********************************************
Glasgow Rangers - Saturday 3rd August 2013
************************************************** **********************************************

================================================== ==============================================
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Position(s) Nat Born Age Caps Gls Wages Expires Value
- Anderson, Ben AM L ENG 28.8.93 19 - - £275 24.6.16 £50K
- Argyriou, Anestis D R GRE 4.1.86 27 - - £525 6.5.15 £35K
- Bradley, Peter D L NIR 26.5.89 24 - - £1.1K 13.6.16 £150K
- Brown, Jason GK WAL 18.5.79 34 3 - £1.6K 22.6.15 £65K
- Burnett, Greg M C SCO 24.5.85 28 - - £1.3K 11.6.15 £170K
- Burrows, Jamie S C SCO 24.3.93 20 - - £120 22.5.15 £30K
- Conroy, Ryan D/AM L SCO 28.4.85 28 - - £1.8K 5.6.16 £275K
- Faure, Sébastien D RC FRA 3.1.89 24 - - £1.7K 3.6.16 £65K
- Fitzpatrick, Andy AM RL IRL 5.10.97 15 - - £200 2.6.16 £30K
- Gallagher, Callum S C SCO 13.9.92 20 - - £120 18.6.14 £10K
- Gibson, Kristian M C NIR 21.3.93 20 - - £100 20.5.16 £28K
- Hall, Danny M RC SCO 11.10.92 20 - - £110 1.6.15 £45K
- Hegarty, Christopher D RC NIR 13.8.90 22 - - £1.4K 22.6.15 £80K
- Kane, Alex D/M C SCO 12.11.96 16 - - £75 1.8.14 £12K
- Koren, Robert AM RC SVN 20.9.78 34 65 5 £1.8K 13.6.14 £26K
- Lunn, Mark GK SCO 11.5.88 25 - - £240 15.6.15 £24K
- McArdle, Rory D RC NIR 1.5.85 28 4 - £1.7K 25.6.19 £80K
- McGregor, Aaron M C NIR 4.3.92 21 - - £160 15.6.14 £14K
- McGurn, David GK SCO 1.1.78 35 - - £1.1K 25.6.15 £55K
- Mitchell, Andrew D/M LC NIR 6.4.90 23 - - £600 22.6.14 £30K
- Perry, Ross D RC SCO 7.2.88 25 - - £350 12.5.16 £65K
- Quinn, Tony F RC SCO 29.8.94 18 - - £65 13.6.17 £35K
- Ramsay, Darren M C SCO 7.8.93 19 - - £90 28.6.14 £6K
- Reynolds, Stephen S C SCO 11.6.90 23 - - £1.3K 27.6.16 £140K
- Rodgers, Andy S C SCO 18.11.81 31 - - £2.2K 5.6.14 £28K
- Shiels, Dean AM/F RC NIR 1.2.83 30 9 - £2.3K 28.6.17 £110K
- Shinnie, Andrew AM C SCO 17.7.87 26 - - £1.6K 11.6.15 £130K
- Southern, Keith DM C ENG 24.4.79 34 - - £3.2K 3.6.14 £35K
- Stewart, Alan D/DM L SCO 31.10.92 20 - - £65 3.6.16 £24K
- Turner, Chris DM C NIR 3.1.85 28 - - £1.4K 9.5.14 £40K
- Urquhart, Stuart D C SCO 26.3.93 20 - - £120 31.5.16 £35K
- Vaughan, John GK WAL 5.6.95 18 - - £120 18.6.16 £24K
- Wiktorski, Kamil DM RC POL 12.3.91 22 - - £130 6.5.16 £80K
- Wroe, Nicky M RC ENG 28.9.83 29 - - £2K 12.6.15 £140K

15-07-13, 09:14 PM
Argyriou, Faure, Hegarty, Mitchell and Perry all saw game time IRL last season as well as Shiels, did well to get Andrew Shinnie back to the club in division 2.

From the looks of that squad I'd fancy you to win the league anyway.

Oh and I forgot to congratulate you on (potential) fatherhood!

15-07-13, 10:17 PM
Didn't Koren used to play in the Championship in England? Maybe for WBA?

15-07-13, 10:22 PM
Yeah I recognised him but I was just going on Rangers players.

17-07-13, 11:59 AM
August 2013

Players In

Steven Anderson Free
Neil Smith Free
Robert Petrie from Forfar (£6K)
Alan McLaughlin from Edinburgh City (£4K)
Craig Wilson Free

Players Out

Sean Burns to St. Johnstone (£55K)
Sean Kelly to Penafiel (Free)


Stirling (A) League Cup R1 3:0 Reilly, McIntosh, Rankin
Livingston (A) First Division 4:3 C.Smith, Reilly 2, McIntosh
Berwick (H) Challenge Cup R1 1:2 Armstrong
Dunfermline (H) First Division 1:1 Reilly
Raith Rovers (A) League Cup R2 2:1 Rankin, Reilly
Dumbarton (A) First Division 4:0 C.Smith, Armstrong, Naismith, Rankin
Peterhead (H) First Division 3:1 McIntosh, Rankin, Reilly

Cammy Smith failed a fitness test on the morning of the Stirling game. He would have been a certain starter, but in his place I drafted in Jonathan Rankin and kept with the formation that I had in mind, a 4-4-2 diamond. It should play to our attacking strengths, but still give some sort of defensive cover.


on the evidence of the opening game it did just that. One goal for each of the attacking players and a clean sheet, can't ask for more than that, even if The Binos were a pretty poor side.
The next 3 games made me doubt the tactical decision and had me asking questions about the squad restrictions I had in place. Cammy Smith came straight into the starting 11 and took just 2 minutes to open his account, beating Keddie, Welsh and Doherty on his way to goal. Already a candidate for goal of the season.


Donaldson twice leveled for the home side sandwiching a strike from Thomas Reilly to make it 2-2 at the interval. Second half and Mark McNulty, who always scores against me, did just that again, putting Livvy infront for the first time. With an hour gone, Livvy were in front and had their tails up, looking like they might score again. The match then changed thanks to referee Mr Amendolla. Kevin Welsh went in to tackle Thomas Reilly. True it was hard, and maybe a bit clumsy, but I would have thought that a yellow card would have been enough. Mr. Amendolla decided on a straight red and handed us a man advantage for the last 30 minutes. It took just 3 to be level when McIntosh was unmarked as McCue delivered a cross from the right and 13 minutes from time, Reilly was set up by Armstrong for the winner. He might well have grabbed a hat trick, but missed from the spot after keeper Jellema pulled down McIntosh (that should have been a red card).
If that was a warning, I didn't notice and headed straight into the Berwick Rangers debacle. Just 3 changes made, to players who hadn't recovered, and we were totally outplayed by a 3rd division outfit. Even when we scored an undeserved goal with just 10 minutes to play, the visitors just came back and scored twice themselves, giving me my first taste of defeat in this competition (won the last 3 with East Stirling).

We needed to bounce back quickly, but instead managed just a 1-1 bore draw (both goals in first 11 minutes) at home to Dunfermline.

Time to make some changes, and I reshuffled the pack, although I don't have too many options. 3 wins to end the month puts us top of the league and looking forward to a trip upto Aberdeen I the League Cup 3rd round.


Five new boys to welcome. Anderson, Smith and Wilson are only here to bring down the average age. Robert Petrie is the younger brother of Darren and son of my assistant Stewart. He looks quite tidy as a central midfielder, rather than a winger and has a few years to develop. He played 26 times for Forfar. Alan McLaughlan won 27 MoM awards in 87 games for Edinburgh City. I think I see him as a central defender, although he played left back in his 3 games so far.


Sean Burns and Sean Kelly, both 22 left the club and so the average age is down to 18.71. I'm still in the market for a left winger and some better defenders, but I don't think that I'll need to sell anyone else.

================================================== ==============================================
2013/4 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Anderson, Steven - - - - - - - - ----
- Armstrong, Stuart 7 2 0 0 5 0 0 1 7.86
- Baillie, Fraser - - - - - - - - ----
- Brown, Stephen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Clark, Neil - - - - - - - - ----
- Craig, Scott 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 7.67
- Duncan, Ally 7 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 7.14
- Durnan, Mark 6 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 7.00
- Hall, Barry - - - - - - - - ----
- Lamont, Mark 4 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 7.50
- Lochhead, Blair 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Maxwell, John - - - - - - - - ----
- McCormack, Steve - - - - - - - - ----
- McCue, Jack 5 (2) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 7.14
- McIntosh, Leighton 5 3 0 0 1 0 0 2 7.60
- McIntyre, Jamie - - - - - - - - ----
- McLaughlin, Alan 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 7.00
- Naismith, Jason 5 (1) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7.00
- Oliver, Paul 1 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.50
- Petrie, Darren 6 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.33
- Petrie, Robert 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Ramage, Graeme 0 (5) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7.00
- Rankin, Jonathan 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 7.75
- Reilly, Thomas 7 6 0 1 (0) 0 0 0 2 8.00
- Ritchie, Scott 4 (1) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 6.60
- Smith, Cammy 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 7.40
- Smith, Jack 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.00
- Smith, Neil - - - - - - - - ----
- Stewart, Ryan 1 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.50
- Turnbull, Kyle 4 (2) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.00
Wilson, Craig - - - - - - - - ----

17-07-13, 12:23 PM
Well done on getting the age down, gives you a bit of freedom to strengthen the side rather than just focus on how old the players are. Scoring seems to be good, but conceding 7 in five games (I think?) might need some work...

17-07-13, 12:51 PM
Decent start to the season! Given the average age of the squad, it's going to be inevitable that you get some bad results along the way at some point. At least it was in the cup and not in the league!

17-07-13, 02:07 PM
Well done on getting the age down, gives you a bit of freedom to strengthen the side rather than just focus on how old the players are. Scoring seems to be good, but conceding 7 in five games (I think?) might need some work...

To be honest, I'll probably still try to drive the age down. It's a bit more interesting when results are inconsistent and we are competitive with the current squad.

17-07-13, 04:40 PM
Well impressed with your average age, well done! I'm keeping my eye on Smith and Smith too ;)

17-07-13, 05:25 PM
Looking solid at the moment but with that age it will throw up some weird results.
And that will make it interesting, especially with Rangers having a game in hand at the mo.

17-07-13, 07:30 PM
Well impressed with your average age, well done! I'm keeping my eye on Smith and Smith too ;)

and Smith !

(you should do. Wait for the next update.)

18-07-13, 01:06 PM
The First Quarter

Players In

Grant Reid from Brechin (£7k)
Liam Muir from Q.P.R. (£20k)
Michael Marshall Free

Players Out



Rangers (H) First Division 0:1
Queen of the South (A) First Division 2:1 Rankin, Brown
Inverness (H) First Division 2:2 McIntosh, Ramage
Aberdeen (A) League Cup R3 3:1 Rankin, Ramage 2
East Fife (A) First Division 5:1 Craig, Rankin 2, C.Smith, Ramage
Airdrie Utd (H) First Division 5:2 Craig, Oliver, Rankin 3

Raging !

To loose at home is bad. To loose at home to THEM is absolutely unforgivable !

It was an end to end game that could have easily resulted in a 3-3 draw. Former East Stirling players Steven Reynolds and Ryan Conroy lined up for the visitors and that pair tormented us all game. Man of the match went to Rangers keeper Jason Brown (the former Leeds, Blackburn and Wales keeper) although it could easily have been shared with the woodwork which stopped no fewer than 5 of our efforts. The moment that won the game came in first half injury time. Ally Duncan had pulled off a miracle save to deny Reynolds, but at the expense of a corner. It was floated in and Nicky Wroe (former Shrewsbury York and Torquay winger who had arrived via Preston, Hibs and Southend) jumped above Kyle Turnbull to head past Duncan who was rooted to the spot.

I kept the players in the dressing room for 45 minutes after the game, giving out the full hairdryer treatment so that none of them could be in any doubt about what was expected the next time we met our near neighbours.


Just to ensure they got the message, the entire defence were given official warnings and the full squad was called in for an extra training session on the Sunday.

They didn't listen.

We had to come from behind against both Queen of the South and Inverness, who themselves came back for a late equaliser to nullify any lead we had built up in the league. 7 changes were therefore made for the League Cup trip to Pittodrie where I would face 4 former players (Pawlett, McIness, McGeever and Parkes). We battered them for 30 minutes without making the breakthrough. Armstrong had a freekick cleared off the line. Ramage hit the post and Rankin missed an absolute sitter, firing wide from about 3 yards out. We found ourselves a goal down when Jack Werndly scored on his debut with the home sides first effort. I could see the heads drooping yet again. They had to fight if they wanted this and there was no doubt that I did.


McIntosh and Rankin combined to leave my leading scorer unmarked and able to pick his spot for a quick equaliser and put us level at the interval. Cammy Smith replaced the scorer who was unable to continue after stubbing his toe late in the half and we continued to look the better side and press for a winner. We got our noses in front with 20 minutes left. Ramage nutmegged McGeever, leaving him sitting on his arse in the Aberdeenshire mud. His first effort was parried by the keeper, but it came straight back and with an open goal to aim at finally found the target. Just to be safe, it was Ramage again who wrapped up the win heading home Armstrong's corner


In the quarter final draw, we managed to avoid the big favourites Celtic and instead got a home tie with a Kilmarnock side who are sitting mid table in the SPL. It is a winnable game if we play our best.

Maybe it is their young ages, or maybe it is just the type of player that they are, but this team thrives on confidence. Beating an SPL side on their own turf gave them all the confidence to goto two of the league's whipping boys and put 5 past them both. Jonathan Rankin moved into double figures for the season with his hat-trick against East Fife that puts us back 3 points clear at the top of the league.

It is very tight with just 7 points between the top 7 and Rangers could go level with us if they were to win their games in hand.


There was a strange incident involving Dr Gerry Canning, who heads up the physio team. A local sports hack went to see him claiming he was suffering Arid Mental Creativity syndrome. He had just suggested that the journo needed a short holiday when a 20 ton weight fell from nowhere crushing the poor guy.

Canning: Bastard. Didn't even pay me for the consultaion.

None of the new boys have yet to make their debuts. 15 year old striker Michael Marshall has been brought in purely because he is 15. Grant Reid is part of the 1st team squad and is another defensive midfielder. He is 18 and has 54 games for Brechin under his belt, scoring 3 times and claiming 8 assists. Liam Muir never played for Q.P.R. but had a 14 game run for Albion Rovers on loan. He didn't exactly impress, but Rovers were playing him on the right wing and I want him as a right back.


The average age of the squad is now 18.68

================================================== ==============================================
2013/4 Senior Club Stats
================================================== ==============================================

No Name Apps Gls Con Pens Asts Yel Red MoM Av R
- Anderson, Steven - - - - - - - - ----
- Armstrong, Stuart 10 (1) 2 0 0 7 0 0 1 7.64
- Baillie, Fraser - - - - - - - - ----
- Brown, Stephen 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.00
- Clark, Neil - - - - - - - - ----
- Craig, Scott 5 (2) 2 0 0 4 0 0 1 7.71
- Duncan, Ally 13 0 14 0 0 0 0 0 7.46
- Durnan, Mark 9 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 6.78
- Hall, Barry - - - - - - - - ----
- Lamont, Mark 6 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 7.17
- Lochhead, Blair 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Marshall, Michael - - - - - - - - ----
- Maxwell, John - - - - - - - - ----
- McCormack, Steve - - - - - - - - ----
- McCue, Jack 7 (3) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 6.90
- McIntosh, Leighton 9 4 0 0 2 0 0 3 7.78
- McIntyre, Jamie - - - - - - - - ----
- McLaughlin, Alan 7 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 7.14
- Muir, Liam 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Naismith, Jason 9 (1) 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 7.10
- Oliver, Paul 3 (1) 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.00
- Petrie, Darren 12 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.08
- Petrie, Robert 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 8.00
- Ramage, Graeme 3 (6) 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 7.56
- Rankin, Jonathan 10 11 0 0 1 0 0 1 8.00
- Reid, Grant 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ----
- Reilly, Thomas 10 6 0 1 (0) 4 0 0 3 7.90
- Ritchie, Scott 6 (2) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 6.38
- Smith, Cammy 7 (1) 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 7.63
- Smith, Jack 1 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.67
- Smith, Neil - - - - - - - - ----
- Stewart, Ryan 5 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7.00
- Turnbull, Kyle 8 (4) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 6.58
Wilson, Craig - - - - - - - - ----

18-07-13, 02:22 PM
Good to see you're still going strong!

That 15 year old sure can jump!

18-07-13, 02:33 PM
If he wasn't 15 he could take a jump !

18-07-13, 07:52 PM
Still going strong.
Still need to keep an eye on The Rangers.

Although you have a healthier goal difference at the moment.

18-07-13, 08:18 PM
Going well, but the confidence is so fragile with these youngsters!


21-07-13, 01:03 PM
Echo the above comments, a bright start indeed, let's hope the young squad have the mental toughness for the full season.

31-07-13, 04:02 PM
Smith and Smith and Jones

Players In

Martin Thompson Free
Bobby Crawford Free
Jay Doyle (Hibs) Loan
Jim Dick (Hibs) Loan

Players Out

Mark Lamont to St. Johnston (£26k)
Graeme Ramage to Aberdeen (£80k)


Livingston (H) First Division 2:1 Rankin, McCue
Dunfermline (A) First Division 3:3 J.Smith, C.Smith, Rankin
Dumbarton (H) First Division 1:3 J.Smith
Peterhead (A) First Division 2:0 J.Smith, McIntosh
Inverness (A) First Division 2:2 C.Smith 2
East Fife (H) First Division 5:0 Ramage, McIntosh 2, Craig, C.Smith
Rangers (A) First Division 3:3 R.Petrie, Reilly, Craig
Kilmarnock (H) League Cup Qtr Final 3:1 McIntosh 3 (2 pens)
Queen of the South (H) First Division 2:1 McCabe og, C.Smith
Airdrie Utd (A) First Division 2:3 Doyle 2

This was all about 2 players who share a surname and saved our bacon on many occasions. Jack Smith and Cammy Smith


Not that either were called on against Livingston where an under par performance was still enough to beat the visitors who, for the first time ever, didn't get a goal from Mark McNulty against me ! Then the Smith act came to the fore.

After 20 minutes at Dunfermline we were 3-0 down and it could have been damage limitation time and I was on the point of making some changes when Armstrong whipped in a corner. Jack won the header at the far post and played it back into the danger area. Cammy leapt between 2 defenders and headed it back to the now unmarked Jack who volleyed the first. The second was all Cammy as he beat 2 men before riffling a shot that gave the keeper no chance and it was level before the interval. Jack and Cammy exchanged passes before releasing Armstrong down the left. He spotted Rankin who lobbed the keeper from the edge of the box. Cammy might well have grabbed a win, however his second half effort clipped the wrong side of the post, although from 3 down, this was still a point won.

We couldn't repeat the performance as Dumbarton showed clinical finishing to take the points from Paisley, despite Jack breifly drawing us level. Blair Lochhead on his debut had 3 shots to deal with and let them all in ! Ally Duncan was back for Peterhead and it was Jack who scored first and Cammy that set up McIntosh for the second.

Another terrible defensive performance saw us go 2 down to Inverness. A second half brace in 8 minutes from Cammy (Grant Reid with both assists) rescued another point and brought him to the attention of BobMem, the new manager of the club formally known as Berwick Rangers who was embarking on a revolution of his own.

He had asked if he could come to watch the East Fife match as he was interested in some of my players. I couldn't see any of my boys wating to drop down 2 leagues, but invited him along anyway and I was very glad I did.

Me: Welcome to St. Mirren Park BobMem. What brings you up here ?
BobMem: Well I'm particularly interested in Jack Smith and Cammy Smith. I'm sure that I could fit them into my side somewhere.
Me: I don't think they're for sale I'm afraid. They are both key to my squad and I'm looking for these 2 to drive us onto the first division title.
BobMem: Everyone has their price and my directors are willing to pay for the right players. That's why I've brought along our financial assistant in case we need to talk money.
Alex: Thanks Bobbert ! We have something in common you know !


Me: We do ?
Alex: Yes, I'm an Alex too ! Alex Jones.
Me: Bobbert ….. I mean BobMem ….. I didn't know there were going to be 2 of you, so I've only reserved 1 seat. Here's the ticket, so can I leave you to find your own way and I'll take Miss Jones to my office to see what else we have in common …... I mean watch the match from there.

Cammy scored 1 and Jack set one up as my team scored 5 times on the pitch, which, coincidently, was exactly the number of times I scored in my office.

After the match it was down to business. Transfer business that is.

BobMem: Well, I'm impressed. We'd like to put in offers for both Cammy and Jack Smith.
Me: They are not for sale.
BobMem: You haven't heard our offer.
Me: They both have £1m release clauses and it would take allof that to get them.
Alex: That's too much. Mr Smith and Mr Jones wouldn't let us spend that sort of money.
Me: I have Neil Smith, a 16 year old in my reserves. You could have him in a loan exchange with Alex to the end of the season.
BobMem: Sorry, but Alex is key to my team.
Me: What about Kim Smith then.


BobMem: Kim isn't part of my squad to give away yet. Let me head back to Berwick and discuss with my chairmen. I'll be in touch.

I had bigger things to worry about. A trip to Castle Greyskull and a second attempt to beat “Them”. Fat Sally was still in charge and still had a face that was waiting for a punch


It was worse when they went 2-0 up. Worse still that former Shire striker Stephen Reynolds set up the first and scored the second. Robert Petrie pulled 1 back from the kick off, his first in a Buddies shirt. Thomas Reilly brought us level in the second half,only for Reynolds to make it 3-2 for the visitors. Step up Jack Smith who crossed for Scott Craig to make it 3-3 with just minutes to spare. We really do need to stop these dramatic recoveries.

No problems in the next 2 fixtures. A McIntosh hat-trick (2 from the spot) was enough to progress past 9 man Kilmarnock in the league cup. We face Dundee United in the semi final. Cammy Smith and an own goal brought another win from behind over Queen of the South.

The final game of this round of fixtures was a shocker at Airdrie. 2-0 and a man up (Jay Doyle with 2 on his debut) should have been more than enough. Instead, the 10 men fought back to win 3-2 and I had to bring the hair drier out again to berate the performance.


Despite the mixed results, we had managed to preserve the 5 point lead at the half way point in the season, although 2 points split 2nd placed Dumbarton from 7th placed Inverness in a very competitive league. I just hope that these teams keep taking points off each other.


Cammy Smith now has 8 goals and 4 assists in 17 games while Jack Smith has 3 goals and 3 assists from 11 games.

The 2 new boys are purely in to bring down the average age. Both are 16 yearolds and have little chance of making the first team. Having said that, I thought the same about Ryan Stewart who I brought in last year, and he has now made 6 starts and 1 appearance from the bench !


The 2 leaving are both surprises and I had wanted to keep Lamont and Ramage until the end of this season. Both had contracts due for renewal andwere unlikely to get offered new ones due to their age, so when I got bids, I decided to cash in rather than loose them for nothing in the summer. Lamont scored 6 goals from midfield in 17 starts last season and had again been performing well. I'm not sure he'll make it in the SPL, but I wish him well. Ramage had scored 5 from 12 this season and had been a valuable player, but he had unsettled the squad by saying he wanted away and so I decided to accept Aberdeen's offer when it came in.

It left me with just 4 front line forwards which didn't seem enough. I originally brought in Jay Doyle on loan from Hibs and it was a great start, scoring 2 in before he picked up a thigh injury that would rule him out for 2 months. I sent him home and brought his team mate Jim Dick as a replacement. He has yet to start for either us or Hibs


The average squad age is now 18.66

31-07-13, 10:06 PM
Haha, nice "link up play" with Miss Jones!

Got there before me though... :(

02-08-13, 10:53 AM
Tighter than a gnat's chuff

Just nine games left in the league …...


It wasn't that we had played particularly badly, perhaps a little inconsistant which is understandable in a young squad, but I would have been happy enough with the 5 wins, 1 draw and 3 defeats in this round of games. The trouble was that Inverness had gone unbeaten and recorded 7 wins and 2 draws to close the gap. The one thing still in our favour was the goal difference. Our +33 against their +21 was going to be worth a point come the end of the season.

The dropped points had come at Livingston, who managed one shot all game compared to our 20 (14 on target) and yet the home side stole all the points with a 1-0 win. Peterhead where we led 1-0, trailed 2-1, led 3-2 and lost 4-3 ! Queen of the South who got the benetit of a Fergie Time goal to win 3-2 and Inverness who twice equalised goals from Thomas Reilly and Cammy Smith to take a point.

That point had been crucial as the visitors had drawn level the week earlier and ment that we could hold onto top spot with a 6-1 hammering of East Fife and a 3-0 demolition of Airdrie. The eagle eyed will also have realised that we finally beat Rangers. Cammy Smith netting with a header from a McIntosh center on the stroke of half-time, then added a second on the hour with a fantastic solo effort.


Stephen Reynolds (yet again) pulled one back, but it was no more than a late consolation.

The other impact on our league form was the cup runs which disrupted the focus from the league program. The League Cup semi final with Dundee Utd ended in disappointment. Grant Reid gave us an early lead, but we found ourselves 3-1 down when Dale Hilson, Gordon Dick (yes the former East Stirling player) and John Rankin scored for The Arabs. Our own Jonathan Rankin made it 3-2 in stoppage time. It truth it was a game we should have won based on chances created, but United's finishing showed why they are the SPL side.

Undaunted, we had a visit from Ross County in the Scottish Cup. They have been visitors at least once in every season so far and I have a 100% record in these encounters. This was no different. A Cammy Smith brace and one from Reilly sent us through for a very hard tie with reigning Scottish League champions Hearts. Goals from Armstrong and Reilly allowed us to lead having been behind, but dreams of an easy progress were dashed when McAlister found the net with seconds of normal time remaining. A replay at Paisley was quickly scheduled.

This time we were fast out the blocks. Reilly and McIntosh had us 2-0 up inside 20 minutes. A second half strike from Hutton looked like making a tense finish, but tension was eased when Stuart Armstrong capitalised on a goal keeping error to blast us 3-1 up with 15 minutes to play. We have an intriguing trip to Firhill where Partick Thistle await in the 5th round. I think this is the first time that I have played them.

A Massive Cockroach crawled across the carpet looking for prey. He was hungry and very frustrated, having not seen a girl cockroach for several days. Inches in front of him he saw a small gnat, no bigger than the head of a pin. His instant reaction was “lunch” and was about to pounce when a thought came to him …..

“How big is a gnat's chuff ?”
“I'm a pretty big lad, for a cockroach and that's a pretty small gnat. I wonder if I could ?”
“What harm could it do ? Either I'm a pretty satisfied cockroach and then have lunch, or I fail and console myself with a nice lunch.”

With that he pounced.

Gilmore: Come in !

The chairman had summonsed me to a meeting and I had just knocked on his door. I entered and heard a crunch under my shoe as I went into the room. I surreptitiously wiped my shoe on the carpet in case there was something yucky stuck to the underneath.

Me: What's up Stuart ?
Him: It's the bid for Islam Feruz. Chelsea have accepted our offer.
Me: Brilliant ! That could be the difference between winning the title and not !
Him: Unfortunately his agent has told us that Islam has absolutely no intention of coming here. Sorry.
Me: Bugger. It was always a long shot.
Him: Also, we've had bids for a couple of our players. I wanted to run it by you to see what you think.

02-08-13, 01:31 PM
Keep trying for Feruz, you might get him eventually :D

Shame about the dropped points but you are certainly still doing very well considering the average age :ok:

02-08-13, 08:11 PM
Inverness won't be able to keep up their form, let's just hope you don't suffer a similar blip.

05-08-13, 01:00 PM
Leading by a nose

The 2 bids that had come in were for winger Jack Smith and defender Mark Durnan. Smith had a golden spell around November and December, but had failed to maintain that form. Since then he had made just a handful of starts, but had spent most of the last 2 months warming the bench. I wasn't playing wingers, wasn't short of central midfielders and Jack wasn't in my plans for next season, so I decided that I could let him go, but first negotiated better terms for the deal. Kilmarnock came back with an offer of £45k plus bonus clauses and so Jack Smith was off to Ayrshire after playing 11(2) games and scoring 3 times for The Buddies at an average of 7.08. The team formally known as Berwick boss BobMem was not amused.

The other bid was from Aberdeen. Durnan had been a first choice for most of the season starting 24 times in central defence. He had not impressed in that time, averaging just 6.75 and at 23 was definitely out next season. I was pretty sure that I could replace him and again negotiated the deal while I put in bids for a replacement. A deal was finally struck, also at £45k plus bonuses, and he was also off to ply his trade in the SPL.

That left room for 2 signings before the transfer window closed. The replacement for Durnan ended up being 18 year old Sunderland defender David Stewart. He had made just 1 appearance for the Black Cats and had been told that he was surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light. He had no hesitation in accepting terms that would give him regular first team football.


The second was also from the North East and although a loan signing, he was one of my top priorities to make permanent for next year. Mark Nicol had been with Middlesbrough for 18 months without getting near the first team. He is primarily a forward who can also play wide right, but it is his goals that I would be looking for. If I had to describe him, he would bear a striking resemblance to a young Kenny Millar and he was straight in the first team for the run in.


On the field, Inverness were first to blink. While a penalty from McIntosh, an oportunist effort from Gardiner and a typical Cammy Smith solo effort gave us a 3-1 win over Dumbarton, Inverness battled to earn a point at home to Queen of the South. We had restored our a 2 point lead and sent us into the Scottish cup quarter final with some confidence restored.

That was translated on the park to a brilliant performance. Cammy Smith picked up a centre from McIntosh. He dropped his shoulder and was away from Malone before he could blink, nutmegged Irvine and cheekily chipped the keeper to give us a 16th minute lead. Grant Reid headed in an Armstrong corner to make it 2-0 and despite a counter from Malone, we were back 2 goals ahead at the interval. Another Armstrong corner and this time Scott Craig got his head to the inswinger. It was all over early in the second half. McIntosh and Nicol exchanged passes. Nicol made the run, McIntosh spotted it and the Boro man opened his account, courtesy of the post.

A fantastic performance was rewarded with a fantastic draw. We avoided Celtic and Motherwell and instead had a winnable tie with St. Johnstone at my old home of Ochilview.

Back to the league and St.Mirren go 5 points clear with 7 to play. Games with Dunfermline tend to have goals and this time we sneaked the points in a 5 goal thriller. Scott Craig is really coming onto a game and he put us 2 up, the first a powerfull header from a Nicol cross and the second, an opportunist ricochet off a defender. Pejij rattled home a freekick to pull 1 back, but McIntosh restored the 2 goal cushion when he deflected Armstong's shot to leave the keeper wrong footed. A late goal for Dunfermline was no more than a consolation. Meanwhile Inverness were going down 2-0 to Airdrie to record their first league defeat in 13 games. Still work to be done, but I could almost smell the silver polish !

Having worked so hard to build up the lead, we immediately surrendered 3 points. Livingstone have become a bit of a bogey team for me and Mark McNulty a bogey player. The damage was all done in the first 20 minutes as we found ourselves 3-1 down. Stuart Armstrong's strike briefly levelling Martin's opener. We then threw the kitchen sink at Livvy, and they held firm until almost halftime when a brilliant move involving McIntosh, Craig and Nicol was finished by a thumping volley from Armstrong. It looked as if we could recover a point and with Calley also in a tight match, 3-2 up on Dumbarton, we might just salvage something. A strong penalty appeal from Arrmstrong was rejected. Dumbarton equalised at Inverness. Twice Nicol had the ball in the net only to see the linesman's flag raised.
I let him know what I thought of the decision


Inverness went back in front 4-3 with 10 minutes left. Livvy were only just hanging on. Injury time. We won a corner. Everyone, even keeper Ally Duncan was sent up. Armstong swung it in. Craig lept up and crashed a header off the bar. A defender hacked it clear to McNulty. Duncan and the defenders were desperately sprinting back to get in position, but McNulty stayed calm, made sure he was in range and steadied himself before picking his spot. Inverness held on for their win.

A Mark Nicol brace and a Stuart Armstrong freekick ensured that the status quo was maintained as we beat Peterhead 3-1 while Inverness beat Dunfermline 2-0. Rangers finally exited the title race due to another Mark Nicol brace. Yet again Stephen Reynolds scored against me, but 2-1 was enough to maintain our lead at the top as a Gordon Smith goal for Inverness proved to be all they needed to beat Livvy.

There was a brief distraction from a Scottish Cup semi final. St. Johnstone were having an up and down season in the SPL mid table. Even so, they were strong favourites despite leading scorer Kevin Cawley failing a late fitness test. The 1-1 draw felt like a chance missed, especially as their keeper Craig Samson won the man of the match award and we had 3 strong penalty claims rejected. For the record, Naismith opened the scoring with a header from a corner only for Jonathan Hayes to level 10 minutes later. A replay will be needed to see who plays Celtic in the final.

Back to the league and we stay 2 points clear with 3 games to play. McIntosh, Petrie and Reilly put us 3-0 up before East Fife pulled 1 back. Inverness were comfortable in beating Peterhead 2-0.


Next up are 2 massive games. Firstly, re Scottish Cup semi final replay. With Celtic all but sealed the SPL, a win would guarantee UEFA cup football no matter what happens in the final. 3 days later and the league 6 pointer with Inverness. Win that and, with our superior goal difference, we will need just 1 point from the final 2 games.

05-08-13, 01:29 PM
Oh dear...

What do you want more - European football or the title? Obviously, the latter so I wonder if you'll rest players in the semi-final?

Either way, best of luck and hopefully Cammy Smith will lead you to wins in both games!

05-08-13, 01:49 PM
Oh dear...

What do you want more - European football or the title? Obviously, the latter so I wonder if you'll rest players in the semi-final?

Either way, best of luck and hopefully Cammy Smith will lead you to wins in both games!

I want both. And a cake, with icing and a cherry on the top !

06-08-13, 08:54 AM
Some you win

Ochilview was packed. The official attendance of 9,140 was a new stadium record, and just 10 seats short of the capacity. I looked for them, but couldn't see those 10 empty seats anywhere.


The prize at stake …. a place in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park, where SPL champions Celtic were already waiting. The team selections were announced and former Hoffenheim manager and BBC pundit Mark Henderson was scratching his head at the St.Mirren line up. With a virtual league decider in just a few days it was a full strength first XI that would line up. McIntosh and Reilly leading the line with Cammy Smith supporting from deep. Armstrong and Craig in midfield, anchored by Gardiner. Duncan between the sticks directing McCue, McLaughlan, Naismith and Muir as the back 4.

St. Johnstone were able to recall leading scorer Kevin Cawley to lead their line, supported by Luke Daley in a 4-4-1-1 formation. How would the compact St. Mirren midfield cope with the width provided by Bobby Barr and Jonathan Hayes for St. Johnstone. With Aldred and O'Leary man marking McIntosh and Reilly, who would be picking up the runs of Cammy Smith ? So much for Henderson to ponder.

He got his answers soon after the kick off. St.Mirren domminated the midfield. Former St. Mirren keeper, Craig Sampson, was forced to make a double save when Craig met an Armstrong corner, the parried save fell to the same player who went for power rather than placement and Sampson was able to get a foot to the ball and deflect it over the bar. A string of St. Mirren free kicks followed, but no clear cut chances and indead it was the other end where Cawley beat Naismith to a cross and forced Duncan into a one handed save that he made the most of for the TV cameras.


After that, the game settled down. St.Mirren had pleanty of possession but few clear cut chances. St. Johnstone were always dangerous on the break. With the ref about to blow for half time, Daley ended a Cammy Smith run with a late challenge that earned him the games first booking. The free kick was worked wide to Muir who made space for the cross. McIntosh had worked himself just a few inches of space, swivelled and powered his shot goal-wards. Or atleast it would have been goal-wards had the posts been 20 feet high.


The half time talk was all about more of the same. We just needed better penetration and to convert just one of the chances that would surely come our way. Ross Gardiner had picked up a niggle and he was rested for the second half with Grant Reid taking over as the midfield anchorman. Scott Craig was also forced to sit out the second half, Robert Petrie his direct replacement.

What followed was St. Johnstone's best spell of pressure as they won 3 corners in the first 5 minutes. The Buddies defence held firm and Duncan didn't have anything to worry him.

Having survived that scare St.Mirren started to turn the screw again, but McIntosh was having an off day and couldn't direct his two efforts off side.

Then, the closest yet to a goal.

Cawley floated a cross from the St. Johnstone left. Dean-Conteh headed it down for Hayes whos diving header hit the outside of the post.


With an hour gone, the final change was made. Rankin came on for Reilly to give a fresh look to the front line. We were pressing hard and McIntosh was finally finding his range. Sampson saved 3 times from him in quick succession. 15 minutes left. First thoughts of extra time were being voiced.

Reid lifted the ball forward for Petrie headed up for Cammy Smith befor Petrie continued his run wide right and collected the return from Smith. Rankin had lost his marker. Ball played in. Rankin pulls the trigger ….. RANKIN !!!!! JONATHAN RANKIN !!!!!!!!!


St. Johnsone could no longer sit back. Rankin picked up the ball in midfield and moved into the space in front of of the defence. O'Connor came out to meet him, but Rankin left him for dead. Aldred was the last man. In any other game it would have been a cynical challenge deserving of a red card. Aldred was so late that he completely missed ball and man ! Rankin was through. Sampson was the rabbit in the headlights. Rankin let rip …... RANKIN !!!!! JONATHAN RANKIN !!!!!!!!!

http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Steven+Thompson+St+Mirren+v+Celtic+Scottish+kjzhx0 hn0Ogl.jpg

All that remained was a wee reminder to the referee


06-08-13, 09:29 AM

Good result, assuming that the match is over, of course!

Now for the league...

06-08-13, 09:37 AM
Yes, the game is well and truly over. We are in the cup final and the physios are busy getting the tired legs ready for the Calley game.
I was starting to consider withdrawing the keeper to ensure there was no extra time when Rankin scored the first. :whistle:

06-08-13, 01:38 PM
Henderson might not know what he's talking about

The decision to play the strongest side in the cup semi final may have paid off in that game, but forced 6 changes to the starting XI for, arguably, the more important league match. Out were McCue, McLaughlan and Muir from defence, Armstrong and Gardiner from midfield and, crucially, Cammy Smith from the attack. Replacing them were Scott Ritchie, David Stewart, Kyle Turnbull, Robert Petrie, Grant Reid and semi-final goal hero, Jonathan Rankin. McCue, Gardiner, Armstrong and Smith found places on the bench, alongside Craig Wilson who had yet to make even a sub appearance. For an inexperienced squad, this was an inexperienced selection. With 52 goals spread between the front 3, I didn't have too many worries there, but would the defence that had never played together be able to hold out the threat from Inverness strike duo Gordon Smith and Jake Taylor.

The later turned out not to be a problem as the Welsh international failed a fitness test resulting in a first start of the season for 18 year old John Dallas.

5,900 is not a bad crowd for an SFL1 match, however I was surprised that we were not able to get closer to the 7,500 capacity of the Caledonian Stadium. It took just 33 seconds from the ref blowing his whistle to the stadium erupting. Reilly kicked off and passsed back to Rankin. Rankin went forward, unchallenged. Straight down the center, unchallenged. He went into the box, unchallenged. He went for goal, Fleming didn't move. 1-0 and not a single Inverness player had touched the match ball.


There could not have been a better start. It was his 20th goal from 19 starts and 12 off the bench. My immediate instruction went out to sit back a bit and play with a more neutral mentality. The pressure was now very much on Nigel Worthington to come up with answers or the title chase would be all but over. Judging by the next 30 minutes, he didn't have that answer. It was wave after wave of black and white shirts pouring down on the home goal. All the noise was coming from the Saint's supporters, except for the regular jeer as yet another good chance was blasted over the cross bar.

Finally Inverness managed to get their game together. Duncan was forced to make a save although it was a fairly easy one and David Stewart was colossal at the back, being first to every cross that came in. We suffered a huge setback when Jason Naismith, our captain and only regular defender, was forced off after a clash of heads with Gordon Smith. 17 year old Craig Wilson made his St. Mirren debut with the armband passing to Scott Craig.


Other than a Petrie free kick that was blocked by the wall, it was the last significant action of a great half of football for everyone supporting St. Mirren. We had the lead. We had control. We had the title within reach.

CHAMPIONI CHAMPIONI echoed from the travelling support as the Cally supporters headed for the comfort of their half time pie.


For us, halftime was yet another forced change. David Stewart became the second central defender to be replaced with Jack McCue taking the field for the second half. This would be his first apperance in central defence having played all of the other 37 matches as a full back. He would be playing along side a total rookie !

Not that you would have known, as pretty much nothing happened for the next 15 minutes, other than the first conga started in the away support and questions regarding Nigel Worthington's parentage were heard from the home end.

http://www.tnews.co.th/html/picture/tnews_1318265731_9531.jpg http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/55951000/jpg/_55951110_nigelout464.jpg

06-08-13, 03:12 PM
Might not know what I'm talking about?! :eek:

07-08-13, 08:39 AM
The League is won

30 minutes from glory. The St. Mirren fans were in full voice. Fergie Fergie give us a wave …. so I obliged


The fans were going round the team asking for waves and getting them, to loud cheers. It kind of masked the fact that Inverness were coming back into the game although Gordon Smith's header that was well over the bar was still as close as they came.

Into the last 15 minutes. Twaddle sent Hateley free on the right. He centered for Dallas who showed his frustration by trying from about 30 yards out. Duncan had it covered all of the way ….. until a divot caused a bad bounce. He flapped at the ball, but missed, turning to watch it come back off the post.

Relief !

Draper picked up the rebound out wide and crossed for Cook arriving late from midfield. He took it first time and with Duncan scrambling to regain position picked his spot. 1-1


Cook picked up the ball and ran straight back to the centre spot. We still had the 2 point advantage. They needed another. The stands were now much quieter as the tension mounted. Inverness were now winning all of the 50-50 balls. Draper got above Petrie to win a midfield header. Gordon Smith picked it up, but his path was blocked by a line of defenders. In stead of taking them on, he slipped a pass wide to the supporting Dallas who let fly and saw his shot crash off the underside of the bar on it's way to the back of the net.


2 goals in 3 minutes. The entire league destiny had turned. I immediately brought on Armstrong for Petrie and switched to an all out attacking 4-3-3, but that wasn't much use if we couldn't get the ball and Inverness were quite content to waste time and keep the ball.

We didn't have a chance to create a single shot.

2 games to play and 1 point behind. All is not yet lost, especially as Inverness have to play Rangers who, on their day, can beat anyone.

St. Mirren 3 QotS 1 kept us in the hunt but it was countered by Inverness travelling to East Fife and recording an identical score.

Final day of the season and we visit Airdrie while Inverness host Rangers. Nothing but a win would do (technically a draw would do if Inverness lost, but that doesn't sound as sensational). I had a full squad to select from so there were no excuses. The boys new what they had to do, and they did it.

3 minutes ….. Reid cross, McIntosh strike ….. his 20th of the season
5 minutes ….. Reilly from out side the box ….. 2-0
11 minutes … McIntosh chips in for Reilly who turns his man ….. 3-0

Job done. All we could do now is wait.

And it took just 1 minute to get some news from Inverness.
Gordon Smith had given the home side the lead
And that is how it remained


07-08-13, 09:26 AM

With regret... I told you so :(

What a shame the 1-0 lead was lost, gutted for you! The inexperience of the players cost you in that one, I think!

07-08-13, 09:41 AM
Think you are right. In hindsight, I should probably have sacrificed the cup semi final to concentrate on the league, but I'm not sure that is where it was lost.

We made a great start with 20 points from the first 9 games and the last 9 returned us 21 points. It was the middle 2 quarters (15 points and 16 points) that cost us and I think that is when I was chopping and changing the side to keep the age down. I'll be looking to shed some of the older players in the summer and try to have a settled starting XI for the whole of next year. (And a defense that doesn't shed 55 goals in 36 games would be a bonus)

UEFA cup could be a distraction, but I can't just sacrifice that. Maybe one of the diddy cups will have to go. Before that, I still have a cup final to prepare for.

07-08-13, 12:25 PM
A settled squad will definitely help, I forget that it's still your first year with the young uns so you've still done remarkably well. Promotion next year for sure :ok:

Let's end the season with a trophy :cool:

07-08-13, 11:53 PM
A nice cup on the mantle will make up for all the heartache.

08-08-13, 07:05 PM
Inverness won't be able to keep up their form, let's just hope you don't suffer a similar blip.

Sorry :D

Best of luck in the final mate, you can always win the league next season as long as the UEFA Cup isn't too much of a distraction.

09-08-13, 08:56 AM
Another Cup Final

This would be my 3rd trip to the National Stadium for a cup final and so far I have a 100% record, East Stirling having beaten Aberdeen in the 2012 League Cup final and Celtic in the same years Scottish Cup final. Could St. Mirren keep up the record with a win against the SPL Champions and odds on favourites Celtic ? We had 3 weeks between our final league game and the Hampden Park date to cast off the disappointment of not winning the league and to prepare for the big day.

The physios were doing their bit to ensure that everyone was fit. The coaches were doing their bit to ensure that skills were being finely tuned. The supporters were doing their bit by buying up any crap, overpriced merchandise we could market and of course I was talking to any journo or tv reporter that would listen to me.

Nothing was left undone

Well just one thing.

It was on the day of the match. As the stadium is only a few miles from Paisley, Stewart Gilmour had decided that we didn't need the expense of a hotel and we could all depart from our own stadium. The coach was waiting and some of the players and their family had started to board. I was in my office making the final adjustments to my cup final suit. Francesca entered.

Her: Can you help me ?
Me: What's up ?
Her: It's my dress ! Brand new and never worn and the zip is buggered. I can't find Malky anywhere, could you do it up for me.

I tugged and pulled, but she was right. That zip was going nowhere. On looking closer, I could see that some of the material was caught inside the zip.

Me: May be if I could pull it down, I might be able to release it. If you put your hands against the wall to brace yourself, I'll be able to get some purchase.

We got into position, gave a pull and the zip was released. Had anyone come into the room at that precise moment, they might have got completely the wrong impression.


The door opened.

Stuart Gilmour: What the bloody hell is going on here ?
Me: It's not what you think !
Him: Can you not leave each other alone on a day like this ?Me: It's not like that. Her zip was stuck …..
Her: …... And I couldn't find Malky …..
Me: …... So Francesca asked me sort it …..
Her: …... We weren't …..
Me: …... I wouldn't …..
Him: Look, I don't know what's going on here. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I've got my eyes on you. Alex, get on that coach and prepare the team talk of your life. Francesca, you can put some clothes on before Malky finds you.

I thought it had been a decent team talk. Using the format that had taken San Marino close to world cup glory I was backed by a bellowing Heavy Metal sound track. We finished off with On March The Saints by Down

Be something that amounts to nothing the threat
A wrecking ball plowing through our karma
We have no confident voice in our ears for tonight
Exist in memory (the) only headline

We have been through change, by the season of the storms
Its irony, the cleansing
Except eccentric faith, to need religion
To sit high among the elect
On march the Saints

There's no such thing as a good time for bad luck
As minutes turn to distressed fragmented moments
Reading lips unable to hear the talk
Partake no tangible out in tomorrow

We have seen the change, from the season of the storms
Its irony, the cleansing
With all our lives at stake, from at rest to present
Are sitting high, among the elect
On march the Saints


Right from the start, I could tell that something wasn't right. McLaughlan was booked for pulling on Miku's shirt then Reid picked up a card for a late challenge on Stewart Downing. The free kicks came to nothing, but 2 bookings in the first 5 minutes was not our usual game. Celtic were certainly trying to get on top early and it was 10 minutes before we were able to put our foot on the ball, Cammy Smith wasting the possession with an ambitious effort from distance that ended up in the back of the stand.

Having weathered the early storm, we were just coming back into the game, although Celtic were still very much the better side. Then the defining moment. Miku had a header heading to the top corner which was clawed out the air by Ally Duncan. Corner to Celtic. Downing went over to take. In the box there was the usual pushing, shoving and pulling as the protagonists jostled for position. Naismish goes down holding his face.

It was impossible to see what had happened, but clearly the Celic players were not happy with his antics. The ref reached for his pocket and pulled out a straight red card …. which he showed to Celtic's Venezuelan striker Miku.


They were absolutely incensed, harassing and arguing with the ref. Manager Dean Holdsworth couldn't believe the decision.

http://www.thepfa.com/news/2012/7/24/~/media/Images/PA%20Images/2012/7/24/Holdsworth%20rejects%20Red%20Devils%20offer%20Imag e.ashx?mw=628

75 minutes to play against 10 men. There could never be a better chance of glory. From that point on, there was only one team in it. The final score failed to reflect the dominance of the winning side. Efe Ambrose and Johnny Russell scored a goal in each half as the 10 men reacted much better to the uneven numbers and my boys froze. The ref had given them a cause to fight for and that made the ultimate difference.

After a fantastic season by any measure, St. Mirren end up with nothing.