View Full Version : [STORY] Centurion

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06-03-12, 09:16 AM
He stood resplendent on top his white chariot. His white toga trimmed with gold fluttering in the light breeze while the six white horses that pulled the chariot stamped the bare ground, impatient to get moving again. He gazed across the barren valley of sun bleached grass interspersed with scrubby olive trees. Everywhere was dusty due to the drought.

Finally he saw what he was waiting for. It started as a small dot on the horizon that developed into a dust cloud. It was approaching quickly and he could now make out a figure on horseback riding flat out towards him, and now he could hear it. The hoofs pounding on the hard dry earth. The horseman pulled to a halt beside the chariot and dismounted.

Marcus: Hail Cesar ! I am Marcus di Stoke Centurion commander of the Northern armies. I bring news from Britannia.
Cesar: Your reputation precedes you Marcus. I expect that the news is good. My own troups have fought off a Viking invasion here in Rome while taking a victory on the Baltic front. What news from Britannia ?
Marcus: My lord. The Celts from the north are in disarray. They came suffered a bloody battle in the Baltics and came close to being invaded by an alpine village. They are week and it would not take much to see them fold. The Celts in the west are also troubled. Their great leader Toshak has deserted them and like the northern celts they are week and easy prey.
Cesar: I care not, Marcus, about those Minor Celts. They are of little interest to me. What news of the Anglos ?
Marcus: My Lord, the news is not so good. They have won great battles against the Alpine armies and in the Balkans. Their confidence is rising again, although one of their leading gladiators, Roonii, is troubled and has even missed some domestic jousts.
Cesar: I fear not the Anglos. They will fold again when it comes to the big battles. My spy has infiltrated their organisation at the highest level and will loose again on my command.

The screen goes blank !

Eejit: Oi ! Wankah ! I was watching that.
Wankah: All you ever do bro ! Watch old roman films and play that ancient football game. Why don’t you grow up ?
Eejit: Well at least these films are better that those crap ZanSnake movies that you watch. All bombs and guns and weapons of mass destruction. At least the centurions were more personal. Chop the head off with their sword and feed the entrails to the lions. The victim at least knew who and why. I wish I was a Centurion. You’d be first to be fed to the lions !
Wankah: You ! A centurion ! Don’t make me laugh ! You’d probably line up the troups in a 4-4-2 !
Eejit: :censored: off !
Wankah: And why the fuck can you not swear properly instead of having that fucking :censored: ?
Eejit: :censored: off !
Wankah: Your not forgetting that mum asked you to clean that old junk she was taking to Antiques Roadshow ? I’m going to clean dad’s car.
Eejit: :censored: off !

The Wankah left leaving The Eejit on his own. The Eejit turned the TV back on, picked up an old brass lamp and started to rub it clean


Eejit: PHWOAR !!!

Story tracker



06-03-12, 11:02 AM

Looking forward to it mate.

Great to see you starting another story Eejit, take it you are using the Sept ODB update? Nice Genie as well :)

Thanks guys. Actually it is June SIM patched as I started the game last week, just to make sure that the idea would work.

Your back, Eejit. Looking forward to how this story pans out.

\o/ The Eejit is back!

06-03-12, 11:03 AM
Goodshag: Hi ! I’m Fairy Goodshag ….
Eejit: I’m sure you are !
Goodshag: Have you quite finished with your infantile humour ?
Eejit: Probably not !
Goodshag: *sigh* Always the same ! Anyway, I am your fairy godmother.
Eejit: Fairy Godmother ! Aren’t you supposed to be like 70 and have grey hair and glasses
Goodshag: *sigh* These 1950’s stereotypes. We’ve moved on from the days of the Disney films. This is the 21st century and things are better with MUFTIE ….
Eejit: You’re not wrong there ! Things are always better with muftie !
Goodshag: *sigh* MUFTIE is the Mystical Union of Fairies, Trolls, Imps and Elves and we have modernised the world of magical creatures bringing our terms and conditions into the 21st century. Now, if you have quite finished, I am here to grant you your 3 wishes.
Eejit: I’m glad that some things haven’t changed. Do I really have 3 wishes ?
Goodshag: Anything you like.
Eejit: Damn. I know what I want, but my brother will be back in a minute.
Goodshag: Time is standing still while I’m here. Look out the window.

She was right. There was The Wankah with sponge in hand over the car roof, the spray of water from the garden hose frozen in midair. A jumbo jet hovered motionless in the sky and cars were parked in the middle of the road. On the other side of the road, I spotted something. It was just a glint of light.

Eejit: Stay there. I’ll be back.

I went over to where a young lad with a hoodie had just pulled a knife on an old woman pulling her shopping trolley. I took the knife from his grip and placed it in the womans hand then went into her trolley from which I took a banana and placed it where the knife had been. Tomorrows headines would make interesting reading ! I returned to the TV room.

Eejit: Right ! I’m ready for my first wish. I want you and I hope you live up to your name.
Goodshag: Very well, but wouldn’t you rather be somewhere more exotic ?

She waved her wand.


Goodshag: Is that better ?
Eejit: It’ll certainly do for me

06-03-12, 11:06 AM
Loving this already!

Great stuff Eejit.

Be honest. You are loving the pictures of scantily clad women :cool:

Great stuff eejit, glad to see you back :D

Of course.

I haven't actually seen them yet as I'm reading it at work. I'm sure I'll enjoy it even more later!


06-03-12, 11:07 AM
Goodshag: Bloody hell ! Which one of us is meant to be the magical creature. I’ll make sure I hold onto this assignment !
Eejit: Can I have my next wish now ?
Goodshag: Give a fairy a chance to recover ! My brain’s scrambled
Eejit: So long as it’s just your brain !
Goodshag: OK, fire away, what is your next wish ?
Eejit: I want to be a Centurion !
Goodshag: Ah ! That is going to require more powerfull magic than I can summon. No offence, but you look as if you’d have trouble fighting your way out of a wet paper bag.


Eejit: OK, so I’m not Charlton Heston, but surely you can do something.
Goodshag: I have an idea. You know a bit about football don’t you ?
Eejit: I’m not Lionel Messi though. Hardly even Kirk Broadfoot.
Goodshag: That won’t be a problem. I don’t need you to play. Look, I do a bit of work for CMSG Ltd and they are currently looking for someone that would, I guess, make them a Centurion.
Eejit: Excellent ! Can I ride on to Anfield at the next Liverpool v United game, chop off Gary Neville’s head and feed his entrails to the Kopp ?
Goodshag: Not exactly, besides, you wouldn’t get to the half way line before the scousers nick the wheels off the chariot.
Eejit: CMSG Ltd. Aren’t they the organisation that get managers to perform ridiculous management challenges ?
Goodshag: Ehm …. Yes.
Eejit: So what have they got in mind for me ?
Goodshag: Well first off they want you to manage every club that was in the football league at the start of 2009.

(note: This is the June 2010 update, so although my game start date is 2009, the real life promotions and relegations have been included, so forinstance Blackpool will start in the Premier League)

Eejit: All at the same time ? What would be the point as I’d fix all the results.
Goodshag: No, one after the other, applying for jobs when they become available and you also have to win every trophy in England, each one with a different club.
Eejit: By my maths, there are 92 clubs, how does that make me a Centurion ?
Goodshag: Well, they also want you to also manage every one of the home nations as the jobs become available.
Eejit: That makes 96 ….
Goodshag: Plus a club in each of the Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh Leagues, where you must win the league title with that club.
Eejit: 99
Goodshag: And finally, win any of the Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh Cups with a team that you didn’t win the title with.
Eejit: Bloody hell, they don’t want much. Can I just clarify, I don’t have to win something with every club do I ?
Goodshag: No, just manage the club for one competitive match.
Eejit: So, if I’m at Chelsea, I could sell all their players for free and then lose all their games until they are relegated ?
Goodshag: If that is what you want. If you get sacked, just move onto the next club.
Eejit: Ace ! I’m going to enjoy managing Ingerlund !
Goodshag: Why don’t you read the contract, before agreeing.

There were pages and pages to read through. The basic challenge was simple enough to follow, but there were a few odd clauses.

Eejit: Clause 14c, it says that each club will issue you with a car from the Fiat range
Goodshag: That is a standard clause in all CMSG Ltd contracts
Eejit: What about 19a where it says that CMSG Ltd can add or amend any clause in the contract at any time.
Goodshag: I wouldn’t worry about that, again it is a standard clause.
Eejit: What about 19c where I have to shag the secretary at every club.
Goodshag: Again, another standard CMSG Ltd condition. I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that.
Eejit: In that case, I’m going to need my 3rd wish. I’m going to need practice, so can I have wish number 1 again ?
Goodshag: No need to use up a wish on that one. That will be my pleasure, just summon me at any time.
Eejit: How do I do that ?
Goodshag: I don’t know, why not recite the lyric to a Rick Astley song ?
Eejit: So if I say “Never gonna give you up” you will appear and we have sex ?
Goodshag: Sounds good to me.
Eejit: When do we start ?

She waved her wand


….. Some time later …..

Eejit: I actually meant when do we start with the football. Where is my first club ?

She waved her wand


Eejit: Edgely :censored:ing Park ! That’s just along the road from my home. I had hoped for something more exotic.
Goodshag: Sorry, but CMSG Ltd blew the budget setting up the deal. This is where you have to start. I’ll leave you to it for now, but remember, you still have a wish that you can use at any time.

06-03-12, 11:08 AM
That's quite a challenge you've set yourself! Going by what's here so far, it should be highly entertaining!

Was wondering how the 100 was going to come about, great idea, although your loyalty stat is going to be rock bottom after a few years. Particularly enjoyed the clauses, the Fiat one especially, and as said I'm sure you'll have no problems getting through all them secretaries. Best of luck at Stockport.

Cheers. I am looking forward to this. Loyalty wont be a problem as Red9 proved that your attributes never ever change after the game has started. The biggest challenge I think will be getting the international jobs as England, Wales and N.Ireland only ever appoint managers from their home country. I'm going to try to get to the Prem as quickly as I can then build up my reputation so that I can move around a bit more easily. I can still see this ending up waiting years for the Shrewsbury job to come up to complete the task !

Getting through the secretaries will certainly not be a problem !

Ha Ha, didn't realise that about the attributes, just knew CA/PA never changed.

Wow, hard challenge but will be fun to see you sacked :D

Best of luck Eejit, biggest problem I found with a challenge like this was clubs not sacking managers in NI & Wales . . . . buuuuuuuutttttt . . . . not making them foreground until you need a job there might just sort the issue ;)

Haha, brilliant challenge, and we all thought the A-Z story was going to take a long time :D


I'd like to see the game time once it's ended :ok:


06-03-12, 11:08 AM
This post is used to keep track of my progress towards the 100 clubs


And this is keeping track of the trophies won


06-03-12, 11:08 AM

Left on my own, I entered the stadium through the staff and players door. Having been through the turnstiles many times, this was a new experience, and one that I could get used to. On my way in a kid shouted “Hey mister ! Are you the new manager ?” I smiled. It felt good. On the other side I was met by

Ash: Mr Eejit. We have been expecting you. I am Ash, your secretary. I have prepared your diary ready for a busy few weeks. Mr Reid, the chairman, can see you at 10 o’clock, then we have training from 10:30 to midday and 1:30 to 4 every day. I’ve booked 1-2-1 sessions with each of the players and staff, which should be completed before the end of the week and there have been a number of calls from agents wanting to talk to you. I’ve made appointments for after 4 each day.
Eejit: Thanks Ash, that is very efficient.
Ash: That’s my job. I’ve also booked you in from 3:30 to 4 pm on Thursday to Rodger me. Hope that is OK. It’s just a single appointment for now, but I can make that a weekly repeat if it fits in with your schedule.
Eejit: Not that I’m complaining, but shouln’t I seduce you ore take you out to dinner or something.
Ash: We can do that if you like, but I’m not sure we’ll have time. The important thing is to get in the rodgering. One last thing, here are the keys to your car. It is the black Punto in the carpark. I’m afraid it’s been used by a few managers before now.


Ash was right. It was a busy time. The meeting with the chairman was brief. He painted a gloomy picture of battling through the season to maintain County’s league status. The club had about half a million of debt, so there would be no chance of any transfer budget. I’d have to beg steal and borrow to improve the squad.

The squad was one I knew well, but not one that impressed me. The bright spot was between the sticks where young welshman Owain fon Williams and veteran player/coach Paul Gerrard would battle for the gloves. Along with the wingers, it was the only position where there was any competition.

http://m.gmgrd.co.uk/res/744.$plit/C_71_article_1085012_image_list_image_list_item_0_ image.jpg?12%2F12%2F2008%2011%3A01%3A19%3A751 http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/48270000/jpg/_48270005_paul.jpg

The defence was a mess. Mark Lynch, a solid rightback that likes to get forward, experienced centre back Danny Swails and Johnny Mullins, a young center half that can cover right back were the only defenders that I could consider fit to start, even at league 2 level. The rest, were teenagers who should really consider whether football was a wise career choice.


The wingers were a plus point, with former legend Ritchie Partridge and Danny Pilkington able to play either flank. Greg Tansey, James Vincent, David Poole and Craig Roberts would also be available for wide roles, although the dearth of a central midfield would mean that they may be asked to start in more central positions.

http://www.chester-city.co.uk/matches_0708_slideshow/fullsize/rotherham_h_0708_pic1_fs.jpg http://m.gmgrd.co.uk/res/771.$plit/C_71_article_1194306_image_list_image_list_item_0_ image.jpg?02%2F03%2F2010%2011%3A31%3A51%3A544

Youngsters Matty Mainwaring and Sam Hare were the only other midfield options, combined age 34 !

Up front, Northern Irish international, Peter Thompson is a bit of a ledgend, but I have never known why. Experienced Barry Conlon and youngster Tom Fisher could add support, but I couldn’t see where the goals were going to come from.


16 players was clearly not enough to start a campaign with, so I was onto agents to find unattached players who wanted to join, and other managers to arrange some loan deals. In the meantime I restructured the backroom and, agreed to make the 3:30 meeting with Ash a weekly event.

With a week before the season opener at Shrewsbury, I hadn’t had much luck. 8 players had left, netting 144k, Paul Turnbull’s transfer to Villa for 55k being the biggest.

I had brought in only 3 new faces. Ex Sheffield Wednesday and Grimsby defender Tony Crane (who was my first ever signing in my first ever CM01-02 game !) Former Coventry and Oldham left back Stuart Giddings and Manchester United youth Michael Lea, who can play leftback, centre back or midfield.

In the final week, Steve Morrison arrived from Millwall to work upfront with Thompson. They may not set fear into the League 2 defences, but both should bag a few goals. Paul Watson from Forfar also arrived on loan as a backup left back.

The team set off for the Prostar Stadium not knowing what to expect. Pilkington had picked up a knock in training, so I was only just able to field a team and 7 subs. What I hadn’t expected was a near total domination and had the score been 4 or 5, Shrewsbury could have had few complaints. They had their keeper to thank for not letting that happen and in the end Greg Tansey’s strike just before the interval was all that separated the sides.

That win was followed up by a 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln, Tom Fisher grabbing a second half equaliser and a goal fest at Hereford. Poole and Conlon both hitting equalisers before Watson headed an own goal with minutes left that would have given the points to the hosts if Ritchie Partridge hadn’t equalised again in injury time.

The squad was still not good enough, particularly in defence and there was little depth to the squad in key positions. The scouts were starting to come good and soon the new recruits started to arrive.

Ishmail Yakubu (another ODB lower league hero) and Cypriot international Stelios Okkaridis shored up the defence, the latter being a fantastic signing. Jordan Hadfield and Chris Piper became a hard working and surprisingly skilful midfield pairing while Nathan Jarman looked to have goals in his young boots. Defender Glenn Wilson on loan from Crawley boosted the rightside and central defence.

Now able to rotate players, the results picked up and we wone 4 on the spin without conceding, including a League cup victory over Chesterfield, Tom Fisher again being the hero.


That win set up an awesome challenge of a trip to The Cottage. The team were still unbeaten, so confidence was high, especially when Mainwarring (how I wish he could have been the captain) drove the ball past Schwarzer for an 8th minute lead. After that, we gave as good as we got, matching the hosts in terms of possession, territory and goal chances. Saddly Paul Gerrard had a shocker and the 38 year old keeper let 4 past him and it was a long journey home.

I wanted a response and got it. Back to back 3-1 wins over Morecambe and Bradford sent us top of the league for the first time.

06-03-12, 11:09 AM
Well done on the wins. If I were you I'd let the Assistant take training more so you can book more "appointments" :D


06-03-12, 11:09 AM
Sadly Steve Morison’s loan had to come to an end after scoring 4 times in 6 games. It left just injury prone Peter Thompson and 6 goals from 8 Nathan Jarman as the only strikers that were finding the net regularly. My first attempt to replace him was another loan, Barry Corr arriving from Southend for 3 months. The ink was hardly dry on the contract before there was a knock on the door.

Andrea Corr: Hi, I’m Andrea, Barry’s sister. He has been through a bad time at Southend and I want to make sure that he gets treated well here.
Eejit: I’ll do my best, what did you have in mind ?

Andrea pushed me back onto the desk

Andrea: Will this do ?

Some time later after Andrea had left there was a knock on the door.

Sharon Corr: Hi, I’m Sharon, Barry’s sister. He has been through a bad time at Southend and I want to make sure that he gets treated well here.
Eejit: I’ll do my best, what did you have in mind ?

Sharon pushed me back onto the desk

Sharon: Will this do ?

Some time later after Sharon had left there was a knock on the door.

Caroline Corr: Hi, I’m Caroline, Barry’s sister. He has been through a bad time at Southend and I want to make sure that he gets treated well here.
Eejit: I’ll do my best, what did you have in mind ?

Caroline pushed me back onto the desk

Caroline: Will this do ?

It was majic

Eejit: Please tell me that Jim isn’t about to turn up now ! This must be heaven ! Have I found it, what I’ve been looking for ?


Eejit: What the hell ! You don’t half pick your times
Goodshag: You called me, to be honest I was hoping it would have been sooner. Heaven. Track 7 on Rick’s third album.
Eejit: Rick Astley had 3 albums !
Goodshag: Oh stop talking and lets have some action.

Some time later I was back in the office. There was a knock on the door

Ash: Have you forgotten it is 3:30 ?
Eejit: Ash, can we skip the meeting this week please ?

Barry Corr lasted just 1 week before Oldham submitted a bid and he was off. I wondered whether Oldham boss Joe Royle would get the same treatment. Chris McGrail from Preston was next striker on loan and he arrived with Shaun MacDonald, a midfielder from Swansea who can play anywhere across the park.

I was delighted to see that some management jobs were starting to filter through as early as November. Particularly delighted that the very first casualty was at Airdrie, not that I had any intention of applying for that one. I did apply for Reading and QPR, ut with my ranking at just 72 it was more in hope than expectation.

The league wins kept on coming and by Christmas Stockport had gone 21 league games un beaten. Port Vale had been beaten in the cup after a replay and we also had a replay with Rochdale to come if we wanted to face Cheltenham or Notts County in the 3rd round.


14 points clear in the league, the Vans Trophy was a realistic target. That was until a dreadful performance at Hartlepool saw Stockport exit at the first hurdle. Much earlier than anyone could have anticipated, a 2-1 home win against Hereford would be my last game for the Hatters, Chris McGrail’s injury time winner ensuring that I left Edgley Park with a win. My next match would be in Football League 1 !


06-03-12, 11:09 AM
Damn, I thought my story was guaranteed to eventually give me the record for most managerial jobs in the records thread, looks like I have competition now. Great to see you've started another story and if it carries on like this, it could be just as good as the A to Z Story. It's gonna take a while so good luck with it. :ok:

Great start thus far mate, can't wait to see where you are off.

Far too easy :P

great start mate, good to see you back and remember to make backups!!!


06-03-12, 11:15 AM
I was not sad to be leaving County, but there were some players that I hoped I would see again. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Nathan Jarman with 10 goals from 17 starts and Stuart Giddings average of 7.42 at left back was highly impressive. Ishmail Yakubu and Stelios Okkaridis were a very solid back pair that could play at a higher level while Ritchie Partridge, Danny Pilkington and Owain fon Williams would all be welcome in future sides managed by me.

Although just 3 league places higher than Stockport, my new club were in a different league, both literally and in terms of stature and reputation. They had been in Premier League as recently as 2004/5 and still had an infrastructure to match that status. My new club was, of course, Southampton.

http://i2.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/250/draft_lens2383482module13516628photo_1241551324sai nts-logo-southampton-fc-701293.jpg

Unlike the decrepit Edgley Park, The St. Mary’s stadium was modern and impressive, standing out in it’s former dockland setting. The facilities were a vast improvement.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01376/stmary_s2_1376479c.jpg http://www.footballgroundguide.com/southampton/southamp30.jpg

I guess I am still a novice manager and wasn’t prepared for the sight on the other side of the “Staff and Player” entrance.

Eejit: And I thought I had just left The Hatters, although we didn’t put our hats there.
????: I seam to be stuck. Could you help me ?
I helped her down.

Eejit: I’m The Eejit. Pleased to be of assistance to a damsel in distress.
????: Oh, you must be my new boss, I’m Joanna. How can I ever repay you ?
Eejit: I’m sure we’ll find away (wink). How about my office on Thursday at 3:30 ?
Joanna: Oh you are naughty ! he-he-he ! Sounds like you are more of a sinner than a saint
Eejit (think): You’d better believe it !

Training was already underway, and I spotted several players who could easily play at a higher level. With the playing squad and the facilities available, I couldn’t understand why The Saints were languishing in the relegation zone in League 1.


The answer was of course the 10 point penalty that Soton started with, but even allowing for that, the club would still have been only 17th which was a pathetic effort from Alan Pardew.

The Chairman, Marcus Liebherr, had brought me in to get a respectable league position, and was giving me 750k to achieve that, which didn’t look too hard a challenge. There were some pretty decent players in the squad, starting with a choice of keeper between Kelvin Davis or Slovakian Miroslav Hyll, both extremely experienced and more than capable at this level. I’d need a 3rd choice, but was sure I could get someone on loan.

http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00198/kelvin_davis_sunder_198761a.jpg http://s3.postimage.org/e3F2A.jpg

They would be protected by a solid looking defence of Dan Harding on the left and Danny Butterfied or Frazer Richardson on the right. I also had a choice in the centre where Tommy Elphick, Jose Fonte or Paul Wotton would be fighting for the starting berth. Like the keepers, it was just depth that was missing.

http://www.footballchatter.com/forum/photopost/data/501/dan_harding.jpg http://www.cafc.co.uk/uploads/charlton32945news2.jpg http://www.cafc.co.uk/uploads/charlton34423news1.jpg http://www.seagulls.co.uk/javaImages/56/4c/0,,10433%7E3820630,00.jpg http://www.saintsfc.co.uk/javaImages/6e/57/0,,10280%7E8869742,00.jpg http://www.givemefootball.com/GMF/files/bf/bffc0805-db1d-465a-b1e9-71d0f59c7daf.jpg

Midfield was more problematic. While I had options on the left through Lee Holmes, Simon Lappin or Jason Puncheon and a solid central pair of Dean Hammond and Morgan Schneiderlin, that was it. I had no players that would be natural on the right wing, not even in the reserves.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_OaAtXlPKQgU/SKbIeiV6uwI/AAAAAAAAAOc/pe0vbxujJVM/s320/sfc_1218205664_Lee_Holmes_233x233.jpg http://img.skysports.com/07/11/218x298/SimonLappin_598778.jpg http://www.mkdons.com/javaImages/6a/18/0,,10420%7E5511274,00.jpg http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/resources/images/1081143/?type=display http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/resources/images/757946/?type=display

Up front, David Connolly had 41 caps for Ireland and looked the best of a poor bunch that was crippled by injuries to Ricky Lambert and Adam Lallana. A goal scorer was a priority as, like at Stockport, I couldn’t see where the goals would come from.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/11/04/article-0-0078868F000004B0-529_468x298.jpg http://www.datm.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/rickie-lambert.jpg http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Southampton+v+Oldham+Athletic+1bHxqUdc-ZVm.jpg

Fortunately there were 8 days before the next match to sort out the gaps in the squad, and the goals would be sorted by a fantastic loan signing from North of the border !

06-03-12, 11:15 AM
Hoorah, finally a club I'm interested in :D

Hope you dont leave to soon :P

Great job in the shape of Southampton, Pardew's done a terrible job there. Good to see you've got a goalscorer in and hopefully he'll fire you up the league.


06-03-12, 11:15 AM
Before signing the new striker, Joanna worked out all by herself a way to repay me for helping her down from the hat stand

The striker that came on loan was none other than Celtic protg Cillian Sheridan.


He was an absolute goal machine. On his debut against Dagenham & Redbridge he bagged a brace, before missing the next 2 games due to injury (goals and injuries were a repeating event for debutants at St. Mary’s) On his return to action, it was another brace against Leeds in the cup followed by a hat-trick against Charlton and one in each of his next 7 games then another hat-trick at Plymouth. 17 goals in 12 games was a phenomenal return and although he picked up another injury, he had shown Lee Barnard how to put the ball in the net and a player that I had discarded also started scoring for fun.

Sheridan was not the only new face. His Celtic team mate Niall McGinn joined him on loan and filled the right wing berth which would be competed for with Paul Ifill, a 75k signing from Wellington Phoenix and Jason Price who arrived from Millwall on loan.


Loan signings were very much a part of the Southampton side with Ben Parker, Michael McKerr and Jack Hobbs (Leeds, Oldham and Leicester) helping the defence and Jordan Robertson from Sheffield Utd filling the gap following Sheridan’s second injury.

There were 3 further permanent deals that involved midfielders Andrew Bond (45k from Colchester) and Marcus Bean (35k from Brentford) along with young defender Karleigh Osbourne who cost 120k , also from Brentford.

http://img.skysports.com/10/06/218x298/AndrewBond_2471977.jpg http://www.brentfordfc.co.uk/javaImages/3d/95/0,,10421%7E8951101,00.jpg http://img.skysports.com/10/05/218x298/Karleigh-Osborne-Brentford_2458022.jpg

In a busy transfer period 6 of the deadwood managed to find new clubs, bringing in another 700k. Unfortunately this did not include the utterly useless Anthony Pulis who should perhaps give up playing now and follow his dad into management.

The goals from Sheridan and Barnard were the prime reason that Southampton embarked on an 18 game unbeaten league run (Including Stockport, I’ve still not lost a league game) that hauled us upto 7th, within 2 points of a playoff spot, and just 11 behind the leaders, MK Dons. With still 8 games remaining, almost anything is possible although I would like to complete the league undefeated.

The FA cup was not so rewarding. Sheridan’s brace was enough to get past Leeds, but Villa away was a different matter. Despite dominating the game, Delfouneso and Heskey demonstrated the difference in class between a Premier League and a League 1 striker. Dean Hammond’s strike being not quite enough.

With Stockport having lost to Hartlepool in the first round, it is strange to be back in the Vans Trophy, but strange wasn’t going to stop me. Charlton (4-1) Southend (2-1) and Cheltenham (1-0) set up a Southern Region final with Hereford. Ricky Lambert grabbed the only goal of the 1st leg which left the tie nicely balanced. It didn’t stay that way for long. Lee Barnard bagged the opener in the 3rd minute, cleaned up a fumble by the keeper in the 36th and headed in his hat-trick goal on the stroke of half time. Harding added a 4th in the second half and the injury time strike from Stuart Fleetwood was the only consolation for the hosts.


Back in the office, Joanna helped me to celebrate our cup final trip with a hat-trick of her own.

06-03-12, 11:16 AM
You have to feel sorry for Dario Gradi.


Dario has been manager at Crewe since Adam was a lad and in that time has managed to win the square root of diddly-squat. Despite his team struggling and narrowly avoiding relegation out of the Football League, he some how manages to raise his players for the cup ties and miraculously they provide the goods to allow Dario to lead his team out onto the Millennium Stadium pitch (presumably the Wembley surface was not good enough for a game between a League 1 and League 2 side) for a cup final.

The team he was facing was the form side of League 1. A side that were unbeaten in the league since The Eejit took over the helm. A side that were looking for a piece of silverware and saw Crewe as easy prey. However that is not why we should feel sorry for Dario Gradi

Once again, Dario finds something that has been missing all season in the league, and without ever threatening the Southampton goal, his side get to 90 minutes and the score is still 0-0. Why, you ask should I feel sorry for Dario ? The reason to feel sorry is because football is not a game played over 90 minutes.


Saints fans were however not in the slightest bit bothered about Dario Fucking Gradi !

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Back in the league and 12 straight league wins hauled Southampton to within 1 point of leaders Colchester and automatic promotion was guaranteed with a game to spare. Could the Saints finish the season on a real high and start Championship life as Champions ?

A home game against 5th from bottom Exeter and a match between Huddersfield and Colchester would decide the outcome.

06-03-12, 11:16 AM
What a game! I mean what a minute! Unlucky Dario!

To hell with Dario Gradi! :P

Well done :D


06-03-12, 11:16 AM
For the finale against Exeter, There was just 1 change to the starting 11 that had beaten Swindon 2-0 in midweek, regular left back Dan Harding returning in place of Ben Parker who had not recovered 100%
Fitness. It meant that Lee Barnard led the attack with Ricky Lambert in the hole behind him. It was a familiar formation that had worked well in the run in.

Southampton kicked off on a warm sunny day and were straight onto the attack knowing that final destiny was out of their hands. Barnard in particular looked keen to add to his 22 goals so far this season. The finishing though was woeful, and the fans in the Northam Stand were kept more busy than the Exeter keeper. The lack of composure in front of goal though became meaningless when news drifted through that Robinson had opened the scoring for the home side at Huddersfield. A quick burst of mental arithmetic came to the answer that The Saints were now top on goal difference.

The gap increased to 2 points jus after the half hour when Lee Barnard let rip from 20 yards out, and this time he caught it right, leaving the keeper helpless.


The 2 point lead was trimmed to 1 just seconds later, Platt firing home a Colchester equaliser, but that mattered not. St. Mary’s was rocking. Credit to Exeter who could have folded under the weight of pressure, but the defended bravely and were partially responsible for the pathetic finishing that prevailed. Every shot that was blasted over the bar was cheered, particularly after news of Airfield adding a second for Huddersfield. Colchester would need 2 in the second half to take the title now.

10 minutes into the second half and it was all over at St Mary’s. Barnard flicking a long clearance into the path of Lambert who placed his shot under the diving keeper.


There was no way back for Exeter now, and it became a waiting game from news from the Galpharm Stadium. The news that came was of a third Huddersfield goal, courtesy of Whaley. The last 30 minutes were played out to shouts of OLE ! as Southampton cruised to the title.



However, even as The Eejit waved to the celebrating fans, the question on everyones lips was would it be him that led Southampton when the Championship season started after the summer.

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/bg/Twilight+cast+on+a+balcony+RoGYKL8P1tGl.jpg?62462E W_PATTINSON_B-GR_01

06-03-12, 11:16 AM
Congratulations on the title!

Yes, well done mate. I look forward to seeing who's next.


06-03-12, 11:17 AM
It was close, very close, but with 4 days to go before the start of the season, I found a new job and it was a Championship club with a completely unique name.

The summer had been slow going. I hadn’t wanted to make any signings for Southampton in case I a job came up and I needed them there. In the end, the only higher club that came up was Man Utd, which I did apply for, but was not surprised to see Jurgen Klinsmann get the gig. With a month to go, I made some panic buys to ensure I had a squad fit for the Championship.

Michael McKerr (40k)and Cillian Sheridan (500k) made their loan moves permanent and the big names joining them were Carlton Cole, Gary Mackay Steven, David Vaughn, Lee Mair, Kenny Lunt and J J Melligan.

Sadly I would never get to work with these players, at least, not at Southampton.

06-03-12, 11:17 AM
I'll go with Crystal Palace. Well done on the league win with Saints.

Well done on the league, I'll guess Burton Albion.

Crew Alexandra :D

You are all thinking about this "uniqueness" the wrong way


Port Vale ;)

So you've changed from Hugh Jackman to Robert Patterson?

Pattinson. I'm trying to appeal to a younger audience (of babes)


06-03-12, 11:18 AM
It was close, very close, but with 4 days to go before the start of the season, I found a new job and it was a Championship club with a completely unique name.

The summer had been slow going. I hadn’t wanted to make any signings for Southampton in case I a job came up and I needed them there. In the end, the only higher club that came up was Man Utd, which I did apply for, but was not surprised to see Jurgen Klinsmann get the gig. With a month to go, I made some panic buys to ensure I had a squad fit for the Championship.

Michael McKerr (40k)and Cillian Sheridan (500k) made their loan moves permanent and the big names joining them were Carlton Cole, Gary Mackay Steven, David Vaughn, Lee Mair, Kenny Lunt and J J Melligan.

Sadly I would never get to work with these players, at least, not at Southampton.


4 days before the start of the season, I packed my bags at St. Mary’s and headed north, to Hull City, the only club name in England where you can’t colour in the middle of any of the letters ! They are also a club who have had (in the 90’s) one of the worst strips in the history of football.


Like Southampton, Hull have in the KC stadium very modern facilities and as I entered the ground for the first time, I was looking forward to another step up the management ladder. Inside the door, I was surprised that there was no body to meet me, however I found my own way to my office where my PA (I have moved up the ladder) had prepared a proper reception to The Tigers.

Needless to say, I was a little late in joining the lads for morning training and when I did turn up, I wondered if I had missed something. The squad was truly awful ! A guy in a tracksuit was directing the training.
Eejit: Sorry I’m late, but have I missed the first team ?
Horton: No, this is it. What do you think ?
Eejit: If this is the first team, I think it’s a :censored:ing joke. Since I’m holding you :censored:ing responsible take a :censored:ing hike and you can take the rest of your coaches too, along with Vinegar of Oojamaflip and Nobby Solano. This team is a :censored:ing disgrace !

Fortunately some of the old timers had already gone, including Jimmy Bullard, so I should survive with just 3 physios and there was no need to build a new hospital wing to the ground. Of the 34 players that were in the squad, maybe 9 or 10 would have made it to the Southampton squad in League 1.

On the positive, The defence was not bad, Gary Sawyer, a 140k signing from Bristol Rovers, Balazs Borbely a Hungarian international fullback who had come from AEK Limasol and Andrew Kelly who had arrived from Landskrona were all decent players and along with Paul McShane would form a reasonable back 4. There were even some options although I would be looking for improvements

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Behind them sat Boaz Myhill, not the best, but adequate at this level and upfront, Kamel Ghilas, Caleb Folan and former Hartlepool striker Colin Larkin should get a few goals, but we lacked an out and out striker.

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The midfield came down to 3 players, Moreno and Seyo Olofinjana had been helped by the bosman signing of Omonoia Nicosia’s Bruno Aguiar.

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There were a few other journey men (Peter Halmosi, Kevin Kilbane, Kamel Zayate and Craig Fagan) who avoided immediate transfer, as I had to field a team in 4 days time and had few players to work with. Before the opener at Barnsley, I was only able to add 4 loan signings, Striker David McGoldrick from Forrest, defender Patrick Kisnorbo from Leeds and Celtic duo, defender Josh Thompson and midfielder Simon Ferry. It wasn’t enough to avoid my first ever league defeat as Hull were completely outplayed by a very average looking Barnsley side.

I had only 350k to play with, so initially the transfer activity was restricted to what was left of the free signings and bosmans, Sunderland’s Andy Reid being the best, and results did start to improve, starting with a 2-1 win over Birmingham that would prove to be crucial come the season finale. Eventually, when I had sold a few players, the squad did start to look decent particularly after old-boys Paul Iffil and Luke Howell arrived from Southampton in a deal that sent Kamel Zayatte the other way and stlll left me enough cash to sign Kenny Deuchar and Claudio Pizzaro ! Not a bad bit of business.

Despite the early setback, we were always up with the leading pack in the league, but every game appeared to have one or two players seriously underperforming. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy my time at Hull, constantly warning players and generally getting moaned at in return, so when I got the chance to leave in November, I jumped at it (after jumping on my PA first) even if the club in question were rock bottom of the Championship.



06-03-12, 11:18 AM
A nice short stay, and plenty of time to turn that bottom side's season around.

Short and Sweet!

Good luck at the next club.

Well done, I guess.

I dont see the record for " you also have to win every trophy in England, each one with a different club." in 24th post mate.


06-03-12, 11:18 AM
I was so happy to be leaving Hull, that it didn’t bother me that I was heading to a foreign country, albeit still in the football league. There were none of the Hull players that I wanted to see again, loan signings David McGoldrick (13 goals in 15 games) and Lewis Price average 7.64 in goal were the only ones that showed any consistency.


Swansea City was my destination and they were rock bottom of the championship, although only 3 points from safety and not far adrift of a packed midtable.


An interview with the chairman told me that he was expecting a respectable position. An interview with my secretary told her that I was expecting an unrespectable position !

Although I had only 80k to spend on new players, I had scouting reports and new of a few free and loan signings that should help us out. That was when the phone rang

Eejit: Hello, managers office
CMSG Ltd: This is CMSG Head Office. Congratulations on your new job
Eejit: Thankyou, but why the call ? You’ve never done that before.
CMSG Ltd: Well the thing is, we have a small change to make to your contract while at Swansea
Eejit: I don’t suppose your going to say I can have an Aston Martin instead of this Fiat Doblo van crap that the club have given me.
CMSG Ltd: Eh no. The thing is that since you are in Wales, we want you to mark the event. You can’t leave Swansea until they are clear of relegation, and you can only sign Welsh players to do it.
Eejit: What ! You can’t do that !
CMSG Ltd: Actually we can. Clause 19a says that CMSG Ltd can add or amend any clause in the contract at any time. So that is what we are doing, but only while you are at Swansea. One other thing, there must be a welsh player on the field at all times.
Eejit: But I only have 6 welsh players, 2 of them are out on loan and 2 others have never played 1st team
CMSG Ltd: That is your problem, unless of course you are not upto this challenge.
Eejit: I’ll do it
Eejit think: Why the :censored: did I not cancel Lewis Price’s loan before leaving Hull !

06-03-12, 11:18 AM
Nice twist!


06-03-12, 11:19 AM
The squad I inherited was pretty good, with possibly the best striking partnership in this league. Pavlyuchenko had joined from Spurs in the summer along with HSV’s Markus Berg. If these 2 didn’t get goals, I was doing something wrong.

http://www.soundoffcolumn.com/images/Roman-Pavlyuchenko-1-31-10.jpg http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00826/MARCUS_BERG_682x400_826508a.jpg

Scott Flinders was solid between the sticks and the defence was certainly OK. Scott Griffiths at left back and Frank Simek at right. Alan Tate and Welshman Ashley Williams providing the backbone.


My only Welshman !

I had another surprise in midfield where Ricardo Gardner had moved from Bolton last season. Jordi Lopez and Mark Gower made a central midfield and Cedric van der Gun could run up the right hand side.

Not a bad starting 11, and all I would need was a few players to add depth. I had plenty of deadwood to get rid off, and with luck, might bring in a few quid to spend.

The first match was in 4 days time away to Reading in a relegation 6 pointer. There was only time to complete 1 loan signing, midfielder Guy Last coming from Aberdeen and he went straight into the starting 11. It was a thrashing. Berg opened the scoring in the 8th minute, pouncing on a loose clearance and drilling a low shot into the left corner. Last pounced on a fumble by the keeper to make it 2-0 and Pav headed in Bergs cross just before the break. Callum Willock, on as a second half sub completed the rout.

That win was followed up by 3-1 wins over Palace and Blackpool that saw us clear of relegation and the Swans supporters could draw a sigh of relief. Matthew Jones and Mark Jones arrived from Slade Green and Bala Town respectively to add options to the midfield and to the Welsh options, while Jamie Tolley from Southampton and Josh Hartrick from Bradford arrived on loan.

After a reverse to Derby, the league form pretty good, except for a bad patch in February. Nevertheless, Swansea climbed to a high of 11th and just 4 points away from a playoff. Sadly my last game would be a 2-2 draw at home to Bolton that would see us slip into the lower half of the League.


Pavleyuchenko and super-sub Callum Willock were the men in amongst the goals. Matthew Jones, Jamie Tolley and Ashley Williams were the men that kept the Welsh interest.

My departure would not be without a decent cup run (and had I known it would take Swansea to the final I might not have left !) Beating Mansfield was no major accomplishment, but it was followed up by a fine win at Huddersfield (Willock with a 3 minute brace just before the interval). A 2-1 win over Premier League West Brom gave Swansea a home tie with Burnley for a place in the Semi Finals, but that would be after I had left.


My new club had a far better chance of promotion to the Premier League and a genuine chance of staying there.

06-03-12, 11:19 AM
Leeds :P



06-03-12, 11:19 AM
It had been a short stint in Wales and although moving back to England, you might be forgiven for thinking I was heading North of the border by the name of the ground. My new home would be the blue half of the countries second city and the chairman had made it absolutely clear at the interview that he wanted a promotion party at St. Andrews.
Sitting 5th (see post 57 for league table) in the playoff zone and just 7 points away from automatic promotion. With still 10 games to play, there was every chance of earning that promotion party. The fans had huge expectations and I had been expecting a reception, but to be greeted by a babe wearing nothing but a Blues scarf still caught me by surprise


I had no time for distractions as we had to hit the ground running and that meant beating a decent Huddersfield outfit in 4 days time. My secretary was a bit disappointed that I would be putting her off until after the game, but getting to the premier league would be an important step in my career.

The squad hadn’t changed much from the one that had been relegated from the Premier League last term. Although Barry Ferguson had left for MK Dons and James McFadden to Liverpool, Big Eck had made some decent purchases before he left. Angel Rangel had a great name and looked a decent right back from Swansea, Souleyman Bamba an Ivorian man mountain of a centre back from Hibs and Jonathan Howson a tricky winger from Leeds looked the pick of the new names.

http://www.fansfc.com/UploadedImages/Players/angel%20rangel_633590718559687500.jpg http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/08/26/article-0-06305400000005DC-391_308x333.jpg http://www.independent.ie/multimedia/archive/00182/howson_182187t.jpg

There were also some familiar ones from the past in ex Stockport keeper Owain fon Williams and ex Southampton winger Lee Holmes.

The strength was upfront where Nikola Zigic and Cameron Jerome looked a decent pairing. I couldn’t believe that Zigic hadn’t played for the first team all year and was being allowed to leave on a Bosman in the summer to Colchester. Hungarian new boy Bela Koplarovics and Dominican Espinal looked decent backups.


Big Nik couldn’t believe that he wasn’t getting a start

Defence was also fine, but the central midfield and Goalkeepers needed work before the transfer window closed. The later was sorted by a man that had refused to join Hull, and who could blame him. Argentine international stopper Oscar Ustari had been out of work for almost a year after being released by Getafe and jumped at the chance to sign up with a club with prospects.


Midfield was more tricky. Karl Henry made the trip across the West Midlands in a 1m deal with Wolves. His team mate David Edwards joined him on loan and Charlie Barnett also arrived on loan from Barnsley.

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A couple of additional defenders, including Fulham’s Chris Baird for another 1m and we were ready to go. The tactic was very simple. High balls into Zigic and let the defence panic. Everyone knows that Zigic plays guitar (sorry), so hitting cows arses with banjos is not in his repertoire ! Jerome would be there to pick up any scraps.

The Huddersfield defence was more robust that I had expected and dealt well with the aerial bombardment. The game was heading for a goalless draw until injury time when Ben Tozer beat his man and won a free kick on the left when his shirt was pulled. Marian Had floated in the free kick, Zigic jumped the highest and the ball nestled in the back of the net.

Now I had time to let Stef welcome me to the club

06-03-12, 11:20 AM
Nice club, and some quality players there. Quite tight at the top too so even the title isn't out the question if you get a good run together. Best of luck.

Good luck at Brum mate! Hope you get the party in full swing.


06-03-12, 11:20 AM
The Championship is a tough league and you have to be on top form to get a win. It was a lesson that we learned when West Ham came to St. Andrews. It was a game that the Blues dominated from first kick to last and when Richard Chaplow opened the scoring it looked as if the floodgates would open. Instead, Zavon Hines was given 2 chances in a 3 minute burst before the break and we found ourselves behind. The wingers, Larson and Holmes were sacrificed to go 4-3-3 and fortunately Zigic rescued a point and I drummed into the players that we couldn’t relax our concentration for a minute.


The lads took on the message and a 5 game winning run took us briefly to 2nd before ending with a 2-0 reverse at Coventry. With 2 games to play, we were now 4th, 4 points behind Hull who had played a game more. Our game in hand involved a midweek trip to Cardiff who still viewed me as the devil having been an ex Swansea man. The game was an absolute cracker.

Zigic opened the scoring when he pounced on a loose ball after his initial header was blocked by the keeper. His second, midway through the first half was a solo effort when he was allowed to run from the half way line after picking up a loose clearance. Brian Murphy in the Cardiff goal had a terrible start to the game but made amends with a string of saves that kept the score at 2-0 as the sides changed ends. The second half would see 6 goals !

It started with Zigic completing his hat-trick, making it 10 goals from 8 starts ! His strike partner Tom Craddock made it 4-0 and we were cruising. “We want 5 !” sang the travelling support as Cardiff kicked off. There was no reason for it. No excuses. Ben Tozer went in with both feet, studs showing and took out McCormack half way up his shin. It was a terrible tackle and he was walking before the red card was out the refs pocket. It changed the game and Cardiff won a corner which was swung in. There was some pushing and shoving and the ref pointed to the spot. 4-1 and Cardiff had their tails up looking for an unlikely recovery. We were now defending deap and soaking up pressure, but from a rare attack, David Edwards broke quickly and Baird spotted his run, launching a perfect pass that Edwards collected without breaking stride. He rounded the keeper to make it 5-1 surely it was safe now. Cardiff thought differently and pushed forward looking for a way back in. The board was up saying 5 minutes of added time when Moghnahan pulled one back, surely a consolation. Straight from the kickoff and Cardiff won the ball back. McCormack had made a run and the defence were day dreaming as he collected the through ball to make it 5-3 with still 3 minutes to go.

I turned to my assistant Andy Watson.

Eejit: And the night goes on and on and on and on


Eejit: What the :censored: !
Goodshag: That was from the chorus of Sleepless, Rick's 2001 single. I thought you wanted me.
Eejit: Oh I do, but we were into injury time in a crucial league game.
Goodshag: Oh that can wait. Remember time is frozen. While you’re here, better not waste the opportunity !

I returned for the last 3 minutes of injury time. We held on for a 5-3 win that put us back into second place, just a point behind Hull


We could finish 1st or 4th. Any of the top 3 could take the title. Going back to the update in post 51 where Hull beat Birmingham 2-1 in the second match of the season and I said “that would prove to be crucial come the season finale.” I wasn’t joking !

06-03-12, 11:20 AM
Talk about tight finish!

Good Luck :ok:

That's what she said!



If there are no pictures it didn't happen :ok:

Eejit has just kept them hidden for when the 'alone' times come :whistle:



06-03-12, 11:21 AM
For the final game of the season, we welcomed Portsmouth to St. Andrews. The maths were simple. If we won, then only a Hull win at Watford could prevent us from taking the title. Only if we lost would the Barnsley v Leeds game become relevant.

Our part of the deal was sealed in the first 12 minutes. Zigic headed in (what a surprise) Chaplows cross in the 5th minute before the ex Wolves pairing of Henry and Edwards combined to double the lead. Barnsley v Leeds was now of no interest, but for the record it finished 1-1. Second half started much the same as the first, 2 crosses from Angel Rangel did the damage, David Edwards and Tommy Craddock finishing off a poor Pompey side. It all now rested on Watford v Hull. With their goal difference advantage, Hull just needed a draw.


I could imagine the sort of songs that the Hull supporters were singing, and the helpful advice they were giving me about my sexual life, but that didn’t spoil the moment. Within 2 seasons of taking over Stockport as a rookie, I had made the Premier League.


Carson Yeung was as good as his word and took the squad over to his native Hong Kong for a celebration party. The event took place in a local night club, and while some of the pictures are not fit for a family forum, you can probably get the idea of the evening entertainment.

Back home and it was time to prepare for Premier League action, but the big question was, what club would I kick off the season with ?

06-03-12, 11:21 AM
It was another slow summer as I left strengthening the Birmingham squad until the last minute, hoping that I would find another Premier League job before the summer started. One did come up, Liverpool, but as soon as Frank Rijkaard showed an interest, I had no chance.

And so the last few weeks were spent throwing cash around to find players of Premier League standard. It wasn’t easy, as most of my targets had no interest in joining a side that everyone expected to be battling relegation, however not much was needed to put together a decent side. David Edwards had been impressive when on loan from Wolves, so when the chance came to make the deal permanent with just 1.8m changing hands, it was a done deal. I also had to replace the outgoing Nikola Zigic and here I had a major coup. Tottenham transfer listed Jermain Defoe and for 5m I had my self an England international striker !

http://www3.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Wales+v+Finland+FIFA2010+World+Cup+Qualifier+ZG7of 4uOleIl.jpg http://resources0.news.com.au/images/2009/08/13/1225760/851512-jermain-defoe-england-v-holland.jpg

Although not as spectacular, the other signings were just as significant, Right back David Mirfin making a 500k move to the big time from Scunthorpe. The same figure was the fee agreed with Austin Aztex for forward Eddie Johnson and 350k being enough to land Richie Partridge who had joined Villa from Stockport for 425k just last summer. I was looking forward to see how he would get on in the top flight.

http://d.yimg.com/i/ng/sp/empics/20091206/13/504982119-06122009135858.jpg http://www.austinchronicle.com/binary/8892/scaled.johnson.jpg http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3287/2360120057_7b4a7257c5.jpg?v=0

The opening game took Defoe back to his old stomping ground of White Hart lane where he was given a hostile reception from the Spurs fans. It also taught us a hard lesson in concentration. I disciplined defensive performance had shut out the Spur’s strike force and it looked like we would start the season with a creditable draw. With seconds left, their midfielder Sandro ran at the Blues defence which parted like the Red Sea and the Brazilian waltzed in to open the scoring. We went forward trying to pull back the deficit, but Defoe was harshly judged to be offside. Bassong was quick to react and hoofed the ball up the park where Roque Santa Cruz was waiting to head home Spurs second. The result was harsh and I know how Dario Gradi felt like after the Vans final !

A particularly tough opening fixtures brought United to St. Andrews and Oscar Ustari earned a man of the match for his clean sheet. Danny Welbeck, on loan from Old Trafford along with defender Craig Cathcart, made a point to his manager by netting the only goal of the game for an excellent victory. 4 days later he was the villan with a dreadful display that let City score 4 times at Eastlands and when Fulham held us to a goalless draw at home it looked as if it was going to be a long season ahead. I also wondered if Defoe would even score with the club secretary. "What a waste of money" was the chorus, and I joined in !

06-03-12, 11:21 AM
Stick with Defoe, he'll come good, and at 5m will be a snip. Well done on the united win, always good to beat them, I'll hate it when you come to manage them.

Cheers. It depends on what I decide to do with United. I don't have to win anything, so I may fill the side with only Faroese players !

Please do that.


06-03-12, 11:21 AM
With the going tough and a misfiring striker, what I didn’t need was back to back derbys. What I got was a 4-0 win over Wolves, Defoe and Jerome grabbing a brace each and a 2-0 win over WBA. Our season was firmly back on track, and although we failed to take anything from The Bridge, where unbeaten Chelsea are unstoppable in their bid for a 3rd consecutive title, the results started coming, along with the goals from Defoe. 3-0 over Everton and 4-1 over Wigan, Middlesbrough and Norwich showed that we ment business and cemented our place in the group chasing European qualification.

The League cup started off low key as Hartlepool and Walsall both shipped 3 goals. It picked up with an amazing home tie with Sunderland. Bent and Jones put the home side 2 goals up, but it was the Blues who lead at the break. Defoe fired a quick brace and Johnson added a third to make the half time pies taste much better.


Jones levelled for Sunderland with 20 minutes left, but that still left time for Howson to score what should have been a Birmingham winner. Injury time haunted us again, Iliev netting in the dieing seconds to tie the game at 4 each. Midweek extra time is not what anyone wants an a cold December night, least of all a manager thinking about fitness for another game on Saturday. This one though got us quickly warmed up. There seemed little danger when Edwards went head down running at the defence and his shot from distance was easily blocked by Craig Gordon. He could have done better though as Johnson was first to react to the spilled ball and he toed it past Gordon who tangled with the strikers feet and the ref pointed to the spot. Gordon was the last man, so although it was clumsy rather than dirty, the ref pulled out a red card and Sunderland were reduced to 10 men.


Loach took the field and his first job was to pull Edwards penalty out of the onion bag. With the man advantage over tired legs, Birmingham could now control the game and although there was no more goals (5-4 should be enough for most) Howson suffered a late injury that we could have done without.

3 weeks later and we put 5 past Sunderland again ! This time in the league where a Defoe hattrick, one from Johnson and one from Howson on his return were more than enough to cancel out goals from Bent and Jones. That win put us confident mood for a second visit from Man Utd, this time for a League Cup quarter final. Again it went to extra time, Rooney equalising 2 minutes after Defoes first half opener. For the winner, Defoe became the provider, played in on the left by an excellent Karl Henry, he held up play allowing Jerome to work some space and when Defoe’s the cross came over, Jerome was left with a free header which he tucked away. Man City home and away was all that separated Birmingham from a final with Newcastle or Liverpool.

The Christmas day league table made happy viewing for Blues fans.


Unfortunately Chelsea are in a league of their own. Unfortunately we have drawn them in the FA Cup 3rd round. Fortunately we have a nice gap to the scrum that are chasing ! A pundit had told me to “stick with Defoe, he’ll come good”. That man deserves a prize. 17 goals from 18 starts put Jermain top of the premier league charts and back in the England starting 11. Jonathon Howson, Eddie Johnson and Danny Welbeck also deserve praise for their efforts.


Happy viewing might also describe the Birmingham City Christmas party !

06-03-12, 11:22 AM
Hope you behaved yourself at the party! Knew Defoe would come good, but 17 in 18 even surprises me. Great going so far mate, shame about that FA Cup draw but you never know!

Defoe has been amazing, considering he started with no goals from his first 4 games it is really 17 from 14 starts ! I've settled into a formation where Defoe has been playing mainly as the lone front man in a 4-4-1-1 with Eddie Johnson or Danny Welbeck tucking in behind and teeing up the goals. If they are not available, it's a flat 4-4-2 and Jerome partnering Defoe. If I need to chase the game, I have a 4-3-3 that I have used for the last 20 or 30 mins.


06-03-12, 11:22 AM
In the league we fell further behind Chelsea following draws with Forest and Coventry, the latter being a 3-3 draw with hat-tricks for Jutkiewicz and Edwards ! Chelsea though showed that they were not unbeatable. Man City managed a 3-2 win after Essien was sent off. It did make our cup tie more difficult as now Chelsea would have to loose 2 in a row !

The Chelsea squad had not changed much from the one that started the 2009/10 season. Gone were Benayoun and Mancienne, hardly key players and both to Man City. In had come Xavi for 13.75m from Barca and Lazio’s Mauri for just 2.2m.

http://www.football-pictures.net/data/media/199/Xavi-Jpeg.jpg http://sp1.fotolog.com/photo/1/39/110/azzurri_girls/1191963004_f.jpg

They had totally dominated English football, with 2 titles, 2 league cups and 2 Charity Shields. With the League tied up, Ancelotti was chasing the 2 missing pieces of silverware, The Champions League and The FA Cup. Any hope of facing a weakened side were dashed when I saw the team sheet.


We gave it a good go, but when Drogba gave the visitors a 14th minute lead from a freekick, the writing was on the wall. The mission wasn’t helped by Rodger Johnson’s red card on the stroke of half time and just seconds into the second half Zhirkov headed Chelsea’s second. Kalou rounded off the scoring with an easy finish.

Ancelotti didn’t bother to shake my hand, brushing past me on his way back to the dressing room. I shouted after him

“How on earth can you be so unfeeling ? How on earth can you be so unkind ?”


Goodshag: I thought you’d forgotten about me !
Eejit: As if ! But I’ve just lost a really important game
Goodshag: Don’t worry about that. It’s just a game. There’ll be another one next week.
Eejit: JUST A GAME ! You really don’t understand.
Goodshag: Guilty, but I know how you rodger me rigid, now come on over here

Football is a funny old game. No sooner are you knocked out of the FA Cup, but you are suddenly right back in it. The complete dearth of Premier League jobs suddenly lifted and the Chelsea game turned out to be my last. I wouldn’t be going far though and I would have a replay against AFC Wimbledon as my second game in charge.



06-03-12, 11:22 AM
Well Done mate!

Keep it up, Defoe never fails when I have him.


06-03-12, 11:22 AM

The journey across the West Midlands didn’t take long, even in the crappy Qubo that the Birmingham skin-flints had given me and I had accidently not returned when I left. They can come to West Brom to fetch it !


The move had caused a bit of a stir, Birmingham fans accusing me of being a traitor and Baggies supporters not wanting me for being an ex-Blue. I managed to console them a bit when I said at the press conference that “Managing West Brom would be the summit of my career” They thought that meant I was a die hard Baggie, what I really meant was The Hawthorns was the highest ground that I would be manager at !” Chairman Jeremy Peace met me when I arrived


Peace: Dude just do what you can to keep us in the Premier League. I’ve got myself some good gear, so leave us in peace and just spend the 21m as you think best. Love and Peace dude !

He drew on a giant spliff and wandered of in a daze, going into what looked like a cupboard. I wandered off in search of my office which I eventually found along with my secretary, who was getting prepared for my arrival.

It was some time later before I picked up the keysto my new Alfa Romeo 147 and drove over to the training ground where Eddie Newton was dishing out the instructions. The squad was not huge, just 31 players and Eddie told me that there were another 3 out on loan, but there were a few decent players. Saddly not amongst them were Graeme Dorrans, Stephen Reid and James Morrison all of whom had been sold.

I was quite happy to see Scott Carson available for keeper, and it is always a pleasure to be able to use this picture.


However Scott had absolutely no challenge for the gloves. I suggested to the other 3 keepers including his namesake Grant Carson, that they consider a career outside of football !

Pablo Ibanez is maybe the best defender that I have worked with so far. Good in the air, strong in the tackle and excellent distribution have helped him to average 7.75 in his 93 game Baggie career. Marek Cech and Gabriel Tamas would help to form a back 4, with only the right back slot a question. Zuiverloon would probably get the nod over the Chilean Jara. Depth was seriously lacking

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Midfield was again reasonable. Nick Montgomery (on of my faves) and Giles Barnes (injured for a month) looked to be the lynchpins, however Chris Brunt, Michel and Youssouf Mulumbu were all available and looked more than capable.

http://www.fansfc.com/UploadedImages/Players/Nick%20Montgomery_633589730379375000.jpg http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/gallery_images/photos/000/326/930/GYI0060083806_crop_450x500.jpg?1270754187

Upfront Ishmail Miller looked the pick of a poor bunch where the options were Roman Bednar, Simon Cox or Chris Wood.

http://www3.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/West+Bromwich+Albion+v+Hull+City+Premier+League+OT OdZSM-mvsl.jpg

There was the makings of a decent team, and with 21m available, I had no doubt that West Brom would soon be pulling away from relegation into a safe mid table.


There was the usual deadwood to get rid of, but one player required special attention.

Eejit: Oi ! Kewell ! Over here !
Harry: G’day gaffer. What’s happenin’ ?
Eejit: You, you :censored:ing waste of space. One good season with :censored:ing Leeds and you’re gods :censored:ing gift. Why the :censored: that half wit Di Mateo brought you here I don’t :censored:ing know. Maybe he thought the hospital might need more :censored:ing business ? I reckon I’d get more time on the pitch with Steven :censored:ing Hawkins, in a power cut. Your only redeeming feature is your :censored:ing wife, or more precisely, :censored:ing your wife, so unless you can set that up, pack your bags and :censored: off.
Harry: Struth Gaffer ! Bit harsh !

Then he tripped over and twisted his knee putting him on the physio bench for the next weeks.

Next day, Sheree Murphy turned up in the office, and Harry Kewell was saved from a free transfer !

But that was after the phone call from CMSG Ltd that changed all my plans.

06-03-12, 11:23 AM
I was in the office considering my options to improve the team when the phone rang. A backup keeper was essential and I had seen that Doni at Roma had submitted a transfer request and I was considering a bid. Chelsea’s Scott Sinclair was another under consideration to improve the striking options while Wolves Jonathan Walters would be an option to add depth to the midfield. That was when the phone rang

Eejit: Managers office !
CMSG Ltd: Congratulation on the new job. I hope you’ve settled in and I hear you have completed your contractual obligations vis a vis the secretary. Good work there.
Eejit: Thank you, but why am I thinking that this is not a social call ?
CMSG Ltd: Very astute of you. You are right, we do want to invoke clause 19a again.
Eejit: Oh god ! What this time ?
CMSG Ltd: Well it has been suggested that you are finding this a bit too easy, so, we at CMSG Ltd want to see how good you are. You have to complete your time at The Hawthorns without signing any players. No free signings. No loans. Just the current squad.
Eejit: :censored: me ! Have you seen the squad ? If Scotty Carson picks up a knock we are totally screwed !
CMSG Ltd: Well you had better take care of him then, unless you’re not upto the job and want to resign. I forgot to mention that you can’t leave unless you are higher in the league than the current 14th place. Also, the transfer embargo will continue into next season if you don’t find a job before then.
Eejit: You bastard !
CMSG Ltd: Have a nice day !

I ripped up the pad that had the names of the transfer targets on it and chucked it in the bin. I was playing Arsenal in 4 days and had to do it with the numpties that I already had.

06-03-12, 11:23 AM
Great read as usual, for a minute there I thought you were going straight to Villa! Best of luck with the restrictions, not the easiest starts in the world.

Good luck with the numpties. At least you have Sheree to soften the blow.

Cheers, but I can assure you that Sheree was not softening anything :cool:


06-03-12, 11:23 AM
The Baggies fans were gathering outside the Emerates before my first game in charge. I listened into some of the conversation

http://cdn.fourfourtwo.com/contentimages/interviews/Adrian-Chiles1.jpg http://cdn.fourfourtwo.com/contentimages/interviews/Frank-Skinner1.jpg

Chiles: I don’t know why we bother. A new manager isn’t going to change anything, we’ll still be rubbish and the occasional good result will just make the bad ones worse. It’s all so depressing being a Baggie, I’d consider topping myself except that purgatory could be watching highlights of The Albion games to eternity.
Skinner: Nonsense. Keep your pecker up mate. Remember Laurie Cunningham. Remember Cyril Regis and most of all Jeff Astle ! We were great and can do it again. If The Eejit isn’t the man, the next gaffer will be, or maybe the one after that. One thostle on my shirt …

I had found 23 players that I would use to form my first team squad. Not a big squad, but I did have competition for every position except keeper. I wasn’t expecting much from the Arsenal game and as expected we had to soak up a lot of pressure. When Simon Cox netted, very much against the run of play, early in the second half there was half a chance of an amazing start to my reign, but we had left The Arse too much time to regroup. Chamakh levelled 15 minutes later and although they piled on the pressure, 1-1 was how it ended, but that felt very much a point won.

West Brom became the draw specialists becoming very hard to beat, but lacking the firepower to close games out. There were some good wins, 2-0 away to Fulham, 2-0 away to Everton and 4-1 away to Forest, but also some bad defeats. 3-1 away to Middlesbrough, 2-1 at home to Liverpool and 4-0 at home to Stoke in a game where Scot Carson was injured and Grant Carson deputised. He put in a 3 performance then complained when I disciplined him for a poor performance. He was released on a free transfer the next day ! Also released on a free was Harry “sick note” Kewell. He returned to training following the injury on my first day, only to miss another 2 weeks with a damaged toe. Back again, I needed someone for wide left. He lasted 10 mins before being stretchered off and I had seen enough. Sheree pleaded with me, but my decision was made, even if I hadn’t seen enough of her

It was just enough to finish top half of the table and I was free to look for a new club, although there had been very few openings in the Premier League.


The league form may have been a bit up and down, however there are times when they say a clubs name is on the cup. It didn’t seem that way when AFC Wimbledon took the lead at Kingsmeadow in our 3rd round replay. We had to throw everything at them, and fortunately Roman Bednar saved our blushes, completing a brace with 10 mins left. Bolton at home was a tame draw and a 2-0 win resulted in a visit from Huddersfield for a place in the quarter final. It was Chris Brunts best game in the blue and white stripes, scoring one and creating one in a 5-1 win with 5 different scorers.

Even Adrian Chiles was starting to believe when Chelsea were beaten by Peterborough in a replay and Norwich came out of the hat in the Quarter Final. We didn’t play well, and Norwich bossed the game for long periods. We were hampered by injuries to Brunt and his replacement Fraser-Allen, but just as a replay looked likely, Gonzalo Jara popped up from right back to score his first ever West Brom goal. Everton in the semis was another 1-0 win, Bednar netting after Everton were reduced to 10 men after Steven Pienaar lost his head in a scuffle lining up a free kick.

In the final, we would face Peterborough, mid-table in the Championship, but destroyers of Chelsea and Spurs in the cup.

06-03-12, 11:23 AM
The final was all about 2 men. Peterborough keeper Scott Higgins and Albion enigma Giles Barnes. Barnes was given a starting role playing behind Roman Bednar rather than wide right which was his more normal role. It left the wide roles free for youngsters Frazer-Allen and John Fleck. It was Frazer-Allen who won an early free kick that Tamas floated into the box for Bednar to head home in just the 6th minute. Just the start we wanted as Posh couldn’t just sit back. We needed a second goal before we could relax, but Higgins was playing a blinder, denying Fleck, Mulumbo and a magnificent double save from Barnes when he looked odds on to score. It was due to the ex Gold Coast keeper that the score was only 1-0 at the break.


The second half started much the same. Scott Higgins v West Brom ! That changed 11 minutes after the break. Fleck picked up a beautifully placed pass and went one on one with Higgins. He poked the ball round the keeper and only had to tap the ball home when he was rugby tackled by the keeper. It had to be a red card and a cast iron penalty. Ross Turnbull came on and had no chance with Frazer-Allen’s spot kick which came off the underside of the bar. 2-0 and 1 man up we could coast over the line, but Barnes was enjoying himself and the freedom he was being given. His first effort crashed off the junction of post and bar, but he was not to be denied. Montgomery’s clearance from a rare Posh attack was picked up by Barnes in the centre circle. He beat 3 men on his way forward before spotting Turnbull coming out and curled one from 20 yards into the top corner.


It was a great way to end the match and start the celebrations both in the stands and on the pitch.

http://www.expressandstar.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Baggies-fans.jpg http://images.icnetwork.co.uk/upl/birmmail/apr2010/9/5/west-brom-promotion-celebrations-image-4-666174650.jpg


06-03-12, 11:24 AM
Well done on the cup win mate, off to pastures new you go.

Great work so far, nice to see you have landed your first major trophy. Good luck with the next adventure.

Congratulations on the cup success. It's a good challenge so far fella and long may it continue!

I probably missed it somewhere, but how do you decide when to move to another club?

As soon as I join a club I start looking for a new one, unless there is a chance to get one of the trophies that I also need. Forinstance Norwich offered me their job just before the cup final, so although it would have been another notch on the bedpost, I went for the cup to tick that one off. I did think of winning something with every club, but that could take a real life lifetime !

What is interesting is that you appear to be blocked from joining another club for about 3 months, or maybe 20 games. I have applied for jobs where I am way over qualified and get turned down, but after that 3 months/20 games have gone by, I can suddenly get anything that I am qualified for.

One rule I have set is over resigning. I have set a rule that I can't resign in mid season, only in the summer when I have completed a season with the current club. Otherwise I could just get a job, resign and look for the next one.

Thanks for clarifying :ok: That thing about 3 months/20 games is interesting....

06-03-12, 12:30 PM
It's is a funny old game.

I have won 2 cups, The Vans Trophy with Southampton and now The FA Cup with WBA, both times after loosing at the first hurdle (Stockport and Birmingham)

The FA Cup final was to be my final game as West Brom manager as I moved to my 7th job in my 4th season. No Premier League jobs came up over the summer, so rather than starting the season marking time with a West Brom side that I was not allowed to add to, l dropped down to the Championship to take control of Wigan and tick another box on the way to my target of 100 jobs.


It was another very late decision, just 7 days before the Charity Shield and it left The Albion with more than a few problems as the squad had been decimated by players leaving on bosmans or retiring and my transfer embargo still in force.

Wigan had been relegated last season and had started their Championship campaign with a poor at home against a newly promoted Stockport side that had cost Roberto Martinez his job. The media were full of criticism about a manager being sacked after just one game of the season. Not my problem !

Chairman David Buckley could only offer me less than a million to prevent a second relegation, however there was the promise of a secretary who he told me would be flexible in her working routine.

The squad was pretty close to the one that The Latics started with. The only notable departures were Mauro Boselli and Ronnie Stam. Their replacements were Leicester’s Ashley Chambers and Cork City’s Richard Foster. Not quite in the same league, but not too bad either. It still left the squad desperately weak up front with Rodelega and Chambers the only realistic options.

One new face that I was not pleased to see was Jimmy Bullard. I could see from the start another Harry Kewell, except that his missus was not nearly as fit. He was immediately transfer listed and available to leave for free, but there was little interest in the 34 year old


Wigan was always going to be a stop gap until something else cropped up, so transfer activity was kept to a minimum. Callum Willock, my former Swansea striker adding to the attacking options, Arsenal youth Nacer Barazite in midfield an Kalanga LuaLua on loan from Newcastle being the most notable. None of them made a significant impact. Instead it was Rodallega’s 13 goals, Mohammed Diame, Gary Caldwell and Chris Kirkland who were the top performers in my 18 games in charge.

http://www2.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Wigan+Athletic+v+West+Ham+United+Premier+League+6u 7h432O9yXl.jpg http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/01/08/article-0-07CBA0F2000005DC-174_306x398.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42175000/jpg/_42175670_caldwell416.jpg http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/02/01/article-1133521-034113AE000005DC-848_468x380.jpg

The squad was however more than good enough and after a shaky start, quickly pulled away from the pack to set up what looked like being a quick return to the Premier League.



If Wigan were to make a quick return, it would have to be with someone else guiding them as I had the chance to move again, but not back to the Premier League. There had not been a sniff of a top flight job for ages and none were even slightly insecure. Instead 2 Championship jobs came up. I declined Derby County and instead moved to the red and white stripes that our glorious leader is devoted to. He will be delighted to see the early exit from the League Cup, which all bodes well for a good run for the new side

06-03-12, 12:31 PM
That’s right …… Sheffield United !

http://www.veryicon.com/icon/png/Sport/Football League Championship/Sheffield United.png

This story almost took a great twist as, just a day after taking over at Bramall Lane, Tony Mowbray was sacked by Wednesday. Obviously I applied, but in a bizarre twist, they reappointed Mowbray ! Too bad as I would have enjoyed writing that one up ! Instead I had to settle for the babe that welcomed me to The Blades.

Anyway, back to what did happen and the Blades side that had started in 2009 had virtually all gone. Instead I inherited a virtually new side. Some names I recognised, like keepers Robert Green and Lewis Price (who had been with me at Hull) and left back Dan Harding who had been a stalwart of my Saints side. Others were new to me, like Israeli international winger Yaniv Katan, a 230k signing from Macabi Haifa.

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The defence, marshalled by Liam Kelly (MK Dons), Liam Chilvers (Notts Co) and Alan Dunne (Millwall) looked solid, but the attacking options were again not what I would have liked. Verteran Aaron Wilbriham (MK Dons) and Brett Pitman (Bournemouth) being the best of a poor bunch.

http://images.football.co.uk/Dynamic/News/400x400/1268486177_spt_ai_kilmarnock_celtic_04.jpg http://www.fansfc.com/UploadedImages/Players/Liam Chilvers_633585395323750000.jpg http://resources.sportingo.com/gallery/15005_270x200.jpg http://www.mkdons.com/javaImages/de/90/0,,10420~5148894,00.jpg http://images.sportinglife.com/09/11/330/Brett-Pitman-Macc-celeb_2387597.jpg

Central and right midfield were the biggest worries as there were complete voids in both departments. Chairman Terry Robinson had given me 9m to turn this side into a team capable of making the play-offs. I however was looking for another short stay and wanted to keep transfers to a minimum. The second job for my secretary was to send out transfer paperwork for some midfielders, just as soon as she had regained her senses !

06-03-12, 12:33 PM
Getting through these clubs quite quick now, although still quite a bit to go http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif Best of luck with the Blades, for now anyway.


06-03-12, 12:33 PM
The first of the new boys was an old boy, Karl Henry joining me from Birmingham for a second time, for 1m. Hib’s Liam Millar and Stoke’s Glenn Whelan were the only other permanent deals.

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The right wingers both came on loan, Scott Wagstaff from Charlton and Alex Dyer from Huddersfield. Mikkel Andersen on loan from Bolton became 3rd choice keeper and the only other changes arrived in the back room.

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As hard as I tried, I couldn’t attract any strikers to Bramall Lane who were better than those that I already had. Also, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get another job before the end of the season,so I had to make do with what I had for longer than I planned. Ched Evans, Brett Pitmann and Aaron Wilbraham, supported by Jordan Robertson did just about enough. A decent tally of goals from midfield helped, particularly from the Israeli Katan who notched 13 by the end of the season. Glenn Whelan was an excellent in the holding midfield role. Robert Green was very disappointing !
We started off with a 10 game unbeaten run that took us to the top of the league, before a defeat by Coventry (fast becoming a bogey side) inflicted one of only 2 defeats. The other defeat came against Chelsea in the cup, a side that I have had no joy against. Having tried to shut them out in my previous encounters. This time I went for a 4-3-3 from the kick-off. It didn’t work. With Iniesta and Ledesma added to the Chelsea ranks they were already 2-0 up when Lewis Price got his marching orders. Ashley Cole converted the penalty and Alex Dyers injury time volley was our only shot of the game and little consolation.

The league was always the priority and it was won with some comfort following a 3-2 win over Scunthorpe at Bramall Lane and 5 games still to play.



The Championship title is another notch on my progress, but more importantly, it gave me World Class status and ranked me 4th in England. Enough to set me up with a cracking job in the summer !

06-03-12, 12:34 PM
Going to go with Liverpool.

Well done on storming the league, can't believe Rob Green was disappointing http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

It can't be Liverpool, he said it was a cracking job. http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gifhttp://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Great progress, good luck with your new job.

Must be West Ham http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

It can't be West Ham, I said it was a cracking job. http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

06-03-12, 12:34 PM

The top story today is the resignation of newly promoted Sheffield United manager The Eejit. On the day the Premier League fixtures were announced, The Eejit held a press conference saying that he had taken Sheffield United as far as he could and that he would be taking a break from football to consider his options.


The news has already raised speculation amongst pundits who have linked the much travelled manager to roles with Liverpool and West Ham. Representatives of both clubs have denied any link to The Eejit and have claimed that they are very happy with their current management team.

Elsewhere and Mattius Sammer is the latest foreign manager to be linked with Manchester City.


It is thought that chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak is loosing patience with Roberto Mancini who has delivered just 1 League Cup and guided City to a disappointing 7th place in the Premier League, 12 points behind champions Chelsea.

06-03-12, 12:35 PM
Sounds like you are going to Man City!! But good luck with your new job!

Blue Moon............


06-03-12, 12:35 PM

Manchester City, and a statement on the clubs official website has announced that The Eejit has been appointed manager just 10 days after Roberto Mancini was sacked. It is just 11 days since the former Sheffield United boss resigned saying he was wanting to take some time out of football. Neither the club nor the manager have commented officially on the appointment.

Sky Sports contacted supporters gathered outside the ground to guage reaction


Liam: http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif underwhelmed. http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif meant to be the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif richest club in the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif world and we http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif get some http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif from the second http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif division. What the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif has he done.
Noel: Should have http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif got http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif Mour-http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif-rinho who could have http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif sorted those lazy http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif. That Ance-http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif-lotty’s done a decent http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif job at http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif Chelsea. Wouldn’t have http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif minded seeing him like.
Liam: Seeee-Tay clap clap clap Seeee-Tay clap clap clap
Noel: Blooo-oooo-mooooooon

06-03-12, 12:36 PM
Good luck appeasing the Gallaghers http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Good luck!

Going good and solid mate.

Boriing http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif


06-03-12, 12:36 PM

At the interview, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak had made it quite clear that he wanted results, even if I had to buy them. 150 million was made available and he would not accept Mancini’s policy which had brought in more in transfer revenue than he had spent. Gone from the squad were Vieira, Bellamy, Santa Cruz, Jo, Onuoha, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bridge, Adebayor, Given, Yaya Toure, Johnson and Tevez, bringing in over 49m.

Only 2 players had been bought and were still with City. Benzema and Mancienne, both of whom I was delighted to see. It also looked like he had signed up every hoody standing on the street corner. There were no fewer than 19 teenagers (none looked any good) and a further 8 under 21.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_6iX00OoqJz0/SfbHDTt_d3I/AAAAAAAAG3A/cM8-_9lUSHQ/s400/karim+benzema+olympique+lyon+barcelona.jpg http://cdn.fourfourtwo.com/contentimages/interviews/mancienne2.jpg

Despite this, I had plenty of talent at my disposal, certainly enough to make a serious challenge. Joe Hart in goal didn’t look the keeper I might have hoped for and I needed to spend some of the Sheik’s cash on getting in some competition for the gloves. Being protected by Lescott, Richards, Kolo Toure, Boateng, Kompany and Mancienne certainly helped though. Perhaps some full backs as cover might not do any harm.

Midfield was also pretty good, but thin. I had width with SWP and David Silva, but de Jong was the only obvious central midfielder unless Kompany or Toure moved forward. Benzema and Robinho were the only top class strikers, Caicedo being the best of the rest.
Certainly some of the 150,000,000 would come in handy in improving the attacking options.

One department that needed no improvement was with the secretaries where, being a so called “big club” I had not one but two to attend to.

I had only just finished instructing them on their duties when the phone rang.

CMSG Ltd: Congratulations on your move to the big time. Hope you enjoy your stay.
Eejit: Oh God ! It was fun while it lasted. I’m assuming that this isn’t a social call and you have some weird change to my terms and conditions. What this time, only sign players with 2 left feet ? Please though, can I have a chance to beat Chelsea for once.
CMSG Ltd: Beating Chelsea is down to you. We won’t interfere with that and you can buy players with as many left feet as you like.
Eejit: Go on then. Give me the bad news.
CMSG Ltd: We understand that you have a transfer budget of 150 million.
Eejit: Go on
CMSG Ltd: We want you to spend all of it. You can’t move again until you have spent 150 million on transfers. Signing on fees, releasing players and other business doesn’t count. You must spend the full 150 million
Eejit: Woo Hoo. Have you got Lionel Messi’s phone number ?

06-03-12, 12:38 PM
Spending vast amounts of money is not as easy as my wife makes it look !

I’ve never been one for buying all of the top players, preferring to build a squad of good players with key attributes and working with the tactics around that squad. We all know that those stories of Fernando Torres signing for Raith Rovers are, if not cheating, certainly bending the rules significantly and I am buggered if I knew how they do it.

Firstly, the great players don’t want to join a club that isn’t in the Champions League. I had agreed monster deals with Real Madrid for Christiano Ronaldo and with Inter Milan for Steven Gerrard, but neither was interested in talking terms with a club that isn’t in Europe. Michael Carrick didn’t want to leave for a rival club and Neymar was very happy with his current role at Santos.

Then I tried to burn money with some silly bids. A 20 million bid was accepted for a 35 year old Emile Heskey and terms were agreed, but the board blocked the deal as unrealistic. This was a tougher challenge than I had expected. I was going to have to spend the money properly.

The spending did start, but slowly, with 2 players that I have bought many times and I know will do a great job for City. Loric Cana from Galatasaray and Stefan Radu from Ajax. That was followed by Steve Mandana’s move from Marseille and I completed the first 10 million. However it highlighted 2 fresh problems with my mission.

http://zeynal.azersayt.com/fotofiles/1-2/564788.jpg http://totalfootballmadness.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Stefan-Radu-1.jpg http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rim7z25Xl4U/S78oup0_jHI/AAAAAAAACy0/sqIA5wGg75o/s1600/3y1h1qkj.jpg

Firstly, at this rate I would need to sign 45 players to make the 150 million. I needed to start spending bigger but target players away from the top clubs. Secondly, the squad was nearly full so I would have to shift some of the crappy youngsters and journeymen fast. Even with an asking price of 0 few were attracting any interest. I released the 3 lowest paid spotty youths to buy some time and that made space for 2 fantastic signings, one of which would make Liam go


06-03-12, 12:40 PM
Didn't think it would be so hard to sign people, you in Europe at all? Hopefully the 2 new signings will be the beginning of a plethora of big names coming to the club.

20 million for Heskey? You should be put in a mental home, never mind having the transfer blocked. http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif

Congratulations on your appointment to a "big" club. If I were you I'd take the money and run!

I bet you're disappointed to of lost out on Heskey http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

You know you are desperate when you've gone looking for donkeys.

How dare you compare Emile Heskey to a donkey. I know a lot of donkeys that will take offense to that.

06-03-12, 12:41 PM
The mission to spend 150 million really took off with two signings that combined made a 29.5 million dent into the budget.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MgfFnb8nlkU/SGshap-XSrI/AAAAAAAABE0/zoeHJXyU9vA/s400/sweden1.jpg http://img1.gtimg.com/luxury/pics/hv1/28/191/549/35747458.jpg

It took a couple of goes to agree terms with Zlatan, but he was unhappy at Barcelona who had signed Tevez, Robben and Ronaldinho and he had dropped down the pecking order. Luca was just pissed off with new Spurs boss Martin O’Neill and that was the key to be able to sign the big names. I had to find players that were pissed off or had requested transfers. Martin O’Neill and Liverpool boss Frank Rijkaard were fantastic, having pissed off more players than anyone else. John Bostock joining us from Spurs with Glen Johnson and Klass-Jan Huntelaar arriving from Anfield.

Signing stars is onething. Keeping them happy is something else, so while targeting a squad of “Galacticos” I also went for the best young players I could find who might be more content in the reserves. By the end of the summer, I had signed 21 players and spent 116 million.


Having spent the cash, the press were putting pressure on me to deliver and who could blame them when I could name this as my first team, reserve side and youth side !

http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/5600/mc1.jpg http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/1797/mc2d.jpg http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/1731/mc3h.jpg

We answered the critics by making our first final, the Inter-Toto cup. A largely make-shift team of the fittest players came from behind in both games to beat Kayserispor 5-2 on aggregate. Espanyol beat us 1-0 in Spain, however the stars were back for the second leg. Cana equalised in the first half, but it still took until injury time for Ibrahimovic to open his account and send us into a final with Monaco.

Win the final and we would be in the UEFA cup and attracting players may be easier. However I had a new problem. The transfer funds had dried up ! There was still 100,000,000 in the bank, but due to the signing on fees, the mad Sheik would give me only 1,000,000 on any deal until I generated some income !

Bastard ! Does he not know that this is hard enough ?

06-03-12, 12:43 PM
Crazy squad you've got there, looks like you'll have to stay a while to spend the rest of the money, but a good UEFA Cup should help.

Probably the biggest spending spree I've ever seen http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Good luck against Monaco.


06-03-12, 12:43 PM
With the talent at my disposal no one will be surprised to hear that we thrashed former club West Brom 3-1 in our Premier League opener. Ibrahimovic showed why I paid 18m with a well taken brace that should have been at least a hat-trick were it not for a linesman that doesn’t understand the off-side law. What will be a surprise is that Arsenal held us to a goalless draw in the next game and will think themselves unlucky not to win. Steve Mandana getting a man of the match award for his heroics.

http://images.football.co.uk/Dynamic/News/400x400/ZlatanIbrahimovicNew.jpg http://static.blogstorage.hi-pi.com/photos/ziplatko.sport24.com/images/gd/1212082270/Steve-MANDANDA-13.jpg

The Arsenal game was however a minor blip and once we got going we were unstoppable. Cardiff and Liverpool found out to their cost, being on the wrong end of 6-2 and 4-0 drubbings. Huntelaar had made it past Benzema into the starting 11 and with Ibrahimovic had become a potent threat. Mica Richards was proving to be the best of the defenders and Michael Kightly edged SWP for the right wing role. Bigest disappointments were Kompany, Lescott and David Silva. The Spanish winger will be off to CSKA in December to generate some transfer income.

There was enough in the kitty for one more signing, young Derby defender Matthew Bird coming to Eastlands for 500K and another small step towards my target.

That leaves Europe and the Inter Toto final was sorted in the last 2 minutes of the home leg. Monaco were already trailing to Toure’s goal at the start of the second half and a tricky second leg loomed. BANG ! Ibrahimovich on 88. BANG ! Kightly on 90. Game over ! The second leg was academic, but just for good measure Michael Kightly finished the job with a second half strike.

A holiday in Malta was the reward, Valetta being the cannon fodder in the Europa League first round. We were surprisingly lenient, scoring just the 7 over the 2 legs. Roma in the second round will surely be tougher.


06-03-12, 12:43 PM
The unbeaten run was broken ! At home ! By former club Hull City !


To be honest, they deserved it as although we played quite well, The Tigers matched us and took their chance when Simon Church pounced on a long ball to tuck it under the diving Joe Hart. At the other end Wayne Hennessey was man of the match, which probably tells it’s own story. Looking at the league table, the result shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise as Hull have lost only twice in the league.


Before the Hull loss, we done Chelsea at The Bridge ! Their reign as champions is coming to an end and goals from Defour, Benzema and Huntelaar gave Mr Abramovic a lesson on what real money can buy. Alex grabbed a consolation from the spot, but supporters at The Bridge are not happy.


One week after the Chelsea game was the Manchester derby. Berbatov put the visitors ahead before the break and the jeers that echoed round the stadium told the players more than any half time team talk. After that we were all over them Benzema came on to form a 4-3-3 with Ibrahimovic and Huntelar, but it was Modric with a run from midfield who blasted home a knock down from Ibrahimovic to level the scores. That looked like being that and the points would be shared, with seconds left, Ibrahimovic picked up a loose clearance and it was dispatched straight past a bemused Kuszczak


Bragging rites went to the sky blue half of Manchester that weekend and “Blue Moon” echoed from every city centre pub.


The European campaign was still going strong. Roma were disappointing, Dzsudzsak giving us a lead to take back to Eastlands, and Defour and Huntelaar finishing the job. Hertha Berlin were poor and the 4-0 aggregate could have been more, but players were rested for the second leg once the tie was safe. Hamburg in March will be the 4th round opponents.

Before then the FA Cup campaign will have started, League 2 Blackpool coming to us, and the League Cup semi final will have been played. So far Cardiff (2-0) Villa (3-1) and Bolton (3-0) have all been negotiated. Sunderland will be our opponents with the victors meeting Stoke or Sheffield Wednesday in the final.

Two new faces arrived at Eastlands. The David Silva money was spent on Jeremy Toulalan while gate receipts and prize money had mounted up enough to buy full back Daley Blind from Ajax. Neither Lescott nor Radu have impressed at left back, so the new boy may well get a run to show what he can do. Ibrahimovic though is awesome !

http://www.infos-foot.net/images/2010/07/74050_FRANCE_TOULALAN_1410081.jpg http://cdn.worldcupblog.org/netherlands.worldcupblog.org/files/2010/07/daley.jpg

Spending has now reached 125 million, so not far to go now. A deal has all but been agreed fro Caicedo to move to either Valencia or Villareal, so that should raise a bit of cash for me to spend again.

06-03-12, 12:44 PM
What is it about http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing former sides ?

Stockport put us out of the FA Cup. http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing Stockport !

It had all started so well. A reserve side had put 4 past Blackpool and 3 past Hartlepool. Stockport should be no problem. To be honest they weren’t and in a very one sided game only keeper Vukasin Poleksic kept them in the game. It was heading for a replay when a loose pass from Martin Cunningham was intercepted by Darren Carter. He fed Jesse Martens who won the game with his first ever goal for County. Stockport were the seasons giant killers, getting past Liverpool and Chelsea on replays as well as ourselves.
Needing just 4 more points from the final 8 games, the league was virtually won. Depending on Chelsea results, it looked like we should wrap it up at Old Trafford in what would be a great day for City supporters.


The lack of end of season drama gave me more time to keep Ola and Olivia happy

Felipe Caicedo had decided on Valencia for his 8.25m move away from Eastlands. Gates had been up, and a little money from the cup wins had helped to create some more funds. I spent them on young midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (5m) from Liverpool, Portuguese winger Nelson Paulo (1.5m) from Sporting and defender Miguel Torres (8m) from Sevilla. As the transfer window closed, I was still 10m short of my target.

http://www.hkttl.com/%7Ehkgolden/images/ce819a9e3bebcc78e6ac19945b9157e5 http://www.as.com/recorte/20070708dasdasftb_19/C280/Ies/20070708dasdasftb_19.jpg http://img.notasdefutbol.com/2007/03/MiguelTorresRealMadrid1.jpg

Stockport were not the only team to beat us. The first leg of the League Cup semi final was a disaster. So many players failed to perform on the night and Sunderland fully deserved the 2-0 win and we deserved the mocking that we took in the press. It did fire up the players for the return though as within 10 minutes of the second leg we had an aggregate lead ! Ibrahimovic, Kightly and Ibrahimovich again brought up a chorus of Blue Moon. A reply from Bent put the tie delicately placed, and extra time was looming when Ibrahimovic completed his hat trick. 33 goals in 32 games is well worth 18 million !

A third defeat in such a short period with such a squad is almost unthinkable, but that is what happened. HSV inflicted it on us in Hamburg with a 1-0 win. Fortunately we had a 2-0 win from the first leg so all that stood between Man City and a Europa League semi-final was Sporting Lisbon. Adu scored the only goal at Eastlands to make the trip to Lisbon interesting. The Portuguese came out to attack, which was their mistake. Ibrahimovic and Kightly scored on the break to leave Sporting with 70 minutes to score 4. They didn’t manage even a consolation !

06-03-12, 12:46 PM
Still on for the treble http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/thumb.gif

Keep it up.

Looking good, and almost there with the spending.

Going well, although I find it difficult to want Man City to be successful. http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif Now please spend the remaining transfer money and go to a better club! KUTGW.


06-03-12, 12:48 PM
Chelsea are complete and utter bastards ! I am so much looking forward to miss-managing them. They just couldn’t give up their crown gracefully, they just had to spoil the City party. A Karim Benzema hat-trick at White Hart Lane and a 1-0 win for Chelsea meant that City needed just a single point at Old Trafford to take the title. City fans were buzzing and the sole topic of conversation in the Sky Blue pubs was of showing the trophy to the hated Reds at full time. The match had been put back to the Sunday as a result of the Europa League semi final with Mallorca.

Bastard Chelsea lost to West Brom at The Bridge on the Saturday !

Not only were we denied winning the league at the home of the arch enemy, but we were not even playing when crowned champions. A big let down. The players were also flat as the game was a dismal 0-0 boreathon, despite United being reduced to 9 men. Hargreaves red card and Valencia’s injury being the only notable points in the game.
Still, we were champions and club captain Lorik Cana was presented with the trophy back at Eastlands (police refused to allow the presentation at Old Trafford).



It wasn’t going to be a treble though.

At Wembley, Sheffield Wednesday put in a backs to the wall performance in the League Cup final, saving a first half Craig Thompson penalty and catching us twice on the break. Not even a second half switch to 4-3-3 could break them down. It left just the Europa League for us to go for and made up for Wednesday loosing last season’s final.


So. Mallorca in the semi final could have been worse. Despite Kolo Toure being sent off minutes into the second half, Zlatan gave us a 1 goal lead to take back to Eastlands. That lead was cancelled out midway through the first half by a Gonzalo Castro freekick (Webo clearly dived to win it). Cometh the hour cometh Klass-Jan Huntelaar. His first was a powerful header from a Radu freekick. His second, a magnificent solo effort that started with a Mallorca corner, saw him beat 3 men and ended with a ferocious left foot strike that nearly burst the net. Definite goal of the season !


And so the season started with a European tie against Turkish opponents and, in perfect symmetry, would end the same way. Besiktas in Berlin the final game of a long season. We kicked off 4-3-3, Robinho, Ibrahimovic and Benzema leading the line. We wanted goals, Besiktas wanted to stop us. This is how their defence lined up.


The Besiktas game plan looked to be working as although we created opportunities, most of them were blocked or wide or over the bar. Finally we got it right with the front 3 combining. Ibrahimovich headed down to Huntelaar who spotted Robinho un marked and the Brazillian fired home just his 5th of the season. Still the Turks defended and it was only in the last 10 minutes that they created anything of note. Mandana had to make a few good saves, but with the game going into injury time and every pass being met with an “Ole !” from the City support, a passing move that involved about 8 players ended with Benzema, on as a second half sub, making the game safe. Premier League, Inter Toto and Europa League will have to do for the season.


The transfer window reopened and into Eastlands came Tiago Motta from Napoli, Thomas Vermaelen from Everton and Christophe Berra from Wolves (I know, but I was about 2.5m short and he was available. What to do with him will be someone else’s problem !) My 150,000,000 had been spent !

http://footballholic.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/motta.jpg http://www.rankopedia.com/CandidatePix/56410.gif http://www.heartsfc.co.uk/javaImages/a8/ef/0,,10289~3600296,00.jpg



I had completed my mission and it was time to move, to something very different

06-03-12, 12:50 PM
Great stuff mate, shame about that one league defeat, really blemishes the table. Hopefully the next club will be a bit tougher.

Have to say that I was a wee bit disappointed. I've done better before with worse players (OK so I lost all my tactics when my hard disk was corrupt, but I've got the main ones close to where they were). What I did notice was that even though the results were no better, the players average ratings were, and the ratings of the opposition was also much better.

Jamaica next?

Good stuff!

If only !

Great stuff. Will be interesting to see how many of your signings will stay at Citeh.

KUTGW http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/thumb.gif

Well done mate. Good that you beat BJK, how come they made it so far?!?

To the 4th div?

good job mate, hope u move on fast http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/thumb.gif

Congratulations on winning the trophies and finally spending the cash. Good luck with your next job!

06-03-12, 12:52 PM

Philip Pritchard: 'iechyd da! Boyo. Welcome to The Millenium Stadium.
Eejit: Ehm ! Aren’t the goal posts wrong ? The posts look a bit high and there’s no net.
PP: I forget, you are here for the round ball game. If only you had players like Barry John, Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett and JPR Williams.
Eejit: Wales have had some decent footballers, although 91st in the world, behind Honduras and ahead of Georgia says that something is wrong. I guess that’s why you brought me in.
PP: Oh no, Boyo! We brought you in because you are cheap and we can save money to spend on the rugby.
Eejit: http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif me. Are you obsessed with the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing egg chasers ?
PP: Ehm ! Yes.
Eejit: OK, bring me up to speed. I’ve been a bit remote from the international scene. I can’t remember Wales in the 2014 World Cup. I guess you didn’t qualify ?
PP: Whare have you been Boyo ? The World Cup was abandoned after the 2012 final.
Eejit: I know that Holland v Spain wasn’t a great game, but abandoning the World Cup !
PP: Have you been in a parallel universe ? The 2010 final was between Ukraine and Russia in Rio. It was only after that that they uncovered the Eastern European bribary scandal, and Spain being allowed to enter 2 teams. FIFA was disbanded and Sepp Blatter has been executed.
Eejit: Well it wasn’t all bad news then. So, the Euro qualifiers will be starting soon then. I suppose you want me to qualify ?
PP: Bit of a problem there. There were too many teams entered, so they decided to pick the groups by alphabetical order, so Wales miss out. We’re thinking of changing our name to Cymru for the 2018 tournament though. Bad news for Ukraine then !
Eejit: So with no world cup and no Euro championships, why am I here ?
PP: There are the friendlies
Eejit: I suppose it will do. Anyone decent ?
PP: We are expecting a tough visit to San Marino, before Yugoslavia come here in October.
Eejit: San Ma-http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing-rino and Yugo-http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing-slavia ! A village in Italy and a country that doesn’t exist ! http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif sake, there must be more to the job than that.
PP: Guaranteed tickets for the rugby ?
Eejit: Your not selling it to me.
PP: A Max Boyce CD ?


Eejit: What about my secretary ?
PP: Oh no boyo ! We can’t afford one of them.
Eejit: But clause 19c in my contract says that I have to shag the secretary at every club.
PP: If it’s a shag that you want then we have Dolly.
Eejit: Dolly ?


Eejit: There must be more to the job than this.
PP: What about Charlotte Church every Tuesday afternoon ?

Eejit: That will do nicely !
PP: In that case ….. 'iechyd da! Boyo

Philip Pritchard leaves singing “March ye men of Harlech bold, Unfurl your banners in the field”

06-03-12, 12:54 PM
Wow. Did the world cup finish in your game?? Good luck at wales and also Church!!

Yeh. The 2010 final was played where Russia beat Ukraine in the final. After that, the qualifiers for 2014 were played (without Wales) and that was it. It is going to make the international adventures a bit lame, but atleast the other home nations will have the Euros to go for. Wales have not had a competitive game for 4 years and there is no prospect of another coming up.

06-03-12, 12:54 PM
I couldn’t raise much enthusiasm to play an Italian pub side and a country that doesn’t exist. There were a few players that had been with former clubs that I drafted into the squad. Owain fon Williams (Stockport and Birmingham), David Edwards (Birmingham and Sheffield Utd) and Ched Evans (Sheffield Utd) were already regulars, however John Price (Man City), Robert Jarman and Lewis Price (Sheffield Utd), Jamie Tolley (Southampton) and Stuart Fleetwood (Swansea) all made debuts in the 2 games.

Jarman (Giggs regen ?) set the goals rolling in a 4-0 rout of San Marino. Adam Birtchall, Robert Earnshaw and Ched Evans with the others. The Yugoslav side that turned up was made up mainly of Serbians, so was pretty strong on paper. Aaron Ramsey broke open their defence in the 13th minute with a run from his own half that finished with a well placed shot into the corner. They were finished off by Robert Earnshaw’s shot on the turn late in the game.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45108000/jpg/_45108833_ramsey282.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42189000/jpg/_42189462_earniebellers416.jpg

It was enough for me. I didn’t hang around for the return friendly with San Marino, instead heading back into club management, but not very far.


06-03-12, 12:56 PM
wow, that is seriously bad for the Welsh team, but good luck and will you be managing a club side at the same time or just manage Wales?

With Wales, I had resigned the City job before I looked at the fixtures. There was nothing to be gained from staying with City. I also resigned from Wales when I got the next job, again, what was the point of staying on. As for future international jobs, we'll see when the time comes.

06-03-12, 12:56 PM

The phone rang –

The Eejit:

I’ve got the job ! Brilliant.
Yes. I can start as soon as you like. Just one problem. I can’t find T.N.S. on any map. How do I find you ?
Lan-what ?
Sorry, your going to have to spell that
Look is this some sort of wind up ? I don’t want a Countdown conundrum, or if I do, can I have a few more vowels please. Where the hell is T.N.S.
Better give me the post code mate. I’ll put it into my sat nav.
Cheers. See you in the morning.

161 days after leading Manchester City to the Europa League and Premier League double, I was setting up home in Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain. Population 1000 (999 of whom are sheep)


06-03-12, 12:56 PM

Good luck at T.N.S.

brillant, good luck with your next club!!


06-03-12, 12:59 PM
Eejit: OK lads, lets start with some basics. Any of you have any idea what this is ?


It was the first training session with T.N.S. and the lack of football ability within the team was the least of my problems. Firstly there was the car.


The car would have been OK on it’s own, I needed something rugged for the roads in darkest Wales and while a Range Rover would have been ideal, A FIAT Strada Adventure would get though most stuff. The big problem was the “extras” that came with it.


Secondly, the club was broke, almost 400k in the red and loosing about 40k per month. That would again be OK on it’s own, but after 6 games of the Welsh Premier season, T.N.S were in 11th place, 12 points of the lead, and I had to win the league before I could leave this unpronounceable place.


Finally there was the secretary, or to be more correct, finally there wasn’t the secretary. The club couldn’t afford one, so other than the players and coaching staff, I had the choice of Managing Director Ian Williams or Nora, the tea lady.

http://www.farinez.com/uploaded_images/Ian-Williams-795908.jpg http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2624/3712663978_19062a622b.jpg http://www.flickr.com/photos/fussyonion/3712663978/

A tough call ! I needed help and there was only one person that I could think of. “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around or desert you”


Goodshag: Always a pleasure, but it’s been too long. I thought you had gone off me.
Eejit: Actually, I need some help ….
Goodshag: It’s never been a problem before. Maybe I’me wearing too much.
Eejit: No not like that. I have a problem with the secretary at T.N.S. Do I have to shag her ?
Goodshag: I’m afraid it’s in the contract. You can’t leave until you do. Maybe I CAN help. What you need is practice.

She waved her wand.


Goodshag: Come on …. You know you want to.

06-03-12, 01:01 PM
Thank you for giving me nightmares for the rest of my life!

Seems to me like a fair exchange for your stories http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Done worse http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif

I knew it ..... you are Wayne Rooney !

Same haircut anyhow ha ha

And was told to throw his face up for doppelganger week!

06-03-12, 01:01 PM
To say tat the team was awful would be an understatement. Shockingly bad might be more accurate, but then, how bad was the rest of this league. I don’t have a clue, so maybe Malaysian keeper Syed Adney Syed Husain might be OK. The joke around the club is that Syed meens catch as he needs 2 to gather the ball. If anything, Ashley Timms is worse !

Quite why Richard Harding, the only recognised right back, was out on loan was a mystery as first. Then I discovered that it improved the team by having him no where near it. The rest of the defence was OK. Philip Baker could cover left back as Shaun Jones, the only recognised left back, was also out on loan. If I can’t find someone better, I’ll bring him back. There were 7 central defenders that I might consider for action, so I had cover there.

Midfield existed, I won’t go better than that. There were 8 potential starters including 2 that could play right wing and one for the left. The forward line was pathetic. No pace, no skill, no idea where the goal is.


If I sold the entire squad for their market value, I would still be 150k short of balancing the books. The only option was to borrow players or find some for free and the only scouting reports I had were from Man City, and I don’t think they were looking for players at this level.

The game against Bala Town (one place below us) might tell me more about what to expect. Bala had a very ordinary team, but in Peter Cook (Oh how I wish his partner was Dudley Moore) they had a striker that knew how to score (or so said my scout).

I managed to scrape together 4 loan deals before the game. Harry Hooman from Shrewsbury, a fullback that could play either side. Josh Law from Bristol Rowers, a right back that liked to get forward. John Devine, a Northern Irish (the firs of many) keeper also from Shrewsbury and Elliot Charles, a front man from Oxford that looked to have something, but broke down with a groin problem before the game. The other 3 all started in a conservative 4-4-1-1 formation.

Until the last 5 minutes it was like watching paint dry, except that paint doesn’t dry on a day as wet as this. The ground keeper would have work to do after the game


In a miraculous moment when football actually broke out of the tedium, Fitzgerald found space on the right and crossed for Jenkins to head past a static keeper. It looked like we would start with a miserable defeat, but 4 minutes later, in perfect symmetry of the first goal, Sherman crossed from our right and Stephens headed an equaliser. The players trooped off, both sides having moved down 2 places in the table.

This was going to be a very long season.

06-03-12, 01:01 PM
Hopefully you won't be stuck in Wales for too long!


06-03-12, 01:03 PM
Things didnt get any better against the league leaders Aberystwyth Town. We came from behind to twice lead in a game that was heading for a 3-3 draw. That was until on-loan keeper Devine pulled down their striker. Red card .. penalty .. 3-4. Worse . The useless Malaysian would have to keep goal while Devine was suspended. We took just 2 points out of a possible 18 from the first 6 games and dropped down to second from the bottom.


I cant remember the last time that I suffered such a bad run, and nothing, not tactics, not players, would make any difference.The first win came against Caersws in a bloody encounter where both sides were reduced to 10 men after a second half brawl. Elliot Charles 4th minute goal was enough to seal the win.


The win was helped by the scouts discovering some new talent on a tour of Ireland. Midfielders Shane OHagan and David McDonald (who had been at Cardiff) bolstered the midfield, while I was surprised to see Ger Rowe available for free. The striker had a late cameo at Stockport, scoring 4 in 7 games. He has pace and knows where the back of the net is and should score at this level.

Yet another Irishman, Darren OHagan, came on loan from Ards to play right or central midfield while another keeper, Keiran Griffiths cane on loan from Exeter. I managed to get rid of 2 of the useless reserves. Quite why anyone would want players that bad I dont know.

Gradually the results started coming and by new year we had climbed back to 13th


Although nearer to the bottom than the top, we were still only 12 points off the lead, exactly where T.N.S. started, with half the season to play. I had certainly not given up hope and for the players, I laid on the best Christmas party that the club could afford.


06-03-12, 01:03 PM
ouch, bad start in the league and the secretary!! But keep going, and hopefully you will be out of Wales very fast!!


06-03-12, 01:04 PM
Three more loan signings, all defenders, completed the squad. Tom Deveaux from Forest Green, Grant Hall from Brighton and Paul Palmer from Histon. The 250 a week maximum wage virtually ruled out any permanent deals for players that might actually improve the squad. What did improve the squad was getting rid of Richard Harding, John Wheeler, Ian Latimer, Leon Canters and Aeron Edwards. The first 2 found new clubs and I hope for the sake of football that the others find a new career, probably serving burgers in McDonalds.

T.N.S. didn’t exactly set the valleys alight with their football, but the form had certainly turned for the better and we recorded more victories than defeats. By mid March T.N.S. had scrambled upto 7th in the league, just 8 points behind Prestatyn Town while wins over Haverford West, Carmarthen and Rhyl had set up a cup semi final with Llanelli. Would they be dancing on the streets of T.N.S. at the end of the season ? If they did, there was still the secretary issue to resolve before I could leave.

There was also one post within the club that I had not been able to fill, so I called my agent, Runny Eggerton, about finding another physio. There were very few willing to join a club this far down the footballing hierarchy. A few days latter I got a knock on the door.

Josefine: Hi. I Yoss-e-feen Yoh-an-zen. I Fizee-oh-thy-por-eest.
Eejit: Haven’t we met before ? You look familiar.
Josefine: I not think so. I come Sveeeden. You come ?
Eejit: Very nearly !
Josefine: We play Banging
Eejit: What ! Here ?
Josefine: Yes ! Here.
Eejit: What ! Now ?
Josefine: No silly ! Saturday
Eejit: Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to, but we have a match to play on Saturday.
Josefine: Yes. Game with Banging City
Eejit: BANGOR City !
Josefine: Sorry. Inglesh not good.

I took her to the treatment room then went off for a cold shower. I could see that Josefine was going to be trouble, but I was also forming a cunning plan.

06-03-12, 01:05 PM
Great to see Josefine return!!!!!!

Hi Josefine http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif


06-03-12, 01:07 PM
Eejit: Thanks for coming to my office Josefine
Josefine: Not big one Mr Eejit
Eejit: Actually it is, but that’s not why I called you. Thing is, T.N.S. is a small club, so we all need to multi task.
Josefine: OK Mr Eejit. I can do many positions
Eejit: You don’t make this easy. Thing is, we need a secretary. Can you do any typing ?
Josefine: I good with hands. I show you.
Eejit: I’ll save that for later ! You will need to dress different for the office
Josefine: I ready !When I start ?

Eejit: Why not now ?
Josefine: OK. You give dog bone.
Eejit: What ! Here ?
Josefine: Yes. I take to mouth
Eejit: What ! Now ?
Josefine: Of course. I want to make call on dog bone.
Eejit: Dog bone ? You mean Dog and Bone ….

I passed her the telephone and left for a cold shower.

On field, it all petered out. With 3 matches to play, we had closed to within 3 points of Prestatyn and into 2nd place. It looked like going to the wire, but Draws with Port Talbot (0-0) and Llanelli (3-3) scuppered that. Still, from where we were, 3rd was not a bad result and it looks good for next season. Thah is if I can replace the loan signings and the players leaving on Bosmans because I can’t afford the wage demands.


The last minute goal that Llanelli snatched in the final game was triply annoying

Llanelli had beeten us in the cup semi final
Neath grabbed second place which earned a Europa League place. We would have to endure the Inter-Toto
Llanelli supporters started up their song of “We’ve got more L’s than you !”

For now though, it was time for a holiday and I could think of no better way to start it.

“Together forever and never to part, Together forever we two, And don’t you know I would move heaven and earth, To be together forever with you”


06-03-12, 01:09 PM
Good to see Josefine back, was always a favourite of mine. Good progress you've made with T.N.S, or Tanners as me and me mate call them, with a full summer to improve the squad I expect the league next season.

Glad to here that everyone appreciates the reappearance of Josefine. I have to say that I wasn't sure, but this part of the story was getting a bit dull, so I had to liven it up!

Josefine, the right name.

Guess the ladies man is back in action, and there's no Babe this time.

Looks like a tough league to win. Great to see Josefine back but you must be disappointed having to play in the Interfaggytoto. I've played it four times with four clubs in my story and I believe I'm bloody cursed with it, perhaps you might eventually as well. KUTGW!

Welsh Premier is quit fun in small doses. On their day any team can play any other, and the sort of players you can attract are always going to have bad games. No Ibrahimovic here ! Man City did win the Inter Two-Bob the season before last, so I do have some history.

Hooray for Josefine http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/thumb.gif

Nice stuff as usual.

06-03-12, 01:11 PM
The summer turned out to be hectic, with no fewer than 17 players arriving (total cost 0) and 14 players leaving (total revenue 18k). Add in another 9 on loan (3 immediately were offered permanent deals with other clubs) and you get an idea of the sort of summer it was. I won’t bore with the details as none of the players are anything of note, however I will mention a couple.

Defender James Bloom was welcomed to the club by supporters chanting “Your not Airdrie-scum any more !” when they found out that he had spent 2 seasons on loan at Satan’s IX in the past. Also arriving was Udo Udoji (nicknamed “Dodgy”) who was a bit of a prospect when he started his career as a defender with Portsmouth and looks to be way above the standard of this league. Finally Glenn Wilson who, apparently, I had on loan from Crawley when I was at Stockport. He even played 9 times and scored against Bradford before being bought by Gateshead, although I can’t for the life of me remember him !

The attack would be led by former Corby striker Leon Mettam and Ger Rowe who had bagged 12 in 14 games last season. Former Palace winger Charlie Yates and former Cardiff winger David McDonald were tasked with supplying the ammo.

One thing that didn’t change was the secretary. Josefine dealing with that part time with her physio duties. She was at least dressing more appropriately

Most of the time !

The season started with the Inter Toto cup, but the squad I had were so low on fitness that they could barely walk. I sent out youth teams for both legs and was completely outclassed. 4-1 and 2-1 were the wins for the Ukrainians.


The league season started with a visit from Port Talbot and, infront of 847 supporters, we got off to the worst possible start, Bloom and Mettam netting in a 3-2 defeat. Three defeats in a row and I had to do something. The team needed a lesson in tactics, one that they wouldn’t forget !

The result of the lesson ….. a 5-0 league cup thrashing of Bala Town at their ground.

06-03-12, 01:12 PM
Ouch, bad luck in the cup but keep going!!

well done on the thrashing, maybe you can get that teacher to sign a role at the club so she can 'help' you out in the future


You really need to add a NSFW tag with them spoilers, I was nearly unemployed (twice) and was being sent back to grotty England after work tore up my visa http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

You should have learnt you lesson Fodster,

this is Eejit we are talking about of course http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif


06-03-12, 01:13 PM
The Bala game was the confidence boost that the lads needed. T.N.S breezed through their league cup group, winning all 4 games against Newtown and Bala Town. Leon Mettam chalking up 5 goals. The league form was just as impressive, but it still wasn’t until match day 7, a 6-0 win at home to the team that Josefine calls “Effing Druids”, that we hit top spot. The Cefn game was notable for having 6 different scorers


We may be top of the league, but Rhyl are looking to be a tough nut to crack and still have a game in hand. We don’t play them until December, so hopefully we’ll have a lead by then.


I was in a good mood when I arrived in the office on the Monday after the Cefn Druids game and Josefine was already there.

[FONT=Verdana]Josefine : Morning Mr Eejit
Eejit : Morning Josefine
Josefine : Josefine has needs
Eejit :And I’m just the man to sort them for you
Josefine : I want you to get me nailed
Eejit : What ! Now ?
Josefine : Soon as you can
Eejit : What ! Here ?
Josefine : No ! Here. My coat not hang up and keep falling down.
Eejit : You want me to put a nail in the wall to hang your coat !
Josefine: Yes !

I called the club handyman and went for a cold shower.

06-03-12, 01:14 PM
Brillaint stuff, Keep it up!
Great work in the league as well!

You'll bankrupt the club with water bills http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/lol.gif


06-03-12, 01:18 PM
The Welsh Premier League is one hell of a tough nut to crack. Our spell in top spot lasted just 3 weeks. 5 draws and a defeat to Porthmadog (a game we should have had wrapped up by time) saw us drop down to 5th. The one victory was a 4-3 home win against then leaders Rhyl where we twice had a 2 goal lead only to be pegged back and needed an injury time strike from Ger Rowe to seal the deal. A run of 3 wins, including one over last seasons champions Prestatyn clawed us back into contention by New Year.

With still half the season to go, there was everything to play for Porthmadog and Rhyl couldn’t keep this up for much longer.

It was a fine crisp morning following the last game of 2015, a 2-0 win over Haverford West, when I arrived at the office to clear the desk before the Christmas break. Josefine was already there.

Josefine: Morning Mr Eejit
Eejit: Morning Josefine
Josefine: Josefine need you
Eejit: And who am I to turn down a damsel in distress. What can I do ?
Josefine: I want you to get me laid
Eejit: An offer I can’t refuse
Josefine: You come quick
Eejit: I’d rather make it slow and sensuous
Josefine: No ! Now !
Eejit: What ! Now ?
Josefine: Immediatlely
Eejit: What ! Here ?
Josefine: No ! On the terracing. Please, you come !

It sounded a bit kinky, but I followed anyway. In a corner of the North terrace we found the spot. (No not THAT one, dirty mind, THIS one)


Josefine: See ! I get laid but can’t reach
Eejit: You mean your hen has laid an egg and you want me to reach it ! You’re going to have to move this, we can’t have this on the terracing.
Eejit (think): Unless we can include them in the attendance figures !

I left Josefine with her egg and headed for a cold shower.

The January fixtures would see us play Prestatyn Town in the Welsh League Cup final where we had home advantage. We had narrowly got revenge over Llanelli for last seasons cup semi final and league final day by recording a 1-1 draw at home before Ger Rowe got another late winner for 3-2 in the second leg. In the Welsh Cup we play Dinas Powys after Denbeigh Town gave us a scare before we came away with a 2-1 win in the third round.

06-03-12, 01:19 PM
damn you and the sex puns!

Top stuff though, looks like it's going to be close


06-03-12, 01:21 PM
The League Cup final was one of the best games of my tenure. Prestatyn can have no complaints as we had 12 shots on target to their 4. Our opener came after just 12 minutes and was straight out of the training ground. Leon Mettam won a corner on the right. Ciaran Murray took it, but instead of crossing it into the box, played it out to Charlie Yates on the corner of the box. He took it on the volley, catching it as sweet as a nut and the ball was still on the rise as it hit the back of the net.


It could have been Mettam who got the second, but Cann pulled off a superb save and was very unlucky that the ball fell at the feet of Ger Rowe who poached the easiest of chances.


Goal number 3 was the best. Ger Rowe won a header in midfield, feeding Yates on the right wing. The winger beat his man and spotted that Rowe had continued his run. The defence was no where near and the return pass was taken by Rowe in his stride, one touch to control the ball and the second to fire it in off the post. And that was before half time. We only goal of the second half completed Ger Rowe’s hat trick. A more traditional corner from McDonald was met by Ger Rowes head and the big Irishman headed home from 3 yards out.


At 4-0 it was all over well before the late red card that completed Prestatyn’s miserable day. All that was left was for John Roberts to litf the cup aloft and parade it before the 1,250 supporters that bothered to turn up.


We had our first silverware of the season and there was still the League and Cup to go. It didn’t bother me that the faggy Fiat had broken down and I had asked Josefine to call the AA. She wasn’t in the office, but eventually I tracked her down in the workshop

Eejit: Josefine ….. What are you doing ?
Josefine: Man not come !
Eejit: Christ ! He can’t be normal !
Josefine: I need you screw me.
Eejit: Well lets go somewhere more comfortable
Josefine: No time !
Eejit: What ! Now ?
Josefine: Yes ! NOW
Eejit: What ! Here ?
Josefine: NO ! In car !

I’ve had worse offers and I was very glad I had ordered the leather upholstery. I wasn’t going to wait for a second invite and opened the door. On the seat was ….

Josefine: Need screws fix engine.

I passed her the screws and headed for a cold shower !

Finally we hit the top of the league, but it wasn’t until the end of February that Porthmadog relinquished their lead and even then, only on goal diference. They matched us point for point until the sides met in Llansantffraid for the closest of games and it was the visitors that drew first blood. Murray gave away a cheep free kick just outside the box and although Keegan hit it quite well, Idzi in our goal had it covered, until a huge deflection off Watkins sent the ball to the opposite corner for an unluck own goal. We pressed forward, but there was no way through a packed Porthmadog defence looking to head back to the top of the league. With renewed resolve we went out looking to get goals and were rewarded by a magnificent strike from Leon Mettam. An attack looked to have broken down, but as the ball spun loose, he cracked it first time past a surprised keeper. With the game heading for a draw, deap into injury time, we mounted one last attack. In a carbon copy, Mettam cracked it again past the keeper for a dramatic winner and proving that the first was no fluke. It was the strikers 26th goal of the season, in 28 games.

With 7 games to go we had a 3 point lead, but I was under no illusions that this was over. Strange things happen in Wales.


Sadly the Welsh Cup would not be added to the T.N.S. mantelpiece this year. In a very even quarter final, Port Talbot striker Matthew Tipton showed the composure of a 35 year old to take his 2 chances while Mettam and Williams wasted good openings for T.N.S. Time to concentrate on the league.

06-03-12, 01:22 PM
Well done on regaining top spot and the league cup win, shame the treble is not on anymore. Best of luck with the final 7 league games.

You're in pole position for a double, hopefully you can keep this up and you will achieve it. Liking the pictures of Josefine too. http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/thumb.gif

You really need to add a NSFW tag with them spoilers, I was nearly unemployed (twice) and was being sent back to grotty England after work tore up my visa http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Sorry mate. I'll stop including pictures of Josefine if you like



06-03-12, 01:23 PM
Radio Commentator: And T.N.S. have shown us today just why they are going to be champions. They’ve put in an excellent performance today and The Eejit should be very pleased that they have sealed the title with style.
Radio Pundit: Absolutely. Fairplay to Welshpool who made a good game today, but they simply couldn’t live with the champions elect.
Commentator: The Eejit is still pacing his box pushing his team forward. Surely he must know that Porthmadog are behind and the result here doesn’t matter. It might not be over yet though. Udodji picks up the ball in the right back area. He finds Watkins, who has bossed the midfield today and took an excellent opener. It’s with Yates now on the right, moving forward. In to Mettam, Watkins has confinued his run, but there is no way past Smith. Watkins plays it out left to Holden. First time cross …. METTAM ! THAT’S THE FORTH ! T.N.S 4 Welshpool 1. If there was any doubt before, there are none now. They will be dancing on the streets of T.N.S. tonight !
Pundit: And what a way to do it. That’s Mettam’s 30th of the season, a great return from a player cast out from Corby. I’m sure he is destined for bigger things.

In the end Porthmadog collapsed. Starting with our win to take control of the league, Porthmadock picked up just 10 points out of a possible 24 and the Welshpool game sealed the title with still 2 games to play.



The final table makes it look much easier than it was. This is a very competitive league and you never quite know when you are going to have a bad run. I’m not looking forward to coming back to win the cup here !

I still had one problem to solve before I could leave Llansantffraid. As part of the contract with CMSG Ltd, I had to shag the secretary and Josefine wasn’t making it easy. I was starting to think that I should just close my eyes and take Nora the tea lady, but I wasn’t sure I could carry it off. I returned to my office intending to look at the situations vacant, but as I opened the door, my eyes nearly popped out of my head

Eejit:What the hell is going on here ?
Josefine: I might well ask the same thing. I think that Runny has set me up. I’m not Josefine Johanson, but Jo Johnson from Essex. Runny told me you were a bit of a ladies man and if I put on a daft Sweedish accent, acted dumb, dressed provocatively and made lewd suggestions I could have a bit of fun, but every time I get close, you bugger off for a cold shower ! There’s noy much for a girl to do here. You might be able to put on a pair of wellies and find a sheep, but it doesn’t work for me, so I invited a friend for a bit of fun. This is your last chance …. Want to join us ?
Eejit (say): Does a one legged duck swim in circles ?
Eejit (think): Mission accomplished !


06-03-12, 01:24 PM
Brillant stuff, Nice ending with Josefine and great League win KUTGW!!

Sadly, I suspect that is the end of Josefine. It may be risky for fodster to view the pics at work, but I have to research them !!!!!
I have therefore transfer listed Josefine who is now available for any other story.

Well done on the league win mate.

06-03-12, 01:26 PM
It wasn’t long before I got an offer. It was from a big club, and a job that I hadn’t applied for


My initial reaction was “http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif off” However I need to be more pragmatic in this challenge and with so little of the season left, maybe there was an easy chance to take the title and bugger off (after releasing all the squad). I decided to look at the table. Rangers were champions already, but then that did mean champions league football and a chance to build my reputation. It was something to consider. I had to make a decision. I replied to the e-mail
I know I've used that before, but I do enjoy it !
It wasn’t long before 2 other offers came up. Hartlepool had already been confirmed as relegated to the Conference and while l know that I’ll have to win that league sometime, I’m not quite ready yet. I took on the Championship side, but was I leaping from the frying pan to the fire ? This club was not the right place to have a fire.

12-03-12, 10:54 PM
hmm, if i were u, you could have built a club at Hartlepool and do a Cloughie!!! good luck at your new club, and the Rangers mail, pure genius!!:ok:

12-03-12, 10:54 PM

Sadly this was a forest that was not on fire !


There was one game left in the season. We had to beat Palace away and hope that Middlesbrough loose to Bristol City, turning over a 14 goal advantage. Just to add spice, Burnley can’t beat Derby at home !

Easy !

12-03-12, 11:12 PM
Ouch, bad luck there, but you should go down, but do a Cloughie!!!!!
You realise I was clearly joking? although I did get caught, not by a boss though I assumed that you were from the smiley at the end of your post ! I quickly clicked to a spreadsheet on a number of occasions when I heard someone coming

12-03-12, 11:14 PM
Forest lost 2-0 to Palace, confirming relegation. I have to say that even if we had pulled of the near impossible, I would probably have CtrlAltDel as no one would have believed me ! So, my 12th club would see my first relegation and Forest would start 2016/17 in League One.

Looking at the squad, there was no reason why Forest should not have been safely in mid-table. The only really dodgy position was between the sticks where Ali Al-Habsi is not the bargain buy we all went to Bolton for. Having failed at Wigan, Huddersfield and West Ham, the Omani should now retire, being 35. The only other keeper is Shane Redmond who has been with Forest all his career, except for a few loans. He hasn’t played for the first team for 2 years. Neither keeper would, on paper, have made my T.N.S. team !

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DTh2U9qbcLs/TEBJJ6D-WXI/AAAAAAAAALw/BD7h0zE2fyM/s400/Ali+al+Habsi.jpg http://img.skysports.com/10/02/218x298/Redmond_2424728.jpg

In defence, Paul Huntington was arguably the best player at the club. A 425K buy from Watford, The ex Yeovil and Sheffield Utd man is strong in every department and will by the rock that I build around. That is if he stays as he thinks the club is underachieving. Other familiar names are Alan Hutton, Gary Caldwell (who I knew from Wigan), Steven Kelly and Chris Gunter.

http://images.football.co.uk/Dynamic/Players/227x227/players_113150.jpg http://img.skysports.com/08/11/218x298/alan-hutton_1507840.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42175000/jpg/_42175670_caldwell416.jpg http://images.icnetwork.co.uk/upl/birmmail/apr2008/2/0/18904EC1-A656-D5FE-408ED54411DF9284.jpg http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/00714/sport-graphics-2007_714570a.jpg

The midfield looked to have something, especially going forward. Matty Jarvis, Richard Chaplow (who has improved since at Birmingham), Ritchie Baker and James Henry would form a midfield 4 with Scott Arfield, Etu Muenonin and Harlee Deen waiting in the wings.

http://www.wolves.co.uk/javaImages/34/bf/0,,10307%7E7257908,00.jpg http://img.skysports.com/07/08/218x298/Richard_Chaplow_556942.jpg http://www.oufc.co.uk/javaImages/10/ee/0,,10342%7E8908304,00.jpg http://www.readingfc.co.uk/javaImages/36/3a/0,,10306%7E3815990,00.jpg

Up front it was a bit journeyman. Young Irishman James McGrath showed promise, Dexter Blackstock, Kalum Higgenbotham and Will Hoskins inspired little confidence.

http://www.ifapremiership.com/picture111008_balulin_report.jpg http://i.thisislondon.co.uk/i/pix/2008/11/dexter-blackstock-415x275.jpg http://images.sportinglife.com/08/03/330/Kallum_Higginbotham_728632.jpg http://images.icnetwork.co.uk/upl/birmmail/apr2009/7/1/image-5-for-watford-v-birmingham-city-gallery-218772063.jpg

There was certainly the basis of a squad to work with for League One and for once I had a full summer to prepare. Sadly Forest’s worst problems were off the field where we were 1.5 million in the red, had no transfer budget and had to work with a maximum wage of 2,300 per week.

Of field was not all a problem as I found out when I met my secretary

12-03-12, 11:15 PM
Congrats on your Wales adventure, bad luck with having relegation on your CV. Any chance of Robin Hood making an appearance?
Great club mate, best of luck taking them back up, that's if you stay there that long.
Well done at TNS Looking forward to seeing you turn Forest around. :ok:

12-03-12, 11:17 PM
Transfer activity was kept to a minimum, partly because I had no funds and partly because the team was generally good enough (with a few problem positions) for League One. There were ofcourse a number of departures, 23 in all. Most were irrelevent, although I was sorry to see both Alan Hutton and Chris Gunter leave. Both had already arranged Bosman deals before I joined and it left me very week at right back. I did manage to get rid of both keepers, Al-Habsi returning to Wigan on a free deal. Only Gambian forward Omar Koroma fetched any significant fee, 1.5 million to Reading.

Just 9 players came in. 2 Northern Irish keepers arrived on loan. Colin McConnell from Stoke and Michael Dickson from Bournemouth. Neither look brilliant, but are a vast improvement on those I had before. Also on loan came Leicester’s Italian defensive midfielder Luca Bizzarri who’s tackling will add bite to an attack minded midfield.

The permanent deals involved Bournemouth defender Samuel Oji, former Brighton and Bournemouth defender Kieran Murphy, who can play right back, just like former Northampton defender Paul "Champagne" Rodgers . Mike Williams arrived from West Ham and is another defender, this time left sided.

The final 2 are in midfield, Mitchell Cole a painfully slow winger who had been at Millwall and who’s saving grace is that he can play both flanks. Sam Togwell is another defensive midfielder who has been around a number of clubs, Scunthorpe, Aberdeen, Raith and Palace.

The squad was ready and presented to the press at The City Ground a week before the opener with Plymouth.


The relatively quiet summer left plenty of time to get to know Amy, the secretary, better and there was certainly plenty of Amy to get to know !

12-03-12, 11:18 PM
nice signings, hope u can use them (Double meaning) To get back up ASAP! Double Meaning :D
Double Double meaning

12-03-12, 11:19 PM
Note: quotes (and misquotes) in the Forest section of the story should be credited to brianclough.com, a non-profit making website, which raises money for the Brian Clough Memorial Fund.


I had no idea what was coming as Forest romped to a 3-0 opening day victory over Plymouth. Richard Chaplow and Kallum Higginbotham ripped Argyle apart and the score could have been much more had we not taken our foot off the gas for the second half. The league is after all a marathon, not a sprint. For some reason the press were more interested in Bizzarri, who had a poor game, rather than Chaplow and Higginbotham. I could think of only one reply - I can't even spell spaghetti never mind talk Italian. How could I tell an Italian to get the ball - he might grab mine

The joy of the win didn’t last long as we came away from Lincoln on the wrong end of a 2-1 score. It was a game we should have won. We dominated from start to finish, but a combination of goalkeeping blunders and wayward shooting (3 out of 11 on target) cost us dearly. I was surprised though by the fans protest after the game, some questioning my ability to run the club.


A bit harsh after just 3 games in charge, but I still had the backing of the board. As I told the support, Rome wasn't built in a day. But I wasn't on that particular job. It kept them quiet for a bit, especially as back home we thrashed Swindon 3-0, Blackstock and Arfield with the goals in the first 25 minutes. But it was away from The City Ground where we had problems. In a very even game at Luton, we found ourselves changing ends a goal behind and I despaired at the way the players weren’t following instructions. I let rip at half time wanting them to keep the ball on the deck rather than hoof it to midget strikers - If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he'd have put grass up there. It made little difference, and the protests against me started again, even before the final whistle.

It was a worry. We had played 5, won 2 at home, lost 3 away. The supporters gathered outside Kennilworth Road, baying for my blood. They accused me of loosing out to Redditch and Yeovil in the transfer market. It was true, these clubs could offer higher wages. They criticised the transfers that I had made, picking out Keiran Murphy, which I thought was unfair as he had played in only 2 games and finally, criticising the tactics. Players lose you games, not tactics. There's so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes.

The results away from home would have to pick up soon, but while I still had the backing of the board I was OK. Having Amy to comfort me helped !

NSF fodster’s W http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

12-03-12, 11:20 PM
ouch, unlucky so far in the league, and great mention about Brian Clough :ok:

12-03-12, 11:20 PM
I needed a Forest win and got it, at Q.P.R. in the League cup. 2-0 didn’t do us justice, but I would have paid for even a scrappy 1-0 result away from home. The protests died down as Brighton became the third visitors to The City Ground to leave with 3 goals in their net. Then, miraculously, an away win in the league. It came at Burnley, it was very much against the run of play and it was under pressure right back Keiran Murphy that got the goal, continuing a forward run to pick up Jarvis’s pass.


The board were very pleased with the performance, and so was I. The pressure off, it was time to nail our place in the leading bunch where we were 5th, 4 points behind early leaders Redditch. They say though that a week is a long time in politics. In football it is longer !

A visit from Brentford shouldn’t have been a cause for concern when we had a 100% home record, but an early fumble by McConnell gifted Zoran Zlatkovski the opener As I said after the game, That McConnell is a handsome young man but he spends too much time looking in his mirror, rather than at the ball. You can't keep goal with hair like that.

We were playing very poor, the worst so far, and Bretford should have closed the game way before Trogwell scrambled home a late equaliser. At full time, the fans were apoplectic in their desire to get rid of me, and the stewards couldn’t hold them back when the final whistle blew.


The band leader was an ugly sort, but I invited him to my office – We’ll talk about it for twenty minutes and then we decide I was right
It was ridiculous. 5 wins in 9 games is hardly sackable, but this time the board issued a terse statement.


The press were after me for comments and already speculating on who would take over and I was getting fed up of the constant criticism, so I told the press straight. If a chairman sacks the manager he initially appointed, he should go as well. I wouldn't say I was the best manager this club has had. But I am in the top one.

That shut them up for a bit.

These shut me up for a bit.

12-03-12, 11:22 PM
very nice!! brillant stuff mixing some classic Cloughie in as well
I must say I am surprised that you are under pressure. Hope you can turn it around. Loving the Brian Clough quotes and looks like a decent secretary as well. Shag her while you can! It's the first time I have been in this situation without trying (relegating ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool usually does it). I thought that the first was just a glitch that would go away, but every time we don't win, out come the knives. Amy is well and truly shagged already !!!
Getting dogged out of it is she? Course, Collymore's old club sure

12-03-12, 11:23 PM
I was in trouble and pondering how to get out of it when I came across this flash git walking along the corridor, looking lost.


Eejit: Can I help you ?
SC: Sure, I’m looking for my girlfriend
Eejit: What’s her name ?
SC: Amy, do you know her ?
Eejit: Excuse me, I think I’m going to be sick !


I was still feeling rough a couple of hours later when Matty Jarvis came to the office. His agent had told him that Norwich had submitted an offer significantly over his valuation and that I had rejected it. He thought that he could be playing Premier League football and I suggested that he was hardly setting League One alight. It was a heated argument and voices were raised. At the end, Jarvis stormed out and I let him go. No way one of my best players was leaving unless it was for mega-bucks, especially not with a tricky trip to Millwall approaching. I needed a coffee and headed out of the ground to the nearby Starbucks. I didn’t get far before being accosted by the gathered press.

“We hear you’ve had a bust up with Matty Jarvis”
“Is it true that Jarvis has submitted a transfer request”
“Do you still have the confidence of the dressing room”
“Is it true that you punched Matty Jarvis ?”

I only ever hit Matty the once. He got up so I couldn't have hit him very hard.

I answered my critics in the best possible way. Millwall 0 Nottm. Forest 5. Cole (against his former club) and Higgenbotham had put us 2 up before Kaczmarek pulled down Higginbotham earning an early bath and allowing Blackstock to make it 3-0 from the spot. Cole got his second in first half injury time. The only second half goal was from Higgenbotham and try as we might, we couldn’t create the chance for Cole or Higgenbotham to notch their hat-trick. It was a great performance and just as suddenly as my job security was being discussed, they were now talking about a giant killing when we visit White Hart Lane in the League Cup.

It didn’t work out that way. The Premier League outfit were way to strong. We held out for nearly an hour, but once Sandro had broken the deadlock, their youths took over, Lee Richardson and Craig Heywood made it 3-0. Will Hoskins effort was just a late consolation. Surprisingly, there was no fans protest this time, maybe the tide had turned !

We made it 9 league games unbeaten with yet another 3-0 win, this time over Leeds, and we were hot on the heals of leaders Burnley. We should have gone top. Michael Coles goal looked to have sealed the points at Oldham only for the ref to give a late penalty that allowed Oldam to sneak a draw. You can make your own mind up on whether the ref got it right


I had only one comment to make after that game. It was a crooked match and he was a crooked referee. That was a match we could and should have won

12-03-12, 11:26 PM
Brillant stuff, and also,the same thing (The Board wanting you out) happened in my save as well. I had got Benidorm out of the role zone and pushing for promotion in just 6 games, but the board sacked me for crap results!!
That's nothing! I had Bradford out of the relegation zone with about 15 games left and won the division! Didn't get sacked but i got bragging rights Top stuff Theo
I know by CM standards its not great, but the fact o got sacked is a bit weird
To be fair, it was a league where it was close to call, was about three points ahead the second team. Save got corrupted after that though, which was a bummer. :ok:

12-03-12, 11:26 PM
One of the advantages of being a minor celebrity are the invitations to appear as various events. Sadly you can’t accept them all and so when I was invited to officiate at a womans football match, I had to turn it down. I like my women to be feminine, not sliding into tackles and covered in mud. In hind sight this might have been a mistake

Our run of good form continued beating Rotherham 4-2, Kallum Higginbotham nabbing his 9th and 10th of the season. We were keeping the pressure on leaders Barnsley and I needed to make sure that the squad was focussed, so I decided to make peace with Matty Jarvis. I agreed to transfer list him, but only for an amount that would clear the clubs debts and allow me to replace him (I had no intention of letting him go before the end of the season). There was one last word of advice for the winger before he left the office - Stand up straight, get your shoulders back and get your hair cut

It worked as Jarvis was the inspiration for a 4-1 mauling of Tranmere at their place. McGrath, Baker, Downes and Hoskins got the goals, but it was Jarvis who took the plaudits for a result that sent us top of the league for the first time.




Georgie: In dramatic scenes outside The City Ground in Nottingham, The Eejit has resigned as manager of Forest just hours after the 4-1 win that took his former side to the top of League One. We apologise for the language in this statement from The Eejit to the gathered press


These http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifers can go and http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif themselves. After the way they treated me earlier in the season they can get to http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif and I hope I have shown them what they will be missing. I hope one day to come back here, with another side an http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif their sorry http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing asses !

Just to make sure they get the message, before I left, I accepted an offer from Barnsley for Kallum Higgenbotham and released all of the loan players who have now returned to their owning clubs. See how you http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing get on without any http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing Goalkeepers. Go stick that up the arse of your http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing Clough statue.


12-03-12, 11:27 PM
Dramatic! This was a chance to get the League One trophy out of the way early on but I'm sure you'll manage that with another club one day. Good luck with your next team, whoever they may be. I agree that the Forest fans can go and themselves.
A group of Forest fans have gather outside Mr.Eejit's house singing "Are you Billy Davies in disguise?" It's funny. I've never had strong feelings for Forest one way or the other. They are just another team, but today I found my self fist pumping every Barnsley goal. Oh the power of CM !
Great stuff as usual
Top stuff
Great work, Keep it up!
Dramatic stuff, CM always finds a way into real life I find, I remember I was convinced Materazzi had gone to Lazio from Inter IRL just because he was playing for them in a game I had Sure you won't be out of a job for long.

12-03-12, 11:28 PM
There is only one thing to do when unemployed. Download Rick Astley’s Greatest Hits and sing along !


It leads to this




And this


It took 5 weeks to find a new job, but when I did, it was to a big club looking for a quick return to the Premier League after a surprise relegation last season, the first time outside the top flight since the 1950s.

12-03-12, 11:28 PM
Looks like Everton or maybe Chelsea?
Liverpool from the sound of things, Everton ain't been outside the top league for over a 100 years.
I wish mate, but Everton have been in the top flight of English football since 1954.
so they have my mistake. :ok:

12-03-12, 11:30 PM

Everton were so pleased that I had joined that they set up a welcome committee to greet me to Goodison.


My new secretary was also pleased to see me, claiming that David Moyes hadn’t kept her busy, and keen to get into action as soon as possible. I hoped that the players would be so motivated.

The chairman, Bill Kenwright, made it absolutely clear that he was expecting the club to bounce straight back to the Premier League this season. He also offered me 8.5m in transfer budget to ensure that it happened. It didn’t look to hard. Everton were 8th in the Championship and, in a very tight league, just 4 points away from automatic promotion.


The squad when I met them looked to be pretty decent on paper. The only issue I had was with the ages. 16 players were over 30, topped off by a 35 year old Elano, and 34 year old Antolin Alcaraz, Madjid Bougherra and Alan Tate. While some of them looked decent enough, I doubted that they would last 90 minutes.

http://www.1000goals.com/wallpapers3/elano-brazil-picture.jpg http://img.skysports.com/10/07/218x298/Antolin-Alcaraz-Paraguay_2475214.jpg http://betaimages.filgoal.com/images//NewsPics/Large/168322271.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44446000/jpg/_44446719_2302tate_huw416.jpg

Without going through the whole squad, other notable players were Russian winger Diniyar Binyaletdinov, Romanian winger Adrian Christea, Ivorian defender Issoumaila Dao, Norther Ireland’s dynamic midfielder Steven Davis, Dutch winger Jonathan De Guzman, Swiss winger David Degen, England stopper Ben Foster and Dutch rightback Ronnie Stam

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44246000/jpg/_44246001_bilyaletdinov_afp416.jpg http://denisab.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/pa_6223adrian_cristea1.jpg?w=450&h=299 http://a21.idata.over-blog.com/300x305/0/14/20/31/2009-2010/Issoumaila-Dao.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41673000/jpg/_41673690_1uruguay.jpg http://thesoccerroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Jonathan-De-Guzman_1149467.jpg http://espn.go.com/i/page2/photos2/david_degen2.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42547000/jpg/_42547079_foster_getty.jpg http://img.skysports.com/10/02/218x298/Werder-v-Twente-Torsten-Frings-Ronnie-Stam_2424455.jpg

I’ll also mention former Partick Thistle keeper Jonathan Tuffey who may have been a great keeper in the Scottish 1st division, but is way out of his depth here !


12-03-12, 11:31 PM
I swear to god, u better get the Toffees straight back up or ill be pissed!! Any way, isnt Jonathan De Guzman Canadian or is that another guy? Good luck with the Toffees I'm making no promises, but Jonathan and Julian de Guzman are both dual nationality Dutch/Canadian. Julian opted for Canada, but Jonathan for Holland. (Craig Forrest loves him for that)
I know mate, i was only kidding And the De Guzmans, i remember now, i played a game on FM2007 as Canada and i had Julian, but he was rubbish, bench player at most, sometimes started and usually played well when his manager wasnt a evil wanker Btw, wheres the majority of Evertons players now? (Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Tim Howard, etc)

12-03-12, 11:32 PM
I didn’t need to make too many changes, There was a lot of deadwood to get rid of I needed quality cover for the older players and I needed a good striker. Billy McKay looked promising, but had a long term injury while Matty Fryatt, Jamie Griffiths, Adam Le Fondre and Jake Speight didn’t inspire confidence. I was preparing a shopping list of players when the phone rang. Fortunately it didn’t change my plans much –

CMSG Ltd: Congratulations on the new job Eejit
Eejit: Thank you, but as you didn’t call me to congratulate me at T.N.S. or at Forest, I guess you have an ulterior motive that I’m not going to like.
CMSG Ltd: How little you trust us !
Eejit: I’m basing it on experience. Anyway, I’ve promised klosec12 that I’ll get this lot promoted, so I hope you’re not going to interfere with that.
CMSG Ltd: Far from it, do this and it will only help
Eejit: Go on – give me the worst
CMSG Ltd: Before you can leave, you must score 6 in a match
Eejit: Is that it ? Eeeezaaaay !
CMSG Ltd: Have you seen your strikers ?

No big changes needed then …... But that is not my style !

13 new faces arrived, 4 of them on loan while 18 departed. Norwich keeper Alex Smithies took over bench warming while Ben Foster was fit, although he looked much better than that and I would be happy to start him.

At the back, 18 year old Allan Fraser came on loan from Fulham to cover the left back and central roles. He would be deputy to Martin Olsson, a 100K snip from Middlesbrough. Chris Smalling and Vedrun Corluka (800K and 250K from West Ham and Spurs) made the central defence very strong and with depth.

Up front Scott Rose lacks experience, but should score goals after his 750K transfer from Palace while Watford’s John Futcher comes on loan as an insurance. Rose wasn’t the first choice. I had agreed a deal with City for Martin Cunningham, but although he had submitted a transfer request and wasn’t getting a game, he refused to drop down a league.

The rest were in midfield. Left winger Bradley Johnson (900k from Portsmouth), Bjarki Olafsson (50k from KR), Neil Kilkenny (1m from Cardiff) and 19 year old Barry Newman (loan from Arsenal) would all be in first team contention.

I took no pleasure what so ever in releasing Paul Scholes from his coaching role in a backroom reorganisation. He didn’t seem to get what had happened, so I made sure he got the message in a way he would understand.


His response ….


My reign would kick off with 3 games against clubs I had previously managed – Wigan, Stockport and Birmingham. With Sheffield Utd, Southampton, Swansea and Hull all in this division, I would be seeing a lot of old faces.

12-03-12, 11:33 PM
Btw, wheres the majority of Evertons players now? (Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Tim Howard, etc) I'll look it up. We are now in 2016 so many will have retired.

12-03-12, 11:33 PM
Phil Neville is with his brother (coincidence ?) coaching at Colorado Rapids where he played for a season alongside Keiron Dyer
Tim Cahill picked up 5 supporters player of the year awards, finishing his career at Everton before taking up the assistant job at Pompey
John Heitinga returned to Ajax in a 4.2m deal in 2012 where he still plays
Mikel Arteta played on until the 2015/16 season when he made a bosman move to Celta. He is still playing at 35
Bilyaletdinov is still a player
Fellaini made a 2.6m move to Heerenveen at the start of this season
Yakubu moved to Wigan on a bosman in 2014 but has since vanished
Tim Howard moved to Middlesbrough in 2012 but has since vanished
Phil Jagielka has also ended up at 'Brough after a season with New England
Leighton Baines is now in his 5th season at Norwich after 18 months with Houson Dynamo
Leon Osman was given a free transfer at the end of 2014/15 and has retired
Distin was given a free transfer at the end of 2012/13 and has retired
Pienaar was given a free transfer in 2015 and has retired
Joseph Yobo moved to Celtic in 2010 where he finished his career
Jermaine Beckford is now 33 and playing for Fleetwood after a spell at Swansea
Louis Saha finished his career at Montpellier after a bosman transfer in 2010
Tony Hibbert is yet another to go to 'Brough, before Watford and ending his career at Bournemouth
Victor Anichebe was loaned to Peterhead before being sold to Bristol City. He is back at City after a loan fo Cowdenbeith !
Jack Rodwell never got an England cap ! He was at Everton until the start of the 2015/16 season when he made an 750k move to New England.

12-03-12, 11:36 PM
klosec12, Some of your future players are very interesting. For instance how will the bluenoses feel about Michael Owen pulling on an Everton shirt after a 450k transfer in 2014 ? Xisco, Kalinic (record signing - 6m), David Wheater, Jovanovic will all spend time at Goodison
Great appointment at Everton. Good luck with scoring six, just hope you manage it before the goals start to dry up.

12-03-12, 11:37 PM
Am i reprising my role as a bookie?
So scoring six was no problem. Good luck with your next job.
Just caught up with this Great story kutgw
Ok thanks for the players update Great job with the league win putting us Toffees back where we deserve to be KUTGW!
No! Bradford was so close to the Premiership! You shall pay for this Mr Eejit! They lost to Villa in the playoff semifinal. The home leg finished 3-3. Resh Rehman getting a red card just 2 minutes after giving The Bantams a 3-2 lead which allowed Haminu Draman the chance to grab his second. Back at Villa Park Bradford were outplayed, James Vaughan and Jordan Rhodes with their goals. Stuart McCall is currently the manager.
Just like Bradford, fuck it up in the end! You are off the hook.... for now. Careful, because I still have to manage Bradford at some point and I do have some control over what challenges CMSG Ltd set me. How would you like a Bradford team full of ex Leeds players for instance

12-03-12, 11:41 PM
What happened next was actually pretty dull, so I’ll keep it brief. The six goal haul came in just the second game, a return visit to Edgely Road. John Futcher grabbed a hat trick as a ding-dong battle ended in a 6-3 win. Just for good measure, we put 6 past Middlesbrough at Goodison. The Stockport win was in a run of 5 straight wins that pushed us into the automatic promotion places. A lull in January saw just 2 points out of 9 and our only League defeat of the season, at Southampton. 15 wins and a draw in the last 16 games made the title a formality well before the end.


And so Everton players and supports had good reason to celebrate

http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/01_01/EvertonDM0401_468x328.jpg http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00785/Everton_fans_celebr_785344a.jpg

It wasn’t to be a double celebration. After wins over Derby, Reading and Huddersfield, the FA Cup run ended in the quarter finals at Hull. Yet again a former club puts me out.

For the record, Billy McKay (IRL at Northampton) and Scott Rose (Regen of Kevin Philips) lead the goal scorers with 13 and 12.

http://www.ntfc.co.uk/javaImages/79/c3/0,,10425%7E7062393,00.jpg http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/08/28/article-1050179-024DE2B100000578-978_468x442.jpg

Turner, Olafsson, Dao, Fraser, Olsson, Bilyaletdinov, Smalling and De Guzman all deserve mention for consistatant good performances. Ben Foster was gash and eventually lost his place to Smithies who returned an excellent 7.3 average from his 10 games.

I can promise that the club after next does get more interesting and involves a cameo from AMC. For now, what was more interesting was what didn’t happen. I didn’t get another job !

Wolves and Blackburn both blew me out, and I think it was an own goal with Man Utd. Jurgen Klinsman got the sack with United in the lower half of the league. I applied and a few days later I got a phone call from a guy with an American accent. Sadly I didn’t understand until it was too late and I told him I didn’t need any new windows. The job instead went to Club Brugge’s Adrie Koster (sounds a bit to close to Airdrie to be any good) who had won the Europa League with the Belgians. Also blowing me out were Charlton and Ipswich.

For the record Forest failed to get promoted (gerrit right up yer !) selling off most of the squad to end up with 17 players and still no keeper. City won their third title in four years.


12-03-12, 11:46 PM
The summer was quiet as I had no intention of starting the 2017/18 season at Goodison. I was just waiting for the right job to come up. Doncaster was the first one I was offered, but having fought my way back up the ladder from T.N.S. I was keen to move to the Premier, or at least a Championship side. Linfield was tempting as they would offer a good chance to knock off Northern Ireland, but it was a bit too soon after my stay in Wales and I decided to save that one for later. The third job I was offered was at Kilmarnock.

Name 3 fish beginning and ending with the letter K

Killer shark, Kwick-save deep fried haddock and KilmarnockIt’s a plaice in Scotland

Kilmarnock was tempting. 3rd in the Scottish Premier last year meant Europa League football, but the budget was small and the gap to the Ugly Sisters of Glasgow was large. It could take a couple of seasons and I’m not sure I could bear that with the Tractor boys. Scottland is going to be a big problem for me.

It was early July when I finally got a call and it would end with my first chance of moving to the capital.

21-04-12, 10:55 PM

Selhurst Park. What a beautiful part of the United Kingdom. It is rumoured that if a Neuclear bomb was detonated in Croydon, it would do billions of pounds worth of improvements.


Starting my 14th job, I’m getting used to entering through the staff door. I also thought that I was getting used to meeting secretaries, but Tracy was something new.

Tracy: Oo d’fuck are yah and watt d’fuck d’yah wont ?
Eejit: I’m d'http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif your boss and I want d'http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif some respect. You can start by calling me Sir or Mr. Eejit
Tracy: Wotevah …. Suur !
Eejit: What do they call you then ?
Tracy: Tracy, but dats a bit long like, so most cunts call me Trace.
Eejit: As you say …. Wotevah ! Mr Jordan should be expecting me

On leaving, I had a nightmare vision that would haunt me for ever

Simon Jordan was waiting for me and informed me that the club had been in the doldrums, a couple of years avoiding relegation before a surge brought a playoff spot in 2014. Since then The Eagles had been a solid midtable side. He wanted more. He wanted at least a playoff and offered 4m as a transfer budget to do it

Eejit: Look here Jordan. You’ve http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifed up Palace for long enough. You’ve driven this club into the ground and you can stop calling the shots. I’m going to do my best, but this is just a stepping stone that I, unfortunately have to step on. If you had to live in Croydon and read the bollocks that the Croydon Advertiser spews out about this club, you’ll know why I am getting out of here at the first chance. Oh, and the first part of that budget will be to get a new secretary.

I left, singing “She’s taken my time. Convince me she’s fine. But when she leaves I’m not so sure.”


Goodshag: Howday cowboy. Lookin’ for a ride ?
Eejit: Good offer, but first I need some help. I’m looking for a secretary for Crystal Palace. Any ideas ?


Goodshag: Will this do sir ?
Eejit: You are my AmEx girl !
Goodshag: ?
Eejit: That will do nicely

So, with the office sorted, it was time to have a look at the playing side of the club.

21-04-12, 10:55 PM
The Palace squad was not bad. With a few additional players it was certainly top half and the defence was the key.

In goal, there was not much to choose between Tom French (regen) and Diego Cavalieri for who would be number 1. I’d like a 3rd choice, but that could be anyone available on loan.


John Powell (Wayne Bridge regen?) Sam Williamson (Wrexham) Lewin Nyatanga (Bristol City) and Aleksandar Dragovic (Austria Wien) formed a very solid defence. Some of the cover was getting on a bit, so I needed some backup.

http://img.metro.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/19/article-1282204243208-0AB068B7000005DC-971716_304x233.jpg http://images.icnetwork.co.uk/upl/dailypost/jul2009/3/4/wes-baynes-453986912.jpg http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41392000/jpg/_41392804_nyatanga1_270.jpg http://kurier.at/mmedia/2010.07.29/1280411595_5.jpg

Morgaro Gomis (Dundee Utd) and Possebon (Man Utd) were a workman like central midfield. Chris Owen (regen) could play either wing, but that is where it tailed off. We needed numbers and we needed flair for the strikers.

http://images.football.co.uk/Dynamic/Players/227x227/players_113918.jpg http://www.contacttheplayers.com/images/players/lrg/d7c869579a7b88e077f56e0c947f9c5c.jpg

Up front, my wife has a new favourite player …. Lenell John-Lewis. His 2.6m valuation is probably based on my wife’s spending ! He is formally of Lincoln.


For starting roles, it would be between him, Josh McQuoid (Bournemouth), Billy Paynter (Leeds) and Adam Boyes (Scunthorpe)

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/resources/images/1399502/?type=display http://www.leedsunited.com/javaImages/49/c1/0,,10273%7E8896841,00.jpg http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/resources/images/802434/?type=display

Transfers would be kept to what was needed, mainly midfield, as I was not intending on staying longer than needed. First to join was an old face, David Edwards, already signed for Birmingham and Sheffield Utd, had been released from his contract and joined on a free. He would add a bit of flair, along with Stephen Quinn, signed by me at Southampton, but arrives from Reading for 625k. Another player signing up for me again was Dean Cox, the utility midfielder being with me at Hull and joins for 200k after being Brighton player of the year.

Tony Sullivan is a new face, but the left sided midfielder has come through the world famous Guisley academy before spending several seasons with Watford.

Up front, Kris Renton has an eye for goal and will challenge for a start. He has had spells at West Ham and Middlesbrough.

New Zealand international Stephen Old adds an option on the right side of defence. He was previously with Kilmarnock and Hibs. John Brayford had been released by Paul Hart before he left, but was happy to re-sign at right back, while former West Brom protg Joe Mattock is more left sided and had previously been at Stoke.

Trevor Donnelly (regen) made it 3 keepers all ready for 1st team selection.

The season couldn’t have started much better. Birmingham were the visitors on the opening day and Palace lined up in an attacking 4-3-3 with an interesting numbering system that saw number 9 on Tom French in goal, with number 3 on Adam Boyes leading the attack. The 3 may have been relevant as that is how many minutes it took Boyesie to open his account


Fortunately French didn’t let in 9, but Tommy Rowe did equalise for the Blue, much against the run of play. In the second half, we ran riot. Cox made it 2-1 and with legs tiring, Boyes again, Cox again and McQuoid all scored in the last 10 minutes to send Palace top and “Eee-gulls …. Eeee-gulls” echo around South London.

21-04-12, 10:56 PM
The Birmingham game was the highpoint, that and the 3-1 win at The Valley which gave South London bragging rites to Palace. Wigan came from behind to end our unbeaten run from the stat of the season at 1 match. After that, we won some, we drew some and we lost some. Particularly annoying was going out of the League Cup to Stockport. I’ve not had much luck in cups against former clubs, but a first round exit is good news based on previous experience.

Adam “Boycie” Boyes was by far the standout player. 18 goals in 14 starts is a phenomenal return. Dean Cox is next best with 5 and none of the other strikers had more than 2. Of the other players, John Brayford was the only one to get pass marks. Everyone else was “distinctly average”, a term well suited to Palace.


Briefly, The Eagles flew in second place in the league, but going into November a bad run saw a haul of just 2 points out of 12 and my final game, a 1-1 home draw with Peterborough, resulted in a drop to 5th and 7 points behind leaders Blackburn.


My new job would be a massive one, by far the biggest to date and would take me to a Premier League giant who were struggling near the foot of the league.

21-04-12, 10:57 PM

This was the big one. The Belgian guy that sounds like Airdrie had lasted just 8 months, and now it was my turn. I was asked to meet the players at Carrington rather than face the media scrum on my first day. Looking around the carpark, I wondered which one would be mine


And then I saw it, parked in a corner

I had done some homework on what my squad was going to be like, and it was certainly not full of the big names that Fergie had left. Jurgen Klinsman and the Belgian guy that sounds like Airdrie had decimated the squad.

Gone were

Van der Sar - Released on a free, now coaching at Club Brugge
Ferdinand - Released on a free. Now Assistant at Cardiff after finishing career at Hannover
Giggs - Released on a free, now manager at Arbroath following spells as gaffer at Motherwell and Birmingham
Rooney - Sold to Arsenal for 15.75 million
Vidic - Released on a free. Now playing for Red Star
Evra - Released on a free. played a season for Wolves before being released. Now unemployed
Park - Released on a free. Now playing for Bristol City
Carrick - Released on a free. Picked up by Scunthorpe and finished career at Charlton. Now unemployed
Hargreaves - finished playing at United before becoming Player/Manager at Northampton
Neville - Released on a free. Now coaching at Colorado
Owen - Sold to Everton for 450k where he finished career. Now coach at Cardiff
O'Shea - Sold to Wolves, then Rangers. Finished playing career at Stoke. Now retired
Brown - Released on a free and finished career at Burnley. Now manager at Colchester
Berbatov - Released on a free, now retired
Scholes - Blackpool and Luton before Coaching at Everton. Now Coach at Barrow
Anderson - Sold to Club Brugge, now playing for Norwich

Ronaldo returned for 3 seasons then went back to Real Madrid, as did Kaka !

Nani, Fletcher and Valencia were the only Fergie stars remaining, and they had been joined by Guiseppe Rossi, Jordi Soler, David N'Gog, Dilyan Maksimov and a load of spotty faced teenagers.

It was 8 games since United’s last win and they were struggling ! I was going to need all of the 66m transfer budget if I was to satisfy the Glazer’s desire for European Football. 3 points above relegation is not a pretty place to be. Still …. Could be worse …. Could be Chelsea !


BTW. If anyone can predict the 3 teams relegated at the end of the season, I’ll be very impressed !

21-04-12, 10:58 PM
I was about to call the agents of Hugo Lloris and Joe Lewis to see if they would be interested in coming to The Theatre of Dreams. Both had displayed some unhappiness with their current clubs Lyon and Wolves and a keeper was needed urgently. This guy was probably my best


Although the Belgian gut that sounds like Airdrie insisted on playing this guy


Before I could do so, the phone rang.

Eejit: If that’s CMSG Ltd, you can bog off. This task is hard enough thanks.
AMC: Calm down, I’m going to say this only once !
Eejit: Who the hell are you
AMC: Who I am is not important, but you may call me AMC. What I have here is far more interesting.
Eejit: I can’t imagine why as I am rather busy at the moment.
AMC: I’m sure you are, however what I have here is a brass lamp. I’m sure you would recognise it, but just so that you know the one I mean, listen to what it says when I hold it near the phone
Goodshag (muffled): Let me out you bastard or I’ll curse your children and grandchildren to look like Peter Crouch ….. Even the girls
AMC: Fiesty young thing, I’m sure you’ll agree

Quick as a flash I started singing “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, Never gonna run around and desert you”

Nothing happened – Shit !

Eejit: I want her back ! Now let her go !
AMC: If only it was that simple. Before I can do something for you, I need you to do something for me.
Eejit: I’m not ritch you know. Have you seen the faggy Fiat I drive ?
AMC: Ha ha ha ! Not money. I want you to recruit a team of Faroese players for Manchester United. According to my information, there are 47 Faroese professionals. Once you have recruited them, I will let you have your lamp !
Eejit: FARO-http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif-ESE ! You have to be joking ! This is the English Premier League !
AMC: I’m not joking, but I am laughing ! By the way, that is backroom staff as well ! And one thing that I nearly forgot. Any fit Faroese player in your squad must be in the starting position ahead of any non-Faroese …... Enjoy !

He hung up.

Oh My http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing God ! Where the hell do I start ?

21-04-12, 10:59 PM
I had to start somewhere, so I transfer listed every single United player and released all of the staff. Strangely none of them were Faroese ! I was sad to say bye bye to Brian McClair, but http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif off Beckham made up for it ! There were no scouts or physios to replace the ones that left. I didn’t need scouts anyway as I had to buy the players whether they were good or not !


I was pleased to see that there was interest in some players, but not many. Then, as there were 3 Faroese players available for free, I made them offers they couldn’t have ever expected. Fri Gregersen, a 30 year old left back with 4 caps was first to join up, followed by arguably the best player ever to grace the red ‘n’ yellah at Firhill (no, not that bloody awful keeper Jakkup Mikkelsen). It was none other than BBC pundit ......


I just hoped that I could get his brother John who was reported to be better. This Allan Hansen was a 30 year old left/central midfielder with 14 caps. The final freebie was (allegedly) a central defender, Rni Hgnesen, 26 and uncapped.

The first of my new backroom also joined. 32 year old Brur Danielsen had 31 caps and was a Defender/Forward who could play right side or central. He also agreed to be my new assistant. He wasn’t great, but better than none ….. marginally ! I only had one more place left before the squad was full. That went to Eyun Jacobsen a 25 year old striker, who was quick, but possessed the skill of a herring.

Talking of herrings, It was no surprise to find on the Carrington menu


I found out that they had been prepared by my new secretary Randi


Pickling herrings was not her only skill as I would later find out, but it would take a great deal of unwrapping layers of wool first and her name would turn out be very appropriate !

Back to the players, and selling 8 (including N’Gog, Rossi and Fabio) while releasing another 8 created a bit of space. By the time we had to play Spurs at Old Trafford we had 12 Faroese. 3 signed for free and 9 from HB costing a total of 101k ! I had not signed any Faroese keepers yet and only had 1 central defender available (Jan Jacobsen had picked up a knock), so Alex Hamilton kept his place in goal while Kyle O’Connor started in midfield. Only 1 of the subs was Faroese. We had 68 international caps on display, but how would they cope with Alex McLeish’s Tottenham ?

On the day, some of the fans had joined in to offer support the unknown new United stars.


It didn’t help much as on a cold dry November afternoon, it was one way traffic at Old Trafford, and not the sort that the Stretford End are used to. Spurs were rampant and must have had 4 or 5 chances before Hamilton fumbled, Moran unselfishly teed up Lukaku and the Spurs captain wont have an easier finish all season. It was clear that the 4-3-3 wasn’t working, and Spurs were having the run of the midfield, but with 4 forwards in the starting 11, I had few options. It was damage limitation and fortunately Hamilton and Gregersen were having great games and Spurs were prevented from extending their advantage in the first half.

At 1-0 we were still in with a shout, although the front 3 had not created any real chance. The second half though was more of the same. Wave after wave of Spurs attack and save after save of Hamilton blocks. Then, out of the blue, Maksimov, a second half sub, picked up a loose ball and crossed to where Janus Jacobsen was waiting. I think he was more in the right place at the right time as the ball bounced off his head and past Ranieri for a completely undeserved equaliser !


We had 5 minutes to hold out, which we did, to chants of “We’ve got more fish than you”.

Somewhere out there AMC was cursing.

21-04-12, 11:00 PM
Although we had dropped down to 13th, there were grounds for encouragement. The defence had held strong against intense pressure and we had taken a point against a top 3 side. With games against City, Chelsea, Liverpool and leaders West Brom to come in the next 4, we would need more of the same to take anything from them.

What we got was 5 more players from the Faroe Isles, including 2 keepers (Gunnar Nielsen as player coach) and Allan’s brother John Hansen, a left winger. Playing with John and Allan, the Hansen brothers, a dream come true for a Jag’s fan !


Pl Thorsteinsson and Helgi Petersen became coaches. The only full time coaches, my assistant and the others were also players.

The second game would be the first with an all Faroe staring 11 and it was a Manchester derby, against a former club and what a start. Janus Jacobsen turned on the ball in midfield, feeding Allan Hansen. The captains chip was picked off the toes of Danielsen by Modric, falling to Kjrbo on the right flank. Richards looked to have the cross covered until Rni Johannesen sneaked in front of him to glance a header past Mandana. Man City 0 Faroe Isles 1. They were shaken, and for a while we exerted some control and Janus Jacobsen was very unlucky to see his drive crash off the upright.

Could the unbelievable be pulled off. Since Lukaku’s goal, the lads had held out for over 2 hours against 2 very good sides. It would take something of a City recovery to pull this one out the fire. “You’re even better than Airdrie !” sang the reds support to me at half time, in reference to the former manager.

21-04-12, 11:00 PM
The first half at Eastlands turned out to be an all too brief highlight.

When Glen Johnson equalised on 55 minutes, it was always going to be an uphill struggle. Mica Richards got a second from a Modric corner and a Robinho solo effort sealed the win for City and knocked us down to 15th.

It was a club record 10th game without a win, however I had seen something to give encouragement. 4-3-3 was always ambitious against a good side, even with good players. I needed more midfielders to provide alternatives, particularly wide right. By the time Chelsea came calling, I had 23 Faroese players to select from, almost half way to my total. 15 from HB, 4 from NS, 1 from Fredrikstad and 3 from Free. Total outlay 1.065m. 37 of the former players had gone. Only Soler, Nani, Fletcher and Rafael were attracting any attention, and then only when I reduced them to free deals.

At 275k, Jan Jacobsen had been one of my most expensive signings. HB had not wanted to loose the man that had scored 7 times in 23 starts for one of the planets worst international sides. He showed just why within 2 minutes of his debut. He was one of 4 Jacobsen’s in the 18 man squad. His namesake, Eyun, released a shot that tested Cech who fumbled into the path of Jan who slotted home. 10 minutes later and it was one of the 4 Hansens, Kri, who showed Abramovic that money isn’t everything. The central defender ran rings round Ben Arfa before unleashing an unstoppable shot from 25 yards that United supporters still talk about to this day with a glazed smile on their face.


Could we hold a 2-goal lead ? Gunnar Neilsen in goal was performing heroically, saving from Kalou and Zhirkov as Chelsea started to discover that we were actually not very good. Finally, Bent got his chance, running onto young Mike Green’s cross to pull one back with his head. We were learning though, and despite some close shaves, United’s former fishermen gave as good as they got and it was still 2-1 when we changed ends. I could see the players tiring so introduced some fresh legs, dropping deeper into a 4-1-4-1 formation to hold the lead we had. With minutes left, Jacob Mellis broke the offside trap the keeper came out to block his shot, but Mellis was way to smart, chipping the keeper towards an open goal. As defenders rushed back, they could only look on as

The ball hit the post and Bogi Lkin hoofed it clear

A hard fought win in a relegation 6 pointer ! What a team ! The Man Utd run without a win ends at 10.

21-04-12, 11:01 PM
And still the Faroese players arrived. Fri Nielsen, a twice capped left winger became the 30th Islander to sign for United. Individually the players may be crap, but the team was more than the individuals, could they pull off another memorable result in the derby with Liverpool ?

Pulling off, was exactly what I was doing to the layers of wool protecting Randi and I had nearly broken through

It was only a matter of time before the terms of my contract would be met !

The Light snow that covered Anfield should have suited us well, but it was the home side who carried all of the first half threat. It was only Gunnar Neilsen in goal that kept the hoards of red shirts out in the first half. For me, 0-0 was a result at half time and way more than we deserved. The deadlock didn’t last long. From a corner, Bogi Lkin was adjudged to have blocked Torres illegally. It looked 6 and half a dozen to me, but the ref pointed to the spot, Torres converted and the wacky humorous Koppites started throwing kippers onto the pitch. From the kickoff, Kri Hansen went on another of his mazy runs from central defence. Just as we thought he was going to pull the trigger, he side footed the ball into the path of Jan Jacobsen. 1-1. And that is how it stayed until 9 minutes from time. Constant Liverpool pressure finally told. When Gallagher shot from distance, Neilsen couldn’t hold it and poacher Torres bagged his second. It was disappointing to come away with nothing, having come so close, but we were holding onto that 11th place and had some easier games approaching .... including Arsenal !


The signings were upto 34, just 13 to go, and the spending up to 1.5m. It wouldn’t be long before I could get Fairy Goodshag back, and leave United.

Jan Jacobsen was becoming something of a hero. Another goal at home to West Brom rescued a point while a brace of equalisers grabbed another point at Bolton and a solid 13th place. 1 win, 3 draws and 2 losses was a better record than I could have hoped for, and I finally got a result with Randi.


I had met my match with the hat, but that didn’t matter, it made it kind of kinky ! One advantage of having rampant sex with a Faroese girl is that no one ever questions why your fingers smell of fish

One person not so happy was AMC. He called me on Christmas Day.

AMC: I’m disappointed in your progress.
Eejit: I’m doing the best I can. I have today signed striker Jan Mikkelsen from TB for 10k which gives me 40 of the 47 players.
AMC: Well hurry up and sign the other 7.
Eejit: That is easier said than done. I had a deal set up for Bjarni Hansen, but he refused to sign as he is worried about the difference in language and lifestyle and has signed a new deal with HB on 575 per week, rather than 7k with us.
AMC: Idiot !
Eejit: Then I get crap like this.


AMC: What sort of moron would rather play for Havnar Boltfelag than Manchester United ?
Eejit: Good news though, I did have a deal with Arnbjrn Hansen set up only for him to fail a medical. He should be fit again in a few days, and I’m waiting to hear from Leif Niclasen about a contract offer we made after Mbabane Swallows accepted a 20k offer.
AMC: So that will make 42. I suppose that will do. What about the other players.
Eejit: Well I just have 3 left. Nani, Darren Fletcher and Rafael. Rafael had a deal set up with Hull, but he failed a medical. They might come in again. I’ve not had offers for the others, although there is some interest with the price set to free.
AMC: Once you have got rid of these 3 and signed the 2 remaining Faroese that you can get, you can have the lamp back. The constant ranting from that bitch is doing my head in.
Goodshag (muffled): I’ll more than do your head in when I get out of here. Hung, drawn and quartered is too fucking good for you. When I get out, I’m going to get you an Airdrie season ticket and force you to watch the fuckers. That should teach you.
AMC: See what I mean, now hurry up !

Post Christmas got off to a poor start. Norwich are pushing fr the title and showed us why. Although Jan Jacobsen grabbed his 5th in 4 games and Bogi Lkin also scored, Gunnar Nielsen let in 4 at the other end. It was a poor performance by the defence and I told them so. Sadly some of the lads think that playing for Man Utd makes them big time charlies. They will soon learn.


The final game of 2017 was a home tie with Huddersfield, another 6 pointer. The chant from the Stretford end before the game was “3 Jan Jacobsens. Theres only 3 Jan Jacobsens”, which was true as 2 of them lined up in central defence while another lead the attack. By the end, they were singing of only 1 as the forward bagged his 6th in 5 games, earning himself a Premier League player of the month award. He also earned the penalty which Rni Johannesen dispatched to make it 2-0. Scott Sinclair pulled one back for the visitors, but for them it was too little too late and we moved above them into 14th.

21-04-12, 11:02 PM
2018 arrived, along with Leif Niclasen, a striker from Mbabane Swallows and Arnbjrn Hansen a striker from NS. Eyun Hjgaard a 16 year old forward, would be joining us from HB in the summer, although he had refused an immediate deal. The remaining 4 Faroese players I could not get for love nor money. They point blank refused to join.

It also saw the departure of the final non-Faroese players. Nani was off to Arsenal while Fletcher would end his career with the San Jose Earthquakes. Rafael would take a little longer having agreed a bosman deal with Hull min the summer.

Within hours, a package was delivered containing a brass lamp. There was a cork sealing the opening and when released, Goodshag emerged.

Goodshag: Can’t stop for a rogering now. I’ve got an important job to do.

The main story in the news that night was the discovery of the body of a bookmaker.


There were no injuries on his body and a post mortem revelled that all his internal organs were fully functional. The only clue was a golden glitter around the body. Police were mystified, but I didn’t care as Goodshag was back and wanting to make up for time locked up.

Teams were starting to work out that the new look united was there for the taking. A two goal lead against Sunderland turned into a 4-2 defeat. Fulham also put 4 past us, while we scraped draws against Burnley and Hull. The FA cup campaign lasted 2 games. Bradford gave us a 2 goal lead before levelling. With a replay on the cards, Bogi Lkin grabbed a late winner.(Zan – http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/lol.gifhttp://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/lol.gifhttp://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/lol.gifhttp://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/lol.gifhttp://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/lol.gif) The cup run ended at Sheff Wed who scored twice in the first 7 minutes. Gunnar Olsen pulled one back, but it was not enough. My final league game was at The Emerates. We were shocking and although Arsenal were little better, Rooney and Ashley Young did enough to keep all the points in London.

United were still 4 points above relegation, but 15th place was perilous. In my new job, I hoped to finish them off.



As a footnote, Faroes never played an international while I was at Old Trafford, so I never got the message that 25 players from Man Utd had been selected for The Faroe Islands squad to face X. However I don’t think I’ve ever seen an international squad screen like this …..


21-04-12, 11:03 PM
My new job would not take me very far, just a few miles deeper into Lancashire where Phil Gartside had given me 27 million to rescue Bolton’s rapidly evaporating Premier League status. 7 points adrift with 13 to play was certainly feasible and if I did it, it may hammer the final nail in United’s coffin, particularly as we had to play them in the penultimate game.

And then I met my secretary and wasn’t sure I would have time for the football


Emily: Hi, I’m Emily
Eejit: Hi. You look familiar. Have we met before ?
Emily: Don’t think so, but familiar is how I’d like to get. Follow me.

I did as I was told

A few days later, I emerged to inspect my squad. There was no way that this team should be anywhere near relegation. Kameni in goal was still one of the world’s best, while Simon Cox and Leon Barnett (West Brom), David N’Gog (Man Utd) and John Bostock (Man City) were all familiar faces. Right side of defence was shaky, but I did have 3 top quality left backs Kevin Clark, Paul Hunter and Pierpaulo Pesce (all regens) and a fairly decent central pair of Aussie Ken Hayes (Adelaide Utd) and Oliver Lancashire (Millwall) as well as Barnett.

http://www.archivoddf.com/images/kameni.jpg http://thisissport.info/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/ngog-david.jpg http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/00697/sport-graphics-2008_697009a.jpg http://img.skysports.com/08/09/218x298/Ollie-Lancashire-Oliver-Lancashire_1202083.jpg

Midfield had options on the right through Lee Chung-Yong and Mark Davies while Fabrice Muamba, James Henry, Barry Wilkins would compete with Davis and Bostock for the central roles. Another left back would do no harm.

http://images.football.co.uk/Dynamic/Players/227x227/players_131499.jpg http://img.skysports.com/09/02/218x298/Mark-Davies-Bolton_1858374.jpg http://u.goal.com/95600/95693_news.jpg

Up front was a problem (with the squad, not Emily) where it had been hard to score (with the squad, not Emily). Overall, I was satisfied (with the squad, and Emily)

I didn’t have time to make any squad changes before the visit to Tottenham. Kameni was on African Nations duty, so Ralph Spencer deputised. 19 year old Sam Beresford started up front with Daniel Hall, while left back Paul Hunter deputised on the left of a 4 man midfield.

It was a cracking game, with both sides playing open attacking football. Man of the match went to Spurs keeper Ranieri, however our keeper, Spencer, also got the same 9 rating, and that tells you the sort of game it was. The two most important moments were in the second half. Lee Chung-Yong’s cross was headed home by Hunter to give us the lead. Robert Barrett equalised for Spurs, heading in Lennon’s cross. Points shared was about right and it was 1 point closer to safety.

21-04-12, 11:04 PM
I made a couple of mistakes before leaving United, which I won’t do again. Firstly Rafael was still available, so although carrying an injury, he was immediately brought back to the side when I left. I should have sent him for physiotherapy. Secondly I had left 5 squad places free, which were quickly filled, including Victor Moses. I’ll remember that for future.

Something else I’d remember is Emily

If only the strikers could bang in the goals at the rate she keeps banging !

Anyway, back to Bolton and 4 players came in before the window closed. The fans were most encouraged by Federico Macheda. The former United striker had been through Reading and Newcastle and although not prolific, he would add something to the forward line.


Left wing was filled by Nick Mitchell who arrived for free having been released by Middlesbrough. He is quick and supplies a great cross although his record for Brough is less than impressive. Finally 2 defenders. Jon Brady, a 21 year old that can play anywhere in the back 4, or in midfield. He is a former Anfield trainee. Scots right back Craig Milne is 26 and has played 100 times for Bristol City. In the other direction, 6 players left. Only Tony Walsh had played for the first team and none were in my plans.

The new signings certainly sparked something of a recovery. Liverpool were soundly beaten 3-0 with goals from Chung-Yong and 2 from Beresford, then Chelsea suffered their record defeat. 5-0 at The Bridge with 5 different scorers, all in the second half ! Arguably the best was the win over City where we came from 2-1 down to win 4-2. Late goals from Bostock sealed the derby win. It also lifte Bolton out of the bottom 3 and now just 2 points behind a United side that had themselves collected just 2 draws in their 4 games since I left.


21-04-12, 11:05 PM
We went to West Brom and came back with 3 points 2-0
We went to Huddersfield and came back with 3 points 2-1
One more win and we would equal the club record of 6 consecutive wins.

And then the wheels came off the Bolton wagon

It all started when I caught Emily drinking with some other bloke !


I recognised him as a rival manager who did everything the wrong way round. “Just the way I like it” said Emily.

Maybe it affected my judgement, because we collected just 2 points out of 12 and with 3 games left, we were hovering just clear of relegation. I know that most of you don’t care about Bolton, but will be delighted to hear the United hadn’t won since Steve McLaren took over from me and were now 2nd from bottom.

We needed a result from Arsenal’s visit or the season would be coming to a very nervy end. We got off to a flier. On the first attack, Daniel Hall gets a shove from Sam Allen and goes down like a stag caught in a hunter’s cross-wire. James Henry steps up to take the penalty. 1-0.


Our tails were up and Bolton started to dominate, looking for a second that would allow us to relax a bit. It left us open to the counter attack and that is dangerous when facing Arsenal’s “want away” striker Wayne Rooney. He collected Aaron Ramsey’s through ball, rounded Kameni and levelled the scores.


Parity lasted 3 minutes. Henry turned provider, chipping the defence and allowing Chung-Yong to run clear and give us the lead we truly deserved.


We were fighting for everything and looking dangerous every time we got forward. On another day, Sam Beresford might have had a hat-trick in just the first half, but Kaspar Schmeichel blocked every one.
We knew that we had to keep it tight in the second half, but that a 1 goal lead might not be enough. It was a more cautious display, but still threatening a third goal, which finally came. Beresford created a great chance for himself and just as you expected him to shoot, he squared the ball for Chung-Yong who was completely unmarked and he tapped it in at the far post.


There were chances to make it 4, but 3-1 was enough. We could go to Old Trafford knowing that a point would make us absolutely safe and at the same time confirm United’s relegation.

21-04-12, 11:06 PM
Over 70 thousand filled the Theatre of Dreams and it was my job to turn it to the Theatre of Nightmares. The reception that I got on my retun was something less than friendly and police had to be on hand to escort us into the ground


I wanted the game to start so that I could calm my nerves, especially after I saw the teamsheet and United would be starting with 6 Faroese players. The club’s leading scorer, Jan Jacobsen, didn’t even make the bench.

It was a horrible wet day, the sort that only Manchester can create, and that may have contributed to the 8th minute opening goal. There was nothing much on when right back Craig Milne picked up the ball out wide. Was it a miss hit cross ? Did he spot the keeper out of position ? Did the defender covering the post slip in the mud ? Who knows, but the ball ended up in the back of the net and the silence around Old Trafford was deafening.


Steve Mcclaren pondered his options (a tasty chocolate drink very low on calories)


He kept his 4-4-2 formation, but pushed the wingers forward. Despite me telling the players to get tore in, that this United side were rubbish, we still sat deeper and deeper. Eventually ex-Shrewsbury forward Jake Robinson saw his chance. He beat Hall for pace and tested Kameni with a rasping shot. The Cameroonian couldn’t hold the ball and it fell to the feet of John Hansen who equalised before celebrating at the Stretford End. It was game on and over an hour to play. Despite everything, United were now dominating and we were finding it hard to keep any possession. As the half petered out, the game degenerated into a midfield battle and the tackles got a bit more tasty. The half ended with a flurry of yellow cards and some chants questioning my sexual preferences.

1-1 would do, but I wanted to kill the Reds, complete the job that I started. The players knew what I wanted, it was just executing it in the energy sapping mud.


As the half wore on the chances became fewer and fewer. United, needing the win were saving themselves for a late surge. I made the change, going from 4-4-2 to 4-1-3-1-1 and looking to preserve the lead. Federico Macheda knew all about late goals at Old Trafford, he had never scored since arriving at Bolton, but when I brought him on for a late run, you could have almost written the story. Beresford played him in, he turned his man, let rip with the left foot and United were relegated.


If we had trouble getting into Old Trafford, it was worse getting out.


But once home, it was time to sing a little song. “And We All Need A Miracle, That I Truly Believe, Yes We All Need A Miracle”


Goodshag: Looking for someone to celebrate with big boy ?
Eejit: I couldn’t have put it better myself !

My final game when Fulham visited was a bit of an anti climax. Who gives a stuff that it ended 0-0 as I would be packing my bags and heading off down the M6, my job done.



21-04-12, 11:09 PM

As the final whistle blew at The Reebok announcing the end of Bolton’s season, I cleared my desk and headed for Molineax where I would start my 17th job. The 17th job led to 2 things …..

My 17th Fiat


And my 17th secretary

My 17th secretary led to several other thing that we don’t need to go into in a family forum !

Wolves supporters had been a pretty happy bunch over the past 9 years. The club had firmly established themselves as a Premier League side, and apart from a slight wobble in 2013/14, when Alex McLeish took over, had been a top 10 side every season. My predecessor, Mark Hughes, had taken them to an FA Cup final, but there was still no silverware to add to the clubs previous honours. Chairman Steve Morgan charged me with changing that and handed me a 46m budget to do so.

It didn’t look to be too hard a task. With Sylvain Ebanks-Blake having collected his 8th consecutive fans player of the year and his 154th Wolves goal, I didn’t have too many problems up front (nor did my secretary). He was ably supported by Nikola Kalinic and Wellington Silva. In goal, it would be my first ever time to work with England’s number 1 Joe Lewis, who comes with a great reputation.

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Not too many problems in forming a defence either. Dedryck Boyata and Aleksandar Kolarov (both sold by me from Man City), Matthew Kilgallon, Rudolf Austin and Ragnar Sigurdsson had a wealth of experience and were supported by some decent youngsters.

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Midfield was also pretty decent and included my 3rd ex-City player in Jonjo Shelvey who I had signed from Liverpool. He was now the Wolves captain. Wilson Palacios, Lee Cattermole and Morgan Schneiderlin (with me at Southampton) were amongst other familiar faces

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So with the basis of a decent side, plenty of money to spend and a whole summer to prepare, there was no need for any knee-jerk signings, which left plenty of time for me to manage my new secretary.

21-04-12, 11:10 PM
I really didn’t need to make too many changes. I had cover for every position and width in both the defence and midfield, which gave me lots of options for tactics. A back up to Joe Lewis was top of the shopping list as neither young Eric Wild nor Belgian Bob Lancaster inspied much confidence between the sticks. Joe Hart looked to be available from Citeh if we could afford his wages and that was certainly an option. I decided to sleep on in (with my secretary of course)

I was woken in the morning by a phone call that changed all of my plans. It started with the Star Spangled Banner ringtone that could mean only one thing

CMSG Ltd: Howday pardner !
Eejit: Oh hell ! What now.
CMSG Ltd: That is no way to greet a friendly welcome from your boss.
Eejit: This friendly boss must be one I’ve never met. The only one I know gives me ridiculous restrictions that make my job twice as difficult as it was before.
CMSG Ltd: You love the challenge. Admit it !
Eejit: Bog Off ! Anyway, what you going to set me this time ? One legged, lesbian, saxophone players ?
CMSG Ltd: Well although we Americans have none, we envy you’re traditions and as you are now at a club with long traditions, we think you aught to respect them, on our behalf.
Eejit: Go on
CMSG Ltd: Well I’m sure you’ve done your research and can name all of the members of the Wolves Hall of Fame
Eejit: Of Course, but better remind me anyway.
CMSG Ltd: I think your nose just grew a little bigger. For information, the members are Mike Bailey, Peter Broadbent, Steve Bull, Stan Cullis, Ron Flowers, Billy Harrison, Jackery Jones, Derek Parkin, John Richards, Bill Slater, Bert Williams and Billy Wright.
Eejit: Oh for http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif sake ! You don’t want me to sign all of them ! Bullie must be in his 50s and the rest are probably dead !
CMSG Ltd: No no no ! We want you to respect them by signing only players with these surnames, and you must start every game with a player with one of these names.

There was a knock on the door. Sylvain Ebanks-Blake entered

Eejit: Good timing Sylvain. Your new nickname is Steve Bull, now bugger off !
CMSG Ltd: Not allowed ! And we will be checking ! Enjoy !

He hung up.

I had no players with any of these surnames in the squad, so I had better get shopping. Jones and Williams should be the easiest to find, but Broadbent ? I wonder how Micah Richards is getting on ?

There were plenty of players with the right names, but other than Micah Richards and Billy Jones (now at Liverpool) I didn’t know anything much about the others. Time to get scouting as I needed a few decent ones if one of them was to start every Premier League match.

21-04-12, 11:10 PM
Finding players with these surnames wasn’t hard. Finding players with these surnames capable of starting in the Premier League was an altogether different proposition. Micah Richards had no intention of leaving Man City, while Liverpool didn’t want to sell Billy Jones. I ave up bidding at 10 million, way over the top for a player of his standard.

In the end, 2 players joined on permanent deals. Aussie right winger David Williams has 2 caps and a Spanish passport from his spell at Recreativo, who did a deal at 500K. He is quick and hard working, but lacks a delivery. I expect him to start every game when fit. Keeper Kyle Bailey (Ian Dunbavin regen) has youth on his side, but would be very much a backup to Joe Lewis in goal.

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They were supplemented by 3 loan signings, 18 year old, Welsh, Aston Villa midfielder Peter Harrison (Carl Fletcher) who would start when David Williams couldn’t, Leicester striker Jamie Williams (Dave Kitson) who has no redeeming factors and other than the surname, I have no idea why I took him and finally former Bristol City left back Marcus Williams who arrived from Ipswich and will be in the 1st team squad.

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2 more Williams and 2 more Harrisons joined the back room which needed a big overhaul (bye bye Mark Venus and Roy Aitken).

The season finally kicked off at Molineax where Fulham were the visitors. Another team constantly in the top 10, this would be a decent test. It was a game that we won, but should have had killed off way before the end. After 11 minutes, Italian right back Cesar Andreolli picked up an over hit cross, cut inside his marker and drilled a low shot past Doherty in the Fulham goal. It was the only goal of the game, but only because Ebanks-Blake missed a hatful of chances that would have been easier to score.

He would make up for it, scoring the only goals in games against Villa (home) and Liverpool (away), the latter after we had been reduced to 10 men. The run of 1-0 wins ended by Sandro’s late equaliser of Ebanks-Blake’s opener at White Hart Lane.

This was exceedingly dull to watch, but fortunately it wouldn’t go on for long. Just 2 more league games and a 5-0 romp in the League Cup at Elland Road before I had another chance to move to the capital city.



21-04-12, 11:12 PM

No ….. Not the guy that rides around on chariots



No …… Not the guy with 20 for the comb-over attribute


This is the football club that sit 10th in the Championship as I take over. It is a bit of a hot potato as Phil Parkinson, Paul Simpson, Dany Caton, Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane have all been sacked before me. Caton and Keane both won League One, Keane adding the Vans Trophy, while McCarthy took the club back down. I doubted that I would last much longer and as I stepped through the doors of The Valley, I was already wondering what my next job would be. It didn’t take me long though to find my first task at this job.

With Tina finally getting round to doing some typing, I had a chance to meet the new squad. 10 of last terms League One winning squad had left, including James McFadden, Stephen Schumacher, Maynor Figueroa and Scott McDonald. Although all were well past their sell by date, they hadn’t been replaced with any quality and the squad was seriously lacking in some areas.

I did see some familiar faces. I hoped that Cillian Sheridan would bang in the goals the way he did at Southampton, but after scoring 18 in 17 games for me, he had recorded a total of 10 in the last 8 seasons. Lewis Trimmer had also been signed at Southampton, but the striker only made 1 appearance, coming off the bench. Defender Lloyd James had been in my Welsh squad, but didn’t make the bench for either match

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The stars of the squad were Dutch striker Jordy Brouwer, former Leeds defender Alex Bruce, former Man Utd and Burnley winger Chris Eagles, Israeli midfielder Maor Buzalgo, Dutch midfielder Jurgen van den Berg and Slovenian midfielder Matjaz Koren.

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The keepers I was happy with. Veteran Andy Lonergan and Dutchman Marco De Haan would have a genuine competition to wear the gloves, although I hope I would not have to fall back on young Mark Brown.


Overall, I had decent Championship players for every position, but I lacked some depth and didn’t have a lot of faith in my strikers. With 7.5m available to spend, it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up the 9 points that we were behind league leaders Sheffield Wednesday.


There was also the small matter of a juicy South London derby coming up in just one months time.

21-04-12, 11:13 PM
Have Man Utd got any Faroese players remaining?

I'm not daft. They were all on expensive, long contracts that would be expensive to buy out and who on earth is going to pay to buy them from United ?


21-04-12, 11:14 PM
I decided to make no big changes, partly because the squad I had was adequate and partly because I was already thinking about the next job. There was a real chance of knocking off 3 or 4 sides this season, so I may need to use the good transfers later. And so we kicked off at Mike McCarthy’s Burnley, 3 points above us in 3rd place, with just a couple of loanees added to the squad for depth, particularly to defence and midfield.

It was a very even game where both sides had chances, but keepers were definitely on top. Marco Da Haan eventually taking man of the match. Burnley came closest to breaking the deadlock, but Billy Paynter’s header was adjudged to have been offside. It was a harsh decision, but sometimes you need a bit of luck. At the other end, Lewis Trimmer hit the post with the keeper beaten. And so we changed ends with the scoreboard untouched.

The second half was heading the same way, chances were being created by both sides, but not being taken. Cillian Sheridan was a shadow of the player he was at Southampton. With an hour gone, I made my final substitution, sacrificing Mark Bannister, who was having a torrid time on the left wing, for George Hunt, an extra striker and I was going for it with a switch to 4-3-3. It was an inspired change. 3 minutes later, Eagles collected a Burnley clearance and headed it down for Hunt. The new man neatly turned Jensen and cut infield from the right, beating Brennan and hitting a teasing cross aimed for Trimmer. The big striker had gone up with the keeper, but in the tangle, both missed it and the ball sailed over, nestling in the corner of the net. A complete fluke by Hunt, but who cares ?


From there on, it was an easy for our 3 central midfielders to control the game and we played out time for a valuable 3 points and a big confidence boost. As BBC pundit AMC said, Charlton should steamroller this league.

It was not to be that simple. A totally inept performance at home to Brentford allowed the visitors to take all 3 points, while on the road at Watford, Bannister and van den Berg gave us another away win. With the derby approaching the home form was the problem. Peterborough came to the Valley and took a 3 goal lead, before 2 late goals from Sheridan and Trimmer pulled back some respectability.

Away from home and it was back to winning ways, Derby were crushed by more than the 2-1 that the score suggested. I now had just the Wigan game to sort out the home form, before the visit from Palace. Left wing was still the problem position with none of the 3 wingers recording better than a 6 performance. For Wigan, I tried something different, moving Adam Chicksen, an attacking left back with pace and a decent cross forward. It was a move that worked, Chicksen scoring the opener with a sweet right foot volley then starting the move that saw Eagles score an injury time winner after
Kolev had equalised.


We were upto 6th in the league and looking forward to the Derby.

21-04-12, 11:16 PM
South London derby day is always a spicy event, however this one had added interest as I was Palace manager less than 12 months ago. Palace won 3-1 at The Valley when I took them there last time, so I hoped to get a good reception from the Eagles support this time.

I didn’t. “Traitor” and “Judas” were among the more printable calls from the Palace end of the ground. It’s not my fault that they failed to get promotion as I left them comfortably in the playoffs before I left. New gaffer Ben Watson had made many changes, and only 3 of the squad that met at The Valley last year remained in the 18 for this years game, Lewin Nyatanga, Morgano Gomes and Adam Boyes, who had scored 2 and received man of the match. Our defence would have to watch him closely. We kicked of on a dry October afternoon and were quick to get on the attack and Bannister’s early free kick clearing the bar gave an early warning of our intent. Intent is one thing, execution is another. For all our dominance, Charlton failed to force a decent save out of Downes in the Palace goal. With just 4 minutes of the first half left, Sheridan went down holding his groin. It was a nasty injury that would see him out for 4 weeks, but introduced George Hunt to the game. Not a bad thing as Sheridan was having a stinker !


Hunt was to have an immediate impact. From right back, Ellis hit a long punt into the box, Trimmer got his head to it, but as so many times before, the ball sailed over the bar. Only one person, the far side linesman saw what happened, but with Hunt rolling on the ground, the linesman attracted the refs attention and after a short discussion, Mr. Henseth pointed to the spot. With the last kick of the half, defender Alex Bruce stepped forward, splaced the ball carefully and walked back. He was going for a long run up. He was going for power. The whistle blew. The crowd noise intensified. He started the run. The keeper moved and …..

Alex Bruce blasted it over the bar


A terrible end to a terrible half.

The half time talk was full of http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif. We knew we could do better, Downes had yet to make a save despite all of our pressure. As the second half kicked off, and the Palace fans still laughing at the missed penalty, we again took the game to the visitors, however it was more of the same as Trimmer and Hunt both failed to hit the target when they should have done better. The tackles were now flying in and it was only time before Mr Henseth had to take action. Dragovic getting a yellow card for a crude challenge on Hunt, then Eagles getting the same treatment when he dished out his own version of revenge. Palace were for the first time seeing some possession and Lonergan had to be alert to punch away Popov’s header. From the rebound Nyatanga hit a powerful drive, but it was straight at Lonergan who caught it cleanly. He was quick to distribute the ball, seeing Trimmer one on one with the only Palace defender. Trimmer beat him for spead and was through on Downes, he played the ball round the keeper before being upended. Stonewall pen ! But no red card !

For the second time, Bruce picked up the ball, but after a discussion, Buzaglo took it off him. The Israeli placed it on the spot. The whistle blew and …..

He put it exactly where Downes had been standing before he dived


There was still 30 minutes to play and the momentum was definitely with The Addicks. Moss, Browne and Buzalgo were bossing the midfield and although Trimmer and Hunt were still lacking in accuracy, Palace rarely troubled our goal. The final whistle blew and bragging rites were held at The Valley.

Although Sheridan’s injury was a concern, it was Tina that needed special treatment that night.

3 wins in a row had moved us upto 5th place, chasing down the 2 Sheffield sides that were leading the promotion chase. The unbeaten run would extend to a club record 14 games, half of them being 1-0 wins, and only a 3-0 victory over Bristol City and a 4-0 win at home to Blackburn being the only wins by more than a single goal. It was the Blackburn game that swept us to top spot, and would be my penultimate game in charge.

There had been lots of vacancies, but Middlesbrough, Bradford (went for John Terry), Brighton, Plymouth, Arsenal and Carlisle all overlooked me. I was offered Livingston, but didn’t fancy the SFL1 side, particularly as it was Thistle who were topping the league !

I also made my only permanent signing, an experienced left back from Bath City that was just desperate to play for Charlton.


Following a 1-0 win at Southampton, Brian King with an injury time winner, I packed by bucket and spade. I was going to spend my next spell by the seaside !



21-04-12, 11:17 PM

One thing about being by the seaside is that you get a different class of club secretary.


It doesn’t though make them a different class of shag !

I had spent the Christmas Day journey north reading the recent history of Blackpool FC. It was not a pleasant read. 2009/10 saw the club break all Premier League records. 4 points (all draws) was the lowest points, 27 goals was another lowest and 101 conceded was also a record. Needless to say, 12 consecutive defeats and 38 games without a win are both records. Some how the arsehole motormouth that is Ian Holloway kept his job, narrowly avoiding a second consecutive relegation.


They went down the next season and again the following one, so now in League 2, Holloway still kept his job ! It was time for a brief recovery, earning promotion and even surviving a season in League 1 under Holloway. For some reason he was now sacked, Terry Skiverton taking over and immediately earning a relegation back to League 2 where they had stayed, neither Skiverton nor Nigel Pearson managing to resurrect the fortunes of The Seasiders. With 17th place in League 2 a new low for me, Chairman Adam Roberts gave me the task of getting them back into contention, but with no funds and a maximum wage of 625 per week that would be no easy task.


A second look at the table showed that we may be 17th, but we were still just 7 points behind Port Vale, in the playoffs, and we had a game in hand. The mid table was very tightly packed. There was also a Derby with Preston to look forward to in the new year.

A look at the squad confirmed that this team was crap. The only striker that looked like being able to find the net was 36 year old Andy Bishop, the former Bury striker. Unfortunately his legs were shot and besides, was out for 6 months with a broken leg. Midfield fared no better with 35 year old former Preston man Darren Carter pulling the strings.

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It was not a total disaster though. The wonderfully named Arsenio Halfhuid and Iain Orr looked like a decent (for this level) defensive pairing while Icelandic maestro Gylfi Sigurdsson could easily play at a higher level. Right winger Stewart Donnelly demonstrated a beautiful freekick that might well come in useful, but mostly it was the dregs and leftovers that you might expect from a team near the foot of the Football League.

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Somehow I had to mould this lot into a side capable of beating promotion chasing Exeter on my second day in charge.

21-04-12, 11:18 PM
Traveling down to Exeter for a boxing day match was a complete pain. The players were under strict orders that Christmas festivities were canceled. No alcohol, no pudding and definitely no Brussel Sprouts. It is a hell of a long way on the coach ! I only hoped that the Exeter players had a chipolata too many !

Chipolatas were certainly not on the menu for the secretary when we celebrated the festive season !

We lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Chris Jones, a player that had scored just 8 goals in 90 games, and never for Blackpool, leading the line. I didn’t hold out much hope. In fact, it wasn’t a bad game, and despite the 0-0 score, there were plenty of positive signs. The defense was solid and the midfield creative. We desperately needed someone to finish the moves off.

The club had huge debts, so cutting the wage bill was as important as strengthening the squad. 9 players left, although only keeper Jamie McDonald made any money, 45k from Aberdeen. By the end of January 5 new faces had arrived on permanent deals and 6 on loan deals. Significant amongst them were hard working midfielder Dave McKenna who liked to have a pop from distance and young Scots keeper Jimmy Thompson, who would make the gloves his own with some fine performances.

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Of the loans, Chris Vaughan a Peterborough striker who could play midfield and Jamie Fowler from Derby, an out and out striker who could leap like a salmon were the most significant.

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A 2-0 win in the final match of 2018 showed that we could score, even if it was against lowly Cheltenham, but it was only after the scrappy 2-2 draw with Crewe and a 3-2 win over Rushden, where we scored all our goals in the last 10 minutes that the season really took off. In both games I had ditched the wingers and put 3 in central midfield to get the goals. With the new players now giving options in formation, we started against AFC Wimbledon in a 4-1-3-1-1 and it paid dividends with a 4-0 win.

Going into the derby with Preston, Blackpool were on a 13 game unbeaten run (10 wins, 9 clean sheets) and were into the top 3, chasing down the leaders, who happened to also be the visitors to Bloomfield Road.

Not just a local derby, but a 6 pointer to boot !

21-04-12, 11:18 PM
It was sad to see Bloomfield Road only full for such an important game, however the sea of orange in the main stand still made enough noise to tell the players how much this one meant.


It was Preston though that kicked off into a gusty Irish Sea wind and for the first 10 minutes we were chasing shadows as the Preston midfield dominated everything, Charlie Barnett, who I had on loan at Birmingham, pulling all the strings. They couldn’t keep up this level and we just had to weather the storm. In fact we did rather better. The ball had hardly been out of our half, but on 12 minutes, Adam Walker had a rush of blood and thought he was Cristiano Ronaldo. He ran at Preston right back Clohessy putting in a couple of step overs and got what he deserved, a robust tackle that showed him who was boss ! The ball broke for Carter and with the calmness of a 35 year old, looked up and spotted Adam Bennett in acres of space and picked him out with a cross field diagonal. It was inch perfect and Bennett knew exactly what to do, calmly side footing into the gaping net. 1-0 with our first attack.


For a while Preston were stunned and if Ciaran Murray had shown the same composure it might have been 2-0 rather than row Z having the chance to handle the match ball. Instead, there was a second goal against the run of play. Preston took a quick throw that caught out the defence. Wilson got to the bye line and crossed to give Watson the easiest finish of his 18 goals this season.


That quietened the crowd, but if anything the shock of the equaliser spurred on the orange shirts. It was wave after wave of Blackpool attack, but despite all of the pressure, Scott Tynan held firm in their goal. 1-1 certainly flattered Preston at the break and in the dressing room we all knew that they were there for the taking.

Chris Vaughan had been relatively quiet in the first half, but he made up for that after the break. Within 2 minutes he had the ball in the net, but the linesman’s flag was up, presumably for an offside against Adam Bennett, although there was no way he was involved in the play. 3 minutes after that, he looked clean through only to go down under a challenge from Stokes. 5,000 Seasiders yelled “PENALTY” 1 man in black said “play on”.


It would be 3rd time lucky though as he was left completely unmarked when Dodds crossed from the right and he hammered the ball into the roof of the net, turning and pointing to the ref !

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Take That ! He wasn’t finished though as with 15 minutes left, there was a carbon copy of his first goal and Preston were finally beaten.


We had closed the gap to be just 5 points off the leaders, and had the bragging rites over our rivals.

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21-04-12, 11:20 PM
The fine run had taken us past Scunthorpe, Chesterfield and Coventry in the Vans trophy. In the Northern Final, we would face Middlesbrough over 2 legs. Goals from Stuart Donnelly and Jay Thomas in the first 20 minutes of the home leg gave us a great chance of reaching Wembley, for the 2nd time in my career, West Brom’s FA Cup win being the other. I was already planning how I would celebrate the trip with the secretary whether we won or lost

Before the second leg though, we had a tough home league game against the leaders Oldham. The unbeaten run was now a club record 21 games and despite a recent wobble that needed a last minute goal to beat 10 man Barnet and disappointing draws with Colchester and Stevenage we had reduced the gap to just 2 points. Preston in second place were 1 point behind the leaders.

What a game it turned out to be ! There was nothing overly spectacular about the goals from Thomas and McKenna that gave us a 2-0 lead in the first half hour. News that Preston were 2-0 down to 22nd placed Cheltenham may have brought a smile to my face and a roar from the home support, but it was still not overly remarkable. I was preparing my halftime speech congratulating the team on a superb half when Oldham won a freekick. The wall did it’s job, but the ball broke for Cairney who smashed it home. 2-1 was fine, but I told the lads that the next goal could be very important. That goal came within 2 minutes of the restart, and it was an Oldham equaliser.

Not the start that I had planned, but I urged the players forward. It was important not to let heads drop and a sequence of corners showed that the game was far from over. From one of them, the ball broke to Chris Vaughan who hammered us back into the lead. Oldham were rocking, and fresh legs were just what we needed, Thomas coming on and Vaughan dropping back to midfield. Preston were now 3-0 down, however from somewhere, Oldham gathered themselves for a final assault. They were not going to give the top spot away. With 15 minutes left, Dennis grabbed his second equaliser of the match. 3-3. It was time for all out attack. I switched to a 4-3-3 formation with Adam Bennett asked to run his legs off in midfield for 15 minutes. We came close on several occasions, but with time running out, it looked like points would be shared. In fact Oldham looked more likely to get a winner. When their attack broke down, Vaughan picked up the loose ball in his own half. The Oldham players were slow to get back, and Vaughan was allowed to continue his run. The Peterborough man was not going to give up the chance to grab his 13th goal in 14 starts, placing his shot out of reach of the advancing keeper. 4-3 with just 5 minutes left.

But there was still time for another goal and it would go to


Now a game like that IS worth celebrating with the secretary !

Two late goals from Preston was too little too late for them. Blackpool had hit the top with 9 games to play.


21-04-12, 11:22 PM
After the high of going top, we hit a low. Middlesbrough ended the unbeaten run at 21 games in the second leg of the Vans Northern final. Kolev scored midway through the second half to give 10 man Brough hope, but the fact that it was the only goal of the game was solely due to their man of the match keeper, Gunnar Nielsen, a Faeroese that they signed from Man Utd when his contract expired. I know that he had spells at Blackburn and City, but you still couldn’t make this stuff up !


Despite loosing, it was enough to face West Ham in the final at Wembley.

The cup game allowed Oldham to regain the lead in the title race and when we could only draw 0-0 with Ebbsfleet, we once again had it all to do. 4 wins and a draw in the next 5 put us clear again, 1 point ahead of Preston and with a game in hand, as we headed for London to face Lee Clark’s Hammers. They were heading for League 1 midtable mediocrity after a spell yo-yoing between The Premier and League 1. They were beatable, and I told the lads so.

Sadly too many Blackpool players froze on the day, including the entire defence. West Ham were ruthless, Connor Wickham and Mick Higgins with a goal in each half

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It didn’t stop me from marking Blackpool’s first visit to Wembley in living memory is a most inappropriate way !

That left the league title to play for. That was sealed with a game to spare following a 4-3 win at home over Doncaster. Having led 3-1 and 4-2 is was an unnecessarily tense finish, but when the final whistle blew, the fans went wild.

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In the aftermatch madness, no-one noticed me leave to lock the office door and head back down south. Although the League 2 title was another notch on the list of targets, I had another job to do before the season was over.


21-04-12, 11:23 PM

The train stopped at Swindon and a taxi took me to the rather depressing looking County Ground, the 20th home in my career.


There was an end of season air about the place with most of the players and staff just waiting for their holidays. Only one person looked ready for action, and I was more than happy to oblige

Even if she was a ginger !

There was just one game in the season left, and with The Robins in 16th place in League 1 and out of any relegation worries, that final game was largely academic. Swindon had spent every season in League 1, once making the playoffs, but most of the time being in the bottom half. This one was no exception.

The squad was full of journey men, players who were of a League 1 level and lacking any ambition to do any more. There were just 2 familiar faces, Matthew Jones, who had been a bit part player at T.N.S. making 13 appearances, 7 off the bench. He had made one sub appearance since his move to Swindon 3 years ago and I doubted that he would make another while I was in charge. Left back Ian Roberts had been loaned to Charlton and despite a decent spell, had been left rotting in the reserves since his return.

My predecessor Kevin Blackwell had relied on the older, experienced heads and had overlooked some young players that looked to have potential. Matt Hudson in particular is a keeper that I will be giving a debut too and keeping my eyes on for the future.


The visitors to The County Ground were title chasing Luton, who needed a win and hope that Middlesbrough lost at Torquay. Luke Woods and Frank Nouble were the dangermen and had scored over 40 goals between them.

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The team pretty much picked itself, fitting neatly into a traditional 4-4-2, but without the bizarre diagonal runs that Blackwell had adopted. Hudson made his debut in goal. Roberts and Captain Simon Wheelan had the task of stopping Nouble and Woods. Andy Carter and Nicky Travis were asked to provide width in midfield while Lewis Alessandra and Paris Cowan-Hall would be looking for goals.

The start could not have been better. From left back, Lewis Webb punted a hopeful cross into the Luton area. Cowan-Halls lost his marker, took a touch to control the ball before drilling it into the corner. 3 minutes gone …. 1-0.


The lead lasted 9 minutes, Woods taking advantage of some sloppy defending to steal the ball and blast it past Hudson who had no chance. It could have signalled a collapse, but instead the red shirts upped theirendevours, maybe trying to impress the new manager. With 25 minutes on the clock, Cowan-Hall won a soft free-kick which Alessandra tried to blast through the wall. The ball ricocheted off to the feet of Cowan-Hall who said “Thank you very much” before restoring the lead from about 6 inches out. It was a lead that we held for 12 minutes. An entertaining game was levelled by Nouble when 37 year old Dean Whitehead ripped the Swindon defence apart with a beautiful 25 yard pass. And that was how the teams changed ends, although Alessandra did manage to rattle the bar from another free kick.

It was a decent performance and I told the lads so. 45 minutes of the same and they could go on holiday, but lets give the support value for their season tickets. Brough were behind, so Luton knew that they had a chance. Maybe it made them nervous, as they were far more defensive after the break. Cowan-Hall was causing all sorts of problems while young Martin Gray was totally bossing the midfield, as if he was back at the Guiseley Academy. Luton soaked up the pressure, but with 12 minutes left we got the goal we deserved. Carter put in a low hard cross from the left and Gray got to it just before the keeper for one of the most deserved goals for any player in any match.


Could we hold out this time ? Luton had created nothing in the second half, but they had to score twice to have any chance of the title. Forward they came and Woods got to a cross just before Webb, his header flashing over the bar and him landing in a heap screaming for a penalty. Players rushed in and a bout of handbags broke out, ending up with Nouble raising his hands and shoving Roberts in the face, causing even more handbags. What would the referee do ?

Yellow card to Webb ….. NO ! He can’t have given that as a penalty !
Red card for Nouble ….. No option there.
Goal Kick ! ….. The yellow was for the shoving. Woods should have been booked for the dive, the cheating bastard.


Richard Money was apoplectic in the opposite dug out, however time was running out for him, and with a man advantage there was no further danger. The last 30 seconds were played out 10 v 10 as a robust challenge from Woods ended Carters game early and we had used all 3 subs.


All in all it had been a terrific season for my clubs. Wolves had run Fulham to the wire in the Premier League while Charlton were runners up to Wednesday in the Championship. Both sides just 2 points off the title. Obviously Blackpool’s title was the highlight, but I was delighted to see West Brom beat Hull in the FA Cup final. There was just one thing left to do …..

Resign ! I bet you expected to see a scantily clad young lady here, but I’m buggered if I’m going to spend a long summer building a club I want to get away from !


21-04-12, 11:23 PM

Not only did I leave Swindon after just 3 days in charge, but to add insult to injury, I left them for one of their rivals. With the dark humour that only the gods of the fixture computer could invent, that derby would be the 5th league game of the season. I had notionally moved up a league to the Championship, notionally because City had finished 22nd and were destined for relegation when the new fixtures were published.


A last day win at Bradford had been matched by Swansea’s victory over Derby to confirm the drop. John Terry had obviously not been the dream ticket that some Bradford fans had been expecting. That was not my problem. A defence that had conceded 78 goals and picked up just 7 points out of the last 10 matches was my problem. To rectify that I had been given 50k to spend and the relative luxury of a 4,500 maximum wage.

Although the squad were away on their holidays, there were 8 names that I instantly recognised. Glenn Whelan and David Vaughan had been a stalwarts at Sheffield United and Southampton, but now aged 35, were well past their sell by date. Tommy Vaughan was the first casualty of my Man United cull and I doubted that he would last longer here, just like Javlon Campbell, who it had taken all my time to remove from Bolton. That left 4 players that I might actually want Colin McConnell had done well at T.N.S and although this would be a step up, he would be given a chance. Robbie Burns had developed nicely since I signed him as a teenaged for Wigan. He had even picked up an U21 cap. Carl Ikeme was backup to Joe Lewis at Wolves and although he never played for me, he was certainly a welcome face. The crme de la crme though was striker Martin Cunningham, a 2m buy for me at Man City. He played 5 times scoring 1 and making 2 in a very good side and he is easily Premier League standard. I had tried to buy him on 2 other occasions.

I’d have to wait for preseason training to assess the rest of the squad, as well as waiting to meet my secretary. Fortunately the current one was retiring !

21-04-12, 11:24 PM
The summer break was over and the players returned for preseason training. They were put through their paces by new assistant Darren Carter who had joined me from Blackpool. The squad turned out to be an odd mix of old heads – keepers Lee Grant (36), Shwan Jalal (35) and Dean Gerken (34) were amongst 14 players that won’t see their 20s again – Overpaid like Brian Deasley on 18k per week – Down right crap, like midfielders John Barnett, Charlie Banks and Kenny McLean – and actually pretty decent – Spanish Defender Albert Luengo, Polish defender Michal Pazdan and midfielder Phil Beresford could all play at a much higher level. There was certainly rebuilding to be done, but at least I had the basics to build on. Quite how Danny Wilson managed to get a club relegated when it had Martin Cunningham and Dan Dalton (Andy Johnson regen) in the front line is beyond me.


15 players left and 11 arrived over the summer, with a net profit of 500k. Of the new men, I was most excited about the 3 African lads, Patrick Bantamoi, the Sierra Leone keeper, Joseph Bitumba a Rep. Congo defender and Efe Echanomi a Nigerian striker. All had European passports, but I didn’t ask agent Runny Eggerton how they got them.

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Darcy Blake (Wigan) and Gary Campbell (T.N.S.) joined the list of players that were joining me for a second time at the club.

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The squad was ready for the season’s opener, a trip to Torquay, however someone else was also making a second appearance in my teams.

Eejit: Hi ! It’s ….. Ehm …. Secretary from Swindon. What are you doing here.
Emily: Surprised you remember my name. Most people call me Emily, but I don’t mind if you call me “Em”, as long as you nail me like you did at Swindon. I’m your new secretary !

21-04-12, 11:26 PM
It turned out to be short, fast and full of action. The football, not the sex with Emily (although fast and full of action would be accurate)

My reign at The Cherries lasted just 6 games and started with Godden and Echanomi putting us 2-0 up at Torquay within 15 minutes.

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By half time it was level and despite a second half onslaught, that is how it stayed. Oldham’s visit followed and it was another dominant start. This time though, the visitors broke the deadlock, through Dennis, with their 1st attack. Our good start though was rewarded when Godden levelled 4 minutes later. It was a decent match between 2 equal sides and 1-1 was just about right on the balance of the first half. It didn’t suggest what was to follow. Bang ! Pearce 2-1. Bang ! Beresford 3-1. Bang ! Godden 4-1. Bang ! Godden 5-1 (hat-trick). Bang ! Emily just to celebrate ! The late red card to Mark Thomas didn’t dampen spirits, and Ryan Towle replaced him for the visit to Cambridge Utd. We lost 4-1 ! This is going to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride. The football, not the sex with Emily (although having said that …..)

I needed a pause to get my breath back after that whirl wind and a 0-0 draw with Plymouth was just what I needed, although it was a game we should have won easily. Game 5 was a home League cup tie with Boston and another 5-1 romp, Gary Campbell with a brace from right wing. The final game of my short career took place back at The County Ground, Swindon, and the home support was like a caged animal, desperate for my blood. The Police had escorted us into the ground early, but I doubted that the escape would be so easy, whether we won, lost or drew.

Anihilation is the only word to describe the game. The home side had 2 shots, the second hit the target and gave Cowan-Hall a goal. Bristol City had 24 shots, 14 on target, Godden, Antonio, McBride and Godden again all finding the net. 17 goals in 6 games and 7 from 5 for Godden who started as my 4th choice striker !

We waited in the dressing room for ages hoping that the crowds had cleared. Eventually we were give the all clear and I ventured out into the car park, and into a trap.


I was surrounded, with now where to run and nothing to defend myself with. The gang closed in, a couple of them drawing knives. Would this be the end of the story ? It was answered in a WHOOOSH !

Eejit: Is this some sort of Dj vu ? Have we met in a previous life ?


Superwoman 2: I think you’ll find that was me.
Superwoman 1: Oi ! Paws off. I was here first.
Superwoman 2: No way, he’s mine. I found him in a previous incarnation.


This time there was a high kick and the knives were sent flying. She drew breath and blew and the gang were scattered like leaves on the wind.
Superwoman 3: Mine I think !
Superwoman 2: If you fancy your chances !
Eejit: Ladies please ! There is plenty to go round, now why don’t we head for somewhere a bit quieter.



21-04-12, 11:26 PM

The next stop for The Eejit’s bus would be Boundary Park, Oldham, a decent enough ground for a club aiming to avoid relegation to League 2. With 300K to spend, that shouldn’t be a major problem, even for a club that were newly promoted. The 775 per week maximum wage would, though, be more of an issue.

Oldham had made a decent start under Paul Groves who had claimed 3 wins and 3 defeats (including the 5-1 drubbing by Bristol City) and had seen the gaffer poached by Kilmarnock after Gareth Southgate moved from there to Villa.

The ground though was deserted when I arrived and I couldn’t find anyone to show me around. Eventually I found the pitch, and my new secretary, ready for action.


It was sometime later when the squad arrived for training. I was surprised at how big the squad was, 46 players, and that ment that the vast majority was youngsters who were never going to make the grade. There were a few gems in the youths though, 19 year old striker Scott Dennis had a keen eye for goal and had notched up 13 goals in his 27 appearances for The Latics. Another 19 year old, Jake Walker, was a competent defender who deserved to get a few starts. 20 year old Tom Howarth had more experience, with Raith Rovers and Hibs and was a right back that liked to get forward.

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As usual there were some familiar faces, Ross Worner (Sheffield Utd) and Tom Cairney (Hull) hadn’t been good enough at former clubs and while the former had not improved, Cairney could certainly do a job in central midfield. Keeper Kieran Griffiths (T.N.S.) looked like being my number 1 again while Scott Wagstaff (Sheffield Utd) is still a tricky right winger

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The “stars” though were all in defense. Aiden White, Alan Hayward, Paul Wright and Wes Baynes looked to be a solid 4, and there were some decent backups. Dennis excepted, the front line looked limp while the midfield was uninspiring.

The question was how to improve. Taking over in August, I was already looking to get at least 1 more club this season, especially as the Euro qualifiers would be ending soon and both Scotland and Northern Ireland had struggled so far. I fancied another pop at International management, with a team that actually played competitive games.

21-04-12, 11:26 PM
I decided not to make any permanent changes to the squad, coming in any way. The squad was good enough, to survive, with a couple of loanees brought in and I would save any transfers incase I needed them for the next job, wherever that might be. I have to say that it is a bit odd playing this game where as soon as I start a job, I am looking to leave as soon as possible.

As well as the loaned players, 14 left the club, bringing in 50k, not much, but it got them off the wage bill. None of them were in my plans. The players arriving were Daniel Harding, and attacking midfielder from Huddersfield who can play right wing. Michael Watts, another midfielder, from Sheffield United, who could play wide right. Jamie Jones, the Notts County keeper who would be used as a backup and Falkirk striker Terry Gornell. Due to their ages, the last two would only be at Oldham for 3 months.

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I would open my reign with a visit from promotion chasing Bradford, a club that had repeatedly rejected my application to manage them and currently had John Terry in the hot seat. The side was marshalled by a 35 year old Alberto Aquilani in midfield and Nedum Onuoha in defence as well as 2 Icelandic internationals in keeper Kjartan Sturluson and striker Petur Gislason.

We may be at home, but there was a sense of rivalry raised by a weirdo who kept calling the Oldham phone in saying that Bradford were going to thrash Oldham on their way to the Premier League.

Oldham were slow to get going, and the players didn’t seem to adjust well to a straight forward 4-4-2 formation, Groves had been playing with 5 at the back. Bradford took the early advantage, Done firing a freekick round the wall and the post and Gosling firing over when he should have done better. Gradually we pulled ourselves back into contention with Boden on the left and Harding on the right causing Bradford all sorts of problems on the flanks. It was no surprise when they combined in the 20th minute, Boden’s cross being met by a run from Harding who headed home from close range for a dream debut.


The goal should have boosed the confidence and got the team moving, however it seamed to give Bradford the kick up the arse, particularly Aquilani who had been very quiet, but was now involved in everything in midfield. First he set up Done with a defence splitting pass and the striker should at least have hit the target. Minutes later though and he picked out Johnson in space with a 30 yard pass. The midfielder crossed from the left and Welsh international Jamie Griffiths was left to head home his 5th of the season. With half time approaching, 1-1 would have been a reasonable score from an entertaining half, but with the whistle in the refs lips, Aquilani his another laser guided pass into Gislason who knocked the ball down for Griffiths to fire home his second of the game.


“Concentration” was the word used in the half time talk. We had to play for the full 45 minutes and we also had to do something about Aquilani. Captain Matthew Kay was given a man marking job when they had possession, and to give the Italian a hard time. His legs couldn’t last 90 minutes.

In fact they did. He completely bossed the middle of the park and was far and away the class act on the pitch. He didn’t though have time now to pick out these telling passes and Kay did a great job in closing him down. It became a bit of a stalemate and even the switch to a 4-3-3 formation with all out attack made little difference. The clocked ticked down and we were heading for defeat.

21-04-12, 11:26 PM
Why is it that you can't get a Bradford supporter to take the bait when you need one ?

I should have finished the story of the Bradford game. Oldham were piling forwards but coming up against an immovable object in the Bradford defense and a keeper playing a blinder. Time and again Sturluson pulled off world class saves leaving me with my head in my hands. 3 minutes of normal time remained as Howarth started a run down the right. He hit the bye line and crossed for Dennis who directed a powerful header that was arrowing to the top corner, only for Sturlusson to leap like a salmon and palm it away. Congrave was first to the loose ball, and hammered it goal wards only for Sturlusson to get his leg in the way. The ball broke free to Kay who this time place it in the opposite corner out of even Sturlusson’s reach.


We had the equaliser that we deserved, and I would have been happy with that. Whistles echoed round Boundary park, reminding the ref to blow for full time, but I had told the lads to play for the full 45 minutes of the half, so Congrave had one last run at goal and was unceremoniously upended by Onuoha. Dan Harding lined up the free kick 20 yards out. The ref moved the wall back the 10 meters and blew his whistle. Harding ran up and hammered it through the disintegrating wall and past the unsighted Sturlusson for a dramatic, late, late winner.


I don’t want to leave it that late again.

Seven days later and it was our turn to visit Bath City. Scott Dennis gave us a first half lead, but Bath drew level at the start of the second half, before taking the lead in the 54th minute. Dennis levelled 3 minutes later and we went for it again, piling forward looking for another late winner. I was left biting my nails as chance after chance was passed up, but this time, it was not to be and we had to settle for a single point.

Oldham games are anything but dull as the league cup game with Sheffield United proved. Again we led through Harding's early strike and again we went 2-1 down and again we leveled, this time it was Dennis making it 2-2 at half time. Again we sent men forwards, but it looked as if extra time was looming when Blades keeper Lucas Flappy-hands-ki upended Dennis allowing Harding to record his 4th goal in 3 games from the spot. United had 3 minutes of normal time to push for an equaliser, but they left gaps at the back. We broke with pace and a crisp passing move ended with Congrave converting Cairney’s low cross to kill off the game.


My nerves can’t handle much more of this !

21-04-12, 11:27 PM
My nerves got very little rest. Although Oldham embarked on an 11 game unbeaten run, just 2 short of a club record, there were 7 draws and just 4 wins. Only the Sheffield United game was won by more than a single goal, and in 6 out of the 11 there was a goal scored in the last 10 minutes. That doesn’t include balls hitting the woodwork, offside decisions, penalty claims and red cards.

Boring it was not !

By the end of the run, my finger nails were in shreds.


And back at Boundary Park, someone was in for some serious stress relief.


The run was ended in the League Cup 3rd round by a very good Cardiff side that boasted current international players from Italy and Spain as well as all the home countries. We gave it a good try, but the Premier League side were just too good on the day and the 2-0 score line was comfortable for them.

I needed to see that The Latics could bounce back and Leeds were unlucky to be in the wrong place (Elland Road) at the wrong time (3pm, Saturday 9th November, 2019). We thrashed the league leaders who never created a single scoring opportunity. Luke Boden opened the scoring when left back Aiden White was allowed to rampage up the flank unchallenged. It was White that again set up the second, for Harding, although it was the result of an over hit cross aimed at Gornell. Captain Paul Wright finished the scoring, heading in a Harding free kick that was straight out of the training ground.


The Euro qualifiers had now finished. England as expected topped their group, dropping just two points in a 0-0 draw at Cardiff. Iceland and Denmark were both ahead of Wales. Holland and Sweden were always favourites to win Scotland’s group, but loosing to Azerbaijan and FYROM was not acceptable and it cost Craig Levine his job. Yours truly amongst the bookies favourites to take over. Northern Ireland fared little better, netting just 5 points, 2 against Kazakhstan and 3 from a surprise win that ended Croatia’s chances. Turkey and Finland topping the group. The Northern Irish FA received an application with an Oldham postmark when Nigel Worthington received his marching orders.

21-04-12, 11:27 PM
I had time for just 2 more league games before my time at Oldham was over, an entertaining 1-1 draw at Upton Park and a 4-0 thrashing of Coventry. It was a result that lifted Oldham into a play-off spot, ahead of a Bradford outfit that were heading in the same direction as a player tackled by (their manager) John Terry.


I was sorry to be leaving Oldham. It may not have been the most successful stay, but it was the most exciting and I had a feeling that we had turned a corner and were heading for glory. I think I had also uncovered a future star in Daniel Harding. 7 goals from 14 starts on the right wing mean that I will be keeping a close eye on his progress.


So, onto the new job. It wasn’t to be Northern Ireland. That job went to Alan Nixon, a man who had guided Ipswich to the brink of Premier League relegation and achieved the square root of diddly-squat with Yeovil. It wasn’t to be Scotland. That job went to Brian Reid, a man who had done bugger all with Ayr and taken Peterborough to the brink of Championship relegation. Both managers are ranked below me in both the World and English manager rankings, so to say that I am pissed off would be an understatement

Instead, I would be staying in League One with a target of winning promotion.


21-04-12, 11:27 PM

Coventry City were in a bit of trouble. Aidy Boothroyd had taken them to the Premier League for the 2011/12 season, but couldn’t keep them there. A bad start in 2014 saw him get the sack and Steve Bruce come in. It was Bruce that oversaw their eventual relegation to League 1 where they have stayed, just through Bruce, Ian Thomas-Moore and Wes Brown in the hot seat. Brown however dumped them for the SPL bottom side, Falkirk, which is where I come in.

http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00638/Aidy_Boothroyd_638892a.jpg http://www.fansonline.net/images/wiganathletic/steve_bruce.jpg http://d.yimg.com/i/ng/sp/empics/20100509/16/35485083-09052010163651.jpg http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Sport/Pix/pictures/2010/3/8/1268077359827/Soccer---Carling-Cup---Fi-001.jpg

9th place, 2 points behind the playoffs and 11 behind the leaders is something to build on, and with more than the season to go, is not a daunting challenge. Although chairman Ray Ranson had charged me with promotion at the end of the season, He could only offer 24k for transfers and a maximum wage of 775 per week. I hope that the squad is in decent shape as I doubt that I’ll be making any major signings. One thing that I could sort quickly was the backroom. Talentless, overpaid numpties might be a reasonable description


I was also told that there was no club secretary ! Disaster !

21-04-12, 11:28 PM
The Coventry squad when I met them was pretty typical. Some old players that were past their sell by date – Adam Virgo (36) Luke Steel (35) – Some youngsters that should never have been signed – Russ Scott, Bradley Henry – and a few decent players that I can build around. In Coventry’s case striker John Simpson was the standout. He has scored 34 goals in 41 games since making the first team last season. Sadly he is out for a month with an ankle injury, but I hope he gets back on the goals quickly. The rest of the front line is week, but a midfield, held together by Algerian Amine Linganzi and Charlie Barnett looks solid but needs depth. Luke Howell is the pick of a decent looking defence.

http://www.evertonfc.com/assets/_files/cached/img/494x270/jul_10/efc__1280153836_jukes.jpg http://images.clicklancashire.com/admin/article/articleimages/1260544737-Amine%20Linganzi%20Koumba.jpg http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Tranmere+Rovers+v+Bolton+Wanderers+EwOnHQ6C1TFm.jp g http://images.sportnetwork.net/images/647/116441_421_280

Luke Howell (Southampton), Charlie Barnett (Birmingham) and Dean Kamara (Man Utd) are the ubiquitous former players that have returned. Kamara in particular has improved a lot since being released at the start of my Faroes revolution.
Top of the shopping list was a keeper and a striker to support Simpson. I could also use some backup in defence and midfield. With no money to spend, I would have to focus on loans and whoever I could get for free. My first move was to announce an open training session where anyone that though they could do a job for Coventry would be welcome to show what they could do.

From that session, I signed 2 players, Alan Campbell, a midfielder come striker who had played for Limavady Utd without setting the grass alight, but he certainly knew where the back of the net was. The second was Alex Powell, an attacking midfielder who had been a bench warmer for Birmingham, starting just twice in 46 appearances. He may not be the quickest, but he was skilful and had a good pass.

http://www.glenavonfc.com/images/Gavin%20McDonnell%20scores%20Glenavon%27s%20second %20goal.jpg http://www.bcfc.com/javaImages/2f/e7/0,,10412%7E8906543,00.jpg

From the trial though, one other would join the club

I was particularly impressed with the ball control and she could keep it up for a long time. I explained that I couldn’t offer a playing contract, but when I explained the responsibilities of the club secretary, she asked when could she start.

“In my office now ?”

21-04-12, 11:29 PM
Following revelations that several rival managers had infiltrated our open training session, I was forced to employ a new head of security with orders to strip search anyone approaching the stadium without the required authority.

Some of the club secrets were, after all, for my eyes only

The football got underway with a home visit from Rotherham, a mid table side that we should beat if promotion was a realistic aim. 4 loan players were added to pad out the squad, although Derby’s Scottish keeper Greig Orr would be straight into the first team. The others were Derek Power, a left sided defender and midfielder from Orient, Luton’s Northern Ireland forward Paul Murphy and Luca Bizzari, an Italian hatchet man from Redditch who was added to the midfield. We were still short of wide midfielders, so I adopted a 4-4-2 diamond formation for the first time in my career. It did the job as Andrew Little volleyed in Howell’s cross for the only goal in the 17th minute.


That win was more comfortable than the score suggested and an FA Cup replay that ended in a 3-0 win over Gainsborough followed by the same score when Swindon visited gave the Sky Blues support cause for optimism and lifted us into the playoffs for the first time.

The first real test though came with a visit to high flying Plymouth. That confidence was sent crashing as a woeful first half gave the home side a 2-0 first half advantage. Wilkinson pulled one back early in the second half, but any hope of a recovery was dashed by Kennedy’s second of the game and we dropped below Forrest Green and Bradford.

There is still work to be done, but leading scorer John Simpson’s return from injury was now just over a week away. I hope that is the boost we need and the physio’s have said they have no long term concerns.

21-04-12, 11:29 PM
Simpson announced his recovery from the ankle injury only to breakdown in training with a groin problem that would keep him out for a further week. Again the physios said that he would rarely succumb to injuries and it was just my bad luck that my star striker was having a rough run. The team struggled along with a couple of draws and a couple of wins before Simpson did return for the Home league game with Preston. He showed what I had been missing.
In a virtuoso second half performance he scored 2 and set up the other in an excellent win, coming from behind to win 3-1. He followed that up with the opener in a shock 2-1 win in an FA Cup replay at Premier high fliers Bolton, before he suffered yet another injury. If I could keep this guy fit he was going to be mustard


The physios again said he was just having an unlucky spell, but I wasn’t having it. I set off for the treatment room determined to sack them and replace them with physios that knew what they were doing. When I met them though, I changed my mind.

Instead I offered to reemploy them as secretaries. You can’t have too many secretaries, can you. (They were sacked, but not in the way I had originally intended !)

Leeds would be our next opponents, and the long time leaders were on a bad run and had lost 3 of their last 5, allowing us to pull to within 2 points. A win would put us into the automatic promotion places.


21-04-12, 11:29 PM
For the second time this season Elland Rd at 3pm on a Saturday was the wrong place and wrong time for a Leeds team to be. For the second time this season, a team managed by The Eejit went away with a 3-0 win. It spelled the end of Leeds challenged as they won just one of their next 7 games. That dropped them out of the title chase.


Despite the cup run ending at a West Midlands Derby with Wolves (3-0 flattered them greatly, but their forwards showed the difference between Premier League finishing and League One) and the following league reversal at Hereford, it was just 3 weeks before Coventry hit top spot. John Simpson back on the goal trail scoring in each of the home games with Yeovil and Torquay that placed us top of the pile.

From there, there was no looking back. John Simpson’s 33rd and 34th of the season in a 4-2 win at home to Bath City confirmed our play off place and put us within 10 points of a title that I had yet to win.


The only thing that could stop us was the job offers which started arriving. Exeter didn’t appeal, bottom of League 2 and relegation already confirmed, however this one had a certain fascination


So my choice was a push for a title and tick off a mission or a quick fire 5 games to avoid relegation and tick off a club. Tough choice


21-04-12, 11:30 PM
It defied all logic and the pundits ridiculed me, but I passed up the chance of a title in favour of a relegation battle. There would be plenty of time to win leagues later, I was not yet of the way through this and besides, the pull of Scunthorpe ( the only club with a very rude word in it’s name) was just too much.


After leaving Coventry, it left me 5 games to pull an iron from the fire (sorry !) but win or loose, I’d be able to move on again very soon, or so I thought !


21-04-12, 11:31 PM
Before I get onto Scunny, just a final word for John Simpson who turns out to be a regen of Steve Darlington (Highgate United) not a player I have ever heard of. 34 goals in 36 games is an awesome strike rate and coming from a regen of a player that was complete crap makes it all the better.

Anyway, on to Scunthorpe United. Forest, Swindon and Preston looked doomed, so the final relegation spot would probably be between ourselves, West Ham and Stevenage. We had the advantage of the best goal difference, but not by much. Our run in would be against

Bristol City (H – 10th), Forest (H -22nd), Blackpool (A – 14th), Bradford (H – 7th) and Millwall (A -18th)

West Ham had the easiest run in, with Swindon and Preston to face, while Stevenage had the toughest. Even so, I figured that 9 points would be needed (7 if we were lucky) and targeted Bristol City, Forest and Millwall as the must win games. Blackpool away and promotion chasing Bradford at home would be tough to take anything from.

I couldn’t do much about the squad as the transfer window had long since closed, however it didn’t look too bad. Dominic Cervi was a decent stopper and I had enough defenders to protect him, although 33 year old Honduran Emilio Izaguirre was the only recognised left back. There were 2 young lads on loan to Newport who were recalled as a precaution. Up front, Miles Young and Sam Anderson had goals in their boots, and it beggars belief that Anderson had been left rotting in the reserves. I also had a decent choice of midfielders, including some natural width through Sean McConville and Anthony James


I also had Cyn, the secretary that put something into Scunthorpe.

Scunthorpe – Hope was obviously the word I was looking for. I’ve no idea what you were thinking !

Then came the phone call that changed everything.

Eejit: Scunthorpe United, Managers office
CMSG Ltd: Look here bud. I know who the hell you are, so no need to tell me.
Eejit: Well I had no idea who you were, obviously as I would never have answered the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing phone, so how could I know that you knew who I was …. BUD !
CMSG Ltd: OK, but I don’t have long. We are busy here at CMSG Ltd kicking off a new project.
Eejit: OK. What do you want. I guess I’m not going to like it.
CMSG Ltd: We think you’ve been getting away with things a bit too easy. 5 games and then you bugger off, nice idea, but your goung to have to earn it. We have a little wager to propose.
Eejit: Go on.
CMSG Ltd: We’ll be reasonable. You must gain 10 league points before you can leave Scunthorpe. Good Luck !

21-04-12, 11:31 PM
It would be a tough call to find that extra point, and a good start against Bristol City, the side I started the season with, was imperative. The side fitted quite naturally into a 4-4-1-1 formation with Young playing in the hole behind Anderson. The formation was working like a dream, with just one problem. We created numerous chances, but the ball would just not go in the net. With just over an hour gone, I signalled my intention to make my first changes. Izaguire and Newman were tiring badly and we needed fresh legs. Before I could make the change, Young and Cummings combined to send McConville clear for a run down the right. His low cross was met by Anderson at the near post who got his toe to it before the keeper and Scunny had the lead.


City had offered nothing, but now came forward as they still harboured promotion hopes. I made the changes as planned, Ian Stott filling in at left back, and looked to play out time. With 13 minutes left, the 3 points were secured with Anderson’s second, and opportunist effort on the break when nothing looked to be on. To cap a perfect day, Stevenage and West Ham both lost, so we moved up to 18th. I now needed 7 points from the last 4 games before I could leave.

21-04-12, 11:32 PM
The Forest game should have been straight forward, but they were on a bit of a late run, having picked up 7 points from their last 3 games. It all started well enough when Anderson gave us a 15th minute lead when he worked space for himself inside the box. Forest though were by far the better side and we were lucky that Cervi was playing a blinder and it was due solely to him that the score was still 1-0 as we entered the final 10 minutes. Yong had picked up a small knock, so Estonian Maksim Smirvov had replaced him and his pace on the break doubled our lead and that should have been that. 6 minutes later and we failed to deal with a straight forward corner, Cervi’s flap gifting Lee a consolation. We re grouped, to play out time, however deep into injury time, Forest lumped a desperate long ball forward, Harper flicked it on and McGrath, with the last kick of the match found himself one on one with Cervi and won a deserved (if grudgingly) draw that would make my task much tougher.


I would now need a win from either Bradford or Blackpool, as well as Millwall, my banker. West Ham won to move back level with us, but Stevenage lost again and look to be in real trouble, 4 points adrift.

22-04-12, 09:25 AM
For my 3rd game, it was another former club, Blackpool, at Bloomfield Rd. I hadn’t originally targeted anything from this one, but now, if we didn’t win, everything fell on the final 2 games. I had also failed to allow for a referee that was so biased that he could be put in charge of a game involving one of Glasgow’s Old Scum. I received a 2 game touchline ban and 10k fine for my post match comments suggesting that he might as well have worn an orange shirt, just to remove any doubt.

It all started well enough, Young having the ball in the net after just 7 minutes, but it was ruled out by Mr Estrada although the linesman’s flag never flickered. When Barry Newman was sent tumbling well inside the Blackpool penalty area, the ref pointed to a spot about a yard outside the box, and nothing ensued, other than a booking for Young for his protest at the decision. There was nothing that even he could do though when Anderson met Mooney’s corner to head us into a half time lead that we totally deserved. It might have been better had Young not had a second chance ruled out again for an infringement that no one but the ref saw. I may have been unhappy with the ref, but I would have taken the 1-0 half time lead if it had been given at 3pm.


The ref in his Blackpool shirt

If he was bad in the first half, Mr Estrada took biased reffing to new levels in the second. It was still 1-0 after 65 minutes when he decided to show Dominic Cervi a red card. Hand ball was the indication, and while it was close to the edge of the area, I thought that Cervi was inside his area. After the protests died down, Mr Estrada pointed to the spot. A http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifING PENALTY ! HE’S THE http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifING KEEPER, HE’S ALLOWED TO HANDLE THE BALL ! Neil Buxton Replaced Young and the replacement keeper's first task was to pick the ball out of his net. Robbed ! 10 v 12 is not good odds, but even so, we still looked the more likely to score, so much so that with 7 minutes left, Mr Estrada had to intervene again, sending off Callaghan for a challenge which was a) outside the box and b) he clearly won the ball. Decision, another penalty.

It was too much for me and my remonstrations with the 4th official saw me sent to the stands and saw a Scunthorpe Supporter make it onto the pitch where he attacked Mr Estrada.


Eventually the police separated them and with truncheons raining in, the supporter fell motionless

Scunthorpe Supporter 1: Oh my God ! They’ve killed AMC
Scunthorpe Supporter 2: Bastards !

When the mle died down, Dodd placed the ball on the spot and converted his second penalty of the game. It was now 9 v 12 and we needed 2 goals. Despite the odds, I urged players forward in a 4-2-2 formation. With 4 minutes left, Scott won a corner. Newman floated it in and O’Conner jumped highest for an unexpected equaliser.


There was still time for a winner, and it looked as if O’Connor had got it, his drive clipping the post on its way into the net, but for the 3rd time in the game, Scunthorpe had a goal disallowed for something that I couldn’t see.


We had to settle for a point, which meant that I had to win both of the final 2 games. To cap a miserable day, both Stevenage and West Ham won, so we were now just 2 points clear of relegation, and 3 behind West Ham who need just 2 points to be safe. Bad results for Rotherham, Bath and Stockport mean that their survival is not yet certain.

22-04-12, 09:25 AM
A win against Bradford was essential, and with the Yorkshire club having dropped out of the playoff chase, they had lost some of their enthusiasm. The win in the end was quite easy with a Young brace and a Stephen Taylor freekick, all in the second half giving us all the points and setting up a vital final game with Millwall. West Ham lost, so we moved above them on goal difference but behind Stockport, also on goal difference. Stevenage won again, so we were still only 2 points clear of relegation and Bath City were also in the mix, 1 point ahead of us, but with a terrible goal difference. Any of 5 sides could go down on the last day

Bath City 51 -18
Stockport 50 -7
Scunthorpe 50 -10
West Ham 50 -14
Stevenage 48 -21

22-04-12, 09:26 AM
And so to the final match of the season, a trip to London to face 15th placed Millwall. It was a must win game for me if I was not to be forced into spending a tedious summer in Scunthorpe. Although Millwall had nothing to play for, the good news for me was that only a win would guarantee Scunthorpe’s survival in League 1 for another season, so at least I knew that the lads would be trying for the full 90 minutes. On the down side, Cervi and Callaghan would be starting their suspensions. Neil Buxton and Jamie Thompson would make rare starts in their place. The same 4-4-1-1 formation that had brought us to this point would be deployed again, mainly due to a lack of any alternative without players being out of position.

It was a horrible wet day as we kicked off and the lads instructed to push for an early goal. The thinking being that Millwall had nothing to play for and may not fancy a fight. Millwall not fancy a fight ? You have got to be joking !

The early pressure worked to perfection. In just the 4th minute, Young won a freekick which Taylor blasted through the wall from about 25 yards out.


I couldn’t have asked for a better start and for a while we were well on top, with Young, Mooney and McConville all having chances to extend the lead and only Richard Martin in the Millwall goal playing anything like his best. Gradually the hosts got more into the game and after Harris had tested our young keeper, it was no surprise when Blake picked up a centre from Harris to steer the ball into the corner of the net for an equaliser. It came as a serious blow and changed the game completely. Now it was Millwall on top and we had to endure a torrid final 6 minutes before the ref blew for half time.

It was important that I didn’t let the team know what was happening elsewhere. Stevenage were 3-1 down, so baring a miracle we would be safe, but I didn’t want us to stop trying. We had to start the second half the same as the first. I sent them out with a rousing call to Arms

“Remember the good times we had it all. We shared them together. Forget the bad times we beat them all. We beat them together.


Goodshag: And I thought you had forgotten about me. I get jelous of all these secretaries you know
Eejit: What the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif ? The second half is about to kick off !
Goodshag: There’s plenty of time for that later, remember, time stands still. We’ve got a LOT of catching up to do !

I was back in the dugout in plenty of time for the kick off, although I was looking rather red in the face, however I soon settled and watched us take the game to Millwall. Mooney, Izaguirre and Anderson should all have given us the lead again before McConville did. It was a fantastic move started and finished by the right winger. He picked up a loose ball and fed Young before continuing with his run. Young found Anderson with space on the left and he made ground before crossing for McConville arriving late to drive home with a spectacular volley.

http://www4.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Scunthorpe+United+v+Tranmere+Rovers+Johnstone+eXI2 NIt5Ul9l.jpg

It was a goal worthy of winning any match, which is exactly what it didn’t do. 30 seconds later and Millwall were level. Our defence were still marvelling McConville’s goal and Fisher waltzed through them for his 5th of the season. 26 minutes left to find a winner. It was all out attack now as a draw would not be enough, however Millwall were dealing comfortably with everything we threw at them. Time for a change.

Stott came on for the tiring Izaguire, but I also sacrificed Newman on the left wing for another striker, Smirnov taking his place and McConville moving to a more central role in a 4-3-3. With his very first touch, Smirnov got his head to Cumming’s corner, but failed to find the target and another chance went begging.

4 minutes after the change and we got the goal that we probably deserved on the balance of play. Thompson took a quick freekick that launched a fast break from defence. Cumming took up the attack and spotted Anderson who had lost his marker. The cross from the right was perfect and the striker took one touch to gain control before beating Martin with a crisp strike low and to the keepers left.


I barked out some orders and issued some signals that I hoped the players would understand to mean. “Concentrate”, “Sit back”, “Hold the ball” “Make them work for it”.


Whether they did understand or not, I don’t know, but we were by far the better team and even created a couple more chances for Anderson. 3-2 is a very fragile lead and it only takes one mistake to turn it to 3-3. I was on the edge of my seat as we went into injury time and Millwall mounted one final attack. It ended with Harris being brought down by Taylor and the Millwall striker lined up the freekick himself. Buxton had put 5 men in the wall and once the ref was happy with the position, the whistle was blown for the last move of the game. Harris hit it sweet. The ball dipped over the wall and was curling to the side that Buxton wasn’t protecting. The keeper was helpless and could only watch as ……

The ball crashed off the crossbar and was hoofed clear by Thompson. The ref blew his whistle and we had the 3 points for the win

22-04-12, 09:26 AM
When the dust had settled at the end of a dramatic win we had a chance to look at other results, knowing that we were safe. They had all gone our way. Stevenage had lost 3-1 to confirm their relegation. Bath had lost 3-0 at home to Bristol City while Stockport had gone down 1-0 to Cambridge. So although West Ham had crushed Preston 4-1, Scunthorpe had moved up to the dizzy heights of 16th, our highest placing since November.


It had been a great year for former clubs. As well as Coventry winning League 1, West Brom took the Premier League and FA Cup double while Sheffield United won promotion from the Championship, runners up to Chelsea, while Birmingham City won League 2.

The most important news though came from Scotland where Ian McCall had finally guided Partick Thistle into the SPL. With a bit of luck, he will struggle and get the sack !

With all the terms and conditions of my contract with Scunthorpe met, I was free to resign and look for a new job, which is exactly what I didn’t do. Firstly, the only jobs available were for Fleetwood or Histon (who are not in my list of targets) and Man City where Berndt Schuster had finally been given his marching orders. Secondly, I didn’t want to go through the July update and loose all of my reputation in England.

I had hopes though that England would do badly in the Euro 2020 finals and that Steve Bruce might end up jobless. Sadly they made the semi finals so International management would have to wait. I however did not have long to wait to be offered a job with a side looking to win their 9th league title next season.


22-04-12, 09:26 AM
The call from Mr Abramovic came as a bit of a shock. I had thought that Klinsman’s role was built proof as he had previously been sacked twice and been reappointed again. It even happened after Chelsea had been relegated to the Championship, so I wasn’t expecting the job to come up when they had returned to the Premier League as champions at the first time of asking. The difference this time was that Germany had a poor Euros, loosing all 3 group matches to Hungary, France and Russia, that resulted in Ralf Rangnick being replaced by Klinsman.


Mr Abramovic had appointed me wanting to have success in every competition and gave me a war chest of 74 million to secure any player that I needed. In return, I promised that I would be looking to break all Premier League records while in charge. This seemed to keep him happy, but he had no idea of my plans for Chelsea. He also gave me the keys to my new Fiat


I was on my way to give it a spin down The King’s Rd, when I got a call on my mobile

CMSG Ltd: Howday pardner. Welcome to the big time.
Eejit: Oh give us a break ! Can’t I just do my own thing for once ?
CMSG Ltd: And what would be the fun in that ?
Eejit: What this time ? A team of one legged lesbian saxophonists ?
CMSG Ltd: I don’t know what you meen. Anyway, I’ll cut to the point. We don’t like the way these commie Ruskies are taking over and we don’t want you helping them.
Eejit: So what’s the deal ?
CMSG Ltd: Simple. We want you to get the sack !
Eejit: For once …. It will be a pleasure !

It fitted exactly to my plans. I cancelled the spin in the Fiat and returned to my office. I needed my secretary who happened to also be called Chelsea.

Chelsea: You wanted me boss ?
Eejit: Thanks Alex. I have 2 things for you to do.
Chelsea: OK
Eejit: Second thing is to get hold of an agent by the name of Runney Eggerton
Chelsea: Isn’t he a bit dodgy ? We usually deal with approved agents
Eejit: For this task, Runney will be perfect.
Chelsea: OK. What’s the first thing ?

I just smiled, knowing that this would not be the last time I’d screw Chelsea in this part of the story !

22-04-12, 09:27 AM
I had decided to take the call from Runney away from the office, I didn’t want anyone to overhear my plans, and was browsing the sport section in a local book shop when I found this book about some guy who claimed he had taken Airdrie to be world champions. What a load of bollocks ! I decided to help out the book shop owner by moving the book to the “Fantasy Fiction” section.

Before continuing, I have to say that my challenge was started in a fit of rage after a bad day. My original idea had been for Roman to task me with building a squad of Russians to win the Champions League. He was fed up with foreign players ! When I started, there were 6 Russians who had EEC passports, so I put in bids, but Abramovic would only give me wages of up to 20k per week, so I could only land 4. There were another 9 who had enough caps to get work permits and 5 of them agreed deals. The plan was then to offer 40k+ wages to get round the work permit rule, but Abramovic would only allow the 20k and to the whole plan way kyboshed. With a red mist decending, I went back to the save where I got the Chelsea offer and that is where we pick up the phone call from agent Runney Eggerton. To Chelsea supporters, I apologise. To Chelsea haters ….. enjoy !

Eejit: Hi Runney. It’s The Eejit here.

Eejit: Yeh ! You too you old fart.

Eejit: Nah. I’ve left the Gulls now. Managed to pick up Jurgan’s gig at Chelsea

Eejit: Can’t complain mate. Nice Job and you should see the seccy

Eejit: You know Chelsea ! You old dog !

Eejit: She did what with a jar of peanut butter ? Now that I will have to get her to show me. Listen mate, I need you to do me a favour. I need some Goalkeepers. You got any on your books ?

Eejit: Don’t worry about that, they don’t have to be Premier League standard, they just need to be willing to join Chelsea.

Eejit: About 50.

Eejit: OK. See what you can do, but I need them quick, so any that are available, send them over to The Bridge.

Eejit: Yeh, but not if I see you first ! You’ll be rewarded if you can do this. Bye !

22-04-12, 09:27 AM
None of the Chelsea squad that had risen to dominance in the 00’s remained at the club. The dominance had lasted another 5 years, landing the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 league titles as well as an FA cup, 2 League cups and 3 Charity Shields. The Elusive Champions League never materialised, defeat to Atletico Madrid in the 2014 final being their closest effort. Ancelloti hung around until 2017 when Jurgan Klinsmann took over for the first of his 3 spells as manager. Under Klinsmann, Chelsea were relegated to the Championship in 2019, but bounced back as Champions a year later.

Recognisable names in the squad would be Younes Kaboul (34) Gabby Agbonlahor (33) and Victor Anichebe (32). The current star players are Spanish keeper Angel Ojeda (Casillas regen), Barbadian defender Adrian Pettigrew (in his second stint at The Bridge) and England Defender Ryan Bennett (former Peterborough).

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None of that was relevant as the entire squad was transfer listed, except for keepers Robert Bennett, John Ingram and Darren Weir who were all offered longer contracts on improved terms. By the time the opening League fixture with 2018 champions Norwich arrived, 40 players had left and 37 new faces arrived, every one of them a goal keeper. Surprisingly, of the remaining outfield players, Kaboul and Agbonlahor had failed to find clubs despite being available for free.

The Norwich game was a disaster for Chelsea fans. Their team of new faces lined up at Carrow Rd in a sweeper formation that took Norwich only 7 minutes to break down. 3 more goals followed in the second half before the home side took their foot off the gas and coasted for the second half. Chelsea didn’t have a single effort on goal and Andrew Connolly, playing in central midfield, was awarded a 3 rating for a woeful performance.


22-04-12, 09:28 AM
The following home game with Wolves was, if anything, worse. The visitors were already 3 up when Bell was sent off. Wolves missed the resulting penalty, but added 2 more goals for a comprehensive win. I had been with Mr Abramovic, watching from the stands, however he left well before the end without saying anything. That left me alone with Daria Zhukova for the first time.


Eejit: Daria. I’m http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing your boyfriend, so how about you ?
Daria: Thought you’d never ask. His office ?
Eejit: Be rude not to !

We missed the final Wolves goal !

22-04-12, 09:28 AM
Results didn’t improve. Bolton put 5 past Chelsea and Man City another 4. There were though signs of improvement when Barnsley visited The Bridge. In the second minute, we won a corner. Duncan centred the ball and it fell perfectly for Ingram. Don’t get me wrong, the ball flew helplessly over the bad, but at least the Chelsea support could get encouragement from the first shot on goal this season. Barnsley were reduced to 10 men with 5 first half minutes still to play. It didn’t stop them recording a 5-0 win.

The supporters were getting restless. The board were unhappy and for the first time the press were considering my job to be under threat. I had to work fast and didn’t want to make the same mistake as I did with United and leave any decent players or transfer slots for the new manager. I tried to release the final 6 players, however the board blocked the release of Anichebe, so with 49 goal keepers in the squad, I still had to find a way to get rid of the Nigerian. Early in September, Gillingham came in with an offer that he was delighted to accept. It allowed me to spend 170k to land Ross Worner from Notts County and when he arrived I had a full squad of 50 goalkeepers, all on long contracts and all on big wages.


If he wanted to get rid of any of the players, it would cost the new gaffer 4m minimum to terminate a contract. As he only had 30m to spend, that didn’t leave much room for manoeuvre.

September went by with 18 goals conceded without reply, including a League cup exit to Tranmere and a 6-0 drubbing by Liverpool. The criticism from the board and support was getting more vocal and public.



Still I didn’t get the sack.

The 4 games in October resulted in 19 goals conceded without reply. I kept my job.

November saw a big change. After Fulham thrashed us 4-0 it was Hull next to visit The Bridge. The support were expecting another abysmal display, but when Miller won a corner, Taylor swung it in and Singh connected sweetly to drive the ball past the unsighted Hennessey. Sadly though it was the 87th minute and Hull had already scored 7, but it did prevent the record defeat going to Chelsea who held onto the record win 7-1 over Fulham. One record that Chelsea did take was the record for consecutive defeats.


Strangely they also hold the most games without loosing at 21 ! The following game at Fulham I was certain was going to be my last. The Cottagers won 5-0 and after it there came a formal protest


My decision to ignore it did not go down well.



This had to be the end …. But still I kept my job. What the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif did I have to do ? The 30 goals (including 5 at the Emerates) that we let in in December was not enough. I kept my job into January.

The final nail in my Chelsea coffin came with a 6-0 reverse at home to Bolton on the 2nd of January.


I hadn’t broken any more records, however the 95 goals conceded was just 6 short of Blackpool’s record and I felt sure that their minimum points of 4 would also go come the seasons end. I had done my job and could move on



Just to complete my euphoria, the mad taking over at Samford Bridge would be Ally McCoist. If ever a club and manager deserved each other more!

22-04-12, 09:30 AM

No one will be surprised that the 26th destination in my career will be at White Hart Lane


No one will be surprised that the 26th secretary of my career will be a babe that want’s to get her kit off.

And no one will be surprised that the 26th car given to me will be a Fiat


It may surprise some to find out that Spurs are down in the Championship and that I have been given the task of regaining top flight status this season with a transfer budget of 42 million.


Following their surprise relegation last season, Spurs had made a pretty good start under Steve Cotterill who had left for the Portsmouth job (that I wanted !). I join a list of big name managers with Mark Hughes, Martin O’Neil and Alex McLeish all having sat behind the desk at The Lane. Only O’Neil had achieved anything though, the 2013 FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday being the only addition to the trophy cabinet. A 2nd and a 3rd in the league being the best efforts.

The squad was very young, only 3 players over the age of 30 and 24 of the 48 man squad being teenagers. The average age was only 23.76. Keeper Mirko Ranieri, defender Scott Reid and striker Jamie Clapham were supposedly the stars, but I didn’t rate any of them. Ranieri in particular was a poor player and had clearly been at the club for too long.

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From training, Defender Lee Richardson, German winger Marko Marin and Spanish defender Yuri Berchiche lookd the best of a pretty poor bunch.

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There was a lot of work to be done to turn this lot into a Premier League outfit, however a gentle run of fixtures against lower half sides gave me hope of a decent start while I searched for suitable players.

22-04-12, 09:30 AM
And then came the dreaded call from CMSG Ltd. These guys are big on tradition and with Spurs having strong links to the Jewish community, my restriction was to sign only players with an Israeli nationality. This was a huge blow as I had planned a major rebuilding program and with a maximum wage of just 30k per week, I couldn’t buy my way round the work permits. That meant that I was reduced to players with an EEC second nationality and current internationals with lots of caps. I also had to have an Israeli on the field at all times (when fit). Needless to say there were no Israelis in the current squad.

There were no changes to the squad before my first game, a home league encounter with Lincoln. There were so many mediocre players that it was hard to field a decent side, but I settled on a 4-4-1-1 formation that included a rookie 19 year old keeper, Barry Gleeson and England U21 striker Julian Moran leading the attack. Of the so called star players, only Scott Reed made the starting 11 while Jamie Clapham started on the bench.

In the end it was comfortable. Lincolns finishing was woeful so Gleeson had a quiet debut. Ours was not much better, but left winger Craig Robertson planted a header past the Lincoln keeper midway through the second half. Robert Barrett scored a second deep into injury time to put a gloss on a result that kept us in touch with the leaders.


The next week though, some new faces arrived, starting with Beitar Jerusalem’s Israeli “B” international keeper Itamar Edni (Dudu Aouate regen).


Over the following weeks, he would be joined by Hapoel Tel-Aviv midfielder Lior Shitrit (Tamir Cohen) (a name that would not be printed on too many shirts !), Maccabi Tel-Aviv utility defender Shachar Boksemboim (Tal Ben-Haim), Hapoel Petach-Tikva winger Dani Marziano (Yaniv Katan) and Maccabi Haifa midfielder Avi Franco (Soli Tsemah).

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I also managed to find an Israeli assistant and 3 coaches as only Clive Allen and Tim Sherwood had survived from the previous regime.

Of course there had to be some departures, and 17 of the poorest teenagers had their contracts written off and were last seen heading for the job centre to see if there was any window cleaning work going. Surprisingly 10 of them found work within football, joining lower league clubs !

The Israelis did add a bit of quality to a very poor side, and it was exactly what Spurs needed, kicking off a 7 game unbeaten run that took them past Villa and Leeds in the FA Cup and, briefly to the top of the league. A 2-0 home loss to Charlton meant that top spot was held for just a single week, allowing Derby to take over. It was all very tight, with Leicester, Man Utd and Sunderland all in the mix.

22-04-12, 09:31 AM
I hadn’t planned on any more squad changes, but when The Israeli national keeper Shlomi Vaknin became available from Besiktas, I had to take the plunge. 3.5 million secured him and he had no trouble getting his work permit. Edni had done OK (average 7.0) but was prone to the odd gaff that had cost us a few points. A better keeper couldn’t do any harm.


Edni had been between the sticks when Spurs took over top spot after a gap of 2 weeks. It was secured with a 3-2 win at Northampton, Robert Barrett with the late winner as both Derby and United continued to slump. We quickly put a gap on the chasing pack and the title was secured with a 3-0 win over Luton at White Hart Lane. Jamie Clapham with a well deserved brace as he had been a revelation since taking over the lone striker role. 6 goals and 4 MoM awards in 8 games showed that he had something that I couldn’t see. He certainly enjoyed securing the title


Another cup win at Burnley had set up a semi final date at The Walkers Stadium with the world stars of former side Manchester City. This would be the hardest challenge yet as it would be City’s only chance of honours this year. The lads knew that it would be important not to concede early. Give them a head start and it would be a mountain to climb. They duely went out and allowed Steve Beleck to knock in a Balotelli knock down in the 2nd minute. City went on to run rings round us but failed to take full advantage of their superiority. Out of the blue we were level. It was our first real attack and a crisp one-two between Moran and Barrett allowed the striker a sight of goal and when he pulled the trigger the keeper had no chance. He celebrated in style !


The goal was harsh on City, but who gives a http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif about that ! The rest of the half was fairly even. City had abandoned the all out attack and were giving us some respect. Both sides had penalty claims turned down and for Spurs Shitrit had an effort the pealed a coat of paint from the outside of the post while Moussa Sissoko had his shot tipped over the bar by Vaknin.

With all to play for in the second half and United leading Everton in the other game, it was a tetchy affair. Both sides had good chances, but both keepers were playing very well. Just after the hour though, the stalemate was broken. A long ball from Berchiche was brought down by Moran who took one touch to gain control before chipping the advancing Steve Mandana.


The Spurs support went wild, taunting big spending City about the money they were wasting. They were brought down to earth 8 minutes later by the goal of the season from Miralem Pjanic who beat Dixon, Kennedy, Berchiche and Barrett on his way to goal. A fantastic solo effort from the Bosnian. Both sides were tiring, and although City were very much on top, it always looked as if extra time would be needed to set up the date with United in the final.

Extra time was eventful and both sides had chances, although Vaknin was the busier keeper. There were though no further goals, and so it went to penalties.

First up was Balotelli who made no mistake with a well placed spot kick. It was matched by 17 year old Iain Kennedy. Steve Beleck looked confident as he started his run up, but could only watch as the ball beat both the keeper and the post. He looked at the penalty spot in disgust and stamped on the ground. “Aye right pal ! Sure the only lump there was you !”. Certainly captain Robert Barrett saw no lump as he powered his penalty past Mandana to give Spurs the advantage.


Chris Mavinga brought City level again before Danny Chapman restored Spurs advantage. For their 4th penalty, City gave the honour to defender Matthew Bird. He never looked comfortable with the responsibility and the shot was tame, easily saved by Vaknin. And so, 21 year old Scottish midfielder Chris Grant had the chance to send Spurs to Wembley. He placed the ball carefully, took 3 steps back and went for power.

It nearly ripped the back of the net, Steve Mandana doing very well to get out of the way or it could have done him some damage ! – “We’re on our way to Wembley” sang the Spurs fans, but I wouldn’t be with them. After being turned down by Watford, Blackburn and Rotherham, I was given the chance to take over the Champions elect ! The Luton game that secured the title was my last with Spurs



22-04-12, 09:31 AM
To finish the Chelsea story, all I need to say is this


22-04-12, 09:32 AM

I never said it was the champions elect of England ! Coleraine were on their way to their 4th consecutive title and, with 1 game still to play, had a 16 point lead over Donegal Celtic who they play in the final game.


Such was the dominance of Coleraine, under Ian Dowie, that they have lost just 1 league game all season and added the League Cup and Charity Shield. It is their 4th League cup and 3rd Shield in a row. The FA Cup has been less successful, adding just 1 trophy. Dowie left to join League 1 outfit Cambridge Utd, leaving the vacancy

Europe has not been great. They have got to the 2nd qualifying stage of the Champions League just once in 3 attempts and exiting the Europa League at the first hurdle in their only appearance.

I was looking to rebuild my reputation, but this was too good a chance to polish off Northern Ireland that I couldn’t pass it up.

22-04-12, 09:33 AM
The Showgrounds in Coleraine may have been a step down the ladder from Stamford Bridge or White Hart Lane, but the stadium was better than I could have hoped for. The official capacity of 4,750 was unlikely to be a limiting factor for domestic games.


As he showed me around, chairman Brian Graham explained to me the plans for future ground improvements that would take Coleraine to a new level.


The development did though come at a price, and that price was a transfer budget which he capped at 275k. Even if Lionel Messi was out of the equation, it was still a lot more than I had bargained for. A 300 per week maximum wage might be more of a problem for me. My mission was to win the league again, but secretly I had an ambition to get a Northern Irish club into the Champions League group stage for the first time. With the revenue from that, I would be in total control of the Northern Irish game and buy any player that I wanted.

I was shown to my new office, where my new secretary welcomed me to the club in the traditional way

In response, I welcomed myself to the club in the traditional way.

I had been given the keys to the club managers car, and thought my luck was in when I saw the players carpark, however sadly my wheels was parked round the back and out of sight



With only one game left to play and the title in the bag, there wasn’t much time to spend on checking out my playing squad, however it did look as if I had 2 good strikers in Jim Stewart (33 goals) and Paul Robinson (25 goals). Stephen Smyth’s 21 assists looked promising while midfielders Gary Quinn and Mark Hamilton also had very good seasons. Surprisingly just 20 of the 35 man squad had been used all season and none of the defenders had done much to write home about.

The match with Donegal Celtic that ended the season was not much to write home about. In front of just 1207 supporters, Kevin Feeney scored in the 13th minute and Steven Smyth in the 15th to extend our league win to 19 points. The players could depart for a well deserved holiday and I found a local pub to appreciate more the local culture


And the local dancing

22-04-12, 09:34 AM
Having assessed the squad over the summer, there were several players who I thought not fit to wear the shirt. They may have been good enough to win the Northern Irish league, but I would needed a much higher standard if we were to qualify for the Champions League. What also worried me was the impression that players were looking much younger these days ?

In all, 18 players were transfer listed and the squad would be built around the 17 that remained. Jim Stewart and Paul Robinson although I couldn’t for the life of me see how they could score so freely unless I had overestimated the standard of the opposition.

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Clearly I needed more firepower upfront. I was concerned also with the keepers where Richard Murray was, at best, an adequate backup. Left side of defence was the immediate problem, but I also needed numbers. Like wise more midfielders would be needed to mount a serious challenge, wide left again the immediate problem.

I had started to put some names to positions, baring in mind the limited budget, but once again CMSG Ltd sent me off on a new tangent. They wanted me to do it with a squad of only Northern Irish players. Not even second nationalities allowed. The immediate impact was not too harsh, defender John Reid came from south of the border and was the only one that I had to get rid of, but it did impact big time on the players that I could sign.

The 30k that Aldershot gave ne for Reid was the top transfer, however he was joined by 10 others in an exodus that added 100k to the transfer kitty. This enabled me to bring in 8 new faces who would all be up for 1st team duty.

First to join was a player that I already knew. Michael Dickson had been loaned to me at Forest where he had performed well. Since then he had been passed around, ending up at Ballyclare, on loan from Donegal Celtic. 10k was enough to land a solid keeper. No fewer than 3 left sided defenders arrived. Paul Smyth had spent 10 seasons with Dundella, but a move to Stalybridge hadn’t worked out and he was keen to return home. 6k landed the powerful left back. Gavin Graham was a bit of a nomad, Coleraine being the 12th club of his career and at 29, probably not the last. 9k secured his services from Newport. Like Graham, Neil McAuley can also play central defence, and his aerial presence makes that his more likely role. I expect him to score from set piece plays. He cost 65k from Distillery but started his career at Gillingham. Into midfield arrived left winger Stephen Murphy who is lightening quick, can produce a wicked cross and fancies himself in dead ball situations. He is only 20 and was never given a chance at Larne who asked for just 5k. The final new face belonged to striker Neil Wilson. He is a strong threat in the air and likes to have a pop from distance. A strike rate of a goal every other game for Ards over the last 2 seasons convinced me to part with 20k for a lad that I had released on a free from Manchester United.

Our season would start at home with a Champions League 1st qualifying round game with Beitar Jerusalem. A tie that I though to be very winnable even though the players were no where near match fit. Selecting players on a basis of who was fittest, we lined up in a 4-4-2 formation that the players understood and they knew that it was important to still be in the tie for the second leg. Defence would be crucial with the important away goals.

It was a pretty decent game with 2 well matched sides. Beitar started strong and won a sequence of corners however Shirazi was the busiest keeper, Kelly in particular bringing out a good save. The opening goal though came from yet another Beitar corner. Dickson punched clear the centre and the clearance was helped on its way by Gary Quinn into the path of Murphy who was breaking with pace. Glam did well to live with him, but his attempted tackle was both late and inside the penalty area. He was sent for an early bath while Mark Hamilton composed himself for the penalty that he dispatched to the keepers right.


A goal up and a man up, we should have gone on to dominate, but instead we let in a sloppy equaliser just before the break. Kahlon was shown far too much respect and was allowed to advance too far before thundering in a right foot drive. The lads got an earful at half time for that and were given instructions to mark tighter and further up the field. We had the extra man, so we had to be the ones finding space.

The response was instantaneous, Steven Murphy latching onto a loose ball and advancing before firing in from a tight angle when everyone expected a cross. Although a man down, Beitar came out looking for a second, they came close a couple of times and looked like they had got it when Mesika’s shot rattled the bar and bounced kindly for Hamilton to clear. From the resulting break, Coleraine won a free kick and as the ball was played into the box, Robinson went down in a tangle of bodies and for the second time the ref pointed to the penalty spot. Hamilton took it with the same result and we had a slightly flattering 3-1 win, but would that away goal be crucial ?

22-04-12, 07:12 PM
The second leg was always going to be a spicy affair. Beitar director of football Itzhak Kornfine was giving it large about how Murphy had deserved an oscar rather than man of the match and generally putting pressure on the ref to get some decisions his way. We didn’t mind, and as the ground that the match was to be played in was the wonderfully named Teddy, it gave an excuse for me to buy something for the secretary.

Fitness was still an issue for Coleraine, so I was forced to make 3 changes to the starting 11. 17,000 packed the ground on a hot summers evening, all but a few supporting the home side. Strangely it was Coleraine that started the better and Robinson had the ball in the net only for a linesman’s flag to be raised. We were made to pay for missed chances when Beitar took the lead just after the half hour. At 3-2 it was looking ominous, but while we were still getting lots of possession and creating chances, I wasn’t going to panic. Mark Kelly was the worst offender missing a hatful of clear cut chances. Inevitably we were made to pay when Mesika was allowed time and space to turn in the box and get his shot on target.


Advantage Jerusalem as they had the away goal. All or nothing now as we might as well go down fighting and I urged the tired players to push forward. Beitar were already wasting time with still 20 minutes left. They were made to pay with a great goal. Quinn fed Chapman on the left and his cross was met by Robinson’s head.


Beitar had just 13 minutes to score twice. They didn’t. Our reward was a trip to Wisla Krakow for the first leg of the 2nd qualifying round.

If the result at Beitar Jerusalem, a side that had always got past the 1st qualifying round, was good, we would need to be much better against the Poles who would be expecting Europa League football as a minimum. Make no mistake, this was a good side with 6 of the current Polish international side available. Fitness was still an issue, but improving and 8 of my probable best 11 were starting. We just needed something to take back for the home leg, but that looked doubtful as the red shirts swarmed forward in the early stages. It was completely against the run of play when Nielsen took a quick free kick that caught the Wisla defence flat footed and allowed Kelly through for an easy finish. The goal shocked us as much as the home support, and Krakow equalised straight from the kick off, still 1-1 was better for us than it was for the home side. Wisla Krakow were now all over us and it was only a matter of time before they took the lead. Blalek making sure with his umpteenth attempt. Fortunately we held on for the remaining 6 minutes to regroup at half time.

Other than the goal we had created nothing. Something had to change or we would be overwhelmed. I took off a tired Stephen Smyth and put on Paul Robinson as an extra striker. 4-3-3 away from home was high risk. We did at least start to create something and the 3 men in the middle of midfield gained a little more control, but it was still no surprise when Zielinski put the home side 3-1 up with still 25 minutes to play.


If the score stayed the same, it was just about possible to get through, but we couldn’t concede again. He may have let in 3, but Dickson was actually having a good game and thanks to him we went into injury time still at 3-1. With the crowd whistling for the final whistle, Robinson picked up a goal kick and set off on a run. He sprinted straight through the defence and placed his shot round the keeper.


It could and maybe should have been 5 or 6 to the poles, but we had 2 away goals to take home and that made the tie anyones game.

22-04-12, 07:12 PM
Eejit: Lob them. That’s their weeknes. We have to practice lobbing.

We were back at The Showgrounds for training and as the domestic season had not yet commenced, we had a full weak to prepare for the visit of Wisla Krakow. Fitness levels were close to 100% so we could concentrate on technique and tactics.

Smyth: But boss, how do you know that ? We kept the ball on the deck just as you told us too.
Eejit: Your right Smiffy, and 2 points. 1. We kept it on the deck and lost and 2. They won’t be expecting it.
Hamilton: But Boss, a lob is just a pointless punt up the park when you can’t think of anything better to do
Eejit: That’s where your wrong Hammo. A well played lobb can be as devastating as any Messi though ball. It gets the defender unbalanced and, if played well, means that the attacking side can pick up an advantage.

And so we practiced logging. Down the wing, across field and diagonal lobs. We practiced them long, short and midrange. If there was one thing that they knew how to do it was lobbing.

It was another warm evening in Coleraine and the bobbly pitch would surely sap energy. The visitors fielded a familiar face in 35 year old Faroese keeper Gunnar Neilsen and with him between the sticks, I knew we had a chance !

The game kicked off and Wisla looked to take up where they left off and finish the tie quickly. Dickson had to be alert to block Handzic’s early drive. It didn’t take long though before the opening goal arrived, and it was straight out of the training ground.


I turned to my assistant David Platt (no not that one)

Eejit: http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing hell. Does that useless http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifer not listen to a http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing word I http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing say ? Why the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif did he not lob the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifing keeper ?

It proved to be the decisive moment. Wisla threw everything at us, but for the first time, the defense held firm and we were through on the away goal.

The draw for the 3rd qualifying round took place the next day. We could have had Cork City or Sarajevo for a place in the group stage. I wouldn’t have minded getting the Estonian’s of Levadia or Zilina the Slovaks. Instead we got the semi finalists from last season CSKA, a team that had never failed to make the group stages. My scouts told me that they were “Very Strong” – No shit Sherlock ! What do I pay these useless http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gifers for ?

Before we could play the Russians, there was the small matter of the Charity Shield where a mark Kelly brace was enough to land our first silverware of the season.

And then the Russians came to town.

It was a daunting prospect to face one of Europe’s strongest sides, led out by captain and world class keeper Igor Akinfeev. We would have to be at our absolute best to have any hope. They also had some high profile supporters who I suspect would like nothing more than to see us stuffed.


What we didn’t want was to concede an early goal. What we did was leave Gazzaev unmarked to nod in the opening goal in the 15th minute. What did I tell them ?


Fortunately CSKA thought they had done enough and were happy to sit back with Mirinov playing as a sweeper and the attack resorting to long shots and aimless free kicks. We weren’t doing much better !

It was still 0-1 when the second half kicked off and with the Russians already playing out time and looking very solid, I had to try something new. With an hour played, Neil Wilson was brought on and we went 4-3-3, Quinn, Murphy and Hamilton matching their midfield 3 and winning more possession as a result. There was a spell of sustained Coleraine pressure and Akinfeev did well to punch away Stewart’s cross with Wilson lurking behind. And then Quinn remembered something. He lobbed the ball wide to Hamilton and that pass split the CSKA defence. Hamilton had room to advance before spotting Kelly in free space. The resulting volley sent The Showgrounds wild !


CSKA were rattled. That wasn’t part of their script, but it appeared that they were happy with the away goal and content to sit out the remaining 20 minutes. We tried all we could to get forward, but it was a big ask and time was running out. Deep, deep into injury time, CSKA were made to pay. Another lobb from Quinn split the defence and allowed Wilson room to take it on the half volley for a dramatic late winner.

Could we hold onto that lead in Moscow ?

22-04-12, 07:13 PM
There was a slight concern in the opening 2-1 league win at Ards. It was harder than it should have been and we had to come from behind only after they were reduced to 10 men. 3 points were in the bag though and we could travel to Moscow in good spirits. That mood did not last long though as it took the Russians just 20 minutes to take an aggregate lead. The defence was all over the place and we were very lucky not to be further behind with CSKA showboating their way to half time.

At 2-0 we were not out of it. A single goal would tie the aggregate scores. We just had to create something. I asked Smyth to run at them with the ball, and look for any soft free kick he could get. Wilso was to make a nuisance by getting above the sweeper for any crosses and the wingers were to ping in crosses early. They were vulnerable in the air.

We started better and had a few long range efforts, but nothing that worried Akinfeev. With 30 minutes to go, we won a corner and I sent on Robinson to see if 4-3-3 would make a difference again. Akinfeev punched the corner clear, but only to Johnson, who pinged it in again and Hamilton was still lurking in the boxto power home a header that levelled the tie. If we could score again, that would surely be enough.

It was all Coleraine for the final 1/3rd of the game, but alas no more goals resulted. We would have to play extra time.

The Arena Khimki was strangely subdued. The home support had been expecting an easy passage to the group stage, and the little club from Northern Ireland were becoming a bit of a pest. Their players had also run out of ideas and Coleraine were now bossing midfield and creating the best chances. Akinfeev was easily the best player on the park as he blocked a Wilson drive then held Robinsons low shot with Kelly ready to pounce. They were not Russian Champions without reason and when another Coleraine attack broke down, Yeremeev was given a run at goal and he beat Dickson from 20 yards out just as the 1st period ended.


And that was it. CSKA were not going to give us a second chance and despite coming so close, would have to settle for Europa League.

It may have been the 10 changes. It may have been the emotions of the extra time in Moscow, but we were very out of sorts as Glenavon took us apart 3-1 at The Showgrounds to maintain their 100% start to the league. This was not going according to plan at all.

22-04-12, 07:13 PM
Once again, we could have drawn an Icelandic club, or again Cork City would have made an interesting draw. There were Bosnian teams and Albanian teams and teams from the Baltics. Even Scottish Cup winners Peterhead would have given us a decent crack. Who do we get ?


And it is at home in the first leg.

A narrow win over Institute started the league cup campaign and a 3-0 trouncing of Donegal got the league campaign back on track before the Germans came calling. The 2016 runners up were odds on favourites and justified that tag with a 2-0 win. The only plus point for us was that the score flattered them and we had put on a good match.

The gate receipts and prize money had allowed me to dip into the transfers again Glenavon defender Darren Boyd had lots of experience and for 16k would be a valuable squad member. Paul Quinn’s workrate and passing had impressed me when we had played Donegal Celtic so when the left sided midfielder was transfer listed, I pounced and landed my man for 75k. Finally Glentoran’s forward Ian Craig had an excellent strike rate despite being used mainly as a backup. 55k was all it took to add the pacy frontman who had a keen eye for a goal.

None of them would be available for the trip to Germany.

22-04-12, 07:14 PM
60,000 inside the Signal Iduna Park make a lot more noise than 2,000 inside The Showgrounds, but that was the ordeal we had to face. There was no point in trying to sit back, we had to go for it, and if we went out, the league was always the priority. To everyones surprise we lined up 4-3-3 from the kick off with Wilson, Kelly and Stewart in the starting line up. Dortmund were a more traditional 4-4-2, however they were looking to wingers Jorgensen and Toranzo to get forward in support of the attack.

The opening exchanges turned out to be something of a stalemate, the 3 men in the middle for Coleraine nullifying the Dortmund midfield. Wth the exception of Jorgensen’s shot which hit the post in the 1st minute, neither side had a clear cut opening, until the 32nd minute. That was when the Coleraine passing clicked in. Substitute Gary Quinn to Johnson to McAuley, back to Quinn, onto Murphy. Stephen Murphy chipped it into Kelly who nodded down to Wilson who fired us back into the tie. There was still a mountain to climb, but with a half time lead, the team talk was a lot easier. I was though forced into a second change Mitchell replacing Murphy who had a minor knock.

5 minutes after the break and it was suddenly game on. From defence, McMenamin spotted Chapman rampaging down the righ. The full back advanced before releasing Stewart with a diagonal behind the defence. Last seasons top scorer didn’t need a second invite and planted a low shot past Salminen to level the tie.


Now Dortmund had a fight on their hands. Both sides had chances. Both sides had strong claims for a penalty, but in the end, extra time would again be needed.

Both sides looked very tired, but I had just one substitute left and wanted to use it wisely, so we stayed unchanged for now. Mitchell was the first to have a crack, but the midfielder could only hold his head in his hands as the ball ricocheted off the post. It was the best chance of extra time, so this time penalties would be needed.

It was 2-1 when Quinn stepped up, but his tame effort was easily saved and Dittrich took advantage by putting Dortmund ahead. Mitchell levelled and Busch hit the post to leave it all square after 3 spot kicks each. The next 8 penalties were all scored so the match was still tied at 6-6 when McAuley stepped forward. He went for power and saw it

Smash into the roof of the net

Jorgensen took the 8th penalty for Dortmund which


22-04-12, 07:15 PM
I couldn’t believe it. We were living with the big boys of Europe and they don’t get much bigger than our 2nd round opponents, English Cup winners Manchester United. At one time that might have been a daunting task, but a Championship side with 13 Faroese players in the squad could have been worse. One thing for sure, I would not be made welcome.

Before they came to The Showgrounds, we completed an easy passage to the League cup quarter final where we had a home tie with Ballymena United, but dropped further behind the league leaders, an Ian Craig injury time goal salvaging a point at home to Ards after we were reduced to 10 men. We were now playing 4-3-3 all the time which seemed to work. The defence was as leaky as a colander, but it created lots of chances at the other end. Keeper Dickson was a worry as he was prone to the more than occasional gaff, so Bradford’s Conor Devlin came on loan for the second time in his career. The former United trainee played 11 times on loan from Orlando Pirates in the 2010/11 season.


As with all these “Battle of Britain” encounters, it was a fierce encounter Reuben Nobel-Lazarus put United ahead, but we were infront by the break through Feeney and Stewart. The last seconds of the half saw the first red card, McMenamin forced into a poor pass back and Dickson had no option but to handle the ball outside the box. United failed to take advantage from the free kick.

United pressed forward, but their finishing was appalling so we survived until the end with something to spare. In injury time, Nobel-Lararus took out his frustration on Beattie and became the second recipient of a red card.

Advantage Coleraine, but United had that away goal to take to Old Trafford.

The European games were playing havoc with our fixtures and the league table showed us down in 6th place


It is not where I would like to be in defence of the title, but with 4 games in hand, we were just 7 points behind the leaders.

22-04-12, 07:15 PM
After my dismal record at Old Trafford and ugly scenes following my win with Bolton that confirmed United’s relegation, police were taking no chances with security for Coleraine’s visit.


United were among the leaders in The Championship, and everyone expected them to get the win that would end the chances of the minnows from Northern Ireland. After all, they had 9 full internationals to select from, even if 7 of them were Faroese ! We stuck with the tried and tested 4-3-3, which may have surprised the homeside. No one goes to the so called Theatre of Dreams looking to attack from the kick off. They were lucky to survive the opening exchanges without giving us that vital away goal. Hay and Feeney both blasting miles over the bar when they had good chances. On such an occasion it is understandable that they lacked some composure and provided we stayed level, their confidence would grow. United were restriced to just 1 chance, which Elphick sent wide, in a first half dominated by Coleraine, but with neither keeper seriously tested.

All that would change in the second half.

We were looking to keep things tight, as the longer that United stayed on nil, the more their own fans would get on their back and the more desperate they would become. As they pushed forward, we could exploit on the break. It sounded good in theory, but as the second half progressed it was the Irishmen who dominated possession and Murphy was very unlucky to see his shot from 20 yards out cannon off the crossbar. It wasn’t long before the opening goal arrived and it came from possibly the only period where United had any control. Elphick spotted Clarke in a good position and the rightback headed down for the onrushing O’Connor to poke the ball home for a totally undeserved away goal lead.


Nothing for it now but to go on all out attack, better to go down fighting than to lie down, and it took just 4 minutes for us to get our aggregate noses back in front. Right back Barry Rice charging down the flank and crossing for Mark Kelly to flick in his 10th of the season.


United needed 2, but never looked like getting them. We had total control and with 10 minutes left I made 3 changes, looking at the upcoming league cup quarter final and wanting to keep players fresh. We were still good enough to create another chance for Kelly and although he finished well, you don’t get offside decisions your way in the closing stages of a game at Old Trafford. There was no mistake though with 2 minutes left when Murphy set up fellow midfielder Hamilton to put the result beyond any doubt.

The previous games may have been lucky, but this win was well deserved and the reward of a trip to Portugal to face Braga gave us a chance to progress further. Sadly, for every winner, there’s a looser


It also set up the confidence for a couple of league wins and further progress in the league cup, where we would take a 2-1 lead to Crusaders for the second leg of the semi-final. Get past Braga and we could look to European football after new year which would be a bonus.

22-04-12, 07:16 PM
We knew there are no easy games in the 3rd round of the Europa League, but we had avoided Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Fiorentina and Marseille. Braga, with a trip to Northern Portugal in the first leg is probably as good a tie as you can get and their players would not be looking forward to a trip to the north coast of Northern Ireland in December. Therefore we travelled to Portugal with some confidence.

The stadium was a cracker with a rockface at one end creating a claustrophobic atmosphere


Maybe it was this atmosphere. May be it was over confidence. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office. Whatever the reason, we were well beaten. The only positive we could take was Robinson’s equaliser to Ferreira’s opener right on the stroke of half time. That gave us a brief hope of an undeserved result, however Jose added a second with 15 minutes left and Edson put some realism on the result in the dying seconds.


3-1 could have been worse. It might have been 6 or 7 and we did have an away goal. I reminded the lads that we had come back from 2 down against better teams than Braga this season
I had bigger problems than Braga to contend with though as we were still stuck in 6th place in the league.


More players were joining those voicing concern at our league position and now some members of the board were saying publicly that I may not be the right man for the job. I pointed out the 8 games in hand over the leaders who were just 10 points ahead, but all they said is that they wanted points on the board, not games in hand.

22-04-12, 07:16 PM
There is something about this Coleraine team that just never knows when it is beaten. Progress to the League Cup final was secured with an easy 2-0 win at Crusaders and a last minute winner brought a 3-2 league win over Ballymena to ease the league problems slightly, but even if that had brought a boost to confidence, I wasn’t expecting the start we made when Braga hit town.

For 20 minutes we thrashed the living daylights out of them. If it had been a boxing bout, the ref would have called it off. In addition to goals from Johnston and Robinson, Smyth hit a post and Kelly was hauled down for what should have been a penalty, but the ref was unsighted. We had the lead on away goals and Braga were struggling just to hold on.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44624000/jpg/_44624784_mclaughlin.jpg http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/47547000/jpg/_47547334_270310colerainevglentoran37.jpg

It was too much for one “Bannsider” who keeled over with a heart attack.

Steward 1: Oh my god ! They’ve killed AMC
Steward 2: Bastards !
The trouble is that a football game is played over 90 minutes, and Braga are a very good football team. Out of absolutely nothing, Edson pulled a goal back with a swift break to restore their advantage and with 5 now at the back, they were prepared to sit back and counter attack. We threw the kitchen sink at them. I switched to playing wingers then an ultra attacking 3-1-4-1 with all the midfield supporting the front man. We couldn’t break them down. Just to ensure we were put in our place, Edson scored a second for Braga that left us 13 minutes to find 3 goals. It wasn’t going to happen and so we bowed out of Europe.


It was no disgrace, as Braga would go on to lift the title at the end of the season !

Back in the domestic game, the situation went from bad to worse. Distillery caught us on the rebound and were 2-0 up within 4 minutes of starting the League cup final. They added a 3rd in first half injury time, and although Kelly pulled one back in the second half, it was far too little too late and that was us out of 2 competitions in 4 days. Worse we had dropped back to 8 games in hand an some commentators were suggesting that my job was slightly insecure.

That was as bad as it got. 7 league wins later, culminating in an amazing 6-3 at Glentoran, saw us take top spot in the league for the first time this season, and we still had 7 games in hand !


To celebrate, we went to Ballinamallard United in the FA Cup and watched Ian Craig take half the goals in an 8-0 win, the biggest in my career so far. Sadly only 252 watched the game.

22-04-12, 07:17 PM
Surprisingly, our reign in top spot lasted just 4 days. Institute came from 2 down to snatch a draw with an injury time equaliser. We bounced straight back and were never again headed. The title was secured with 3 goals in the first 25 minutes in a home game with Glenavon with still 9 games left to play.


We were still in the cup, although Crusaders pushed us close in the 5th round. It took a red card and an injury time own goal to put us on the right side of a 7 goal thriller. Cliftonville in the Quarter Final saw another 7 goals, but this time we were safely through scoring 5.

By far and away the key player was forward Ian Craig who contributed 37 goals in 31 games. I wish I had bought him in time to be registered for Europe.


All 5 of my main forwards made it into double figures (http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/wave.gif to Mark) While Murphy with 13 assists and 9 goals topped the midfielders. Paul Gibson was the only defender to get pass marks while both of the keepers were adequate.

On the eve of the cup semi final date with Donegal in Londonderry, and with 4 league games still to play, I was given an offer to return to England, and I would need the bucket and spade that I last used at Blackpool.


22-04-12, 07:17 PM

Well I didn’t expect to go straight back into the Premier League, not when my ranking has dropped to 32 in England and 183 in the world. This one though would be a huge battle with The Gulls second from bottom in League 1 and 8 points from safety with 6 games to play.


In theory anyone upto Crewe could be relegated, but realistically it was the bottom 4 plus Southend and Blackpool.

Torquay’s season stay in the 3rd tier looked to be coming to an end just 2 years after they had made the playoffs. Paul Robinson the man that had taken them from automatic promotion to near relegation. It was nothing new for Torquay having dropped down to the Conference for a couple of seasons before back to back promotions with Nicky Law in the hot seat.

With just 6 games left, and West Ham still to play both Bath and Coventry, I figured that I would need 15 points out of 18 to survive. That was confirmed by CMSG Ltd when they called.

CMSG Ltd: Welcome back to England Eejit
Eejit: Thanks, I think. You know that the window is closed, so any restrictions are a bit pointless.
CMSG Ltd: No restrictions, but we want to make a small wager with you
Eejit: Do I have a choice ?
CMSG Ltd: No. Here’s the deal. If you can save Torquay, you can have a free run at the next club, no restrictions.
Eejit: Nothing to loose, so lets do it.

22-04-12, 07:18 PM
How do you turn round the fortunes of a club that has won just once in 13 games and had been in the bottom 4 since match day 5 ? First thing was to sort out was a new training regime under new assistant Paul Parker. That allowed me to assess the squad, which I was not too disappointed with. It was a large squad, too large, and defence was clearly the strength with genuine competition right across the back 4. Central defender Lee Rogers was the obvious choice for captain, while Ian McLaughlin’s versatility was a bonus. The defence would have to be good as none of the 7 keepers looked upto much, veteran Mark Cook being the best of a bad bunch although I was worried that he wore the number 13 shirt.

There was a selection of midfielders too, although width would be a problem, particularly on the left flank. The form of young Irishman Ciaran Johnson would be key, as would the free kicks of Norwegian Magnus Wolff Eikrem. The front line would be a problem and clearly had been all season as none had managed double figures. John Futcher probably the best option and I hoped that he would repeat his 5 goals in 4 games when I had him on loan at Everton.

Graeme Connolly (released at Man Utd) was the only other player I had worked with before and fortunately he had improved, a bit.


The only injury worry was Scott Amos and the midfielder was never going to get close to my first team and so I had the chance to select my strongest 11, if only I knew what it was. The daunting task for that first game would be a trip to promotion chasing Redditch United. The other fixtures of interest

Bath v Birmingham (8th)
Blackpool v Forest Green (9th)
Coventry v Cambridge (5th)
Ebbsfleet (2nd) v Stockport
Oldham (6th) v West Ham

It would be a good week to pick up some points with all of the troubled clubs facing top sides. The lack of width in midfield directed me towards a 4-1-3-2 formation with the midfield getting forward to help the attack and experienced Northern Irishman Aaron Robinson given the holding role of protecting the defence.

It was a tentative start by both sides, Redditch wanted to get forward, but couldn’t get through the packed midfield. Eikrem had a couple of free kicks that troubled only the fans behind the goal, while Cook fumbled a McDonald and didn’t inspire confidence. Gradually the game settled into a pattern of Torquay controlling the middle of the park and allowing Redditch only scraps. The only shots were from distance and neither keeper was seriously tested. Just before the break an heafty challenge by Redditch’s Walsh initiated a bout of handbags that saw Walsh and Roberts both picking up yellow cards. At least it showed some commitment which was seriously lacking in the first half.

Alan Curbishley had clearly given Redditch the hairdryer at the break as they came out firing on all cylinders. The goal though came on the break. Eikrem’s pass looked overhit, but Futcher stretched a toe and made enough contact to wrong foot his marker and put him through to fire into the corner.


That was just 3 minutes after the break, and was the only moment of goalmouth activity in the entire 45 minutes. Not that that worried us as 3 points went their way to Torquay.

Elsewhere there was more good news. Bath lost 4-0 to Birmingham, Blackpool 2-1 to Forest Green and Stockport 5-2 to Ebbsfleet . Coventry and West Ham both salvaged draws, so the table now looks like this.


Next up, a 6 pointer with Coventry the visitors for my first home game

22-04-12, 07:18 PM
Coventry’s visit was the first of 3 “must win games”. Southend at home and Bath away being the others, and this had been drilled into the lads. I didn’t want the lackadaisical attitude that they started the Redditch game to continue.

There was just 1 change to the starting 11, Mark Appleton replacing John Clark in central defence after the Scot picked up a training injury. It was nothing compared to the fate that befell one of the stewards. I knew that the sea gulls could be a bit of a pest, but this was like a scene out of a Hitchcock movie as they swooped and dived on the poor steward pecking at his flesh. Eventually he fell and the gulls stopped. I looked at my assistant

Eejit: Oh my God ! They’ve killed AMC !
Parker: Bastards !

The drama of the gulls and the change in defence didn’t hamper us too much with a very positive start that saw Coventry on the back foot. Following a second corner though we had to make another change, Ian McLaughlan limping off to be replaced by Chris Alcock. It unsettled us for a few minutes, but soon the yellow shirts were zeroing in on the Sky Blues goal again, and soon we took the lead. Appleton released Eikram who beat his man and slotted home his 3rd of the season. It was not long before goal number 2 came, but to everyones surprise it was at the other end. No one was more surprised than Coventry keeper Fleming who somehow twisted his knee in the celebration and had to be stretchered off. It was almost an instant reply as rookie replacement keeper Williamson did well to get his fingers to Eikram’s rasping drive that grazed the crossbar. It was only a matter of time though before the one way traffic did restore the lead. A neet passing move allowed Eikram to become provider for Johnston to head us back infront.


No one could say that we didn’t deserve the 3rd that arrived just before the break, Carson latching onto Appleton’s long throw.

It was a dream half and all I could ask for was more of the same. What I got was a second from Carson who mopped up a fumble by the keeper and then went onto complete his hat-trick with a brilliant solo effort in the closing minutes. 5-1 in a must win 6 pointer. I couldn’t have asked for more, but I got it anyway.

Blackpool 2 Redditch 2
Millwall 4 Bath 0
Stockport 0 Reading 2
West Ham 1 Ebbsfleet 3

The gap was now just 3 points and starting to look interesting if we could keep the momentum going with a trip to another former club, Oldham.


22-04-12, 07:19 PM
The midweek road trip to Oldham was always going to be the hardest fixture I would face. Although there had been a huge player turnover in the 2 years since I had left (25 out and 24 in) The Latics still had a strong squad and were pushing for a playoff place. They had also lost just once in their last 9. With most of the first choice still to recover from the Coventry game, there were 8 changes. Only keeper Mark Cook and the central defensive pair of Mark Appleton and Lee Rodgers kept their place.

Despite the changes, Torquay were probably the better side, but Striker Tom Elliot was having a bad day at the office, missing a hat-full. Lee Rodgers joined him, missing chances from 3 corners. We were left rueing these misses when Oldham scored twice in the second half to win a game we easily deserved a point from. Fortunately it didn’t cost us too much as

Bath 1 West Ham 0
Blackpool 2 Yeovil 3
Coventry 1 Millwall 1

That left us still 3 points behind Blackpool. Southend and Stockport, who didn’t play, were now safe although Notts County still needed a point to be safe from the maths.


By the weekend visit of Southend I was back to a near full squad to select from. The visitors had nothing to play for but I was expecting no favours. I certainly didn’t get any from keeper Claydon Vasey who put in a world class performance. Time and time again the 35 year old Vanuatuan was all that stood between Torquay and a certain goal. Futcher, Ekrem and Elliot all saw several efforts thwarted by the keeper playing the game of his life.


I was considering switching to a 4-3-3 formation and Steve Carson was warming up when we put together a fantastic move. A rare Southend attack broke down and Appleton spotted Fletcher lurking in the centre circle. The midfielder paused to await support before releasing Eikram on the right who switched play to Johnston on the left before continuing his run. Johnston spotted the run and put in a low cross to the far post where Eikram was on hand to hammer it into the roof of the net. Job done. Shut up shop. 1-0 !


Sadly only Coventry of the bottom 5 lost. Notts County beat leaders Reading 4-1 to make themselves safe. West Ham beat Coventry, Blackpool picked up a point at Crewe and even Bath won again, 2-1 at Cambridge for their first away win of the season. It wasn’t enough though as both Bath and Coventry will be playing League 2 next season.

For us, we were now just 2 points behind West Ham and safety.


22-04-12, 07:19 PM
The penultimate game, a visit to Bath brought the win we needed to keep our hopes alive. Carson scored twice and Appleton added a third in the first 20 minutes. Johnston made it 4-0 just after the restart and although Bath pulled one back, it was never going to be more than a consolation. The joy turned to euphoria when news came through that Burton Albion had turned over West Ham. It left us just a point behind Blackpool, who also won at Southend, going into the final game.

http://www.rageonline.co.uk/massey/album/20101102torquay/Billy%20Kee%20smashes%20in%20the%20second%20Torqua y%20goal%201.jpg

Our goal difference of -26 opposed to Blackpool’s -20 meant that we had to beat Ebbsfleet as unless Blackpool lost 7-0 at home to Oldham, a draw would not be enough. Ebbsfleet were themselves looking for a win that might secure automatic promotion is West Ham beat Southampton, so this would be a hotly contested game at Plainmoor.

I was forced into 2 changes. Leading scorer John Futcher had picked up a knock in the Bath game and was not fit to start, nor was man of the match Ciaran Johnston who had twisted an ankle in training. Both would watch from the stands as Tom Elliot and Andy Roberts took their places. Radios were tuned in to the sports channels all round the ground as we kicked off infront of nearly 6,000 supporters.

The game was only 4 minutes old when the crowd fell silent. News had broken of a West Ham goal that had leap forged them into the 20th place that we all craved. That mattered not as we had to win anyway. We settled into our passing game with the midfield looking to get forward and for a neutral it would have been a good, end-to-end game. Both sides had chances and both keepers made good saves.

Sinclair’s equaliser for Southampton brought a cheer from the Torquay support, however it was short lived as Tait opened the scoring for Blackpool. A goal in our game was well over due and finally came 6 minutes before the interval, Carson setting up Elliot after Ebbsfleet made a hash of clearing their lines.


And so at the break, the table was unchanged, although West Ham had fallen further adrift. That would all change in a second half what would see 10 goals in the three feature games !

First to score was Oldham’s Andy Hopkins who’s equaliser sent us into 20th place. 3 minutes later and West Ham looked doomed following a second Southampton goal. Our joy at being out of the bottom 4 was short lived, Halfhuid putting Blackpool back infront in the 57th minute and while they had the lead, Fletcher’s speculative effort that squeezed in between the keeper an the post to put us 2-0 up was purely academic.


Also academic at this point was Gimeno’s goal for Ebbsfleet, although it would leave us on the edge of our seats for the final 23 minutes. A West Ham equaliser was more of interest to Ebbsfleet supporters as we were now only concerned about happenings at Bloomfield Road where it was all about to kick off …. Big style !

First came news of an Oldham equaliser through Congrave, A lad I had given his first team debut to, and it was a goal that put us back in pole position. That lasted barely 3 minutes and it was maybe a lack of concentration brought by the news from the terraces, but Neil Shearer was left with a free header following a corner to bring Ebbsfleet level.


Neil looks remarkably like his father who is the current Albion Rovers manager !

So we needed a goal from somewhere, and I introduced Martin Moore and Eddie Ingram in a change to 4-3-3 in search of that goal. Meenwhile, back at Bloomfield Road, there had been another goal and a red card. The red card went to Oldham’s Carl Connor and from the resulting freekick Taylor curled it round the wall and put Blackpool back in front. Disastrous news for us and we needed a favour from Oldham’s 10 men as well as luck ourselves.

We got neither.

Taylor wrapped it up for Blackpool, to give them a 4-2 win, with a late piledriver and we had to think about what might have been.


I had targeted 15 points and got 13 out of a possible 18. As things worked out, 15 would not have been enough and it would have required the full 18 points to survive. That was never going to happen ! No time to brood though, it was time to move on and back to London and The Championship for the start of next season.


22-04-12, 07:20 PM
Some how the press had got hold of the news that I would be moving again. Although I had received offers from Kilmarnock and Rochdale, the rumour was that it would be to a London club. Pundits all round the world were predicting the destination, from Brentford to a surprise return to Spurs, but amazingly every one was wrong. The next stop would be Watford, a side who had spent 13 consecutive seasons in The Championship and once again the board were expecting a respectable position. That was roughly what I expected from the secretary

22-04-12, 07:20 PM
Surpringly, the Watford squad had some decent players, and had not been padded out by teenage nohopers. There were maybe half a dozen players in the 30 man squad who shouldn’t be there, but in the main, I had a decent squad. In Inigo Reyes (Fernando Morientes) I had a quality striker far too good for this league and Neil Webb (Lewis Buxton) a defender that could easily play Premier League standard.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/00803/fernando_morientes1_803011c.jpg http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Newcastle+United+v+Sheffield+Wednesday+Vx4-b96pvkol.jpg

2 players who did concern me were 36 year old Romanian keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and Kiwi defender Tommy Smith who had both played a season too long and were now out of contract. I had decent keepers in the squad, but Smith was the only decent left back.

http://images.gsp.ro/zoom/204298/1262-280129-ciprian_tatarusanu.jpg http://www.fansfc.com/UploadedImages/Players/Tommy%20Smith_633591458989062500.jpg

So my shopping list was for a couple of left sided defenders, a partner for Reyes and some central midfielders and defenders to bolster the squad, but I couldn’t do anything until I knew what CMSG Ltd had instore for me. I didn’t have to wait long for the phone call.

CMSG Ltd: Welcome to the Stags Eejit. Very suitable job for you
Eejit: Why do you say that ?
CMSG Ltd: You been rutting with that secretary yet ?
Eejit: That’s between me and Amber ! What you got in store for me anyway ?
CMSG Ltd: You know we like our traditions, so what is Watford famous for ?
Eejit: I don’t know …. The Harlequin Shopping Centre ? The road out of Town ?
CMSG Ltd: The football club you eej…..idiot !
Eejit: I know …. MoJo ! Maurice Johnson, still one of Thistle’s biggest transfers. Got over 200k for him, and they play in classic red and yellow !
CMSG Ltd: Elton John ! Ever heard of him ?
Eejit: Wish I hadn’t !
CMSG Ltd: Well that’s the restriction. You can only sign players/staff with “Elton” or “John” as their first or second names.
Eejit: I was expecting worse than that. I only need a handful of players anyway.

I may have only needed a few players, but where’s the fun in that ? Wheeling and dealing is what we want. I got rid of Tatarusanu and 4 others, bringing in 800k and boosting the budget to almost 2m. 6 players arrived on permanent deals and 4 on loan. The permanent deals were for

John Shepherd, a 29 year old keeper from Crawley who would be back up to teenage Scot David McKenzie.
John Holloway, another backup, but this time a utility defender who had been with Shrewsbury
John Baird, A Scots central defender who at 26 had played nearly 100 games in the SPL. Hearts were his last club
John Keenan, another defender, but the Northern Ireland former U21 player can also step up to midfield.
John Fleck, the former Rangers winger who had been with me at West Brom, but had made 5 moves since then. He last played for Peterhead, on loan from Rangers.
John Gallagher, a right winger and attacking midfielder that was out of favour at Dagenham and Redbridge.

The loan deals were

John McAuley, Dumbarton’s defensive midfielder
John Maher, Swansea’s teenage striker and a product of the Guisley academy
John Kenny, capped 9 times for the Republic of Ireland and an excellent partner for Reyes. West Brom is his parent club
John Adams, yet another striker, this time from Huddersfield.

You’ll note that there are not many Elton’s in that list. My scouts found only one, a Lichtenstein international defender, but initially I couldn’t do a deal with his current club. Finally I put in a bid which was accepted, but as we were negotiating personal terms, his current manager was sacked and I applied. The deal was put on hold and cancelled when I got the job. Well have to wait for the next chapter to meet Elton Cornelius who will be a very important player !

Meanwhile, Watford had made a strong start, winning their first 3 league games, scoring 11 and conceding just 2. The run ended at Redditch with a disappointing 1-1 draw. It was after the game that Chairman Bob Dawson met me.

Dawson: You got your bag packed ?
Eejit: You’re not sacking me already ? I know 1-1 is disappointing, but you get games like that !
Dawson: No ! Monaco
Eejit: Monaco ? Why would we be going there ?
Dawson: The Europa League draw.
Eejit: It’s pretty boring. Can’t we just watch it on the telly ?
Dawson: Don’t you want to know who we draw ?
Eejit: Us ! Why ?
Dawson: League Cup winners !
Eejit: **** me !
Dawson: I’d rather not, but you can bring Amber for that.

It was true ! Watford were in the Europa League. The first round draw paired us with Banik Ostrava, however Amber couldn’t find Banik in the map of Czechoslovakia ! The Czechs were awful and the 6-1 aggregate win could have been much more. The second round draw was much more interesting ….. Scottish Cup runners up ….. Celtic !
Now that was one I wanted !

The first leg was played at Parkhead and effectively ended the tie as a contest. The rout started with Reyes getting his head to a Rogalski freekick for his 10th of the season in just his 9th game. Yarmolenko briefly pulled the tatty hoikers level, but Aaron Jenkins restored Watford’s lead with a low drive after Rogalski teed him up. Second half and Rogalski made it a hat trick of assists, this time doing all the hard work for Cook to finish the move. Osbourne added a 4th just before the final whistle. No chance of a Coleraine nail biter here !

I wouldn’t see the second leg, which Celtic won 2-1, or the 3rd round where Watford went out to Feynoord, as I would be off up the M1 to take over a Championship club with a Liechtenstein defender that they didn’t want, but I did !



22-04-12, 07:20 PM
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22-04-12, 07:21 PM

We move from “The Stags” to “The Foxes”, but although both animals may be hunted, both clubs are hunting down promotion. Like Watford, Leicester were “A Championship side” although they spent a single season in the Premier League when Chris Hughton was the boss. As I take over from Malky Mackay, Leicester sit in 11th place, just 8 points off the play-offs but with a game in hand over most of the teams above them.

The big difference between Watford and Leicester is the transfer budget. Milan Mandaric has given me 14.5 million to spend and a maximum wage of 18k per week and judging by the squad, that should be more than enough ! Although there was the usual group of useless wasters, I did soon find them a job.


In the main I had a pretty decent squad for a Championship promotion campaign. In goal, Valentin Atanasov had 19 caps and a long career with Lyon and Watford and I had no less than 6 backups ! They included Roy Dickson who had been on the bench for my only game in charge of Swindon.

Now 34, Johnny Evans was still a quality defender. Young leftback Simon Fuller is a real prospect while Milan Misun and Elton Cornelius could battle for the other central role. Only right back was weak, Irishman David Power being the best bet.

Midfield was headed by another oldie. Angel Di Maria had once been a 15.5m buy for Arsenal, although the former Real Madrid man was now 34. Irish defensive midfielder Sean Baker had 9 caps and Alain Huber and Joe Daly looked to complete a solid midfield 4 which had some good depth in the reserves.
Only in attack did I feel there was a problem. Ian Rice, Michael Edwards and Liam Dawson were all OK, for playing the role of the tricky, quick guy playing off the big strong targetman that we didn’t have.

Aswell as Dickson, Shaun Cooper (released by Man Utd) and Nils Zander (Man City) had been in previous squads.

If I could get a rightback and that targetman, the 8 points to the playoffs would be no problem. I was starting to check scouting reports when my secretary, Lucy, told me that I had a phonecall from a gentleman with an American accent.

22-04-12, 07:21 PM
CMSG Ltd: So buddy, I expect you know what all this is about
Eejit: No doubt some subtle change to my contract that makes everything 10 times harder
CMSG Ltd: You wouldn’t want it too easy. You know we at CMSG Ltd love our traditions.
Eejit: Well you’ll come unstuck here. One title in the 1920’s is not much to build on.
CMSG Ltd: Think man. What is Leicester famous for ?
Eejit: Keepers ? Banks and Shilton, but I’ve already done a team of keepers.
CMSG Ltd: No, but by the way, how are Chelsea doing ?
Eejit: Well on their way to League 2. Did win a game this season ! Only other thing I can guess is Lineker. You don’t want me to become a MotD pundit do you
CMSG Ltd: Think bigger, think outside the club. Leicester.
Eejit: Red Leicester Cheese ?
CMSG Ltd: Crisps man ! Walkers Crisps !
Eejit: No way. I’m not having a front line of Cheese and Onion with Prawn Cocktail in midfield and Salted in goal. No way !
CMSG Ltd: No, but crisps come in lots of flavours, and players come in lots of flavours too. We call them nationalities.
Eejit: Oh no …. Surely not ….
CMSG Ltd: We want you to build a team of 50 different nationalities. Main nationalities, not some Spanish journeyman that happened to have a holiday in Venezuela !
Eejit: You have got to be joking ! 50 nationalities in one side !
CMSG Ltd: Just do it, then you can leave.

22-04-12, 07:22 PM
It was back to square one here at Leicester. I had to reassess the squad in a totally new light, based on where they were from. To be honest, it wasn’t a bad starting point as although the bulk of the squad were English, and we had the usual Welsh, Scots and Irish from North and South, we also had an Argentine, a Bulgarian, a Czech, an Italian, a German, a Hungarian, a Swiss and of course Elson Cornelius, a highly valuable Lichtensteiner who got the nationalities upto 13 with an obscure one that would be hard to find.

It still left 37 players to sign, and with just 14.5 million, it wasn’t going to go too far, especially as I would have to buy out several contracts to get rid of players I couldn’t shift. There was one positive in the rebuilding. There was no league game on the Saturday due to Internationals, so I had almost 2 weeks to start the mission before I had to select a team. With money tight, first stop was therefore the free agents, those out of contract and any loan deals. Most of the squad was put up for sale.

The first game would be a home league tie with midtable Redditch, one that we should win, but with 14 new faces since the last match, nothing was predictable. The space in the squad was helped by strong demand for the players on the transfer list. 18 players left, all direct to new clubs, and rather than costing me money, 2.5m for Liam Dawson’s move to Huddersfield helped to raise over 6m.

The new faces were all free signings

Luiz Henrique Junior a Brazilian holding midfielder (with a French passport)
Emmanuel Ravet, French midfielder
Jari Karhu, Finnish international defender
Richard Peters a Dutch keeper once capped at U21 level
Gheorghe Iacob a veteran Romanian winger
Bernd Kogler an Austrian defender who was dumped straight into the reserves
Carlos Morillas a Spanish midfielder


Kevin Saliba, Malta’s diminutive striker
Pierre Azou, the Belgian defender
Oddgeir Torgersen who would be my new Norwegian keeper


sgeir Magnsson an Icelandic defender
Dmitrijs Ivanovs Latvia’s attacking midfielder
Henrik Brink a Danish defensive midfielder
Lacina Traore, the jewel in the crown. It took some negotiation over terms, but the Ivorian has 40 caps and the fans went wild when the deal was announced. He gets past the work permit with a Romanian passport that he picked up while at CFR Cluj.


With 27 nationalities to select from, I managed to pick 18 different nations for that first game. It was not the best of starts. Conroy took advantage of a (understandable) lack of communication in the defence to beat the offside trap and head the visitors into a 4th minute lead. We were working as a bunch of individuals and not as a team. Redditch could take us to the cleaners. I sent out a few instructions that could be understood in any language and tightened up the defence. It wasn’t pretty, but is was effective. A neat passing move down the right gave Iacob space to cross and Ulsterman Ian Rice was on hand to head home the first goal of my stint in charge. 6 minutes later and we had our noses infront. This time the cross was from Di Maria on the left and Traore’s head that met the ball.


With the confidence of a lead, Leicester started playing a whole lott better and created many chances to kill the game. MoM Jed Steed in the Redditch goal was equal to every one, so we had to settle for 2-1 and a winning start.

22-04-12, 07:22 PM
And still the foreign players arrived at the Walker’s Stadium. Just 10 weeks after joining the club, I had players from 48 different nations. There was a small problem over the Latvian’s. Alexis Semenov was signed not realising that Dmitrijs Ivanovs was already in the squad. Semenov was a bit pissed off to be released on a free the day after joining his first professional club !

That was a minor hiccup though as players joined from Greece, Cape Verde, U.S.A., Lithuania, Indonesia, Slovakia, Sweden, Estonia, Chile, Andorra, Faroes, Luxembourg, San Marino, Portugal, Ecuador, Guinea, Slovenia, Mauritius, Canada and Poland.

There were several others that didn’t get past the Work Permit Gestapo, including a Liberian with 49 caps and a Congolese with 39. Out of 10 attempts, only Ecudorian midfielder/attacker Pablo Garcia managed to get his paperwork stamped. All of the others had EU passports of one country or another. Several though would be getting no where near the Leicester first team !

The mixture of nations didn’t appear to cause any great problems, it appears that the language of football is understood by all players. A great run where we dropped just 3 points, at home to Palace, in the first 12 league games rocketed Leicester to top spot. A 3-0 thumping of Watford sealing the deal. 10 goals in 9 games for Traore was a huge factor in that run, many of them teed up by Ian Rice.


The FA Cup challenge ended at the first hurdle. A very professional Hull side visited The Walker Stadium and went away with a 2-1 win. I’ve had a terrible record against Hull since leaving the KC Stadium.

So just 2 players to find before I can move on. This has been quicker than I expected, but I have run out of EU countries. I have my eyes on a Russian and a South Korean, if I can get the damned permits.

22-04-12, 07:22 PM
Having got so close to the 50 quite quickly, it took ages to find the final two players. The Russian and the Korean didn’y get work permits and nor did an Egyptian with 79 caps. I have no idea what these jobsworths are looking for ! Finally I found them

Oscar Larrosa, a Uruguayan forward who is good with the ball on the deck, but also has springs in his heals. Montevideo Wanderers wanted just 45K, but he would be straight into the 1st team squad. His Spanish passport got him round the work permits. He started 7 times before I left.

The final piece in the jigsaw came with Jose Luis Alvarez, a Mexican who had been with Veracruz and arrived with a UK passport. He is a left sided defender and also went straight into the first team for the final 6 games.


Although we suffered a couple of draws, it was a 10 game unbeaten run that took ourselves and United clear of the pack and left me just 10 games to close them down if I was to have success with my next club who were in the chasing pack.


My biggest worry though was what sort of wheels I would get at the new club


22-04-12, 07:23 PM

As had been widely predicted, my next job and I was right to be worried about my new wheels as chairman Marcus Evans met me outside the ground with the keys.


The “car” excepted, the club was in pretty good shape, sitting 6th in the Championship and with 10 games left, automatic promotion was not out of the question.


My mission from the club was to regain that Premier league status that they had lost last season after 3 years in the top flight. There was a heafty war chest on offer with a staggering 45 million to spend on new players. The trouble was that I had only 20 days to spend it before the transfer window closes. I’d have to work fast to assess the squad, and to use scounting reports that I had taken from Leicester.

Mr Evans showed me to my office where I was told that my secretary would be waiting. It was a shock, and not the sort of office I had seen before

Daisy: I’m Daisy. We don’t like strangers round these parts
Eejit: Ehm …. Hi Daisy ….ehm …. You can call me Eejit
Daisy: My maw told me to take precautions with strangers …
Eejit: Ok Daisy, I’ll just set myself up on this straw bale here then
Daisy: …. Which is why I got this packet of condoms, but their not much use if you are over there and I’m over here.

It may have delayed the review of the squad, but the delay was worth it ! The squad was worth the wait too and for a change, it had not been filled to capacity with “never-to-be” teenage no hopers. There were a few, but we had some gems in the reserves including a potential England captain in 18 year old defender Adam Bowman and Northern Irelands talented midfielder, Philip Keenan, also 18.

http://www.oufc.co.uk/javaImages/e3/18/0,,10342%7E6559971,00jpg http://www.oufc.co.uk/javaImages/3d/7d/0,,10342%7E3767613,00.jpg http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00128/davis_128729t.jpg

Among the older players were familiar faces in Joe Hart (Man City), Albert Luengo (Bristol City) and Jermain Charles (Charlton). Hart is now 35 and way past his best, but will be a useful backup to current number 1 Rob Hemmings.

I was especially pleased with my attack which included Gabriel Magno, capped 33 times by Italy and Kostas Koliakis capped 37 times by Greece. Between them they had 26 international goals and 36 goals for Ipswich this season. Swiss winger Peter Meyer would be another key player

http://images.thetimes.co.uk/TGD/picture/0,,312771,00.jpg http://www.alice-dsl.net/muench76/agritis.jpg http://schwiiz.juniorwebaward.ch/configuration/upload/pics/degendavid_323005.jpg

I didn’t plan on too many changes, maybe a central midfielder to pair with Jermain Charles and perhaps a couple of squad players, especially backups for the wingers.

And then the phone rang

Daisy: I have a stranger for you, with an American accent. Maybe he’s a country and western singer
Eejit: Is that your thing then ?
Daisy: Yeh … I like them both.

She gave me the phone

CMSG Ltd: Settled in yet
Eejit: I’m getting the hang of chewing straw
CMSG Ltd: Well we think that Ipswich looks a bit too easy, so we want to set you a task. We want you to sign 10 players with farming links before you can leave Ipswich.
Eejit (think): Not too bad
Eejit (say): Oh great !
CMSG Ltd: And before you go signing some useless Colin Cowpat, they must play for the first team in a competitive game to count.
Eejit (think): Oh bollocks !

22-04-12, 07:23 PM
Amazingly 3 of my first 4 matches were against Blackburn. It started with a 1-1 draw in the FA cup quarter final where we allowed the 10 man hosts a second half equaliser. We were back 4 days later to see Koliakis secure a 1-0 win in a league game. That was the start of a 6 game winning run that took us past Blackburn and Bolton into an FA Cup final

Don’t tell ZanSnake where the run was ended with a 0-0 draw


The slump at Leicester since I left had been spectacular, picking up just 4 points out of 15 on offer. Automatic promotion was now a realistic goal, although preventing United from winning the league was looking remote. A look through the fixtures showed that we would visit Old Trafford on the final day of the season, just before that Wembley date with Arsenal.


Just 7 players had been added to the squad before the window closed. Defender Josh Wall came on loan from Newcastle along with Keeper Rod (Old) McDonald (had a farm) from West Brom.

http://img.skysports.com/09/04/218x298/Andrew-Whing-Brighton_2094634.jpg http://www.givemefootball.com/GMF/files/96/96686f0f-a540-4b47-ad5b-149e9621f38c.jpg

The permanent signings were Roy Barnes, a 1m defensive midfielder from Bradford, young Thistle keeper Jamie Hogg and Wimbledon keeper Danny Fowler. Nothing controversial there.

CMSG Ltd did question the other 2. Sunderland’s Spanish forward Miguel Carretero had cost 1.5 million, but I managed to explain that there was a typo on his registration for and the Carrot was certainly farming related. The final one was IFK Goteborg centre back Fredrik Lundgren, a 240k snip. This was also passed OK when I explained that he was a Swede

http://mas.lne.es/real-oviedo/media/jugadores/big/1284042426-jandro.jpg http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0cXM41BgbR011/610x.jpg

In total 9 players left, mostly for free.

22-04-12, 07:24 PM
The Leicester slump continued picking up just 5 more points from the next 4 games. Our haul of 10 points, including 5-0 at home to Northampton and 4-0 away to Luton meant that we could take full advantage. We could do nothing about Man United, who were crowned as champions with 3 games to spare. They still have 2 Faroese players in their squad, Alan and Kari Hansen ! Going into the final round of games, Ipswich were in pole position for that runners up spot.


Looking at the fixtures though, Ipswich were far from being favourites. I may have a good record against United, but the reds had lost just one of their last 13 games.

I need not have worried. This was a romp and United hardly had a shot on goal. Kostas Koliakis started the route in the 13th minute before making the game safe in first half injury time. Ross O’Donnell made it 3-0 just after the restart before Koliakis completed his hat-trick and confirmed himself as the Championship’s top scorer on 23 for the season.

All though the fans could celebrate, for the players the champagne was kept on ice as we still had a cup final to prepare for. That said, there might have been something other than coke in my glass.

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That cup final would be a huge test and we would be the only team that could prevent Arsenal from taking a domestic treble. The Gooner’s didn’t have it all their own way, Rafa Benitez Cardiff side landing the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Fulham in Vienna.

Wembley was packed and the scene was set for a great game. The band were marching up and down the pitch while a groundsman made the final preparations for the game. You could see the accident happen way before it did, but there was nothing that could be done to stop it. The groundsman had his back to the band, repairing a divot while the band were looking only at the music. There was a sickening crunch as 100 size 10 boots trampled over the poor groundsman who lay motionless in a pool of blood.

Up in the royal box ….

Liz: I say Philip, I think that they might have killed AMC
Philip: Blighters !

The match kicked off and it was important that we didn’t give Arsenal an early goal, which is exactly what we did do. The defence froze allowing German Marc Helbig acres of space to latch onto Theo Walcott’s cross and fire The Gooners into a 10th minute lead. We were doing well to hang on as Arsenal sensed that they could finish the job quickly and enjoy their afternoon, but as the game went on, Ipswich came more and more into it. Approaching halftime and an equaliser was just as likely as a second for Arsenal.

Moving into injury time and there was one of the key moments of the game. Marc Helbig went past rightback Richard Carter, falling to the ground and rolling 3 times in the process. Contact was minimal, if at all, but Carter had already been booked and we would be down to 10 men for the second half.

The injustice spurred on the Ipswich players and despite being a man short, we more than held our own. Gabriel Magno had a goal chalked off for an offside decision that was not even close. He was yards onside ! There were just 3 minutes left when we finally got our reward. Meyer picking up a loose clearance from Kasper Schmeichel and flicking on for Magno who held his nerve to finish with style.

Into injury time and both sides were tiring. The game was being stretched and Arsenal was trying to make the pitch as large as possible with Walcott and Paulo playing wide on the wings. Penalties were looking like a certainty as the chances for both sides dried up, but in the end they wouldn’t be needed. Aguiar launched a long ball forward for Iain McLaughlin, on for Walcott to latch onto. His fresh legs took him clear and he rounded Hemmings to seal the Arsenal win.


It had been close, but as AMC will tell you, it is bloody hard to win the FA Cup with Ipswich. The transfer window reopened and Ross Field joined from Brentford, David Salmon from Sunderland and Keiran Basham from Bradford. The ink was hardly dry on the paperwork before the phone rang

CMSG Ltd: That latest signing …. Explain that one ?
Eejit: Never heard of Salmon farming ?
CMSG Ltd: Not him … Keiran Basham …. What has he got to do with farming ?
Eejit: Easy …. He came from Bradford, so that make him a Bantam !

22-04-12, 07:25 PM
Normally the end of the season would see me resign from my job and move to another club for the start of the following season. This time it would be different as I had one eye on the Euro 2024 qualifiers which would come to a conclusion in November. I wanted to ensure that I was in the top flight and with a good reputation in case the England, Northern Ireland of Scotland jobs came up, although obviously I wouldn’t want to see my fellow managers Steve Cotterill, Alan Nixon or Brian Reid loose their jobs.


And so I kicked off the new season with Ipswich in the top flight and with a Europa League campaign to add interest. I would though be applying for any Premier League jobs that I hadn’t taken previously. The squad was unchanged from the one that made last seasons cup final although many of the teenagers that hadn’t made the grade didn’t have their contracts renewed. The squad was not big, just 31 players, but I did have at least 3 players for every position able to play for the 1st team, so I was confident of doing quite well.

In the Europa League, Dinamo Tirana gave us a bit of a shock, scoring first in both games, but despite a red card in the first half of the first leg, we were easy 6-2 aggregate winners. Legia should have been harder, but a 3-0 lead from the first leg all but killed the tie. Another red card made it tough in Poland, but 5-1 aggregate was well deserved. Now it became much tougher with Marseille, the 2021 runners up, being the next obstacle. A 0-0 draw in France left the tie very much in the balance. It was settled by a 14th minute Ross O’Donnell header from an Atherton corner and Ipswich would be playing European football after the new year.


The League Cup allowed me to play some of the fringe players who battled to 1-0 wins over Championship outfits Redditch and Stoke. That put Ipswich through to the quarter final.

The league record was remarkable and although not top, John Hughes has turned Arsenal into a very good side, we would be pushing them all of the way. The first league game had ended in a 0-0 draw at Portman Road.


So, what happened in the Euro qualifiers ?




Not surprisingly, the Scotland and England jobs would be safe until the summer, however I was astonished that Alan Nixon kept his job after finishing behind Estonia ! It also left me with the task of staying in the Premier League for another 6 months, but the good news was that it wouldn’t be with Ipswich. I’d be heading to the blue half of a city where I had already managed the red half.


22-04-12, 07:25 PM

Bristol Rovers in the Premier League …. Your ‘avin’ a larff. The Pirates are currently 22nd in Football League 2 …. 2 places above Chelsea !

Sheffield Wednesday was my next destination and although there was concern in some quarters about a former Blade taking over the Owls, Managing Director Nick Parker handed me a transfer budget of 42.5m with an aim to achieve a respectable league position. Given that, I was surprised that 10th place had not been enough to keep Tony Mowbray in his job.


Mowbray had been resident ,on, off, at Hillsborough since 2009. Despite getting promoted to The Championship in 2012, he was sacked a few months later, but immediately got his job back (when I had applied from my job with United). Promotion to the Premier League came in 2015 where they have been ever since, with ethe exception of 1 year where the won the Championship. Despite a League Cup win and an FA Cup final appearance, he was sacked again in 2023 and again was immediately reappointed only to be sacked again 10 months later. Maybe it was something he said ….


On paper, the squad looked not too bad, although there was a lot of dead wood that would need to be removed and a number of veterans coming to the end of their careers, including 34year olds Scott Sinclair and John Paul Kissock

http://www.fansfc.com/UploadedImages/Players/sinclair_633820522967117500.jpg http://www.givemefootball.com/GMF/files/65/65981943-76c5-4b31-b10d-fd96821b7482.jpg

Keeper Neil Evans (Bolton), Defender Liam Kelly (Sheffield Utd), Matthew Bird (Man City) and left winger Sam Hughes (Bristol City) had all worked with me before.

The starts were all in defence where I had 3 of the best central defenders for quite some time. Luiz Henrique Ortiz had 2 caps for his adopted Italy (his father was Brazilian) while Matthew Bird had, surprisingly for his skills, only been capped twice for England.

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Darius Skorski and Adrian Smart were excellent wingers and I had some decent midfielders in Jeff Kennedy and Ashley Richards. Upfront was a problem as other than Chris Hirst, I couldn’t see where the goals would come from. I certainly needed to add a bit of cover, and after releasing 23 completely useless teenagers, I set about planning how to spend 42.5 million pounds, while plotting the demise of former side Ipswich who we would meet at Portman Rd in my very first game.

I should have known that the phone would ring.

This time I was set a double challenge. Firstly I could only leave when Wednesday were the top side in Yorkshire (not too bad as we were level with United and Barnsley were the only other Premier League side) and I could only sign players with names relating to days.

A look at the fixtures and the first challenge suddenly looked much harder. In my first 6 league games I would face all of the top 4, plus a Sheffield derby. Add in a league cup quarter final and this would be a baptism of fire. The second was a bigger headache as you don’t find too many Malcolm Monday’s or Tommy Tuesday’s walking the streets of Sheffield.

22-04-12, 07:26 PM
The only player that I knew of that met the criteria was Ben Day, a left sided defender but who Cardiff would be very unlikely to release. I knew also of a couple of “Munday”s but they were unlikely to add anything extra to my squad. Nevertheless, I asked my secretary to get some scouting reports.

Wendy: Boss. Can I ask why you are interested in these players ?
Eejit: It’s a real problem. I’m only allowed to sign players related to days.
Wendy: I might be able to help you. I’ve got a couple of ideas.
Eejit: Go on
Wendy: Have you had a look at the current Nigeria squad ? They usually have a lot of players named Sunday in there.
Eejit: Brilliant ! I’ll check that out. What’s the other idea ?
Wendy: Well I have a degree in languages and know the days of the week in about 100 languages.
Eejit: And will that help ?
Wendy: Oh yes, but it’s going to cost you.
Eejit: Whatever !
Wendy: Well come over here

Some time later ….

Wendy: Well I guess that has bought you what is left of my brains ! You might want to look at
rob - amharic (wednesday)
arb - amharic (friday)
ourpat - armenian (friday)
tag - german (day)
dia - portuguese (day)
marti- romanian (tuesday)
sande - tok pisin (sunday)
Eejit: Brilliant ! That opens up whole new opertunities
Wendy: Exactly what I was thinking

With this new info, I was able to sign 2 keepers, Patrick Fletcher (know to his mother as “Our Pat”) from Aston Villa and Martin Donev a former Bulgarian U21 international from CSKA Sofia. Both would be in the squad as my current keepers were particularly useless.

Lining up in a 4-4-2 with Fletcher between the sticks and Sinclair and Hirst up front, it was a game that would be settled by a keeper. All looked good when Hirst fired us into an 8th minute lead and that should have been increased several times over as the Wednesday wingers ran riot down the flanks. All attempts were thwarted by Danny Fowler, playing his first game of the season in the Ipswich goal. The hosts still looked dangerous on their occasional forays forward, however we should have been way out of sight before Philip Keenan grabbed an equaliser against the run of play. It finished 1-1 and Fowler was given MoM for his 10/10 performance.


22-04-12, 07:26 PM
The League Cup is still one of the trophies that I’ve not yet won. Actually I’ve not won anything new since Coleraine won the NIP 5 jobs ago. It was therefore a target, especially as I was already in the quarter final.

The game at Carrow Road was a one sided affair and it was not Wednesday on top. The only goal came 10 minutes from time and it was no more than Norwich deserved. Disappointed, I would live to fight another day. Back in the league, West Brom battled for a draw at Hillsborough, so it wasn’t until my 4th game that I got a win, crushing Gillingham 3-0.

http://www3.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Sheffield+Wednesday+v+Sheffield+United+0RzTUyimaxP l.jpg

The squad had been strengthened with a few new faces. Several African and South American players that I bid for had failed to get work permits, which left me with 7 new faces, in addition to the 2 keepers. Dominic Roberts joined on a free and will be a useful addition, able to play defence or midfield. Friday Ekwueme was the only Nigerian I landed and will become the first choice left back although he can play central. I did get 2 Senegalese, defender Abdoulaye Dia and Stiker Papa Diallo. The later looks a great buy for just 150k from Celta. A second striker Pat Burke (his mother also calls him “Our Pat”) came from Southend. The others 2 were midfields, Martin Callaghan from Peterhead and Tage Bundegaard from Vjele. It’s not a great squad, but it does give me some options and was good enough to take a 2-0 win from Derby County going into the Sheffield derby.

Ray Briggs scored first for the hosts, but we were level by the break, Diallo opening his account with a flamboyant finish. Were it not for some awful shooting, we would have had the game wrapped up early, so it was a relief when Sinclair grabbed a second to silence Bramall Lane. The lead lasted just 16 minutes before Briggs got his second and that is how it ended. We probably shaded it, but were left to ponder all the missed chances, just 4 out of 10 forcing saves.


The FA cup had thrown us up against Arsenal in the 3rd round, not the tie I would have chosen and one that left us with back to back games with the Champions. In the cup, we were never in it after Griffiths scored almost from the kickoff. Helbig added a second which left Sigurdsson’s injury time goal as a consolation.

I had always planned to concentrate on the league and coming to the end of that run of tough games, it was good to see that we were still right on United’s tails.


22-04-12, 07:26 PM
4 days after the cup exit at The Emerates and it was Arsenals turn to visit Hillsborough on League business. This was a much better performance although it was not until well into the second half that Tage Bundegaard broke the deadlock heading in a Cunningham corner. Minutes later and it was Friday Ekwueme lashing home a second to give us some breathing space. We needed it too as Ortiz was shown a straight red card for something he said to the ref and that allowed Jovetic to pull one back. We held on for a fine win and started a mini run of 3 on the bounce.


Sadly, Sheffield United matched that run so it was not until a 1-1 draw with Everton in early February that we moved above our neighbours to become the top side in Yorkshire, The Blades loosing to Ipswich. Coincidently, that was the exact weekend that the Barnsley gig came up, however their directors decided to overlook me in favour of Mark “Sacked 6 times” Hughes. The only otherPremier League job to become available was at Anfield, but as Liverpool were already resigned to relegation I wasn’t going to take that with the Euro24 tournament approaching.

The team were now playing very well and Pape Diallo had found his eye for goal, netting 16 times in 20 games. Donev was proving to be a real find in goal while Ekwueme a rock at the back. Of the last 10 games, we lost to Spurs, drew with West Brom and won the other 8.


Our automatic Champions League spot was confirmed in a totally one sided derby at Hillsborough. Callaghan, Sikorski and Hurst all scoring before the break. Smart adding a 4th in the second half with Burton’s goal little consolation to the visitors.


We never looked like getting close to champions (for the 2nd time in 5 years) West Brom.


Time now to put up my feet and enjoy the International football from Germany.

22-04-12, 07:26 PM
Although I had been linked with a pundit job for the BBC, nothing came of it, so I loaded the fridge with Pizza and beer and settled down for 3 weeks of International football on the TV.

First up were Scotland against Greece. Totally awful wouldn’t go far enough in describing the performance. They created nothing and fully deserved the 2-0 drubbing that would have been worse were it not for West Brom keeper Scott Wilson. England had a much tougher game against one of the favourites France. Arsenal’s Tony Grifffiths grabbed an early goal and then they sat back, eventually punished by Mionnet’s equaliser just after the break.


A few days later and England were back in action, Norwich’s Billy Gill and Wednesday’s Chris Hirst grabbing the goals in a 2-0 win over Ireland. There was a shock result as Belgium beat France in the other game. If anything Scotland were worse against Turkey it wasn’t helped by Baxter being sent off with just 23 minutes played. Ozen converted the penalty with Yener and Akin adding further goals and sending the Tartan Army home before the postcards arrived.


In the final group game against Germany, The Scots did manage to score, Ross O’Donnell’s late strike was missed by most fans as the Germans had cruised after going 2 up in 10 minutes. England though earned top spot in their group, ahead of Ireland, with a 2-0 defeat of Belgium. Sheffield United’s Phil Burton opening the scoring and Chris Hirst getting his second of the tournament. They would go on to play old rivals Germany in the quarter finals.

Before that, Ireland would play Greece and in one of the best games of the tournament crushed them 3-1 to set up a semi final date with favourites Spain.


England would join them in the semi finals. An excellent performance by their 10 men, after Griffiths was sent off, saw goals from Preston and Gill and send them forward to Face Italy.

The semi finals were the final station for the home nations. England were outplayed by the Italians and Lee Cherry (Norwich) briefly gave them hope with a second half equaliser against the run of play. Marini settled the game 10 minutes later and sent the Italians through to a deserved final where they would play Spain. Ireland put up a brave defence, but were totally outclassed by Spain. 1-0 didn’t serve any justice.

A dull final saw Spain win on penalties.


So, where did that leave my international job prospects ? Not surprisingly getting to the semi final was seen as a good performance by Steve Cotterill and so he was given another 4 year contract. I was astonished though by the silence from Hampden. The SFA not being man enough to sack the moron Brian Reid, although clearly he knows where he should go.


That left me looking to start the new season back in Sheffield, but there was no need now to look for Premier League jobs. Soon though 2 jobs came up, giving me a choice of which capital city I wanted to move to.


22-04-12, 07:28 PM

I had been heavily linked with the job at Cardiff. It was tempting as Rafa Benitez (not joking) had built a world class side before retiring. 7 Welsh Premier Cups, 2 Premier Leagues and a Champions League title is not a bad way to end a career. Tempting though it was, I had no need to stay in the Premier League as the international jobs were highly unlikely to come up until the next Euro qualifying ends (remember there is no World Cup). And so the plan was to drop down the leagues and polish off a few minnows before building up the reputation for November 2027.

And so I moved back to London for the Millwall job. The Lions had been through some tough times. Relegated to league 1 in 2010, it took 13 years to regain their Championship status which they retained last season under their only manager, Kenny Jackett. My mission was to build on that base and make progress towards mid table. I had a budge of 3.4 million to do it and would have to battle the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Newcastle, Tottenham, Stoke and West Ham to do it.


My first job though was to meet the leader of the supporters association. I’d heard stories of the Lions supporters and they were not appeased when I picked up the keys to my new car


Yes it is a FIAT

When he arrived, he didn’t so much knock on the door as smash it down ! He was one of the most ugly people I had ever seen, but I certainly wasn’t going to say that to his face.


Eejit: Hi, I’m The Eejit. Take a seat.
Ug : Ug !
Eejit : OK Ug, what can I do for you
Ug : Ug !
Eejit : I think we’ve done names. Why are you here ?
Ug: Ug UG !

He was looking angry, and advancing on me with club raised. I had no option but to press the panic button under the desk. Security were there in seconds and grappled with the monster, eventually getting him out of the door. In the corridor I heard the cub swing, followed by a sickening thud and in through the door rolled the head of one of the security guards.

Ug: UG !
Second security guard: He’s killed AMC !
Eejit: Bastard !

There was blood all over the floor, so I called for my secretary to come and clear it up. It was the first time we had met

[SIZE=3]She grabbed me by the hair and dragged me into her office. What happened next is certainly not suitable for telling on a family forum !

22-04-12, 07:28 PM
Millwall was never going to be anything other than a cameo in this story. I’d be moving on as soon as I could and I think that the bosses at CMSG Ltd knew it. The phone rang as soon as I was discharged from the hospital after that meeting with the secretary. The wounds were only superficial and didn’t stop me picking up the phone when it rang

CMSG Ltd : Congratulations on the new job
Eejit : I know you don’t mean it, and I’m not going to be here long, so I don’t care what stupid rules you set.
CMSG Ltd : The rules are not stupid, we are just testing your skills. We know you’re not going to be there long, so the only restriction is that you can’t buy anyone.
Eejit : Fair enough, I’m not really bothered, which is wy I think you’ve got a but.
CMSG Ltd : Very intuitive of you. Indeed there is a but. International football is important to us, so you must be in the Premier League when the England, Scotland or Northern Ireland jobs come up or else
Eejit : Or else what ?
CMSG Ltd : Or else a forfeit.
Eejit : What sort of forfeit ?
CMSG Ltd : Something appropriate. Lets think. How about you have to manage Airdrie
Eejit : You Bastard !

I wouldn’t worry about that for now. I was more bothered about a rather large Millwall squad. As usual there were a lot of deadwood who were put onto window cleaning duties until they could find new clubs. 18 of them did so, leaving 2 players listed by the time I left, proving that I could improve the squad without signing anyone !


That left a squad of 28 players to work with.

Of the 3 keepers, Wayne Cooke looked to be premier league class and was a shoe in for the starting 11. He would be protected Faroese international Bjarni Joensen, one of the few that I didn’t manage to capture for United. Colin McGeown was the other standout, however in the 9 defenders there was a decent back 4 with options for every position. I was happy with that.


I had 13 midfielders to work with John Wood and Dave Miller were decent wingers while Wayne Harrison, Derek Allen and Don Hogg would battle for the central roles. Again I had options for every position.

The front line was the weak link. Swedish international Jonas Hedman was very lucky to have won 12 caps, but was still the best of a poor bunch. Jesus Cuevas or Danny Chapman would battle for the other starting roles with Alan O’Connor and Tom Bailey waiting in the wings.


Defender Derek Allen (Leicester), Danny Chapman (Spurs) and Jim Kennedy (Leicester) had all been in previous squads I had managed

As I said, Millwall was always going to be a short stay. My reign lasted just 16 games, and would have been less had Lincoln not appointed Matt Lawrence (who ?) ahead of me. Like me, the former Palace player is a former Coleraine manager.

The season started with an excellent 1-1 draw at the Sports Direct @ St. James’ Park Stadium. Never an easy place to visit or say. Luke Sheppard silencing the Toon Army with a deserved second half equaliser. We were soon on our winning ways and suffered losses only away to Liverpool and Wigan. It was a run that took The Lions clear of the pack


It wasn’t that that will make me a legend in some parts of South London though. What did that was my final game, the ultimate crunch derby with deadly rivals West Ham. The police that escorted the fans told you everything about this rivalry and the hatred between the supporters.


We started the rout in the 17th minute when Danny Chapman lashed home a loose ball in the West Ham area. Minutes later and Jim Kennedy made it 2-0 with a volley from a rebound off the keeper. At half time, the fans taunted their London rivals


I had hardly taken my seet in the dugout for the second half when the third goal went in, Hedstrom heading in Millers long ball. “We want 4” sang the fans and McGeown provided it, the Hammers defence leaving the big defender unmarked at a corner. “We want 5” sang the fans and with 3 minutes left they got it. Hedstrom’s 200th goal of his career was a simple header from a McGeown freekick.

Cue pitch invasion.


The fight that ensued can be cleaned up by someone else. I was out of there for what would surely be the highlight of my career. Strangely it came about because I didn’t apply for the Burnley job !


22-04-12, 07:29 PM

16 years I’ve been waiting for this job to turn up. 16 years that Ian McCall was sitting in the office that I wanted. And how do I get it ? by not applying for the Burnley job !

Jobby had taken a while to win SPL status, clearly his “5 year plan” had over run by a few years. In deed the 2014/15 season was spent in League 2, however they came back stronger finishing second twice and third once in the next 4 seasons. That SPL status had been claimed at the end of the 2019/20 season. Since then, Thistle had survived, but only once managed to finish in the top half of the SPL.


Clearly that record had alerted Burnley who appointed Jobby when Ben Foster was sacked. Had I not cocked up thinking I’d already done Burnley who knows how long it would have taken for the Thistle job to come up. The first change that I noticed on arriving at Firhill was that there was a new Chairman. Chris Ritchie had taken control from Allan “Coco” Cowan.


It was Chris Ritchie tht welcomed me to the club with the usual formalities. Firstly, he was looking for me to steer the club away from relegation, a real risk, with The Jags 3 points adrift of Aberdeen having taken just 3 draws in the first 9 league games. Next, he introduced me to my secretary, thinking that the tartan would welcome me back to Scotland. Not sure about the tartan, but I’m looking forward to the welcome !

Finally, my club car

I think I’ll stick to taking a taxi !

22-04-12, 07:30 PM
The more I found out about my beloved Jags status, the more I got to appreciate what Jobby McCall had achieved. Firstly there were the finances where there was a transfer kitty of 4m. A very respectable amount and while the maximum wage was only 2,500, should allow me to do a fair bit of wheeling and dealing.

Then there were the players. I was expecting to find a load of over the hill has beens and wannabe teenagers, but that was far from the case. Sure we had a few players passed their best like Latvian keeper Jevgenis Sazonovs (36) and English striker Ryan Donaldson (33) but I also inherited some of the best young players that I had seen.

http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/8184/dunne.jpg http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/4742/daly.jpg

http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/8711/grogan.jpg http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/6656/mcstay.jpg

I would be building my side around these guys along with more experienced players like Iceland international defender Gudjon Sverrisson, Welsh defender Steve Coates and Irish winger Michael Sheridan. I would like to build a legacy here, so youth would be the key to my signings.

A keeper was my priority and I had someone in mind, along with a strike partner for Grogan and a bit more depth to the midfield. The leaders had too much of a gap already, but I fancied a go at a European qualification this season, while improving the squad, and an assault on the title next year. I also wanted to improve a dreadful record against the Ugly Sisters of Glasgow, especially against Celtic, although one team we were unlikely to face was bottom of SFL3 Airdrie.

I completed my first batch of transfers before the league trip to St. Johnstone, a 1-0 win being Thistles first league win of the season. First to arrive was young Liverpool keeper Ross Fletcher. The 20 year old Scot is a huge talent and went straight into the first team. 28K was robbing Liverpool (first time for everything). 26 year old right back Stephen Murray was having a great season for Raith Rovers so I was surprised when they accepted a 50k bid even if he was transfer listed. Another Scot, 25 year old Ray Hunter cost 75k from Hearts and would compete for a central defensive start while 22 year old Alan Johnston may be a bit one paced, but was still a useful left wing option.

Left back Peter Ingram, Free from Peterborough and Irish midfielder Brian King (a swap with Wigan for an unwanted 18 year old striker) were just too late in registering for this game. Two others who did though were Rangers defender/midfielder/leftback Graham Anderson on a season long loan and exciting Scottish midfielder Steven Stewart (24) on loan from Hungarian outfit Videoton. It was the later who scored the only goal of the game, against an inspired keeper, with a trademark freekick in just the 7th minute of his debut.


Not a bad weeks work ..... The Jags were on their way !

22-04-12, 07:30 PM
I had thought that the win over Saints had been an encouraging start, but somehow it snowballed into so much more. Giving youth the chance was paying dividends and in Stephen Stewart I had unearthed a bit of a gem. He followed up his winner in Perth with a brace against Stenhousemuir after we had gone a goal and a man down to the side in 3rd place.


It was a win that lifted us to the dizzy heights of 10th place, passing Aberdeen and Peterhead. It was my 5th game incharge before the 100% record was broken, a late Tom McDonald penalty earning Celtic a draw they hardly deserved. Even Neil Lennon, serving out his 99 year touchline ban from the stands, would have to admit that Celtic had an extra man that day.


The jags were now safely in the midtable battle and were helped with an amazing 4-1 win over Raith. Not only did right back Stephen Murray score all 4 from the spot, but they were all earned by Derek Grogan and 3 of them from fouls by Raith’s Connolly

http://img703.imageshack.us/img703/2388/raith2.jpg http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/9039/raith1.jpg

I guess with officials, some you win and some you loose, unless of course you are Neil Lennon. Derek Grogan had been a bit of a disappointment upto this game, having failed to score, but these 4 assists helped him gain confidence and he notched up 4 in the next 3 games. He was helped by 2 new strike partners, Ciaran Duffy an experienced Northern Irishman who had a 1 in 2 career record, most recently with Dungannon and Falkirk. He certainly knew where the goal was but tended to run around like a headless chicken at times. Kevin Munro was slightly younger and also a former Falkirk man. He was more of a solid performer, solid perhaps describing his pace.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44216000/jpg/_44216437_fal_gret2.jpg http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01130/falkirk_1130324a.jpg

Solid is certainly a word to describe former Raith defender Mark McGeough. The Irishman is a tower in defence and a snip at only 50K. He was brought straight in a vice captain to McStay


The transfers were not all one way. 7 players left, including unwanted midfielder Scott Munro to Aberdeen. They initially bid 300k, which is what we had bought him for from The Dons 12 months ago, but after I negotiated an exchange, they upped the bid to 1.1 million. Thankyou very much !

Another 4 wins took us to a League cup quarter final date with Hearts at Firhill. This was one I wanted as we were only 3 games away from Europe via this route. A full strength side, helped by a man of the match performance by young keeper Ross Fletcher was capped by a late Ciaran Duffy goal, his first in a Jags shirt and we were on our way to a Hampden date with Rangers in the New Year.


Promotion via the league was looking a real possibility. Rangers looked to have the title sewn up, but there was only a few points between us and Celtic in 2nd place. If we could continue this form, anything was possible.


22-04-12, 07:30 PM
That League Cup quarter final win over Hearts was the last in Thistles unbeaten run since I took over. Raith Rovers were the team that beat us, at Firhill, with an injury time penalty that saught some rebalance for the 4 penalties we scored against them at their place. 2 weeks later and we were beaten again, Rangers scoring early with their only attack of the game to steal all 3 points from a game we totally dominated.


Suddenly we couldn’t buy a win. St. Johnstone and Celtic both snatching draws from games we should have had stitched up. Normal service was resumed with a routine 2-0 win over Kilmarnock. Stewart and Derek Grogan with the goals.


Steven Stewart’s loan from Videoton was coming to an end, however a 35k bid was accepted and he became a permanent Thistle player. Not a bad deal for a midfielder that had scored 4, got 2 MoM awards and averaged 7.36 in his 14 games ! Derek Grogan was joined by his younger brother Declan, a right/centre back who at 21 has lots of potential and is a U21 international. He may lack pace, but is certainly ready for 1st team action. The final transfer came from a scouting trip to Scandinavia, where Brazilian DMC Eduardo Cesar da Silva Pereira (nicknamed Eddie) was identified as a good signing. For just 45K he joined from Brann where he was getting few starts. He did have a Norwegian passport so needed no work permit. It filled a position which I was having trouble with


The other player I was looking for was someone to play in the hole behind a lone striker. 19 year old Ben Murphy filled that brief and arrived on loan from Peterborough and repaid with a goal on his debutin a Scottish Cup 4th round win at Dunfermline. Alan Johnston, Richard Bowyer and Billy Clarke also scored in an emphatic 4-1 win. The league form had returned and 4 wins on the spin had propelled us to 4th just 6 points behind new leaders Celtic, Rangers having picked up just 9 points from their last 6 games.

Going into the League Cup semi final, we were the form side and the favourites to progress to the final. It wasn’t to be. On the big day at Hampden the youngsters froze and in the worst performance by any of my teams for many years, we failed to create a single chance. Veteran Simon Kjaer took his for The Hun and we were out.

It maintained our miserable record against the Old Scum, and one that I wanted to change with a league visit to Ibrox approaching.



22-04-12, 07:31 PM
The buildup to my third meeting with Rangers could have gone better. A draw with Ross County dropping us 8 points behind the leaders and a win at Ibrox would be essential if we were to maintain title ambitions for this season. We took revenge on Ross, dumping them out of the cup with a last minute Jim McStay goal.

And so to Castle Grayskull. Noone froze this time. It was a dominant performance from whistle to whistle and rarely (outside of Europe) have Rangers been so outplayed at their own home. Derek Grogan opened the scoring on 37 minutes following a knock down from Billy Clarke.



It was the signal for the floodgates to open, and a goal duly came 5 minutes later. At the other end …. With Rangers only attack of the game ! For the whole of the second half we bombarded the Rangers goal, but a winner would just not come and again we had been foiled.

The point was enough to ensure we would play in the Champions group following the league split, but just to make sure, we beat Stenhousemuir and Raith so that we were the only realistic contenders for the title outside of the Gruesome Twosome. Going into the final 5 games, we were 6 points behind. Stenny were also our cup semifinal opponents and despite a red card for Terry Dunne, the 2-0 win was comfortable and Hearts would face us at Hampden.



Raith were dismissed again at the start of the Champions Group. An end to end game finishing 4-2 in our favour and was the perfect buildup to yet another game against the blue filth. For the second game running we scored 4 ! Munroe, Johnston and a brace from Daly doing the damage at Firhill. The Rangers reply was just a single goal from left back Sean Quinn. At the 4th time of asking, we had done it. We had beaten Rangers in emphatic style.


A disappointing defeat to Ross County left Rangers and Celtic to battle for the title on the last day of the season. But going into that final game, we were 3 points behind Celtic who had a better goal difference by 4. Rangers were a point ahead of Celtic. That game ….

Celtic at Firhill. A 2-0 win would bring Champions League football to Firhill next season

22-04-12, 07:31 PM
2 games left to play. First up the league finale with Celtic. The visitors needed a win to overhaul their rivals. They were a team we have beaten just once in the last 16 attempts. The team that hit us with our record 7-1 defeat. At stake, Champions League or UEFA Cup, plus bragging rights over The green half of Glasgow

Celtic set about trying to show why they should be champions, but despite having a couple of long range efforts, didn’t test Ross Fletcher in the Jags goal. Soon it was the home side taking over and it was the full backs who set up the opener. Ingram hacking down the left, Derek Grogan getting a flick to take it away from the keeper and Declan Grogan finishing off with a diving header at the far post. He certainly enjoyed his first ever goal in Jags colours


Having been shown the way by the full backs, it was time for the wingers to combine. James Stevenson set Sheridan on a run down the left. His cross was met on the volley at the edge of the box by Mike Mullins and the Celtic keeper hardly had time to move before the ball was in the back of the net.


Number 3 was all Derek Grogan. There looked to be nothing on as he shielded the ball just out side the D, with Neil Smith marking him tight. He dropped his left shoulder, twisted right and with the defender off balance nutmeged him leaving Smith on his arse and space to send a low drive just inside the post.


And that was just the first 35 minutes ! With the game won, and Celtic devoid of ideas, we took our foot off the gas. To say that the remaining 55 minutes were dull would be unfair. They did have there moments, but there were no more goals and no more big drama. Celtic were well beaten.

So in my first season I had to be happy with 2nd place, Champions League football and getting big wins over both the Old Firm.


All that remained was a Hampden date with Hearts in the cup final. We had beaten the Jambo’s in all three of my meetings this season. Scoring 7 and conceding none. However all bets are off for a cup final and I was wary of the way we froze the last time we were at the home of Scottish football. The instruction was to play it tight and feel our way into the game. The instruction was ignored as we went for Edinburgh Ranger’s jugular from the kick off. Dever before has there been such a one sided Scottish cup final. The maroon shirts were left chasing shadows as wave after wave after wave of red’n’yellah shirts poured forward laying siege to their goal. Had this been a boxing match this would have been called off way before half time. By then, there had been 2 goals and a sending off. Both goals for Hearts and Sheridan getting his marching orders for us.


It was a travesty of a scoreline. Only their keeper Ali Saker had been on the same footballing planet as us. Even with 10 men, we were by miles the better side. Derek Grogan set up a tense finish with a well taken goal that gave us 19 minutes to find an equaliser. It’s not often that a keeper concedes a goal and gets a 10/10 rating, but Ali Saker did it that day. He held firm to single handedly win Hearts the Scotish cup, and for another season the Firhill trophy room would need no polishing.

Gutted !

22-04-12, 07:32 PM
The Jags season may have finished with a loss in the cup final, but we had no fewer than 6 players involved in U21 internationals while Jim McStay was called into the Scotland senior squad, although he didn’t make the bench for the friendly with Greece.

I don’t normally do end of season squad reviews, but as I’ll be here for another season, it is probably worth while

Wayne Bailey GK
Age 33 Appearances 3(2) Conceded 5 Average 7.20
Wayne thinks he should be a first team regular, however I doubt he is good enough for 3rd choice. Didn’t let the side down when called on, but doesn’t inspire confidence. Time to move on I think

Colin Davis GK
Age 24 Appearances 5 Conceded 3 Average 7.80
Solid performer as backup to Fletcher, but is looking to get regular 1st team football. I’ll listen to offers although I wouldn’t be disappointed to see him in the squad for next season, as a back up.

Ross Fletcher GK
Age 21 Appearances 29 Conceded 19 Average 7.55 MoM 2
Undoubted number one after his transfer from Liverpool. Firmly established in the Scotland U21 setup and a star of the future. He can jump like a gazelle, has good hands and is quick over the ground. Just needs to be pushed a bit harder. Ros was voted my joint player of the year

Andy Mitchell GK
Age 21 Appearances 1 Conceded 0 Average 8.00
Arrived on loan from Charlton with a view to a summer purchase. Hasn’t done anything to change my mind and he is a target as backup to Fletcher.

Jevgenejis Sazonovs GK
Age 36 Appearances 8 Conceded 15 Average 6.38
The Latvian is a truly awful keeper and all of his starts were before I became boss. I can’t believe that he has managed to arrange a transfer to Elgin when his contract expires. He had been listed all season.

Graeme Anderson D/M LC
Age 22 Appearances 3(5) Goals 0 Assists 1 Average 6.75
I had high hopes when Graeme arrived from Rangers on loan, and he started off well enough, but somehow lost his way. By midseason he was reduced to a reserve and I won’t be continuing my interest in the Scotland U21.

Robert Clarke D/M R
Age 30 Appearances 8(1) Goals 0 Assists 1 Average 7.11
Good honest pro, and backup to Murray at right back. Very quick and not shy to tackle his experience will be an asset in a young squad. Good defensively, but gets a nosebleed if he wanders too far forward.

Steve Coates D RLC
Age 27 Apperances 24(6) Goals 0 Assists 2 Average 6.97 MoM 1
Every squad needs a utility defender and the Welshman is mine. Surprised that his average is under 7 as I can’t remember too many poor games. Happy to play him anywhere at the back and is a potential captain. He’ll be with us for another season.

Graeme Craig D C
Age 31 Appearances 22 Goals 0 Assists 1 Average 7.32 MoM 1
End of the line for Graeme after 14 seasons for his only club. Averaging 7.21 in his 460 games it shows he is consistent, but I decided not to renew his contract and he is moving to Brentford for his last few seasons. Sorry to see him go, but I have better options.

Terry Dunne D C
Age 22 Appearances 26 Goals 0 Assists 2 Average 7.35
One of my young stars, Terry has been part of the Irish U21 squad and a stalwart of the defence. Good in the air, he has a knack of always being in the right place at the right time. Loves a tackle, averaging over 4 per game, but sometimes gets the timing wrong, picking up 5 yellow cards. One for the future, he can only get better.

Darryl Gowans D R
Age 33 Appearances 4(2) Goals 0 Assists 1 Average 6.33
Not good enough or fit enough. Off to Crewe when his contract expires.

Declan Grogan D RC
Age 21 Appearances 12(2) Goals 1 Assists 3 Average 7.57
Stiker Derek’s little brother is quite a find having been on loan to Cowdenbeith from Stenhousemuir. My scouts didn’t rate him, but I’m glad I overruled them. If he could sort out his pace, he will be a huge star of the future. Happy at right back or in the middle, I’ll be expecting big things next term. Established captain of Irish U21 side.

Ray Hunter D C
Age 26 Appearances 12 Goals 0 Assists 0 Average 6.75
Ray has dropped down the pecking order and is now a reserve player. I don’t expect him to be around next season.

Peter Ingram D/DM L
Age 29 Appearances 20(1) Goals 0 Assists 6 Average 7.29 MoM 1
Peter has established himself as the first choice left back since signing on a free. Other than a wobble in January he is Mr Consistency. Full of running, he has a decent cross and likes to bring others into the game.

Mark McGeough D C
Age 26 Appearances 15(1) Goals 1 Assists 0 Average 7.50 MoM 2
It was close to robbery when I snatched the Irishman from Raith for just 50K. Quick and strong, he is good in the air or on the deck and has great positioning. Vice captain to McStay, I hope he’ll be at Firhill for many years. Mark was voted my joint player of the year

Steven Murray D R
Age 26 Appearances 16(1) Goals 5 Assists 0 Average 7.18 MoM 1
1st choice right back and 1st choice penalty taker, scoring 4 in a win over former club Raith. Steven loves to get forward and has a decent cross but perhaps needs to get tighter on his opponent when defending.

Steve Breeze AM C
Age 31 Appearances 0 Goals 0 Assists 0 Average 0.00
Not started a game since his 65k transfer 3 seasons ago. He’s been listed since I arrived without any interest. His contract is about to expire so the Welshman will soon be gone.

Ryan Campbell DM C
Age 20 Appearances 0(4) Goals 1 Assists 0 Average 7.00
I don’t think that Ryan is good enough for this level. Hasn’t improved much, so I expect him to be listed in the summer.

Joe Daly AM R
Age 21 Appearances 28 Goals 10 Assists 5 Average 7.11 MoM 5
Joe is a tricky winger with a decent delivery and a viscious freekick. He is incredibly strong, but perhaps should get out of the gym and do some speed work. Joe is certainly a player that I am expecting to see great things next year.

Eddie DM C
Age 24 Appearances 10(1) Goals 0 Assists 1 Average 7.09
Following his move from Brann, the Brazilian has struggled to get a regular start in a strong central midfield. He hasn’t let us down but needs to work on his strength and the creative side of his game.

Graeme Hill M C
Age 26 Appearances 0 Goals 0 Assists 0 Average 0.00
No where near good enough for Partick Thistle. 3 loan spells proved nothing. He’ll be transfer listed in the summer.

Alan Johnston AM LC
Age 23 Appearances 13(12) Goals 5 Assists 2 Average 7.16 MoM 1
After signing from Aberdeen, Alan has shared left wing duties with Sheridan. Not the quickest winger, he has a few tricks and a good delivery. Needs to work on his pace and tends to get tired late on, but he is sure to be part a next years squad.

Brian King AM C
Age 27 Appearances 11(5) Goals 3 Assists 2 Average 7.00 MoM 2
Not the best of my signings, but Brian is a solid backup. The Jury is out on whether he has a future at Firhill, but may just get 1 more season.

Jim McStay M C
Age 22 Appearances 28(5) Goals 5 Assists 4 Average 7.06 MoM 2
Classy midfielder who has pace to spare and an exquisite pass. Hardworking and strong tackling he was an instant choice for team captain. Signed a new 4 year contract to fend off interest from Man City. Jim is a player that I will be building the squad around. I expect him to get his full Scotland cap next season.

Mike Mullins M R
Age 22 Appearances 12(2) Goals 3 Assists 2 Average 7.36 MoM 1
Mike is unlucky to be in the same squad as Joe Daly or he would be a regular starter. Lightening quick he just lacks that final delivery. He’ll be around next year.

Martin Purcell M LC
Age 23 Appearances 16(7) Goals 4 Assists 1 Average 6.83
Last summers big signing cost 600k from St.Johnston, but hasn’t been able to hold down a start on either left wing or central midfield. Maybe time to cash in and find someone better.

Michael Sheridan AM RLC
Age 31 Appearances 21(11) Goals 4 Assists 8 Average 6.88 MoM 1
I can’t believe that his average isn’t better than that. He seemed to e involved in everything whether on the right or left wing. Decent crosser of the ball he is a set piece specialist and can run for 90 minutes.

James Stevenson M C
Age 25 Appearances 9(1) Goals 1 Assists 3 Average 7.30
3rd choice for central midfield after McStay and Stewart. Always dependable he is quick getting forward and hardworking getting back. Genuine box to box midfielder

Steven Stewart M C
Age 25 Appearances 22(5) Goals 5 Assists 4 Average 7.22 MoM 2
A great find coming on loan from Videoton then making the move permanent for 35K. The former Man Utd trainee has established himself in the midfield and has a great understanding with McStay. Highly motivated, Steven needs to work on his defensive game, but his passing is truly excellent and his free kicks a constant danger.

Billy Clarke S C
Age 26 Appearances 16(3) Goals 3 Assists 2 Average 7.11 MoM 1
Billy was brought in from Kilmarnock to bolster the attack. Put him infront of the goal and there are few better finishers, but his nave positioning and poor control mean he’ll never be a regular SPL scorer. Maybe time to move on depending on who I can get in

Ryan Donaldson S C
Age 34 Appearances 11(1) Goals 2 Assists 0 Average 6.67
Way past his best. The former Newcastle man has reached the end of his career. Off to Northampton when his contract expires.

Ciaran Duffy S C
Age 31 Appearances 11 Goals 2 Assists 0 Average 7.36
Like Clarke, Ciaran was brought in to provide attacking options. Not quite cut it at this level, so probably time to move on.

Derek Grogan S C
Age 22 Appearances 31(3) Goals 13 Assists 5 Average 7.24 MoM 1
Derek is a star of the future and has been with the Irish U21 squad this season. A product of the famous Guisley academy He is a streak scorer, getting goals in runs then going off the boil. Quick over the ground he needs to work on his aerial threat. Despite his inconsistency Derek will be our main goal threat for next season and I've told him that I'm expecting a return of 20+. Derek was voted fans player of the year.

Kevin Munro S C
Age 28 Appearances 18 Goals 5 Assists 0 Average 7.00
Big target man that Grogan loves to play off. May need to score more to justify his place next season, but he is certainly worth another year as backup to Grogan.

Ben Murphy F RC
Age 20 Appearances 7(2) Goals 3 Assists 0 Average 7.33
Ben is onloan from Peterborough as I look for something different in attack. He has been played in the hole behind Grogan/Munro and adapted to that role very well. Very quick, he has an eye for goal and an accurate pass. I’ll certainly be trying to make a deal to bring him in permanently for next year.

22-04-12, 07:33 PM
This was the season to push for the title. I was reasonably happy with my 1st 11, but with a punishing league program, 2 cups and European dates to fulfil, I wanted my 2nd 11 to be as strong as the first. Ideally 3 players that I would be confident of playing for every position. Firstly the departures. 9 players left Firhill bringing in 550k. I still have 2 players listed, Ciaran Duffy and Ryan Campbell, but the rest were players who were unlikely to feature. That left me with around 5 million to spend. The problem in spending it was the salary cap of 3,600 and I had more players reject contracts than accept. I was though happy with the outcome of my dealings.

Keeper Andy Mitchell and forward Ben Murphy made their loan moves permanent. Both are young and while Mitchell may have to wait his chance, Ben Murphy will be straight into the 1st team at just 20.

http://www.ptfc.co.uk/img/players/ryan_scully.jpg http://www.ptfc.co.uk/img/players/shaun_fraser.jpg

Mitchell will be joined in goalkeeper training by N. Ireland U21 keeper Joe Thompson. Joe will push current number 1 Ross Fletcher for the starting gloves and it gives me 3 top keepers all 21 or under ! Joe equalled the club record 750k transfer when he signed from Ipswich.


The 750k record had been set earlier the same day with the capture of Irish left sided defender and midfielder Ciaran Slevin. Aged 27, he has 19 full caps and a strong career with Shakhter Soligorsk, Derby, Huddersfield, Luton and most recently Blackburn. He is a big strong lad with skill that belies his bulk. He will also be one of my vice captains. A second defender joined in the form of Italian U21 starlet Sergio Zito. Sergio can play right or central in a defensive 4 and despite being only 21 has notched up over 125 games for Tranmere. With 5 goals and 23 assists, he is a defender that likes to get forward.

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2 midfielders were also added. Ciaran Johnston takes the irish contingent upto 9. The 25 year old attacking midfielder is quick and had a great pass. He is hardworking and will push McStay and Stewart for the central midfield role. With 30 goals and 38 assists from 160 games, most recently at Burnley, he possesses a strong threat. As does Ebert da Sa, a Brazilian left winger, attacking midfielder and forward. In and out of the Aris side for the past 10 years, the 26 year old has earned a Greek passport. 24 goals and 19 assists in 115 games is a good return, although I will be using him mainly wide left. 475k landed both players.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01522/stephen-ireland_1522927c.jpg http://d.yimg.com/x/p/i/news/090722/ydownload_agestado/i/ca-d2aed9809353d62c81187153a5b5a9d1.jpeg

The bargain though came from the same scouting trip that found da Sa. Peter Grof cost just 18k from Hungarian outfit MTK. Wanting to move to a bigger club, he was delighted to be playing in Europe. He is a skilful forward who can play behind a solo front man, relying on pace and a strong finish to get the goals. I don’t see him getting to many headers as he suffers from nose bleeds if his feet leave the grass.


I still had a gap for a player that could play right wing or central midfield, but I was very happy with the squad that started the season. Manchester United had offered us a friendly, which would have delighted the fans, but that had to be cancelled when the 2nd qualifying round for the Champions League was made. Our season would now start hundreds of miles north in the Faroese town of Torshaven. A dominant performance was worth more than Sheridan’s second half strike, but we atleast took a lead back to the home leg. Back at Firhill we polished them of, Derek Grogan scoring a goal in each half.

Sandwiched between these games we started the league the way we finished off last season and a game with Celtic. There was no last day of the season drama this time and in a game of few chances, David Little’s penalty miss for Celtic was as close as it got. A 5-0 thrashing of St. Johnstone got us back on track and it was soon a 3 way title challenge with ourselves, Hearts and Rangers all unbeaten.

Europe though was where it was happening. CSKA was our next challenge, a team that had made 2 semi finals and only once failed to make the group stage. The first leg was away and we got off to a flyer. Ben Murphy silencing the home crowd after just 8 minutes with a solo effort, beating 2 men.


CSKA came back at us and Gazzaev grabbed an equaliser midway through the first half, but after that we were in control. Justice was served when Da Sa floated in a corner that Daly won in the air, setting up Dunne to volley home. Not the sort of finish you would expect from a young central defender !


A sensational result and one that we turned into group stage qualification with another 2-1 win. Steven Murray with a first half penalty settling the nerves and Derek Grogan with a winner in injury time after Yeremeev had equalised for the Russians.

The group stage paired us with FC Bayern, Norwich and PSG. I didn’t fancy our chances against the Germans, but I doubted if the other 2 would be harder than CSKA.

22-04-12, 07:33 PM
Domestically, we were on a roll. Back to back wins over Hearts (3-0) and Rangers (1-0) sent us clear of the pack. One third of the way through the regular season and Thistle had an 8 point lead.


A miserly defence, that had let only Aberdeen and Ayr score against us (both times we were 4-0 ahead) and Derek Grogan scoring 7 goals from 7 games was turning the league into a procession. It meant that I could concentrate on the European adventure, which started out at Norwich and a chance to wear our pink change strip for the first time.


Having been runners up last season, Norwich were struggling and had just 1 point to their name this time round. Infact they hadn’t scored since the 3-3 draw with Wolves on the opening day. I thought we might have a chance, but against one of the automatic qualifiers, I would settle for a point away from home. And that was how it was heading. Norwich pressed and had most of the possession, but absolutely no cutting edge. With 79 minutes gone, I introduced Ciaran Johnston and Ebert de Sa to add fresh legs to the midfield. De Sa’s first touch was to take a corner and Johnston’s first touch was to head it home ! What a substitution. It was harsh on Norwich who deserved a point, but it didn’t stop Ciaran Johnstone grabbing a second, heading home a Joe Daly cross.


If we were a bit lucky against Norwich, we showed what we could do against PSG. Grof scored early when left unmarked at a corner and from there on, there was little doubt about the outcome. A second half brace from Ben Murphy sealed the win that sent us top of the group ahead of the Bayern double header.


The home leg was all about the defence. It was put under intense pressure by the best team in the group by some margin. Somehow, we held out, with keeper Ross Fletcher getting a deserved man of the match after a string of great saves. I was more than happy with that as I doubted that anyone else would take a point from Bayern and we needed just 1 point for Europa League qualification.


I expected nothing from the Alliance-Arena, but for some reason Bayern were strangely subdued, especially up front where they hit the target just once from 6 efforts. Fletcher saved that with ease and we took full advantage, Neil Munroe netting in the first half and Alan Johnston in the second. One point now would confirm qualification for the second phase


That point came in emphatic style against a pathetic Norwich outfit, Sheridan put us deservedly ahead before the break, but it was late on that we sealed the win. Munroe made it 2-0 with 20 minutes to play. Booth pulled one back but seconds later Grof grabbed our 3rd. Slevin put the icing on the cake following a red card to Canaries defender Gary Rooney.


Pressure was off for our trip to Paris. Another backs to the wall performance was rewarded with a Joe Daly goal on the break.



The draw was made for the second phase and the task was far from Impossible. If the defence could continue on current form, we feared nothing from Cardiff, Fenerbache and Lyon

22-04-12, 07:34 PM
Thistle’s fine form continued and was starting to attract attention from further afield. Average attendance was upto almost 5,000, boosted by neutral visitors wanting to be part of the revolution. An Englishman had come up to take in the home game with Rangers, a scrappy encounter where both sides appeared to be doing their best to miss as many chances as they could. The match was settled by a Ben Murphy strike.

The Englishman joined the throng of jubilant fans heading out of Firhill and onto the Maryhill Rd. Passing Jaconelli’s (sadly no longer with us, but this is my story !) which is possibly the best chip shop in the world, he decided he was hungry.


AMC: I say my good fellow, could you please serve me with one of these fine deep fried Pizza’s and the best chips you can prepare.
Old Mr Jac (sadly no longer with us): Si
The Englishman left the shop and took a bite of Pizza. Immediately it hit him. He clutched his upper left body

AMC: Aaargh ! The colestorol ….. my heart ….. I can’t take it.

He keeled over and lay motionless on the pavement, surrounded by chips and pizza

Passer by 1: Oh my god ! They’ve killed AMC !
Passer by 2: Bastard English !

Our domestic form showed why I never play in Scotland any more. It's boring when you know how to win. We were just about unbeatable and by new year had a massive 22 point lead in the league.


By my calculations another 21 points from 14 games would secure the title. The challenge was to have that done and move on before the transfer window closes in March. If the league was dull, the cups were about to make it a whole lot more interesting. Thewe was a League Cup semi final with St. Johnstone to look forward to. Peterhead and Kilmarnock having failed to stop us and then a Scottish Cup where the draw gods were certainly smiling on me !

Europe was a little more testing. It started with a trip to Lyon, potentially the hardest game in the group. A very even first half ended goalless, a score that I was more than satisfied with although if Derek Grogan had realised how much time he had he might have done better than to fire over the bar. The moment that changed the game was a rash challenge by Declan Grogan on Vincent Sissoko. Grogan had already been booked, so the ref had little option but to show a red card. 4 minutes later Lyon were ahead. As the defence reorganised, Daly pulled down Mionnet in the box. The stiker dusted himself down and dispatched the penalty. From there Lyon sat back, happy with the 1-0 win.


Cardiff at home was now a must win game. It started well enough with their captain Angel Crespo needlessly giving away a penalty for an obvious hand ball. Murray netted for a 19th minute lead.


The task was eased massively when their keeper Rubin Oliva was sent off midway through the first half. There was some sort of argument with Grof, and my man picked up a yellow card for his part, but I couldn’t see exactly what happened. Cardiff were far for a beaten side though, and the 10 men levelled just after half time. Barry Bell being given a free header from a Cardiff corner. This was now a real dogfight and I wondered how they would cope. I got the answer, Eddie sent Murray on a run down the right. Rather than crossing, he played it in low for Ciaran Johnston who took it in his stride, one touch, bang, 2-1 !


Cardiff had 10 minutes to reply, an impossible task when “I’m no” Angel Crespo saw a straight red card for a cynical foul on Grof.

Fenerbahce surprisingly beat Lyon to top the group


22-04-12, 07:34 PM
Over January and February we played a total of 4 league games. Despite dropping points in a 1-1 draw with Celtic (our record against them is still dreadful, 2 wins in 8 attempts) a 3-1 win at Ibrox where Peter Grof came off the bench to score a brace, helped us to build a 27 point lead over Rangers and Hearts with just 10 games to play. If we beat Hearts and Rangers fail to beat Celtic in the next games, it’s all over.


It the league had been exceptionally dull, the Scottish Cup would add a bit of spice. It started with me joining 1519 other poor souls to watch a 2nd round replay at Forfar. Normally I wouldn’t be bothered with a replay in an early round and to be honest, I wasn’t that fussed about the Scottish Cup as I plan to be off as soon as the league is won. The difference this time was that we would play the winners, and Forfar’s replay was against Clyde. A chance to hump the Gypo’s would be too much to miss.

It was a game of missed chances, 30 in total but only 8 hit the target. 2 did count though as William Moffat put Clyde ahead at the end of the first half only for Steve Anderson to equalise with 18 minutes remaining.

http://www.clydefc.co.uk/gallery/photo.php?id=1154 http://www.forfarathletic.co.uk/official/gallery/img/2010-08-07%20Dumbarton/IMG_8703.JPG

I would have to endure extra time, a 30 minute period that failed to split the sides. Penalties and after the first 4 all beat the keeper, Gary Inglis saved Anderson’s effort allowing Easton to give Clyde the advantage. Inglis saved again, so Moffat could seal it for Clyde if he scored. He missed, luckily Jim Morrison then missed for Forfar, so I had the tie that I wanted.

Clyde at Firhill. The team talk was simple. I just posted 2 pictures on the dressing room wall.

http://www.fashionhunt.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/angelina-jolie-clothes.jpg http://www.malextra.com/image-library/port/376/s/strictly-anne-widdecombe_09,10.jpg

Eejit: One of them is us. One of them is them. Go and prove it.

It was no contest. Stewart (11), Grof (17) Derek Grogan (35) and Grof (41) ended any doubts in the first half. Strange things happen in football. Sometimes a team can recover from 4-0 down at half-time, but not today ! Alan Johnstone (47) and Derek Grogan (61) completed a club record win and sent the Gypo’s back to their caravans with their lucky white heather badly wilted.

The draw gods made it a near perfect weekend, although I’d have to watch another replay before celebrating. A miserable wet Wednesday in Airdrie where for once I wanted them to beat Dundee Utd. The league 1 leaders were firm favourites against the worst side in Scotland. It didn’t work out quite like that. Airdrie got off to a stormer, Milne putting them 1 up inside 5 minutes. Stewart equalised for the Arabs, but Milne made sure Airdrie had a halftime lead. After the break, Graham made it 3-1 and Milne completed his hat-trick. What a brilliant Scottish cup this was turning out to be.


I didn’t have to fire the lads up for this one. There was more at stake than just passage to the next round of the cup. We were after the scum from the kick off and could have been 3 up in 10 minutes, however Airdrie captain Richard Murray was having a stormer in their goal. Chance after chance we carved and save after save he pulled off. He could do nothing to stop Grof when put one-on-one by Jim McStay, but as the Hungarian marksman wheeled towards the Jackie Husband stand, the linesman’s flag was up. This guy clearly doesn’t know the rule. It was obvious there was a salt cellar and the sauce bottle between the pepper pot and the teaspoon. It’s simple !

Half time and it was still 0-0 and I was starting to get worried. Airdrie had hardly ventured into our half, but how the hell would we get past Murray. I was contemplating a switch to 4-3-3 when Munro charged into the Airdrie box and fell to the ground, rolling 4 times for good effect. The ref said play on, but the linesman that didn’t know the salt cellar from the sauce bottle had his flag up. After a consultation, the penalty was given ! Declan Grogan placed it on the spot and blasted it into the top corner !


Airdrie still didn’t lie down and take their punishment for being the scum that they are. I made the change to 4-3-3 but there was still just 20 minutes left before we made the game safe. A beautiful pass from McStay put Grof through and he made no mistake this time.


Just for good measure, Grof added a third in the closing minutes.


Happy Days ! And I couldn’t give a fig who we got in the 5th round.

22-04-12, 07:34 PM
And soon it was all over. We came from behind to put 2 past Hearts in the last 20 minutes, to end the Edinburgh challenge, however a late John Whitehouse goal was enough for Rangers to beat Celtic and keep the champagne on ice, at least mathematically. 10 days later and it was all over, without us kicking a ball. 10 man Kilmarnock put 2 past a lacklustre Rangers and Thistle were crowned champions. A pretty shitty way to win a disappointing league program.

Atleast a few fans turned out to see the trophy presented, but like the match attendances, it was less than impressive.


Maybe some of them had been saving money for the European adventure. Despite playing for 75 minutes with 10 men, Kevin Munro grabbed a dramatic late equaliser to bring a point back from Fenerbahce who came to Firhill 7 days later for a 3-0 thrashing. That left us needing just 2 points from the final 2 games. Lyon at home was a backs against the wall job, and how we ended the game with a clean sheet, only Ross Forsyth will know. The keeper was inspired, and even managed an assist when his late punt up the park was picked up by Derek Grogan who rounded the keeper for the 3 points that would continue the adventure.


Just for good measure, Grogan did the same to Cardiff to confirm us as group winners and reward us with another trip to France. Marseille would have home advantage for the first leg.


There were no jobs immediately available, or at least none that I hadn’t already taken. It gave me the chance to beat Aberdeen in the Scottish cup and finish my Thistle career with a dull 0-0 draw at home to Ross County. Sadly it was my 88th game with Thistle, just 1 short of the record 89 played with T.N.S.


Someone else would have the honour of leaving the team out at Hampden for the League Cup final with Raith Rovers as I had a special job to do. Something that no real life manager has achieved, ever, and no computer manager in the 16 years that this save has been running has managed either.


22-04-12, 07:35 PM

I hadn’t wanted to take over a Premier League side, I had the best part of 18 months to go before the Euro qualifiers were finished and the international jobs likely to become available, so this was a great chance to work my way through some lower league sides. My history was somewhat top heavy having managed 10 out of the 20 Premier League sides, 10/22 championship, 3/17 league one, 5/17 league two, 1/8 conference and just Chelsea of the 8 eligible teams now in conference north.

That changed when the Arsenal job came up and I had the chance to make history, but not necessarily for the right reasons ! Having won the title as recently as 3 seasons ago, Arsenal were in real trouble. That title was won by (current Hibs manager) John Hughes who completed a domestic treble in 2023. He added the Charity Shield the following year, but that was it for silverware and he was sacked the following season. Malky MacKay took over and it was a huge mistake as he turned the side from title contenders to relegation fodder. Stuck in 19th place, they had not been out of the bottom 3 since the 10th game of the league season and Chairman Dave Fox wanted me in to rescue their top flight status that they had kept since 1919/20.


Needless to say, I had other ideas ! My goal was to be the first manager for 100 years to get Arsenal relegated.

Malky MacKay had left me with a huge squad of players, 49 in total and Mr. Fox was wanting me to demonstrate the value of his investment. With nearly 300 million in the bank, and 280 million available for transfers, I’ve no idea why he was bothered, but I reassured him by promising to adopt a squad rotation policy.

Formalities over and it was time to meet my new secretary, and there was no doubt that she was loyal to her employers.


Hazel: Up the Arse.......
Eejit: I’m more of a traditional man myself, but if that’s the way you want it …..

22-04-12, 07:36 PM
My plan to get Arsenal relegated took a huge setback when I met the squad. Malky MacKay must have been some sort of genius to get this squad anywhere near relegation.


OK so there was a fair few youth players who were unlikely to ever see anyones first team, but the main squad had some exceptional talent and could boast 472 full international caps for Belgium, England, Finland, Holland, Italy, Northern Ireland, Portugal and Scotland. 14 players were in current squads. There were some true world class stars in Giancarlo Cioni (Nesta regen), Danny Harris (Terry regen), Thiago Aguiar (Veloso regen), Tony Griffiths (Gerrard regen) and Romelu Lukaku who was still only 32.

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In the 10 games remaining, this squad could easily get 30 points and still qualify for Europe. How on earth was I going to turn them into losers ? And just to make matters worse, the phone rang

CMSG Ltd : Welcome to Arsenal Eejit.
Eejit : Thanks. I hope that this will be a historic period for the club
CMSG Ltd : And one where they get rid of the “Boring Arsenal” tag too
Eejit : How do you mean ?
CMSG Ltd : Well I know you like a challenge, so we want Arsenal to play “sexy football”
Eejit : Oh give me strength. This is a tough enough job as it is !

So, I had to use all the squad, which meant playing some super stars, and play “sexy football” and get Arsenal relegated. When the sexy football was first mentioned, my thoughts turned to this lot


But sex with them ? Half of them bat for the other side ! I had run out of ideas.

Eejit : Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh !
Noone :
Eejit : Somebody please hear my cry for help



Goodshag: Well what do you expect when you ignore me for years then call without warning.
Eejit : I didn’t ignore you, I just kind of forgot when I was busy
Goodshag : Forgot ! I see, so football is more important than me. At least I know where I rank in your priorities.
Eejit : No, it’s not like that. You are always number 1, 2 and 3. It’s just that you being an ethereal creature, it is hard to keep in contact when I live in the real world. Anyway, why didn’t you call on me ? What are your priorities ?
Goodshag : Anyway, why am I here ?
Eejit : I don’t know, why are you here ?
Goodshag : You sang a line from “Cry for help” Rick’s 1991 top 10 single. So what is your problem.
Eejit : Funily enough Rick Astly is not one of my specialist subjects. I do have a problem, and I’m not going to be like Andy Gray and suggest you couldn’t help, but I need to play sexy football, but still lose.
Goodshag : Well you are lucky, sex is one of my specialist subjects, so why don’t you try this formation.


Goodshag: Now why don’t I slip into something more suitable and we can try it out


22-04-12, 07:36 PM
My squad rotation policy was presented to the board who loved the idea of proving the value of the squad. Basically, Goalkeeper was considered to be the only specialist position (I still feel guilty about Chelsea) and they would be rotated in alphabetical order. If an outfield player is any good, they should be able to play anywhere. Thus, the full 49 man squad was sorted into alphabetical order and the starting IX and bench filled in that order. Once a player had been selected for a match, they moved to the end of the list, so every player would get their chance.

It may have been a strange squad selection, and the fans were puzzled by the line up, but by the end of the opening game at home to a Villa side pushing for Europe, it was me that was left scratching my head. The visitors had started better and created a couple of half chances, however with 8 minutes on the clock, Aguiar won a free kick. It was taken by Faulkner, who found the head of young striker Garry Foley who thumped home his first ever Arsenal goal.


After that, Villa came at us, but a combination of poor finishing and a good display from keeper Ryan Graham saw out the final 82 minutes without conceding. The result may have pleased the fans and the board, as Arsenal were out of relegation, but it highlighted the huge problem that I have in getting Arsenal relegated. Malky MacKay is a management genius !

There was better news from the second game at Sheffield Utd. 2 late goals gave The Blades a 3-0 win and we were back on track. The resilience in hanging on for so long was a worry, but that was eased by Ipswich (1-4) Southampton (0-4) and Fulham (2-3). The last of these sent us bottom, but only after a late penalty and red card. I am very impressed with the way that this Arsenal team battle on.


Having hit rock bottom, Tony Griffiths (Gerrard) playing at left back took on Everton on his own. He scored early, hit the post and the bar and were it not for injury time, would have secured a win. Slack marking allowed an equaliser and we were off the bottom.

That though was the end of the battle. United (0-5) and Bolton (0-4) confirmed relegation with 2 games to spare. Sunderland (1-3) and Barnsley (1-6) completed the season and I had finished my job.


For the record, former Ipswich keeper Arran Lee-Barrett took over as manager at Thistle following spells at West Ham and Charlton. The form slipped a bit, but The Jags still won the SPL by 20 points. He added the League Cup and Scottish Cup to make a domestic treble. A fine 0-0 draw in Marseille set up a 3-1 win at home and a Champions League semi final with Sevilla. That is where the adventure ended though as a horrendous home leg gave the Spanish side a 3-0 lead to take home. The 0-0 draw in the second leg showed what could have been achieved.

22-04-12, 07:37 PM
Season over and I could resign from Arsenal. The only job that was currently available that I hadn’t done before was at Gillingham, but they were in the Premier League and I really did want to go somewhere lower. It took 3 weeks, but the job that did turn up was to a side newly promoted to League One and would be a return to the seaside.


I am going to put this story on hold for a few weeks. I feel that it has gone a bit stale and I need to recharge my enthusiasm. (Strangely it was the spell at Thistle that really lacked motivation). This will be completed, so don’t worry, I have not gone away permanently.

22-04-12, 07:38 PM

After the 10 games in charge of Arsenal, that culminated with the honour of being the first manager to get The Gooners relegated in over 100 years, it was time to move on. There were a few jobs available and so I resigned to give myself the best chance. The Brentford job might have been an interesting challenge as former Swansea gaffer Brendan Rodgers had got The Bees into the Premier League after 15 years in charge. Ipswich had poached him to replace Derek McInnes, but really I was looking to knock off some lower league clubs before the International jobs come up in 18 months time. Reading, Rotherham and Preston were all available and all in League One, but it was newly promoted Brighton who gave me the first chance to tackle League One, a division that I had won with Southampton, but was still on my hit list due to The Saints winning The Vans Trophy earlier in that season.

Chairman Joe Dawson met me at the entrance to the spectacular Falmer Stadium, a ground far too good for League One football.


He didn’t have very high expectations for the season, avoiding relegation would be a success in his eyes. I agreed to do my best, not that I was that bothered as the plan was to bugger off as soon as something else turned up. I did at least have a full summer to spend the 350k transfer budget that I was offered. I expected a bit more once the TV revenue came through. One thing that Mr Dawson did was to give me the keys to a very unimaginative new car.


The players had all vanished for their summer holidays, so with no training for 3 or 4 weeks, I asked my assistant Mauricio Taricco to give me the rundown of the squad. I had 43 players available, way too big a squad, so I was pleased that 3 had accepted offers to join other clubs when their contracts expired. None of them had been in last seasons first team squad although winger Adam Bennett and keeper Ray Goodall would have been in contention had I been in charge. More than half of those remaining were Sunday league standard, were immediately transfer listed and sent letters that there was no need for them to return from pre-season training. That left me with around 20 players that I could use for next season. I had a good keeper in Jonathan Dobson and a solid defence although left backs Carl Robinson and Chris Dyson looked to be the week links. Up front I had 4 options that looked to be able to score at this level, Dean Hall had hit 34 in last seasons promotion campaign. Welshman Carl Price was the star of midfield with 10 goals and 15 assists from either left wing or a more central role. There were options across midfield, but right wing looked to be light weight. Defender Ian Pugh was the only player I had worked with before, being one of the first out the door when I took over Ipswich. League One was more his level.

http://www.sellsgoalkeepingacademy.co.uk/media/u/847781398_6759.jpg http://www.theargus.co.uk/resources/images/1560297/?type=display http://www.norwichadvertiser24.co.uk/polopoly_fs/xxx_03_brighton_ncfc_1_786672%21image/160807800.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_225/160807800.jpg

Mauricio had done a good job, and I was happy for him to continue as my assistant, however the rest of the coaching staff left a lot to be desired. Craig Hignett was one of the worst coaches I’ve ever seen ! 4 of them were sacked and 4 replacements found, including former (real life) Thistle player Steven “Dosser” McKeown.


It occurred to me that there was one important member of the team that I hadn’t yet met. Their identity was revealed by a knock on the door.

????: I’ve got a phone call for you Mr. Eejit. I must say your just as much of a hunk as the pictures of you in my bedroom. You’ll have to come over to mine sometime soon …. I’d sooo loooove the stories about you to be true.


Oh god ! ….. This is Brighton after all !

22-04-12, 07:38 PM
Eejit: I’ll take that call in here Sean
Sean: Anything else you want to take in here ?
Eejit: No, just the call

Eejit: Hello
CMSG Ltd: Howday pardner
Eejit: Oh god ! It’s you !
CMSG Ltd: And nice to speak to you too.
Eejit: Look …. What ever crazy plan you’ve got hatched ain’t going to work. I’m going to bugger off just as soon as I can.
CMSG Ltd: We know, which is why this one is a bit different
Eejit: Go on then, like I’ve got a choice.
CMSG Ltd: What we’re gonna do is restrict you to 10 player transfers all season, and that includes loans.
Eejit: Aw shit man ! I was hoping to get 4 clubs in, which means just 2 or 3 transfers per club.
CMSG Ltd: That’s the way the cookie crumbles dude.
Eejit: In that case, any chance you could relax the rule about shagging the club secretary ?
CMSG Ltd: No !

Double whammy, which is what Sean is hoping for ! I put that problem to the back of my mind for now, for fear of throwing up and set about securing the urgent transfers. By the time the season started, 5 more players had left (in addition to the 3 arranged by the previous manager). I brought in 3 new recruits in Joe Owens an attacking midfielder and right winger who was out of contract at Burton. He had scored 19 with 33 assists and 10 MoM awards in a 100 game career with Fleetwood and Burton, but had been out of favour in recent seasons. Stuart Davis, a right back who was also available for free from Gainsborough. He had a lot of experience, but was very much workman like and could play further forward in an emergency. Finally Togo international defender Tripy Perilleux (great name). His 34 caps easily got him a work permit and he is a major coup for a League One club. Probably better in central defence, he is equally happy at left back.

http://d.yimg.com/i/ng/sp/empics/20101119/20/2209850270-soccer-npower-football-league-burton-albion-v-bury-pirelli-stadium.jpg http://www.bbc.co.uk/lincolnshire/content/images/2008/09/16/neil_spafford_352x470.jpg http://www.bundesliga.de/media/images/00_vereinsbilder/leverkusen/toure_assimiou_togo_468x345.jpg

And so the season started with a routine 3-0 victory over Burton Albion at Falmer. All the goals came in the first half and included a brace for Joe Owens on his debut. Ryan McAllister bagged the other. It was the start of a 4 game 100% record run that was almost ended by Forrest Green who’s Bob Wilkinson equalised 3 times before Carl Burgess finally secured a 4-3 win with a low drive in the 82nd minute.


The run was ended by Championship outfit and former side Watford who stole a league cup win from a game that we dominated. Time to concentrate on the league where we made it to 6 wins on the spin before Hereford took all the points from Falmer coming from behind to win 2-1 in a game we should have wrapped up before the interval.

With the record gone, the results became a bit mixed. 3-0 wins over Crewe and Millwall were matched by a ridiculous 5-2 reverse at home to Newport. With November approaching, Brighton had built a small lead in the league over Millwall and a few of my fellow managers were starting to feel under threat about their jobs. It was time to sort out the Sean situation.

Eejit: Sean, you’ve been secretary here for a long time
Sean: Yes Mr Eejit. Long is how I like it !
Eejit: Ehm … yes, well how would you like to try something new ?
Sean: I’m always game for something new ! What did you have in mind ?
Eejit: You don’t make this easy ! I have something which is right up your …. Anyway, I think you’ll like it. Crowds have not been great this season, averaging just 8,500, so I think you would be the ideal candidate for our minorities officer. Trying to drum up support amongst minority groups in the Brighton area.
Eejit (think): An leave me the chance to recruit a hot secretary !
Sean: That sounds great ….
Eejit (think): Result !
Sean: …. But I know bout the clause in your contract, so I’ll want you to come round to mine for a candlelit dinner.
Eejit (think): http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif
Eejit: Ehm …. Give me a couple of days ..... to sort out the paper work.

22-04-12, 07:41 PM
2 days later and I held the interviews for the job of Brighton and Hove Albion secretary. I was hoping to see a cross section of the local community, as well as some hot totty ! It didn’t go exactly to plan

First to arrive was :


Eejit: Nope !


Eejit: Now you’re getting silly !

There was just 1 candidate left. I closed my eyes and preyed.

????: Hi, my name’s …..

Eejit: I don’t care …. You’ve got the job. When can you start ?
????: Right away. Shall I clear your desk ?

My contract (and various other things) fulfilled, I just had the Sean situation to sort out. I had a cunning plan and went out looking for the most ordinary looking person I could find. So ordinary, that they just had to be in disguise. I spotted them.

Eejit: Excuse me, but are you ZanSnake, master of disguise ?
????: Weirdo !

He took a step back so get away from me, tripping off the pavement, right into the path of a number 23 bus which didn’t have a hope of stopping in time. A river of blood poured from under the front wheels.

Passenger 1: Oh my god ! They’ve killed AMC !
Passenger 2: Bastards !

Plan A had failed, so I had to resort to Plan B.

The street was busy with normal looking people. I shouted out

Eejit: Look ….. It’s Ke$ha

Most people just turned, but one, otherwise normal looking person stood out.


Eejit: ZanSnake, Master of disguise ! I knew you’d be here.
ZanSnake: Damn you ! You know I can’t resist Ke-drool-$ha
Eejit: I need a favour
ZanSnake: And what’s in it for me ?
Eejit: A back stage VIP pass, access all areas, for the Ke$ha gig at Falmer tonight.
ZanSnake: KE$HA ! You’ve got it.
Eejit: Right then, I want you to disguise yourself as me …
ZanSnake: Easy


Eejit: Now go to this address at 7:30 and ask for Sean.

A few hours later, at precisely 7:30 and 5 seconds, a yell echoed out over Brighton. It sounded like


All terms of my contract now complete, I was free to move. My final game in charge was the Van’s Trophy 1st round tie at home to QPR. Twice we took the lead and twice the visitors equalised, their second coming in the 4th minute of injury time. Extra time provided no more goals and so we went to penalties. QPR missed their third attempt, but since we had missed our first and second, when Spencer tucked his away to give QPR a 3-1 lead, Smith had to score. He ballooned it over the bar.

It meant that Brighton hadn’t won any of the 3 cup games during my 22 match tenure, Rotherham having gunned us out of the FA Cup. I still left The Seagulls top of the league as I set of for my next job in a Railway town.



22-04-12, 07:42 PM

Speculation that my next job would be at Crewe Alexandra proved to be correct. I got off the train at platform 4 and made the short walk to Gresty Rd. while contemplating what I had let myself in for. I had done my research on the journey and Crewe were rock bottom of League One, without a win all season.


Although Crewe had also been totally useless when Brighton had beeten them 3-0 at Gresty Rd, although young defender Adam Cooksey had picked up the MoM award in that game. I’d look out for him. There was plenty of time to make up the 13 points for safety and there were signs of recovery as Crewe were unbeaten in the 2 games since Mark Greaves had left, including a 3-1 win over Rochdale in the Vans Trophy, their first win of the season.

Chairman Bill Burgess met me at the ground and explained that he wanted me to get The Railwaymen clear of relegation. He gave me the keys to my new wheels, which were a bit different, but would certainly get me around from Crewe.

He also explained that the previous club secretary had left with Mark Greaves and my first task would be to appoint a new one. RESULT !

Burgess: So, do you have anyone in mind ?
Eejit: Well Plan A will be to pick up the phone and call Pixie Lott, who would be delighted to be my secretary !
Burgess: I’d have a Plan B if I was you.

He may have a point, but it does give an excuse to put up a picture !

In my office, I put into action Plan B. It involved searching the internet where I found Hendo’s Executive Office Staff, a local recruitment agency. The website (http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?3-Babes%21-Babes%21-Babes%21) certainly had many pictures of exactly the sort of secretary that I was looking for.

I picked up the phone and dialled the number

Mark: Mark Henderson, Hendo’s Executive Office Staff. How can I help you.
Eejit: Hi, I’m The Eejit, manager at Crewe Alexandra FC and I’m looking for a secretary. It must be a girl and she must be very attractive. Doesn’t need any office skills.
Mark: So let me get this right. You want me to find you a good looking girl in Crewe ?
Eejit: That’s about it.
Mark: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahaha !

The line was cut off !

In an office a few miles away in nearby Stoke –

Mark: Hey AMC, you won’t believe this !
AMC: Wazzup Mark ?
Mark: Got this nutter who thinks we could find a babe in Crewe !
AMC: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha - argh, my side is splitting -hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha – argh !

AMC lay motionless on the floor

Mark: Oh my god ! He’s killed AMC !
AMC (with his dying breath): Bastard !

22-04-12, 07:43 PM
Who needs Hendo Executive Office Staff. I appointed my own secretary and Mark had underestimated the prospects in Crewe.

The biscuits were not the only thing on the table by the end of her first day ! Shagging Julia Ann didn’t help get Crewe out of the relegation zone, so it was time to concentrate on the football. The backroom was first to be reviewed and Livingston coach Brian Welsh was named as my Assistant along with 2 new coaches, a scout and 2 physios.

http://www.scottishfootballleague.com/docs/009__034__managers__Brian_Welsh__1292583150_standa rd.jpg

That left the playing staff to review and the squad was not bad, certainly comparable to Brighton and it was criminal that this squad had not won a single league game. I had 3 excellent keepers in Matt Hudson, Scott Bailey and Steve Price. I would be confident with any of them between the sticks. I had a good defence with options on both flanks. Matty Morley was the star and the 26 year old was a candidate for captain. Charles Todd and Bill Davidson made a solid pair in the middle of the park, although wide midfield was not the strongest and there wasn’t much depth. Upfront, Denis French, Peter Lea and Peter Foster would fight it out for the goals.


Defender Keiran Andrews had been in my first 11 for my only game with Swindon, while left back Peter Smith hadn’t impressed at Forest

http://images.pitchero.com/ui/90408/1297107818.jpg http://i.thisis.co.uk/275563/article/images/2444069/1689222-vlarge.jpg

I didn’t need to make too many changes and had great difficulty in finding any midfielders to join me. The only one I got was former Thistle right winger Mike Mullins who came on loan from Celtic. I took an option to take young striker George Carr on loan from Colchester which gave me cover when I opted to play 4-3-3. That was it for players coming in, which left me with 5 available if I managed to find another club.

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There was the usual deadwood, so 14 players departed during my reign.

The action started at home to Lincoln in a 6 pointer. Peter Foster gave us the perfect start scoring his first of the season in the 18th minute. Right back Ben Rutherford added a second before the interval to secure the wing, but we had to thank man of the match Matt Hudson for the win. It was as if he had super glue on his gloves.

Another 6 pointer followed and that 4-1 win over Droylsden took us off the bottom of the league for the first time in 12 games. It was not though the start of a magnificent run and we had some shocking displays, like Wycombe’s 7-2 win at Gresty Road ! It therefore took 8 more games before we were out of the bottom 4 and heading towards safety.

My cup form didn’t improve. My only cup game was a very winnable Van’s Trophy encounter with Leicester which the home side took 2-1 after Carl Butterfield had given us a first half lead. That result started a poor run of 3 consecutive defeats.

With transfer window approaching, not a single job had come up that I hadn’t previously held. Having waited so long, it was typical that 2 came up together, Fulham and Middlesbrough. I applied immediately and got


And so the transfer window closed with me still at Crewe. A 3-0 win over Rotherham and a 1-1 draw with Lincoln lifted Crewe to the dizzy height of 15th when finally I got the chance to move to Yorkshire.



22-04-12, 07:43 PM

Rotherham would be my next destination for a 5 game cameo to preserve their league 1 status. By strange coincidence a cameo was just about all that my secretary was wearing when I entered my office !

In the game before I joined, a late Paddy Barry goal had secured a 3-2 win over Newport that left me needing to close a gap of 4 points from 5 games to secure safety.


But how many points would I need ? The last 3 games were Crawley (A), Lincoln (A) and Leicester (H), all six pointers, but would those 9 points be enough ? The first 2 games were both at home, Wycombe (7th) and Leeds (12th) would not be easy. I’d also have to do it with just the players at the club as the transfer window had closed.

In truth the squad was pretty good, so while I would have liked to bring in a couple of players, I thought I could give it a go with what I had. In Mick Blackburn I had an excellent keeper with lots of experience who could play at a much higher level. He had been on loan from Southend in my Coventry side and played 6 times. A back 4 of Warburton, Webster, Davies and Barry was solid enough, but while I had cover for most, keeping right back Paddy Barry fit would be key. Midfield was the real problem. I really only had 4 players of league 1 standard, and 2 of them were right wingers. Upfront, Benin international Rene-Claude Kabine was not my stile of forward but had a good record. He would be supported by Will Skinner and Chris Bowden.


For the Wycombe game, I opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation that included a left back (Danny Birmingham) on the left wing and Kabine tucked in behind Skinner up front. Wycombe were content to sitback and prevent us anyway they could, their midfielder Paul Bishop lucky to stay on the park after landing a cracking left hook on Chris Davies. The goals soon came, 3 in 6 minutes ! First of all Barrett charged down the left wing and swung in a low cross which Kabine met at the front post with a crisp volley. From the kick off Wycombe won a corner. Blackburn punched it clear but only onto the head of Dawson who looped it back in. Our winner though came from a melee in the Wycombe box. Kabine’s cross was headed goalwards by Skinner, byt Talbot saved. Palmer smashed the rebound which was blocked by Rowe. The ball fell nicely for Kabine who drove it in of the post.


The best I had hoped for was a draw, so could we carry the confidence on to get something from the Leeds game ? This was Skinners turn to shine. Twice Leeds took the lead and twice Skinner equalised. And so I had picked up 4 points from the 2 hard games which set us up nicely for 3 six pointers. We were still 19th as Leicester and Droylsden had both collected 3 points, bringing Gainsborough into the mix.

First up a trip to Crawley who were not yet clear. Again we got a great start, Skinner, Kabine and Cousins giving us a 3-1 interval lead. Crawley came at us second half and Blackburn preserved our lead with some excellent keeping. With 10 mins left, Skinner secured the points and meant that Francis late strike was only a consolation. 4-2.


We were now level with Gainsborough and a point behind Leicester and Droylsden. Squeeky bum time approaching and I just hoped that Lincoln were as bad as the previous times I had played them. I need not have worried. Skinner and Kabine both scored inside 20 minues and we could coast home knowing that Leicester, Gainsborough and Droylsden had all lost. We were out of the relegation zone for the first time since the new year. But we still had to get something from Leicester. A draw may be enough as both Droylsden and Gainsborough were playing away, but I couldn’t take any risks.

It was a tetchy start, littered with freekicks and ill temper and it wasn’t long before the yellow cards started to appear. It needed a goal to settle the players and it came in the 29th minute. It was a solo effort by Kabine who beat 3 players before rounding the keeper. The Don Valley stadium erupted.


If that was goal of the season, our second most certainly wasn’t. An aimless put up the park hit Montgomery’s head and although he knew little about it looped over the keeper. 2-0 at the interval, so we didn’t care that the other sides were both behind. Maybe it was complacency, but from the second half kick off, Leicester were back in it in controversial fashion. Hirst took a freekick which Blackburn saved, but the ref ordered a retake. This time Hirst got it right and we were pegged back to 2-1. It took just 1 minute to regain the 2 goal cushion. Montgomery blasting home a free kick asnd showing that you don’t need to take 2 efforts to get it right. Just before the hour, Kabine made it 100% safe with a goal that mirrored his first. Running from inside his own half

http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Rotherham+United+v+Aldershot+Town+League+Two+xP_qS gr2tULm.jpg

Mission accomplished, I was now free to move again. With the Euro qualifiers coming to an end in November, I just hoped that I would get a chance with a Premier League club.



22-04-12, 07:44 PM
Having resigned from Rotherham, there was a real scarcity of Premier League jobs over the summer of 2027 and absolutely none that I hadn’t previously held. This wasn’t a huge surprise, as there were only 7 jobs in the Premier League that would be new to me. With the season about to start, and nothing on the horizon, I had to decide whether to start the season unemployed and hope that something turned up, or to take a job lower down the food chain, and hope that something turned up.

I took my first look at the Euro 2028 qualification tables. In group 4, Scotland were nicely placed with home games against Albania and Luxembourg to come.


Although England had lost their opening group 5 game in Chorzow, they were now favourites to win their group which should keep Steve Cotterill in his job until the summer at least


The most surprising though was group 9 where Northern Ireland were in control and with Sweden still to play Greece and a home match with Armenia to come they were odds on to make the play-offs at worst.


There was a decent chance that all 3 could be playing in next summers finals in France, which would buy me more time to find that elusive Premier League job. I took the plunge and went for a Championship job with a South East based team who had just survived relegation after coming down from the Premier the year before.

22-04-12, 07:44 PM
Great stuff mate, or should that be bad?

How long do you give it before Thistle are crap again?

The first season without me was rather an interesting one. Former West Ham and Charlton manager and Ipswich player Arran Lee-Barrett was a surprise choice of replacement for me. He immediately put his own mark on the squad with 23 new faces and 16 players shown the door. Why ? We had won the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif league ! He didn’t get off to a great start as the League Cup campaign was ended at the first hurdle, drawing Rangers away in the 3rd round was very unlucky and they went down 3-1. The early league form flirted with relegation, but that eventually improved and the Jag became bogged down in mid table, eventually finishing 5th. The Scottish cup was retained. Hibs, Brechin Stenhousemuir and Celtic all failed to prevent a date with Rangers at Hampden.

Europe though was the real story. Home and away wins over Lech Poznan completed the Champions League qualification. Despite going down home and away to Sevilla, they only dropped one more draw and finished comfortably ahead of Club Brugge and Basel.

Onto the second phase where Real Madrid were the big threat, and won the group with ease. Everton were poor, however a 3-1 home win over Spartak Moscow put them in 2nd place with a game to go. That was a disappointing 2-0 loss to Real at the Bernabeu, however Everton held Spartak and The Jags were through to a Champions League quarter final with Werder Bremen.

A 2-0 home win put The Jags in control, but it took Ben Murphy’s equaliser after an early goal in the second leg to calm the nerves. Steve Oakes settled the tie with a penalty after Werder keeper was sent for an early bath. Ajax were the semi final opponents. 2-0 down in Amsterdam, the tie was transformed by a late Pat Byrne vital away goal. Hernandez cancelled that out within 3 minutes of the Firhill leg, and it looked like the Dutch side were through when they went 2-0 up before the interval. Back came the Jags and with 4 second half goals, recorded a 5-4 aggregate win and a chance for revenge over Real Madrid.

The Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna was the setting, and after a bright start by Thistle, it became a backs to the wall defensive display as Real mounted wave after wave of attack. Fortunately Pat Byrne had managed to score in that early spell, so the question was could they hang on ? They lasted until the 52nd minute when the ref gave a penalty that Valero converted. Real were now going for the win, but Thistle keeper Eric Wild was inspired and held out to 90 mins. Extra time couldn’t deliver a killer goal and so we had penalties. Byrne and Munoz both missed their openers, but the next 6 were all scored to make it 3-3. Terry Dunne stepped up confidently and blasted it down the centre, after the keeper had moved, to put the pressure on diving cheating bastard Bueno, who had won the normal time penalty. He went for power rather than accuracy and belted it wide of the post.


Partick Thistle were European Champions !

22-04-12, 07:45 PM

News that The Eejit was starting the 39th job of his career had spread and the paparazzi were out in force in Reading, Norwich, Portsmouth and Colchester. Fortunately no one was in Gillingham when I parked up at Priestfield.

Chairman Gary Jackson was not available, so club secretary Gill Ingham showed me the assets

Clearly some assets were bigger than others, the club was in debt and I had only 275K to spend on strengthening the squad for a mid-table finish. As I told Gill, I had serious plans for something up top. I was sure that a dodgy hotel room and a jar of Nuttela wouldn’t break the bank. On second thoughts, make that 2 jars of Nuttela.

I had only 3 days to prepare for the opening Championship fixture at Anfield, no time to improve the squad and so I’d have to play with what I had in my hands (no not Gill again ! Do you think of nothing else ?) The squad was small, just 22 players, but there was some real quality to be found

Between the sticks there was little to choose between young Ben Barron and experienced Stephen Downes. Both looked adequate, but I would like a 3rd option.

Central defenders don’t come much better than Zoltan Lipcsei who has 55 caps for Hungary. His partner Kevin Donnelly had played 22 times for Scotland while a very experienced defence was rounded off by Paul Rowlands who has 38 Welsh caps and Cypriot Christos Sotiriou with 85 caps. We had experience, but lacked numbers, particularly on the left where Sotiriou was the only real option.

Callum Hughes, Tim Walker, Derek Little and Peter Wood made a natural midfield 4. Wood is in his 3rd spell at the club. There were a few others, but I couldn’t see them being more than backup players.

Up front we were looking very good (take your eyes off Gill). Argentine international Rodolfo Vilalba looked class (Diego Milito regen. If I’d known that I’d have sold the little arsehole)


Anthony Brush was sure to join him in the goal scoring, but other than Kevin Doughty, a product of the Guiseley academy, there was only a very dodgy Faroese, Eydun Hojgaard, who strangely had been at Man Utd, but after I had left !

I managed to form that lot into a 4-4-2 and we kicked off the season playing towards the Kopp end and what a start it was. 12 minutes on the clock and Brush did all the hard work on the right flank. His cross was overhit, but nodded back by Sotiriou for Hughes to blast home and silence the scousers. They were starting to leave the ground 10 minutes later when another cross from the right caused havoc in their defence and Brush had a free header to put us 2 up.


Now we could shut up shop and did so very effectively. Rowe pulled one back to make it a nervy final 15 minutes, especially when Donnelly was sent off with 5 mins left. We had done enough and held out for an excellent win. Based on that performance, Liverpool are heading for a 5th season in the Championship, if they are lucky !

22-04-12, 07:45 PM
It didn’t take me long to strengthen the Gill’s squad and I didn’t have to spend anything in doing so. 6 players arrived on free deals with a further 3 on loan. There were no notable names, but right winger John Gallagher had been one of my first signings when I took over at Watford. It wasn’t all one way. Even in a squad of 22 there were some who were not upto the task, and 5 players were shifted out, bringing in 850k. It was a very young squad


With so few players to select from, it made team selection easy and with everyone getting a chance of action, it was a happy squad with good moral, a recipe for success. Results started to flow and although we couldn’t keep up with a Man City side that looked certain to end a 5 year spell in the Championship, Gillingham were always up with the chasing pack.

This though was supposed to be a short stay until a Premier job came up. November was approaching when the Euro qualifiers would be decided. Scotland finished off their campaign with wins over Albania (3-0) Czech Republic (2-0) and Luxembourg (2-0). It looked like being enough only for second place until a late Albanian goal in Oslo handed Norway a surprise defeat and Scotland qualified in top spot. That was one job that wouldn’t be coming up.


England’s chances of matching the Scots was ended by a 2-1 defeat to Poland at Wembley. They finished of with a 1-0 win in Baku in what was a dead rubber, to take second place. When all the points were added up, it was enough for best 2nd place and so England supporters could also book their tickets for France. Again it was likely that Steve Cotterill would keep his job for another 6 months


With no Premier job on the horizon, it was down to Northern Ireland to decide whether I had to face winning the Scottish Cup with Airdrie. A 1-0 win over Sweden was a decent start, but they lost top spot to the Greeks by going down 2-1 in Athens. It looked to be going horribly wrong when Armenia arrived in Belfast and parked a bus in front of their goal. I was saved by a former player, Ipswich’s Philip Keenan netting with 10 mins left to secure a play off spot with Switzerland.


Would the playoffs be enough for to keep his job or would the Ulstermen have to beat the Swiss ? A 1-0 win for the Cheese-eaters in Bern left the second leg very much in the balance. With still no Premier League jobs available (although one was becoming interesting) I decided that I had to attend the match and learn my fate. I convinced Gill to join me, either for celebration or commiseration. I didn’t need her support as she needed all the support she could find.

A taxi was waiting to take us to the airport, however as Gill went out the door at Priestfield, the taxi driver was coming in … they came together with some considerable force. In a bizarre accident, his head became buried deep in her cleavage and despite all efforts, couldn’t be removed. He was suffocating and his face was turning blue, then purple, then white. Finally, he hung there limp (atleast most of his body was).

Gill: Oh my god ! They’ve killed AMC
Eejit: Bastards ! That’s the way I want to go !

Firemen eventually removed AMC’s body from the scene and we made our way to Windsor Park where the Irish made the perfect start. Keenan’s run and cross was met by Smith’s head and the aggregate score was levelled after just 7 minutes. The Swiss were far from out of it and knew that just 1 away goal would make it very difficult for the Irish. They got it in the 27th minute when Polverino was first to react to a ball played to the near post and he got the tip of his toe to it deflecting it past the keeper.


My fate looked to be sealed as the Irish now needed to score twice and got the first of them just 5 mins after the Swiss goal. Another near post cross and it was Smith again who was on hand to smash in a low drive. Nerves were playing a big part and both sides were looking to survive to the interval when they could regroup. That didn’t happen. The ref had already looked at his watch and was ready to blow his whistle when Maric and Smith jumped for the same Halliday cross. Smith went down and the ref pointed to the spot. It was very soft, but David Young didn’t care, hammering home the spot kick to put the Irish back in control.


The Swiss were having problems with any high balls in the box and so it was in the second half. It was only 8 minutes old when Young’s cross was met by McLaughlan who put the home side 4-2 up on aggregate. “we want 5” sang the home support, but they had to wait until the 70th minute to get it. Smith claiming his hat-trick with a speculative effort from outside the box that caught the keeper wrong footed.


It looked all over, but Huber was able to get behind the defence almost from the kick off to make it 5-2. Could there be a late fightback ? All hopes were dashed by a red card for left back Baumann who collected his second yellow after leaning on Smith when they jumped for a clearance.


As predicted, all three managers survived the round of International sackings that followed and that bought me 6 months to find that Premier League job. It took just 2 weeks as I made my way to the north for the first of 3 club jobs in the next 6 months, each moving me slightly east.


22-04-12, 07:46 PM

Christmas Eve is a funny day to start a new job, but I wasn’t going to turn down a move back to the Premier League just because I’d have to take my presents with me. Ewood Park, my new home, was certainly a step up from recent home grounds.

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The club were newly promoted from The Championship. Following relegation at the end of the 2010/11 season, it had taken 14 seasons to get back. It didn’t last long and 2 more seasons in The Championship followed before returning under the guidance of Danny Livesey.


The former Carlisle player’s record of Promotion from League Two with Preston, a Van’s Trophy with Middlesbrough and Promotion to The Premier with Blackburn, where they sit 7th, had brough him to Arsenal’s attention which is how the job came up.


He left me with a transfer kitty of 23.5m which I intended to dig into after being starved of transfers for a few seasons. But first things first, I had to get to know the current squad, which I didn’t know much about. My first task would be to speak to my Assistant Neil McDonald to get his views on the current squad as training had finished for the Christmas break.

I called my secretary in to have Neil come to my office, and was in for a huge surprise. After Gill Ingham at Gillingham, Karoliina Blackburn, Finnish Thai kick-boxer and film star, was the last person I expected to meet.

That said I was delighted and looking forward to working more closely with her.

When I finally met with Neil, he raved about their international stars, Latvian Pavel Blanks, Polish midfielder Michel Skiba and Irish striker Alan Gallagher. I wasn’t impressed, all were aging and almost certainly passed their best. In the 34 man squad, I would have expected him to tell me about some of the younger talent in the squad. I made a decision and sacked him on the spot. At 63 years old he was clearly past it, as well as over paid. The entire coaching team went with him as I appointed my own men. Possebon was being wasted as a scout and happily moved into the Assistant Managers office while Alan Lord was also promoted from the scouting team.


22-04-12, 07:46 PM
The Blackburn squad that I inherited was pretty decent looking. In Mark Gibson (Alan McGregor regen) I had a top class keeper and in Adam Jordan an able deputy, once he was recalled from a loan to Birmingham.


I also had few complaints aboit a back 4 of Adrian O’Toole, Jimmy Richardson, Richard Carter and Russell Watts. They had 26 caps between them and no lack of experience. Carter had been with me at Ipswich, while O’Toole, a product of the Guiseley Academy, was in his second spell at Ewood. The quality did drop off after these 4 and there was no realistic alternative to O’Toole at left back.

Midfield also had a decent look to it. Oliver Bruce could tear down either flank, although Mike Watson would probably be the starter on the left Patrick McBride is an established Scotland international who should be able to nurse 18 year old Steve Barrett through the centre of the park. The options were better in midfield than defence, but I still called Steve Hudson (Tom Huddleston regen) back from his loan at Charlton.


Up front, Alan Gallagher was one of the clubs star players and a fans favourite. At 33, the Irishman still had a season in the tank, but I didn’t want to rely on him. Christian Evans (22) would support him, but had little experience of the first team. I didn’t much fancy the other strikers.

Left wingers Jeff Kennedy and Russell Burke had both been with me at Sheffield Wednesday although Burke was useless and released on a free. He has improved very little since then. Eric Delaney was also a former Guiseley academy graduate.

I did have a bit of shopping to do, but other than a left back, nothing urgent. It was therefore pretty much that team (Hudson beat Barrett to the second midfield slot) which travelled to Bramall Lane for a league encounter with one of the struggling sides. It was a match that Rovers dominated, but some how found themselves behind. The Blades had their only shot on goal in stoppage time and Simon Mitchell was left unmarked to head home Coyle’s cross at the near post.


I let them have it. The full hair dryer treatment and the boot kicked across the floor that nicked Richard Carter’s cheek. He deserved it for a poor display. My rage must have done the trick as we started much better. Steve Hudson and Patrick McBride combined to grab an equaliser just before the hour and justice was finally done with an injury time winner from Gallagher.

http://www4.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Blackburn+Rovers+v+Coventry+FA+Cup+5th+Round+TzFG1 P-S5Z_l.jpg

Not a bad way to start my reign, and to end the year, but I wouldn’t like to leave it that late again. The result moved us above Sunderland and into 6th place.

22-04-12, 07:46 PM
It wasn’t long before the Blackburn Rovers cheque book was open and new players started to arrive. My second game was on the first of January, at home to leaders West Brom, and there were 5 new faces in the squad.

At the back, Danny Rowland was first to arrive from Bradford. The 23 year old would be used as cover at left back, although he can play a more central role his attributes are better than his record, and at 100K, he is one for the future. Valerica Dumitru is certainly one for now. The Romanian international can play full back on either flank, or as a makeshift winger. He is a huge signing for Blackburn and I’m surprised that a bigger club didn’t sign him earlier. 230K from Dinamo Bucharesti is an absolute bargain. The final defender signed in the first week was Garreth Gibson, a 22 year old from Oldham who can play right back or central defence. Like Rowland he is one for the future and will likely be on the bench.


Midfield saw the arrival of the first of 3 former Firhill favourites that I would sign. Right winger Joe Daly had been sold to Kilmarnock after I left, The Jags, but he was unhappy at not getting more games, so I was delighted to pick him up for just under 1M. The final new face was an attacker. Swede Bo Jonnson had been on my radar for some time and I had tried to bring him to Ipswich (as a Swede). He chose Palace then, but I finally got my man for 1.4M. He is has been more of a provider, but has all of the attributes to score himself. (either that or the Mr. T. looks will scare defences shitless)


Dumitru and Gibson both started against West Brom, with Rowland and Jonsson on the bench. Neither were needed as we romped to a 3-0 win and even had time for Kennedy to miss a penalty ! Dumitru scoring the second on his debut was a bonus.

And still the new faces arrived. England striker Graham O’Connor (Adam Le Fondre regen !) arrived from struggling Man Utd. Ciaran Slevin (former Thistle) came from Raith to shore up the centre and left of defence while Ciaran Johnston came direct from Thistle to add an attacking option to the midfield. Also adding weight to the defence was U.S.A captain Jim (Juan) Kerr. He was another big signing as we made ore intentions known.

I wanted the league title to boost my reputation before the Euro champs. Sadly Derby and Bolton hadn’t read the script, so despite 4 wins out of 6 league games, we were only 5th at the end of January, still well behind leaders Derby. Redditch and (it had to be) previous club Gillingham took us through to the FA Cup 5th round where we would play Wolves. Clearly I would need something different if I was to mount a serious challenge, and that is exactly what I found !

22-04-12, 07:47 PM
The “something different” came in the form of a Sudanese. I’ve signed players from many countries, I had 50 different nationalities at Leicester, but I think that Ahmed Al-Muwallad is the first Sudanese that I have ever signed.


Listed as an FC, he didn’t appear with the forwards, which means that he must be an AMC with free-role set and that was crucial. Good in the air, he was stong, hard working, had a powerful shot and was highly creative. He was available for free after being released by Germ. Beerschot at the end of last season, but fortunately had aquired a passport while in Belguim. After a couple of appearances off the bech, I slotted him into midfield, with the free role on and urged him to get up to support the attack. The return of 6 goals, 3 assists and 3 MoM in his first 11 games was more than I could have hoped. When he wasn’t available, Ciaran Johnston stepped into the role and we were off. A 3-0 win over Cardiff in our 27th league game sent Rovers top of the pile and although he didn’t score, Al-Muwallad masterminded the victory. That was just one in a club record 8 consecutive victories and even started producing goals from Graham O’Connor.

My England striker had been awful since joining and after 9 games without a goal, even the home fans had been chanting “what a waste of money”. The confidence of going top spurred him on and suddenly the waste of space was a goal machine, notching up 6 in 6 games.

Although the winning run was ended by Ipswich (after O’Connor had put us 2-0 up) the most amazing game of this entire story followed.

Blackburn 6 Arsenal 2 was not what anyone expected after Hallam put the visitors into a 3rd minute lead. Al-Muwallad pounced on a loose ball in the area to equalise then McBride put us in front after another fumble by Gooner’s keeper Graham. Another loose ball was hammered home by Bruce to make it 3-1 after 30 minutes, but this was a game you couldn’t take your eyes off for a second and Al-Muwallad scored a spectacular volley which was matched at the other end by Moreno to make it 4-2 at the interval. The goals just kept on coming and when Graham again made an impression of grainaig in a CM Vipers keepers jersey, Gibson was on hand to make it 5-2. “We want six” sang the Ewood faithful and Diminutive winger Daly leapt above Graham in injury time to head home Al-Muwallad’s cross. At the end of the game there was a marked difference between the home and the away stands !

http://img.metro.co.uk/i/pix/2009/08/blackburnfanACT_450x300.jpg http://www.newcastle-online.org/stadiums/ewoodpark_blackburnrovers/images/ewoodpark3.jpg

Only West Brom were able to keep up with the pace that we set so with 5 games still to play, they were just 3 points behind and then there was another 5 point gap to Derby. We would play The Baggies in our penultimate league game, surely a decider. It could be part 1 of a double, as West Ham and Ipswich had fallen in our cup run. A date with Portsmouth at Wembley awaits.

22-04-12, 07:47 PM
The top 2 encounter at The Hawthorns in the penultimate game looked to be the decider, however as Rovers cruised to a 3-0 win over Hull, West Brom failed to break down Barnsley and we had a 5 point lead with 2 games to go. 1 point would have sealed it, but Al-Muwallad had other ideas, setting up Gallagher for the first and nutmegging MacKenzie before driving home a second before the break. We could show-boat the second half, knowing that the title was secure. The fans enjoyed the 4-0 win over Sheffield United before the trophy was presented at Ewood one week later.

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So could we make it a double ? Portsmouth had been in the bottom half all season, ending up 14th under John Hughes. They were however the defending holders, so knew how to turn it on for the big games. Their route to the final had been Liverpool (A), Arsenal (A), Man Utd (A – replay) Man City (A) and Everton, so nothing was being taken for granted.

Pompey started off on the attack and were able to test Gibson in the 2nd minute, but the Rovers keeper was alert and held Wheelers strike. Gradually we got more into the match and Al-Muwallad was all over the park, hitting the post at one end and blocking a shot at the other. Our superior midfield was starting to exert control, but there were few clear cut chances and Christian Evans was having a bad day at the office, miscuing his first effort wide and blazing over from 10 yards out when he had lost his marker. And so an entertaining half that never quite burst into exciting, ended goalless.

Patrick McBride had picked up a knock and so Oliver Bruce started the second half on the left wing, with Barrett coming into the central role vacated by McBride. The change unsettled the balance, and Pompey took advantage, Carroll breaking down the left and crossing for Craig Wheeler to blast home from 8 yards.


The Portsmouth celebrations didn’t last long though as attention was drawn to the far side linesman.


There certainly can’t have been much in it and that was a major let off.


Portsmouth tails were up, and they enjoyed their best spell, winning a couple of corners and forcing Joe Daly back to clear off our line. We were struggling to get the ball into their half and when Daly broke down the right, there was no support and his cross was picked off by MoM Hyldgaard. Right back Richard Carter had broken forward and spotted Evan’s run, playing the ball back into the danger area and the big stiker met it with a thunderous volley that nearly ripped the net. No offside, no controversy, this one counted.


It may have been against the run of play, but the goal changed the entire face of the game. There was only one team in it now and we could have gone 2 up when Oliver Bruce hit the bar with the keeper beaten. We had a few scares as Pompey tried for an equaliser, but Rovers were well on top and although a second goal would have saved the nails, we never looked like loosing this one.

http://cache2.asset-cache.net/xc/84757054.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF8789215ABF3343C02EA54858F4CCAA4A601985 50C23B7721148034194D44FD4D8D3C70

Double Champions ! a great way to go into the Euro 2028 championships, but would I come out of them with an international job ?

22-04-12, 07:47 PM
France 2028. The Euro Championships had been billed as the greatest football show ever. With such hype, there was always going to be disappointment, and so it was no surprise that we kicked off Group 3 with Northern Ireland 0 Russia 0 in a game that offered 0 entertainment. It got no better in Group 4 where England and Spain failed to create anything that would raise the blood pressure. The other Group 4 game was a cracker as a rampant Scotland stuffed 3 past the Irish. Blackburn’s Patrick McBride was man of the match, creating the first 2 goals, while Mark Gibson took his place between the sticks. Paris was a sea of tartan than night

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1413/1399020770_360528507a.jpg?v=0 http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00768/SNA3009GIRLS-666_768470a.jpg

The second round of group games again saw few goals, and The Northern Ireland players will have few complaints in going down 1-0 to Turkey. Qualification would now be very difficult, a situation that made my job prospects better. In Group 4, police security was hightened for the Scotland England clash. It was 30 years since the sides had last met and there were a few old scores to settle, but that ws the terracing, not the match. Scotland were outplayed for long periods and fell behind before the break following a solo effort by Barcelona’s Lee Cherry, the England captain. The Scots were still in it though and the controversial incident came with 5 minutes to go when Joe Cotterill sythed down Patrick McBride in the penalty box before stamping on his head. The Scotland player grabbed the ball ready to take the penalty himself, only for the ref to give the decision the other way, booking McBride for diving.

A pressure cooker atmosphere boiled over and the Scots fans broke through the police cordon to get in amongst the England fans. Play was delayed for 20 minutes until order was restored, but one body lay motionless in the gap between the fans

Gendarme 1: Mon Dieu ! Ils ont tue AMC
Gendarme 2: Bastard !

Spain and Ireland managed a 1-1 draw, so as things stood, England and Scotland were going through. Not the script I wanted.

Northern Ireland’s final game was a 2-1 loss to Germany. It was their best performance, but their team had not been upto the task and surely Alan Nixon would now be asked to step down. Scotland set themselves up for the 0-0 that would see them qualify. It almost paid off, but mainly due to woeful finishing by the defending champions, who hit the target just 3 times from 11 efforts. Sadly 1 of these efforts hit the back of the net, and Scotland were on their way home. Boring England got another 0-0 draw with Ireland that secured their qualification.

The big news though was the hosts failing to qualify from Group 1 !


In the quarterfinals, England came up against their big rivals Germany. Uwe Fielder grabbed an early goal to give the Germans the advantage, but England pressure finally told with an equaliser from my former Arsenal midfielder Tony Griffiths. Extra time failed to separate the sides and so, once again Germany v England went to penalties. Some stories never change, and some endings never change either.


Denmark, Slovakia and Russia completed the semi final line up.

Before these games could be played, I was offered the chance to take over at Cardiff, a job that I hadn’t even applied for. I thought about it before declining. None of the home nations had impressed, so I didn’t want to influence any chance of getting an international job by taking on something new.

Denmark ended Germanys run, while Russia eased past Slovakia to make an East v West final. The East won, Russia recording a 2-0 win. And so the important part, the manager sackings. No surprise to see Deschamps getting sacked by France, but that was it. Alan Nixon, Brian Reid and Steve Cotterill all kept their jobs. I would have to go another 3 years, until the next qualifiers complete, before the jobs come up again. The fans were not happy, and it would be back to the lower leagues for me.

22-04-12, 07:48 PM
Having failed to get the international job I wanted, I resigned from Blackburn looking to maximise my chance of getting another job.


The plan was to knock off a few minor clubs before getting back into the Premier League for the start of the 2031/32 season, when the next Euro qualifiers would end. There were a number of jobs available, but before I could even apply, my mobile rang.

Eejit: Look, if that is Cardiff again, I don’t want your job !
CMSG Ltd: Don’t be so angry, we are your friends.
Eejit: Who needs enemies ? What do you want, and how did you find me ?
CMSG Ltd: We always know how to find you. And after your little holiday last year, a paperwork error meant that we didn’t set you any targets, we have to remedy that now.
Eejit: No problem. I don’t have a job, so you can’t touch me.
CMSG Ltd: Oh yes we can. We know that you are going to try to jump around a number of jobs, so what we are setting is this. You can’t sign or loan any players for any club until the end of the season.
Eejit: You can’t be serious ?
CMSG Ltd: I am. You must play with what you’ve got.

26-04-12, 02:41 PM
There were a few club jobs available, most of which I had already completed, but the Bury one caught my eye due to them having a squad of 47. There had to be a few decent players in that lot. Bury were enjoying there best spell for many years. The 1894 FA Cup winners had spent most of this millennium in the Conference, but back to back promotions had propelled the club to League 1. A 12th place finish had oddly not been enough to keep Alan Knill his job, so after 20 years in charge, he was sacked. Very harsh !

After Gill Ingham and Karoliina Blackburn as my last two secretaries I didn’t think we could go down the same road with Bury. How wrong I was.

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I was also wrong in thinking that Bury might have some hidden gems, however the vast majority of the 47 man squad were totally useless. There were maybe 5 players that looked to be league 1 standard. Darren Preston was a decent keeper without being remarkable. Richard Jones was an excellent young central defender who just lacked a bit of pace and Shaun Beard a defender who could play anywhere across the back 4. In midfield Tommy Hunt was a flying right winger while Peter Doherty provided the grit in the middle of the park.

I had 11 strikers on my books. Not one of them had finishing of 10 ! All were put on intensive shooting practice.

The squad was padded out with the least bad of the rest and I ended up with 24 first teamers to rotate. The rest were all transfer listed and before I left 15 of them had found new clubs, mostly for free, but I did get 21K for Matthew Beard and Paul Newton. God knows why.

We were ready for action and the squad welcomed Cambridge United for the league opener and a family fun day.

http://www.buryfc.co.uk/javaImages/46/6e/0,,10422%7E6843974,00.jpg http://www.buryfc.co.uk/javaImages/e9/cd/0,,10422%7E6278633,00.jpg

We started brightly and were rewarded by veteran striker Tom McDermott’s 255th goal in a 17 year career for his only club. Rather than going on for more, we sat back and were let off the hook when Adkins missed a penalty after McKenna backed into Gallagher at a corner. Tommy Mitchell picked up a second yellow just after the interval and despite stout resistance, Cambridge probably deserved their injury time equaliser. Not a great start, but there were encouraging signs, especially at the back which came under a lot of second half pressure.


One week later and the long trip back from Crawley was eased with 3 points in the bag after an easy 3-0 win and the season was up and running. I wouldn’t be at Bury for long though. Just 8 games (4 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat) before I would be moving further East, over the border into Yorkshire.



26-04-12, 02:41 PM

I was quite surprised to get this job. I had applied many times and been turned down, so to get it so soon after joining Bury was a pleasant surprise. Bradford had been through a few managers, Peter Taylor, Stuart McCall, John Terry, Aidy Boothroyd, Nick Wright and Nathan Clarke. Other than back to back Vans Trophies in 2020 and 2021, none had brought any success, and only Terry had survived without being sacked.

Taylor had achieved 2 promotions, Terry a relegation and Boothroyd another promotion. They were now in their 8th Championship season although 7th had been the best finish and they only just survived last term. This season they had started well and were sitting 11th, just off the pace.


I had hardly had time to settle in my office before the phone rang

Eejit: For http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif sake. You’ve already set me a restriction !
????: Muhahahah!
Eejit: Who the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif is this ?
????: That is of no concern of yours. Muhahahah !
Eejit: Look here you lunatic. What do you want ?
????: Muhahahah ! …. Actually I have something you want. I have Pixie Lott ! Muhahahah ! And if you want to save her, you had better do as I say. Muhahahah !
Eejit: Oh yeh ! How do I know your not just saying that.
????: On your desk is a brown envelope. Inside it you will find Pixie Lott’s underpants …. Muhahahah !

He was right. There was an envelope. I opened it and found ….


Eejit: Oh yeh. How do I know that these aren’t any old pair of underpants ?
????: Sniff them. Muhahahah !

He was right. No question they were Pixie Lott’s.

Eejit: So what do I do ?
????: Simple. You just get Bradford into the Premier League, where they should rightfully be. Muhahahah !
Eejit: You bastard !

No pressure on me then. I called my secretary in to ask her to arrange squad profiles. At least things couldn’t get any worse. I knew a guy on a website who had told me about all the gorgeous Bradford babes.

Nora: If you think you’re going to complete the terms of your contract with me, I’ll tell you where you can stick this !


26-04-12, 02:43 PM
So, I had a mad lunatic who was holding Pixie Lott kidnapped until I got Bradford into the Premier League and I had an ancient hag as a secretary. While the first maybe good news for lovers of music, I had other plans for Pixie, and the secretary was a major blow to my chances of ever getting away from Valley Parade. I needed some advice.

Eejit: Never gonna give you up


Eejit: Wow ! Barmaid #3 from the Viper’s Arms in Chorley. What have I done to deserve this ?
Goodshag: I just want to know what Pixie Lott has got that I’ve not ?
Eejit: Ehm …. Underpants ?
Goodshag: That can be arranged ….


Eejit: Strictly speaking, No underpants !
Goodshag: That can also be arranged ….


Come on, what did you expect here on a family forum. There may be under 18s reading this

Eejit: Look, I didn’t get you here to discuss the underpants of some wannabe pop star. How the hell am I going to get out of this mess.
Goodshag: Have you thought of getting Bradford promoted ?
Eejit: Brilliant ! Sheer genius ! Why didn’t I think of that ! Have you seen the http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif squad I have to work with, and a http://champman0102.co.uk/forum/images/smilies/censored.gif stupid no transfer restriction placed on me by your employers ?
Goodshag: You have learned enough by now to work your own magic on Bradford. Trust me, you get promotion and the rest will look after itself. Now why don’t you come here and work some magic on me.

Nothing for it then, I would have to work with what I had to get Bradford promoted. First stop was a review of the squad. I had 33 players in total, and whittled that down to 24 that I could actually use.


Martin Abbey is 22 and in his second season at Valley Parade and was first choice last season after a move from Brentford. He has good hands, but needs to get higher going for crosses. Not a team player so should be more vocal with the defence
Simon Anderson arrived this season on a Bosman from Barrow. The 25 year old is possibly a better allround keeper than Abbey, and I am delighted to find 2 quality keepers at the club.
Stephen Grundy will have to be content with reserve football. The 23 year old is not a bad stopper, but will have to work hard to displace Abbey and Anderson. He is in his 4th season with his only club and has yet to start a 1st team game

(Easily the best department)

Justin Austin comes with lots of experience, having started over 350 games in his career. The 33 year old central defender can also play right back, although the lack of pace would make that an emergency. Very strong in the air, his legs are certainly good for another season.
Pedro Collado has played under 21 football for Spain. The left back is a potential captain and is very attacking, with pace and a good cross. He is hard working and eager to track back to help out his team mates
It is a second spell at Valley Parade for the 28 year old who was on loan earlier in his career.
John Fowler is likely to spend much of the season on the bench. The 30 year old works hard, but lacks some basic skills. He can play central defence or at right back.
Matthew Johnson is a young central defender who has the potential to go all the way to the top. At 21 he is a candidate for team captain and it is hard to find fault with a player so young. He arrived last season from Swansea where he made just 4 appearances.
Simone Paoletti is maybe even better than Johnson and also a potential captain. The 22 year old Italian is better positionaly and more of a team player than Johnson. He is also a former Swansea player so the 2 youngsters know each other well.
Tom Riley adds some experience to the defence. This is the first season at Bradford for the 29 year old who is now at his 14th club. Gets a bit lost positionally and doesn’t have the pace to recover. He needs to bulk up a bit.
Alan Rogers, like myself, started his career at Stockport. Now 31 he is nearing the end of a 300 game career. He can play centrally or at right back equally well although the wide position is more likely as there is a lot of competition for the middle.
Tony Walsh has 16 caps for Northern Ireland and even scored an international goal. He is a player that I love to find as he can play either flank, or move up to the wings. Doesn’t have a lot going for him, but he does work hard and despite being 32 is still full of running.
He is in his 4th season at Bradford
Gareth Young is on the fringe of the Northern Ireland squad. He is a hard working left back who is more defensive than Collado. Hard to chose who will be my 1st choice at left back.

(No complaints with that defence)


Tim Blake joined this season from Bournemouth. The 33 year old attacking midfielder has a decent finish and will create the openings from midfield. He is also not frightened to get stuck into the tackles when he needs to.
John Campbell has 5 caps for Northern Ireland. The 25 year old attacking midfielder likes to get forward more than Blake. He is very hard working and very quick, once he gets going.
Neil Coates is the first of my left wingers. This is his 6th season at Valley Parade although he has not really set the dales alight. I’m expecting some end product from his set pieces.
Martin Farrell is 25 and likes to play behind a front man. He is skilful and hard working without having that killer attribute that would promise goals. I’m expecting double figures from him, although just 9 goals from 150 starts for his only club, it may be a big ask.
Christos Kalamaris made it into the final 24 mainly because he was the only defensive midfielder. Unlikely to start many games the 29 year old Greek is a hard tackler and likes to put himself about.
Richard Logan will be a key player on the right side of midfield. He has pace. He can cross and he has a finish. I’m expecting big things from the 22 year old after a lacklustre 1st season at Bradford.
Martin Patterson will be one of the stars on the left side of midfield. Possibly the most skilful player in the squad, I have already called the Scotland manager to recommend him at 25 and with lots of experience, he should be in his prime.
Matthew Riley is the younger brother of defender Tim. The 25 year old is an attacking midfielder, but will deputise for Logan on the right wing if needed. He is a decent alround midfielder who happens to have a good eye for goal. He joined this season from Fulham.
Kevin Walton can best be described as a solid journeyman. He has a Scottish Cup medal with Partick Thistle although he joined after I had left. He was one of the first players that I sold from Leicester, although I won’t hold that against him.

(A very attack minded midfield, and I am worried about numbers if we get injuries and suspensions)


Jamie Griffiths has 6 caps for Wales, but never found the net. Now starting his 12th season with The Bantams he has made double figures every year and has been player of the year 9 times in a row. He is very quick and strong in the air, but may have to make way for some of the younger players now.
Stephen O’Connor is another on the fringe of the Northern Ireland squad. He came through the Guiseley Academy but spent most of his career in Toronto. Now in his 3rd season, he has scored 26 times from about 80 games. The fans have never forgiven him for being a former Huddersfield player.
John Simpson is a lumbering lump of centre forward. Now in his 9th season he has hardly been prolific. Probably used more as a backup this term.

(Short on numbers and short on talent. I don’t have much confidence in us being the leagues leading scorers)

The rules said nothing about coaches and Scouts, so I took advantage and appointed an entire new coaching team. With that in place, Bradford were ready to entertain Wigan in a game we should win if promotion was to be realistic.

26-04-12, 02:43 PM
Two important milestones were passed in my first 6 games at Bradford. Firstly, when Martin Farrell pounced on an error by the Redditch keeper in the 30th minute of my second game in charge, he recorded the 2,000th goal of this career.


The significance of this became too much and as emotions boiled over, we let Redditch back in and they took advantage with a 3-2 win. 4 games later and Watford came to Valley Parade for the 1,000th match of my career. (2 goals per game seems a bit lame, but it is a 69% win ratio !) The boys were out to make up for the Redditch fiasco. Farrell and Rogers put us 2 up with just 8 minutes on the clock. Simpson made it 4 before the interval and in the second half Tim Riley and Simpson again sent me home smiling with a 5-0 win.

The Redditch game aside, we went through the rest of September, all of October and most of November unbeaten. There were a fair few draws, but it was enough to put Bradford firmly in a very tight top 5. Liverpool were the form side, despite being on the wrong end of a 5 goal thriller at Anfield where Logan, Collado and Blake silenced the scousers.


The good run was ended by a strong Cardiff side in the league cup. They totally outplayed us and should have been more than one goal up as we went into injury time. From nowhere we won a corner. Young swung it in and Simpson got his head in first to grab an undeserved equaliser. With extra time now on the cards, the defence fell asleep, and seconds later, Pearson nipped in to put Cardiff back infront. I couldn’t fault the players for effort, and the league cup was a distraction from important Championship business.

That game did have a big impact as we won just 1 of the next 4 games, loosing to Palace and Notts County. Abbey was dropped from goal in favour of Anderson and suddenly we were the winning team again. The year ended with back to back 4-0 wins. Firstly a thrashing of Man Utd, Farrell with a brace and MoM for his efforts. We then put 4 past Peterborough to take 2nd place from them and finish 2028 hot on the tails of Liverpool.


26-04-12, 02:43 PM
The new year started with a bang. The wins over Man Utd and Peterborough was extended to a club record 8 in a row before we were superkeepered by Swansea after they scored early. The run included a 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool to send us top of the league, and a 1-0 FA Cup victory at Cardiff who had missed a 4th minute penalty.

We were top of the league again and credit for that must go to Martin Farrell with 19 goals and Steven O’Connor with 17. Richard Logan from right wing had also chipped in with double figures. I had thought that the attack might struggle and we would need to rely on the defence. As it turns out it was completely the reverse.

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With a run like that, I would also have thought that I would have pulled well clear, but Liverpool were on a similar run to us, like us they had lost just once (to us) since new year and so with 10 games to go, there was nothing in it for the title. There was a gap back to Palace and I was sure we could hold on for second and I could release Pixie Lott from her horror ordeal


Before we could start that final assault on the title, there was the small matter of an FA Cup Quqrter Final with Man City. Forrest, Cardiff and Bath City had all fallen and I was reasonably confident going into the tie against the Premier League’s bottom side. Having home advantage was a bonus. The Chairman was pleased to see 22,700 in the ground and had already started counting the gate money. We were at full strength with O’Connor and Farrell leading the attack, but it was Citeh that had the upper hand in the early exchanges, although they failed to even test Anderson in our goal. It was 25 minutes before we had the first goalwards effort. Periera da Silva heading wide from a corner, but this did start a spell of setpieces around our area and Anderson was called into action on numerous occasions.


Having weathered the storm, it was our turn to be on top, but our best effort, a Walton freekick, was tipped over the bar by City keeper Crookes.

0-0 at the interval was pretty decent concidering we had been under the cosh for long periods. The defence had to hold strong and O’Connor and Farrell try to make a bit of space up front. We started well, and Logan looked like he had broken the deadlock, but the ball had hit the side netting rather than the back of the goal. City brought on an extra striker to go 4-4-2 from 4-5-1 and while they offered more threat, we started to win more ball in midfield. Simon Anderson in our goal was playing a blinder and marshalling his defence to cut out any threat early. Upfront, O’Connor was becoming a big problem for the City defence, winning all of the high balls, but Farrell was just too deep to take advantage.

It looked like a replay was on the cards and my Chairman had already started to calculate the revenue from Eastlands (he’s a canny Yorkshireman !). Collado picked up a long clearance in the left back position and fed substitute Matthew Rilley with a cross field pass. His fresh legs scampered round a couple of challenges, he hit the goal line and crossed, right onto the toe of Martin Farrell and we were suddenly looking at a trip to Old Trafford. (And I was thinking of an excuse for punching the air in the office !)



26-04-12, 02:44 PM
10 games to rescue Pixie Lott. By my calculations, 22 points would make it certain, 21 would probably do it with our goal difference. There were of course 6 pointers with Fulham and Palace as well as an FC Cup semi final. It started well enough, a late goal earning a 1-0 win at Harrogate which was followed up by another late goal in a 2-1 win that all but ended Fulham’s hopes as they were now 12 adrift. Advantage for the title was handed to Liverpool when we let West Ham come from behind to beat us 2-1 and Palace closed to 6 points. Promotion was all but sealed the following week when Tim Blake recorded the only goal against Hull while rivals Huddersfield were beating Palace. On the eve of the Cup semi-final, Palace dropped 2 more points to Newcastle and we needed just 7 points from 6 games to have Pixie Lott released.

And do to the biggest game of the Bradford season. Manchester United at Bramall Lane. We went in as favourites, which is always a worry and despite United struggling in the championship, they still had some big names in the squad. Our line up was very familiar and I had been blessed with very few injuries or suspension in my stay at Bradford. Despite both sides sending out attacking players, it was a dour encounter and long spells got bogged down in midfield. Former Thistle star Michael Mild had the best chance for United and Simon Anderson was the busier keeper, but Paterson will feel unlucky to hit the cross bar with a free header just before the interval.


I laid into the lads at half time. If they wanted to play at Wembley they had to earn it. They wouldn’t get there just by turning up.

We were more positive after the break and Farrell was denied by a last gasp challenge from United defender Evans, just as he was pulling the trigger. Logan followed up, but blasted it straight at the keeper. It least it was generating some atmosphere as the Bantams faithful roared us forwards. With the game deadlocked after 75 minutes I elected to go 4-3-3 with Coates and Riley replacing the wingers Patterson and Logan. It very nearly paid off when O’Conner knocked down a cross for Coates who teed up the on rushing Riley, but Kennedy was alert and tipped his viscous drive round the post.


It was the last action before the board came out to signal 4 minutes of injury time. I should have known what was coming. O’Connor had come deep, but spotted Coates in the area. The striker nodded it down to Campbell who laid it into the path of Matthew Rilley, chaging through like the household cavalry and …… GOOOOOOOOOOOOL !

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There was only time for the kick off before we were confirmed as facing Arsenal in the FA Cup final.


Everything happened very quickly after that. Bournemouth were beaten 1-0, Palace hopes were ended 4-1 which left us needing 1 point from a visit to Galpharam. How cool to seal promotion at the home of the enemy. We did it in style, a second half brace from Neil Coates confirmed premier league football. From somewhere in the ground I heard an evil echoing “Muhahahah !”

It was all too much for poor Nora though. In the excitement she suffered a heart attack and toppled over the edge of the directors box, landing on top of a hapless supported on the stand bellow. Her extended index finger gouging deep into the poor lads eye and causing an immediate massive haemorrhage.

Supporter 1: Oh my god ! They’ve killed AMC
Supporter 2: Bastards !

I looked away in disgust, straight into the eyes of ….

Pixie: Eejit ! Thankyou ! How can I ever repay you ?
Eejit: Well, Bradford need a new secretary. Fancy the job ?
Pixie: Anything !
Eejit: Well hang on while I get changed. I have something for you !

As it turned out, it would also be my last game with Bradford. I wouldn’t see out the season and wouldn’t lead the team out at Wembley. Paul Ince would get that honour ! London called for me again.



26-04-12, 02:45 PM

Before I get onto the new club, the Bradford story needs to be completed. Paul Ince was appointed as my replacement and the team slumped to 4 straight defeats without scoring a single goal. Liverpool were handed the Championship and Arsenal the FA Cup. I was determined that Bradford would not be relegated in their first season, and had lined up a host of quality players, all EPL standard, for next season. Paul Ince would have absolutely no excuse.


Fulham was the 44th stop on my journey, however while some of the end of season spells have just been about seeing out the season, there was a real chance of bringing Premier League football back to Craven Cottage after a gap of 2 years.

Miraculously Fulham had played every other season in the Premier League, winning it in 2018/19 and finishing 3rd on 2 other occasions. There was also a Champions League final in a 16 year reign of John Collins.

As for this season, Fulham had already been confirmed in the playoffs, so I had the benefit of 3 games to sort out who would be in my squad for the vital play off games. I had some decent players. Keeper Shane Docherty (Dean Keily)and defender Mark Ryan (John O’Shea) had 79 and 67 caps for Ireland respectively while Venezualan defender Francisco Vargas had 56 caps. There were 9 other players with international caps, so I had a wealth of experience to call on.

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There were also a few players who I already knew. Mark Ryan had been at Chelsea when I sold him in favour of a duff goal keeper and Francisco Vargas had helped me to relegate Arsenal. Pat Byrne was probably the best known, having played a key role in winning the Scottish double with Thistle. Danny Carroll started his career at Forrest during my spell there while Anthony Brush was a prolific scorer at Gillingham. What did surprise me was the number of players who had Fulham as their only club. There were about 10 players who had been at The Cottage for over 10 years !

I split the squad into a probable starting 11 and a possible starting 11. All 22 players would get a start in the first 2 games before I started to form my playoff side for the final league game. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the outcome.

After giving Peterborough an early lead, we went 2-1 and 3-2 up before Posh levelled again. Danny Roberts made it 4-3 and Dean McGuire gave us a 2 goal cushion which was enough, especially when Posh were down to 10 men for the last 15 mins. The goal-fest was followed by a 0-0 draw at home to Brighton where every player rated a 7. Having seen how the 22 played, I formed my favoured starting 11 for the trip to Burnley. We lost 1-0, manly thanks to a super keeper, but we also didn’t quite click on the day. It was still enough to beat Palace to third place, and so we would face Man Utd in the semi final while Palace and Peterborough would meet in the other tie.