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A light-heated story about a clueless manager taking charge of Poole (Vanarama South).


"And this is the story all about how, my life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute, Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called... Poole?"


Season 1
Chapter 0 & 1: The New Pool keeper - A clueless manager takes charge, with everyone involve realizing it was a mistake.
Chapter 2: Big Black WHAT?! - The BBC sends a surprising media pundit to cover the team.
Chapter 3: Not Managing Much - First chaotic month passes by too fast for fish out of water manager.
Chapter 4: Of bar fights and constipated debuts - Debut match summary.
Chapter 5: The Boy Beast Appears - Of signing children and earning points.
Chapter 6: Saved by the Bola, Almost - New strike-force?
Chapter 7: Pearson wins us a game, while at home - Did we sign the best player in the league?
Chapter 8: We got Longbottomed - Fucking black magic.
Chapter 9: Riot Squad - With wining prizes comes great mediocrity.
Chapter 10: Giant Killers? - Bola vows to end his goal drought.
Chapter 11: Extra Epic Game - Just one broken leg and one epic game.
Chapter 12: Cup Children - A great maestro joins the team.
Chapter 13: Muppermaster - Wakefield definitely not bribing the referee!
Chapter 14: Unsung old Heroes - Beaten up by old people.
Chapter 15: Wall fell down the Well - 1 team, 2 cups. No more.

It took me so "long" to write episode 16 because of really nice feedback I have been getting from a few sites I am posting this on.
In fact I was encouraged to open my own blog-thingy, so I kinda rewrote a big chunk of the "story" (like the introduction of the strange Frenchman and other odd chunks here and there) and posted it there as well. I will still post here, but over there it is more "organised", as I have somewhat more control over presentation. Feel free to offer any feedback on this, I am humbled that anyone cares.

Chapter 16: Gosport Massacre - An Evil twin Joins the club!
Chapter 17: Crazy Shots - Of Nigerians & Old people.
Chapter 18: Distressing a maiden - Still in the title race?
Chapter 19: Complications - We dun fucked up.
Chapter 20: New Calf is Born - And a machine gun is bought!
Chapter 21: The Weeping Wall - Doing well, but the future is grim.
Chapter 22: The word on the Street - Heroic Josh is heroic.
Chapter 23: Season Finale - Humiliated in last game.

Season 2
Chapter 1: A Major Facelift (part 1) - New Stadium?! You mad?!
Chapter 1.5: A Major Facelift (Part 2) - The rest of the squad.
Your nicknames for the players crack me up! Good start fella!
Chapter 0: The New Poole Keeper

Our story starts in the "Poole Arms" pub, in Pool. Where me and some of my friends decided to go, as part of our euro-trip.
I... i'll be honest here. I was dead drunk.

I do not really remember the details of the conversation I had, or with who.
By when I woke up, I was sure i was propositioned by a dead man.
...and let me tell you, when you wake up form a hangover semi sure a decade old dead British music therapist hired you to help him manage his Pool.
With a written note, with an address and all... YOU FOLLOW UP on that shit!

So, lets be reasonable. Its probably not the dead guy, just some old geezer who hired me to be some lifeguard for his pool.
I've never been a lifeguard, and can barely swim... but who cares, its a good story for the grand-kids.
"That week papi fooled the brits and worked as a lifeguard", a grand chapter in any memoir!
To finish the ruse, i went shopping, bought some proper "lifeguard gear", and even put the "mark of the trade" on. Sunscreen on my nose.
... and off to my first day day at work!

Well, i remembered SOME details wrong.
The "Pool" was not "a small area of still water, typically one formed naturally."
... But a bloody FOOTBALL CLUB. A football club that was recently abandoned by its decade long coach.
The old geezer Mr. Clive Robins from the note, is not the decade old dead British music therapist, rather the very alive and somewhat regretful owner!

Luckily, "despite my odd attire" i might just be the "unconventional approach" the club needs to avoid relegation not to mention "no one else wants a relegation in the managerial CV".
Awesome! Managing a football club... that is worth taking a year off work.
Shame I am self employed, because i always wanted to call the boss and tell him to sod off coz i quite!

Who am I you ask?

As you can see i am very fit man, quite capable of coaching other... athletes...
My obvious coaching strength is... if im honest, the fact that i think fairly good at giving good advice? Not sure myself. (Mental 3)
BUT im FAIRLY sure this is what i want to do in life! (Determination 5)


As you can see, media predicts us only glory this season...
I believe the words "Git back down where they belong" was half spitted in disgust over the local radio.
Maybe this is why Mr Tom I-had-this-job-for-twelve-fudging-years Killick decided to give up and quit!
Not I!
I do need the paycheck...

"And this is the story all about how, my life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take a minute, Just sit right there
I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called... Poole?"

Chapter 1: Meet some of the Squad

Since my arrival at "The Pool". I am constantly told by all the still-hard-to-accept-me so-called-fans of the club. That the #1 Dolphin (yeah, that IS how they call themselves) is a "Bloke"called Michael "The Wall" Walker.

As in, apparently you need climbing gear to get over him. I wish. From what I have seen in training... Stepping slightly to the side and running past him works quite well.
During the "Shadow Cabinet" meetings (with the staff). I am told, and I quote: "Unprofessional, lazy and selfish". Quite the combination if you ask me. I think i found the answer for the local conundrum of "why he is worth just 180 quids?!". Other than his questionable mantels, he is also very heavy of movement. No doubt a good quality for a wall... but I would like him to move once in a while.

BUT the crowd sure loves him nonetheless...

For myself, I am more impressed with Jaimie "Catch'Em" Whisken. Who can whisk away loose balls and generally... move. In fact he is quite fast! Especially for this level. Admittedly I only have my own team for comparison, but i think i got the gist of it. His speed could potentially let him catch up with attackers if,  and lets be honest WHEN, he or his BFF "The Wall" will fall asleep on his marking.
Just... not for the WHOLE game, as he is quite asthmatic. Pretty sure his twig-like stature also wont help in defense.
On the plus side, he does get along with "The Wall" quite nicely, as they are both in the unprofessional lazy and selfish Club, ULS(less) for short.
Thats the so called bulk of our defense. My only hope is that the rest of the teams in the division have it worse.

On Goal we have Nick "Ball Grabber" Hutckins. He is and i quote my goalkeeping coach Robbie Yates here: "He very good at grabbing balls".
Im not sure how good Robbie actually is at his job, but he is apparently "Very enthusiastic about his Job", "Known to drool" and "Harsh" (said in a very queer tone).
I suppose these qualities earned him the "Dominatrix" moniker... and his lessons are referred to as "BDSM-Gking".
But Hutckins seems to do well under such tutelage... so who am I to argue.

In midfield we have Josh "Sleeping Man" Wakefield, who has tons of talent with... to quote his mom "A carefree attitude about life in general".
He is both a very good player AND a very good team player, if only he would apply himself more...

Speaking of wasted & talented, i am pretty sure Corby "The Smile" Moore, shows up "baked" to training.
Otherwise i cant explain his lack of commitment in training.

If only he could be more like Shaun "The Serious" Cooper, who seems to be his opposite.
Whatever he lacks in talent and grace (and he does!) he makes up in determination!
None of our plays involving him will earn us any applause...
Thus the more secretive nickname the "Seriousinator" (that no one will say to his face).
Cooper has a knack of taking the fun out of Joga Bonito.
I can only hope he will apply this skill on the opposition more-often than not.

Another curiosity in midfield is Carl "The Spirit" Pattefer. Who is a classic "Oldie but Goldie". He can really show all these youngsters the right approach and correct attitude!
"Wall, Catch'Em! Stop slagging off! Look at Pattefer! Thats the Spirit!"
- Ran Muller, during taining in first weeks in charge of the Dolphins

The rest... well... they exist... not much I can say about them at this time.
We had a decent defender on loan, but my "every loanee is a vilanee" policy sent him back to his mother club.
Needless to say that didn't earn me many points with fans or owners...

Which brings me to my first fisticuffs with the chairman, when my "There are no real attacking wingers at this level of football so why even bother" policy saw me trying to get rid of Abdulai Bell-Baggie.
He apparently is the 2nd biggest earner at the club, after the Seriosenator of all people...
While the Chairman sees him as his "Baby" with my "But your white" remark not even earn a chuckle... silly old geezer.

To be honest he is a fairly decent player, but i am pretty sure i can get at least 2 players of his "caliber" with his 21K a year wages...
So im trying to get rid of him, and because i made such a huge stance about attacking wingers... I now need to get rid of the rest of them...
That will limit my tactics... might have shot myself in the foot with this one... but hey, its not like we will get promoted anyway...
The name of the game is "not to concede all the way to the bank!", because if i just manage not to relegate, then the old geezer wont have a valid reason to sack me!
Jokes on you Clive Robins!
Haha, great story. Keep it up!

Chapter 2: Big Black WHAT?!

After spending a few days with my assistant, i slowly get the feeling... that while good intentioned (he works for free! the fool!) he is quite... lacking... professionally.
So... in my first stroke of genius, one of many to come i am sure! I contacted the BBC, offered them to do a documentary about a new up and coming nobody trying to succeed in low tire English football.
To my surprise they were all over the Idea. With only SOME creative disagreements, my vision of the show being more of a serious drama... while BBC producers insisting on a comedy.
Oh well... "The Romanian Muppet" is not the most flattering title, but apparently its funny because R M are also my initials.
Screw them I say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Only using my new BBC connections i managed to pull off my aforementioned brilliancy! By contacting none other than the Hotspurian legend himself!
The former English international and EFL cup holder turned media pundit himself:
After some negotiations of course, and only after he showed me he truly believes in the club and is willing to gamble away part of his salary on the slim chance we or the show "make it".

The first episode of the show went quite well, with me calling him "Mr BBC". With producers only later telling me " Sir it might not be advisable to refer to people of color by that moniker on TV, it has in deferent circles... other meanings" in a very posh accent to boot. Not one to admit a mistake, i insisted and the nickname stuck.

And thus i gained my "Public Figure", with Jermaine in charge of speaking to the press and the players.
Leaving me to be the brains of the operation.

Other Notable staff... and already at the club, is welsh "former legend" Marcus Browning.
Who apparently likes watching children so much he manages our youth club for free.
Me: "Do we need a youth manager?"
Jermaine: " Well, he does do this for free..."
Me: "Yeah... for free he can stay..."
- Great teamwork between manager and assistant

With new found confidence after the whole "Getting the TV involved" and signing a star with the profile of Jenas I decided to further test my luck with the board and ask for more staff:
My first attempts to replace "The Domatrix" as our goalkeeping instructor were faced with great opposition.
Both by show producers as "He is quite a character" and by Nick (Our Goalkeeper) himself... refusing to even contemplate the idea that he might enjoy grabbing balls with anyone else.
After the fiasco with Abdulai, i decided not to push the matter...
Replacing a local legend, firing the pro-bono assistant and trying to get rid of the local star player were all unpopular moves.
I fear sacking the dominatrix will send an angry mob after me, with pitchforks and all...
So he stays.

Another predicament is in the medical staff, a young lad by the name of Matt Fisher.
Who, oddly enough, despite his bad sight manages to "find" injuries where there were none.
Some may even go as far to say he if fishing for injuries, but such jokes are in bad taste.
Needless to say he needs a supervisor, with me not willing to get into another sacking fuss over the matter with the chairman.
A supervisor is soon found, in the form of old Tommy Callinana.

I did fill the new spot fairly quickly.
After players complained about the "quality" of my fitness training, the nerve! I decided to hire a professional.
"Bonebreaker" Cobbet has a nasty reputation, known for riding his pupils hard until they can barely move anymore.
Lacking any kind of man management skill or the determination to "sweeten the pill". Perfect i say! Sign him!
Bet they miss my "low quality" fitness sessions by now!
Revenge is sweet... as sweet as the candy bars i eat while they run around and hop about under the Bonebreakers wrath!

The none existent scouting department also needed some refreshment, so i signed my own personal butler!
With a child prodigy under him,
Who despite the tender age of only 25, already has more experience than me.
Having both been a scout for Leicester & Nottm Forest while also grabbing a coaching job at Loughborough Dynamo.
Quite the resume...
((Out of character remarks: I plan to limit myself to only signing players recommended by my scout team or staff))

With another spur of new found confidence, this time in my scouting team, who surely are two giants in their field!
I decided to bother the old geezer again.
Asking to be judged as a football pedophile.
I want to both sign younglings and to develop them.
I barely get to the half-point of my 100 slide long power point presentation, titled "Making Poole Children, the Best".
When the chairman, no doubt impressed, jumps up to interrupting me. Only to quickly agree with all my 75 points about the important of youth development.
Swiftly approves my, somewhat Stalinist i admit, 5 year plan! While bolting for the door, no doubt full of confidence that he made the right appointment!

Jermaine is somewhat pessimistic, alleging he no doubt plans to use this as another reason to sack me.
Me: "Oh ye, of little faith, with Butler and Smith we cannot fail!"
Chapter 3: Not Managing Much

Next item on the list is to try and figure out how much room to maneuver i actually have, financially speaking.
It seems all the staff signings took their toll on the wage bill. With only 40K left... hardly ideal.
At least the expectations are realistic.
After a brief meeting with an accountant, it is quite clear to me "we" need to off-load a few players if i can sign more than 2 or 3 new players...

So, back to trying to get rid of local talent that gave their heart and soul to the club. In order to save a few pennies.
Not much luck,
Even with willing players, the like of Jaimie "Liam" Gleeson
The Old Geezer, who stopped answering my calls by now... flat out blocks the move.
That will only force my hand to "blacklist" Gleeson, because in a pissing match i rather drown then lose.

Other players are ginormous dicks about it as well,
With Richard refusing to sign for Gosport! Whats the deal? If not for the Isle of Wight i could probably see Gosport form Poole!
Whats his official reason? None... just a "No" with a smile, and a nod to Abdulai.
I think Abdulai is slowly turning the dressing room against me... or am i starting to hallucinate after all these sleepless nights with the accountant?

I am pretty sure i did not imagine Richards remark on choosing the new seasons captain,
Richard:"Good job sir! Your first good decision since you took charge... keeping things as they were!"
- Richard Gillespie remark during the deceleration of new season captain

To the great amusement of Gleeson and Abdulai.
Well... talk like this is expected for such has-beens. No wonder Killick left after 12 years... not wanting to break any eggs in order to save face this season.
Of course the mood was not improved much with our glorious leader Catch'Em not even being there... as he is "Recuperating" at home following his rib injury. No doubt with a few beers.
Well... if they were true professionals, there would not be relegation contenders from the national south division, and i probably wouldn't have the honor of coaching them.

Speaking of the haunting presence of Killick, his last signing was Jake Smeeton,
Who joined just a few days before me, and before the "great escape" im starting to realize Killick orchestrated for himself.
He is of course soon to join my Nemesis Abdulai, his dickhead lackey Richard and "Willing Liam" in the Haters Club.
That is, as soon as he will realize he indeed IS surplus to requirements.
I cant get rid of him tho, as he only joined this season a few days before me, but i dont know how much pitch he will see.
If everything goes well, none.

On the other hand, i did spot a "Hidden Gem" during training the last month, in the form of Will Speck.
Who is a decent player, for this level of football... I hope.
Its just... he is so unremarkable. Even his unremarkable style of play is unremarkable, with the Seriousinator taking the spotlight.
Even his height is unremarkable.

On the other, other hand. It seems on the purely offensive we are lacking. With Richard being the "best" natural striker we have.
Dont take me wrong, there is a reason im trying to offload him.
But the other two,
It seems Killinck had a fairly track-orientated mindset when regarding the attack.
With both of Richards fellow strikers being very fast, but with little to no talent with anything remotely having to do with the ball.
I doubt the same run-with-the-ball-all-the-way-into-the-goal approach that probably got them promoted will work at such a... "higher lvl".
At least they are not earning any actually salary, so no need to butt heads with them as well.

In order to address this glaring hole.
Butler, Elder Smith and I are working hard each day with trialists in order to find proper candidates to add to the squad.
AND I do mean work hard, being an outsider to English football... I refuse to take things at face value and sign players based only on recommendations.
I actually want to see the players before i sign them.
So there is a perpetual train of players coming to out grounds, in Groups of 11's to play friendly matches both with us and with our neighboring teams.

I did manage to pick up a young up and coming superstar.
This lad have EVERYTHING, he is both tall (189cm) and fast.
Can even somewhat move WITH the ball, not just alongside it.
He also manages to not always shit his pants when in front of goal.
A feat that gives him an aura of constant constipation. Thus the nickname.
Most importantly tho, he signed for free.
Similar to Dakota and Brooks, they are all payed only based on appearances and goals.
So guys... keep your day jobs!

To add to our "Care Free Attitude", i managed to capture Rodrigo "Rod-Man-Dinger" Schimitdinger Mann.
Who is a very slow and weak individual, both weak-willed and weak-bodied.
On the plus side he can play "the whole R" form DR to AMR, and can keep the ball if not fouled.
Maybe not the the best choice for a somewhat physical League. But alas, i just cannot ignore such raw talent.

The last signing i manged to pick up before our first game, is "veteran" Matty Parsons
Who never forgets to remind us he used to play in the championship.
He did, back in 2010. Twice even! As in... 2 appearances.
Those 2 appearances of course mean he is used to far better standards...
Not sure that is what the dressing room needed...

"You know I even belonged to the 1013/14 Krystal Palace Premiership side?"
- Matty Parsons

((OOC: If any of the people who are reading this have a better idea for the title of the career or willing to make some banners, please comment/pm me))
This is class, nice to see someone putting a 'funny twist' onto their story!
Football Manager 2018 - From A Failed Footballer To A Traveling Manager - Story coming soon...
Chapter 4: Of bar fights and constipated debuts

With the countdown to "FM Day" (First match day) starting to run down... I find myself with a very lacking squad.
Only now i realize how much my own anti wingers stance because of me wanting to get rid of Abdulai is hurting me.
I cant play anything similar to 4-4-2, or i would paint myself a fool in the eyes of my staff, players and not to mention chairman.
Thats despite both Rodmandinger and "Championship" Parsons being quite competent to play in on official offensive wing.

I dont even have the right players for the my original plan, of a conservative 5-3-2,
I really dont trust my defensive line, so i prefer to quality over quantity approach.
Defense can hold, by sheer numbers... but where will the goals come from?
My only decent half striker is Constipation kid, and he is more a finishing leg/head rather than something who can actually hold the ball or build a play.
I really lack a "thinking striker" who can help the attack with a decent pass.
Or hell, between a proper thinking striker and the duo sleeping-smile we can even try and play a possession game.
But alas reality is cruel, and the only player who can fill that spot is bloody Abdlulai! Not well mind you... but definitely the best between my available options.

The Irony, of changing tactics to accommodate my refusal to play one player... only to be forced to still play him... really him hit me, so i went drinking at the "Poole Arms" bar with Jermaine.
What happened next, im not proud of.
Drinks were drank.
Killick was blames for all of ones problems.
Phone numbers were looked up.
Phone calls were made to one "Tamara Killick".
Shouting ensued.
Threats were made.
Police showed up.
Clothes were taken off.
Arrests were made.
Great TV was made.
To make a long story short, I now have a restraining order against a Tamara Killick.
The public indecency charges were doped thanks to Jermain.
The BBC decided to follow me 24/7.

The next day

Only good things came out of last night shenanigans, as during our hangover recovery i had an epiphany!
Screw 2 strikers.
I will basically split the team into 2 groups. 7 players dedicated to defense and 3 to attack.
Basically, most of the teams job is to stop an attack, get the ball and just kick it up... hoping "The Sleeping Smile Duo" can produce some passing magic.
With Constipation boy bagging the goals.

Sadly enough im forced to play Shaun the Serious in defense because Catch'Em is still out.
This means that with Wakefield playing as a Shadow Striker my actual midfield is especially horrible.
With aging Carl the Spirit and the Lohan boy, who can play in midfield despite thinking he is better as a wingback.
With the older of the pair allowed to try and "break formations" from time to time, to add more presence to the attack.
I know he is old and slow, but he has a decent pass... and i bet his experience alone can add another dimension to our plays. The Sleeping Smile Duo (SSD for short) are quite young, while the striker is a baby.

As a team, i do not trust them.
Admittedly I have not have the time to see any of the opposition teams, but i trust the seemingly consensus of us being the worst team in the league.
Thus a very strict formation, with only 3 players having any creative liberties.
the SSD, who im forced to trust. With the smile being quite a good player, who can pass and dribble somewhat. While Wakefield is more fit and intelligent.

Thus my debut began.
Opposition is none other than Ebbsfleet who the media claim have 3 of the best players in the league: Sam Deering (M), Andy Drury (M) and Aaron McLean (S) and are expected to finish 2nd in the league.
Not ideal! Needless to say we are NOT strong favorites... far from it.
- Newcomer Manager Ran Muller on his debut.

Game started badly, with Ebbsfleet forcing 3 saves form Ball Grabber in an early attack before the 4th minute.
I could feel the fans and chairman eyes on me...
I would normally be glad to know I have a goalkeeper i can trust, if not for the utter failings of the 3 stooges in my defense line.
Shaun Michael and Will just stood there, while the Ebbsfleet firing squad was bombarding poor Nick.
My heart sank... it seems even 7 players in defense is not enough...

Then... in the 26th minute... a bloody miracle happened!
The oldest player on the pitch, the one genius me graciously allowed to sometimes join the attack... did just that.
He saw an opening and while bellowing a "JUSTIIIIIIIN!!!!" war cry, he drove the ball to Constipation Boy.
Who, in a cynical finish that wont shame an old pro, just flicked the ball gently above the poor Ebbsfleet keeper.
Only when the crowd started cheering he realized what he did, and started doing his best wacky wavy inflatable tube man impression! To the crowds amusement.
I then had a small realization... i kind of predicted something like this might happen... maybe im not that bad at this...

Then it happened again!
"The Smile" spotting Rodrigo about to make a run down the flank,
and pure magic afterwards by Rodrigo, who made a perfect cross to Justin.
Who promptly shat his pants this time! Lyckly for us, Wakfield was wide awake! Banging a header! Waking our fans!

Just 6 minutes later, out of nowhere really... our defense cracked!
With aforementioned "one of the 2 best strikers in the league" McLean passing the ball to "one of the best midfielders in the league" Sam Deering.
Who casually snack one past Nick despite getting surrounded by all 3 stooges.

And that was the half time score, with me almost screaming and begging the lads during the half time talk not to get complacent.
"The hard part is over, defending is the easy part!"
- Muller trying to keep Poole players focused during half time.

The second half started with the most beautiful thing I have ever seen so far from my players.
With Rodrigo pulling "An Anime" move.
Receiving the ball while marked by two players. One in front and one behind.
Guy from behind tried a diving tackle, with Rodrigo beating it by NOT BLOODY MOVING. The balls on that little Brazilian.
They eventually manage to ganbang the ball out of him, but it does not end here.
He blocks the defenders cross and continues his attack!
With a cross to either Wakefield or Justin. This time both Sleeping Man and constipation justifying their nicknames. With Justin being first to the ball and banging an easy one in.

In the 54th minute, we had another great chance.
When The Smile put Constipation in a really good 1 on 1 situation, but alas the young lad failed to score again.

only 4 minutes later, again my defense failed me.
With a simple pass to Deering ending up with him scoring despite being surrounded by defenders.
Our defense is lacking... to say the least!

By minute 60, almost none of my players could stand.
With the first to be substituted is Mr. Championship himself...
Yeah tell me again how you substituted Edgar Davis, in your current form you are not even fit enough to finish 90 minutes in the National South Division.

Sadly, despite me trying to kill the game. Using subs to kill opposition momentum,
In the 88th minute, bloody Deering again got loose in the Box. Receiving a cross and settling the final score!

Needless to say Deering got the man of the match, for raping my 7 man defensive team, thrice!
My scouting team does not even know much about him, but apparently finishing is not supposed to be one of his forte.
Not sure what that says about my fullbacks and keeper.

All in all,
I cant blame the team for letting this one go. Its early season.
Admittedly a badly prepared start, form a logistical point of view. With it being obvious the final squad is still being built.
Defense let me down tho, especially Shaun the Serious who got a stern talk.

While Rodrigo did have a very good offensive game, with two assists.
He IS officially part of the defense team, so he did not receive any official praise.

While Justin got showered with praises.
Scoring twice on his debut, couldn't have asked for more.

If you would have told me before the match, that we will end up drawing 3-3, i would say you are crazy.
Considering Ebbsfleet are supposed to be so much better than us, I would have even accepted that result without hesitation.
Yet, after leading 3-1 for a while, I feel somewhat robbed.
One thing is certain, The Muppet is here to stay!
Chapter 5: The Boy Beast Appears

As the euphoria of our last game settles down, its back to the drawing board.
With only 2 days left until our next game against Maindenhead, it looks like more all-nighters with Butler and Jones.
We did manage to fill the biggest hole in the squad,
We managed to get Josh Street from fellow division team Eastbourne Boro, I was quite surprised they did not offer him a "real" contract when we approached.
Negotiations were quite long and hard, which is why he missed out on our first game, but i think we did a good piece of business here.
Similar to Constipation, he is also fast and tall (189). In fact he can play straight up in Justins position. Maybe even better...
I will probably play him as a Target Man, because he isn't the weakest (cant say he is a strong individual) and because we dont have anyone else.
I fear in this position he will be more of a distraction, and not scoring much.

Another new face that finally accepted our contract offer is Jordaan "Air Jordan" Brown.
That is a Jordaan with a double A apparently, maybe its something popular in Jamaica.
Air Jordan is nothing great, but still i think one of our best defenders who can even play as a wingback left in a pinch.

Our MOST controversial signing is Jack "The Ripper" Harvey,
A 16 years old goalkeeping sensation with a somewhat rabid personality.
We met in during the bar fight last week, when he joined the fray and a special bond was forged. One saved for people serving on the same side during a war.
I remembered him mostly as a savage blur of rapid fists mostly, but me or Jermaine must have invited him for the Poole Trials as he showed up the next day.
A horrible football player to be honest, but then a chance badly aimed cross made him jump after the ball in rarely seen speed and agility...
The rest was bureaucracy.
Despite Nick being a good goalie, i just couldn't stop myself from picking him up.
He is a on a part time youth contract, earning just 300 euro a year which is nothing.
BUT the final seal of approval had to come from The Dominatrix as he need to both tame the young beast AND explain to the old horse why he needs to go to the glue factory.
After some consideration we got Yates on board and the lad was officially signed.
Nick has yet to comment about this...

Thus when the Maindenhead match day arrived, our starting 11 looked something like this:
Up front i can implement my original vision, of the Target Man, Poacher & Advance Playmaker trinity.
While in midfield, we have the defensively orientated Shaun doing only that. Which in theory "frees" Wakefield to be in both attacking and defensive worlds.
The Spirit is delegated to part time Cheerleader, only joining in if someone fails or breaks.
Jordan joins the defense, and that is basically it!

The match itself was horrible!
For 60 minutes nothing happened, both teams stinking the field.
Home match nonetheless. Good way to endure yourself on the home crowd, by boring it to death.
Then on the 68th minute we were given a break, with "The Smile" getting badly fouled in the opposition box.
Luckily for us the referee frowned upon that, and gave us a penalty. The Smile got the honor of putting it in.
Opposition nerves broke afterwards and Justin jumped on the opportunity to score another easy goal.
Maidanhead did manage to exploit our euphoria and bad physical condition to score just 6 minutes later, but failed to capitalize with another one.
Nothing much to note on the game, overall performance was worrying.
Unremarkable managed to get noticed, by being the worst player on the field.
While Justin proves himself the goal scorer i always believed he is!
Fans were ecstatic tho! Most of the 500 that showed up were quite pleased ans surprised we did win.
Hah! An enjoyable story!

Keep it up
Sometimes you have to stand in the shadows; to see the light.

Chapter 6: Saved by the Bola, Almost

((Out Of Character: First i feel i need to address some feedback given. No, I do not plan to release a chapter a match. It will all boil down to two factors. How much free time I have, and if something interesting happens. Once a propper squad and tactics are settled I will probably make larger "Jumps" in chapters))

I finally decided Dakota and Brooks are just not cut to make it, at least not under my tutelage with the kind of football I want to play.
Elder Smith and Butler finally settled on their replacements:
Nico was mostly singed for his COOL under pressure, thus the nickname.
He isn't slow, so putting him in a scoring position in theory shouldn't be so hard.
The cons are the usual, inability to fight for the ball and to handle the ball.
He is young, still room for improvement.

To try and address the lack of ball handlers in the striker position Bola was signed.
He has a mean kick, and some elegance when handling the ball. With a ballerinas constitution to boot.

With these signings, the Bishosp's Stortford match was upon us.
The only main change (other than the bench) is that Pearsons physical condition forced me to prefer Lewis over him.

Another change was made to address out really bad defensive positioning on the pitch, even tho I can probably blame lack of team cohesion... I feel the problem is much deeper.
I settled on a pseudo 2 defenders with 1 anchor man formation, by telling the Wall Walker to "charge in like a beast for every header". Moving him somewhat forward in my defensive line.
While telling Jordaan and Will to cover him.
Logic behind this being, that it will be better to keep them in a more grouped formation. having a full on Anchor man will separate them too much.
I believe having them so close will act as a fail safe over fail safe in case of counter attacks.
While putting numbers in my own box will create enough chaos to at least confuse the opposition strikers.
((OOC: Thanks for reader Meydan Benmoshe for the inspiration))

Match itself was quite a roller-coaster.
It started with an abysmal show of defending, with Air Jordan almost killing an opposition player in our box.
Lucky charges were not pressed, but a penalty was given.
-Jordaan Brown kicking opposition player during the match

To add salt to injury, fellow countryman Ciprian Vasilache was sent by the opposition coach to take it.
He of course scored, despite a good attempt by The Ripper to stop it.
Vasilache then proceeded to run past our dugout yelling that he is not a Muppet. To the crowds amusement.
Our home crowd...

It seems that aggravated Justin, who i am starting to believe really appreciates all the praises and general confidence i have in him
As he scored on our next attack!
Good boy!

In the second half I decided to take Jermaines advice and put Bola in, and it payed off.
He did not score himself, but his well aimed pass put Justin in a such a good position he could not have missed.

Game went downhill from there, as opposition started taking over the match following our bad physical condition.
With even THE Spirit failing in his role of the great motivator that enters later in the game to keep us focused, showing his age and being pushed around mostly.

With Unremarcable Will again being remarkable for the wrong reasons, he has this notion of getting way too forward than needed for some reason.
In the 92nd reason it came to bite us in the ass, with Ronto catching him off post and off guard and scoring a very late demoralizing equalizer.
At least we didn't lose.

Again Justin proved himself an able finishing leg, with defenders failing us.
Jordaan with his kickboxing defending and Will with his constant going up forward.
Ensue chaos at defense!
Chapter 7: Pearson wins us a game, while at home

It seems Parsons bad physical conditions was even worse then I thought... trying to keep up with Bonebreakers regime he managed to almost break his leg.
That is... Fisher insisting it was broken, while Callinana insisting we should send him to a doctor... It was just a twisted ankle.
It was a blessing in disguise, as Matty insisted on showing up to training, I think the poor guy is seriously lonely.
Not surprising, when all conversations with him usually end up being about him.
One such conversation was him again boasting about his "glory days back in 2010", when he remembered some "hot-stuff" he used to train with in Krystal Palace.
He even showed me a Youtube video of the guy. Elijah seemed talented enough, but I doubted he will be willing to make the "jump" all the way form the premiership to 6th tire English football.
Same day Matty actually phoned the guy and convinced him to come for a trial with us.

The lad was indeed "Hot-Stuff" in training.
Other than being another asthmatic, possessing the charisma of a potato and being a "pacifist".
"Eli" is actually a really good player! He can hold the ball and move with it, not at ground breaking speed but not at a snails pace.
He has a mean combination of pass and cross that more than compensates his "nothing special" on pitch intelligence. He can distribute the ball like a boss.
His defensive abilities are even decent for this level.
All in all, I am kind of shocked we managed to sign him.

And just in time for our next match, against Weston-super-Mare. Who are supposed to be a so-and-so team, official prediction being 14th place.
...so with Matty injured, and us not really having another wing-back with any attacking skills. With Lewis being the averagest average that ever averaged.
I decided to AGAIN change our game plan. This time to try and take control over the match.
In attack. Josh of course also picked up an injury, so he is out. Bola did a very good job in his stead so im not much concerned.
Now midfielder is somewhat complicated, to execute, not to understand.
In theory we are supposed to play a very narrow passing game, trying to control the game and keep possession.
So all my best midfielders are on the pitch. The more creative Wakefield on point as an advanced play-maker.
Despite Eli probably being better in that position, he apparently does not consider himself to be an AMC and me not wanting to neither test him that much on his first game nor wanting him to maybe regret signing for us by having a manager who plays him out of his favorite position. That means both Eli and Moore being in charge of "everything", both attack and defense. Not the best choice as Eli is lacking stamina, but I am done compromising because of him.
Shaun is technically midfield but all he is, is an anchor man. A glorified game killer with the simplest job of giving the ball to his betters.
With the defense being just one line, with Rodrigo allowed to go up more and help the attack. With goalkeeper instructions to only roll out the ball to him, but that is a secret.
Unremarkable Will is instructed to be very defensive minded and "never to go up!", hope he will listen.
Wall Walker and Air Jordan have the simple yet complicated job of "just defending". Nothing complicated like an offside trap or anything fancy.

Match itself went better than expected!
In the 12th minute Eli bombarded the post that ricocheted the ball in, scoring a contender for goal of the season.
Then just to be fancy he started passing using his heals.
Needless to say during the first half we were fully in control of the game. With the crowd even "Oleing" our passes.
During second half i brought in The Spirit for another chance he is not too old.
And because Will being barely able to breathe during the the half time talk, I decided to risk our glorious captain Cath'Em.
Moving him instead of Jordaan with the latter filling in as a Full Back DL, with clear instructions not to even bother to try and cross.
Payed of, as we managed to get Bola in a decent scoring position and he shamed opposition goalkeeper with his nonchalant finish. Like a boss.
by the 55th minute with super Mare bringing in new blood our players were half dead. Not managing to keep pace with a young substitute named Ash.
by the 70th minute the crowd was booing us because I ordered the game to be MURDERED.
Contained play, with time wasting at every opportunity. It was horrible, yet effective.

- Poole manager during the 70th minuter, happily butchering the game

What can I say, it seems Matty won us this game despite not even being on the pitch.
It is clear that, when not tired, Eli is playing on a higher level of football from the rest of the league.
An oddity tho, Justin did not score! For the first time this season.
And defense did not totally crumbled, only once... I dunno if its the "quality" of the opposition, or that less is more and perhaps having deliberate chaos in defense is ill advised...

Chapter 8: We got Longbottomed

Jermaine started to really like his new job, and is getting all chummy with the Chairman who even decided to send him on a course to get his Continental A licence.
But when I mention it would be nice to have a manager who actually has some kind of a licence, old Clives cynically responded "Yes, wouldn't it".
I decided not to press the matter...

Jermain is SO much into his job, that he called me at the middle of the night to basically tell me nobody likes me.
You see most of my players have cought Pearsonitis from Matty... are are now also complaining about the quality of the defensive training.
Those are the training I allocated for... Myself... Apparently they are not up to par.
Isn't ti nice to be appreciated.

I also literally cannot do anything about it.
Cant hire any more coaches.
Cant go on a coaching course to improve myself.
I guess im supposed to learn as i go...

On the recruitment side, we are doing... something.
We got somewhat of a proper anchor man.
Kyran can tackle, knows where to stand, isn't the slowest, alien to the ball, squeamish and heavy of movement.
Not ideal, and im not even sure if we dont already have better.
...but he is one of those pay-me-per-appearance guys i really like, so he was in.

Then another game hit us, this time against Margate. Officially they are suppose to be our main relegation rivals.
Media say they are mostly a horrible side (same thing they say about us) but with an exceptionally good goalkeeper.
Cameroonian Valery Pajetat, who used to play in the Portuguese Premiership and no one understands how he ended up in Margate.

Well, Ill jump the gun a bit here... and tell you EXACTLY what he does for Margate.
Getting nutmeged by Wakefield!

As for the other participants,
I didn't change the game plan, only gave The Tower a run as our new anchor man. He did well.
In fact most of the players did well-ish:
Other than the nutmeg and that Constipation has two assists there is nothing to tell about this game.
We won 2-1.

Wining is supposed to be rare for us, so people went crazy about it.
With Eli picking up an official accolade:

As for myself, I was just busy trying to find more players willing to play for us who also have some shred of talent but willing to be payed in promises.
...and i found another such fool:
Malaian French big guy Soukouma is akin to The Wall, only not as good at taking the ball form the opposition.
Or doing anything with it actually.
In fact his only real attribute is his size, he is both big AND strong, but I do not think he is better than any of my other defenders.
... but bless his huge heart, he can plan almost everywhere on the pitch.
His style of play is also really... unique... he likes to try allot of things he isn't really good at!
I fear his decision making is especially flawed, or he is just not aware of his own limitations.

Then it happened.
Killick himself popped up from his hiding place.. to CURSE ME!

As in our next game... we got Longbottomed!
Despite playing the same, only with the strange Frenchman on the bench.
We got beat...
We got beat bad...
I will be honest here.
I do not really understand what happened.
We actually played well. In fact i think we eve played better then Hemel.
Cant really even blame the Kid-Keeper.
Possession was equal more or less and we did get allot of good chances.
I blame Killick black magic!

Game Footage

(((OOC: Maybe some of you can point out what went wrong, here is a link to game (pkm)))

Chapter 9: Riot Squad

Haters gonna hate. It has been like that since the dawn of time i think.
Some people can take it, like me for example. All that Muppet talk... ill show them, or not. All anyone can do it try.
Yet some people... just cant take it.
Like poor old Bola. Who apparently has both the ball handling ability AND the tender soul of a delicate ballerina.
It seems fans disapproval of his ability was taken to the media.
I of course backed him up, for all the good it did. Not only because I have my players backs, I dont. Its a man-eat-man world out there.
I honestly think he is a decent player, that adds allot to our game. Even if he does not score any goals, not really his job, Altho he did score one winning goal, in fact he won us at least two game i remember.
Not sure what the fans want form him, honestly.
Bola himself came into my office the next day to thank me, and started balling.
Did not realize how much a football manager and a nanny have in common.

Next game was against Bath, who were 1st in the league and in very good form.
I wanted to use my 5-3-2 Counter tactics. Same thing I originally envisioned for this league, nicknamed by Jermaine "Looser Party".
But for that I need two capable wing-backs, and with Matty out... I only have Rodrigo, and I really do not trust either Air Jordan nor Unremarkable in that position.
So I was basically forced to gamble on my team being able to control the game against a very good team like Bath.
I was not optimistic at all.
So I hacked up a game plan!
I will try and TIRE them first, with the 4-1-2-1-2 formation for basically how long Eli can last, THEN switch to a long ball blitzkrieg 3 striker formation while I bulk up the midfield with defensive orientated players.
And so I did.
And so I won.
I not only won, it actually worked as I planned.
BY the end of the game the opposition was so tired we ended up holding possession for almost 60% of the time.
Not to mention winning the game!
Who is the Muppet now?!
Not me apparently, as i won the "Turd best manager of the month" to put it as the Poole fans mockingly cheer(?) at me on the street.
I also was not the only won to win some official accolades,
You go Justin! Finally someone other than me appreciates your talents!

And as we all know, with winning prizes come great mediocrity.
As our next game was a TRUE vanamara south game. A total bore.
With all the prize wining getting me pompous enough to try the 4-1-2-1-2 possession game for the whole game.
But players couldn't do much for some reason.
We were better than the opposition tho, and it seemed even the ref wanted us to win. Awarding us a dubious penalty.
Alas even with a penalty The Smile only managed to put a frown on my face as he failed to score.

The next week was way more interesting, we had a full blown riot!

It all started with the signing of,
Who is the long lost lovechild of Serious and Spirit.
Other then his insistence that "I can score form this distance Gov'nor!" (spoiler alert, he cant). He is a pretty good player. Awfully slow, but faster than Serious, so cant complain.
More importantly he is the closest thing to a "natural born leader", who can also play some football, we can get.
A fact that was not lost on out current captain. Which turned even Catch'Em against me...
That signing made 3 very unhappy campers.
With Nick already jealous of the fact i found a younger better version of him.
Adding to the mix the already existing Abdulai camp (Richard and Willing Liam), and what you get is the first official move to underline my authority.
- Pool players rioting during training

Nick and Serious made a formal ultimatum to either be played in the opening squad or be transfer listed.
It blew up in their face.When I quickly accepted their ultimatum.
The shocked pair almost fought about who is the first to detract the ultimatum.
Shame, was looking to offload more players, but better not push my luck. I did not transfer list them.

Next game was a small disaster.
A combination of bad moral and my insistence of not learning from previous mistakes, led to a bizarre game in which we played catch-up with a 41 years old man!
Jamie Cureton is not only still playing at his age, but still playing WELL!
Being the most prolific striker for his side... did i mention he is 41?
Luckily we did not lose this game, but it was a really bad game.

Game did made me realize something,
Why the Wall Walker is so popular... it is because when the team looks really bad, he looks the least bad.
He actually won the "Man of the Match" award, in a game in which he FAILED TO STOP A 41 YEARS OLD FROM SCORING!

Following the Riots, and the abysmal defensive display i was desperate enough to sign this guy:
To both further piss off Catch'Em and to have some form of an alternative for when HE will explode.
You see Josh, is fast. Well I say fast, and he is... for this level... but he is more... brisk than fast. I think i mentioned this during training, and the nickname stuck.
He is stronger than Catch'Em but cant really tackle... a fairly important task for a defender...

Next game was against another top team, and i pulled the same dirty trick.
Switching form a 4-1-2-1-2 controll game, mostly meant to make the opposition run after the ball and tire themselves.
To a modified 5-3-2, a 5-2-3... basically ignoring the the midfield with direct balls (because mine are also tired) to my 3 (one totally fresh!) strikers.
it worked like a charm!
This time also because i had better tools.
With Matty actually healthy enough to be brought in in the 2nd half.
And newcomer Josh totally rejuvenating my defense as a 2nd covering defensive back behind the wall.
Rodrigo also finally showed up for a match! and we smashed the Boro!

I was in such an euphoric during the last few minutes of the match that I fired Lewis on the spot!
He was in the stands of course, because he was slacking during training and did not dress up for any of our last games.
Made me feel especially good. Let the players live in FEAR over my tyranny!

- Footage of Poole manager firing a player during a match.
Chapter 10: Giant Killers?

The week started great, with The Ripper wining a spot in the team of the week.
That is a great boon, both for me and for him. Shutting down all the doubters and Nick as well.
He is officially a decent goalkeeper for any side in our league.

My status in the club is getting better, less and less people are referring to me as a Muppet.
Even the discontent guys are starting to realize im here to stay and i managed to offload two of them.
Finally getting rid of the first guy i wanted to offload since day one, my Nemesis Abdulai.
Even Richard finally accepted a semi permanent move to Staines. Probably still hoping for me to fail.
While others..
Are still dicks..
Still that is 37K off the wage budget.

Still, there cant be a whole week without some disappointments.
Our soon to be leader, refuses to tutor the younger lads... which is a huge disappointment for me.
A main reason for bringing him was his ability to put younger players on a better track for success...

Our next game was a another classic bore.
With poor Bola failing to make the difference and again fans yelling at him.
With him vowing to end his goal drought... but again... i have no complains, i checked the official statistics. He is leading the league in pass completion and that is what i want form him.
Matty apparently made of glass and breaks easily, picking up a small injury during the match. Worrisome.
What was the most important during this game is my realization that we are indeed a small team.
We only win against bigger teams who try to attack us, but against teams of our caliber we cant really do much.
But i do not understand why, I think my midfield is quite good. Especially Eli...
At least we didn't lose.

In our next game... it finally happened!
Bola scored! Completed his Vow in record time!
It was during our 2-1 victory over lower division Slough in the FA cup.
His poor marker Hancock was caught by the press in a very unflattering pose, later in an interview he was honest about it:
"I was tired and everybody told me the little bald black guy cant score, so i just stood there catching my breath... letting him shoot. Blame the scout, not me."
- Hancock of Slough

You can look at it in two ways:
1. He scored in the FA!
2. He scored against a lower league side while not properly marked.
However you look at it, he SCORED!
Score should have been 3-1, but The Wall was robbed one by either Catch'Em or the referee...
The more important thing tho, is that we were awarded 5K for the win!

The next league game tho.. Another bloody bore!
With both sides showing horrible football.
My "great plan" of switching to 3 strikers towards the end of the game fails me again...
Could have been worse tho, much worse, with Words former team managing to concede a record breaking 7 times!
With them letting talents of his caliber go, for free... im not surprised.
Suddenly our own 4-1 victory against them does not look so impressive...
Or maybe we broke them mentally for Chelmsford to take advantage?

Since my defense is still so-and-so, I want more and more options and alternatives.
So i signed another fast defender.
Marvel is another player very similar to Catch'Em and Josh... need to figure out which one of the three is actually the better one...
He is smarter than Josh but stronger than Catch'Em so... a hybrid of a sort.

Our next game was another FA match, again against a lower division club.
So I decided to change some things up,
Rodrigo got a day off, so Matty can learn to play as a WBR. Since he is more or less the only real competent alternative in his spot.
Marvel gets his debut instead of Cath'Em.
Katy Perry gets a startup instead of the much younger The Tower, mostly because i am curious to see him as an anchor man. Because usually The Towers direct sub is the strange Frenchman.
While in attack i decided to give Nico finally a chance, instead of Justin.

Game itself was split into two,
The first part was with us playing very well, The Word scoring two early goals.
With even Nico scoring a screamer form great distance.
3-0 by the 28th minute.
Players then got complacent... really bad. Just stopped playing.
In the 65th minute we conceded a goal, a really strange header over The Wall, which is the one way i could not thing people could score on him.
Even with me subbing in players in defense i couldn't stop the the Airstrike the opposition team manager ordered.
With two fast 82nd and 88th similar goals over my tall defenders.
I was really bitter about those goals, because if its one thing i thought i had its air superiority.
Air Jordan probably felt the same, and broke... by trying to break an opposition player... getting a red card. Not even mad at him.
We managed a draw 3-3 at home, which is a disgrace. Cant say anything else about it.
Only then Jermaine told me Paulton already managed to "slay" another team in our league, Gosport.
I hope we are not next... I wont lie, I am worried!

Chapter 11: Extra Epic Game

"Luckily" for us, my defensive options dilemma sorted itself before the rematch with Paulton.
Poor Josh broke his leg.
It is really bad, poor kid might have just ended his career... at least for us. We dont really have the facilities to "bring back" a player from such a bad injury.
A shame, i was hoping that the experience he will get this season will make him a much better player for next season.
We will all be smarter in 7 months.

I decided not to take any chances with Paulton, an play my Loser Party tactic (5-3-2 Counter).
With my best 11, but without The Wall as I feel he failed me last game. Giving the young tower a chance instead.
Only thing I changed tactically is telling my wingbacks to play as complete wingbacks. Having more confidence in the attacking capabilities of Matty and Rodrigo.

Game itself started really good, with the remaining Josh scoring in the 4th minute.
Form a lovely pas by Matty who also made a crazy run all the way to the byline.
1-0 4th minute

It didn't last that long, with The Tower failing his mark and allowing their striker to score.
1-1 20th minute

In the 4th minute the whole defensive team failed. Newcomer Ekpiteta allowed an opposition player to head above him.
It was pure luck that The Ripper managed to save it.
But Catch'Em failed to do his bot and get to the rebound...
1-2 40th minute

During the half time i must admit i snapped... yelled at the players and substituted The Tower for The Wall, which isn't that crazy.
But what I also did is something I now regret.
I subed Harvey for The Ball Grabber.
I just thought the pressure of playing in the English Cup was getting to the young kid, not caring how it will affect him.
Hopefully he will get over it fast, as I think I will still prefer him in the league.

Again a good start for the 2nd half.
Justin finds Wakefield that finds the net. Classic Poole.
2-2 48th minute

In the 68th minute I decided to use my 3rd and last sub, fan hated Bolla for Word.
It was not a popular substitution. Judging by the boo's...
But it payed off already in the 72nd minute. When Justin (again with an assist!) finds him with a great pass!
3-2 72nd minute

Sadly, in the 80th minute Wakfield pulled his hamstring and couldn't continue playing anymore.
Leaving us with 10 men.
Something Paulton didn't fail to capitalize.
3-3 84th minute

Maybe my young inexperienced goalkeeper was not the problem after all.
Game of course goes to overtime.
Where my guys, fought teeth and nail to keep us in the Cup. Even with just 10 men.
Just when i was trying to figure out penalty kickers Bolla got the ball from Rodrigo on the half line and ran all the way to the back of the net!
Scoring an heroic effort!
4-3 115th minute!

Bet he showed a few of his haters! Judging by the fans chants:
"Bolla! Bolla! Hes a Baller!! Always a Scorer!"
- Pool fans chanting as Bolla scored the wining game

He did more than that!
Even tho we won, with an heroic effort!
I am sure we will feel the echos of this game in the future.
Playing basically an extra game, for extra time AND losing an important player.
Hardly ideal for our limited squad.
Only one thing to do really.. make this FA Cup run worth it! By getting the furthest e can!

- Poole squad leaving Paulton stadium after the match

Chapter 12: Cup Children

Another league game, another draw.
This time I have excuses! The squad was tired after the epic cup game against Paulton.
Game itself was more or less uneventful, we played well but then we collapsed because the lads got tired.
It was an important game, as it made me realize how small and limited our squad is.
With the result being 2 more signings:
Maestro Olukanmi, aka "Tiki Taka",
What can you say about such a one dimension player?
He can pass. He can REALLY pass. Smart and fast.
Other than that... not much. Not much at all.
I hope he can be a decent sub for when i want to try and hold the midfield with a passing game.

Second signing,
Dandelion is a decent player for his age. With the right attitude to maybe become better in the somewhat near future.
His main role is to be a 2nd or 3rd alternative to Rodrigo.

Then the next FA Cup match hit us, again against a lower division team. Welsh side Merthyr.
Despite my earlier vow to try and make this FA Cup run a long one.
I realize i do not really have the squad for it, so i decide to throw the children into the mix and see if they swim or drown.
Since Mertyr are technically worse then us, I also decide on the 4-1-2-1-2 controling game.

Game started straight out of Compton, with Compton scoring a very early goal in the 5th minute.
Not long after Maestro Tiki-Taka proved to me I made the right choice, with the most beautiful assist ive seen at this lvl.
A lovely heal without even looking, rendering 4 welsh defenders null! Smile couldn't not have missed... 2-1, 12th minute.
The lead of course could not last till the break... in the 40th minute Marvel also did a most marvelous thing...
It is only fitting to see both the best pass possible in a game AND the worse, in the same thing!
He literally started a counter attack by passing into dead space, while our defensive line was in the most awkward position and unable to react. 2-2.
I was so angry that I started pointing at the bench like a fanatic... not willing to wait 5ish more minutes till the end of the half.
But he DID do his best to immediately repay us for his mistake, with a crazy tackle-pass directly to Justin, putting him in a one on one situation he sadly failed to capitulate.
So i decided he deserves a second chance, and a second half.
Second half started much better, with Bola coming in and managing to handle the pseudo AMC position from his DLF official role.
Managing great passes despite being surrounded and under pressure.
We scored and in general was putting Mertyr under great pressure.
Pressure one of their defenders couldn't handle, doing a very silly foul in their box. Giving us a penalty.
Despite the 4-2 score, Mertyr still kept my blood pressure up... well, i say Mertyr, but it was just their one man army Jack Compton.
Who had to have his hattrick and last word, scoring a magnificent goal fro quite a distance.
Another crazy game in the cup, and the run continues.

As far as conclusions taken form this game?
Cons: We have a small squad that would struggle even in lower divisions.
Pros: The new children are capable, especially Maestro Tiki Taka who can change the game for the better with one pass.
Yet with his inability to defend, he is a double edged sword...
Chapter 13: Muppermaster

Well, if there was ANY doubt maestro Tiki-Taka can do something other than just standing there in the midfield and helping us not to lose possession.
The next two games proved any doubters wrong.
First game was not really his show, but he did have an assist. In a somewhat flawless game by us.
Second game was just his show, only one assist but he just held the whole of the midfield as behaved almost like a pace dictating playmaker...
DESPITE not being told to do so... discipline starting to crack?

Spoiler alert, it does start to crack.
With the players taking the piss in our next match against East Thurrock,
Things like a crazy "suicide" tackle by The Wall (when 2 or 3 goals ahead) topped by a very melodramatic "stop" by a totally unmarked Ripper.
Very entertaining for the home crowd, but Jermaine said i have a horrified expression on my face. A combination of a Vindictive, Pouting yet Grumpy stare.
Not only that, but it seems that Tiki-Taka's heel-itys is highly infectious with in spreading in the Streets. With Josh trying to pull one off.
To the chagrin of his teammates more than me.
- Heelitys: Ability to pass the ball only with the back side of the foot.

Nevertheless we won the game,
But mostly because Constipation had "the runs" in front of goal. It wasnt really a team game, or even a good game by us.
Ball just went in... and the awarded penalty also helped the scoreline.
One thing did not change tho,
Bolla didn't score, just the woodwork.

The "crazy" score, did catapult us to the top of the league.
With Jake and Justin getting a spot in the team of the week.
With Justin almost "almost" getting player of the month, with "only" two better than him. One of them being Sam Deering who shamed us not so long ago.

But most importantly,
Even the old geezer cant ignore my ability to reach the top with a relegation contenders side, while also playing attractive "crazy" football.
"Dunno who started this whole Romanian Muppet nonsense, if anything he is a Muppetmaster. Managing to get pure gold out of our own Muppets"
- Poole Owner Clive Robbins jokingly remarks after the 4-1 victory that moved his side to the top of the league.

Not sure all these praises, even if they are WELL deserved, are good for the lads. I fear complacency will get he better of them. I of course have nothing to fear, as i am the Carlsbeg of managers, probably the best.
Like what probably happened to Ebbsfleet, who will struggle to save their team frm relegation now, after an abysmal start of the season. Dunno how a team with THE Sam Deering can even struggle.
Their manager did get sack... Maybe I should apply...
Team is doing so well that we even had OUR FIRST BID for one of our players!
I was so excited when Jermaine handed me his cell tell me "We have an offer for Whisken from Cirencester" with a straight face.
Only to be shouted at "Oy would you give us Whisken fo free?"
I hanged up the phone and Jermaine couldn't stop laughing. Real funny...

And of course our next game was another bore,
With Luke Cage Basically ruining our game. I really do not understand why this player is so prone to mistakes. ((OOC: Any Ideas why with 13 Decisions he makes so many mistakes?))
I sighed him specifically because he seemed to be a more intelligent defender. But even with some time to hold the ball and think before he passes he still just gives away possession, and its not like he does not have close easy options.

Then the cup game came, and melancholy was spilled in the Poole.
Since we are facing Newport form 2 divisions above us, the same Newport who are too good for Compton to even be on their bench.
Same Compton that scored against us a bloody hattrick in the FA Cup while on load to Merthyr!

I was semi pessimistic myself, but I was hoping their bad form in the league might take a tole on their performance.
I mean, even if we got a League Two team, at least we got the 5th worse one.

Game itself was "hella boring", with me parking the bus as soon as we got a penalty. With Newport managing to break said buss with great difficulty only at the near end of the match.
Now... about the penalty... i am not saying Wakfiled had a chat with Mr. Deadman, a chat that influenced the referee to creatively interpret Nelsons gentle push as a penalty.
These are cynical rumors started by an upset Newport side, blaming the referee for their shameful display against a much weaker side.

Oddly enough the rematch, Wakfield said it will be better if we opted for a 2nd leg rather than extra time, was chosen for TV.
With 40K rolling in... Even with the oddly missing 5K, it is quite a jackpot for our club!
Whatever happens next, this cup run was a great success!
Chapter 14: Unsung old Heroes

After the cup drama lads found it hard to concentrate on our league match,
We lost our match against Concord and the first spot.

But all of our thoughts were on the FA Cup rematch against Newport, with an odd optimistic feeling.
Spoiler alert... WE DID IT!
Its one of those classic games that the wining team didn't really win it, rather the losing team lost it.
Newport seemed so impotent that I didn't even bother closing the game. It seemed that every time we attacked we either got a good shot or they got a yellow card.
Their nerves were clearly breaking.
Goal itself came for a very strange move as well...
Tiki-Taka managed to tackle-pass, Yes... the maestro himself! The last player i thought capable of anything like that. (Tkl 4, Bra 2)
Ball getting to 4-man-marked Bola who brilliantly didnt just banged his head into a wall by trying to run past all of them, rather passing back to Josh rendering all 4 Newport defending useless. A totally unsung hero... with him not getting neither an official assist nor a goal, when de facto he won us the game!
Dont ask me how "we" celebrated, all i can tell you is exactly what I did the second the referee blew the finally whistle.
- "Puppermaster" Muller on his way to meet chairman Robbins after the match

I went straight to our chairman, old geezer Clive Robbins himself, to DEMAND he "reconsider" my request to be sent on a coaching course!

Next game wast against the Elders of Whitehawk, who are currently at the top of the league.
In theory a really good chance for us to steal their spot, with even a draw kind of keeping us "in the picture" for a title maybe?
The great Whitehawk battle ended with a firm indecisiveness. 1-1, with the main fault for the draw on me.
We tarted well the game, with the usually crossing impaired Jordaan managing to hind his mark with a cross attempt that wont put to shame any 12yo.
This is where hubris hit me, as Jordaan was on the pitch as a "Complete" wing back only because Matty got injured (again!). Despite him and attacking being on an on-and-off relationship.
Well... if even THAT works. I can do no wrong, bring on the bad substitutes!
First bring on Monsieur Soukouma, one of the bigger player in the league, only to be pushed around by 38yo Kevin Lisbie.
Soukouma: "J'avais peur de le blesser."
Muller: "Fuck you! c'est la seule raison pour laquelle nous vous avons signé!"
- Excuse me for my french.

Top that with an overly enthusiastic, played out of position kid. Dan "de'Lion" was brought into the midfield to try and hold, only to almost get sent off with a suicide tackle.
On the other hand, it WAS a lovely assist... for the other team... #sarcasm.
Sadly my attempts clock in this game as part of my community service (pub fight) as "Retirement Home entertainment service" also failed.
Got a laugh for the BBC TV show, and a Contempt of Court fine.
Worth it!
Emailed the attempt to Whitehawk.

Then we had a huge party!
When we realized our next match was also chosen for TV, with the grant now being 85K!
Thats... 85% of our funds at the start of the season!
To top that! Remaining asshole Cooper finally agreed to sign for a different club, freeing his huge wages!
I decided... why not "combine" the two.
Convincing the chairman to let us use club grounds to celebrate.
While also telling Cooper, and ONLY HIM, that it is his farewell party!

With Cooper "Oh guys, thanks! Really you shouldn't!" and no one realizing what he is talking about...
The expression on his face when he finally realized was priceless.

Our next game was in... the other cup... the lesser cup... and the guys played it with its due respect.
As in none.
I myself showed up hangover...
Despite facing Truro, a team from our league... expected to Finnish way above us in the 20th place at the start of the league.
Such "minnows" are way to easy for us...
We beat them 5-2 without really breaking a sweat... literally... i swear the lads were walking for most of the match.
Maybe I should take this cup serious... as we might have a shot at it?
Looks like i muppermastered a good team, with a cup specialty.
Officially only 19 games in, but im already dreaming of promotion and silverware!
Chapter 15: Wall fell down the Well

After our impressive win, Jermaine convinced me to allow hi to train our strikers himself, specifically how to shoot.
And thus Miss Jenas school for peculiar children started its first year of school.
Jermaine insists that Justin would benefit form shooting with power, dont ask me why learning how to kick a ball really hard is a months-long task... but cant wait to see the result.
Bola we both agree should use his superior ball control to try and place his shots, and im overjoyed Jenas took it upon himself.

Before our legendary game against Bradford, we had to play another game in the League.
Another game, another draw...
It was during this game where I had a small epiphany...
That both Rodrigo and Dandelion are basically the same shit, each a horrible player on his own right.
But, I think I will be better starting with Dan to get more from his superior speed and pace. Hoping none of his defending mistakes will cost us as much when the rest of the team is also more fresh.
While Rodrigo can bring his experience and better technical ability to bare more at the final stages of the game.
((OOC: What do you guys think?))

Than came our much anticipated game against Bradford in the FA Cup.
With Bradford being a promotion contenders from League 1, with players valued in the hundreds of thousands and even a 1 million man - Law.
I would lie if i say i was not expecting us to pull a Cinderella here.
But alas our Wall collapsed.
First an own goal ricochet from a free kick by the one million dollar man himself, Nicky Law.
Then Walker managed a pin-ball assist to Billy Clark.
Topped it with an aerial challenge loss to Charlie Wyke.
Not only he was directly to blame for all three goals, he actually scored one and assisted one.
He was also be best of our defenders... with 22 interceptions, despite being the slowest player on the field.
His 2 much faster co defenders (Marvel, Catch'Em) were just abysmal!
As for our attack... I didn't see any... so not much to talk about. Attackers clearly not good enough for this level.
It was such a bad display i even brought in Nico to give him a few minutes....

A few days later we had to face Welling in the "other cup".
Now welling are in our league, and are in the 20th place. Surely we can handle them.
We did, at least for the first 90 minutes...
With Justin scoring his 20th goal, with a very posh header, following a Matty cross. Exactly as trained.
But then, in the 91st minute... Marvel pulled a "wheres waldo" giving away a goal by totally ignoring his mark.
Then on our counter attack, Welling pulled a very cynical foul. Stopping Justin from getting to a 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. Most likely scoring the wining goal.
How they did that? By punching him in the neck!

During the height of our preparation to the rematch game... you wont believe who came in for a chat...
Jake Bloody surplus! Finally realizing he is not in my plans. Only took him 30 games of not even being on the bench... and "training" with the Childlover Squad. I of course already had a club offer for him...
But him and his "agent" (aka: mom) decided to reject the offer for some foolish reason.
What can I say, guy is a genius, but its a step in the right direction.

Then came the Welling away rematch game.
What can i even say about that game.
We scored.... which is technically true.
"Where is Marvel" scored, and own goal... out of nowhere... just a failed through ball by Welling... that Marvel kicked it in!
He was not marked, we were not under pressure... just... I dont even know what to say... I hope they at least bribed him, and he isn't THAT bad intentionally...
We played okish... just failed to score... and thats the end of our cup glory for this season.

Haven't ever cackled at Football Manager before (barring the time I smashed Luton 5-1 with York, that felt good) loving the story!
Chapter 16: Gosport Massacre

No surprise, moral is low. Getting knocked out from two cups in one week will do that to a team. So it was really ironic that Carl "The Spirit", our old man mascot, chose this time to want to leave us. We are both literally and metaphorically losing our spirit...
Even "Willing Liam" officially decided being our water boy is no longer "fun". I suspected his refusal to leave was down to us doing good in the FA Cup, so he can brag about being part of our squad to his mates.
It was also reflected in our next game, where we managed to do absolutely nothing against Wealdstone.
I was really getting worried about Marvel Ekpiteta's form, he is in a really bad shape lately. Making mistake after mistake, frustrating me to no end. With poor Banton still suffering from a slight case of broken leg, it means I do not really have a second fast defender for my formation. With all due respect to Jordaan, he is not fast enough.Oddly enough i found the perfect solution, in the form of Marvel's evil twin! MarvIN Ekpiteta.
((OOC: I am somewhat convinced I found a bad case of FM scouting here, not only both brothers do not have each other as relations. One of them is significantly SHORTER then his twin brother, which CAN happen in twins. But getting born A YEAR APART is uncommon, poor miss Ekpiteta... I am basing my information on this, now to be honest I am not sure if that source is true. Maybe they are just brothers  who look the same. Game does not represent any relation what so ever tho... tsk tsk FM... u done goofed! I reported this btw))
For real, they are brothers... in fact we even played against him this year. He was on the bench in for East Thurruck as we thrashed them 4-2 earlier this season. Not sure what the now sacked Thurruck manager was thinking. Marvin was also very loyal to his formal club, it taking a 10K salary and a good word from his brother to get him on our side. "Big Marv" is perfect for us. Fast and tall AND can tackle. His biggest con is JUST than he tends to break mentally fairly easily and is quite lazy. All in all he is a Wall 2.0 if you ask me. Of course "changing the guard" form the wall to Big Marv wont be easy, because the aging old wall is much loved by the fans.And thus, "the Marvs" were reunited:
It seems that my concerns about the aging wall was a self fulfilling prophecy, as Michael totally made a fool out of himself in the next game. Trying to still show who is the "alpha wall" in the club.
His first BS move, was to totally wonder out of his position WITH the ball. To get beat (literally) by an opposition team and lose the ball in a crucial place. WHILE also not being in his position to block the cross... I thought Small Marv was prone to mistakes, I do not even know how to categorize this "move". Sheree lunacy. This: "Screw the coach, i'll do what I want... coz im THE WALL!" attitude is totally unacceptable.He then proceeded to fail his actual job, To guard us against casual crosses into the box.
To top this abysmal performance by the defense was Dandelion,
Who for some reason... I do not even have words to describe what he did. "Broke Offside Trap" comes to mind... but we are NOT playing an offside game... it was also not a free kick or anything, nor was he injured. He just stayed back for some reason... He didn't even try to make up for his mistake by going after the opposition player with the ball... nah, he just looked at him as he scored. I... speechless... I am just speechless...The game was dubbed the "Gosport Massacre" by the fans.
Jake didn't have the best day, but it is mostly because of his bad one on one capabilities. A disadvantage we knew all about it. But when the whole defensive formation abandons you... what can you do? Annoyingly again... The Wall was officially the best of our defenders... but it is more than obvious he lost us the game.Funny enough, the next game is against Gosport again. This time at home. A blessing in disguise as I plan to test my new defensive formation, featuring "the Marvs".
To make a very boring game short, defense held, Justin scored.
Really can't say much else, it seems Gosport are just a better team at the moment. Despite being in the lower half of the table. We basically managed to steal a victory from them, with 16 years old Jake picking up a man of the match award for his heroic closure of the goal. Our captain on the other hand, had a really bad game... twice in a row... it seems our weakest link position alternates between both our main fast defenders. Worrisome.Not for our Chairman tho, who is extremely pleased with our run so far. Not only in the cups. Getting on TV twice... but just in general that we are even sometimes brought up when media pundits are talking about championship and promotion. Who would believe we were supposed to fight for staying in the league... He is so pleased that he even offered me another year in charge!
Now it's official! I'm here for at least another year!
Haven't ever cackled at Football Manager before (barring the time I smashed Luton 5-1 with York, that felt good) loving the story!

Thanks for the complement! Really appreciate it!

It took me so "long" to write episode 16 because of really nice feedback like this I have been getting from a few sites I am posting this on.
In fact I was encouraged to open my own blog-thingy, so I kinda rewrote a big chunk of the "story" (like the introduction of the strange Frenchman) and posted it there as well. I will still post here, but over there it is more "organised", as I have somewhat more control over presentation. Feel free to offer any feedback on this, I am humbled that anyone cares.

Next few weeks will be real-life heavy with some work and even a vacation, so I will not post as as frequently... but do not worry, I am not giving up on the story, not by a longshot.
Chapter 17: Crazy Shots
First we must begin with a very unremarkable departure.

What can I say about Will, he played for us. Not good, not bad. Just did. His only unusual trait was his inexplicable compulsion to go up the field. All in all he was not a bad player, and one of the least lazy in the team. His 15K a year salary was the major decision to let him go. He also wanted to leave...Next game, we played against Eastbourne Boro, who learnt their lesson from last time when we beat them 5-1 earlier this season. They showed up to the match in a "somewhat defensive" tactic.

Now... not all 3-1-3-1-3's are strictly a defensive tactic, nor a 100% indication of a defensive mindset. Boro tho... just came to park the bus! In a horrible display of ambition, for a team fighting us directly for a playoff spot. Luckily for us... Sir Championship himself was the designated can-opener and managed to score a beautiful free kick in.
- Matty Parsons goal (reenactment)

Goal managed to break Boro's composure and we managed to sneak another one in at the end of the game. With Bola scoring a wonderful individual effort in the 88th minute.http://i.imgur.com/AlqISYm.png
Just kidding, he cant score. He can do everything else tho... dribbling past 2 defenders like they weren't even there. With the final kick deflected by the keeper to "the streets" and Josh manages to score the easiest goal in his life.

It was not easy, but we won. Maybe even proving we are not such a small team after all... and we HAVE the tools to deal with a team that comes to defend against us. Not only that... Small Marv got the man of the match award. To my amazement! After almost a month of bad form he showed up for a game, and did not suck. Looks like signing his Evil Twin had a nice side-effect.The two brothers are also a hit with the fans, who already have a clever chant tot he tune of Pinky and the Brain:
"The one is Nigerian, the other insane!
They are Marvin, Marvin and the BRAIN, brain, brain..."

Following Big Marv's "declaration for Nigeria". You see, unlike his Twin brother. Marvin would rather "keep it real" and wont refuse a call form the Nigerian nation team "if and when it comes". Just dont fall asleep next to the phone, waiting for their call...

Same declaration also inspired Corby "The Smile" to prank call Marvin. "Ello, this is Nigeria speaking. Elderson is sick, and we would like YOU to represent us!". Only Marvin was not amused.Wills departure made the squad too thin in defense, not to mention we have an incredible run of good luck that none of our strikers were injured so far. Anyway, we decided to address both future injury problems by signing Jacob,

Jacob can play both as a striker and as a defender. Not much of a defender, but his lack of skill is somewhat compensated by his aggressiveness and size. His true calling is in attack, as a thinking target man. He can handle the ball decently, while his size will prevent him losing it easily. I think he is exactly what we need if we are thinking seriously about promotion.

While we have the talent, we do not have a proper bench, and 2-3 injuries might just put us in a very bad downward spiral. This is where Jacobs versatility and experience will come in play for us. Or so I hope.Our next game was against the never ending Jamie Cureton, I would say St. Albans... but lets be real here for a minute. There is no team... there is only him and our burning desire to avenge or last game where he scored and held us for a draw. Surely with a much younger defensive team, now that the Wall is benched following his lack of discipline on the field. Albans are also currently in the race for a spot in the playoffs, so quite an important game for us.Game started magnificent for us, with the midfield showing some real skill with two magnificent long shots. Corby banged the first in, to his surprise as well as mine. Then not be outmatches, Eli banged in an even more beautiful shot from a longer distance. I like this kind of pissing competitions! Which is crazy, both players show zero affinity to long shots during training... St. Albans goalkeeper must be really bad! But still... just shooting on goal was something I thought too hard for them. (Long shots 6 and 5)

After those two crazy goals, St. Albans remembered they are a decent team and started playing quite well... so I had to order the guys to waste time and be defensive. Did it help us again Cureton?

No... The godlike 41 years old humiliated our defense once again! He even make poor Rodrigo cry after the match... as it was his bad marking who left Cureton so clear. Rodrigo had a very bad game for us in attack, with 20 cross attempts and only 1 meeting its target. Those are horrible statistics... be basically got the ball and hoofed it up like some kind of anime cow and totally shat over our game plan. Which IS to cross the ball to the attackers.... but not THAT badly.

Jacob got his debut in the 68th minute, as a target man between Justin and Bola. He was decent, but nothing special. We still need to put him in better match practice to hopefully see anything more of him.
Chapter 18: Distressing a maiden

It seems that our last game left a lasting impression, no one could ignore our midfield. Both Eli and Corby got on the team of the week. This is a very pleasant surprise, as my tactics really does not leave them allot of room to shine. They are just thrown in there without clear instructions to try and do something... A true testament to their ability.

On tuesday we faced  Margate with their "godlike" Cameroonian goalkeeper. Game was even, and even ended evenly on a draw. With an odd show of defending by us in the 90th minutes. Both Ekpiteta twins showing their worth. Big Marv with a heroic agile back heel defending!

While Small Marv had an "epic" slide tackle... totally missing the Margate attacker and putting The Ripper in a one on one situation. His one true weakness. Drawing 2-2, losing 2 points in the possible championship race...
- Marvel Ekpiteta giving it all, but it's not enough

On a more tactical note, this game made me realize I made a mistake back when I change the wing-backs to complete wing-backs. Sadly neither Rodrigo nor Parsons have the necessary skill to pull it off. I changed them back with immediate returns, both getting an assist in the match. Great job me!Our next game, was the truly epic rematch against Ebbsfleet. A testament to how much the media is clueless. Ebbsfleet predicted to win the league and are battling against relegation. While we were predicted to relegate and are fighting for not only promotion but maybe even winning the league. A very important game for both teams, points are needed in both camps.

Oddly enough only 300 people showed up to see the game... We had a very good game, constantly threatening Ebbsfleet. Getting really good chances and even a woodwork! Sadly we failed to score... losing 2 precious points in a classic "one of those games" where you are better than the opposition...

Free Week

The next week we got a match prospered. With Jenas using the time to extend "Miss Jenas School for Peculiar Children". Rodrigo will try to learn to look more for an opening for a cross on the other side of the pitch. While the Tower will be told to fight his urge to do anything offensive. Good luck for both.

Meanwhile we had another farewell party, for two players. Jordaan decided the lack of first team football is too much for him and he left us for Hayes & Yeading. I am fairly sad to see him go, but he is right. He does have the ability to be an opening player at this level. Sadly for him we have a "championship level" player... in the form of Matty. All jokes aside, Matty is better than him... and warming our bench is above Jordaan.

I can say the exact opposite of Smeeton, who was the last bane forced on me by former coach Killick. Good riddance, only sad we couldn't part ways earlier... and we payed him "real" wages.

Their departure freed for us 40K annually in wages... and we are still working hard on finding players. Sadly none of the negotiations bare any fruit.Another interesting side note is that other Josh is not only still alive, but also barely kicking again. Poor lad is slowly starting to get over his broken leg... and I have decided to honor my promise to him to let him play this season no matter what.
The Maidenhead Game

Our next game was the much anticipated showdown with our league title race direct rivals Maidenhead. We not only won... we beat the crap out of them. In a great show of both individual effort and teamwork.Original Josh scored an epic goal, showing great speed in getting past Maindenheadian defenders to get to a lovely long cross by Wakefield. Not only he was not tired after running at such great speed, he managed to release a lovely shot from quite the distance. If I did not know any better I would swear we are playing professional football here.http://i.imgur.com/mGJ82ff.png

On the teamwork front, Corby at Justin Striking company, strike again. With a seemingly effortless effort. Corby with a chip, Justin with a kick. Goal.Wakefield, probably jealous of all the glory Eli and Corby are getting from the media had to have the last word and scored a magnificent individual long range effort. 3-0.
-Josh, Corby and Justin hammering a defenseless maiden on the head (reenactment)

In fact it was such an easy game, I even let Dandelion play some, such was my confidence we cannot possibly lose this one. This victory ensuring we are still in the race for the title, despite all the previous draws. It seems the team is stronger mentally than thought? That's what the fans say... I am more cynical, thinking it's more because we play a counter attack game. Teams who come to win against us... get one fresh can of whoopasss!
Chapter 19: Complications

(((OOC: This is a fast update, life got in the day of my usually steady updates. Do not worry, save is not abandoned)))

Next game was against Bishop Stortford, just another game in which we must get points. Team continues their good form by wining 2-0. With club legend Wall Walker getting up from the bench to give a crazy assist. He claims it was all planned.. but I somehow doubt it.

By the looks of it, another good performance and easy win. But it was a really bad game from the lads. No one really showed up for the match and it was more luck than skill that we managed to score at all. I am frankly somewhat worried.

At that point we were still in the title race of course, with just 3 points from Midenhead, 2 from Bath and most importantly a missing game... on paper it looks doable.

BUT, of course I was right.First came the bore game vs Weston super mare. Both teams played average football, deserving draw. A game we were firm favorites to win, but just didn't show up to the match.

Than came the "revenge" East Thurrock game. The team we "broke" in our previous encounter 4-2 sending them to the drop zone. Their draw against us managed to get them out of that zone and gave them some much needed point. Match itself was so boring, even the media had nothing to remark about it...

So we find our self within a crazy situation, with the same points as Chelmsford and Bath. "Only" 4 from championship, and only 2 from not even being in the playoffs at all...

In other words, we took a favorable situation and "done fucked it up". At least the defense is stable, it's the attack now that "fails" us. Both with all strikers being so prolific thus far... I can't even be mad.
-Reenactment of Poole FC needlessly complicating things
Chapter 20: New Calf is Born

After a very stern "talk" with the team. Enough to say the words "Wanker", "Prat" and "Plonker" were tossed around much.

"You **** Tossers! ****** *** ***** Prat!"
- Manager Muller during team talk

We faced against Hungersford, and it seems my "kind words" actually worked. As we had an easy game, Eli scoring an early goal that restored the wholes team confidence. While Wakefield showed uncharacteristic awareness and banged another one after a scuffle in the box. Two early goals, Easy 2-0.

We even had a "Brisk" return, by Broken Leg Banton and The Wall itself. Both failed to impress much, but played a solid mistake-less game.

At this time we finally got to that special time of the year, when Marcus "Childlover" Browning gets to parade his "special dolphin calfs" he nurtured all year, aka Youth Candidate Day. Not surprisingly all of them were quite horrible at football, runing or anything remotely athletic. Yet... one bald little lad, by the name of Charlie White cough my eye...

He is quite fast and brave. He also has that... unexplained knack some people have. Like that odd kid in school who does not necessarily hit the ball... rather balls hit him and go in goal.  I am more curious than confident to see if he can translate that skill into a proper soccer match. So we signed him! The first proper "Dolphin Calf", both a Poole-ite native and a Poole "lifetime fan".
-Charlie White Joining the Squad (Reenactment)

Our next game is against last place desperadoes Welling. Knowing my teams track record with such "capable" teams who do not bother attacking and are just looking for the draw. I change our tactics. A more controlling 4-1-2-1-2 with Eli taking on an almost forgotten role - the forward libero. Unlike a normal libero who starts from a sweeper position, Eli will start form the DMC/Anchor Man position and have very offensive orders. Dribble more, more risky passing. Banking on us not needing that much defense against such a team and him having enough free space to create something... well... creative...

It actually kind of work... we did indeed control the match. Even our one and only goal was a magnificent team effort. A proper Tiki-Taka, to the maestro delight. On the other hand, it was not really tested. As the goal was early, like the sucker punch Andre received that left Welling in 10 men after something like 20 minutes... I think its safe to say Welling are a team under pressure.

The new kid, Charlie White, fondly called "The White Dolphin" by the fans (aka his parents) has his unremarkable debut. Managing to do "not much" in his 30min on the pitch. Unlike his father, I am pretty sure he is not "the next Messi".We ended up wining 1-0, and the table looks proper again. With us at the top. Sharing it with Bath, kinda, only we are officially slightly better.

The race is still on, BUT we had officially avoided relegation! And you know what that means! Bankruptcy... As we need to start paying players their silly clauses, lucky for us only two geniuses insisted on such a clause.

...and of course Jermaine! Since his contract didn't specifically specify we couldn't pay him in goods. I decided to be a smart ass... so meet Jermaines avoiding relegation bonus:

The Mercenary Autonomous Paintball Turret

seen in action: here
-Jermaine reaction
Chapter 21: The Weeping Wall

Than came a game in which we did not score, but draw. Thanks to Jamie Mellen who was kind enough to score an own goal. Another game in which we were not that good, but good enough not to lose points. Some might say its the stuff true champions are made of... we did manage to win the possession game, so there is that.

How does this result reflect on "the race"? We now have the same points as Whitehawk and Maindenhead. Which is a crazier situation than before. Quite amusing, but as long as we are at the top, I couldn't care less.

Than came the game against Truto in which our teenager goalkeeper saved our ass in another great display. We even managed to win with the help of some well placed bribery. Wink Wink.

I for one, blame the lack of attractive football on my final exams at my course. I did manage to grab the almost useless diploma of "National C Licence". Having finished cum laude at the 4 months INTENSE course. I was of course chosen to say a few words at the graduation ceremony down the pub:
"Master has given Ran Diploma, Ran is Freee"
- Muller National C Licence acceptance speech, in the best impersonation of Dobby from Harry Potter.

Did it help much? I think so, I feel somewhat more confident I actually want to do this as a job. And I learned some of the basics of how to train people. Nothing Ground breaking tho... Masters agree to send me on the next course as well, so I am happy about that.Along this time, The Wall decided to officially bitch about his lack of first team starts. he does not bother to train harder or anything, to make up for his bad form. In fact his age (33) is starting to catch up with him and he has become even more slow than at the start of the season. He is still an icon among our fans, and he relies on that alone to weasel his way back into the first team.

And it will work, as I dare not make a stand against the fans. I really want to suck up to them as much as I can. Not that I lack any backbone, I am just confident enough I can afford to have a weaker link in the defense at this time without it having a really bad impact on the team. SO weasel he did.

Oddly enough it worked. The team was revitalized by him not a little grumpy bitch on the bench. Mind you, Oxford are not doing good this season, they have one of the worst attacks in the league... and they still managed to score one against us. But we won, and that is whats important!I have even won another official accolade. Say hello to the runner up to mister march. Not a centerfold, but not far from it. The Whitehawk Woodman, who sounds like some serial killer, but to be honest he deserves it more.

Then came that time of the year, everyone has only 3 more months on their contract... Most renegotiation went without much incidents. Catch'Em and Big Marv opted for the pay as you play option to my delight. With just 180 euro per appearance. While some of the greedier ones were Championship and Eli who both will get 20,000 euro annually and even more if we actually get promoted.Some negotiations, actually went nowhere. With the Wall still not being happy enough about his "stature" at the club. As if being adored by the fans enough to get basically an undeserved spot on the team is not good enough for him... I am starting to dislike this dude, and his future at the club is in fog.

A more sad development is Wakefield actually realizing he is too good for us. He is not even wrong, if he was just slightly stronger mentally he could be at the least a League 2 player. I cant really attract any better players, so him leaving is highly likely.
Chapter 22: The word on the Street

Our next game was against mid-table-have-nothing-to-play-for Concord. Sounds easy right? We should win 6-0 against a team with basically no reason to actually show up for the match... If only life was that simple...

The first half was mainly marked by the peculiar case of a disappearing Marvin. He twice failed his marks constantly and Concord Della Verde managed to grab an assist and a goal. We only had a few decent good minutes, when the soon-to-leave Wakefield made a brilliant pass to Constipation between two opposition players. Leaving Leavers in a easy 1 on 1 situation.

The second half started badly, with same Della Verde BOMBARDING the goal on a free kick. Poor Harvey had no chance of stopping it. A few minutes later tiny Brazilian Rodmandinger managed to tackle an opposition player so "hard" they got a penalty. We could only look smugly at the Ref trying to telepathically tell him "How can such a small player tackle such a bigger player? You mad??". Justice was on our side, when Della Verde hit Harvey's head on the penalty kick and not scoring. Game ended on a very positive note tho. When I basically gave up on the game and remembered I was trying to Make Eli into an AMC so I moved him into that position. Leavers crossed a somewhat brilliant cross while Eli scored a magnificent volley kick. I think next season this will be his official position.I took the slight lack of bad form for scaremongering and managed to get another coach approved. So meet our second butler, Thomas. A much better qualified manager and coach than me if you ask me... just don't tell the chairman.

We also got the first graduate of Miss Jenas School for peculiar children.  A failure of course. Shame, from all of Genas little side projects I did believe Bola can be the one who could improve. I think his lack of goals, and eventually been even replaced by a 15 years old on the bench got to him...

Our next game, was only remarkable in that we won. With Eli as AMC and even scoring.

Our next game was against Hemel Hempstead, another cynical game. We scored early and then bunker-ed up. So not much to talk about, other then the 92nd wonderful volley kick goal by Wakefield. At this point I think he is just showing off because he is leaving...

THEN, came the most crucial game against award wining manager Woodman' Whitehawk. Who are in the 2nd place at the this time, and our direct rivals for the title. And what an epic game it was.A very close game util the 62nd minute, when a crazy cross by maestro Tiki-Taka into empty space was very skillfully headed in by Street. The euphoria didn't last long and in the 78th minute Whitehawks Albi brushed aside both Parsons and Small Marv to score a header. Even more annoying is the fact the the same Albi was at the start of the season on trial with us but we could not afford his wages...

What happens next is the stuff movies are made of... just as soon as I give up on the game. And prepare to substitute Street, who is clearly our best player on the field. A notion not hidden by Whitehawk who very cynically fouled him. So there Street is, mere seconds from being substituted with a pulled hamstring that basically ends his season...

...and HE SCORES THE WINING GOAL! Not just a wining goal... but a goal that most likely will give us the title. Unless something horribly horrible with happen in the next two games.

As you can see, our situation is very good.
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