HockeyBhoy
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Welcome to my planned journeyman save on Football Manager 2020. My '19 save remains my main game but I'll be updating this one as often as I can too.

Enjoy and remember comments always are welcomed.

For those wondering which nations are loaded at the start, we have England (down to National League level), Scotland (to Highland League), Cook Islands, Fiji (Premier League only), New Zealand (Premiership only), Tonga (top division only), Wales (down to Cymru North/South), Austraila of course (down to National State League 2), Papua New Guinea (top division only) and Sint-Maarten (top division).


Chapter 1: In the beginning

It was a sunny day in Melbourne and former professional footballer Basil Brush woke up from his bed in the Crown Towers Hotel. Brush, who had recently retired from playing at the end of 2018-19 with Stocksbridge Park Steels, hopped into the shower and shaved ahead of the day in front of him. The last thing that was on his mind was football. He was just relaxing in newer climes after quitting his paid job in the Civil Service to spend a year travelling around the world.

What will I do today? Brush asked himself as he tucked into a continental breakfast in the sumptious and elegant dining room.

As he was in Melbourne, he thought instantly of Neighbours which is set in the City. That will do providing they do trips around the set, problem solved. After munching that final warm croissant, with a nice cup of tea to wash it down, he headed towards the reception desk.

"Good Morning sir." came the warm welcome from the receptionist on duty.
"Morning." Basil replied. "I don't know but do they do trips around the Neighbours set? It's just intrigued me."
"Let me check."
"Thanks."

A few minutes the receptionist re-appeared.

"Yes, they do sir. Would you like me to book you on a trip there today?"
"That'll be superb."
"Right then, shall I book it for 12 noon? We'll arrange for a car to take you there and back."
"Splendid."

Feeling rather pleased with himself, Brush relaxed in the hotel lobby blissfully unaware of the developments which would come later in the day.
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 2: A proposition

Basil enjoyed his trip to the Neighbours studios as he exited the black Toyota Kluger which the hotel had kindly arranged. He looked at his iPhone XS' camera roll and the selfies he managed whilst there. Pictures with Jackie Woodburne (Susan), Ryan Moloney (Toadie) and Rebekah Elmaloglou (Terese) to name just three. He was especially pleased with the one with Toadie as he is the one character Basil thought he can instantly relate to.

He put the mobile back in his pocket, and made his way back into the hotel via the revolving doors when he was halted by reception just before the lift arrived back on the ground floor.

"Mr Brush, Mr Brush..." came the beckoning call.
"Er, yes?" Basil replied with an inquisitive glance at the receptionist.
"There's someone waiting in the bar area for you. He said it was important."
"I'm not expecting anyone though, but OK. Did he say who he was and what was it about?"
"Sorry, no."
"No problems, thank you for letting me know. I'll go and see whoever it is."

As he walked into the bar area, Basil pondered and muttered to himself. "Nobody knows I'm here, bar the family, and I can't imagine they've flown in especially unless there's a sudden emergency back home.": he really was puzzled. Basil approached the table which had views of Melbourne and the Yarra from it, and as he neared a smartly dressed gentleman arose.

"Ah, Mr Brush.." he started to greet with.
"Yes, and you are?" Basil enquired.
"George Theopolous, sports agent."
"I'm sorry, I think you have the wrong man." Basil started to retreat but George was insistent that he was in the right.
"No, no. I've been asked to pass this message onto you Mr Brush today"

George handed Basil a piece of A4 paper. On that paper, it had George's company name Theopolous Sports Agency embossed as a letterhead and it all looked formal indeed. Basil read the contents:

"Dear Mr Brush.

First of all, welcome to Austraila.

A client of mine wishes to discuss a proposition with you tonight. Please attend the Rockpool Bar and Grill tonight, 1 July 2019 for 8:00pm and more information will follow.

Sincerely yours,

George Theopolous"

Basil was intrigued intensely, and George bade him farewell. "We will reconvene at 8 Mr Brush. I'm sure you will like the proposal that will be put forwards."

What was it going to be? It certainly sounded oh so mysterious indeed as Basil got up from the chair he was sat in, entered the lift and pressed 4 for the fourth floor suite which he was staying in. "Surely someone out there is not trying to coax me out of retirement?" Basil muttered, still none the wiser.
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 3: The mystery deepens

Basil still couldn' t get to grips with the letter that George had handed him. He read it again and again, in fact he read it several times just to get his head around it. Since he didn't have an agent, Basil always hated them and preferred to do his own negotiations, he wondered who had shopped his name to the George Theopolous Sports Agency. The hotel staff wouldn't dare do that, would they? So he called home...

"Hi Mam."
"Hello son, how's Australia?"
"Great thanks, picking up a bit of a tan haha and I've been on the Neighbours set."
"Why does this not surprise me. Anyway what's up?"
"Mam, who else knows I'm in Australia?"
"Me and your sister. Why?"
"Just that some Australian sports agent approached me earlier. Neither of you been talking about me to strangers?"
"No, far from it. Who do we know down under?"
"Nobody."
"There's your answer then. Problem solved."
"Yeah, guess so Mam."
"Stop fretting then in the meantime, enjoy your holiday. You've earned it."

And with that, the click of the call ending sounded. We will just see what tonight brings, Basil thought. Perhaps it was just a joke anyway.
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 4: Back in the game

The clock at the Rockpool Bar and Grill ticked to the hour of 8:00pm, and Basil sat at a table all alone. No sign of George, just Basil at the table and few others sitting in the close vicinity laughing as they consumed cocktail after cocktail. He had kept his side of the bargain but where was George and for that matter, his client who so wanted to meet Basil apparently. Basil ordered himself another VB, fiddled with the cufflinks on his shirt again and looked nervously at his watch.

Ten minutes later, he looked at his watch again. Still no sign of the other party. "I'll give them another five minutes then I'm out of here," Basil said to himself. It was like being stood up by a woman on their first date as Basil took another mouthful of VB, tapping the table with his fingertips in frustration. Then just as Basil prepared to haul himself out of his chair, three men came rushing towards him all a fluster: one Basil recognised as the aforementioned George.

"Please, please remain seated. I'm deeply sorry about our tardiness tonight, it wasn't deliberate to keep you waiting." said one of the suited men.
"It's okay, but I was about to leave if you hadn't turned up." Basil replied.
"We understand, but let me introduce myself. My name is Angus Brown, this gentleman here is Giovanni Inserra and of course you've met George earlier."
"Pleased to meet you, what can I do for you Mr Brown?"
"Angus please. More like what we can do for you."
"Uh?" Basil shuffled in his seat uncomfortably as Angus Brown unfolded his arms like a politician ready to address the nation.
"What do you know about the name Werribee?"

Basil was stumped as if he had been bowled through the gate by one of Shane Warne's googly deliveries. He tried to remember where he had heard the name but nothing was registering. Then he had a bit of a light bulb moment.

"Werribee you say? That's a team I think my late grandfather used to pick on the football pools a lot when I was a youngster back in England. Or am I being plain stupid?" Basil stammered.
"Far from it, that's mine and Giovanni's football club. See you already know about us." Angus Brown replied, a smile breaking out across his face.
"Oh right, and..."
"Well the reason we're late is that we had a meeting with Serge (Sabbadini) today, he was the club's manager until this afternoon when he surprised us by resigning for family reasons."
"And we want YOU to succeed him Basil." Giovanni interjected further.
"Why me, I have no managerial experience you realise?" Basil replied with a touch of trepidation in his voice.
"We know all about your fabulous footballing career, George here has been instrumental in researching that for us, and we think you could do a great job for the Bees." Angus said, like a man brimming with confidence.
"Really? You're sure?"
"Never been more so. So what do you say, you can start immediately."
"I guess, erm...OK! Just don't expect miracles; I know absolutely nothing about Australian football, and that includes the A-League, but I suppose you've got to start somewhere."
"Great, sign here." Angus beamed, handing over a contract. "Oh waiter, bottle of your finest Dom Perignon please. We got something worth celebrating tonight."

And that was that. Two months after hanging up his boots, Basil Brush was back in football but in the most strangest way possible."
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 5: It's all official now, and a legend offers some advice


https://i.postimg.cc/VLJxd2JK/Werribee-Web-Header.png

https://i.postimg.cc/bwb4RbHb/Werribee-Appointment-FM20.png

So this is it, Basil Brush is a football manager. After a career that spanned over twenty years, it's now time for Basil to dip his toes into the world of management. "Cripes, what type of manager shall I be?" Basil mumbled to himself. He knew, from that time as a player he had encountered many great managers and some of them were still in his mobile as contacts should he need to speak to to them for advice. Now it was that time, Basil needed help, and despite the time difference of Melbourne to the UK he started to thumb through a few names. One stood out more than most, one just listed as The Gaffer. Basil pressed the call button and the ringing tone sounded. Moments later, a familiar voice answered at the other end:

https://i.postimg.cc/qq3nyFF6/fergiemobile.jpg


"Basil?"

"Hi Sir Alex, sorry I mean Gaffer."

"What's up lad, thought you were in Australia?"

"I, I am. I need your advice."

"Oh right, what have you done?"

"Just landed my first managerial job."

"Good one, always knew you had this in you. Where are we starting out at? Newcastle Jets, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners?"

"Erm, none of those gaffer. A team called Werribee City, semi-professional side just outside Melbourne. About three levels down from the A-League."

"Not bad, just following what I did when I started out..at a smaller team. You got this Basil son."

"Really?"

"Yeah, just be yourself and don't be afraid to ruffle feathers if need be. Never did me any harm, did it?"

"Nope, thanks Gaffer. I can call you again if I need more advice?"

"Anytime Basil, day or night, seven days a week."

"Thanks Gaffer."

And with that, the conversation ended. Basil had enormous respect for Sir Alex Ferguson, he was the main man when it came to modern football management and Basil was pleased to have him there on the other end of the phone. He looked down at the piece of letterheaded A4 and there staring at him was the expectations that Angus had set out for him:

https://i.postimg.cc/B6sgGPKr/Werribee-Plan-FM20-Season1.png

Pretty much doable Basil thought...
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 6: A long night ahead


After signing the contract in the restaurant, and being formally confirmed as Werribee City's new manager: Basil Brush knew he had to start work on his new job pretty much straight away. As any manager would tell him, this would mean some long days and nights ahead which either make or break those who want to try to become managers in their own right. Some former players have been successes as managers, Sir Alex Ferguson being the prime example. Some also have been absolute failures too,: another Manchester United knight Sir Bobby Charlton was hardly a success at Preston North End in the 1970s; lasting just two full seasons and a bit with relegation in that first campaign. Basil didn't want to be one of the latter, he wanted to be a success. If that meant emulating Fergie and starting out low then he would do whatever it takes..no matter where it took him on the journey.

Success is earned, not a given: Basil recalled his first ever manager saying to him when he was growing up. 

As soon as he got back to his hotel suite, Basil fired up his laptop and the email client. In the inbox were a few emails from Angus. The first one was the straight forward "Welcome to the Club" one which Basil skimmed through like he was reading War and Peace on speed. Second email, again from Angus, but one that he had forwarded on from someone called John Waddell. A quick search confirmed John as the assistant manager at Werribee, and Basil knew he would have to lean on him to get to grips with this latest assignment. John had sent Angus the list of the playing staff, senior and youth so Basil could realise what he was to work with.

Senior Squad

https://i.postimg.cc/2ySVQrsb/Werribee-Senior-Squad-19-20.png

John had outlined a few things in that second email, which resonated with Basil. One that the team's best player was an Italian by the name of Matteo Ballan. Ballan from his individual player report, was a typical Italian midfielder: technically superb. Basil knew straight away that this was the team's playmaker, a lower league version of Andrea Pirlo maybe. The midfielder also had dual Australian nationality which meant he was not actually counted to the maximum five foreigner rule which the league adopted. Getting players outside of Australia to come and play lower league football wouldn't be easy. In fact, Basil viewed that as an impossibility. With no money for transfers either; everything would be done on a wheeling and dealing basis.

The squad email also talked about the striker Alec Goodwin, and compared to all the other strikers: Goodwin stood head and shoulders above them all. That's my main striker right there, Basil noted. However, there seemed to be a lack of other attacking options so the newly appointed Brush opened the attachment marked "Free Agents list" whilst reading about the youth team.

Youth Team

https://i.postimg.cc/L6TMdjZp/Werribee-Youth-Team-19-20.png

Waddell's assessment was frank, it wasn't a very good one. That said, they didn't have a dedicated Youths Manager to nurture them along as Waddell was doing that amongst various other duties around the Club. Getting a Youths Manager was therefore marked down as another priority. Basil emailed Waddell direct and suggested a bounce game tomorrow afternoon at home between the Seniors and Youths, one way to assess the players at his disposal first hand. Waddell's reply was instant; "Sure why not, they were supposed to be training so a game won't be a bad idea at all. I'll get a referee sorted out."

Brush now turned out his attention to the opened Excel document of Free Agents. He pored over it for what seemed like an age, but opted to contact a couple to offer each a four week trial with a view to a permanent deal at the end. Winger Anthony Ragusa and utility man Michael Mensah were those names, both said they would be available tomorrow, and the Basil Brush regime was well and truly underway. Eventually at 1:00am, Brush powered down the laptop and headed to bed. It had been long, hard day but there would be many of more of them ahead if Brush wanted to be a managerial legend of his own making. Now it was time to get some much needed sleep,..
TarrantinoUX
15 years ago
3 weeks ago
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Never heard of Werribee City so this should be a corker.

Love it so far 👍
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
13 hours ago
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Never heard of Werribee City so this should be a corker.

Love it so far 👍

Thanks mate, it's different for sure. Up the Bees!
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 7: Preparation is vital


The sound of squawking birds heralded a new day in Melbourne as Basil rose from his bed. He hadn't slept well at all with a multitude of things going through his head and all because of last night's whirlwind of events. He put on his dressing gown, put his size 7 feet into his favourite Pokemon slippers and meandered a few hundred yards to the bathroom that was attached to his room in the hotel. He looked in the mirror, eyes shot with that lack of sleep, not how an aspiring football manager should look in the morning. In fact the bags in his eyes were so deep that you could have probably put your shopping in them and found room for more. "Time to get focused," Basil said to himself and kicked off the slippers before stepping into the shower which had hot water flowing out of it and filling the bathroom with plenty of steam.

He spent a good ten or fifteen minutes in the shower, still mulling over what today would bring: his first day on the job.

After showering and ensuring he was clean shaven, Basil adopted his choice of attire for that first contact: a blue and yellow training t-shirt which had the logo of his final club (Stocksbridge Park Steels) adorning the left breast and a pair of blue Adidas shorts to go with matching coloured trainers. This would do for the first day and subsequent training sessions, all other matches would see him prowl that sideline suited and booted. Look smart, and mean business. Basil then proceeded to thumb the online version of Yellow Pages to get hold a car hire business.

"Good morning, Avis Rent-a-Car. Can I help you?" came the initial opening.

"Er, yeah. I'm after a car to rent please." Basil responded.

"Sure, what type of car are you looking for. We have vehicles to suit all possible combinations."

"Erm, a largish one..." Basil had never really had cause to hire a car until now...

"We have a Toyota Camry; that's a rather good one. How long is this for?"

"Well my new employer's going to be paying for it, so that depends to them. I've got their email address here for you to email them an invoice..." 

"No problems, you can hand us those details when you come to pick the car up. What's the name of the driver please?"

"Brush, Basil Brush.."

"Excuse me, that's the name of the new Werribee City Manager. It's not you is it sir?"

"Yeah."

"Wow, we're honoured Mr Brush to be your choice of car provider. I'm Shane, and I'm a Werribee City season book holder."

"Oh..."

"See you soon Mr Brush, I'll make sure you have the best."

Word had indeed spread quickly from last night, and Basil just stood there in a daze. He powered up the laptop again, cup of tea to his left hand side. He saw there was a new email from John:

From: John Waddell

To: Basil Brush

Date: 2 July 2019, 08:35

Subject: Today

Hi Basil,

Guys are keen as regards the bounce game you suggested last night, referee also booked.

Please find attached the pre-season friendly schedule which was arranged before your appointment. We'll have a chat about it when you get to Galvin Park Reserve this lunchtime. See you around 12 noon.

Regards,

John


https://i.postimg.cc/QMMrQHzg/Werribee-Pre-Season-19-20.png
What a pre-season schedule...

Basil finished off the buttered croissant, drunk the remainder of his cup of tea and got into a taxi which the hotel had ordered for him. "Avis on Franklin Street, please.." The day was underway....
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 8: First looks...

Meeting someone new is always nerve wracking. Basil saw it like as it going on a first date with someone he had never met before bar a profile on Tinder, not that he was into that thing. So he headed to Werribee, a half an hour's drive from Central Melbourne in a car that he had hired until he had got himself sorted. The hotel themselves were aware their guest would be staying there for the foreseeable, with Angus Brown agreeing to fund the cost of the room.

Arriving at Galvin Park Reserve, Basil parked up and grabbed his laptop and clipboard. There was a gate open, and in the near distance, a set of goalposts up with players attaching the nets. They knew he was here and what he was about. As he walked through the gate, the slightly tanned figure of John Waddell came walking in Basil's direction.

"Hi, you must be Basil." John greeted warmly.
"Yep, that be me. You're John, my assistant manager I presume?"
"Sure am, welcome to Werribee City."
"Thanks. Are the on-trial guys here yet?"
"Yeah, they're warming up over there."
"Good, that's a start."

Trying to get themselves a deal with Werribee were winger Anthony Ragusa and Michael Mensah. Ragusa was back on familiar ground, having made 78 appearances for the Bees between 2012 and 2015, so he knew what the team was all about but had sat out the whole of last season after leaving Preston Lions in 2017. Mensah, who would turn 38 in three days time, was a Ghanaian who had spent time playing his football in Finland, Sweden and Vietnam before first arriving in Australia in 2015. He was an experienced left sided defender; although he could also do a job as a striker,. Neither would fulfil the club vision that Angus had so detailed out to him but they're on trial for a 4 week stint so no big fuss if they don't impress enough - it's not going to cost the Club anything.

The nets were up, and Basil introduced himself to the players.

"Hi guys, my name's Basil Brush and I'm the new manager around here replacing Serge who had to step down yesterday. I appreciate you.."
"Jeez, you're a Pom!" came a sudden interjection. "And is this your real name?"

Some of the players laughed.

"Yes on both counts, I'm English and yes my real name is Basil Brush. I can see why you found it funny. And you are?"
"Oh I'm David, Dave Parkinson. John and Serge signed me a few weeks ago, I'm also the current club captain."
"Thanks Dave, I'll be obviously talking to you a lot then. As I was saying, I appreciate you probably know nothing about me but everyone here is in this together. Hopefully we can do some special things on the pitch together."
"I like the sound of that," Dave said. "Let's get started. Ref's ready and waiting."
"Indeed. I'll look after the senior squad and John's going to look after the Youths until I can get someone in to do that."

https://i.postimg.cc/wjChJmMZ/Werribee-Formation-19-20.png


Predictably enough, the Senior Squad had too much for the Youths and took the honours with a 4-0 win. Striker Alec Goodwin opened the scoring in the 8th minute when he volleyed home from six yards following a cross from vice-captain Julyan Collett. Every player got some minutes in the game, and the lead was extended in the 57th minute when triallist Ragusa was tripped in the area: left-back Liam O'Connell produced the perfect penalty right into the bottom corner.

With 21 minutes left, it became 3-0. Youth prospect Vinnie Jarvis putting too much pace on his intended back pass and seeing it roll past Jani Lah for a tragic own goal. The young Englishman wished the ground would swallow him whole after this despite encouraging words and the arm around the shoulder from Basil and John Waddell. The scoring was completed nine minutes from time when a free kick from Ragusa was met with a bullet header from Cameron Williams; leaving Lah with no chance whatsoever. A good workout for all concerned, the result immaterial.

Of the triallists, Ragusa had a great game on the right wing and certainly was vindicating why Brush was so keen to bring him in. Mensah did a steady job when he came on but not outstanding. Plenty of things to think about as Brush drove back to Melbourne, his notebook being full of scribbles here and there.
siepod
6 years ago
3 weeks ago
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WAWAW - We're all Werribee aren't we 👍
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
13 hours ago
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WAWAW - We're all Werribee aren't we 👍

Of course we are mate.
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 9: Ins and Outs


A fortnight after the arrival of Anthony Ragusa and Michael Mensah, Basil took a couple more triallists on board as he looked to build a squad capable of making a challenge in the division this season. Arriving at Galvin Park Reserve were defender Tom Lakic and experienced midfielder Mark Pistininzi

Lakic, at just 22, was a defender that can play anywhere across the back line. He could feature in either full back position and also in central defence which would a major boost to his side. Finding a player that is extremely competent in all three roles is like finding a needle in a haystack. Pistininzi, 30, was a defensive midfielder powerhouse who could be the barrier Werribee need in front of the back four even though he is in the twilight of his career. There's no substitute for experience and Basil saw that in spades with Pistininzi.  They joined fellow triallists Ragusa and Mensah; could any of the four impress enough to become a regular Bee?

The calendar had reached 3 August when the Bees had their first permanent signing under Basil. That signing was the versatile Lakic penned a deal after looking impressive on trial. Basil thought that if he hadn't snapped him up then someone else would have. However due to the wage budget at the time Basil couldn't agree terms with Pistininzi, so some players would have to be moved on if he wanted to acquire the experienced campaigner's services. At the same time, midfielder Dino Paola agreed terms with Sydney FC, the lower league affiliate of the A-League side of the same name. Paola would join the Sky Blues at the beginning of October when his contract at Werribee came to an end. Basil had tried to sign Ragusa the day before but the winger opted to join Geelong, a division below the Bees which seemed a strange choice whilst Mensah was just not the right fit at this time Basil thought. That and him being 38, well it wouldn't have pleased the Chairman much.

Basil worked harder than he had before and proceeded to burn the midnight oil to find more signings with the wings and up front being the places he was so keen to fill. In the space of a day, three new faces came in like bus syndrome. These were left winger Michael Holden who had an amazing record of 51 goals in just 117 games over the last six seasons as well as Lachlan Davis and Amanze Kessie who both could play up front or on the wings. All three were under 23 and that ticked the boxes Basil was looking to fulfil as part of the remit Angus had given him. Then on 8 August saw another new arrival, 20 year old midfielder Jamie Gorgovski signing up. Gorgovski had come through the fabled Borussia Dortmund youth system, but didn't make the professional ranks, so Basil saw this addition as a bit of a coveted one.

That said, Basil did release three more players to lessen the wage bill.  Left-back Liam O'Connell, central midfielder Samuel McCall and wide player Takanori Nishimoto were let go. Whether those decisions came back to haunt Basil and Werribee remained to be seen. Sometimes you are vindicated, sometimes you drop an almighty clanger. That's how football goes...Basil thought to himself! All great managers have been through this; right?
HockeyBhoy
5 years ago
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It looks like the technical issues which I was having are not present anymore for the time being. More updates on this story and the FM19 save to come in the next few days.

Thanks for your patience,
Mark
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 10: Two months in...


https://i.postimg.cc/NFGgzpJV/Werribee-Friendlies-19-20-Pt1.png

There had been 18 days gone since the bounce game with the Youth prospects to the first of 12 consecutive friendlies (all played on a Saturday); which would build everything up for the first league game of the season on 12 October. Basil hadn't, even in his playing days, seen a schedule like this before. Most of the games were away from home as Werribee looked to protect their pitch or so it seemed from Basil's thinking.

That first game was against Mooroolbark Social Club, Mooroolbark being located in the NE of Melbourne . Due to expanse of Australia, Basil soon realised that there is no such thing as a short journey. 45 miles this journey, and they were on only the road less than an hour and a half. Imagine how long it would take to get to Perth? Yeah, just imagine it... Anyway the trip would be a success as the Bees as they recorded a 2-0 win thanks to goals from trialist Anthony Ragusa and midfielder Dino Paola.  Next up was a trip to Clifton Hill were the hosts were defeated by a single scored by another trialist; Michael Mensah. Alas the Clifton Hill game was the last ones for Ragusa and Mensah as their trials ended a few days later. 

August began with a 2-0 win against Berwick City, who are two divisions below Werribee. Goals from Matteo Ballan, with a penalty, and winger Takanori Nishimoto did the trick and a fourth clean sheet. Clean sheet number five would come the following week as divisional rivals FC Bulleen Lions were routed 4-0 thanks to a sensational first display; Lisandro Paz scored a brace whilst new signing Michael Holden and defender Daniel Petrov also scored.

The middle of August saw the winning run continue with a win over Doncaster Rovers, no not the team Basil knew of, Rovers being the first side to breach the Bees the back line in pre-season. However, that's all they managed as Werribee recorded a 3-1 win thanks to strikes from Alec Goodwin, Lachlan Davis and Shaun Weaver.  Malvern City were then beaten in the penultimate game of the month, 2-1, Ballan scoring another perfect spot kick and Weaver with his second in two games to secure what was a 7th successive pre-season win.

That run ended when divisional counterparts North Geelong Warriors held the Bees to a goalless draw on the final day of August. It was a game where the Bees players just couldn't get the ball in the net. But the Bees are unbeaten in eight games, the team seem to be adjusting to Brush's tactics, and it's all set up for the only home friendly against Western United. It would be the biggest test so far against a higher quality opponent, could the Bees sting their A-League visitors and record a famous win? Basil licked his lips with an anticipation he had never experienced before. The juices were certainly starting to flow..
HockeyBhoy
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Chapter 11: Angus has an idea for Basil..


https://i.postimg.cc/xCcYxVn8/boardroom.jpg

Ahead of the Western United game, Basil was asked if he would do a Q&A in the match programme. Normally it would be a player featured, but Angus was keen to have Basil featured. A few days before the game, Basil was summoned into the Chairman's office.

"Hi Basil, take a seat."

"Thanks Angus."

"I've been very impressed how well you've taken to the manager's job. We're unbeaten so far."

"I know. To be honest, I'm surprised myself."

"You shouldn't be. It's totally vindicating my faith in you. Anyway I've got something to ask you ahead of Saturday's prestigious home friendly."

"Sure what is it?"

"We, like all clubs, have a matchday programme and I was thinking...besides writing a column for it - can we do a Q&A with you like we do with the players."

"I'm not sure.."

"Go on; be a sport. It'll give the fans an insight into you. They don't know much bar that press release in the paper."

"I'm still not convinced Angus."

"I think it'll be brilliant, just think how much the fans will love you if this appears. It's a bit of a laugh."

"OK, you've talked me round. When do we do it?"

"This afternoon, Giovanni will be asking the questions."

"Right, I'll see him later."

Basil left the boardroom perplexed. This would see him bear a few personal things but if it helped the fans get to know him better then why not. Angus' plans were certainly something Basil was having to buy into whether he agreed with them or not. And a good working relationship between Chairman and Manager can only mean one thing: the Club can go from strength to strength.
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Chapter 12: An initial hiccup


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Basil walked back into the boardroom at precisely 1:00pm to meet Giovanni for the Q and A which Angus had been so keen to see him do. Giovanni was there, dressed smartly in a grey Armani suit, compared to Basil who was in a casual Werribee City tracksuit with the zip halfway up and a white club polo shirt. He was about to sit down when he spotted a camera with its lens seemingly focused on the seat where Basil was to sit.

"Giovanni, why is there a camera here?" Basil enquired.

"Erm, we're going to do it as a live stream on the Club's YouTube channel." Giovanni responded with a slight hesitation,

"Well I didn't agree to this."

"Angus never told you?"

"No, just told me you would be doing the interview. I was expecting that we'd be sitting down at the table, you with either pen and note pad or a dictaphone."

"I'm sorry, but we're trying to attract new fans and new ways of interacting with our existing fanbase. This might work y'know."

"It just feels er, kinda awkward. I'm not sure that it will, I mean all the world will know about it if it does go global."

"And?"

"I like to keep certain things private to myself. I've never been one for media attention. That's why nobody ever saw me do many press conferences or an interview in my playing days. I'm a bit of an off the grid personality."

"Ah I see, but please reconsider."

"Give me a few minutes to myself. I'm just going to grab a soda and go outside for a bit."

And at that point Basil did an about turn, opened the oak doors, and headed to the car park whilst grabbing a can of Coke Zero from the drinks dispenser. He stood in the car park, contemplating. "Perhaps I should walk away from this gig, already I've been lied to." Basil said to himself. "Or shall I change my attitude?" Basil then thought what Sir Alex would have done, he would have done it but insisted no more shock surprises. So this meant a shift of personal focus was needed from the media-conscious Basil Brush now, it was time to step away from the shyness and show people what he was really like. He gulped the last dregs from the can, squeezed it, threw it into the nearby bin like Michael Jordan netting another basket for the Chicago Bulls and headed back inside.

"Right Giovanni, where do we begin?" 
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Chapter 13: Bearing the Soul


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So Basil had been convinced to do the Q & A after all, even though he hated media attentions and cameras being stuck in his face. It had been something he hadn't been keen on as a child growing up, always ducking out of the way when a family member wanted him to pose for a picture. But if this could help the fans know some of his likes and dislikes etc then perhaps that Giovanni and Angus certainly had everyone's best interests at heart, including his own. This is how it panned out:

Name: Basil David Brush

Date of Birth: 31 October 1981

Height/Weight: 5ft 7ins/ 79kg

Previous Clubs: Celtic (1997-2003), Sunderland (2003-06), Hartlepool United (loan, 2004-05), Sheffield Wednesday (2006-08), Hull City (2008), Doncaster Rovers (2008-2011), West Bromwich Albion (2011-12), Glentoran (2012-13), Stocksbridge Park Steels (2013-19)

International Honours: None

Playing Honours: (with Celtic) SPL winner 1998, 2002, 2003; Scottish FA Cup Winner 2001, Scottish League Cup Winner 2001, UEFA Cup Runner-Up 2003. (with Hartlepool United) League One Play-Off Final Runner Up 2005, (with Glentoran) Irish FA Cup winner 2013.

Managerial Jobs: First time as a football manager

Who was your team growing up? Celtic, as my late father supported them and his father etc.

Who was your playing idol and why? That would have to be Tommy Burns. Tommy twists, Tommy turns, Tommy Burns. A natural red head like I was when I was younger, and just an incredible footballer.

Which manager provides you the most inspiration? I was weaned on stories of Jock Stein and the Lisbon Lions by my father but I would have to say Sir Alex Ferguson, he's the Gaffer and I know I can always rely on him to advise me anytime.

What is your favourite food? Would have to be Spaghetti Bolognese with extra red wine and garlic in the sauce. I can cook it pretty well myself too.

What is your favourite drink? A nice glass of Merlot from time to time.

Who is your favourite Australian, male and female? Haha, good question. Male, even though he wasn't born in Oz, is Angus Young of AC/DC. Female? Well there's only really one answer to that, Kylie Minogue. Did you really expect me to say anything else?

What is your favourite type of music? I listen to rock and heavy metal, with many favourite bands. Some of them include AC/DC, Shinedown, Helloween etc.

Do you have a favourite author? Not at the moment, but I have always enjoyed books by the late Douglas Adams.

Which celebrity would you like to take out on a date?  That's a difficult question! But if I had to choose then it'll be either Jessica Miesel, Diane Youdale or Pauley Perrette.

What's your favourite TV Show? Back home in England, Match of the Day but these days I like watching NCIS.

Describe yourself in five words?: Likeable, funny, enthusiastic, hard-working and studious.

What would you like to achieve this season? To get the Bees promoted to the next level up.

Favourite Comedian: Jasper Carrott


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Actress Jessica Miesel: One of Basil's dream dates

All those questions and an hour later, the camera stopped rolling. Basil thought to himself, what was I thinking beforehand? It hadn't been actually too bad at all, and hopefully it created a good impression to the Werribee fans watching the stream on YouTube or those who would read it in the forthcoming matchday programme on Saturday afternoon for the friendly game. Basil thanked Giovanni for his time, went back through the doors, grabbed another soda and got back in his car to drive back to Melbourne: the previously mentioned Shinedown's latest album "Attention, Attention" playing via Bluetooth and Spotify on the stereo. Time to relax and chill ahead of yet another day in the life of Basil Brush, Werribee City F.C. Football Manager. It had a very nice sound to it indeed. 
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Chapter 14: Pre-Season Completed

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Werribee had five more pre-season games to complete their preparations for the new season ahead of themselves. Basil was getting to know the players, and they seemed a very loyal bunch as well. If an offer came in for them, the player was coming back to Basil and telling him he wanted to stay at Werribee. Perhaps Basil had stumbled upon a squad that wanted to prove themselves to their new manager and not seek a new challenge elsewhere? But with the players on part time contracts and some of them expiring early in the season, Basil knew he would have a job on his hands to keep this squad focused and ready to mount an unexpected promotion challenge.

But anything is possible right?

September began with the prestigious home friendly against Melbourne's third A-League side, Western United. Almost 3000 attended the game, with almost 2400 of them bedecked in the green and white of the visiting team. As Basil arrived at the stadium a good four hours ahead of the 3:00pm kick off, he was greeted by home supporters and given a warm welcome:

"Great video interview boss, can't fault some of your choices."

"Brilliant gaffer, we're proud of you and the team."

That brought a smile to Basil's face as he went through the doors of the Galvin Park Reserve stadium for his first real game in charge of the Bees. They had obviously played the bounce game there in early July but since then they had been on the road, and they would be for four more games after this one. Predictably enough the professional side came out on top, recording a 3-0 win thanks to a brace from experienced Kosovo internationalist Besart Berisha who in the mid 2000s had an ill fated spell at Burnley; and an injury time clincher from midfielder Steven Lustica. Basil was far from despondent though, the team had created chances but just couldn't make them count. It had been a good workout for his Bees side.

A week later, the Bees hit the road again. This time they were to face another divisional rival, this time in the shape of Moreland City at their Campbell Reserve stadium. John Waddell's fixture planning was certainly interesting but there was nothing Basil could do to change that with the start of the season just four weeks away on the horizons. Moreland took the lead just after the half hour when winger Osman Kose scored but the Bees equalised just three minutes before half time when Lisandro Paz nutmegged Selemidis on the right wing before crossing for Michael Holden to score with an angled half volley into the bottom corner. Neither side could break through after that and the teams shook hands on a 1-1 draw. The game saw a first appearance for yet another trialist, this time full back Milan Popovich.

The next test would come at La Trobe University where Murray United hosted the Bees. The Bees controlled the game from start to finish, limiting their hosts to just a couple off target efforts in the entire ninety minutes, whilst creating 15 of their own. Both the goals came in the second half, and both goals came from defenders which pleased Basil no end as he wanted to see goals from every part of the team and not be reliant on just his striking options. The first came in the 63rd minute when Matteo Ballan's free kick caused many a problem for the home defence and central defender Cameron Davies reacted quickest to poke home from six yards out. The win was secured eight minutes from time, a free kick swung in from the right by Paz and Club vice-captain Julyan Collett headed in at the far post.

Two friendlies left, and the penultimate one would see the Bees venture across town to face Hoppers Crossing who are two divisions below in the state league structure. The Bees predictably had the best of the player but to be fair it was a turgid goalless draw which frustrated the heck out of Basil. This was a chance to increase the morale in the camp with the big kick-off closing in. Was there a plus point from this draw? Yes, it came from the right back spot as Popovich took the Man of the Match award. The full back being the best performer in a dour game where 44 players featured all at some point.

There was some cheer before the final friendly, winger Paz agreed terms on a new two year deal which takes him until May 2021. Basil was rather happy to get that deal over the line as the winger had contributed 2 goals and 5 assists in the 12 friendlies he had featured in, and hopefully the team will continue to flourish with him in the side. The final friendly then, at the Laura Douglas Reserve: home of Hume United who play further down the league pyramid. After failing to deliver in the previous game, the Bees definitely stung their hosts by scoring all their three goals in the first 26 minutes. The opener came in just the second minute when Paz skipped his way down the right wing, and then planted a perfect cross onto the head of Alec Goodwin who thumped his header into the net. The perfect start. The big striker scored his and the Bees second in the 18th minute, a low finish into the bottom corner after Jamie Gorgovski had picked him out in space. The third came eight minutes later; Parsons tripped Holden in the penalty area and Ballan drilled in the resultant spot kick low and straight down the centre of the goal. After that it was easy street for the Bees and as they came away with a routine win.

The big kick off awaits Brush and his team, can they set it alight? Brush hoped so as he relaxed in his hotel, however he had other things on his mind: getting Goodwin to reduce his demands and join Paz in signing a new contract. Alec was his first choice striker, he didn't want to lose him to anyone.
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Chapter 15: The Final Countdown


As he reflected on the last 3 months, Basil knew reality had certainly kicked in. Those last 3 months had seen him go from retired semi-professional footballer to a full time football manager. "Where has time gone?" he questioned himself whilst quaffing another mouthful of Coke Zero.

The next seven days saw Basil draw up plans, throw away plans, draw up more plans on repeat. It certainly beat number crunching in the Job Centre offices back home in England. Those summers back home where Basil would go away for a few weeks to attend a coaching course were now being to be into practice. The real thing was dawning.

In fact, prior to taking the Werribee job, Basil had no real interest in becoming a manager in his own right. He only did the coaching badges to keep his "hand in" and keep his love for the beautiful game going. It helped him with his local amateur Sunday morning side back in England for a number of seasons, not that they won anything, but something to do. Now Basil had moved up to the top table, the sudden realisation he was a manager of a proper football team was engulfing him and his thoughts every minute of every day.

He opened up John's latest email which detailed the first month's games:

From: John Waddell

To: Basil Brush

Date: 10 October 2019, 10:00

Subject: First month's fixtures

Hey Basil,

Well that was some pre-season, I bet you'd never experienced anything like it. Next time, I'll leave it with you haha. Anyway please see the list of the first month's league games. There's only three this month.

Saturday 12 October - Manningham United Blues @ Home
Saturday 19 October - Moreland City (Away)
Saturday 26 October - Langwarrin Soccer Club @ Home

Pundits have us to finish 6th this season, mid-table. Nice work by the way on trying to get Pistininzi to join us, he'd certainly add a fair bit of experience to the team which might prove useful.

See you Saturday at the ground, 12 noon as agreed. Gives us a bit of time to fine tune a few things before the players start arriving.

Best,

John


Yeah Basil had made a contract offer to Mark Pistininzi the day before, which the experienced 30 year old was now mulling over. However new contract negotiations were stalling with Alec Goodwin, the striker now on a month to month deal. What made it worse for Basil as regards Goodwin, newly formed Macarthur FC were showing signs of a bit of an interest. The Bulls had only been formed a year ago and were looking to soon become the latest members of the A-League which was reputedly looking to expand by one side to take it to an even 12 clubs.

He picked up the mobile, and called the striker. However Basil was left disappointed as the call went straight to voicemail, so he chucked the now empty can into the waste bin in sheer frustration. Basil stomped over to the fridge in the room, took out another can and fired up the tactics planner program on the laptop. "I have to start with a win." Basil said to himself as the tactics chalkboard kicked in. In 48 hours time, he would be on the sideline at Galvin Park Reserve overseeing his first ever league game and waiting to have his plans destroyed or come to fruition. This would be the start of a journey which would take over his life now. No looking back, only forwards.
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Chapter 16: Consistent Beginnings


It was a baking warm day in Melbourne as Basil jumped into his hire car from Avis. The temperature outside was showing 18 degrees Celsius, but the heat inside the vehicle was topping 25, a stark comparison of what he would expect back home. Mid-October temperatures in South Yorkshire would top 14 degrees Celsius if you were lucky but it was a considerably warmer climate in his new surroundings. It certainly felt a wee bit different for sure. Basil turned on the car stereo, and having paired it with his mobile, drove the 20 mile journey to Galvin Park Reserve with the sounds of Helloween's classic power metal album "Keeper of the Seven Keys; Part 1" pumping out.

He arrived at the stadium at exactly 12 noon, at the same time as his assistant John Waddell. The two men walked through the open gate, took one look at the pitch, before heading down the tunnel towards the home dressing room whereupon they awaited the arrival of the players. The team hadn't been announced in advance at the last training session on Thursday afternoon, Basil's philosophy was that unless a player was injured (as in really injured) then the side would be named on the day itself with all available for selection. This was the first of a 22 game league season where each side would play each other home and away over the next seven months. The top two would be promoted to NPL Victoria - 1 with the bottom relegated to NPL - Victoria 3. Werribee had last featured in the higher division in 2015 when they were relegated by virtue of a 13th placed finish. Basil was determined to make sure that relegation was not on the menu in his maiden managerial campaign.

Matchday 1: Werribee City 0 - 0 Manningham United Blues

Despite having the better of the chances, the Bees had to settle for a share of the spoils on the opening game of the season. Blues had to thank goalkeeper Luke Gallo to thank for their point as he denied Bees' striker Alec Goodwin on a number of occasions whilst former Newcastle United trainee Alex Baird kept the Bees in it with saves of his own. 

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett ©, Petrov, Bavcar; Murray; Ballan, Zaffina (Gorgovski 72), Paz, Davis (Holden 66); Goodwin. Unused Substitutes: Dunn, Weaver, Parkinson, Davies, Kessie.
Booked: Bavcar
Man of the Match: Matteo Ballan
Attendance: 529
Position After Game: 9th

After seeing his side draw a blank on the opening day, Basil decided he needed to freshen up matters early doors. This involved making his sixth permanent signing of the season, Mark Pistininzi arriving as a free agent after seemingly doing enough when on trial. With no funds available for transfers, Basil knew that he was having to wheel and deal in this début managerial season. Players would come in either on trial, on loan or as a free agent whilst wages being prudently negotiated to ensure the Club itself didn't suffer financially. Seven days after that opening game, the team headed to the north of Melbourne to play their first away match.

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New Werribee arrival, Mark Pistininzi

Matchday 2: Moreland City 1 - 1 Werribee City

Basil made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 on opening day. Club Captain David Parkinson replaced Daniel Petrov in central defence, new signing Mark Pistininzi was handed an instant début in place of Bradley Murray whilst Michael Holden came in on the left wing to take over from Lachlan Davis. The team took the lead in the 25th minute when Holden flicked the ball on for an anticipating Goodwin to beat the hesitant Moreland keeper with a volley into the bottom corner. However, the lead lasted just three minutes when James Michaelis headed in from eight yards out. Moreland should have won the game with a golden chance two minutes from the end, central defender William Abbott being left unmarked but putting his effort straight at Baird.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Parkinson ©, Bavcar; Pistininzi  (Murray 80); Zaffina (Gorgovski 68), Ballan; Paz (Davis 68), Holden, Goodwin. Unused Substitutes: Petrov, Dunn, Davies, Weaver.
Booked: Bavcar, Goodwin
Man of the Match: Alec Goodwin 
Attendance: 75
Position After Game: 7th

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Alec Goodwin volleys in Werribee's first goal of the new season


Matchday 3: Werribee City 1 - 1 Langwarrin Soccer Club

The final game of the opening month saw Werribee face a Langwarrin side that many had tipped for promotion before the big kick off. However, it was the Bees who dominated the game: creating chance after the chance with Langwarrin firmly on the defensive. This was illustrated by the fact Langwarrin picked up five yellow cards in the game.

Werribee made two changes to the side that drew seven days ago, central defender Cameron Davies replacing Nicholas Bavcar with Parkinson switching to left back, and Jamie Gorgovski in for Brandon Zaffina. In one of their few chances, Langwarrin took the lead in the 57th minute thanks to a wonderful half volley by Jordan Templin which gave Baird no chance whatsoever. The Bees levelled immediately afterwards, a teasing cross from Holden being converted by Goodwin from close range for the striker's second of the season. But neither could find a winner and Werribee settled for a third successive draw.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Davies, Parkinson ©; Pistininzi (Petrov 83); Gorgovski (Murray 73), Ballan; Paz (Davis 65), Holden; Goodwin. Unused Substitutes: Weaver, Dunn, Bavcar, Zaffina.
Man of the Match: Alec Goodwin
Attendance: 476

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Goodwin on the spot again, two in two games


Current standings:
https://i.postimg.cc/ZqS8DZvH/Werribee-1920-Table-End-Oct.png

As Basil drove back to the hotel, he contemplated. "Three games played, three draws. At least I'm being consistent." Basil said to himself, "Just need to get that first win and a monkey off my back." as the heavy guitar riffs of Smoke On The Water filled the Melbourne air.
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Chapter 17: Birthday Blues


It was another day in Melbourne, but not an ordinary day as Basil awoke. In fact, it was Basil's 38th birthday and he was on the other side of the world to his family. That didn't stop them from calling him despite the time difference though. Mam, predictably was first, with her usual singing of "Happy birthday" down the line: a tradition that Basil had gotten used to over the years since he first left home in 1997 to become an apprentice at Celtic. Next up was his sister with a FaceTime call and that pleased Basil no end too. Even "The Gaffer" called him to check in and wish him a pleasant day.

Life was still good.

Basil opened the laptop to a couple of emails from John. John's first email was to advise him that the planned loan transfer for Oskar Dillion had fallen through. Dillon was a 20 year old central defender who was on the books of A-League side Western United, and the professional side were looking to loan him out to help with his development. The defender had actually played against Werribee in the pre-season, and Brush had been sufficiently impressed enough to attempt this audacious loan transfer. Dillon had opted to decline the move to Werribee though, and instead go on loan for the season to Oakleigh Cannons who play in the division above the Bees.

John's second email detailed the next round of fixtures which would start in a couple of days time.

From: John Waddell

To: Basil Brush

Date: 31 October 2019, 09:45

Subject: November Fixtures


G'day Basil, and happy birthday boss as well.

I've got the new fixtures for you for the month, five games for us this time out. Guess that's something that you'd be used back home in England. This is who we will be playing:

https://i.postimg.cc/SQ9gmZr3/Werribee-1920-Nov19-Games.png

Hopefully we can get that first win soon, and start to make a statement. But then again no game is a given one, right?

See you Saturday at the Reserve, 12 noon again. The players are doing a double session today, will let you know any feedback on it that comes from it of course.

Best,

John W.


Basil digested the fixtures and took a quick glance at the league table. First two games against the 11th and 12th placed teams in the current standings, both winnable. Then the rest would be against sides above Werribee. What surprised Basil though was that FC Bulleen Lions were top of the table, this was a team that the Bees had thrashed 4-0 in pre-season which just goes to show that you should never ever read anything to pre-season friendlies. They mean absolutely nada.

Perhaps he should try again to get Alec Goodwin to sign that new contract? "I'll leave it until after Saturday's game." Basil said to himself. "If he (Goodwin) has a great game then he might realise that the new contract is worth signing there and then." That was the hope, but equally he was prepared for another rejection from the striker. If ever Basil needed some strokes of good fortunes from the footballing gods, now would be ideal.
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Chapter 18: Finally, some good news


It was bothering Basil no end, the protracted discussions with Alec Goodwin. The 23 year old striker was one of the biggest earners at Werribee and was wanting a pay increase to stay a Werribee player. Basil spoke to the player again after the home game against Pascoe Vale, the first in November, but was once again left disappointed.

"Alec, I really want you to stay but I just think we're at an impasse."
"I know boss, but you know how football is these days. I have to look out for myself."
"But you do love this Club right?"
"Yeah, and I respect you as a manager too, but let's talk again in the morning."

Basil drove back to the hotel, convinced that he was fighting a losing battle with his first choice centre forward. Not even the sounds of Fozzy's Do You Wanna Start A War album could cheer him up. Thirty minutes later, Basil pulled into the parking lot at the hotel and exited the vehicle. He was still downbeat as he got into the lift, head slunk low as if his world was about to end. He got his room, ordered a couple of bottles of VB from room service, and just sat there in complete silence; only moving when he needed the toilet and it was time to go to bed.

The following morning Basil's mood hadn't improved, so after finishing his breakfast, he picked up his mobile to call Goodwin. Much to Basil's surprise, the striker answered:

"Morning boss."
"Morning Alec, calling you as we discussed yesterday."
"Yeah. I guess we're going to talk contracts again."
"That's what I was hoping for. Remind me what kind of deal you want? Wasn't it a two year deal at 500 AUD a week?"
"Um..."
"Alec? Alec?"
"Sorry boss. I've been thinking...I've changed my demands,"

Basil sighed, fearing that the striker had moved the goalposts even further away and inched closer to the exit door.

"Right, and they are?"
"I'm looking for a three year deal boss, paying 250 AUD a week."
"Oh..."
"I think I'm being reasonable boss, really I am."
"I see. Well let me do some number crunching. I'll be back in a few minutes Alec."

Basil texted John with the player's demands, and John was straight back in touch. His reply read:

https://i.postimg.cc/R0L2MvzP/Waddell-Text.png

He released the call with Goodwin from hold, and spoke again.

"Alec, sorry about that. Just had to crunch some numbers to see if we can agree to it. Budgets pretty tight as it is."
"Understand boss. So can you?"
"Yeah I think we have a deal in place here Alec."
"Great, can't see any problems from my side either." Send me the contract via email and I'll get back to you. Laters boss."
"Bye for now Alec."

The breakthrough had happened after weeks and weeks of talking. Basil drafted up the new contract for Goodwin, emailed it to the striker and sat there waiting for a reply. Yet the striker didn't respond straight away, in fact days and days passed. It was two days before the next league game when something happened. Basil woke to find an email sitting in his inbox.

From: Alec Goodwin

To: Basil Brush

Date: 7 November 2019, 00:35

Subject: New Contract

Boss,

Please find my new contract, signed. I've only signed it because of you.

See you Saturday, am happy to get this sorted finally.

Alec

A huge smile broke across Basil's face, the saga was over and done with. Alec Goodwin was to remain a Werribee player for the next three years, mission accomplished off pitch. Now to get those wins on pitch and rise up that table.
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Chapter 19: The Monkey Is Off The Back

As Basil and Werribee City entered November, they were exactly where the pundits had them to be at the end of the season, 6th. But Basil knew there was more to come from this team, and a win would boost the team's confidence no end. What better way to do that by playing the league's strugglers in the next couple of games. Slip up against them and then perhaps questions would start to be asked. Time to show the real potential of the Bees, and who knows what it could lead to.

Matchday 4: Werribee City 3 - 1 Pascoe Vale

At the fourth time of asking, Werribee City recorded their first win of the new season. The Bees did this with a come from behind victory against a Pascoe Vale side that remain in the relegation spots. Vale took the lead after 17 minutes when a Damien Peters corner had Alex Baird flapping at like a window cleaner and Stephen Haztikostas headed in from close range for his first ever Vale goal. However, rallied by their manager, the Bees stung their visitors thanks to impressive performances by wingers Lisandro Paz and Michael Holden. It was Holden who got the equaliser in the 33rd minute; latching onto a cross-field pass from right-back Tom Lakic with a superb volley into the top corner for his 1st goal of the season.

The home side dominated the game from then on, and two goals in the second half secured the three points for Brush's men. Just before the hour, skipper David Parkinson crossed from the left and Jonathan Munoz's weak defensive header landed straight to Paz who made no mistake for his season opener with a low arrowed finish that gave Luke Gavalas no chance at all. Thirteen minutes from time, Werribee clinched the points when Holden danced into the penalty area before picking out Paz who doubled his tally with a precise header into the bottom corner. The monkey was well and truly off the back.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Davies, Parkinson © (Bavcar 84); Pistininzi, Ballan, Gorgovski (Murray 70); Paz, Holden; Goodwin (Weaver 70).  Unused Substitutes: Petrov, Dunn, Zaffina, Davis.
Booked: Paz
Man of the Match: Lisandro Paz
Attendance: 494
Position After Game: 5th

Matchday 5: Goulburn Valley Suns 1 - 2 Werribee City

It's two wins in a row for Basil Brush's Werribee City as they came from behind again to record the points; this time against bottom placed Goulburn Valley Suns in Shepparton. The Suns took a surprise lead in the 27th minute when Lakic had hold of Shaun Kane's shirt a bit too much for the referee's liking. Jamie England stepped up, and comfortably dispatched it into the bottom corner despite Baird diving the right way. The Bees equalised in the 57th minute with a penalty of their own when Cory Sellwood tripped Paz as the winger advanced forward. Matteo Ballan assumed responsibility from twelve yards for the Bees, and sent the keeper the wrong way to restore parity.

Eight minutes later and Werribee scored what proved to be the winner. A free kick by Ballan saw home keeper Algazaly come from a ball that he was never going to reach, Julyan Collett headed it goalwards and Paz poached in his third in two games from six yards out. With bigger tests yet to come, Werribee can now go into them with a great confidence building up in the ranks.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Parkinson ©, Bavcar (Petrov 64); Pistininzi; Gorgovski (Murray 70), Ballan; Paz, Holden (Davis 81); Goodwin. Unused Substitutes: Weaver, Dunn, Davies, Zaffina.
Man of the Match: Matteo Ballan
Attendance: 199
Position After Game: 4th

So two wins in a row for Werribee and rising up the table, hence Basil felt quite content as he relaxed in the hotel room. The only thing that bothered him now? Whether or not they could maintain this or would lead to a collapse more akin to watching the middle order of the England cricket team.
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Chapter 20: Top of the Pops

Having managed to win their last two games, Basil and Werribee headed into the remainder of November with a great deal of confidence about them. The monkey was off the back but there was no reason to sit back on one's laurels. Once you win one, you want to win the next one and the next one. However winning games is all well and good but it puts a bit of a target on your back for you to be shot at. Basil never believed in complacency as a player, he certainly wasn't going to believe it as a manager. Could the Bees maintain their unbeaten start to the season?

Matchday 6: FC Bulleen Lions 0 - 1 Werribee City

The Bees headed into game six feeling good, their hosts likewise. The two sides had played each other in pre-season, the Bees taking the honours that day with a 4-0 humbling but the Lions had improved since then. Going into the game, the Lions had made a very strong start to the new season: lying no lower than second. Given they were at home, this would be the biggest test so far for Basil and his side. By the end of it, they would have passed with flying colours. One goal was all that it needed when a deep cross from the recalled Nicholas Bavcar saw Alec Goodwin escape his markers and loop home a header for his third of the season. What a way to celebrate your new three year contract!

The Bees were unlucky not to win by more with Goodwin, Lisandro Paz and Brandon Zaffina all going close. It was the perfect away performance, that 27th minute winner being the icing on the cake.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Parkinson ©, Bavcar; Pistininzi; Zaffina (Murray 71), Ballan; Paz (Davis 81), Holden; Goodwin (Weaver 90). Unused Substitutes: Petrov, Dunn, Davies, Gorgovski.
Booked: Collett
Man of the Match: Alec Goodwin
Attendance: 662
Position After Game: 1st

Ahead of the game against second placed Kingston City, Basil again took advantage of the trial option. Arriving at Galvin Park Reserve was experienced 29 year old striker Nathan Elasi. Elasi had, in 2009-10, played at the top level when he played seven games in the A-League with Melbourne Victory but had had a nomadic career since. His most recent stop had been Wollongong United in the Illawarra Premier League where he scored a season best 15 goals in just 22 games; could he be the perfect back up for Goodwin with Shaun Weaver failing to impress? it was no risk with a possible reward.

Matchday 7: Werribee City 0 - 0 Kingston City

That game against Kingston would see the Bees extend their unbeaten start to the season to seven games; but relinquish the top spot after Brunswick City defeated North Geelong Warriors 3-1. It was a game which Werribee had the best of the chances with Matteo Ballan going the closest to breaking the deadlock in the 44th minute with a long range strike that thudded against the post before bouncing against the post. Kingston City offered few chances of their own, Todd Dekker heading straight at Alex Baird when well placed and substitute Steve Duvcevski replicating Ballan with a long ranger that clattered the post with the keeper scrambling across his line.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Parkinson ©, Bavcar; Pistininzi; Ballan, Zaffina (Murray 84); Paz, Holden (Davis 65); Goodwin (Weaver 84). Unused Substitutes: Petrov, Dunn, Davies, Gorgovski.
Booked: Bavcar
Man of the Match: Faisal Sakhizada (Kingston City)
Attendance: 481
Position After Game: 2nd

Matchday 8: Werribee City 1 - 0 Brunswick City

It's eight games unbeaten for Werribee City; a new Club and League record, as a single Michael Holden goal was enough to defeat Brunswick City at Galvin Park Reserve. The win was also good enough to see the Bees reclaim top spot at their visitors expense, and continue their good start under manager Basil Brush. The rookie English manager has overseen a resurgence of the Bees, and he has to be proud at what his team is achieving. That only goal came four minutes after the restart when Matteo Ballan played a superb ball inside the Brunswick right-back and Holden angled a low shot across Sebastian Mattei and into the far corner. It was the left winger's second goal of the season.

The game saw both sides be guilty of spurning chances but ultimately the Bees would prevail thanks to the winger's strike, and pundits are now speculating what next the team will achieve.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Parkinson ©, Bavcar; Pistininzi (Murray 90+3); Ballan, Zaffina (Gorgovski 71); Paz, Holden; Goodwin (Weaver 74). Unused Substitutes: Petrov, Dunn, Davis, Davies.
Man of the Match: Michael Holden
Attendance: 473
Position After Game: 1st

So this is how we fare at the end of November:

https://i.postimg.cc/8cdKtyMP/Werribee-1920-Table-End-Nov.png
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Chapter 21: Life's Been Good (with apologies to Joe Walsh)

As Basil relaxed in his hotel room a few hours after the Brunswick City victory, it gave him plenty to time to reflect. Four months had elapsed, almost five, since he met Angus Brown in that Melbourne restaurant and agreed to become the new Head Coach of Werribee City. And what a ride it has been so far, he contemplated. Considering that this was Basil's maiden journey into the cut throat world of football management, it had certainly gone well for the Englishman.

The decision had been a successful one so far.

With the halfway point of the season looming on the horizon, Werribee were very handily placed indeed to get promotion at the first time of asking but Basil was not counting any proverbial chickens. One defeat and they could easily back down to fifth if results went against them, that's how Basil was seeing it in the bigger picture. The build up week had seen Brush make yet another signing, this time picking up 22 year old winger Omar Ammache who signed on non-contract terms. With Lisandro Paz and Michael Holden playing well in the wing roles, Brush saw his latest acquisition as a very useful back up to call upon. It also met the board's approval as this was yet another player signed under the age of 23. Brush was certainly trying to build something for the future.

That was one new face in, but time had run out to get a second one in. Striker Nathan Elasi had been on trial with the Bees for the last four weeks, and the former Melbourne City striker had done well. He had played 4 games and scored four goals which was exactly what Brush was looking for, someone who could put the ball into the back of the net and provide good competition for first choice striker Alec Goodwin. Whilst his demands weren't over the top, Brush was concerned that the board wouldn't be happy with him signing a 30 year old journeyman striker. But eventually gut instinct took over and a contract was offered.

Predictably midweek saw yet another email from John Waddell with December's fixture list so Basil could update his planner.

From: John Waddell

To: Basil Brush

Date: 4 December 2019, 10:00

Subject: December Fixtures

Morning Basil.

Well done on the Ammache signing, he's going to be a very option for us should we require him to play. Just hope we can get the Elasi deal over the line as well, that will certainly improve our striking options as we can't rely upon Alec (Goodwin) all the time.

Anyway here are December's games for us:

https://i.postimg.cc/wjPB6FRB/Werribee-1920-Dec19-Games.png

Three games and this will take us to the halfway stage of the season by the time we're finished with them. Hopefully we can still be in a good position after them, and yeah we're on the road all the time. Still that's the fixture schedulers for you.

Best,

John W.

Could the Bees kick on further and strengthen their grip at the top? The board were certainly pleased so far, so it was safe to assume that things were going to plan. December would be pivotal, it was just about taking advantage and making sure complacency didn't kick in. As the team boarded the bus bound for Geelong, Basil was reminding his players exactly that. They had built themselves up to be a force but now the target was firmly on their backs, everyone else wanted to beat them. No room for taking things easy, winning games builds team morale and smiles on faces. Time to shine brighter than ever before.
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Chapter 22: Merry Christmas Werribee City!

Basil looked at the December games that the Bees would play, all of them away from home. What kind of fixture planning do they do here; he muttered to himself. Sure he was used to playing back to back home or away games in his playing career, but playing three away games straight, well he hadn't seen anything like it. Well, he had but that was when he was watching the NHL. Still it was a chance for him and his Bees side to really make a statement and put a bit of daylight in what was a very tight division.

Matchday 9: North Geelong Warriors 0 - 0 Werribee City

Werribee City made it nine games unbeaten with a goalless draw in Geelong. The Warriors were second best to their table topping visitors throughout, and failed to force Bees keeper Alex Baird in the whole ninety minutes. Bees manager Mark Duell cut a very frustrated figure in the visiting dugout, seeing his side waste chance after chance in a game they dominated. Michael Holden, scorer of the winner against Brunswick City seven days ago, went the closest to breaking the deadlock: his 65th minute shot thudding against the post and away from danger. Warriors keeper Marko Stevanja kept his side in it throughout with a series of important saves but the Bees will see this as two points dropped for sure.

The game also saw the Bees give a début to new signing Omar Ammache as a second half substitute.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett, Parkinson ©, Bavcar; Pistininzi; Zaffina, Ballan, Paz (Ammache 64), Holden; Goodwin (Weaver 73). Unused Substitutes: Petrov, Dunn, Murray, Williams, Gorgovski.
Man of the Match: Tom Lakic
Attendance: 196
Position After Game: 3rd

Basil knew his team needed extra firepower, they had scored just nine goals in those nine games unbeaten. Therefore it came as a welcome relief when on the Monday after that Geelong draw, striker Nathan Elasi agreed to join the Bees as a free agent on a two year deal. What made it better for Basil, the wage budget was still under control and the board were still happy with him. Hopefully the new signing could help out as it was becoming clearer that Shaun Weaver wasn't good enough. But would the new signing have an instant début on the Saturday at Northcote City? That was something Basil was toying with in his mind.

https://i.postimg.cc/1XthTncq/Nathan-Elasi.jpg
Experienced Striker Nathan Elasi joins Werribee

Matchday 10: Northcote City 1 - 3 Werribee City

After the frustrating goalless draw in Geelong where Werribee should have really hammered their hosts, Basil's attentions turned to the next game against Northcote City, and he surprised the team by making two changes. Dropped were skipper David Parkinson and striker Alec Goodwin. Replacing them were Daniel Petrov and in an instant début, Nathan Elasi, whilst Julyan Collett skippered the team. And it seemed to be groundhog day for the Bees in that first half, wasting chances after chances and leaving Brush to cut an exasperated figure on the touchline. The far from impressed manager made his feelings known at half time as he ripped in his shell shocked side.

Those words seemed to fire up the Bees as they seemed to be better in the second half, and they opened the scoring in the 58th minute when Lisandro Paz bombed down the right wing to cross to the far post where fellow winger Michael Holden beat Paul Petrovski with a neat half volley for his third of the season. As débuts went, Elasi had a steady one and with 18 minutes to go the striker made way for Goodwin. Seconds later, Werribee had gone 2-0 ahead when a cross from Matteo Ballan was met by a pinpoint header by Goodwin, his first touch and a fourth goal of the season. What an impact!

Sensing they could score again, Werribee looked for a third and got it in the 74th minute. A beautifully weighted pass inside the home left back by Brandon Zaffina found Paz in a pocket of space and he angled a low drive under Petrovski for his fourth of the campaign. Home right-back Paul Swithenbank headed in for Northcote two minutes later but that proved to be just a false dawn and Werribee were back to winning ways, and back in the promotion places.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett © (Davies 67), Petrov, Bavcar; Pistininzi, Zaffina, Ballan; Paz, Holden (Ammache 82); Elasi (Goodwin 72). Unused Substitutes: Parkinson, Dunn, Kessie, Murray.
Booked: Collett
Man of the Match: Lisandro Paz
Attendance: 442
Position After Game: 2nd

Matchday 11: Moreland Zebras 1 - 1 Werribee City

After getting back to winning ways seven days ago, Brush surprised all and sundry when he named an unchanged side for the trip to Moreland Zebras: their last game of 2019. This meant that new signing Elasi kept his place ahead of Goodwin who had scored in that 3-1 win at Northcote City, the new boy's second successive start. However once more the Bees failed to convert the chances they were presented with and put their hosts to the sword. It would certainly come back and bite them, right?

Sure enough it did when the Zebras opened the scoring 12 minutes from time, Cameron Watson reacting first to the loose ball after a spot of ping pong football in the Bees penalty area following an Aaron Turner corner kick. With time running out, it looked like Werribee would lose their first game of the season but with just a couple of minutes left; they scored a dramatic equaliser. A free-kick from Ballan was blocked by a resolute Zebras wall and back to the schemer who swung it wide right to Mark Pistininzi and the defensive midfielder's low cross was turned in from close range by former Zebras striker Goodwin, who had been introduced as a substitute for the ineffective Elasi. It was the striker's fifth of the season.

There was even more joy in the visiting dressing room at the end, despite them only taking a point. Leaders Brunswick City had suffered a surprise 2-1 loss at Manningham which meant the Bees would end the first half of the season, top of the pile and unbeaten in eleven.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett ©, Petrov, Bavcar (Parkinson 77); Pistininzi; Ballan, Zaffina; Paz, Holden (Ammache 72); Elasi (Goodwin 63). Unused Substitutes: Kessie, Dunn, Davies, Murray.
Booked: Pistininzi
Man of the Match: Cameron Watson (Moreland Zebras)
Attendance: 561
Position After Game: 1st

So this is the table at the end of the first half of the season:

https://i.postimg.cc/fTRPmqsW/Werribee-1920-Table-End-Dec.png

Definitely good reading indeed as Basil munched his way through the four course Christmas Day dinner that the hotel had cooked. Despite being over 10500 miles away from his family, the sight of being a table topping manager more than made up for it. Merry Christmas Werribee City indeed!
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Chapter 23: What do the experts know anyway?

As the fireworks lit up the night sky over the Yarra River, Basil took stock of the last 12 months. It had certainly been a bit of a whirlwind for sure. He had started the year 2019 as a Civil Servant and playing his last season as one of Stocksbridge Park Steels most senior semi-professionals; now he was embracing 2020 as a full time football manager albeit on the other side of the world. Quite a change in fortunes for sure.

What would 2020 bring him? A date with Jessica Miesel perchance? Nah, too much a long shot that one. He viewed he had more chance of winning a small prize on the Victorian State Lottery than a hot date with Ms Miesel, the actress from Atlanta; Georgia who stars in the medical drama "The Resident." No, then the realism hit him.

He could be a title winning manager before half the new year would be out, providing Werribee continued to do what was expected of them. Now how good would that feel? The following morning on the first day of 2020, Basil awoke to John Waddell's latest fixture email which read the following:

From: John Waddell

To: Basil Brush

Date: 1 January 2020, 08:00

Subject: January 2020 Preview

Happy New Year Basil!

Hope you enjoyed seeing in the New Year in Oz first of all.

Anyway, please see the fixture list for us this month. There's only a couple of games but we've got to keep our focus right and keep on the right track.

https://i.postimg.cc/66fyqXCP/Werribee-1920-Jan20-Games.png

Manningham beat Brunswick in the last round of fixtures so they'll be on a high when they play us, it's time to put them back in their place and continue that promotion bid. If we can get a result there then it'll give us some confidence ahead of the trip to Langwarrin which is a tougher assignment but not beyond us.

See you on the bus Saturday.

Best,

John W.

John Waddell's words certainly rang true, Basil felt he was blessed to have such a knowledgeable assistant at Werribee. Imagine how much he would probably have struggled without the steadying influence of the 53 year old. However, something else caused a raised eyebrow, the local pundits had been talking about the season so far. Despite the team being unbeaten, the only side in the division to be, the pundits still didn't believe Werribee had what it takes to get promoted to NPL Victoria - 1.

The pundits had the Bees down to finish third by the time the final ball was kicked in mid-May. Langwarrin SC were the new favourites to win the title with Moreland Zebras now predicted to finish in the second promotion spot. Werribee and Brunswick City would miss out if those pundits had their way. "Is that so?" Basil said to himself. "Guess Basil Brush is going to have to make these pundits eat their words," he mused. Basil hated been written off despite the superb start he had had.

Time to make a statement again.
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Chapter 24: Still leading the way

There were only two games in January for Basil and his Werribee City league leaders as the campaign shifted to the second half of the season, the real business end of proceedings. With the team unbeaten, they had certainly put themselves in a great position to be promoted to NPL Victoria - 1 for the 2020-21 season. Surely they weren't going to collapse in a fashion that would have drawn comparisons with dear old Devon Loch. To the uneducated, this was a horse owned by the Queen that inexplicably slipped yards from the winning post in the 1956 Grand National and lost out.

Basil was determined as ever that he wanted to finish the season promoted in his début campaign, and if the team could bag the title then that would be the real icing on this particular cake.

Matchday 12: Manningham United Blues 1 - 3 Werribee City

Werribee City continued their unbeaten run in the 2019-20 season to an astonishing 12 games after dismantling hosts Manningham United Blues at the David Barro Stadium. It was a comprehensive loss for the home side, and pushed them into the relegation places. The visitors made a single change to the side that drew 1-1 with Moreland Zebras in their last game, Nathan Elasi being replaced in a straight swap by Alec Goodwin. It was actually the returnee who gave the Bees the lead two minutes from half time when he volleyed home after Alex Dao's weak defensive header landed at his feet. It was his sixth of the season.

However, the Blues stunned Werribee with an equaliser as the game entered first half injury time. As a cross came from the right, Bees central defender Julyan Collett and Blues striker Dean Lorenzi challenged for it but the referee saw Collett challenging a bit too much forceful than he should and pointed straight to the spot. Veteran Blues defender Filippo Gattari assumed responsibility from twelve yards and sent Alex Baird the wrong way with a perfect penalty into the bottom corner. Yet the Bees regained their lead in the 57th minute and it owed so much for the creative skills of Matteo Ballan as much as the finishing of Goodwin. The midfielder carved open the home defence like a knife through hot butter with a 50 yard pass straight to the striker who took it on before finishing with aplomb for his seventh of the campaign.

Still there was time for a second penalty in the game, and this time it was awarded to Werribee. With just quarter of an hour left to play, Mario Clark was adjudged to have fouled Lisandro Paz in the area, and Ballan was given the chance to wrap up the win. The schemer made no mistake with the second perfect penalty of the game, giving Luke Gallo in the home goal no chance whatsoever. It was his second of the season. Difficult away game conquered.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett ©, Petrov (Davies 88), Bavcar; Pistininzi; Ballan, Zaffina (Murray 66); Paz, Holden (Ammache 73); Goodwin. Unused Substitutes: Elasi, Dunn, Parkinson, Kessie.
Booked: Pistininzi, Zaffina
Man of the Match; Matteo Ballan
Attendance: 432
Position After Game: 1st

With the games now scheduled to be every other week until May, the break came at a good time for Basil and Werribee. It was enabling the players to be more refreshed when it came to game time, and a fully fit squad could only be of benefit for all concerned. During the latest break, the Club received a boost when central defender Collett agreed a one year extension to remain at Galvin Park Reserve. The 30 year old had been the subject of some transfer speculation prior to agreeing terms but to tie down one of the Club's most experienced players was seen as a good bit of business for Basil and Werribee.

But it wasn't all good news, Brush had identified another experienced defender in Diogo Ferreira to become one of his first signings for 20-21. Yet the centre half signed for Hamilton Wanderers in the NZ Premiership at the same time as Collett agreed his new deal at Werribee. But not to be disheartened, Brush saw it as one door opening and one door closing. Who knows, Ferreira could be a close season signing if push comes to shove. A couple of teenage midfielders in local A-league squads also took Brush's eye. Brush was planning for a future, knowing quality will be needed to take this team to the next level. Should Werribee lack ambition, Basil was adamant in his own mind he wouldn't hang around when his contract expired in the summer of 2021.

https://i.postimg.cc/fTYRrmCP/Collett.jpg
Julyan Collett: Signs a new one year deal to remain at Werribee

Matchday 13: Langwarrin SC 0 - 0 Werribee City

It could have been better, Basil lamented to himself as the Bees endured a goalless draw with promotion rivals Langwarrin SC at Lawton Park. Despite being the visitors, Werribee were the better side throughout the ninety minutes. However, once more their lack of killer instinct came back to haunt them as they managed just a paltry three shots on target from 21 attempts. "Not good enough." Basil mumbled to himself when the final whistle shrilled.

The biggest miss came ten minutes into the second half when the Bees were awarded their second penalty in as many games. It came about when home midfielder Vince Lia slid in on Paz and remarkably the referee pointed to the spot, leaving everyone (including the Werribee contingent) surprised. As designated penalty taker, Ballan stepped forth but this time the midfielder's effort lacked any sort of conviction and allowed Nikola Roganovic to make an easy save. So still unbeaten, could this run last to the end of the season? That's going to be a real test of character Basil thought as he stepped onto the bus home.

Team: Baird; Lakic, Collett ©, Petrov, Bavcar, Pistininzi; Ballan, Zaffina (Murray 66), Paz (Ammache 82), Holden; Goodwin (Elasi 72). Unused Substitutes: Parkinson, Dunn, Kessie, Davies.
Booked: Zaffina
Man of the Match: Nikola Roganovic (Langwarrin SC)
Attendance: 574
Position After Game: 1st

So with nine games to play, these are the standings:

https://i.postimg.cc/DyYTvc60/Werribee-1920-Table-End-Jan.png
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Chapter 25: The Invincibles?

After the goalless draw at Langwarrin, Basil glanced at the league table in front of him. Sure the team were still unbeaten and that was a good sign but one result could change that. How would the team respond to a defeat considering this was something that has become alien to them so to speak.

One evening whilst relaxing, for once, Basil tuned into one of the local radio stations and predictably enough there was a phone-in going on. What he heard next raised his eyebrows a bit:

"Up next we have Greg on line number 3, and he wants to talk soccer. Hello Greg."
"G'day mate, yeah I want to talk about my team." Greg stated.
"And who's that? Manchester United, Liverpool in Pom land?"
"Nah, Werribee City mate."
"Oh..."
"They're doing brilliant this season mate I tell you, they haven't lost a game."
"That's impressive."
"Sure is, we've got this new Head Coach and he's done so well. Basil Brush's his name."
"They're managed by a puppet?"
"Nah, I'm being serious mate. That's his actual name, and for a Pom, he's brilliant."
"Good to hear, do you think they will go unbeaten all season then Greg?"
"Hey, why not. Let's be optimistic here, they can become The Werribee Invincibles!"

And at that point, Basil switched the radio off and thought. "The Werribee Invincibles", sounded just awesome. He looked online and much to his surprise, this hadn't ever been done in Austraila like EVER! Sure he had heard of the original Preston North End Invincibles of 1889, the Arsenal one of 2004 and most recently the Celtic one in 2017 when the Bhoys won the league and both domestic Cups but wouldn't it be nice to be such illustrious company? However, Basil was not one for getting ahead of himself as his late father always tried to instil in him, preferring to keep those size 7 feet firmly implanted on the ground.

A few days later came the predictable email from John Waddell, outlining February's fixture list.

From: John Waddell

To: Basil Brush

Date: 22 January 2020, 09:45

Subject: Updates

Hi Basil,

Guess you heard that guy on the radio the other night. Makes you feel proud that you're doing an incredible job here. Anyway please see our fixture list for February. Three games, all at home, and a chance to really kick on.

Saturday 1 February - Moreland City @ Home

Saturday 15 February - Goulburn Valley Suns @ Home

Saturday 29 February - FC Bulleen Lions @ Home

Nice move also in not standing in Kyren's way the other day. I'm sure that he will respect you long term for that.

Best,

John W.

Yeah Basil had seen his Youths Manager Kyren Harrison leave the Club the day after the Langwarrin draw. The 34 year old had decided to leave the Bees for Preston Lions who feature in the division below on a one and a half year contract. Basil could have stepped in his way and caused a bit of friction but would that have been wise? In hindsight, not. An advertisement for his replacement was drafted as soon as the Lions announced Harrison, but as Basil and Werrribee entered February: nobody had been appointed.

Could Basil and the Bees keep this unbeaten campaign running?

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