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10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 1 - This is Sparta.


‘It is with great pleasure that the Sparta Ventures Group officially appoint Nils Jensen as CEO’

There was a small round of applause as he made his way to the podium to face questions from the media present. After a few rounds of basic things, welcome to the role, good luck, all the best, 1 brave journo stepped up confidently and asked exactly what everyone else was thinking

‘Mister Jensen, can you comment on some members of the company that have a somewhat questionable past?’ he asked with his eyes firmly set on the man

‘Thank you for the question. I am in no doubt whatsoever as to the credibility of all members of the company as well as the experience each brings. We have a good team, and I am certain we’ll hit our targets both long term and short’. He spoke in as near perfect English a man born and raised in Sweden could do.

‘You didn’t really answer it so I’ll put it like this. I won’t name names for fear of another lawsuit, but there are at least 3 members of staff employed as talent scouts, as per your web page, and 2 members of staff employed as sports agents that have had allegations of corruption put to them, as well as being investigated and arrested for their involvement in things like match fixing and distributing steroids. What do you say to the people who have invested in your group knowing these histories of these employees?

‘Another great question and I thank you for bringing it up. To answer that I say how many members of staff employed by us have served jail time, or had any of the allegations proven to be true? I’ll tell you, none. Not one member of staff has any criminal record and all are employed based on merit, regardless of previous allegations. Now, if we can move on from this as I have said all I’m willing to say’

‘Thank you for clearing that up, but you do acknowledge some members of staff have had allegations of match fixing and bribes levied against them’. The journalist didn’t wait for Nils to respond before continuing ‘What are the groups aims in the short term? I know you spoke about securing young talent to contracts, but what is the aim overall?

‘A great question. In the short term, 24 to 36 months time we aim to have secured a number of young up and coming players to contracts with our agents here at Sparta. The aim is to secure them contracts at clubs where they can develop their ability and become as good as they can be. On top of that we aim to have secured a deal with at least one football club to become the owners within that time as well, which is part of our long term objectives’

‘Which are?’

‘We want to create a portfolio similar to the likes of Red Bull and the City Group’

The journalist cut him off ‘So you want to compete with Manchester City?’

‘I never said that. However, eventually, yes, we want to create a portfolio of clubs and youth development centers so we can secure contracts of young players and give them a platform to play and improve. We’re committed to developing the next generation of world class footballers’ He waited a moment before finishing off 


‘That’s it for today. I’m sure you can appreciate we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.



With that Nils Jensen left the stage. As he did one of his colleagues said ‘I think you handled the questions well’

‘Get me the name of that little shit that brought up the lawsuit and for the love of God make sure he’s never back at any of the events’


10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman chapter 2 - It's a new beginning


He had sat outside the chairman’s office, listening intently.


‘Him?’ The man outside overheard the bald guy that smells of helicopter fumes and 2 day old Chinese takeaway say


No one really knew, not least the man himself, as he made his way down to the office about 2 minutes ago how he’d managed to pull this off. His pal Robbie from back home in Dundee had told him ‘Jocky you’ve pulled the short straw here pal, this teams absolutely shite!’. He wasn’t wrong.


In a few short moments he’d be officially announced as the new first team manager of a third division team in Sweden that had 1 hand firmly held on the relegation door. The job, that he chose to accept, was to keep the other hand from going on there as well.


Despite having taken some coaching courses and having experience at lower levels, he was shunned at every avenue back home in Scotland. He had no regrets with how his career, or lack thereof, had panned out. He wasn’t much on the pitch, and lost more games than he’d won in a piss poor attempt at a career.


Getting no thanks or appreciation for years of playing amateur football across the country, as well as setting up the nets, training sessions even driving the god damn coach to games, he wasn’t given a second look. Thanks, but no thanks, you’re not what we’re looking for Mister McGhee. Good luck in your future endeavors. 


Rinse and repeat.


So what does a terrible player on the pitch and even worse person off of it do with no prospects of making it in the game he loves? The one reasonable thing someone in his position could do.


No, not that. Or the other one you’re thinking. Not yet at least.


Having decided he had no future in the game, he packed it all up and left. First to Edinburgh then onto Glasgow. He went further south to Newcastle and partied hard. He swears he can’t remember how but he ended up in Copenhagen. After a few odds and sods job around the city he’d managed to get work as a building surveyor. A year in the job he’d already decided his time in football had come to an end.


But it wasn’t long before she pulled him into her embrace and wrapped her long legs and arms around him. She’d been calling him for a while. With those tempting eyes and the flirtatious tones of her voice. Like a first love you just can’t let go of, or a deranged ex you just give in to because she won’t shut the fuck up. 


The call had come in last week. He spoke broken English to the man, and things moved fast, nearly as fast as his first time with a woman, but he didn’t feel half as embarrassed this time as he did that time.


After a coaching career never got off the ground, he was given a rare opportunity to give football management a go. He still don’t really know how it happened, but it did. It’s not you, it’s me, honest.


But here he was, in some small town in the middle of nowhere about to get stuck in to the job of a football manager.




Upon confirmation of his role as first team manager at FK Hollviken, he’d surveyed the situation he has inherited.


His new team, and first, actually, found themselves second bottom of the league, with a nasty looking record of 14 played, 2 won, 4 drawn and 8 lost.



‘A challenge then?’ the clubs captain and assistant manager Joakim Ingves said with a nervy laugh to Jock on the first day there


‘A challenge?!? This is career fucking suicide!’ Jock replied whilst trying and failing to make it sound funny.


The silly twat replied ‘You’ve no career yet, this is your first job’


‘And probably my last!’ He quipped.


The rest of the players were huddled around, waiting to hear some words of wisdom or encouragement from the manager tasked with saving this club from relegation. Would Jock be that person? Who knows, but he’ll give it as good as he’s got.


After the mornings training session, the first of only 2 penciled in due to the club being semi professional, he ran my mind over the players. There’s a couple of good, if not decent players in the bunch, namely wingers Sekiraca and Wihlborg, and forward Persson



The best of a bad bunch probably, but this is what we’ve got to work with. The teams defending as a whole leaves a lot to be desired and even though it’s a shorter season in Sweden, 26 games in the league, this is still probably only going to end in relegation. He doesn’t tell the players that of course, although they probably already know it to be true anyway


But if being a football manager were easy, we’d all be doing it, won’t we.


10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 3 - The new manager effect


There was no cooling off period from signing the 6 month deal with Hollviken, and it wasn’t long, 2 days to be precise, before Jocks debut match as a football manager. IK Oddevold were the opponents and favorites for the game.


Due to there only being 16 players at the club he could only name 5 from 7 subs on the bench for this first game. 4-4-2 with the idea of playing safe, not being stupid and trying desperately to get something, anything from the game



As nervy a start as possible for Jocks side as they let possession go cheaply a number of times, but Oddevold weren’t too interested in doing much with it, and Hammer (Great name) in the Hollviken goal didn’t have much to do.


4 minutes in and the game turned. Pettersson fouling Ingves inside the box giving the referee the easiest decision he’d have to make that day, and the penalty was given



Jock could be forgiven that Ingves, who was fouled might baulk at the responsibility, but he didn’t and stepped up with the confidence of a player that had scored a few already. Truth was the team had only scored 12 and conceded 23 up to that point. But he stepped up, sent the keeper the wrong way. 1-0 to Jocks new team



Half time came with both teams not troubling the other much from the goal. Hollviken still in the lead, Jocks words at half time were short and sweet. ‘Keep doing what you’re doing’ and they did for the most part.


Eventually though the teams defensive frailties came though as they conceded a soft goal in the 70th minute. A tame effort from just inside the area clipped Malms left leg on the way to goal which wrong footed The Hammer and drew the teams level.


The score didn’t stay 1 each for long as right away from kick off Hollviken heeded their managers screams as they went right for it with long ball anti-football that paid off.


Persson found his way on to the end of 1 long ball and tapped it under the onrushing Oddevold keeper to give Hollviken an unlikely, albeit well deserved 2-1 advantage heading into the final 15



A red card deep into added time for Oddevold pretty much summed up their afternoon, as they went down 2-1 to a hard working Hollviken side



3 days later and Hollviken again are 3 points better off. An away time at Husqvarna saw Jocks new team come away with a 1-0 victory. Whilborg this time finding the net from another long ball, much like the winning goal in the first game.



After that second game Jocks words to the players was nothing but encouragement


‘After these 2 games it’s clear to me that you just needed me to come in, and give you lads the confidence you needed that was so very obviously missing’


He couldn’t think of much else to tell the boys, other than 'I think we’re going to survive relegation', and the poor twats are acting like they believe him



10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 4 - Time moves fast in an instant flash


Things in football generally move quite fast. After those opening 2 games in charge of Hollviken, it almost felt like Jock had blinked and he was already at the final 2 games of the season. Things hadn’t gone quite as planned but they still had a chance, let me explain


After those 2 back-to-back wins, the teams lack of defensive capabilities shone through. 5 losses and a draw in the next 8 games told the story really. They managed to win a couple by the skin of their teeth but never looked confident in either.


The final 2 games were against Norby and Osters, both of whom were in the top 5 of the league and nowhere near the level that Hollviken had been. The way it works in this league, the bottom 3 go down, and the fourth bottom plays a relegation play off game with the other fourth bottom placed team in the other group in this league to determine who else goes down. Still following? Good.


Hollviken had 23 points and were sat in 12th position, 7 off safety, so the aim was to get to the 11th place and the play off game and hope to win that. All they had to do was win the next 2 games, easy.


That old cliché of ‘we’ll take it 1 game at a time’ most certainly rang true here. While they can still go down at least it’s in their own hands to grab that play off place. 


Jock tells the players as much in the days leading up to the game. They’d worked on defence in the 2 weeks since that last league game and looked decent enough in the sessions, albeit against local nobody’s and their own reserves, aka a bunch of greyed out players nobody knows where they came from.


As the players walk out to the pitch, Jock shakes hands with the Norby manager, the small little fat thing reminded Jock of the Penguin from the old Batman series. He says something in Swedish, probably some words of encouragement or that his hair looks nice, Jock just smiles and thinks to himself ‘whatever fat man I’m here to win today’



Whilst Hollviken were playing Jock keeps an ear on the Qviding score and hope if it doesn’t go the way he needs it to, then hopefully the players don’t crumble.


Hollviken started off well. They kept the ball and moved it around well. There was a half chance to score but the keeper wasn’t troubled, however he soon would be.


On the inside left channel young forward Thorbjornsson rifled in a shot that went in at the near post to give Jocks side the lead. The keeper could’ve done better but Hollviken weren’t complaining. 1-0 but with a lot of the game still to go.

They kept plugging away for a second and came close again, the keeper equal to the attempt that time. Just as they took a hold of the game Qviding had taken the lead at home to Trollhattan

Their 2 point cushion still in tact, and the Hollviken players must’ve gotten wind of the goal, Jock wasn’t sure who from but it wasn’t him, a fan maybe? But they let their guard down as almost right after the Qviding goal Hollviken conceded a goal to level the scores with only their second shot in the game at that point, first on target for what its worth.

Their heads didn’t drop and Jock told his staff not to keep an eye on the Qviding score any more. It worked as they managed a second goal before half time to give them a slim lead heading into the break

In the dressing room at the half, Jock tells the players not to be complacent and think the game is over, far from it. Norrby had equalised once already they probably could again, so keep your heads up and go get that third goal, which they did.

Shortly after the break they managed to add another goal to give themselves a 3-1 lead, the same score line that Qviding were also winning by

Just as they added a fourth goal so did Qviding to see both of them lead 4-1 in their must win games in the penultimate game of the season. Jock and Hollviken can’t control what happens in other games but they more than deserved to win their own match


With that they head into the last game of the season hoping for 2 things. First is they need to win their game, that is the most important thing. They also need Qviding to lose their game by any score line, as long as Hollviken win. 


If those 2 things happen, they’ll get 1 more chance of survival by finishing in that relegation play off place.

10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 5 - Touching distance


With 1 game of the season left to go, Jock has somehow managed to drag this club to within touching distance of survival. After engaging in a few pre match drinks the night before the biggest game of the season, all he can seem to think of saying to the boys is something along the lines of Delia Smiths’ let’s be havin’ you speech’. He persuades himself otherwise, eventually.


They’re on a hiding to nothing in reality. The team are nervous and Jock can tell they are. The players are all silent as they all get ready in the dressing room. The pre game team talk isn’t much, he tells them not to think too much about the game and to go out and play their natural football. They all walk slowly towards the pitch where it could by their last walk together. If Hollviken win the game they get 1 more chance of survival, if they lose and go down it’s almost certain Jock will out of a job less than 6 months since starting.


Hollviken start off well enough, and by that I mean they didn’t concede a goal or have anything thrown at them that they couldn’t handle. The ball goes out of play for a throw and one of the Oster players is down getting treatment, so Jock took this opportunity to check the Qvindig score. As he does the bastards have just conceded a second at home to Prespa!



That meant Hollviken were just 1 point behind them in the league, and the onus was on Jocks side even more now to grab this game by the horns. He shouts encouragement to the players, he’s animated and doing everything he can on the sideline to get the opening goal.


It doesn’t take long for his non-sensical shouting in Scottish to influence the first goal. A long clearance from Oster found its way into the Hollviken area and the Hammer flapped at it like a fucking flapping duck taking flight for the first time in it’s life. The ball went over his head and landed inch perfect at the feet of Levi who just tapped it into the empty net. Fuck.

To take the piss even more Qvindig pulled 1 back to give them a glimmer of hope of securing that play off spot, but Jock had to try and forget about those twats and concentrate on his own game.


They see more of the ball than Osters did after the goal and had 3 more shots on target, but they were right at the keeper and are what you’d call routine saves. Hollviken get to half time still trailing by 1, but Qvindig have also conceded another, meaning they’re losing 3-1 in their game



There’s still a glimmer of hope. Jock tries his best to pick the players up at half time. They’ve been the better team and were unlucky with the goal. Jock tells the Hammer to forget about it and concentrate on winning the second half.


They go out there and actually start the second half poorly. They’re under the cosh right from the whistle and Jock had thought, stupidly, if we ride this wave of momentum we can get back into the game. How wrong he was.


A low cross from the left was comically put into his own net as Hennigson swung his leg to clear it but the ball bobbled right as he hit it and it found it’s way into the net. The Hammer tried to stop it and got a fingertip to it but it was too late. 2-0 to Osters and Hollvikens league survival looking a lot grimmer than it did only 3 short minutes ago



They change to a front 3 and try to go all out attack. Route one and a high line was worked on in training and they did manage to claw a goal back with 20 minutes to play. But the ref blew for offside and disallowed it. The fourth official didn’t know who was offside but the ref had given it. No need to moan about it now as Jock was ushered back to his seat by assistant manager Ingves and the game continued on.



Not to be deterred the boys kept plugging away. Qvindig were doing their part in Jocks survival effort by still trailing at home, and Hollviken did manage to get a goal, and what a goal it was.


Wihlborg took the ball all the way from right full back, down the wing and managed to get into space on the edge of the box. Nothing was on in the middle so he hit it and it stayed hit! It thundered right into the far corner with the keeper just looking on. 2-1, 10 minutes to go. Lifeline maybe?



By the time Jock given instructions to Sekiraca on the bench, who he’d wanted to come on after the goal, the ref had restarted the game and as soon as Jock had motioned to the fourth official, the gameplan was undone. Right from kick off Oster just ran it right through the middle, no one in the Hollviken side took charge and Johannesson took it round the keeper to give them a 3-1 lead, which killed off the game and with it their hopes of survival



Jock didn’t even take in the fourth goal for Osters as he was stood on the sideline lost for words. They were this close to pulling off the great escape, but chucked it all away right at the end. Hollviken, despite the score line played well all things considered, and were unlucky in the first half with the goal and only gave up when the third goal went in.



It didn’t matter than Qvindig lost. All that mattered was that Hollviken had lost. Jock told the players at the end that they gave it their all, maybe they did maybe they didn’t, and that if only they’d managed to turn 1 of those draws into a win they’d have been safe. Jock thanks them for their efforts and that we’ll all catch up later in the week to discuss next season.



Jock shakes a few hands and get some words of commiseration from the Oster players on his way out. He finds Simon Larsson, the Hollviken chairman standing by his car in the car park. He looks devastated, as would anyone in his position.


He walks over, shakes Jocks hand and looks him in the eye and says ‘Thanks for trying. You did what you could’. Jock replies by telling him ‘If I’d have joined earlier, I reckon we’d have stayed up’. Simon simply nods and says ‘Yeah, probably. We live and learn my friend’ and offers Jock a smoke, which he declines by saying ‘I’m an alcoholic but not a smoker’


He doesn’t even need to say the words Jock knows are coming. Simon looks up at Jock one last time and before he can say anything, Jock cuts him off


‘I know, I know mate. It’s fine. Maybe we’ll work together in the future?’


‘Who knows Jock. Best of luck my friend’


10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 6 - The Wiseman cometh


‘So you got sacked?’ the voice had said


’10 points for Captain obvious over here’ Jock replied before quickly saying ‘Also who in the hell are you?’


‘Just call me The Wiseman’


‘The Wiseman? Laddy you’re having a laugh or what?’


‘How are you holding up anyway?’


‘Oh now you’ve gone from being a tit to being nice? How did you get my number anyway?’


‘Straight shooting eh, I like it. I work for a company…’


Jock cut him off ‘Well I don’t do I’


The caller didn’t stop ‘And my job is to represent players, coaches, managers in football’


‘Like an agent?’




‘So why are you…’ It suddenly hit Jock ‘You want to represent me?!’


‘You could say that. The main bulk of the company’s clients are players who we secure to long term deals, with the aim of getting them deals with clubs who meet their requirements, but don’t worry about that just yet. I saw what you did in those handful games with Hollviken. A full season there and you’d have had them mid table easily’


‘Maybe, but it wasn’t meant to be was it’


‘No. Anyway have you managed to get any interviews anywhere else since leaving Hollviken?’


‘Not really. I have heard of jobs going back home in Scotland but I couldn’t wait to leave there, and I’m going back once I’m a somebody worth a damn’


‘Well you can’t be picky really. You’re not exactly a great catch are you’




‘I’ve got it on good authority that your name is actually being mentioned in Norway’




‘I’m being serious. I’ve got good contacts in Scandinavia as well as other places, and I’ve put a good word in’


‘But you’ve never met me’


‘I have, you just don’t remember it’


‘Okay, so assuming this club need a manager and actually want me of all people, how do I get in touch with them?’


‘You hang up the phone to me now, and at 3 this afternoon the chairman, a man called Matias will ring you and discuss things. Then it’s up to you what you do, but my advice is take the offer, there’s not many teams that will take you on’


‘And how do I know all this is true and above board?’


‘You don’t. Speak soon Jock’






10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 7 - Shipping up to Norway


‘I don’t understand, we’ve never met how do…’


The caller cut Jock off ‘Yes yes quite. As you know I’ve been dealing with your agent. I’m in a rut with the team, and you need a job. I don’t want to have to spend time interviewing and speaking to multiple people. I’ve got the okay from your agent, you just need to agree to my offer’ the man said in perfect English


‘My agent, right’ Jock said more to himself than to the man on the other end of the phone ‘Yeah okay, I’ll accept. How far from Hollviken are you?’


‘You have a car?’


‘Yes of course’ Jock lied


’13 hours if there’s no traffic’


’13 fucking hours?!?! Where on Earth are you? You can’t be in Sweden’


‘Sweden? Who said anything about Sweden? I’m in Brattvag, northern Norway. Surely you’d know this before you applied to be my manager?’


Hanging up the phone Jock hastily gathered the few things he actually had taken to Hollviken with him and put them in a bag, and off he went to Northern Norway, to a place called Brattvag, home of Brattvag FC



On the way to his new employers he’d noticed they’d put a press release out of his arrival at the club. Thankfully nothing was mentioned of his inability to keep Hollviken in the league, the news report only mentioned being knocked out of the cup by a lower league side. 


Upon arriving at the club and meeting the need to know people, he’s impressed by some of the players there. Overseeing more than getting involved in the first training session, Jocks eyes are immediately drawn towards midfielders Didrik Flotre, Christian Dahl, and forward Jeffter Osafo



The clubs assistant manager, Tor Hogne, had greeted Jock before he met the players, and gave him a report of the players at his disposal

‘Here’s the clubs latest signing. On loan from Aalesund is Lars Valderhaug’



‘He’s the best we’ve got at center half is he?


‘Well sort of. He’s going to be quite good give it a year or so’ Tor said


‘Well I guess we’ll work with the players we’ve got. I don’t think we’re signing anyone else’


Jock then made his way to the players lounge to formally introduce himself as the new manager of Brattvag. As he walked into the room, nerves overcame him. He wasn’t sure how the players would react to him or know about his recent failure at Hollviken




‘Just be honest, and say what comes to mind’ were the words The Wiseman had told Jock on the phone that morning. It also occurred to Jock right then that he’d spoken to the Wiseman a number of times, but never in person.


He opened the door and said the first thing that came to mind ‘Afternoon lads. My name is Jock McGhee. Any questions?’

A man stood up, tall but not as tall as Jock and spoke ‘I know you. You’re the guy that got Hollviken relegated’

Jock was taken aback by this but before he could say anything the man continued ‘I also heard you tried bribing the ref in that last game, is that right?’


‘First of all, that wasn’t my fault. I took over that club when there was no hope, I gave them a fighting chance. Anyway I see you’ve done your research’


‘Not really, my brother plays for Osters. He told me all about you. So did you bribe the ref?’


‘Obviously not otherwise I wouldn’t be here would I! Anyway who in the blue hell are you?’


‘Finn Alvestad, star midfielder, and I want out of this shit show’


Sensing he had to show some authority to the players, Jock hastily replied ‘You wanna leave? No issue from me bonny lad, away you go down the hall and train with the youth team. Never mind the reserves, you’re training with the young kids’ Jock replied and motioned to the door


‘You’re going to regret this. By the time I’ve spoken to all the other players that aren’t here today, you’ll have a mutiny on your hand’ Alvestad said and stormed off

Speaking quietly to Tor Jock asked ‘Is he any good, that shit house?


‘Not really. He didn’t play much last season, you’ve got better players than him in the team, you won’t miss him’


‘Cheers’ Turning to the other players in the room, Jock told them a mid-table finish is not out of the question and that he’s going to give each a chance in the 

upcoming season.


10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 8 - Makin' plans


‘I don’t know what you see in him’ the older man asked


‘Just trust me on this’ The Wiseman said


‘He’s nothing special, he took his first team down if you remember’


‘Of course I do it’s….’


He was cut off by the older man ‘He’s a risk. We’ve got a lot of eyes on us at the minute, we can’t be doing anything stupid’


‘Every player we sign is a risk. The deal to buy those clubs is a risk. Hear me out first please’ he waited a moment before continuing ‘He’s young enough that we can mold him to what we need. Like the young players we’ve got, we can get him to a club, or clubs that we want him to go to’


‘But he’s struggled again’


‘So? All players and managers go through bad patches. Look at this way, he’s listened to everything I’ve said to him, he knows what he’s good at and is learning all the time. This year in Norway is just a blip’


‘And the next steps? I trust you’re aware of what the Big Man wants?’


‘Yes, I’ve heard what he wants to do in Asia’


‘What do you make of it?’


‘It’s risky. More risky than usual’ he waited for a reply that didn’t come, so continued ‘It’s okay flooding the market in Sweden and Norway where we know the people we need to, but going to China and trying to rig games there or influence the odds in our favour, I don’t like it’


‘No risk no reward my young friend’ The older man said and continued with ‘You’ve got to remember, we are where we are here because we took risks in Sweden, then onto Norway and Holland. At the end of the day it’s only money. No one is getting hurt and as far as I’m aware no one has ever been caught and sent to prison for what we do’




The Wiseman sighed and made his way out of the room. He was hoping to avoid getting dragged into going to Asia, but the Big Man, the boss of the whole operation had wanted to enter the market there for a while now. ‘A lot of money to be taken over there’ was what he kept saying. But they didn’t know any street people, or bookmakers or any other shady individuals that would help there, and the Big Man wasn’t known for his patience.


But he thought better of it and made a call to a contact ‘Two-Times, is that you?’ he said when the phone was answered


‘Damn straight it is, it is’ the caller replied


‘Grab your stuff. We’re making a little trip’


‘Where we going to, going to?’


‘Hong Kong’


10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 9 -What goes up, must come down


Things had been going well for Jock in Norway. After 16 league games he’d found himself top of the 2.division after 11 wins



He’d felt he was getting to know the team better as well. During 1 game they had been losing 1-0 at half time to FK Vidar. The proverbial hairdryer treatment came into effect as Jock had lost his temper for the first time as a manager


He said a lot of things that would never make it onto TV, and the team responded perfectly well. Right from kick off the dominated the rest of the game and came out with a 4-1 win

He’d been speaking to the Wiseman regularly as well. Although nothing in writing was agreed they had decided on an unwritten rule that the Wiseman would be Jocks agent, or advocate, whatever term was used during any particular conversation. For the most part it was just the 2 of them bouncing ideas off of each other regarding tactics and training, that kind of thing.


The Wiseman made a joke that if Jock manages to take Brattvag down as well then he might have to try and get a job in the lower leagues of England. Jock laughed it off but the thought resonated with him. England? Fuck.


The worry of stuffing another job up so early in his career had stayed at the forefront of Jocks mind, and it showed publicly as well.


After going from winning 11 in their first 16 games, they went another 10 games without a win, managing to just grab a 1 all draw in that run, which saw the team slip down to 6th in the league come the end of Jocks first season in Norway


At the end of that last league game, a 3-1 away loss, the teams fourth in a row, Jock held a meeting with the players. He addressed the form and the lack of goals. He asked the team a question right at the end that came out of nowhere


‘Is it me? Is it me you’re not playing for? Am I reason the for this really poor second half of the season? If it is, someone speak up. If not, I no longer need your attention today, dismissed’


No one did speak and one by one the players all left, heads down not wanting to look their manager in the eye. By the time they’d all left only Jock was sat in the dressing room at the ground of Notodden where Brattvag chairman Matias Engen walked in and sat next to Jock. Sensing something bad was coming, Jock made the first move


‘We’ll come back better and stronger. That second half of the season, I can’t put my finger on it, I really don’t know why we couldn’t play as well as we did in those first 13 games’


Matias shook his head ‘Ultimately, it’s down to the manager to address poor form and results’


‘Oh I know that, I take full responsibility for that poor showing’


‘We were top of the league for so long Jock, we had 1 hand on promotion’


‘I wouldn’t go that far mate. We were top with 13 games to go. That’s a long time in football’


‘I made assurances to people I know, I promised them promotion and money’


‘That’s on you pal, I never once promised that’


‘Sorry Jock, I can’t let this slide. You let me down, you’ve let the club down and ultimately you’ve cost me a lot of money’


‘What the fuck are you talking about?!?’


‘Thanks for this season Jock, but it’s your one and only one at my club’



10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 9 - Every new beginning is some other beginnings end

‘So you got sacked, again’

‘Piss off’

‘It’s not all that bad, I’ve….’ Jock cut The Wiseman off

‘It is bad. I’ve had 2 jobs and both times I’ve been sacked, I’m not even 2 years into my career yet!’

‘Before you go off on 1 of your rants, hear me out’ The Wiseman waited a moment ‘Loads of players take a while to get up to speed, years even. Not all managers flew out the gates right from the off did they’

‘I get that, but I must be really shit to get sacked twice!’

‘But you’re not. You had Brattvag at the top of the league for the full first half of the season. Don’t overthink it, you’ll land on your feet soon enough’

‘How? I’m not exactly a great catch am I’

The Wiseman stayed silent for a moment, before Jock spoke again ‘I’m done already aren’t I. No sane person will take me on after this’

Sensing Jocks unease, The Wiseman said ‘Which is exactly what is going to happen’


‘No sane person will take you on, and no sane person will, well not at the minute anyway’

‘Speak sense will ya’

‘I know people I’m sure you’ve figured that out. But I know a guy who’s got a club, and he’s looking for a manager’

‘Fucking ey’ pal, where’s he at?’

‘Hong Kong’


‘Yes, now listen, I’ve put your name forward for the job but the owners a bit, erm, how can I put it. He’s a bit of a handful’

‘A handful, how?’

‘Well he’s just sacked his manager’

‘Okay, why?’

‘He claims the team are under-achieving. They just got promoted to the Premier League but are currently bottom with 11 games to go’

‘This sounds a bit risky. But how are they under-achieving?’

‘The owner wanted them to win the Premier League’

‘Oh well that can a long term objective surely?'

‘No. he wanted them to win it this year!’

‘They’ve just been promoted’

‘Exactly. Like I said he’s a handful. I’ve spoken to him and told him he won’t be winning the league this year, and he’ll be lucky to see his team stay in the division. But the guy I’m putting forward to him will win something at that club, I guarantee it’

‘That guy being me?’


‘But you can’t go saying I’ll win something before I’ve even got there!’

‘Don’t worry about it. I’ve got some agents on the phone ready to get their clients in to the club to claw them to safety’

‘And this is all above board?’

‘Why do you keep asking that? In fact don’t answer, but yes everything is above board’

‘Okay then, what choice do I have?’

‘A couple really. You can go and try secure employment without my help, I advise against that however. Or you can give Hong Kong a go and see where it takes you’

‘Okay then pal, I’m with ya’. When do we leave?’

‘Today. I’ll get the paperwork all sorted while you get your things. Trust me Jock, this is the job that’s going to open doors for you, I just know it’


10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 10 - Minds are like flowers, they only open when the time is right


Double Flower FC, great name by the way, are a team based in Mong Kok (another great name) in Hong Kong, are currently rock bottom of the Hong Kong Premier league with 11 games to go


Things move quickly in football. One minute Jock was celebrating a top 6 finish in Norway’s third division, and the next he’s trying to stave off relegation with a team of incompetent & inconsistent players and an owner that’s expecting them to win the league. Although to achieve that league title Kan Wai Lun has provided Jock with a healthy transfer budget of just over the equivalent of eight hundred and eighty five thousand Great British pounds, which Jock, with the help of the Wiseman get to spending right away.



Clearly a goal scorer is needed, as well as some defensive ability, and a play maker wouldn’t go amiss either. The Wiseman said he’d got contacts that scour the Asian markets and have found 4 such players to fit the bill.


First in, the day after Jock arrived was forward Ramazotti on a free transfer. Last playing for DPMM in Singapore, he’s the man tasked with getting the goals to keep Double Flower up



Next in was full back David Niepsuj from Poland. Not a world beater back home but certainly a top end full back in Hong Kong.


Winger Samil Kamel was brought in from Honefoss in Norway. Jock thought better to question this transfer with the Wiseman, even though he did say he scoured Asia, but he wasn’t moaning. Kamel looked the part in training, the hope was he could come good when needed



Lastly more to make up numbers than anything was center half Buisak Lim on a free. No worse than the defenders already at the club, but hopefully a bit of depth would help.

Armed with the new recruits Jock set about stopping the slide to the relegation trap door. Despite already trying and failing to save 1 team from relegation, hopefully it’s a case of second time lucky.


To help him on his quest for survival, The Wiseman had made contact with a couple of members of staff on Jocks behalf, whether he liked it or not.


Former player Michael Bridges was tempted to join Jock in Hong Kong in his first non-player role since retiring. The Wiseman and Jock both in agreement that he can’t be any worse than the last person in the role


With a decent right hand man in tow and some fresh faces to the starting line up, operation attempt to survive relegation (again) can commence





10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 11 - If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.


Jocks first game was against Pegasus FC, managed by Kevin Bond. He’s mates with Harry Redknapp apparently. Anyway there was no battle cry from Jock to the players, no motivational speech, just the tried and tested ‘Go out there and give these fans their money’s worth’ or something to that extent.


The game wasn’t your average top of the league playing bottom of the league affair. It was a nervy game but Double Flower (I still can’t get over that a team is called that!) settled first and took an unlikely lead.


One of many long diagonal balls from the wings into Ramazotti was eventually found by the new striker, and he nodded down to his right into the on rushing Cheng Lai Hin who hit it first time, under the keeper and into the net. 1-0!



Things went from great to terrible literally right from the restart. As Pegasus played the ball back, center midfielder Seb Fiedler had a rush of blood and went in 2 footed to earn himself a straight red. Stupid, stupid tackle



After screaming for most of the 15 minutes at half time at Fielder, Jock remembered he had 10 others on the pitch with a battle on their hands. He dismissed Fielder and spoke bluntly to the rest of them


‘Well just do what you can. We’ll probably end up conceding at least one, but don’t crumble, maybe we’ll get them on the break. Bridgey, out else to say?’ He turned to Michael Bridges who had a clip board in hand and with what looked like some drawings on, but he shook his head


‘Get back out there, give it all you’ve got lads’ Jock said as they returned to the pitch.


The man advantage woke Pegasus up though and they took firm control of the game from half time. Jock made the decision to bring Ramazotti off on his debut at the half and replace with him Leung Ho-Yin, a defensive midfielder. He left goal scorer Lai Hin up top hoping to get on the end of some clearances, but he didn’t manage much.


For all of the possession Pegasus had, they didn’t do much with it. A couple of tame shots never really tested Ho Ting in the Double Flower goal, but come the final 5 minutes it was back to the walls stuff, as expected. Dropping to a 5-1-3 abomination of a tactic, Pegasus found it hard to break down the defence. Frustration soon kicked in and Pegasus accepted defeat. 



It was a solid start in Hong Kong for Jock. They still sat bottom of the league but finally managed to win their first game of the season



10 years ago
1 hour ago

Subject – Operation Rolling Thunder


Attachment – RT_COB_2.wav & RT_COB_3.wav and text copies with annotations attached



Call 1, recording had commenced after 01 minute and 09 seconds of dialog. Call made from a Stockholm, Sweden payphone, answered at an address in Malmo, Sweden.


Use of code words present in RT_Cob_3.wav


Surveillance ongoing


[Male no.1, assumed to be Carlos Santori, known associate of the Fagioli organised crime family, as yet unconfirmed] How’s it going in Hong Kong?

[Male no.2, American accent, as yet unidentified although assumed to be an accomplice known as The Wiseman] On track. Our guys taken to life here like a duck to water

[Male no.1] Any resistance?

[Male no.2] No not really. Kamels agent wanted a bigger signing on fee but Two Times (Suspected loan shark Daniel (Danny) Thompson known as Two Times) made him agree to the original fee

[Male no.1] [Audible sigh] He didn’t kill again did he?

[Male no.2] Hahah no, not yet anyway

[Male no.1] Just play it cool for now. Once we get a foothold there we’ll start rigging the games. Have you got anyone else involved yet?

[Male no.2] Yes and no. A couple of low level bettors in the city seem okay and haven’t clicked on that we’re betting on the same team. I’ve spoke to a local dealer earlier, but I’ve not managed to get anyone signed up officially yet

[Male no.1] Keep on [Inaudible] and then let us know

[Male no.2] Don’t send anyone else yet. Our guy’s just finished up this season and I want to keep an eye on him. He likes a drink apparently

[Male no.1] Well he is Scottish. Anyway let’s leave it there. I’ll be in touch




Call ended at 15:04 Stockholm time


Second call 5 days later. Call recording commenced as soon as call was placed. Auth. Given by court. Same individuals conversing as in the previous call.

Code words being used, Seth’s team are working to decode these.


[Male no.1] I hear the fish are biting this time of year

[Male no.2] You’d be surprised

[Male no.1] Is the layby ready to go? 

[Male no.2] Nearly there. Still 1 last thing we need to build

[Male no.1] Just remember there’s bound to be some sticky fingers when you get there

[Male no.2] I’ve got that covered. Two Times has been on the lookout, he’s there now

[Male no.1] Did you not go with him?

[Male no.2] I did, but I’ve left him there. I’m just about to meet with the Scot and discuss the next steps

[Male no.1] Baby steps, please. Don’t try and do too much too soon

[Male no.2] The Big Guy (suspected head of the Fagioli family Sergio Ramon, unconfirmed) wants to see some progress early on. Early checks tell me we can make some decent cheddar

[Male no.1] It’s not a massive market there though. Like I told you, get a decent return there and move him on. Keep your agents in line and keep looking at other areas

[Male no.2] Two Times thinks he can get us some contacts in Australia before we’re done here

[Male no.1] Keep me informed




Call ended 18:33 Stockholm time. Call was made from a mobile phone, location determined as somewhere in Hong Kong.

10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 12 - It's a new day, yes it is


‘I’m surprised by it myself to be fair’ Jock said as The Wiseman sat down, and poured another cup of coffee


‘Why? You’re a great manager’


‘Asked my last 2 clubs what they think’


‘Oh be quiet. You’ve really come into your own here. Survival under your leadership was just a matter of when, not if. And you’ve got a lot to look forward to this upcoming season’

The Wiseman wasn’t wrong. Despite going winless in their last 6 games of the season, Double Flower managed to survive relegation by 1 point. The penultimate game was a cracker in which they drew 4 all away to Hong Kong Rangers, in the game that saw them mathematically avoid the drop

Despite saving the club from going down, the chairman was still annoyed that the club didn’t win the league


‘Fuck him anyway, we run the club now’ Two Times had said after the teams last game, a 1-0 loss away to South China. His claim that they ran the club wasn’t questioned by anyone else in the room. 


Certainly The Wiseman had some sort of control over the chairman, he never questioned anything The Wiseman said and was regularly told without Jock being there the club would’ve been relegated, losing the Chairman much more money than he won by staying up.


The clubs plans, namely The Wisemans, were to recruit players with the hope of winning at least 1 trophy in the upcoming season. the club were to take part in at least 4 competitions. The league as well as 3 cups, the Hong Kong Senior Challenge Shield, the Hong Kong FA Cup and the Hong Kong League Cup.

The Chairman had insisted on giving Jock the aim of winning the league again, and the Wiseman had said they’d be aiming for just that


‘Hang on bonny lad, we’re not winning the league, not yet anyway’ Jock protested


‘Have faith in the clubs recruitment process my friend’ The Wiseman had tried to calm Jock down ‘We’ve got the pieces in play, on and off the field. We’re going all out this season’


The clubs director of football later that day confirmed they’d finales deals on 5 incoming players. All were young enough to still improve but experienced enough to make an impact that season.

3 of the signings, Acaymo Reyes, Pascual Carrasco and Hector Munoz had all been born in Spain but curiously raised in Hong Kong, meaning they held Hong Kong passports and didn’t take up any space in the clubs foreign player limits (max of 4 foreigners in the league).


The other 2 players, Lilley Nunez (born in Mexico, but lived in Hong Kong long enough to be classed as homegrown, and Mark Swainton (Born in the Philippines but also lived in Hong Kong long enough to be declared homegrown) also didn’t impact the foreign player rule

They’d also decided they needed another outlet to provide the goals they’d need, so as not to rely on Ramzotti too much, despite his goals more or less keeping the team up. Step in Chinese forward Chen Qi.

Kitchee were the first opponents for Double Flower of the new season, in which they were the favourites to win it, and Double Flower odds on to struggle again.

Things got off to a decent start, so much so that in the first 15 minutes Jocks team had 5 corners. By the 25th minute and corner number 6, they’d taken the lead.

An in swinger to the near post was flicked on by Ramazotti onto the onrushing Nunez who powered a header right into the net. No keeper in the world would’ve stopped that.

Another debutant, Chen Qi doubled the teams lead before half time with a daisy cutter that sneaked its way into the near post. 2-0 and looking good

Right as the fourth official was putting the board up for 3 extra minutes, the lead was stretched to 3. Kamel was having his shirt pulled right in front of the ref who made the easiest call of his life with the penalty, which Kamel smashed home to give Double Flower 3 goals and 3 points



10 years ago
1 hour ago

The Flying Scotsman. Chapter 13 - 3 minutes to midnight


The Wiseman held weekly meetings, usually by telephone with his bosses back home. However on this particular meeting, him and Two Times were graced by the presence of someone only known as Jimmy The Juice, who’d come on behalf of The Big Guy, the top boss overseeing the operation


Once the pleasantries were out of the way, The Wiseman got to business ‘Hong Kong for the most part has been good to us’


‘I can see that. The Big Guy is happy with the return already’ Jimmy said


‘The work we’ve put in with the cup games has helped the team in the league as well’


‘How so?’


‘Well we’ve got people in on the gig with the cups, there’s 4 cups here. We’ve got them set up to help the results, and the team is playing winning them games which is helping in the league as well, in the 12 league games we’ve lost 4 but we’re top by 1 point with a game in hand’


‘I can see the money you’ve brought in has already turned a profit, but realistically how close are we to making the same sort of money as we were in Norway?’


‘Very close. We haven’t done anything with the league games but the Scot is bossing it there, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won that as well, so we’re going to get some bets on that shortly and get the odds up’


The Wiseman wasn’t wrong. In 24 games from the start of the season, Double Flower had managed 11 wins in the league and for want of a better word, dominated the cup games they were in, winning 3 and losing 1 in the Sapling cup groups, then grabbing a last minute winning in the semi final against Eastern District, in a game why they also conceded a last minute equaliser, to set up a final with Kitchee


The Hong Kong League cup, Senior Challenge Shield and FA cup runs were just as good, with the Senior Shield final coming early on in the season. They’d play Kitchee, the team in Hong Kong that has won the most trophies.

In the run up to the game the local bookmakers had seen a slight increase in expected bets for the game. A large number of bets were placed on Double Flower winning the game as well as, unusually with red cards being issued at over 1.5, with odds regularly changing with the top 4 bookies in Hong Kong

This spike in numbers didn’t raise any alarms, and even as the game kicked off the odds of a Double Flower win kept creeping up, and it didn’t take long for the bookies prediction of a Double Flower win to come to fruition.


Left winger Kamel showed his class as he skinned an opponent and cut inside on to his right to rifle a shot past the keeper to set the tone for the game, he would run out the games best performer from this moment on

He went from scorer to provider 5 short minutes later, as his cross was bundled by the Kitchee defence to allow forward Chen Qi to tap in a headed shot to give them a 2 goal lead

Half time came and went with very little being said. Jock and the team knew what they had in the lead and didn’t change anything up.


The game soon turned when Siu Kwan earned 2 yellow cards in quick succession. The first for a bad tackle on Ramazotti which was easily warranted. The second minutes later was for dissent although it didn’t look like he said much to the ref. The ref called for another foul on Ramazotti inside the Double Flower half, which Siu Kwan threw his arms in the air, looking as though he took exception to the foul and the referee raced over, around 13 yards or so to Siu Kwan and brandished the second yellow and the red.


Although they were down to 10 men and had played badly, Kitchee pulled a goal back almost immediately after the red. A long ball from defence found it’s way to young striker Shing who just tapped it under the Double Flower keeper.


Only a consolation as Double Flower piled on the pressure to add a third and kill the game off. Kitchee were resilient in defence but conceded another red card and a penalty for a double footed challenge in the box. Another dubious decision, as Chun Lam, the player sent off had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes


Kamel, the games best player stepped up to take the spot kick, but the Kitchee keeper guessed correctly and saved it


Not to be deterred, they kept hold of the ball and saw the game out, to win the Shield 2-1

With 3 more cups and the league to go, there was a lot for Jock and Double Flower to concentrate on.



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