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I stood there, arms aloft scanning the crowd looking for her, but she must’ve been camouflaged in orange and black along with the rest of them. I turned to my left towards the John Hunter stand and all I could see was more arms and smiling faces, but not hers.
Someone jumped on my back and excitedly screamed ‘We’ve fucking done it boyo we’ve fucking done it’ and all I could do was smile back, I just wanted to find her and share this moment with her and only her, fuck the others.
Eventually I found her, she was in the Tommy Maclean stand right in the far corner not amongst the orange but she was mired in green and white, green and fucking white! Her arms were round some snot gobblers body as she was kissing him. I felt the steam coming out of my ears as I raced toward the stand screaming and arms flailing aimlessly.
As I approached the stand that was housing the Celtic fans, the security guards waltzed toward me their own arms raised telling me something about it’s not worth it, you’ve already won don’t set them off, but one of the fucktards was playing tonsil tennis with my girl so fuck the 3 points now I’m looking for blood.
I made my way up the steps in the stand hitting Celtic fans with left hooks and right hooks, bodyslams and uppercuts and I even gave an old lady a Stone Cold Stunner for good measure. As I finally made it to the far corner where she was sat my rage intensified. Not only was she necking on with someone else but that someone else was only James McFadden, my fucking hero of all people!
I screamed at her wanting an explanation that wasn’t forthcoming. She let go of James who smiled awkwardly at me and I was tempted to ask for an autograph but thought better of it. She steadied herself and turned around and I got the shock of my life. It wasn’t my beloved secondary school sweethearts face but it was Nicola Sturgeon that greeted me. She stuck her tongue out, reached in my direction expecting, what, I don’t know and I didn’t want to find out.
It was then I woke with a jolt, sweaty and breathing heavily. It was just a dream, luckily. I raced to the bathroom and emptied the full tube of toothpaste into my mouth. It might only have been a dream but Nicola Sturgeons gums were too close to mine for comfort.
Ever since calling it a day on the pitch due to injury I’d been having these weird dreams and all of them are football related somehow, this last one I was playing for my beloved Motherwell and we’d just smashed the green and white dog nonces in the league. I’m young, 28 to be exact, and I’d been having this itch to get back into football somehow despite only being out of it for a couple of months. I’ve been volunteering down the sports center in town and doing online courses for coaching but it’s not enough.
One night sometime in 2016 I had another dream, except this one was sort of reality based. I dreamt I’d gone to Uruguay to become a coach at Montevideo Torque, the team The City Group, who run Manchester City and other teams under their umbrella company had recently taken over. We won the league and I got offered a long term deal, it was then that I woke up, not with a jolt this time.
I decided I’d get in touch with Montevideo Torque just to see how they were getting on and if the Man City deal was paying dividends yet. I soon found out that the City Group deal fell through at the last minute. I also found out that Torque finished fourth in the second division in the shortened 2016 season, and as luck would have it they were looking for a manager.
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Cross posted at https://thejourneymanjock.com/
At some point in December 2016 I found myself having a Skype call with Raul Aquino who is the chairman of Montevideo Torque, and it started out like a fan looking for information on the team but quickly turned into an informal job interview.
We had a good chat and spoke of a lot of things. I told him I’m young, determined, handsome and have a lot of playing experience to fall back on. He told me most coaches in Uruguay won’t go near his team due to the failed deal with The City Group, so he decided that he’s got to look for a foreign coach. He didn’t elaborate but hinted at some bribes and shady deals going on that cost him the City Group deal.
He probably thought an out of work painkiller addicted Scotsman would be the last person to contact the club, yet there we were. I got the feeling he was desperate for a manager to come in and stabilise the team as morale in the locker room and fan base was low. Oh, and he said the club don’t even own their own stadium any more and now ground share with Bella Vista FC, as they had spent all the clubs money battling rising court costs due to the deal falling through.
We discussed my own career aspirations and where I wanted it to go. I didn’t have much of answer as I’d not actually thought about it, save for winning the league, cup and Champions League with Motherwell, but that was good enough for him I think. I thought on the fly and said if given the chance at his club I’d do my best to stableise the locker room, and maybe get them into the top division before moving on but not before making sure the club is in a better position than it was when I took over.
‘This is no mission impossible Jock, but certainly mission very difficult’ he said in broken English as we wrapped things up and said our goodbyes. In my mind Torque are perfect really. A place to start where no one I know will be able to hound me or chase unpaid debts or give me a hard time, a small enough club that the fan base isn’t toxic and won’t make things hard for the team and they’re in a bad place so anything I do would possibly be seen as overachieving.
I go back to my daily grind of overdoing it with prescription painkillers, more on that as we go, maybe. But I don’t hear anything from Raul for a week and actually forgot about the interview. But being unemployed get’s real boring real quick just watching the days click by. There’s no other jobs that would either take me or I’m interested in. East Kilbride? No thanks. My pal Ginners plays for them so they’re a no, plus the only team in my country I ever want to be in charge of or work at is Motherwell. Moyola Park in Northern Ireland? Haha you’re having a laugh. Perlis in Malaysia would laugh in my face at the minute. I also see Crystal Palace, Everton and Nottingham Forest are on the look out as well, but none of them would have the stones to take me on at the minute.
But then my phone beeped with a Gmail notification. I see the subject line – contracto de embargo which I quickly translate to attachment contract. He must have just uploaded the contract as an attachment without changing the subject. I open the mail and read it with delight:
Jock, I want you to be my new manager. I’ve arranged flights from Glasgow to Montevideo. We’ll discuss things when you arrive.
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Cross posted at https://thejourneymanjock.com/the-beginning/
Carry on wayward son, the journey’s finally begun
Could you call it picturesque where I started out? Possibly. It’s the capital city of Uruguay and probably it’s best and most welcoming. But the sight seeing and what not had to wait, I have a job on my hands. Well a couple of jobs:
One of those I’ve added to the list myself, not sure if you can guess which one? Either way this clubs in a mess. Expected to finish bottom of the league and relegated and with money troubles that would worry most established coaches, but not me. I’m here to make the most of it, and if we go down then sugar we’re going down swinging. I just hope they don’t listen to Fallout Boy here. Not that I do, honest.
I’m nervous. Not because of the fact I’m about to take charge of a football team, an actual football team not a kids team like I volunteered at back home in Motherwell, but because of the copious amount of prescription painkillers I’ve taken and booze I’ve supped prior to walking in the door of the changing that first morning. I was having kittens as the players all looked round at me waiting to hear from their new boss for the first time.
As I walked in to the room the first thing I noticed was how many players there are. The chairman had said one thing I will need to do is trim the squad and with it the wage bill, but that was for another day. Today was about asserting my dominance.
‘Right, I’m Jock your new manager, but you can call me The Boss. Anyways you don’t know me and I do not know you, but one thing is for sure, you’re not gonna stuff my first shot at management. Between us we’ll stay up in the league this season and really push on as a team. Any questions?’ I was still having the figurative kittens as I stood there in front of the players, none of which I’ve ever heard of explaining my grand plan.
Silence. My worst enemy. Well worst after stairs. Walking stairs with my back is absolute agony. But I’d have happily killed all of those kittens I was having one by one if it would’ve helped my nerves in that first meeting with the squad. But what state is this team or the club in that they’d happily hire a manager with a crippling painkiller addiction and with less experience than a level 1 Rattata? If you get that reference you’re probably of a similar age to me and I love you for that. If not ask your parents. I’m going off track here, let me dial it back slightly.
We eventually have a training session and it’s clear who the stand outs in this squad are. Captain and center half Andres Fernandez and forward Julian Lalinde are who I notice first
I think I’ll be able to rely upon Fernandez to do a job at the back despite the previous manager only having him as a back up, which makes me wonder why he’s the captain.
But Lalinde looks like the type of target man / back to goal forward that needs someone running off of him, which is where Miguel Puglia will step in
I’ve been brought up watching absolutely dire Scottish football so I know 4-4-2 inside out, which is what we’ll be playing, at least early on. I don’t want to try and get too technical or use too many instructions, this lot are expected to be relegation fodder for a reason so we’ll be keeping things simple for the time being.
One thing that stood out to me was the lack of a solid right full back. I tell the clubs director of football and he lets me know that he’s already filled that void, that was apparently picked up by the previous manager. Indian national team regular Nabi was signed on a free.
Whilst the fans aren’t too happy about this deal apparently, I am. He might not be solid at every position but he is comfortable playing almost everywhere on the pitch which I am sure will help as we get our first season together underway.
The players don’t look as bad as the media prediction make out, at least in my mind. But I’m not sure what’s worse, me having them to rely on or them having me to lead them.
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Cross posted at The Journeyman Jock