FRIDAY June 26th, 2015.
First meeting with the owner today and he told me not to worry about what the media is saying about me. Which obviously means he’s worried about what the media is saying about me. His name is Ton van Gaalen – couldn’t get more Dutch. Thankfully he spoke English. He’s given me a one year contract which communicates his faith in my appointment.
And as luck would have it, we’ve got a very young squad. Only six players above 23, so we’d do well in the Olympics. Three of those boys are on loan. Not sure if they’ll stay, but one of them is from Chelsea, so he can’t be all bad.
More tomorrow when I actually meet the players.
SATURDAY June 27th, 2015.
I decided to fire Grooooooot. I’ve got my eye on a few options regarding his replacement, so we’ll see if they’re as interested in me as I am in them. Got rid of a couple of staff who, honestly, made it seem like I’m a good coach. And we know that’s not true.
Without my right hand man, I faced up to the players. They have no idea who I am. For good reason. I got them on side though, by telling them I was pretty sure we could aim for mid table. Not bad for a newly promoted team, but I’m quietly aiming higher. Don’t tell anyone, dear diary.
There are a few playmakers in the squad. That’s good to see. A couple of central defenders make me happy too. I think we’ll need someone up front, but maybe I’ll go with a single striker. I’ve probably got the squad for a 4-1-4-1, but I’m interested in mixing things up in the Eredivisie with a 3-6-1 or a 2-5-3. We’ll see how brave I’ll be.
Speaking of brave, I wore my green pants to the press conference. I figured I might as well stand out for my dress sense as my soccer history wouldn’t be doing it. One of the first questions was whether I considered myself more of a cerebral, well-dressed manager than a “lead-the-training” kind of guy. Jurgen ten Avest has already figured me out. It was obviously the green pants. They also got wind of my hiring of Toon Gerrits as my assistant.
In other news, Jaap Stam has been hired by Heerenveen. So, that should take the media focus off me for a while at least.
SUNDAY June 28th, 2015
Tactics day. With our first friendly a week away, I decided to lock myself in the office all day to work on a tactic and philosophy to carry me through to the Champions League Final. Ambitious? Maybe.
I’m going with three central defenders with the middle guy pushing up with the ball when able. I have to include the young Chelsea right back Todd Kane though. The last thing I want this season is a call from Jose complaining about me not using a young English player that will never see a first team game for Chelsea. That means using advanced wingbacks as part of the six-man midfield.
Two wide midfielders are going to sit narrow, flanking a box to box midfielder and a roaming playmaker. A false nine is going to sit up front supporting attacks as well as closing down the defenders with help from the wide midfielders and the playmaker.
Yes, I have no idea what I’m doing. Fingers crossed. I need to at least stay in the job until this Sinterklaas guy turns up.
WEDNESDAY July 1st, 2015
The press has predicted we’ll finish 14th. I have no idea how many teams get relegated, but that should keep us safe. 150-1 to win the league. I haven’t told any family members to lay a wager.
They also highlighted our best player – goalkeeper, Hannes Þór Halldórsson. Naturally, I hadn’t even talked to him because I only worry about scoring goals, not preventing them. This is a pleasant surprise though. I’ve heard a good keeper can be important. And he’s from Iceland. I’ve never heard a bad thing about Iceland. Plus one of the guys told me he directed the Icelandic video for the Eurovision music contest. Bonus!