A Michigan Yankee in King Willem-Alexander’s Netherlands – the diary of Jack Belmondo in Nijmegen

This is a piece written by guest author Matt. He doesn’t have twitter yet but if people like what he’s writing about then leave comments below and who knows, maybe he’ll create a FM Twitter account.

FRIDAY June 26th, 2015.

End of day one. What have I got myself into? My office has still got random pieces of treasure and trash from the last guy, but I’ve brought a few of my own pieces in. Have to make it feel like home. Had a Dutch hot dog today and definitely didn’t feel like home.

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.

He sent me on to meet with Ron de Groot, who was not a walking tree, much to my surprise. He and his team gave me their thoughts on the squad and how to move forward. They suggested signing four different 34 year-old strikers. Clearly we’re not in the same school of thought when it comes to team building. I’ll be looking young.

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.

The board expects me to finish mid-table. Seems reasonable. I’ve got $96 per week available in the wage budget, so I might be able to hire a courier to bring me enough booze to get through the season.

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!

12 thoughts on “A Michigan Yankee in King Willem-Alexander’s Netherlands – the diary of Jack Belmondo in Nijmegen”

  1. This is nice, makes me feel like reading a biography. Got a similar feeling when I read SAF’s book. I hope we do get more of this

  2. Great read and really was looking to read another couple day’s of your diary, which is good you have captured an audiance in this way, look forward to more, maybe a vet player would not hurt the squad to bring the kids through.

    1. Hey thanks. I’m getting close to the transfer window opening up again. The board have given me no wriggle room, so we’ll how it goes. I’d welcome an old guy who can start every game.

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