Belmondo Diary #13

Matt is back with the second season of his story. Not only this, but the man himself is now on Twitter! You can follow him here @MattLangdon73

WEDNESDAY June 15th, 2016

We’re ranked 237th in Europe. That’s after a drop of 18 places this season. Does everyone in the world think finishing second with Nijmegen is easy?

It’s been a long couple of weeks trying to work out who to sign. I investigated keeping some of the loan players, but suddenly their clubs were asking for twice as much salary contribution. The board was having none of it. Apparently they are okay giving me a budget but not quite okay letting me manage it myself. They get final say on how much I can offer players for salaries. A bit awkward.

Girondins Bordeaux called a press conference today to announce that they’ve formalised a link with us. I was pretty excited to have a feeder club. I’d be able to send players like Jay-Roy Grot to France for some experience in the first team. Perfect. It was about half way through the press conference that I realised we were the feeder club. How does that work? We finished second in the Eredivise and they finished 5th in Ligue 1. I was handed a dossier of crap young players that I was encouraged to take on loan. So helpful!

SATURDAY June 25th, 2016

The Dutch national side has barely qualified from the group stage in the European Championship. They came third in the group behind Russia and Wales. I honestly thought I was going to have to take on that job as well, but apparently not yet. You can imagine the outpouring of calls for me to take over if they failed to qualify. Luckily, that means I can concentrate on the job at hand.

I basically forgot I had a diary with all this transfer stuff going on. I need to update the changes here as well as their reasons and back stories. I also need to write down what I actually need because the agents coming in and out of the office and calls all day and all night have made my head spin. I don’t even know what the first team looks like at the moment.

What I do know is that we’re going to be laughable in the Champions League.

It’s time to start being proactive and look for the players I want instead of reacting to those being offered to me. Time to be Action Jack instead of Relaxed Jack.

Okay, I sold van Eijden because, well, obviously. He went to AZ for a bit over a million. Emilsson went for free to Den Bosch which saved me his salary. Rayhi went to de Graafshap for $400k, which was handy. He was a malcontent and probably not worth that much. I’ve had offers for Christian Santos, but if I sold him, I’d have hundreds of women and gay men sending me hate mail.

The first guy I brought in can play on both sides of the midfield. Carlos Calvo comes from Spain and is thirty years old. I decided early on that I needed some age in the squad to handle the needs of Europe. This guy should give me at least a few years and that’s what I’m looking for. He’s fast, is good at free kicks and corners, and generally good in front of goal. I don’t expect him to be a world-beater, but he’s going to match Santos, I think. He’s been the most expensive acquisition thus far at $750k.

Next up was a Hungarian midfielder who has had some time at Nijmegen in the past. Krisztián Vadócz can play either of our midfield roles and is pretty strong, mentally. He’s 31 and cost us only $50k. With most of my central midfield gone back to their owner sides, we needed some replacements. I’d say this guy is the match of any of those who departed apart from maybe Ritzmaier.

Kader Mangane is a Senegalese guy who was playing in France. He’s strong. Ox-strong. 33 years old, but centre backs can play until they’re 40, right? He’s really good at the skills for his position too. He cost $725k.

Last of the old-man brigade is the 30 year-old Serbian, Nikola Djurdjic. He’s an out-and-out striker. He’s faster than any of my young bucks and finishes with authority. Just what we need. Hopefully Mihai will be taking notes and fighting for his place.

So, what do I need? I’d like a young project or two, but position depth is the priority at this point. I’d like to find some guys who can play more than one position because that will allow for some flexibility. Ultimately, I suppose I need two players per position. That means I need two fullbacks, a centre back, three (!!!) central midfielders, and one winger. I’ve got $1.5 million left in funds and $38k available in wages. The second number is going to be the tricky one considering I need seven players. Not too tricky, I suppose, but something to keep an eye on.

The other thing to consider is how many Dutch players I have. I’m not sure how much people in town care, but Dutch-speakers are pretty thin on the ground here these days.

MONDAY June 19th, 2016

The Netherlands crashed out of the European Championship yesterday. The nation is pretty stunned and the sales of orange clothing is going to suffer tremendously. I’m obviously pretty nervous whenever I answer the phone now. Although, with the general conspiracy against me in this country, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was overlooked.

We started a little Scandinavian tour today with the first stop at FC Midtjylland. Try spelling that when you’re drunk. Not that I’m drunk. It was only a couple of beers. Five.

The first goal of this new campaign came from a free kick assist courtesy of new signing, Calvo. I brought him in partially for his free kick ability, so that was nice. We gave up two goals, but I had the Iceman on the bench, so I’m not too worried.

THURSDAY June 30th, 2016

I’ve got the scouts out scanning the world for the players I need. There are a few guys I’ve narrowed things down to, but I’m not going to rush into any more signings. I am still baffled that we’re going to be playing in the Champions League and I’m scouring the second divisions of second-rate leagues for players to lead me to glory.

5 thoughts on “Belmondo Diary #13”

  1. Interesting transfer policy to say the least. I hope all the veteran leadership holds up well for you. I generally don’t purchase players beyond the age of 27 because after that they are impossible to resell – but I’ve made exceptions for high quality leaders and tutors in the past.

    When you mentioned about how much the board would pay for your loan salaries, have you considered switching some of your transfer budget to wages? Might make your board more willing to pay the higher loan salaries if there is more in the wage budget.

    I am from Michigan and my stepfather was born and lived in Nijmegen until he was eight so this is doubly interesting to me, so please, keep up the great work!

    1. I’m not normally a signer of older players either, but I figured with European football for such a small club, it might be worth a punt.

      Love the Nijmegen/Michigan connection.

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