WEDNESDAY February 1st, 2017
Game day. N.E.C. v Groningen. The Dutch Cup Quarter Final.
In the 26th minute, Djurdjic ran down a dawdling Groningen defender in the box and dislodged the ball. Ledson swooped in to drive it towards goal and was fouled by Hedwig, an angry inch inside the box. Penalty! Djurdjic took the well-deserved spot kick and scored. We were on our way.
Less than ninety seconds later, Calvo chipped a ball from just outside the box to the waiting foot of Joey Sleegers on the far post. 2-0!
It stayed that way until the 80th minute when Curtis Calvo pounced on a rebounded save and slotted home the goal that sealed his man of the match performance.
The press are suggesting a bit of a bromance between the Groningen manager, Erwin van de Looi, and me. I like the guy, but let’s not get carried away. I don’t want any of the tall, beautiful Dutch women getting the wrong idea. I’m ready, willing, and able to entertain offers.
Van der Heijden and Rios have amassed too many yellow cards and will be out the Dutch Cup semi final. This is not good. Getting to the semi final this season after failing to win a match last season is good, though.
THURSDAY February 2nd, 2017
We’ve been drawn against Ajax in the semi final. Yay. The other options were PSV or Go Ahead Eagles. I suppose it would have been too much to ask the clearly corrupt schedulers to make it difficult for the darlings of the league by matching them up in the semi. Naturally, we’ll be playing at Ajax ArenA. And no, that wasn’t an accidental capital A at the end. No idea why it’s there, but it is.
SUNDAY February 5th, 2017
Game day. N.E.C. v PEC Zwolle.
PEC Zwolle is pronounced Peck Zwolla. I wish someone had told me that 18 months ago. A reporter in the tunnel asked me why Crivelli was on the bench when he’s scoring at a rate of a goal per 90 minutes. Naturally, I asked him if he was a reporter or a manager.
The first half was dour. No-one had more than a half chance and the fans grew restless.
After 70 minutes, I took Taggart off to keep him fresh for the Vitesse game next weekend. Bring on Crivelli, win the game. I need to tattoo that somewhere. Maybe on the forehead of that tunnel reporter. Five minutes was all it took for Enzo to score. Seven minutes later he teed up Djurdjic. Another seven minutes and he scored his second. I clearly need a two striker tactic.
Christian Santos came off early due to a minor ankle complaint, but it turned out to be more serious. He’s probably out for four weeks.
WEDNESDAY February 8th, 2017
You have got to be kidding me. We play Vitesse this weekend and they decided to hire a new permanent manager today. His name? Zinedine Zidane. Yes, the guy who head butted an opponent in the final game of his career. 108 appearances for France. Star for Real Madrid. Widely considered a top ten player in history. He’s managing our fiercest opponents.
I am about to destroy the legacy of Zinedine Zidane.
FRIDAY February 10th, 2017
Game day. Vitesse v N.E.C.
After my guys spent the warm up time trying to sneak selfies with Zidane, they unsurprisingly performed poorly in the first half. Not a single shot. It’s possible Zidane got Vitesse playing well, but I don’t want to give the guy too much credit. The first half finished goalless, luckily enough.
I reminded the boys that we were supposed to be playing against a cellar-dwelling team who also happened to be out fiercest rivals. I changed them into the 4-5-1 to try to earn a few shots and throw Vitesse off balance.
TWO TAGGART GOALS! Game over. Zinedine Zidane? Yeah, I beat him.
Zizou admitted to the press that my pregame talk psyched him out.
MONDAY February 13th, 2017
Well, Sylla finally came to complain about match time. Can I really send Crivelli back to Bordeaux? No doubt if I decide to pull the trigger, one of my strikers will get injured for six weeks. I wonder if Crivelli will complain if he’s not playing? I suppose I need to test it out.
SATURDAY February 18th, 2017
Game day. Exelsior v N.E.C.
Excelsior! as Stan Lee used to say. Two defenders were out for too many yellow cards. Santos (and Zimmerman, still) was out for injury. It’s safe to say we didn’t have our A team out. But, it was Excelsior, I wasn’t too worried.
Brenet went to pass the ball back to Thor, but under hit it, leading to an easy goal for Tom van Weert. That was after seven minutes. And the game didn’t get much better than that. We registered one shot in first half, making me think the first half against Zidane wasn’t such an unusual event. As I did in that game, I yelled at everyone and changed to the 4-5-1 to try to rectify the tactical matches that obviously weren’t working in our favor. It didn’t work and van Weert got another goal. He was unlucky not to get his hat trick towards the end of the game.
With ten games to go, we’re in second place, way behind Ajax. PSV is breathing down our neck with Groningen not far behind them.
SUNDAY February 19th, 2017
PSV lost. Groningen and Ajax drew. I guess the gods are not completely against us.
WEDNESDAY February 22nd, 2017
Game day. N.E.C. v FC Twente.
A penalty in the first half was dispatched by Djurdjic and we went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
Twente tied it up just after we came back out and we fought hard to steal back the lead. I brought Crivelli on for the last fifteen minutes. No sooner had I done so, he won a header at the half way line, sent it out wide to Djurdjic, ran into the box and got on the end of a cross to score the go ahead goal. Every time I think it’s right to send him home, Crivelli does something like this.
Unfortunately, FC Twente scored another goal a few minutes later and I was all out of substitutions with which to bring on a scoring super sub. 2-2 and two dropped points. I’d say first place is out of reach now.
SATURDAY February 25th, 2017
Ajax and PSV both won today, putting a bit of pressure on us for tomorrow’s game against Cambuur. It should be a routine win, but we’ve started losing our consistency lately.
SUNDAY February 26th, 2017
Game day. N.E.C. v Cambuur.
We had 17 shots, half of which were on target, and yet we didn’t score a goal. Cambuur did though. They had one shot on target. We lost at home to lowly Cambuur. Something is going horribly wrong.
I know you can’t have half of 17 shots on target. I’m angry, dammit. Now we’re in third.