The Belmondo Diary continues with the seventh instalment from guest writer Matt.
SATURDAY December 5th, 2015
We’re playing Zwolle at home this weekend and I’ve just been told they don’t have a manager. They’re in second place in the league. With no manager. I hope my board don’t get any funny ideas.
What I know about Zwolle is that the town was liberated in World War II by a single Canadian soldier by the name of Leo Major. I’ve told my guys that this is a team who need some liberation.
SUNDAY December 6th, 2015
It turns out that Zwolle’s manager problem is actually only three days old and it’s due to Ajax poaching him. So, there’s a bit of chaos, which hopefully we can take advantage of. I sent the club my grandmother’s number, offering her up as an option. She managed me well enough.
Game day. I shook the hand of the temporary manager and told him I was sure his board wouldn’t hold the upcoming loss against him and that he’d be able to go back to just coaching soon enough. He didn’t seem to take that in the spirit I meant it in.
Oh my, Mihai! Roman did what Wayne Gretzky suggested and went to where the ball would be in the box and slotted the ball in behind the back of a defender. 1-0 and we were off. I gave an apologetic shrug to the caretaker guy.
Christian Santos then doubled the lead with a sliding shot (I’m not sure what else to call it) from inside the box. That’s the second goal he’s scored since I moved him to the left side. Managing is easy.
Second half was goalless, but we didn’t need a goal. Great game for us. We controlled it all the way. That’s four wins in a row and I would suggest that teams in first or second place should avoid playing us at all costs. We’ve snuck into 8th place.
The acting manager for Zwolle didn’t come and shake my hand at the end of the game. I can understand that. It must be very stressful for him.
SATURDAY December 12th, 2015
Game day, Cambuur are fifth in the league, but somehow we were listed as favorites. And it was an away game for us. Perhaps we’re finally being taken seriously.
We were awarded a penalty early on in the first half, so a great start. Not so great was the fact that Santos, our usual penalty taker, decided to let Rayhi take it. Rayhi missed, naturally. Despite owning most of the ball and taking plenty of (off target) shots, we went in at the half down 0-1 after a cross found a wide open winger in the box. Nothing worked in the second half. I tried changing their mentality, brought on some faster players. Nothing. So, we lost a game that we won in every category except for goals. Back to ninth, which is technically in the top half.
TUESDAY December 15th, 2015
Christian Santos, the Venezuelan Adonis, has been injured in training. Thankfully he’s timed it well with the return of Ritzmaier.
Game day. Feyenoord came to town with their big names. The boys were a bit in awe of a guy called Kuyt. It showed during the first half too. We came in at half time with a goalless draw. I told them to stop fawning over this Dirk guy and get to playing. It seemed to work. We started threatening, but we also kept doing the shoot-off-target thing.
Then in the 67th minute, Roman the Romanian lobbed a ball into the box onto the head of Buysse who sent the ball across the box onto the head of Foor, who sent it past the wrong-footed keeper. It was a thing of beauty. If you’re into head volleyball. I had brought on Buysse and Foor two minutes earlier. How many times do I need to do that before people start chanting my name?
Buysse was rewarded with some bruised ribs as we went into the last ten minutes. He was not in good shape, but I was out of subs, so I need him to stay out there. To his credit, he didn’t complain.
In the 83rd, they equalised with a free kick routine. It was from an English guy, which just added insult to injury. Heads dropped. But then, the man of the hour, Bart Buysse, darted into the box and volleyed home a defence-splitting ball from Nazarene Foor.
Buysse is becoming one of my favorite players. Forget everything I said about him, dear diary.
MONDAY December 21st, 2015
We’ve started a mid-season break. That seems a bit odd, but I’ll take it.
SATURDAY December 26th, 2015
The board gave me a nice Christmas present. They invited me into a meeting to discuss signing a new contract. They’d only signed me on for one year, but now they want to make sure they keep me after the season is over. How about that? They added 18 months to the contract and gave me a little salary bump. Nothing to get new players in though.
I’m considering sending the Scot back home to save on his salary and hope I can use that to attract two new players. He’s getting $9,000 per week and the next highest salary is $5,000 for my captain. My injured captain.
SUNDAY December 27th, 2015
My accountant told me we can’t end Jay Fulton’s loan early due to some clause in the contract. There goes that dream. Maybe some clubs will come in for my captain again. I won’t make that mistake again.
Looking over the stats for the first half of the season, I noticed Wojciech Golla is leading the league in key tackles. That’s pretty good news because I don’t believe I’ve given Golla a single thought all season. Perhaps I’m noticing the wrong things.
We’re in 8th place at the half way point. Even more impressive than that is that we’re three points off 3rd spot and future European glory! Happy New Year!