It’s been a while but Matt is finally back with his latest installment. Remember that you can also now buy the book, Belmondo Diary: Year One via this link
WEDNESDAY January 1st, 2020
Game day. Excelsior v N.E.C.
The drizzling rain matched my mood at the start of the match. Who the hell decided to have a game on New Year’s Day? And don’t tell me Dutch people don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve – I saw them shooting off fireworks at each other last night. Naturally, my players were home and in bed well before 9pm. I made it to bed well before 9am.
In the 30th minute of the game, the Wanderer took a ball just inside the box and back-heeled it between two defenders to a running Trujillo. The little man slipped it between the keeper and the post to put us up 1-0. Nice start to the year.
We took the lead into the break and came back out firing. No goals, but lots of threats. Mickey “Blue Eyes” van der Hart made a wonder save in the 51st, which was nice. A minute later, Halilovic sent in a free kick from a long distance. It was met by a leaping Hansen, who sent the ball back across the face of goal to meet the lurking Trujillo. Alexis got his brace, but the man of the match trophy went to Valdívia the Wanderer.
In injury time, Nwakali was injured for a month. Not great, but I’ve got coverage there.
WEDNESDAY January 8th, 2020
Game day. N.E.C. v Fortuna Sittard.
The Bib Fortuna club kicked off and passed the ball around a bit before Golla intercepted an attempted through ball. He hit it, one time, over the entire pitch and into the path of a sprinting Alexis Trujillo, who took it to the keeper and slammed it past him! Thirty seconds to score a goal and we didn’t even start with the ball. This team is humming.
Ten minutes later, Aussie Fogarty crossed the ball to the back post and Zorba the Greek volleyed it into the net. 2-0 in the eleventh minute. The next fifteen minutes saw two more great shots from Trujillo, but no goals. We’re playing so very well. These players are being coached to perfection.
In the second half, we had even more great shots, a lot of them being set up by Zelalem and Valdívia. They’re out of this world. We finished the game off with a few minutes left. Diarra scored an open goal after a wonder pass from Gedion Z.
SATURDAY January 18th, 2020
We hosted a friendly, for fitness reasons, against the Argentinian team, River Plate. We beat them handily by a score of two to zero. Joel Gerezgiher, our young Eritrean, was man of the match. He got a goal in the 8th minute and definitely put his hand up for future first team opportunities.
TUESDAY January 21st, 2020
Mickey van der Hart is injured again! Two to three months, they tell me. So, now I have to buy a new keeper with the couple of million I have left in my budget.
There are gods whose job it is to ruin football managers’ lives, right? I can only assume so based on the inexplicable garbage I’m having to deal with during the season in which all my hard work is finally being rewarded. Those gods are obviously drunk this season.
FRIDAY 24th January, 2020
Ajax won and now sit in 3rd, but Utrecht are a point behind them with a game in hand. Feyenoord are second with 37 points, equal with Ajax. We’re on top with 49 points. Even with a crocked keeper, I feel confident about finally winning this damn league.
SATURDAY January 25th, 2020
Game day. Heracles v N.E.C.
Sam Loosen was back between the sticks for this game. Fogarty continued at right back. That combination made me more than a little nervous. Luckily we had the cool (old) heads of Hansen and Golla partnered in central defence.
Samwise Loosen made a great double save in the 25th minute to keep the score card empty. I should stop making fun of this guy, but it’s hard. He’s doing well for a keeper who should have never got a game in this league.
Kasper Larson clattered into Trujillo right in front of the keeper and the ref called for a penalty. Very fair. Not sure why their players were jumping up and down all over the place. Alan Halilovic converted it and we were off to the races. It was his first goal for the club. Sure to be many more.
Five minutes later, Halilovic (need to get him a nickname) sent in a long free kick that Fetfatzidis converted with a superb volley. 2-0 before the half. This team. Amazing. I’m so proud of myself.
Zorba got a second volleyed goal at the start of the second half. This time it was from a long cross courtesy of that Australia right back, Fogarty. Fetfatzidis does seem to possess some sort of magical ability to get on the end of long crosses. Perhaps the defenders just need to do better. Nah, pretty sure it’s down to my guys’ ability.
In the 67th, Salomon Kalou sent in a laughable cross from the right wing. There were no Heracles players anywhere near ball, so it was an easy grab for Loosen. No such thing, I hear you say? Correct. The ball went through Loosen’s hands and bounced into the back of the net. I mean, he has gloves on. How does the ball even get through there?
No matter, we scored our fourth in the 72nd minute. Another cross from Fogarty to Trujillo, but this time the diminutive Argentinian didn’t apply a clinical finish. The ball bounced clear. Clear into the path of that rampaging Greek God, Ioannis Fetfatzidis, who wrapped up his predatory hat trick.
After the game, Edgar Davids called me laughable because I said I thought the penalty was fine. Laughable. Has he looked in a mirror lately? He wears sunglasses inside. I was a big fan until today. No longer.
SUNDAY January 26th, 2020
I signed a keeper from Liverpool today by the name of Daniel Ward. He rebuffed my approaches for the last few years whenever I tried to sign him on loan as my starting keeper. He is now my backup and thankful for the opportunity. It’s funny how unrelenting success will change opinions about you. And he only cost $300,000.
He’s pretty decent and will be good to have around as a backup in coming years. He’s Welsh, which means he’s from Wales, which means an actual country is called Wales.
FRIDAY January 31st, 2020
Everyone and their brother are bidding for Trujillo and Fetfatzidis, including, of course, Ajax. Good luck fellas. My team is 100% loyal and ready to hang league winners medals around their necks in a few months.
Ajax spent more than $25 million today. Pity it’s not going to be enough to catch us. Especially when we beat them tomorrow.