Belmondo Diary

Belmondo June/July

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SUNDAY June 3rd, 2018

Kazuki Nagasawa sold more shirts than anyone at the club this season. That’s after coming in half way through the season and immediately getting injured. I guess there are a few people in Japan who like soccer.

Van der Heijden and Golla were the two highest key tacklers in the league. Our possession percentage was 56.49%, finally overtaking Vitesse when Zidane left. Better than last year, so I am happy with that. It sets a new target for this year. Or maybe we should target more wins and a position at the top of the league.

FRIDAY June 8th, 2018

I’ve been looking into signing Jose Antonio Reyes for a few weeks, but he has just decided to retire. That’s awful timing. Or perhaps great timing.

I was also talking to Sergi Samper, a defensive midfielder playing for West Brom. Naturally Barcelona signed him this week. I guess I may have been aiming too high, but Sergi just strung me along.

WEDNESDAY June 13th, 2018

I’ve transfer listed Djurdjic as he’s just not going to cut it here any more and he gave me grief last season. Naturally he is mad at the way I’m treating him. The way I’m treating him. Ha.

FRIDAY June 15th, 2018

We went up 112 places in the European rankings to 58th! That’s more than any other team. Do I smell a new contract? Do I smell any kind of respect from my fellow professionals?

Meanwhile, the U.S.A. beat Russia 6-2 on day one of the World Cup. I need to look to sign some American players. The whole world is focused on this competition now, so I’m going to just note highlights.

June 18th – Holland beat France 1-0.

June 19th – Portugal beat Ukraine 6-3. Ronaldo got four.

June 23rd – Holland lost to Uruguay 2-0.

June 26th – Zidane is after Diarra and is chatting with him at the tournament. Diarra is furious with me for not letting him go, but the offer was pathetic. Kader Mangane has retired. He made 47 league appearances for us. Super solid too, but who cares? We’ll sign someone new and younger.

June 28th – Holland beat Iran and qualified second from the pool.

England have been knocked out of the World Cup after earning a single point in a group with Spain, Ecuador, and South Korea. Maybe there’s a job offer in my near future.

July 2nd – Holland has been knocked out by Germany. Another possible job offer? I mean, I am the guy in charge of the quickest growing club in Europe.

July 5th – Turns out both Golla and van der Hiejden have release clauses in their contracts for foreign teams. Golla’s was just triggered by Toulouse for $2.5 million. Van der Heijden’s suitors didn’t raise their bid high enough.

July 6th – We have the highest sponsorship levels in the whole league! How on earth? We have $12 million out of a league total $114 million. Club owners are ignoring my brilliance, but the sponsors aren’t. That makes sense as those wanting to make a buck tend to be smarter about their choices.

Also, Japan beat Brazil in the quarter final of the World Cup today. It was watched closely by my team and the one Japanese guy got to make fun of the four Brazilians all day.

July 10th – Golla turned down the wage offered by Toulouse! Yay for loyalty. Or mercenary standards. Either way, I’m happy to not have to search for another centre back.

July 12th – We’re going to be playing Shamrock Rovers to get into the Europa League. Shamrock? Gee, are they from Ireland? Next we’ll be playing the Fosters Bandicoots from Australia.

July 15th – Mexico won the World Cup 1-0 over France. That’s a win for the North American people. Like me. The Holland manager has been sacked and the Cambuur manager is tipped to take over. Cambuur? Hello, this is the manager of the fastest moving club in the continent here, just checking in to see if you have any need for a dynamic manager to make up for your horrid last few years. England, Italy, Spain, and Brazil are all without managers. It seems impossible to think none of them would call me. I applied for the Holland job, just in case they lost my number.

MONDAY July 16th, 2018

Transfer update. I stole Yassin Ayoub from Utrecht for $3.8 million. He’s going to shore up our defence in that spot in front of the centre backs. I expect he’s going to own that position. I also bought a young Brazilian dynamo who plays in numerous attacking roles. He’s got great mentals and I expect he’s going to be here for a long time. Goes by the name of Jeremias.

Jeremias

I got a Greek inside forward on a free from Saudi Arabia. There must be a joke in there somewhere. Ioannis Fetfatzidis is a great mover, has great touch, and is a great passer. Also signed our old friend, Enzo Crivelli, who was without a contract. No idea why he would be a free agent, but I’m happy to take him. He was a great scorer for us, even though I tried not to play him.

Finally, I picked up two fullbacks for small fees. Aaron Meijers and Jonathan Parr will both likely be backups, but they’re needed. Zimmermann and Buysse both left on frees as they just couldn’t keep up with our ambition. Rios also went, but for $1.3 million. He didn’t match our new philosophy in a couple of areas.

Sold Guedioura. He was good for us, but he’s getting old and he wasn’t a natural in that regista role. Ayoub will improve us in that position.

The Netherlands declined my application before the press even had time to ask me about it. At least let me get some newspaper inches out of this. Oh, the humiliation.

THURSDAY July 19th, 2018

Game day. Shamrock Rovers v N.E.C. Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round Leg 1.

Fetfatzidis, Crivelli, and Ayoub started in this match in Ireland. Lots of eyes were on them, not least of which were my two. Ioannis was all-action in the first few minutes. Offside, shot blocked, and corner won. Ayoub and Crivelli were the ones to cause the damage though. In the fourth minute they combined to provide Diarra a goal. It was beautiful. And I’m sure the fans realise the impact my transfer skills have on the team. Just in case, I pointed it out in the post-match press conference. And in a radio interview later in the day.

We had so many shots on goal in the next thirty minutes that I ran out of fingers to count them. So many corners squandered that it’s clearly time for me to work out some new routine. So many misses that I need to get an official to measure the goal dimensions at the Shamrock ground. Needless to say we went in only ahead 1-0.

Exactly 45 minutes after his first goal, Diarra scored again. My sphincter relaxed and I sat back down on the bench. Fifteen minutes later, Van der Heijden gave away a penalty. I stood back up.

Thankfully Diarra returned to the rescue. A scrum in the box ended up with a goal when Diarra outmuscled everyone. He shot between one pair of legs and wide of a pair of hands. We left the stadium with a 3-1 win. That’s pretty much guarantees we go through this round.

SUNDAY July 22nd, 2018

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been named Holland manager. Seriously. From SC Cambuur, well-known for their brilliant coaching and surprising results. Or something.

To ease my pain, I signed a new gun forward, Mark Uth. We’re getting progressively stronger. Each position has a great starter and there are plenty of good backups. So much so that I finally sold Breinburg. He’s been a good servant, but he was way down in the pecking order.

THURSDAY July 26th, 2018

Game day. N.E.C. v Shamrock Rovers. Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round Leg 2.

What a difference a week makes. Virtually the same team. 67% of the ball. 18 shots – 8 on target. They had 8 shots and 4 on target. They won 2-0. If I didn’t watch the game with my own eyes I’d say that result could only have come from a rigged computer game. Luckily we scored three away goals last week and went through to the next round.

And one of their goals was scored by a guy called Ruairi. I mean, come on! Is he ever going to play for a non-Irish team?

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