TUESDAY September 1st, 2015
Bursaspor came in with a bid for my captain, Rens van Eijden this morning. I rejected it, obviously. Why would I sell my captain the day after the Dutch transfer window closed?
Then my right hand man, Toon, came in to deliver the news that Rens was not happy about that decision. He wanted to meet with me. Sure, I said. Rens came in to my office and sat down with some pretty clear body language. I stayed firm. “You’re our captain. The transfer window has closed.” He was not convinced, to say the least. I told him we need him for this season and I’d let him go at the end of it if he still wanted to go. “No, I can’t wait that long, I want to play for a bigger team.” I added another name to my revenge list and told him I’d accept a higher bid.
Told Bursaspor that I’d accept double what he’s worth. Also told them I’d be happy if I never heard from them ever again.
WEDNESDAY September 2nd, 2015
Now Brøndby are sniffing around as the media believes van Eijden is “unsettled”. I even had a “journalist” call me about him. The damn transfer window just closed! I’ve also had two clubs ask to have two other central defenders on loan. This is obviously a conspiracy. Probably a scheme cooked up by those Ajax guys. I only have four central defenders. I need three on the pitch and one on the bench. This is not difficult math, guys.
Christian Santos got his first cap for Venezuela. He thanked his national team boss publicly, but I think it’s pretty clear who he really credits with making this achievement possible. I don’t need the public adoration at this stage in my career anyway.
SATURDAY September 12th, 2015
Game day. No press conference before the game. Second time in a row. Why don’t the media understand that I need to get in front of the public? What’s the point of wearing green pants if the fans don’t notice them?
Today, I saw an overhead kick goal for the first tim in real life. Pity it wasn’t by one of my players. Roda FC took the lead with that in the sixth minute. We equalised, but as is our wont, we conceded in the second minute of extra time in the first half.
Every 50/50 ball goes against us. If we shoot from a crowd, it gets blocked. Passes fly all over the place. Players hold onto the ball for too long and lose it. Blah.
Second half, they got another two and we got another one. The press said Roda was lucky. I’m not so sure.
On the plus side, I don’t think anyone will be making bids for van Eijden. He tore his calf muscle and will be out for five months.
Lots of drinking tonight. Starting now.
SUNDAY September 13th, 2015
I woke up this afternoon to the news that the manager of Brøndby has “never heard of the player” when asked about van Eijden. I now have an enemy manager.
Why didn’t I sell him? Oh why, oh why.
I’ve sent out a few messages to old, useless centre backs to come on trial. I need at least one to sign on permanently, so my toes are crossed.
FRIDAY September 18th, 2015
Game day. We welcomed Heerenveen to the Goffertstadion this evening. Friday Night Football? One shot for us in the first half versus two goals for them. The second half got a bit better and we managed two of our own goals. Unfortunately they got one at the start of the half.
At what point should I buy a book on tactics?
WEDNESDAY September 23rd, 2015
My centre back trialist went home, all of them wanting more money than I could afford to offer. Amazing. Only one of them was even any good.
Game day. We traveled to visit the Go Ahead Eagles for our easy win in the Cup. The board reminded me before we left that they expected us to go to the next round at a bare minimum.
The game started. I waited for us to have a shot. Half time arrived and I was still waiting. Then in the 56th minute, the Go Ahead Eagles went ahead. I changed to a 4-2-3-1 to try to get something happening. And to rest one of my three centre backs. I kept waiting for a shot. Then the final whistle went. I didn’t speak to the team after the game. Nor on the bus ride home.
I just ordered two tactics books from Amazon. Time to change things. Clearly, three central defenders is just too ambitious with this squad.
SATURDAY September 26th, 2015
Books have been read. Changes have been made. My head is awash with Ws, Ms, Christmas Trees, and inverted pyramids, but I’ve decided to build a system that fits the squad. I’ve got more central midfielders than defenders, so starting with four at the back, I’ve got five in the middle, and have stuck with one up front. I’ve told two of the midfielders to concentrate on winning the ball while the other three get forward to support Roman the Romanian.
And who better to try a new tactic out than PSV? Away. I did a little reading up on this latest opponent. Last month, I learned that Ajax are a pretty regular winner of the league. Today I learned that between them, Ajax and PSV have won 34 of the last 40 titles. At least that gives me something to aim for. Apart from Champions League victory.
A couple of players whined to me before the game that they weren’t getting enough game time. We’ve played six games! Thanks for being understanding.
Game day. We arrived at the pretty impressive venue and got to work. We kept up with them for the first twenty or thirty minutes and then started struggling. But credit Joey Sleegers who started a break from a PSV corner and then ended it, getting onto the end of a cross and slotting home. Winning! The gulf in class was made clear at the start of the second half though, when their Mexican dynamo slammed home a free kick. Another 1-1 draw with a Dutch superpower was going to be okay with me.
But wait, there was more! I’m seriously having heart problems in this job. In the 82nd minute, one of their fullbacks crossed the ball while coming out of defence and put it between their defenders and goalie, neither of whom took responsibility for it. That allowed Roman the Romanian to run onto to the ball and finesse it past their keeper. We won. We won. I’m sending a gift basket to Jonathan Wilson.
Naturally, I lost a central defender to injury during the game as well. Just to keep things real.
I was asked by the press what I thought about PSV’s manager complaining about the late match winner. I told them, calmly, that we were obviously the better team and that Mr. Cocu should stop whining. That’s how you do press conferences, right?