Matt is back again with another edition of his hugely popular story.
SUNDAY November 1st, 2015
The board blocked my termination of the Jeffrey’s contract. Well, at least that’s not awkward.
Game day. We took a trip to AZ today. As far as team names go, it’s very Dutch. They’ve been hovering at the top of the table for most of the season, so no-one was very confident going in. The media considered our chances laughable. The fans were mainly there to show their loyalty. So, I thought I’d mix things up. I benched Mihai Roman and put the young punk, Jay-Roy Grot up front. He’s probably the fastest guy on the team, so I figured it was worth a shot.
It may have been worth a shot, but it didn’t provide a shot on target. Not for Jay-Roy, not for the team. This is an ongoing problem. Maybe I need to hire a specialist that just works on shooting at an actual goal. They’re not lacking in shots, in general, it’s just the concept of putting them on target that they’re struggling with.
We actually kept most of the possession during the game, ending up with 53%. I think that’s pretty good on the road against a top team. And we kept them goalless in part because our man Frank Sturing put in a man of the match performance at the back. He had 20 interceptions, which seems high for me. But maybe I’m just used to proper football where a defensive back gets 20 in the best entire season of his life.
So, honestly I was pretty happy until we gave away a penalty in the 89th minute. Then I was sad. Then I was happy when the big Icelandic giant saved that damn penalty! I never thought I’d be in a charge of a team where the most valuable player was the keeper, but here we are.
A draw keeps us in 13th and only ten points off first place. Cocu was skulking around again. Hasn’t this guy got his own club to run?
WEDNESDAY November 4th, 2015
Jay-Roy and Frank Sturing have been called up to the Dutch Under 19s. I don’t want to take full credit, but it would be disingenuous not to.
SATURDAY November 7th, 2015
Game day. We welcomed De Graafschap to the Goffertstadion today. I’m sure De Graafschap was some sort of German unit in World War One. They were sitting on the bottom of the league table, so we were made favorites. Fair enough. I told the team we should be winning this one and they proceeded to shoot at goal for fun. None of the shots were on target, mind you, but at least they were trying.
0-0 at the half. Standard. 60th minute we were up to 15 shots, two of which were at the actual goal. Two more were off wood. I decided I had to make some changes and bought on Jay-Roy, Joey Sleegers, and Mohamed Rayhi, a pacey winger who has been asking for game time.
72nd minute: Goal for Joey Sleegers, assisted by Jay-Roy.
90th minute: Goal for Jay-Roy, assisted by Rayhi.
Now, if everyone was saying what they were thinking, I’d be getting sick of being called a genius. But they’re not, so I don’t have to show my modesty. I do have a pretty impressive level of modesty. And guess who was in the stands again today. Cocu. It’s definitely getting a bit embarrassing, all this attention.
One downside, Frank Sturing capped off his great week by being sent off in extra time.
We’re still in 13th, but only eight points off first place. It’s within reach. A long reach.
TUESDAY November 10th, 2015
Jay-Roy Grot was chosen as the lone striker in the team of the week! Seventeen years old and already winning awards under my guidance.
Got the news this afternoon that Ritzmaier broke down in training. It’s a sports hernia, so not a real injury. He’ll be out for up to six weeks. I wonder if Cocu had a word with him. I mean, he’s only our best player of the season so far. How much could we possibly miss him?
SATURDAY November 21st, 2015
After a long break for internationals, the Eredivisie started up again today. After a 2-2 draw, Ajax fired their manager! Ajax! I don’t want to take full responsibility for it, but it was obviously a big factor. The management there is obviously keeping the reasons pretty tight to their chests, but I know some of the press have been reading between the lines.
The Sack Race is back in the papers and I’m still not on it. Not lined up to take over Ajax either.
SUNDAY November 22nd, 2015
Game day. We welcomed Utrecht and their slightly favored team today. A few niggles for guys who probably would have started and the obvious omission of Ritzmaier. However, Mihai was up front, which always creates a bit of confidence.
Three minutes in, they scored. Three passes, including the one from the keeper that started the move. God, how I hate this game. Then in the thirteenth minute, we scored from a corner. I’m pretty sure that’s the first one for the season. We were getting a ton of shots actually on target in the first half. Despite that, we went in at 1-1. I told the boys this was their chance to do something. Make a statement in the league and get into the top half of the table.
They responded by handing the ball over from a defensive throw in, resulting in two pretty impressive passes and a tap in for Utrecht. I may have thrown my water bottle.
Five minutes later, my Venezuelan Adonis, Christian Santos, ran into the box and scored at the inside post, somehow squeezing the ball at an acute angle past their keeper. Pandemonium! Why am I getting happy with pulling equal with opposing teams?
Oh, but there’s more. Mihai actually scored a header from a cross while marked by three defenders. It was bafflingly good. That might be another first for the season. The cross came from Buysse, so my love/hate relationship is currently in a love phase.
Three minutes later it was Mihai Roman the Romanian again. He received a pass inside the box, took one touch, and slammed it home. I could not believe my eyes. Four goals! What is this dream? We’ve moved up to 9th, two points behind Utrecht. Maybe Ajax will reconsider me now. God, how I love this game.
SUNDAY November 29th, 2015
Game day. I got into a bit of a public fight with the Vitesse manager. This game is our local derby, I’m told. He said it wasn’t that big of a deal. I told the press that he’s out of his head if that’s his approach. Then some of the journalists got me to say some words that seemed like I was downplaying the efforts of the Vitesse players in getting them into 1st place. I was obviously quoted out of context, but now the whole town was expecting us to rub Vitesse into the dirt. No pressure.
One thing I noticed in the first half was that our players were executing the basics better. Passes were connecting and they were getting rid of the ball earlier instead of holding onto it and then losing it. Is it possible they’re starting to gel and the work on the training ground is starting to take effect? Something I didn’t notice in the first half was a goal. For either side.
Oh, except for when we scored a penalty in the 45th minute!
No goals in the second half as we went toe to toe with the league leaders. We matched their shots and their shots on target (who’d have thunk?) and had 8% more possession. Just call us the giant killers! We’re now solidly in ninth place and finally have a zero goal difference. The only way is up.
And guess who took the loss like a professional? Not the Vitesse manager, Peter Bosz, that’s for sure. Went on a bit of a tirade and slammed the referee for awarding the penalty. I feel bad for the guy – he knows what happened to the Ajax manager after we outperformed them.