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The Sleeping Giant

Previous parts of The Chancer Chronicles can be found here.

I waved my hand slowly and sighed. The taxi pulled away from the PSG training ground, the players and staff had all gathered to watch me, the mastermind behind the quadruple season, leave. For the past year, Paris had been my home, my club, my city. The people watching me leave were my players, my friends, the very men who had run through brick walls to achieve something special for me. Nay, with me. To achieve our brilliant piece of history. Naturally, my eyes locked on one person. Neymar, the man the team was built around, the clubs hero. Neymar waved his goodbye, a sad smile on his face. A good lad, Neymar. Sure we’d had our differences but it was good to leave on a positive note. We’d shared some lows but we’d also shared some massive highs too. It was nice to see him acknowledge that. His wave slowed until it stopped. His hand turned into a fist, still hanging in the air. It was a symbol. A sign of our unity, a rock, I was his rock. What a lovely, kind message. His fist slowly twisted and his middle finger appeared. His sad smile twisted into a wolfish grin as he flipped me the bird.
‘You motherfucker,’ I whispered.

So where does a man at the pinnacle go next? PSG is the worlds richest club, with arguably the best team in the world. We won everything available there, if I’d stayed we would probably do it all again too. But that’s not what this is about. Football is about challenges. Sure, medals are great but nothing gets me harder than taking a risk. So, let me ask you again. Where does a man go after reaching the pinnacle? There’s only one way to go, down.

My next challenge is Liverpool.

After resigning I knew I needed to find a club where I would have a chance to build something. I’m usually a bit like Mourinho – not an arrogant tit, well maybe a little bit – I tend to need a year to sort the team, to build the squad and then make a go of it. Therefore I needed a team who wouldn’t expect too much in my first season. In the past five seasons of my time in management, Liverpool has finished 7th, 6th, 4th, 4th and 6th, in that order. This season, the expectation was a Europa League spot and a view of a good run in the F.A. Cup. Having proven fairly adept at cup competitions in the last few years that seemed about right. Not to mention the club had a sizeable wage bill of £3.8 million a year and a transfer budget of £90 million to spend. Despite all that goodness we still had a highly competitive squad, with star names now in their peak like Coutinho (30y/o), Salah (30y/o), Firmino (30 y/o) and Robertson (28 y/o). We also had the addition of Angel Correa (28 y/0), Victor Yan (21 y/o), Iheanacho (25 y/o). Some big names there. And a massive squad of players.

So here I am, in now my 6th year in management. My sixth year of blagging a career. My sixth year in search of trophies and triumphs and proving dickheads (like Mourinho and Allegri) wrong. So let us get to it.

Transfer:
I only signed one player, however, the previous boss/ DoF signed two before my arrival. This has happened in the past with the likes of Daka at Braunschweig and Martial at PSG (and look at how those two did) so I wasn’t overly disappointed.

Incoming:
Caglar Soyuncu – CB – £15m
Walter Gonzalez – ST – £17m

These two were signed before me. But last season Gonzalez scored 27 goals out of 45 games for SLB last season and Soyuncu arrived from Inter as a highly respected player.

Malang Sarr – CB – £38m

I needed a top quality Left-sided CB, he was the one who was keen to join out of my very small list of targets. Fucking nightmare trying to sign a left-sided CB by the way, Jeez.
Total: £69million

Outgoing:
Kovalenko – AM – £10m
Niklas Stark – CB/CM – £27.5m
Jorrit Hendrix – CB/CM – £16m
Christian Tue – CM – £7.5m
Luan – ST – £30m
Total: £91million

As you can see, I’ve been up to my usual tricks of making a profit (£22million) in our summer dealings. I just can’t help myself, I must be a tight bastard, or, as some of my clubs new fans must be saying, ‘just a yes man’ who is in charge to ‘balance the books.’ But whats wrong with that? I like being in charge of a financially stable club for fuck sake. Anyway, I’m pleased with the squad, it’s much more balanced now and still big enough to compete in the Europa League and the league this season. Hopefully.
So, lets fucking get on with it, shall we?

July:
‘Welcome to Liverpool. So, first things first, where were you in 2005 when Liverpool last won the Champions League?’

‘Listen, mate, I know the history but I’m here to talk about the now and what’s in our future. Alright?’

‘Fair enough. Jose Mourinho laughed at the news of your appointment earlier today. Would you like to comment?’ The journalist smirked, knowing me and Mourinho’s history. We’d squabbled more than a few times and both been on the losing end of our feud, making our rivalry even more bitter. Now I was here, competing against Mourinho’s Manchester United. United, having knocked us off our perch now sat on 21 titles compared to Liverpool’s 18. Yet Mourinho has won only one of those titles despite being in the hotspot for six years. ‘Tell him I’ll be seeing him real soon.’

Friendlies:
MTK, 6-3
FC Nantes, 0-0
Tranmere, 9-0

 

About what you’d expect for July friendlies, a bit here there and everywhere.

August:
‘Alright lads, nice to meet you. As you all know, we’ve not been up to much in recent years bar one Europa League win two years ago.’ The players shifted sheepishly. ‘So what I want to see is you all playing with some bollocks. Big, hairy, swinging bollocks.’ Coutinho cupped his tiny hand around his miniature groin area and shrugged. ‘Erm, yeah, maybe not you Phil. Now all I ask is you let them big, hairy bollock’s swing from start to finish and see where we end up come May. Let’s try and have a good season. Got it?’

“Erm, boss?’ Hendo said, standing up with his kecks around his feet. ‘Are these big enough?’

‘Jesus, yes. You should see someone about them.’

Friendlies:
Sunderland, 3-0 – Henderson’s Testimonial. Only fair that Hendo got on the scoresheet himself. Might only have on more season in him, Hendo, he’s 32 now and beginning to decline as a player.
Freiburg, 4-1

So, five friendlies to prepare us for the season. I was pretty happy with what I saw, four wins, some of them high-scoring and the inevitable bore-draw. Most importantly, the players are looking fit and slotting nicely into the formation that’s seen so much success for me over the past few years.

Season:
Man Utd, 1-4
Tottenham, 7-1
Aston Villa, 6-0

So, our opening game of the season had to be Man United didn’t it? Fucking typical. It’s almost like the F.A. is conspiring against us. It’s almost like Mourinho asked for some favours. Unfortunately, it worked and we were played off the park. After the game, I clapped the lads off the pitch despite their poor effort. Mourinho came over, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. ‘You should have stayed in Paris, dickhead.’ Maybe he is right, I thought, and for the first time, I doubted my decision to leave the worlds comfiest job in world football.
Thankfully the boy bounced back convincingly, beating Tottenham in our first game at home. We followed that up with another big win against Villa, suddenly opposition fans weren’t laughing at us – and me – suddenly their bums were twitching.

September:
‘Pass the ball here Phil,’ Coutinho passed the ball to my feet. ‘See this mate?’ I did a step over. ‘This is what we call dribbling, alright? Where are you from again?’

‘Brazil.’

‘Yeah, ok. Well in England Phil, we don’t like dribbling. Do you know what we like?’

‘Beer?’

‘Yeah, well do you know what else we like? Leg breaking tackles. Try and incorporate that into your game instead, ok?’

West Ham, 3-2
Europa Group C – Braga, 5-0
Brentford, 4-3
Carabao Cup 3rd Round – Bristol City, 4-1
Preston, 4-0
Europa Group C – Legia, 6-2

So, another big month. We managed another nine points in the league meaning we’ve now got 15 out of 18 (fuck you, Mourinho). We’ve also kicked off our European campaign, unfortunately, the club only finished in 6th last season and that means we will compete in the Europa League. However, Europe is Europe and it’s another opportunity to win a cup. So, I emphasised the importance to the players and that rubbed off on them all. Thankfully we’ve made a 100% start to our campaign and put ourselves in a good position to qualify from the group already. We also navigated ourselves into the next round of the Carabao Cup. Better known as the Micky Mouse Cup (unless I win it and in which case it’s highly prestigious).

And I guess that’s a good place to finish for now. Lots of information, lots of happenings. Hopefully, all of my incredible following is happy with the decision to join the Premiership. It’s been a move on the cards for a few years since winning my first Bundesliga title and now I’m finally here it makes sense it’s to revitalise a fallen giant. And by revitalise I mean inject a shit-tonne of steroids into a bulging vein of a tightly belted arm.

So that’s all, for now, folks, until next time.

Au revoir.