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The Sleeping Giant
So, a quick recap. Last season was sensational. Beyond my wildest dreams. Upon arriving in the Premiership we won the league, the clubs first league title since 1990, beating United to the pip. We also managed to win the Europa League, beating AS Monaco to the punch. We ALSO beat Brighton to lift the F.A. Cup, and, as if that wasn’t enough, we also managed to win the Carabao Cup. To sum it up, it was a season beyond all expectations. The owners loved me, the bank manager was basically pole dancing for me and most importantly the fans worshipped me. So why do I have a grimace on my face?
Because I’ve somehow got to try and top it.
So, the bit most people enjoy about Football Manager, the transfers:
Luca Zidane, GK – £6.5m
Thomas Strakosha, GK – £19.5m
Kyle Nicol, CM – £7.75m
Jordan Henderson, CM – £5m
Walter Gonzalez, ST – £32.5m
The fans were in uproar with our summer window. ‘This tight bastard is killing the club,’ one fan typed angrily on social media. ‘Why is he refusing to spend?’ Another. The truth of it is we won everything last season. So consequently, why would I need to spend much? I will put my trust in the players already here and also give an opportunity to some of the younger players in the academy. At the end of the day, if I wanted to just buy trophies I could do, I also could have stayed at PSG, but I’m a wheeler and dealer at heart and I enjoy building teams and giving youth players a chance. Oh, I’m such a romantic fool.
I know you all love a screen-grab so… have a look at these beautiful bastards.
The players I want to give some game time to this season are:
Callum Johnston, LB – 21 y/o. He’ll be a backup to my backup but with Andy Robertson seemingly injured for eternity, he’ll likely have a chance to cement his place in the team.
Diogo Gouveia, C/AM – 21 y/o. Despite Hendo and Nicol leaving we still have an abundance of depth in midfield. However, I’m aiming to give young Diogo 10 starts to find his feet as next season I want him to usurp an ageing Coutinho.
Jamie Swales, AM/ST – 22 y/o. I want to convert Swales to a striker. I don’t expect him to replace Firmino long-term, but I expect him to step-up and break into the team. This is his chance to earn his plate at the table and with Firmino now 32y/o, I will be relying on him next season. If he proves worthy. If not, I’ll find someone else.
This is a team built on meritocracy. Each place is earned not given. Opportunities will be there so they must each grasp it when giving the chance. Or I shall listen to the fans, I will sell them and spend money on a replacement. Yes, *inhales deeply* I am a God amongst men indeed.
‘Oh, you are beautiful. So tall, so curvy and so sexy. Give me a kiss. Mwah–’
‘Oh, sorry boss,’ Salah walked into my office unannounced, finding me topless and cuddling up to the Premier League trophy.
‘Get out, you bastard, get out. Shush, don’t worry, he’s gone now. Now, where were we?’
As you’d expect really, we had some good performances against smaller teams as we crank up our preparations for the new season. Quite pleased about them secretly by the way. Some nice big scorelines there.
‘The fixture list is out boss.’
‘Oh yeah, who is our opening game in the Community Shield? West Ham? Brentford?’
‘Ha ha, Javi, very fucking funny.’ It then dawned on me that Javi was a miserable prick and incapable of humour. ‘You aren’t joking are you?’ He shook his bald head. ‘Fuck sake.’
NYCFC – 10-0
The New York team flew in full of confidence and went home wiping tears away and kicking doors. Ten-nil. Fucking hell. Imagine that was your team and you were demolished to that extent? You’d quit the next day, wouldn’t you? “Fuck this shit, this place is toxic for my CV.”
It wasn’t long after Coutinho’s testimonial that I got a knock on my office door. ‘Hi Boss, can we talk?’ Hendo took a seat and I could see he was deeply troubled. ‘I think I’ve achieved everything I can here boss, I think I would like to leave before the season starts.’
I frowned. ‘That’s a real shame Hendo, I’m really disappointed to hear that. However, as the club captain and long-time servant of the club, I will respect your wishes and find you a new home.’ Under the table I was fist-pumping. Hendo is 33 and on £120k p/w. In all honesty, his playing time was already fairly reduced last season and he would have been lucky to break double figures in appearances this year. It was a good choice and one I was happy to honour. Ta-rah, pal.
Community Shield – Man United, 1-2 LOSS
Euro Super Cup – Arsenal, 2-1
West Ham, 3-1
Man City, 1-2 LOSS
Yes, the United game went as to be expected really. I think I’ve lost four or five of my first competitive games in the past seven seasons. It seems to be a running theme for me and my teams. Even still it is very disappointing. Especially to lose against that prick, Mourinho who practically wanked himself off at the full-time whistle. The next two games were much needed and despite the Euro Super Cup win, there was little satisfaction. Any time I lose to Mourinho it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Anyway, a trophy is a trophy, and it’s half prestigious as well. I think anyway.
To add to the shitstorm we then went and got beat by Man City at Anfield. To lose isn’t totally shocking, but for one of my teams to be beaten at home has become about as rare as a unicorn and I was fucking furious. Suddenly my senior player cull in the summer was looking a poor move indeed. What have I got myself in for? Have these youngsters got the bollocks for a battle?
‘I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.’
‘Yes Boss, I think so too.’
We both stared at Grabara, our young goalkeeper. Another howler. The young man was conceding too many goals and his confidence was dipping. More importantly, he is pushing my blood pressure up. We took a chance in selling the goalkeeper Grabara usurped last season and slowly but surely it was proving a bad decision.
‘I knew I shouldn’t have listened to you, Javi, you little bastard.’
Sheffield Wednesday, 4-1
Leicester, 2-3 LOSS
Champs League Group G – Bayern, 4-3
Carabao Cup 3rd Round – Crystal Palace, 3-2
Aston Villa, 4-0
I’m not sure what to make of our start to the season if I’m honest. We’ve now lost two games out of a possible six in the league and that Community Shield loss to United is still stuck in my craw. Sure on paper that isn’t truly terrible but it is still surprising. Alarm bells are now well and truly ringing about our goalkeeper situation too. I sold Strakosha under the pretence that Grabara was a more solid, rounded player. It isn’t bloody looking like it at the moment. Useless prick. However, I still think with a bit of luck we may, possibly, maybe – I’m not willing to fully commit to this statement – see us challenge again… Yeah, I’m not totally confident either.
Ultimately my aim this season is to try and defend the domestic cups and reach top 4 again. The squad is still very healthy but it is also a year older and packed with young players. It’s what you’d call a season of transition for the club. No, I’m not trying to get my excuses in early, I promise. We will see though.
I must admit though, my arse hole is twitching all of a sudden. Come back Hendo, I’m sorry!
So that’s all, for now, folks, until next time.