Cracking the top 2 - A Bayer Leverkusen Story.

TheFMHub

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My career had been great. I started off at Leverkusen. They signed me at the age of 12. I grew up withing throwing distance of the BayArena. My Welsh mother and Jamaican father moved to Leverkusen in the early 80s to settle down. I had always wanted to be a professional footballer. Making my way through the ranks of the Leverkusen academy was an exciting time for me, I really thought I could make it to the first team. But alas, I wasn't good enough.

After being released by Leverkusen, I returned to my mothers birthplace, Swansea, to live with my Grandparents and to try to break in to the Swansea squad. I was spotted by Swansea scouts at a trial day in Cardiff. I was offered a contract, part time, for the reserves. I accepted it and began my journey at Swansea, at the age of 19 the world was in front of me, and I was excited.
Skip forward 17 years, and I sit here in my Seattle apartment reflecting on my career, and what's next. After spending 6 years at Swansea, and making 160 appearances for the first time, I decided to go elsewhere. I ended up on the other side of the world, in Seattle, playing for the Seattle Sounders in MLS. This is where I spent the next 11 years of my career. Running the midfield for Seattle, and leading them to multiple MLS Cups, US Open Cups and 2 CONCACAF Champions Leagues.

My phone began to ring. I looked at the screen to see that it was Sami Hyypia. Me and Sami had crossed paths a few times and had got to know each other, he was currently manager of Leverkusen along side Sascha Lewandowski.

Sami sounded in a panic on the phone, Sascha had stepped down as Leverkusen manager, and Sam told me that the board wanted me to take his place. I was gobsmacked, I mean, I still am. I had an undying love for Leverkusen, so when the opportunity to manage them came, I couldn't turn it down.

My goal at Leverkusen? To knock Dortmund and Bayern Munich off their perch.

25.08.2012 - Leverkusen vs Frankfurt


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My first competitive match. I had spent the last 2 months making transfers, constantly looking for the next big thing. I had spent a lot of money and had taken big risks. And we were just about to see if they would pay off. I wasn't too sure. This wasn't what I expected, I had taken penalties for Seattle in the last minute, to win the MLS Cup, but now, standing on this touch line, is the most nervous I had ever been.

4 minutes. It only took 4 minutes for the nerves to calm. Lars Bender, a player I had put so much trust and confidence in, smashed one home. 1-0 after 4 minutes. What a start, what a day.

We went on to win 3-0. Bender, Schurrle and Kiebling had ensured that we picked up the 3 points. The Leverkusen crowd shouted my name, chanted and sung songs about me for 90 minutes. My dream of playing for Leverkusen had not come true, but this was just as good.



NOTE - This story is written to go along side my youtube series. If you wish to have a more in depth look at this story then visit my youtube channel at TheFMHub - YouTube

EPISODE 1
[video=youtube;P3q0UcCxguU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3q0UcCxguU[/video]
 
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TheFMHub

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EPISODE 2

[video=youtube;Tm7-8m5FzOQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm7-8m5FzOQ[/video]


The way this story will work is as follows - I will be posting worded updates like the first post at the end of the season, and at the start of the season. In between, the Youtube videos will cover results and a more indepth look at tactics and other things.

At the end of the season I will do a brief overview of what has happened and try to add a brief story line, then at the start of the season I will update you about transfers, major job changes or anything else.

 

TheFMHub

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EPISODE 3

[video=youtube;8EWEeuvBl1c]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EWEeuvBl1c&list=UUBYOlsJkj5lK3BMnqHoF0Tg& index=1[/video]

There Will be a Text update in the next few days :)
 

TheFMHub

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The call had been expected. The past few months at Leverkusen hadn't been very good. I was thrown in the deep end as a new manager. To come to such a big club like Leverkusen, with no experience of how the managerial side of football worked, was always a big risk. The learning curve was massive. Taking my first press conference was horrible, I was a nervous wreck. I love this club, supported it all my life, but it hadn't gone to plan.

The team was inconsistent. Simple. We would win 2 or 3 on the trott, then lose 2 or 3. It was a big problem. My love and passion for this club wasn't showing on the field. I wanted my players to play with as much passion as I managed with, but it wasn't happening.

The crowd were getting on my back, I had thought about resigning a few times, I simply couldn't do it. Not now. We were sitting about 11th in the First Division. We had qualified for the next round of the Europa League, but it just wan't enough. We were simply mediocre.

My phone lit up with the name "Sally" showing on the screen, Sally was the chairman's secretary. She booked me a meeting, it was in just a few hours. I knew what was coming, every part of me wanted to run, to not walk through the doors of the chairmans office to meet my inevitable fate.

I was done. The chairman told me why I had to leave, I knew why, I wasn't good enough. I walked out of the chairmans office, strolled down the long corridor towards reception. I took off my Bayer Leverkusen tie and held it in my hand. It was a sad time for me. I continued to walk as I played with the Leverkusen logo on the tie. As I got to my car, I turned to look at the stadium. It was a beautiful ground, at that moment I made 2 decisions.

The first was that I wouldn't give up. It had been an amazing experience managing Leverkusen, and I loved it. I won't give up on management, I will continue on this journey. The second decision I made, was that I would be back. I will return to Leverkusen, and I will be successful there.


LEAGUE TABLE

View attachment 337527

RESULTS


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Please Remember - This story is made to go along side my Youtube series. These text updates are just to give you a brief overview of what is happening, while adding a story to things. Check out the youtube videos, the first episode can be found in the first post of this thread.

 

TheFMHub

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I would love for some feedback on this if anyone is reading.
View attachment 337572

This wasn't what I expected. Being at Leverkusen was great, now I'm at.....Norwich. Norwich, a bit of a step down I must say. It was a job at least, and it had only taken a month or so for it to come about. The problem is though, Norwich are rock bottom of the Premier League. The board have asked that I save them for relegation this season. With about 15 games left, it is not going to be easy.

Sir John Betjeman once said 'I am still reeling with delight at the soaring majesty of Norfolk.' I am yet to find that majesty of beauty. The trip from my apartment to the shop was enough for me, dog ***** and chewing gum littered the high street. The accents, slang, and all round atmosphere of Norwich made me feel uncomfortable.

With the added pressure of a relegation battle to my daily life, times were stressful. I picked up a bottle of Jack Daniels from the shop and headed home. I liked a good drink. A couple of glassed of JD to settle the stomach before bed was a god send, one of the best parts of the day. But recently, I had started to drink a bit more, there was no need to read in to it, it was just stress.

The Norwich squad was pretty average. I sorted out a conflict that Snodgrass had with a previous manager and promoted him back to the first team. I called back Daniel Ayala from Nottingham where he was on loan. I was happy with the squad, I tweaked the tactics a little bit so we played a bit wider, but other than that, there wasn't much to do.

19 January 2013 - Norwich vs Reading (Carrow Road)

The burn at the back of my throat from the Jack Daniels was still fresh as I stepped out on to the touch line. I had turned to a nervous wreck since getting this job. 2 games in, a 2-0 loss to Spurs and a 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Alcohol had become a real problem in my life. I carried a hip flask where ever I went. I don't remember much of the West Ham game, but I do remember taking swigs from the flask before the game.

I had put myself in to this bubble, distant from the rest of the world. I stood on the touchline, trying to take in what was happening, to take a few notes, but I couldn't, the shakes, the nervousness was too much. I felt like the whistle had just blown for kick off, but in reality, we were 30 minutes in to the game. The roar of the Reading crowd grew louder suddenly. They had scored, I hadn't even seen, I was looking, but hadn't taken in what was happening.

The second half went a lot slower, I mean, a lot slower. We slowly creeped up to the 60 minute mark, and as time went by hope was beginning to be lost. I can't do this. I'm not a good enough mana-....It's in...Grant Holt, he's scored. It was silent, I couldn't hear anything for what felt like hours, I turned to look at the Norwich crowd behind the dug out, everyone was celebrating. One dad was holding his little girl in his arms and hugging her, celebrating.

I turned to my left to look at the scoreboard, it said 1-1. We had scored, I turned to the dug out, my assistant manager and coaches were celebrating. I took off, sprinting down the touchline, I didn't know where I was going, I didn't care, I felt like a child, just running, screaming, shouting, celebrating. We had scored. It was at that moment, I knew, that we would make it.

We finished the game, we won 3-1. We were going to make it.

RESULT

View attachment 337573

EPISODE 4

[video=youtube;oz2sB6H2_fU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz2sB6H2_fU[/video]
 

TheFMHub

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Episode 5


[video=youtube;6yLjJpg2_hw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yLjJpg2_hw[/video]​
 

AldoKemp-1

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I haven't got the time to watch the videos but i enjoy reading your updates keep it up well done ;)
 

TheFMHub

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Apr 29, 2013
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EPISODE 6

[video=youtube;35TYJK_0QGg]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35TYJK_0QGg[/video]

The first game had been surreal. Beating Reading 3-1 was amazing, it felt like a dream, like I was just floating along in some sort of perfect live. I had a rough time at Leverkusen, but at Norwich, it all felt...fresh. It felt new, it felt great. The wins started to pour in, wings against Chelsea, Swansea, Aston Villa and Manchester United meant that we broke free from the relegation zone and started to make our way up the table.

I had decided prior to taking the Norwich job that I wasn't going to be there for long. The end of the season would be the end of me and Norwich. I wanted to travel, to spend time in luxurious clubs in beautiful places. Unfortunately, Norwich didn't fit the bill.

I didn't know where I was going to end up, Norwich was just a small step in my career, I wanted t go elsewhere, I knew I could do better than Norwich.

The end of the season came about, and we finished in a comfortable 14th position in the table, a stark difference from when I took over and we were sitting 20th. It had been a real success with Norwich, the board were very thankful, and very understanding when I told them that I would be leaving. They were happy that I set the foundations for the next few seasons with Norwich.

But where now? I could go anywhere in the world, I could go to Brazil, China, USA, Denmark, Spain, France.....France....that sounded nice.


NORWICH RESULTS

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PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE

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