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Antonio Margariiiitiii
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Saturday 3rd July 2010 - 10AM - Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

I rubbed my eyes profusely as I woke up. It was Saturday morning, my day off. The sun was streaming through the windows of my flat, and as I yawned, I looked over at my wife, still asleep, breathing softly. I laughed slightly, as I noticed her hair was in a complete mess, and I sat up on the corner of my bed, yawning and stretching my arms as I did so.

I stood tentativley, being careful not to put too much weight on my left leg. I looked down at my swollen knee, red, and inflamed, as it had been every day since the car accident which had ended my promising football career at the age of just 18. That was nearly 5 years ago now, and I had pretty much turned my back on football since then. Sure, I still watched Premiership games on Sky, but I had moved away to attend university shortly after my accident, and hadn't seen my hometown team since.

As I limped out of the bedroom, I slowly and carefully pulled the door closed, so as not to wake my wife. I walked towards the front door and lifted my copy of the local paper from the door mat. Tucking it under my arm, I yawned again as I flicked on the kitchen light, and turned on the radio. Edith Bowman's voice emanated soothingly from the radio as I poured myself a coffe and sat at the table. I put the newspaper in front of me, and flicked straight to the back page, with one story in particular, for some reason, catching my eye,



As I read through the story, and tentatively sipped my roasting hot coffee, I barely even noticed that my wife had walked into the room. I jumped a little as the familiar smoothness of her arms curled around my neck,

"What are you reading sweetie?" she asked

I flicked the newspaper nonchalantly in her direction, as I took a large gulp of coffee, attempting to release myself from the imminent question,

"Do you never think of getting back into football? I mean, I know you can't play but..." My wife had been there through it all. She knew of my love for football, and how I secretly yearned for any way back into the game. I looked her in the eye, as she scowled at me, and tried not to chuckle.

"Go on," she told me, "It's not like you would be up against much competition!"

Four hours later, and I found myself sitting in front of my laptop...Start>Microsoft Office>Microsoft Word>Blank Document. I took a deep breath and began to type...

Scott Hood
Curriculum Vitae


...


Fast forward three weeks, I'm standing beside a pitch in Eastbourne. My Welwyn Garden City FC side are 4 - 0 down with four minutes to play in a friendly against a side from the division above us. We have barely been out of our half for the entire game, and my players look completely unfit.

I sigh, and turn towards my assistant. As I look at him, a simple raise of his eyebrows says to me "This is going to be a long season..."

 
Antonio Margariiiitiii
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Pre-season - WGFC

Following on from the disastrous defeat at Eastbourne, a match after which I sat in my office and hid for about three hours, it was clear something had to be done.

Marching onto the training pitch the following Tuesday evening, I looked at the players, every one of them, I looked at them without a word, just scanned their blank, embarassed faces for half a minute which felt like a lifetime. Finally, I found the words,

"So, what's missing??" I asked them with an accusatory tone. "Come on, what's missing right here, right now? Will I tell you? Balls! Do you see a single ball on this training pitch? No! That's because you lot showed no balls on Saturday, now get running! Go!"

I lost the plot. This wasn't me, I was not an angry man. But here I was, screaming at a bunch of amateur footballers like they had just shat in my driveway. The players ran for an hour solid, and then we had a heart-to-heart. Things had to change this weekend...we couldn't lose to the reserves...could we?

Transfer - IN

Scott Howie - GK - Wroxham - Free - 38 y.o.

View attachment 133535

WGFC welcomes former Wroxham goalkeeper Scott Howie to Herns Lane. Scott is a former youth international with Scotland, and will also operate as a goalkeeping coach on top of his role as a first team player.

Jacob Arnold Smith - Free - 19 y.o

View attachment 133536

Released by Gillingham in the summer, young Jacob Arnold-Smith will be looking to catch the attention of some league clubs by putting in some good performances in regional football. We hope this will spur him on to score a lot of goals for us this season.

WGCFC V WGFC Reserves
Herns Lane - Friendly

So, this was our first chance to play in front of the (few) home fans this season. I walked into the changing room before the game, shook hands with every player, and joined in with the pre-game banter. Glad we had cleared the air after my training ground breakdown on the Tuesday night, I was just relieved that I hadn't lost the dressing room so early on. Surely if I had, this could have been a very short managerial spell indeed.

I stood up 5 minutes before kick off, and talked through my game plan once more. We were to keep it tight, that was our problem last week. Let's stay tight, and we will have our experienced new goalie behind us offering a level of protection we didn't have last week! With that, I sent the lads on their way.

Half an hour later, and the gameplan was in the bin. Balancing precariously on the rim of the same bin was my managerial future. I was close to tearing my hair out. What the **** was going on? A David Udoji double, and an Ian Hallam strike had us 3 - 0 down, and we had yet to even see half time! Thankfully, thank ******* god, Paul Herbert pulled one back before half time. If he hadn't, I might just have bypassed the dressing room at half time and got into my car.

There was no shouting at half time, we were all calm, merely deciding to abandon the defensive concentration, and take the game to our reserves. When Paul Howe defelcted a Paul Lea cross into his own net minutes after HT, we were back in it, and when Lea himself equalised 4 minutes later I began to relax a little bit.

Pushing ever further forward, and now completely controlling the game, the lads would score another 2 in the last 15 minutes through Lea and Ian Ferdinand, to seal a fine comeback win, which should not have been necessary in the first place

WGCFC 5 - 3 WGCFC Reserves

View attachment 133537


A massive sigh of relief was breathed at the end of the game. The first half had been a real disaster, but at least I had seen my own tactical frailties, and now I knew that my team had a good fighting spirit, and an ability to play a little bit.




 
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Pre-season - WGCFC (Cont...)

Having done reasonably well against our own reserves in the second half, and with our two newest players having played at least a small part in the game, it was important to build on it. Looking at our weaknesses, mainly in the middle of the park, my assistant and I took a look at the England Trial Day, where we hoped to pick up a few players.

The trial itself was mostly dire, as a lot of players struggled to get to grips with others they had never played alongside before. However, a few shining lights in the game were brought to our attention by my chief scout, and we managed to tie up a few contracts there and then.

Transfer - In

Rob Paling - DR - 20 y.o

Released by Mansfield in the summer, Rob impressed us a lot at the trials. Despite not being one of the centre of the park positions we were looking to fill, Rob fit the bill in terms of workload and effort, and has come to WGCFC to try and rebuild his career.

Darren Lippiet - DC - 25 y.o.

A former Cardiff City youngster, Darren was without a club last season, and left last year's trial without an offer. However, I felt he was a tall commanding centre back, who could easily slot into my team, so I didn't hesitate.

Thomas Woollard - MC - 25 y.o.

Thomas is a player I was alerted to by our scouting system. He was a former Leicester youth player, but also played for Woking. Maybe not a starter for us every week, but he will certainly cause food for thought for some of the other midfielders.

Didier Moundi - DC - 25 y.o.

Cameroonian Didier is our exotic star. The only non European in our squad, is set to be a star amongst our fans!

David Williams - ST - 28 y.o.

I felt that young Jacob Arnold-Smith could do with an experienced head up front alongside him, and that is what David offers. He has come through the youth system at Leeds, but never made it into the big time.

Tom Dix - MC - 20 y.o.

Former Shrewsbury youngster, he found himself surplus to requirements at the end of last season, and has come to Hertfordshire to tryand get himself noticed.

So, with transfers out of the way, it was back to the business of friendly matches. We would play Southern Midlands Premier outfit Broxbourne in our penultimate friendly, which I was ******** myself about, after our last thumping from a team in the same league, before we welcome Croxteth FC from Liverpool, a game which we should win.

WGCFC 1 - 0 Broxbourne
(Dix, pen, 78)

If I'm being honest, this was a terrible game. Attended by a mere 45 people, there wasn't an attempt on target in the first half. The positive was that we had held our own against a Premier Division club, so that pleased me in the first half.
For the second period, I elected to make ten changes, leaving only the goalkeeper on from the first period, and allowing my new signings to debut. We switched to a slightly more defensive tactic as I opted to allow the new players to gel in a more compact, steady unit.
The second half wasn't much better for the spectator than the first, but we were the better of the sides, and Paul Lea won a penalty with 12 minutes left, allowing new signing Tom Dix the chance to stick the ball in the net.

Overall, the performance was good. It was not a great match, but I have to be happy that we held our own against a team from a higher league, and I'm delighted that we got the win.

WGCFC 1 - 0 Croxteth

We dominated this one from start to finish. Very pleased, just a pity we could not score a few more.
 
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Nicely written. I respect the fact your starting from the bottom of the pyramid. Im starting at the bottom. Would be nice to read a story from the bottom to the top
 
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I like this. :) Will be great how this develops, as well.
 
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