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From rags to riches - a new hope in life


Oct 25, 2010

I was 23 when it happened. I was playing in my 5th game for Rotherham United. I was running, clean through on goal when i got slid. It was immediate pain. Unbearable. I looked down and fainted. The bone was sticking out through my sock with blood surrounding it. I was rushed to hospital to be told, after a 4 hour operation, that i could never play football again as i had broke my leg in 5 places. I was distraught. I was finally having a shot at the big time with Rotherham scoring 2 goals in 4 games and now i have nothing. I had never felt so down in my life and after my rehabilitation i condemned myself to alcohol. I was drinking heavily for a few months but Rotherham offered me a job as a coach and i accepted. I enjoyed my time coaching and decided i was going to head into Scotland and get my badges so i could possibly have a shot at a managerial career.

After i had completed it i went on a short two week holiday to Greece. I wanted to relax after the hectic year i have just had. I went from earning hundreds of pounds a week to having next to nothing. All i could look forward to when i return is my little one bedroom flat and my dog. I went steady with the drink and mostly stayed by the pool reading autobiography's by the likes of Clough etc. I was inspired by him.

When i returned it was October 2011 and i decided to apply for two jobs. Dover and Cambridge. Dover were in mid table and had hopes of gaining a play off place whereas Cambridge were 16th and staring at relegation. Two weeks passed with no reply and i was sure that would stay the same. The following day my phone rang at 11pm at night. I staggered to the phone and answered;

'Hello Mr. Southern?'
'Hello, who is this?'
'It's Michelle, I work for Mr. Barry, Cambridge's chairman'
'Oh right, can i do anything for you?'
'Yes, be at the ground at 11am tomorrow. Mr. Barry want's to have a talk with you'
'Okay thank you'

I wondered what he wanted to talk about and why the long wait. The following day i arrived early, about 10.45 and Mr. Barry was outside the ground. He welcomed me and showed me a tour of the ground. We ended up in his office where he asked if i wanted a drink. I politely said no. I was a little anxious as to what he was going to say. Did he bring me all this way to say i hadn't got the job? I was in a little day dream when i heard a voice...

'Mr. Southern? ... Mr. Southern?'
'Oh yes? Sorry, i was day dreaming'
Slight laughter 'It's fine. Now then, lets get down to business. Why do you want to be a manager?'
'Well, i have loved the sport since i was young and after my injury i would like to get back into the sport i love'
'Right, as you are aware. We are striving to battle against relegation. How will you approach this?'
'I will play attacking, direct football and hope that gets the results to help us reach mid table by January and then hopefully push for the play offs come May,'
'Interesting, i would like to offer you a two year deal on £600 per week, we have a £5,000 budget and a £13,000 wage budget but we are £500 over it so any new signings may be limited. Do you accept?'
'Yes sir. Thank you'
' Okay, i look forward to working with you. All the best.'​


Feb 15, 2009
Nice read mate. Look forward to updates. Could u, when u can, check my story out please, want to get some feedback on it, as not sure if I will continue it. Thx.


Oct 25, 2010

I arrived back in my new flat near Cambridge university. I would have to sit in the stands tonight and watch my new team face up against Newport County. I went to the training ground and introduce myself to the players and staff etc. I had done a little research on how the season was going and who was top scorer. Their record was (won-drawn-lost) 4-5-5 and top scorer was Gash with 6 goals in 8 games. He sounded a promising player and it was looking likely i would have to rely on him for our goals. The chairman asked me to hand him a list of players i would like to sign and i did. He expected most of the deals to be done within a few days.

Later that day, i took up my seat at the game. It was a cold Tuesday night and i had lots of layers on. The chairman took his seat next to me and said "Look, we're not the best so don't expect a world class showing." They were wise words. After 12 minutes we were losing 1-0. A Daryl Knights penalty. The players heads went down and i couldn't see any possible way that we can make a push for the play offs. In the 28th minute, a sloppy piece of defending gifted them a second through an own goal from Charlie Mann. The score at half time was 2-0 Newport so i went down to give them some advice.

Top scorer Gash was missing

We need to sharpen up at the back! We let them break through our back line way to easily. Do not take your eye off your man and always be within a couple of yards of whoever you're marking. Midfield... We need to get back more. Too many times have we been struggling through lack of support from you. Strikers, you need to take your chances. I know Gash is out injured but this is your chance to impress me. Stake your claim for a starting place. I am going to try a new 4-2-4 tactic in training tomorrow and if it works we can use it in the cup on Saturday. Good luck

They took on board what i said and were much tighter at the back. The midfield were working hard, but they were tired, so were slowing down a little. Winger Jone Ogunbute gave us a glimmer of hope when he headed in in the 78th minute to a loud cheer from our travelling supporters but all that meant nothing as we yet again conceded a sloppy goal to make it 3-1 to Newport.

I now had a better idea of the places i thought needed strengthening. I feel the list i gave the chairman should give us a little extra spark to help us stay clear of relegation which in my opinion was the clubs main target from now on. I was now aware of the mammoth task ahead. This club had next to no funding, no moral, no hope? That's what i'm here to change.


Oct 25, 2010

Major changes at Cambridge

Tresor Kandol joins Cambridge on a deal until the end of the season

Just two days after new manager Joseph Southerns arrival to steer Cambridge to safety he has made some major changes to his squad. Jack Eades has left on loan and four players have been released due to unacceptable behaviour. Those players were Ibrahim Sissoko, Adam Miller, Rossi Jarvis and Martin Davies. Three players have been told they will be sold in January for a similar offence but they are needed at the moment due to injuries are Liam Hughes, Adam Marriot and Jonathan Thorpe. Southern has also bought 8 players who he feels can have the commitment and skill they need to stay clear of relegation. The 8 players are;

Patrick Suffo
Tresor Kandol
Nicky Travis
Stephen Stirling
Matthew Harris
Tommy Evans
Kevin Betsy
Marvin Andrews

Southern's men are looking a lot stronger than against Newport and it is expected that most of the new signings will feature in the cup game this Saturday. This is what Southern had to say on his transfer dealings...

Swnason (reporter) : Hello Joseph, are you happy with your transfers?
Southern: Yes. Delighted. I managed to get rid of most of the trouble causers and replace them with more 'capable' players.
Swanson (reporter) : Okay, Cambridge have slipped to 20th in the Conference, what is your target?
Southern: To not get relegated. If we get off on winning ways though i can see us making a challenge for the Play offs.
Swanson (reporter) : Now, your previous star striker Michael Gash has been injured in training. How long will you be without him?
Southern : About 2-4 month unfortunately. He has been great for the club before i joined so i was looking forward to working with him but i think he may struggle to get back into my plans now.
Swanson (reporter) : You have a cup game against Bandbury. Are you going to play the new signings ?
Southern : Definitely. They are good players and we could do with a cup run for some well needed income.
Swanson: Thanks for your time... That was my interview with new Cambridge United manager. Back to you.


Oct 25, 2010

November update

Bandbury 0-1 Cambridge (Wylde)

Southern's first game in charge at Cambridge was a away tie at Bandbury in the FA Cup. Southern had only been with his players for two days before this match and already pointed out that the problems at the club could be disastrous. Ian Clarke was sent of for Bandbury in the 23rd minute and everyone expected Cambridge to run riot. That's the exact opposite of what the did and it took until the 80th minute before Michael Wylde scored a superb header.

Southport 3-1 Cambridge (Coulson)

Any promising signals from Southern's men from the cup game had now vanished. They didn't perform when most needed in the league and that i why they're 19th in the league. They did however take the lead in the 50th minute through another header. This time from Coulson. This lead lasted 2 minutes as Callum Hassan equalised. Then two goals in five minutes from Tony Gray ended all hope of three points.

Cambridge 0-0 Gateshead

This was a result no one expected. Cambridge were on a poor run and now faced top of the league Gateshead and the signs of a play off team were there. The team passed it around quicker and made plenty of chances but they couldn't finish them.

Hereford 2-2 Cambridge (FA Cup) (Kandol, Sutherland (new signing))

Hereford were firm favourites been a league above Cambridge and it looked like they could run riot when Harry Pell opened the scoring after just 8 minutes. Hereford were on top for the majority of the first half and manager Joseph Southern looked really annoyed at his players. Cambridge's look changed when Kandol was brought down in the area in the 62nd minute and he stepped up and scored the penalty. Nearly straight after the kick off Cambridge were 2-1 up. Craig Sutherland who joined on loan from new parent club Blackpool slotted in from 8 yards. But just 2 minutes after that an own goal from Coulson made the tie go to a second leg.

Cambridge 5-1 Stockport (Coulson x2, Sutherland, Jackson, Kandol)

Cambridge played like a league two side today. They finished the game with 60% possession and dominated Stockport from start to finish. They took the lead in the 12th minute with a Coulson header from a Sutherland corner and Sutherland grabbed his second goal in as many games in the 42nd minute. Ryan Jackson scored a amazing passing move in first half added time to put the tie to bed. Tom Elliot grabbed a consolation for Stockport in the 58th minute with a diving header but center back Josh Coulson grabbed his second with a finish worthy of the Premier League. Tresor Kandol joined in the action in the 65th minute and it took him three minutes to get on the score sheet.

Cambridge 1-3 Hereford (Harris)

Southern decided to rest all of his first team players as they had a league game just two days after this tie. Tom Barkhuizen opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a lovely finish from 12 yards out. Simon Clist doubled Herefords advantage and booked a place in the second round after he capitalised on a defensive error to slot past the keeper. 17 year old Matthew Harris grabbed a goal back and gave Cambridge a glimmer of home but that was cancelled out by Yoann Arquin who made it 3-1

Cambridge 2-1 Forest Green (Kandol, Styche OG)

Cambridge were yet again underdogs as they met 7th place Forest Green on the back of a 3-1 defeat. Cambridge's fortunes had changed as Sam Russell saw red for a two footed lunge in the 20th minute. Forest Green, however took the lead through Liam Henderson with a 30 yard screamer in the 30th minute. 10 minutes later it was 1-1. Tresor Kandol broke free of the defence and slotted past the keeper. The game was pretty boring and in the 80th minute Styche scored an own goal which gifted Cambrifge 3 valuable points.

Kettering 1-3 Cambridge (Sutherland x3)

This was a highly anticipated fixture due to it been live on Sky Sports. Kettering were just below the play offs whereas Cambridge were still in the bottom half of the table. Ollie Jones scored in the 28th minute for Kettering and surprisingly this spurred the Cambridge players on and two minutes later Sutherland went through and chipped the on-rushing keeper. In the 83rd minute Sutherland scored another identical to his first goal and Kettering players heads went down. 2 minutes later it was 3-1. Sutherland used his pace to beat three defenders before slotting it under the keeper.

Player of the month - Craig Sutherland

Sutherland has scored 5 goals in his first month at Cambridge. He has impressed many scouts during his first month of his three month loan spell and i am sure many Cambrige fans will want him back.​

Managers opinion

I am delighted with my first month in charge. We won 4, drew 2 and lost 2 and are now safely out of the relegation scrap sat in 15th place. Next month i hope we can carry on our form and push into the top half of the table. Many fans are calling for us to sign a new right back and Craigy (Sutherland) in January and i will try my best as i too feel these need to be signed. We have two players who have already agreed deals with teams who i believe we cannot compete with so that should bring us some money to wrap up a few more deals, but all i can do now is try and get the results and make the fans happy
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Oct 25, 2010

December Update

Would there be any presents in store for Southern and his men ?

Cambridge 1-0 Fleetwood (Mannion)

Today would be Southern's toughest test to date. Fleetwood were on the back of 4 straight wins and now into the play offs. Their striker, formerly of Sheffield Wednesday academy, Jamie Vardy had also been on fine goal scoring form before this encounter. New signing, 19 year old, Elliot Mannion got his first start today due to an injury to Tresor Kandol and he popped up with the winning goal in the 80th minute with a volley.
Ebbsfleet 2-2 Cambridge (Harris, Staurinou OG)

Ebbsfleet were in poor form going into the encounter with Cambridge and many bookies had Cambridge as evens to win the match. Ebbsfleet took the lead through leading scorer Nathaniel Pinney who grabbed his 9th goal of the season with a cool finish. Pinney then doubled Ebbsfleet's lead with another cool finish into the bottom left of the goal. After the break Cambridge went straight at Ebbsfleet and the pressure payed off when Harris broke free before rounding the keeper and tapping it in. In the 90th minute Staurinou scored a bizarre own goal to gift Cambridge with a point.

Cambridge 2-1 Mansfield (Wylde, Travis)

Cambridge were now going at it all guns blazing trying to break into the play offs and were sat in 10th position whereas Mansfield were in 2nd. Phillips gave Mansfield the lead in the 46th minute but just three minutes later Wylde scored a header from the edge of the area! Nicky Travis hadn't featured much since his free transfer to the club but he popped up with an 88th minute winner to put Cambridge ever closer to a play off place.

Darlington 2-2 Cambridge (Kandol x2)

Darlington were flirting dangerously with relegation sat in 20th place before this game. They hadn't won in 5 and were odds on for the drop. Two goals from striker Tresor Kandol in the 23rd and 33rd minute had put Cambridge in a good position but after the break they fell apart and Bowman and Guy had soon drawn Darlington level. Cambridge fans had their hearts in their mouths in the dying minutes when the ref gave Darlington a penalty but it was save by the 18 year old keeper.

Player of the month - Tresor Kandol

Kandol only scored 2 goals this month but his all round performances were great

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Oct 25, 2010

January Update

Transfers in

Danny Holmes - Tranmere - £2.5k
Pim Balkstein - Brentford - Loan
Jamie Mole - Blyth - Free
Neil Hadolahi - Burnley - Loan
Ryan Edwards - Reading - Loan
Helio Andre - Free

Transfers Out

Rory McAuley - Blackpool - £60k
Adam Marriot - Leicester - £70k
Luke Berry - Charlton - £170k
Liam Hughes - Crawley - £120k
Patrick Suffo - Released
Jonathan Thorpe - Huddersfield - £75k

Cambridge 1-0 Grimsby (Sutherland)

Cambridge carried on their fine form with a lucky win against Grimsby. Grimsby were on top for a lot of the first half but in the 43rd minute, on loan striker, Neil Sutherland scored a lovely placed effort to the right of the keeper. In the second half Grimsby were much the same. Grimsby managed to hit the post twice and have a goal disallowed and Cambridge held on for the valuable three points.

AFC Telford 3-2 Cambridge (Kandol, Harris)

Telford started amazingly and were winning 1-0 after only two minutes when Shane Killock scored from 30 yards. They were soon 2-0 up when former Sheffield Wednesday striker Adam Proudlock carried on his fine form with a neat finish. Tresor Kandol was brought down in the area two minutes later and he scored the resulting penalty to gain some hope. Young midfielder Matthew Harris grabbed Cambridge's second in the 48th minute but they conceded late on to throw away a point.

Cambridge 3-0 Kettering (FA Trophy) (Patrick, Holmes, Kandol)

Cambridge are one of the main contenders for this 'trophy' and were well on the way to the third round after 19 minutes when Patrick smashed in the ball from around 15 yards out. New right back, Danny Holmes, who was signed for 2.5k got his first goal for Cambridge with a good header in the 28th minute from a corner. Veteran striker Tresor Kandol grabbed another goal for the club when he broke the offside trap and chipped the keeper from 18 yards out.

Cambridge 3-2 Hayes and Yeading (Harris,Kandol, Balkestein)

Cambridge were looking shaky in the opening stages of this game and found themselves 1-0 down after 15 minutes when Tom Collins curled in from the edge of the area. Just one minute later though the score was level. On loan center back, Pim Balkestien smashed in from 20 yards out and you'd expect that sort of finish from a striker. Matthew Harris carried on his fine form this month by grabbing a well deserved goal when he tapped the ball in from a Sutherland cross. Tresor Kandol got his second goal in two games when he headed in from a corner and Leon Osbourne grabbed a goal late on for the visitors.

Alfreton 0-7 Cambridge (Sutherland x5, Jackson, Mole)

Cambridge recorded their record win today at the hands of 22nd placed Alfreton. Alfreton were looking bad from the start and star striker Sutherland grabbed his first after 3 minutes when he curled in from 15 yards. He then got his second of the game in the 18th minute with a identicle goal to his first. In the 28th minute he wrapped up his second hat-trick of the loan spell which comes to an end next week with no way of renewing it. In the 40th minute Sutherland grabbed his 4th of the day with a lovely finish past a staggered keeper. In the 51st minute it was 5-0 when Ryan Jackson nodded in from a Kandol cross and at this point many Alfreton fans started leaving. Sutherland grabbed his 5th of the game in the 60th minute when he dribbled past the keeper and tapped in. The rout was over when new striker, apparently a replacement for Sutherland, Jamie Mole, who had previously scored 9 goals in 12 games for Blyth and rejected a move to Scunthorpe in order to come to Cambridge, got off the mark with a smashing effort from the edge of the area which almost broke the netting.

Player of the month - Matthew Harris

Harris grabbed the Blue Square Premier with his continuously good performances grabbing 5 assists and a few goals. This has come as a surprise as he was mainly second choice up until January when the current financial crisis hit Cambridge hard and the majority of their 'future stars' had to be sold for financial security.

League table (Bottom 2 are Lincoln and Southport)

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Oct 25, 2010

Cambridge confirm four deadline day signings

The Cambridge chairman has today announced that the club have signed four new players, two on loan and two on permanent deals. Cambridge striker Neil Sutherland will return to Blackpool next week as he will play in his final game for the club in a game against Braintree as he will not be able to return to the club due to the Blue Square Premier rules. The first signing is England and Arsenal sensation Theo Walcotts brother, Jacob Walcott, who has joined the club on a three month loan from Reading. The second of the signings is 20 year old Chesterfield striker Jordan Bowery who also joins on a three month loan. Southern said his squad needed some pace now Sutherland wont be rejoining and the young striker is set to fill his boots. The third signing is another striker. Akpo Sodje, formerly of Sheffield Wednesday, Hibernian and Charlton has signed a deal until the end of the season. The striker had been on trial at the club for the past 6 weeks regaining his fitness and Southern wrapped up this deal and described him as 'Decent backup' as he said his squad needed depth in the strikers department. The final signing was Matt Green who signed for £40k. The winger/striker had scored 11 goals in 26 games for Mansfield and Southern was in the market for a new winger and Green is supposed to be the man he believes can fill that role.