I started out with nothing and I still got most of it left

Ah, sorry to read about your tenure in Belarusian football. I like what they've put about your managerial history in the media report. I've never won anything in any lower league football, so nice that they recognised what you've achieved in Midjtylland.

Given it's the only thing of note I've done so far - they'd better ****** recognise it!!!

That job was a tough one, I'm still not sure whether I didn't get the tactics right, or the players just weren't good enough. It's probably not a coincidence that losing the team's best player was followed by 2 wins in 8 games. Oh well, you have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs...or something like that!!

Anyway, I'm headed to Austria soon for a fresh start, so bring that on.
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December 2023 - February 2024

So, after over a year unemployed, several failed interviews and some soul-searching I find myself at SV Grodig in North-West Austria refreshed and raring to go again.

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The team are currently sitting in 6th position in the Austrian first division, which sounds reasonable, until you realise the league only has 10 teams. The team, which are still semi professional, were relegated from the top division last season and the board expectation is to finish near the top of the league.

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Austria are currently in their winter break for 3 months, and despite being semi-professional, have a maximum transfer budget of just less than £100k. The teams star player, Wanderson is currently valued at £775k and wanted…at 29, he might be a good sacrificial option to boost the squad. I intend to play with 2 strikers, so I’ll need another 2 of them as well as a LB for cover and another CB. Other than that, the squad looks reasonable for this level.

Two centrebacks; Meisl and Szalai come in.

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In addition, two strikers; Cypriot international Ratkovic is joined by Uruguayan under 21 international Nandez before the transfer deadline.

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I also bring in Geissler who was, admittedly, something of a panic buy with no real other options available.

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A new physio and assistant manager are also brought in which both improves the quality of the staff and significantly reduces the wage budget and a number of players sign new contracts.

Unfortunately, Wanderson isn’t one of them and he signs a contract with Randers and will leave at the end of the season.

I’m not normally a fan of asymmetric formations but was rather forced into a lopsided 4-3-3 due to injuries, wanting players to be in their natural positions and players being poached but the results in the friendlies, 3 wins out of 4, have been positive so I’m going to stick with it for the competitive games and see how we get on.

New signing Nandez has been particularly good in pre-season.

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March 2024

Even with as many as 16 games left, promotion looks out of reach as the top two teams have such a large points advantage, so the goals for the season look like consolidation in the league and improving the squad where possible. I’d like to bring in some Austrian youngsters too but it’s not a very large pool to choose from.

5 new signings make their debuts against SKN St Polten and it’s Nandez who opens the scoring within five minutes. The same player adds a second shortly after and Kosnik drills in a third. We conceded late on in the game, but overall that’s a very pleasing debut which we well deserved. Wanderson was the stand out player with 3 assists which makes him leaving signing for Randers on a free even more galling.

There’s no time to rest as Wacker Innsbruck are up next just 2 days later and another very good win. Nandez scores an absolute bullet from 30 yards which is past the keeper before he’s even realised. Gosweiner adds a second the other side of half time and we shut down the game to record another win.

A number of contracts are up at the end of the season…

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Wanderson & Pavel have already agreed pre-contracts elsewhere so they need to be replaced. Neither Geissler or Gorzel offer enough to the team to deserve a contract. Farkas, Rath and Gaber are all over 32 and take up £7,000 in wage fees and I think these players can all be replaced by younger versions for less money so that’s what I’ll be looking to do.

Austria Salzburg come to town and it’s an unlikely goalscorer, my DM Volkl who provides the breakthrough. A Pavel penalty doubles the lead to record a third straight win.

Wolf comes in on a free at the end of the season to replace Gaber.

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With all the players on part-time contracts, its proving very difficult to keep the team fit and match-sharp so plenty of rotation is taking place.

It doesn’t help that the games are coming thick and fast, and we travel to First Vienna FC 1894 next who are propping up the table although despite putting them under some serious pressure we can’t make the breakthrough resulting in a 0-0 boredraw.

Volkl provides the only positive with his second set piece goal of the season in a disappointing 2-1 loss to Sportclub Austria Lustenau.

Nandez has been largely ineffectual after a promising start so is replaced by Ceftci against SV Horn and a couple of other changes are made. Kosnik scores the first after some corner pinball. Ratkovic scores a second and Kosnik completes the win from the penalty spot.

Having been initially worried about the tactic, it’s held up really well this month. When we have the ball, the RB pushes up next to the central midfielders, virtually creating a 3-4-3. When we lose the ball, he drops quickly back in to join the rest of the back 3 and the BWM covers the space on the right hand side.

In attack, the IF and TM overload the opposition left-back/left centreback, combine really well and play 1-2s on the edge of the box as the IF runs across the defence - this often results in then being able to play a through ball to the P. I assume at some point the opposition will get a bit smarter and we may need to alter things, but at the moment 1 loss in 6 is proving to be a pretty good return.

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April 2024

I pick up Alexandersson from the Finnish U21 set up who impresses on a trial and will join in the summer.

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We travel to SPG Pasching, but have to start without Gosweiner, our leading goalscorer, due to a lack of fitness. Nandez, on a substitute scores a late goal to equalise and rescue a point in a particularly uninspiring game.

The Austrian league rewards an emphasis of homegrown players in the matchday squad and this amount bumps my balance into the positive - definitely something to consider for future transfers and squad selection.

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As I only have 13 Austrian players as it is, getting 12 in the matchday squad is something of a challenge.

However, partly to assist Austrian fullback Lercher signs on a free to replace Rath whose excessive wages have made him a luxury we don’t need.

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I also bring in Northern Ireland U21 international; Gary Scott and and Icelandic U21 international Reynir Arnason to play central midfield and at fullback respectively.

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Another Kosnik penalty rescues us a point against Mattersburger in a game we probably should have won as our initial good form and results seem to be petering out.

In the complete opposite to the last Mattersburger game, Nandez proves to be the saviour as we come from behind against SKN St Polten in a match we barely deserved to get anything from.

It wasn’t a game we were expected to win and so it proved against the league leaders FC Liefering but our strikers, Nandez particularly, were the main culprits missing a number of chances and shooting when they should have passed.

And the games don’t get any easier as we play Wacker Innsbruck, currently in second position in the next game which probably gets the result it deserves as an even-sided game ends in a draw. Wanderson scores his first for some time but being unable to make the breakthrough means it’s a bit of a rubbish month with just 1 win in the 5 games.

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May 2024

On the transfer front, the confirmed business is looking good so far and there’s just a couple of necessary final positions to complete if possible:

Out: Incoming:
Geissler (MC) - Wolf
Gorzel (MC) - Alexandersson
Farkas (DR) - Arneson
Wanderson (AMR) -
Rath (DL) - Lercher
Pavel (ML) -
Gaber (MC) - Scott

Wanderson scores the textbook inside forward goal as he cuts inside the fullback onto his stronger left foot before placing the ball into the corner of the net. Yet again, we fail to hold on to the 3 points though.

It seems to have been forever since we tasted victory - in an attempt to do something about this, I swap the TM & P position, pushing Nandez into the right hand slot of the 2 in an attempt to make the most of his stronger foot. I also tweak the tactic slightly to prevent the wasteful shooting from 40 yards which seems to have plagued the team in the last 3 or 4 games and to make the most of the wide players as the middle 2 offer nothing going forward but are reasonable passers of the ball.

It might be just a coincidence but it is Nandez who scores the solitary goal in something of a war of attrition against First Vienna FC.

The tempo is turned up for a home game against Austria Lustenau and its noticeable how much quicker the players move the ball around - this gives both of my wide players the chance to attack and get the ball to the strikers, particularly Nandez, before the opposition have the chance to set themselves. Volkl, who is something of a setpiece specialist, scores from a freekick and Ratkovic adds a second in the opening 12 minutes and it stays that way as we record a second consecutive win.

The Austrian Premier Division heads into the final league game and the table makes for interesting reading with any one of 4 teams able to win it…

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with Oscar Garcia’s job looking like it could be at risk…

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Nandez hasn’t really been producing the goods in the last couple of games so I start with Ciftci instead however he does nothing for an hour against SV Horn so Nandez replaces him on the hour mark and scores with his first touch. Ratkovic scores a second, Horn are reduced to 10 men and we hold on to record another 3 points.

Oscar Garcia loses his job and it’s too much of an opportunity to pass up so I apply.

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And the curtain comes down on the season with a particularly poor bore draw - not the best ending to the season or for the fans but the 16 games I’ve had in charge have been something of a mixed bag.

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June - July 2024

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I’m clearly not good enough to move to the heady heights of the Austrian Premier Division then.

But then the Sturm Graz job comes up and being something of a glutton for punishment, I apply for that too…

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Nandez finished the season as top scorer - not bad considering he was picked up on a free, only played 15 games and less than half the season! CB Kurbus was the top player and deserved it as he was singlehandedly holding, what was at times, a rickety defence together.

3 of the team of the season will be leaving at the end of their contracts which will leave a hole but I’m confident the players coming in will be good enough to step up.

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From the stats, obvious notable mention to Nandez. Wanderson was the top creator, although no-one else was close so it will be interesting to see who can step into his shoes.

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Another unsuccessful application…I’m clearly being a bit too ambitious with my applications so I might as well knuckle down with Grodig and see what I can do.

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My five new signings come in.

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With Wanderson leaving, and being unable to find anything like a like-for-like replacement, I’m having to amend the formation to a more standard 4-4-2 and attempt to recruit one player for each of the wide positions. I haven’t got the luxury of keeping to Austrian at the moment so I do my usual scout round the national teams looking for out of contract options with an emphasis on dribbling and crossing. Two wingers join the squad; Icelandic Guomondsson and Austrian Zachhaber to complete the summer transfers.

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Only the 1 win from 4 pre-season friendlies doesn’t bode particularly well but it’s a lower league team in the first round of the Austrian cup to edge us in to the season proper. 4 players make their debuts against UFC St Peter but it’s the old boys, led by hat-trick hero Nandez who secure the victory.

The promotion odds aren’t great, but put us there of thereabouts and with a few good results fourth could easily turn into second and I feel this is an improved squad and generally more balanced. My biggest concern is that my goalkeeper is on a wage that is 3 times any other player and expires at the end of this season - I won’t be able to afford the same contract again.

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The compact 4-4-2 pays off in the opening game of the season with 4 different goalscorers and a convincing win against ESV Parndorf 1919. A wholly different proposition is in store against one of the better teams in the league; Mattersburg. A formation and tactical change produces a gritty defensive performance and a pretty good away draw to finish the month.

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August 2024

The defensive mentality is retained against FC BW Linz, although Drga is pushed up to to the AMR position to return to the assymetric 4-3-3 formation which was used for most of the last season which pays off in a possession heavy 2-0 win with Nandez, again, doing the damage.

According to the media, I’m making steady if unspectacular progress and they’ve helpfully ignored my attempts to jump ship.

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Although it’s still early in the season, two tough away games against the teams in 1st and 2nd positions are up next. St Polten are up first and the concession of a late penalty frustratingly turns 3 points into 1 although we turn the tables against SC Wiener Neustadt as Ratkovic scores a goal in the dying minutes to rescue a point…in front of 1 fan…

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Going back to last season, that now makes it 11 without loss.

A number of teams are courting my best player; CB Meisl and he is now refusing to a sign a new contract
with his expiring at the end of the season - reluctantly, it is looking like it’s time to cash in, particularly given as the money would be particularly valuable to a semi-professional team.

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I have to accept that I won’t get a player as good as him, but the choices are to recall 19 year old Jovanovic from his loan or to scour the free transfers which I do initially and a number of options are offered trial positions.

Nandez puts away his 6th of the season as we record a win against Liefering although we should have scored more as we dominated possession and chances.

My leading creative force - Michael Drga - is injured which means my Icelandic U21 international, Goumondsson gets his chance against Austria Lustenau although he’s somewhat ineffectual. Bucker scores a penalty then powers in a header from a corner to give us a good victory…not bad for a centre-back.

Although a good choice of centre-backs come in on trial, I’m reluctant to add to the foreign contingent already in the squad so Luckeneder comes in, although the fans don’t seem happy about the signing, perhaps not surprisingly, as he’s definitely not as good as Meisl but will hopefully be an adequate replacement for this season, if not two.

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And then a major problem rears its head with 3 days of the transfer window left as clubs start sniffing around Nandez.

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The same player promptly provides evidence of his
class and exactly why there’s the interest in him and why I don’t want to let him go with two goals against FC Pasching.

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September 2024

The transfer window closes with some business, but most importantly Nandez stays put.

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A number of U-21prospects are offered trials with the intention of seeing whether any are good enough to either bring through the ranks, or to loan out until they are worth something, at which point they can be sold - football is a ruthless game and I’m not above stockpiling youngsters to boost the club coffers.

My TM Gosweiner isn’t scoring many, but he is leading the assists chart and creates another for Nandez against SV Horn although the stats don’t make for particularly positive reading - we probably should have got battered.

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Some more money for fielding the requisite number of Austrian players - result!

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Remarkably, it takes 10 games for us to finally lose this season, courtesy of ESV Parndorf 1919 despite, I thought, holding our own and having the better of the chances - sadly, Nandez was off his game and guilty of missing a couple of very good opportunities.

Nandez gets a well deserved rest for the cup game in a bad-tempered game against FC Pasching, although it takes a penalty shoot-out to progress to the next round.

The team is restored to full strength for the next game against Mattersburg, although the usually reliable Kosnik misses a penalty in the first half and we fail to put any other chances away resulting in the loss.

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October 2024

My fullbacks produce the goods against 8
th placed Linz, with first Lercher with a 25 yard freekick, then Posch hitting the back of the net. Despite Linz pulling one back, we hold on for 3 very valuable away points.
We’ve got a bit of extra cash, so I approach the board to request an improvement in the training facilities, which they agree to and a much improved Chief Scout brought in to considerably increase the number of assignments.

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Bore draw against Liefering and despite having a man advantage for the final half hour, we can’t make the breakthrough. Up next are the first of 4 consecutive home games, 3 of which are in the league which is particularly important since the top 4 teams are separated by just the one point.

Posch, for a straight red, and Volkl, for a second yellow card for arguing with the officials are dismissed in the 72nd minute against St Polten with us 1-0 up. They promptly equalise with the resulting free kick and I go all out to a 4-0-4 formation and overload with the gamble paying off as Kosnik scores an outstanding header in the last minute after tucking away a penalty earlier in the half - an entertaining game.

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The cup provides a bit of a distraction and the chance to rotate the team a bit, although Neustadt are no mugs so will take advantage of any weaknesses. For the second game in a row we’re reduced to 10 men, CM Alexandersson the guilty party this time after conceding an early goal. With 10 men we just weren’t in the game and I can’t produce the rabbit out of the hat a second time meaning we go out of the cup to a pretty meek 2-0 loss.

Completely out of the blue, the press ask me about my interest in the Slovan Liberec - a vacancy I didn’t even know about - to which I respond any manager worth his salt would be interested. I’m not desperate to move again, but I wouldn’t pass the chance up if it did come around.

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November 2024

Turns out the board were not impressed with my response to the news article…

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3 suspended central midfielders, an injured striker and a 16 year old in the starting line up means that the game against Neustadt is an uphill struggle…and to make it even more difficult, unbelievably, Scott gets sent off in the opening 10 minutes (our fourth red card in three games) meaning we play most of the game with a centreback and left winger playing central midfield. Despite this, Nandez gives us the lead which we hold until the 89th minute when under severe pressure, we concede a penalty to only gain the single point.

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The Liberec fans seem interested so I guess I’ll wait and see if anything comes of this.

In the meantime, we’re back on the pitch at home to 7th place SV Horn in a match we’re tipped to win which we do comfortably with Nandez & Volkl doing the damage with a results that takes us 2 points clear at the top of the league.
Nandez now leads the league goalscorers charts with Gosweiner leading the assists.

A Gosweiner brace - his first for 21 hours - against Austria Lustenau gives us a good win and takes us 4 points clear at the top of the league. And then Liberec approach me…

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I’m really torn - I’m pretty confident I can get Grodig promoted and this is a decent squad, Nandez expecially, but Liberec are higher rated, have a higher wage and transfer budget and competed in Europe (albeit poorly).

I’m pretty sure I can manage the board expectation of keeping them up and they have finished 3rd in the previous 3 seasons so there is talent in the squad. All things considered, with a very heavy heart as I’d love to see what this squad can do in the first division, it is a really good opportunity to further my career.

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November 2024

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Aside from 3 or 4 players, there’s not a great deal of real quality in the squad and the majority look bang average…enough to keep us up, but definite improvement is required. 12 players are aged 30 or over and youth prospects look pretty bleak although there are 2 players in the reserves; Prokopec & Hrabina who look good enough to promote to the first team at the end of their loan periods.

The squad does look balanced with versatility and flexibilityIn addition, 9 players’ contracts expire at the end of this season and some thought needs to be given as to who benefits the team enough to stay.

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The players fit into the above
formation which I think gives us a good defensive structure with attacking options - my wingbacks are stronger players, so expect them to contribute significantly going forward. I'm going to keep an eye on the striker roles as I've had some success with advanced forward and poacher but I do think this formation needs a striker to assist with the transition from midfield to attack. Some recruitment or retraining is required in certain positions and I’ve added minimal instructions to keep it simple for the time being.

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The first game of the new tenure goes pretty well - only the concession of a stupid penalty spoils the game, but otherwise we play alright given the teams current poor position. This result does take us out of the drop zone. Bratanovic barely got a look in before my arrival, is out of contract and this is his first goal of the season, but I’ll be looking at that…especially since we’re short of strikers.

The transfer window is closed until the end of January, but I go back to Grodig to try and sign Nandez…which he is having none of:

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Straka, who is on loan, signs a permanent deal and free transfer Sejdili comes in:

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CB Helisic provides an early breakthrough and Fila provides a clinical finish before we close the game down to record the first victory of my reign in the Czech Republic.

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December 2024 - February 2025

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Helesic compounds a disappointing game in which our strikers were wasteful and inefffective - not a great performance or result.

Slovakian goalkeeper Chovan comes in on a free transfer and instantly becomes first choice.

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…and he’s thrown in for a tough final game before the winter break against second placed Jablonek…

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A change of roles for my strikers, a couple of tactical tweaks and a move to a counter-attacking mentality to deal with the relative strength of Jablonek pays dividends in a textbook counter-attacking performance. WBL Funda, with an assist and fluked goal, is the outstanding performer for us.

We have no more games until the end of February so it’s time to try and improve the team, if possible, and the task is now to improve on the weakest parts of the team; Hosek (DC), Hadasock (ST) and Helesic (DC).

Strikers Dolidze & Petrovikj come in on free transfers to replace Hadosock and Brantanovic, who leaves on a free transfer.

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Thanks to a very healthy transfer budget, another 5 players come in at the start of the January transfer window, including 4 centre-backs and young Bosnian striker, Adilovic.

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And to complete the very busy transfer window with £1.4m spent, a backup LWB, Gyamareh, is brought in on a free transfer.

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I’m pretty happy with the business, I’ve recouped £500k on some dead wood, reduced the average age of the squad, brought in some good youth prospects and generally given myself some more options in each of the positions. I would have liked to have bought in more Czech players, though these were difficult to pick up for the right contract terms.

The friendlies were a bit hit and miss but they provided some good fitness work ahead of the second half of the season, although no-one really stood out in the performances.

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It’s a very tough game to come back to and the neutrals will say that was a bore draw, but a clean sheet against the league leaders is a pretty good result with 4 players making debuts and another point to pull us clear of the relegation zone.

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March 2025

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The game against Dukla Prague brings up 300 games in charge with reasonable stats across the 6 jobs so far.

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The strikers do the damage, but they have the midfield to thank for bossing the game against Dukla. Adilivoc scores from the bench to seal the win towards the end.

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Adilivoc gets his first start as a reward for his performance in the previous game although he’s completely ineffectual along with the rest of the team as we barely make an impact on the game.

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We travel to Karvina, one of the few teams below me. Adilivoc is relegated to the subs bench and replaced with another new signing; Petrovikj but the first goal comes from an unlikely source with CB Kohler heading in from a free-kick. A change of formation at half time, replacing the DM with AM to aid transition between the midfield and strikers pays off as top scorer Tambe seals the win. 18 year old CB Vazda has a strong debut.

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The AM role is retained and since no-one else has been able to estabish themselves as a regular partner for Tambe, Georgian striker Dolidze, who has a reasonable international goalscoring record (4 goals in 13 games) is brought in. He makes the perfect introduction but, as is becoming the norm, we fail to hold on and contain Sedlacek.

17 year old Stanislav Jedlicka is signed on a free with the intention of converting him to a WBR and replacing 33 year old Bejarano in due course.

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April 2025

I get that the results haven’t been too good, but most of the damage was done before I even got here…maybe I’m paranoid, but it already seems I’m being scapegoated.

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…and the player revolt continues…

View attachment 85777 and Prokepec joins in too.

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Lots of unhappy players, a suspended top scorer and a pre-match prediction of a comfortable win means this is never likely to go to plan but a move to a more direct approach pays dividends, despite Urban’s best efforts.

Lupinksi and Tambe add their names to the dissenters

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a streaky win, but a valuable 3 points.

And then fate throws a cruel curveball, with my first team goalkeeper ruled out for 4-5 weeks with a groin strain as a result of sprinting…what the **** is my keeper doing practicing sprints??

As I’m preparing for the upcoming Bohemians game, I’m reminded of a mantra of an old coach of mine: “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got”. Although we’ve won the last 2 games, it would be nice to be a bit more convincing so I set about making some tactical changes to change the status quo.

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Although it has absolutely no impact on the score and the postmatch summary: “Slovan Liberec win, but in truth it was a poor match” rather tells the story. Another result ground out and a third straight 1-0 win, the perfect Italian result!

Despite the wins, Urban is another who declares he has lost confidence in me.

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Another clean, sheet but 2 goals this time and a notably more coherent performance both in terms of possession and chances created one of which Tambe puts away to record his 10th of the season.

All of a sudden, 4 straight wins without conceding a goal, pulls us up into 9th position and only 5 points away from Sparta Prague in 5th place. The month started with the board not happy, but hopefully these results have gone some way to appeasing them who are expecting a top half finish and to top it off, I get the manager of the month award.

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May 2025

The final month of the season is on us pretty quickly and it’s a tough game against 6th placed Slovacko to kick things off.

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Petrovikj continues his good form with his fourth goal in fifth games and Kober scores from a corner to record a pretty comfortable win, all things considered.

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At home to one of the more recognisable names in Czech football and nothing goes to plan. Chambon is unlucky to direct a free-kick into his own net but after that Sparta took control and Prochazka’s deserved red card just made matters worse.

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Another textbook counter attacking performance is rewarded by a single goal win, although the performance deserved better against the team propping up the league. Fila really should score more than he does.

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Overall a disappointing result considering we took the lead and it’s irritating to conceded a penalty that late in the game. Moving Urban into the BWM support role paid off with his first of the season.

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Tough final game of the season away to the team in second position and its a second consecutive draw. Urban retains his support role and probably doesn’t want the season to end.

An 8th place, which achieves the board ambition of a top half finish, is pretty average, all things considered. Last months results of 4 straight wins helped considerably, although the player revolt seems to remain in full swing and the fans make it clear that they are not impressed with the less than exciting performances.

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June - July 2025

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Generally, nothing to shout about here and pretty disappointing but, probably delusionally, I’d like to think most of the poor performances were before I arrived. Chambon is by far and away the star performer and, if I’m honest, probably too good for this team. Tambe loads the goals and the only player in double figures. As it is, there are only 9 different goalscorers so clearly this is something of a weakness. He and Funda (WBL) jointly lead the assists.

Petrovikj put in some strong performances considering he was only present for half a season and picked up on a free and in terms of youth prospects, centrebacks Vazda & Straka at 18 and 19 respectively are the brightest and the players to hold on to.

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Slightly surprised about Funda’s award as fan’s player of the season but there we go. Am definitely surprised by Prochazka winning young player of the season as his stats were pretty poor.

A very average season compounded by a negative goal difference in the league.

Jedlicka (WBR) is due to come into the club during the transfer window to replace 33 year old Bejerano. The wingbacks are the key areas that need strengthening and to help with that. Schuler comes in as well to add some depth on the left hand side.

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Nothing too adventurous and most certainly achievable but I’d like to do better than just top half and aim for European football by finishing in the top 4 this season.

I’ve been fending off some very good offers for Chambon from some very good teams but since he still has 2 years under contract, he’s going nowhere. French CM Baudry comes in after being transfer listed at Nantes - unfortunately he wouldn’t sign without a relatively low minimum fee release clause (£450k) but he’ll be first choice for the time being and will replace either 30 year old Baris, or 29 year old Lupinski in the first team squad.

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Most of the friendlies go alright - I wasn’t expecting to beat Arsenal or Leverkusen but the boys put in a pretty valiant effort and it’s helped to increase the fitness ahead of the new season.

August 2025

So, the new season is underway. We’re predicted a 6th
place finish and begin the campaign at home to Dukla Prague. I’m expecting improvements on our general consistency this year, along with improved performances. I’d like to get a goalscorer into double figures - Tambe led the numbers last season, but could only manage 7 in the league.

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Dukla were poor but the added quality in MC Baudry and WBL Schuler brought in during the summer shone through as we record a reasonably comfortable win, dominating the possession, chances created and passes. All round, a very pleasing start to the season.

I’m not anticipating bringing anyone else in to the squad unless anyone too good to pass up comes to light - my strikers are reasonable, but some real quality at the top end of the pitch would be welcomed. With a bit of spare cash, it’s a good opportunity to look at bringing in some youth so I also take a look for the youth prospects as well.

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Petrovikj retains his place after scoring in the previous game and a couple of other changes are made. Petrovikj justifies the decision to keep him in, and we recover from a poor first half to get a point - we should have won the game at the death but both Fila and youngster Adilovic, on as a substitute, were guilty of wasting good chances.

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A cup game against minnows from division 4 provides the opportunity to make 11 changes with 26 year old Kober the oldest player on the team sheet. Adilovic is the standout performer, but in truth it was a comfortable win.

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We’re back to full strength for the league game but its a good job that Jihlava do the hard work for us, as we find it virtually impossible to break down a stubborn defence. Its early in the season, but its amazing what a couple of good results can do to the morale and hopefully the player revolt of last season is a distant memory.

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Promising Turkish youngster Korkmaz comes in on a free and into the reserves to go on loan for some experience.

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Bit of a bore-draw in truth, with neither side playing particularly well or able to create any decent chances and both goals came about as a result of defensive mishaps.

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Newly promoted Most are the surprise league leaders, although we travel there in high spirits following our good results so far. We did enough to win the game, missing key chances, but it took a penalty to secure a point in the end.

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September 2025

The month starts badly as I lose highly rated centre-back 19 year old Straka to a bid from Roma which meets his minimum fee release clause - his agent made it a non-negotiable deal from his last contract renewal and its meant losing a player for a pittance. Thankfully, a replacement is not far away as Tunisian centre-back Hadhria, who was already on trial, is an impressive replacement.

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A number of my players are currently wanted so the aim for the rest of the transfer window is to hold on to them.

A change of tactics ahead of the Brno game to reduce the wastefulness of the wingbacks crossing, who are reigned into a support duty. The DM is sacrificed for an AM role to provide the cutting edge in the middle and a more aggressive stance is taken to win the ball back.

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A very tight game which we only started getting a handle on after the sending off, at which point we started to dominate. We should have scored more, but Fila, playing in the AM role, caps off a fine move. Hadhria has a solid debut.

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Fila has another fine game following his move to the AM role and Petrovikj, who leads the goalscoring charts for the club, adds another in a fairly comfortable win. 18 year old Jedlicka, who I’m attempting to convert a WBR makes his first start but has a poor game - he will improve.

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The transfer window closes with more business than I was anticipating although my outgoings covered the costs of the players coming in. Gutted to lose Straka for a minimal fee but a lot of youngsters go out on loan and the overall wage budget is reduced which is good.

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The media predicted an easy win against non-league Caslav and a number of fringe players come in to boost their appearances, including Adilovic who scored a hat-trick in the last round. Our strikers were profligate and couldn’t take the chances that were created. Despite absolutely battering them and them being reduced to 10, then 9 men at the end, it takes a penalty shoot-out to progress to the next round. A number of big names went out to lower league opposition so it’s starting to look interesting.

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My goalscorers Petrovikj and Dolidze are returned to the starting line-up although Fila, who has been outstanding in the last couple of games, misses out through injury with his place going to Prokepec. CB Sejdili opens the scoring from a corner although, despite the numerical advantage, we’re unable to make the most of it.

A really good month with 4 straight wins and none conceded, although the cup game was something of a battle. Newly promoted Most are the surprise package of the season so far and lead the table with only us and the not having been beaten yet.

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October 2025

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Despite the club’s reasonable position, the strikers seem to be misfiring and haven’t exactly been prolific but I’m rather stuck with the 4 I have for at least a few months but we’re poor…really poor, barely making an impression on the game and pretty much deservedly beaten as we failed to do anything of note, but hopefully we can make amends with the 2 upcoming home games.

Before that, there’s the international break and 2 of my players; Sejidili, for Albania, and Hadhria make their international debuts.

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Although the goal in added time is a real kick in the teeth, we just couldn’t cope with Plzen’s direct approach and were quite fortunate just to concede one. Dolidze is injured for 6 weeks during the game, but he hasn’t exactly been prolific so won’t be a huge miss.

The cup draws us at home too Boleslav in the next round and the home advantage hopefully gives us an improved chance of progressing.

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Having not won, or even scored in the previous 2 games a slight change is made to the team as we go to 5 across the middle to try and improve things. Baudry scores his first of the season with a deflected free-kick as we dominate possession but are ridiculously wasteful with the chances created.

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Yet another game where my strikers don’t trouble the videprinter as they leave it to DM Prochazka to force the ball home from a scrappy corner. Another streaky win, but they all count and the win puts us through to the next round which is the main thing. The change of formation and mentality resulted in 63% of possession, with a dominant 92% of passes completed.

Despite only 1 win out of the 3 league games in the season, we have pushed up into second position in the league as no-one seems to be able to take a grasp on the league with the points remaining very tight.

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November 2025

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So much for my new found optimism - everything we did well in the last couple of games, we couldn’t do against Slavia…none of my players could string 2 passes together, my strikers were shocking and my centrebacks made too many mistakes.

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Another disappointing result and the hard work of the first few games of the season is rapidly diminishing. It wasn’t until a change of formation and tactic in the second half we even started to threaten but by then it was too little, too late - poor management on my part. it’s now been 9 games since one of our strikers scored…

Thankfully, there’s an international break for some respite and 7 of my players are called up - let’s hope they’re more successful with their nations than they have been with me!!

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Keeping the same formation, but adapting the tactics slightly to get the ball forward quicker pays off as Petrovikj scores twice taking his season total to 6, although what we lose in terms of possession and passing percentages in the last couple of games, we gain in goals and chances created. Much happier with that performance than the last few, but with the knowledge that Kralove are sitting some distance down in the league.

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An away game to the team at the bottom of the league and I’m not convinced with the media view predicting an easy win. I change to a counter mentality but keep the same formation stay as the previous game with some success as last seasons top scorer, Tambe FINALLY scores his first of the season in a comfortable victory.

All of a sudden, the tactical changes made in the last two games look like they make this formation and team a more coherent unit and we’ve gone from struggling to score goals, to creating plenty of chances, although again with the caveat, this team are bottom of the league for a reason but it’s a great chance to boost morale and goal difference.

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