Money, money, money - a football managing mercenary tribute/ripoff

Sly Old Fox

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Jul 19, 2018
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December '18


Andre Villas Boas - While I'm sorry to hear of your marital difficulties I think you should see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. Like the Chelsea job. Or the Tottenham job. Or that Russian team you went to when it all went **** up at the first two. They may on the face of all it have looked like insurmountable problems for a man of your abilities, but you gave it a ****** good go anyway didn't you? I suggest taking the same approach with Mrs. Villas Boas. Just do your best, then when you fail you can tell yourself you tried. Or you could try boring her into submission with your blend of football cliche/corporate blather, which must surely be a guaranteed mood killer. Talking of which, I do have a favour to ask: Lily has asked me to request that book back, but for the love of God, please just destroy it. I once made the terrible mistake of opening it at random when she left it in the cafeteria and it flopped open at a particularly harrowing description of Andy Gray's encounter with a "comely Highland lass from the chippy" during his time at Rangers. I find I can't look Lily in the eye now without making an involuntary gag reflex. In exchange I will not make good on my plan to send your wife a copy of the upcoming "Heath & Field: nudes in nature" calendar. Deal?

December '18


The results are ****, Harry’s Hut has closed for winter, the esplanade is dangerously icy, AVB has given me mental images I can't erase and the inbox is full of disappointment. Welcome back to Bognor Regis.





Well this is demoralising. Maybe the football will bring some relief – next up Wealdstone.



This is feeling like a real slog. It’s little surprise I’m not getting any jobs: my reputation is still ‘None’ after 500 days at the coal face. Manager Non Persona. In slightly brighter news, through sheer persistence of turning up to the training ground every day my stats have slightly improved. Haven’t heard any complaints about the defending training for a while.



And look at this:



Wanted by Whitehawk. To play the ****** tambourine probably. I’d become so bogged down in Bognor that I didn’t even notice my latest nemesis Steve King had got the bullet. It would be tempting to take his job, but I doubt Whitehawk pay any better. Still, shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to needle King. Heard you were looking for work old chum?



Are you sure Steve? I’ve got a press officer that I’d dearly love to replace. A stint forwarding me articles from the Bognor Observer might help “bring you down to earth” a bit. Steve? Steve, are you there? I think his phone cut off.



I am a raptor, testing the fences for weaknesses. I’ll break through or die trying. I rattle through interviews with FC Halifax, Aldershot, St Albans and Ebbsfleet. The dry cleaning costs on the suit are racking up fast and I don’t know how many more sick days I can realistically get away with taking at Bognor.

Back on the farm Chad Field wants to discuss his lack of first team football. He really is a field of chad. I thought centre back would be the position that would give me the least difficulties in the Vanarama South, but I can’t get any consistency out of the players I’ve got. Joe “Hand” Dandy’s form has become very patchy after a strong start. I placate Field with the offer of sorting out a loan move against my better judgement.

But that may be all by the by, because here’s Aldershot chairman Shahid Azeem on the phone…..



£550 a week. That’s an increase of £25 a week before tax. Barely covers the costs of getting the suit cleaned. Is this some sort of joke? By the terms of my own self-imposed rules I will have to accept it, as it’s a pay increase, but this leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Aldershot are currently 8[SUP]th[/SUP] in the Vanarama National League and want to make the playoffs. Seems achievable, but also suggests the chairman is pretty ruthless in firing managers. I risk delaying the offer for a week to see if I have any other suitors.

Back in Bognor Tommy Fraser earns his keep by diffusing complaints from left back Dan Harding about a lack of football. I think that’s the first time asking the captain to talk to a disgruntled player has ever worked for me in FM18! Fraser you madman, I salute you.

It’s a round of “no thanks” from Halifax, Ebbsfleet and even St Albans, so it looks like Bognor’s home game to Hampton & Richmond will be my last duty before I head off to Aldershot. I have an open application at York, but I can’t risk delaying Aldershot again. Let’s see if I can go out with a bang.



To be honest I think I would have preferred if we’d lost. I just have to bear in mind this would certainly have been followed up with a disappointing draw.

I leave Bognor in 8[SUP]th[/SUP] place, two points off the playoff places and £134,606 in the red. Goodbye The Rocks, I will miss you (in a way).

 

Sammuthegreat

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Jul 10, 2014
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This AVB thing has to become a recurring feature.

Farewell Bognor, you horrible horrible HORRIBLE place. On to greener pastures! What's that? Aldershot?! Oh gawd.
 

Snorks

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Dec 16, 2014
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Andre Villas Boas - While I'm sorry to hear of your marital difficulties I think you should see this as an opportunity rather than a problem. Like the Chelsea job. Or the Tottenham job. Or that Russian team you went to when it all went **** up at the first two. They may on the face of all it have looked like insurmountable problems for a man of your abilities, but you gave it a ****** good go anyway didn't you? I suggest taking the same approach with Mrs. Villas Boas. Just do your best, then when you fail you can tell yourself you tried. Or you could try boring her into submission with your blend of football cliche/corporate blather, which must surely be a guaranteed mood killer. Talking of which, I do have a favour to ask: Lily has asked me to request that book back, but for the love of God, please just destroy it. I once made the terrible mistake of opening it at random when she left it in the cafeteria and it flopped open at a particularly harrowing description of Andy Gray's encounter with a "comely Highland lass from the chippy" during his time at Rangers. I find I can't look Lily in the eye now without making an involuntary gag reflex. In exchange I will not make good on my plan to send your wife a copy of the upcoming "Heath & Field: nudes in nature" calendar. Deal?


Dear Mr. Forhire,

I would ask that you do not insult my wife like that, she is perfectly 'mountable' (when she is in the mood) although I admit it is easier when she is positioned **** up and inviting me to give it a good go. My Sports Scientist recommended some pills which help.

As for the book, given the 'uses' my wife has had with it, I am not sure the Post Office would transport it anyway under the Dangerous Goods Act. Although, when Iasked her about the chippy chapter, she did say it was a 'good one, invloving the main character, a piece of wet haddock, some oil and a deep-fried Mars Bar' - I didn't question her any further as I was tortured with images of Gray going down in the box.

I am sorry to say that, due to the comments about Mrs Villas-Boas I am not prepared to remove you from my 'Unfavoured Personnel' list, but, as I keep it blu-tacked to the back of my copy of the 'Heath and Field' calendar I will agree to not sending said calendar it to you this Christmas.

Yours

AVB
 

Sly Old Fox

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Jul 19, 2018
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December '18 Part II


Sammuthegreat - I'm hoping a change is as good as a rest. The pastures might not be green yet, but they are at least a greener shade of brown.

AVB - You really must introduce me to your sports scientist, he sounds a very capable man. Do you think he fancies a change in scenery to the rustic charms of Hampshire? To be clear, I've no doubt about the mountability of Mrs. Villas Boas; it's only you I have doubts about. But given we seem to be approaching an uneasy truce I'll let them lie. Intrigued to hear you already have a copy of the Heath & Field calendar. Given the low number of copies produced and it's niche appeal, I can only assume you went to some lengths to get a copy of that glossy catalogue of...well, some lengths. Hope you're enjoying it anyway.

Matt G - Thank you very much. The trajectory is undoubtedly upwards, although at the moment it somehow feels like a defeat. Maybe Bognor had grown on me, despite how much I absolutely hated it.


December '18 Part II

Hello Aldershot.



It’s little more than an hour up the road to the jewel of Hampshire, but what a difference an hour makes. Twenty five quid a week to be precise. Oh well, might as well be nice about it. Yes, I’d love to meet the board!

The Shots (can’t decide if that’s a terrible nickname or not) have a fairly decent trophy cabinet despite not winning anything for 10 years.



On the transfer front, we have a budget of £0 and are spending £850 over the wage budget. So no transfers on the transfer front then. But the squad is promising at first glance and actually so big I can’t fit it all into one screenshot.





It looks like the previous manager had something of a fetish for acquiring centre backs, with no fewer than 8 players capable of playing there. It looks like he also had a pathological hatred of wingers, with basically none to speak of at the club and both the full backs fairly useless going forwards. The two on loan strikers are good, but Butterworth is a target man, who presumably has not had much service and Fletcher is a terrier, better at nipping at centre backs ankles than scoring. Neither are much good at finishing. This all tallies with the fact Aldershot have a good defensive record but a pretty woeful attacking record. In 24 games they’ve conceded only 23, but scored only 30.

My first attempt at a system will be a 4-3-1-2, which suits the total lack of suitable wide players and might be unusual enough to take some teams by surprise. Neither of the full backs are really comfortable as wing backs, but hopefully this can do enough to get us into the playoffs and keep me in a job.



Chairman Shahid Azeem lays down the law early doors.



Alright mate chill out, I only just got here.

My first and last match in charge of Aldershot for the month of December is away to 4[SUP]th[/SUP] placed Morecambe who have somehow scored even less goals than us and sit in 4[SUP]th[/SUP] with a goal difference of +4. Should be an utter bore of a game.



I did not see that coming. I learned a few things in that game, most importantly not to play Fowler at centre back – he conceded both the penalties. Striker Josh McQuoid came off the bench and set up the last two goals, so him and Butterworth look like the first choice striker pairing. Not a bad start!

We finish the month and the year in 8[SUP]th[/SUP] place, outside the playoffs on goal difference only.

 

Sly Old Fox

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January '19


January

We kick off at home to 23[SUP]rd[/SUP] placed Guiseley, who look atrocious.



In truth it was quite a nervy win and Guiseley had some good chances in the first half. One of the drawbacks with the 4-3-1-2 is that it can lead to overplaying in the final third and on a few occasions they won the ball back as we passed it aimlessly and then launched it up-field for their strikers to run onto. Next up is an away trip to struggling York and another goal fest, albeit most of the fest takes place in our goal.



So far my record at Aldershot is W1, D1, L1, GF:7, GA:7. Exciting and unpredictable perhaps, but I don’t think that cuts much ice with Shahid Azeem. I could do with a couple of boring 1–0 wins.

Oh look, Lily Crittenden followed me to Aldershot!



I wonder if I’m paying her out of my own pocket. Is she the Lynn to my Partridge? Lily’s a good worker, but I suppose she's a bit like Burt Reynolds (RIP). Very reliable, but she's got a moustache.

To accommodate a rest for some fatigued players I move to a 4-3-3 for an away game to an in-form, but exhausted Dover. McQuoid continues his good run and scores what must be a goal of the season contender as he volleys in a cross-field ball from right back Cheye Alexander.



In the end we finish 1 – 3 to the good and it has to be said, we absolutely battered them. Dover could not cope against a front three. It’s probably the best performance of my managerial career so far. I guess I’m sticking with the 4-3-3, although I’ve been here before. If the game is true to form, the following result will be a disappointing draw.



Well, what do you know? I think I’ve solved the Aldershot paradox! Bring on the big time.

Is this the shortest recovery from injury ever? Striker Matt McClure hobbles back into the treatment room 8 minutes after getting the all clear. A bruised ankle, getting tackled in training. Matt must have a mortal enemy in the squad, who hacked him down as soon as he set foot on the training pitch.



4 weeks and no applicants at all!? Nobody even applying as a joke? I wonder if Lily has actually placed the advert….



The next game is away to Sutton who sit a point and a place below us in 7[SUP]th[/SUP]. This is a chance to give us a bit of a cushion in the play-off spaces. Surely now is the time we’ll see a reversion to normal levels of inconsistency.



This is uncharted territory in this managerial career. We finish the month on the back of 3 convincing victories on the bounce. It’s all going suspiciously well so far. The club is almost £300k in the red making Bognor’s finances look rosy in comparison, but we’ll ignore that for the time being. We end January in 6[SUP]th[/SUP] place.



 

Sly Old Fox

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February '19


Sammuthegreat - When you put it like that, let me be clear: myself and Aldershot categorically do not need or want an *** man, particularly not an U18 *** man.

February '19

The month starts with a potential record in sight. As we’re only a little over halfway through the season I can only assume the previous record was not particularly impressive.



Unfortunately for Cole he gets no closer to making Vanarama National history as we draw the next game 1-1 with mid-table Crawley. Another good performance though and we out-shoot them 20 – 5 with possession tipping over 60%. This 4-3-3 is a killer!

Off the pitch Shahid has had a whip round to keep the creditors from the door.



After that cash boost the club coffers stand at a healthy, err….minus £185,233.

Normal service is resumed in the following home game to another mid-table club Eastleigh who beat us 0-1. We waste several presentable chances throughout the game before Alexander slices the ball into his own net to put them in front on 86 minutes. How very Bognor.

The next game is an important one, away to Welling. We are in 6[SUP]th[/SUP], they’re in 7[SUP]th[/SUP] – a chance to cement our playoff credentials.



Back to back defeats for the first time since my Aldershot reign began. It was a close game, but Welling always felt the more likely to score. My front three don’t seem to be connecting very well and all of them are guilty of missing too many chances. Maybe the other teams have sussed out my 4-3-3. We’re now 3 games without a win, making the trip to 20[SUP]th[/SUP] placed Bromley a bit of a must win fixture.





Goddamit. The Bognorfication of Aldershot continues. Three losses on the spin doesn’t seem like the kind of run that will go unnoticed by Chairman Shahid Azeem. A bad month sees us clinging on in the playoff places by goal difference.



 

Sly Old Fox

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March '19


Neavie pops23 - Much appreciated. If the strikers can start putting away the occasional chance we should be fine.

March '19

Striker Daniel Butterworth pulls his knee ligaments kicking a ball and is out for 2 – 3 weeks. It might be a blessing in disguise, his form has been terrible and I was considering dropping him anyway. My striker system has consisted of a defensive forward, a target man (Butterworth) and an advanced forward. I will give Matt ‘Troy’ McClure a go as a second advanced forward in our opening home game of the month at home to Gateshead, to see if we can get in behind a bit more. If he can stay out of the treatment room.



Shahid is onto me. The dressing room atmosphere has suddenly become “Very poor”. Score some goals then you mugs! we could really do with a win against Gateshead.



Well it’s a disaster. Four 1 – 0 defeats in a row. We weren’t at all unlucky this game, we were just ****. My other in theory good striker Alex Fletcher picks up an injury during the game and will be out for 3 – 4 weeks. I hold a team meeting and say, we can do better than this. Immediately the morale goes up to Very good. They’re a fickle bunch. The next game really is a must win now, away to 20[SUP]th[/SUP] placed FC Halifax. I’m moving back to the 4-3-1-2 that I started with. Come on you Shots!

We make a bad start as centre back Tom Brewitt inexplicably stops tracing a run from their forward who Doug tucks away the resulting one on one. After an end to end game that we were mostly on top in, we eventually triumph 4 – 2 with a brace from stand in striker Wes McDonald.

It’s back to reality away against 4[SUP]th[/SUP] place Macclesfield, who batter us 5 – 2. Only consolation is another brace from the in-form McDonald.



We manage a creditable 0-0 draw at home to title contenders Dagenham and Redbridge in the next game and follow that with a 3 – 0 victory over Wrexham. Have we turned the corner, or is it just the law of averages evening things out? The penultimate game of the month is at home to bottom the table Dartford.



A good win, but we’re still susceptible to messing around with the ball in the opponents final third and then getting caught out with a long ball down the middle. Final game of a busy month is away to league leaders Tranmere.



That puts a nice shine on the results this month and sees us finish up March in 6[SUP]th[/SUP] place.

 

Sly Old Fox

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April '19


Sammuthegreat - Howbowdat indeed. I'm not sure I'd go as far as "delight" but it's certainly unpredictable.


April '19

Before the opening game of the month at home to Ebbsfleet I’m surprised to learn that there’s “a palpably awkward silence as you enter the room despite the overall decent mood and the players are clearly disinterested”. What the ****? Things are going OK aren’t they? Haven’t checked the managerial supportometer in a while, let’s have a look….



No major issues there, so…..they just don’t like me personally I take it. Well that’s ****** charming. Maybe it’s my weird, lifeless eyes causing problems again. "Unspectacular" is a bit of a dig, no need for that. Not sure how I have “a good reputation compared with the players”. That must mean they have reputations lower than none. Unlucky, suckers.

Despite the obvious pre-game tension we dispatch Ebbsfleet 3 – 0, with a standout performance from midfielder Adam McDonnell as the deep lying playmaker. He’s struggled to boss the midfield like his attributes suggest he should, but came good this game with two assists and a goal.

That result is followed by a disappointing 1 – 1 draw away to Maidstone. It wasn’t a bad game, but we never moved out of second gear, for reasons that are unclear. Maya Boshell felt very strongly about it, also for reasons that are unclear.



We have 3 regular games of the season left to secure a playoff spot and save my job. Aldershot sit in 6[SUP]th[/SUP] place 3 points clear of Dover who are in 8[SUP]th[/SUP] just outside the playoffs. 4 points should do it and all 3 remaining fixtures are against teams in 10[SUP]th[/SUP] place or lower. First up, home to Boreham Wood (14[SUP]th[/SUP]).



That was pretty poor. Dominated possession and had a lot of shots, but not many clear cut chances.



That’s just clickbait. Is this how I'm known: the unspectacular manager? Is that not true of nearly all managers?

We are still in 6[SUP]th[/SUP] but only on goal difference, level on points with Wrexham and Crawley in 7[SUP]th[/SUP] and 8[SUP]th[/SUP]. The next game away to Blyth Spartans (10[SUP]th[/SUP]) is crucial. On a tangent, I think Blyth Spartans are my favourite Vanarama team. Good name, cool badge, decent kit. Spartans I salute you.



I salute you and then defeat you. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Wes McDonald continues his hot streak. His attributes are mediocre at best, but the man won’t stop scoring.

A decent set of results sees us end the month in 5[SUP]th[/SUP] place. Barring an unlikely set of results on the final day, we should be home and dry for the playoffs. As per last season I don’t have much hope of getting through them, but I have achieved the club’s target. Please don’t sack me Shahid.





Bognor Regis update – they gave the job permanently to my old U23 boss, Dean Forte, who had been interim manager after I left. Forte was holding the fort, now he’s king of the castle. Anyway, amazing puns aside, look at this – the git has a higher reputation than me!



I persuaded the board to get him that A license! I only earn £50 a week more. If Forte overtakes me I might have to jack this in; that would be the absolute limit.

 

Sly Old Fox

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May '19


Sammuthegreat - I thank you. The career so far has had more rope than dope, but let's see what May brings.


May '19

In a throwback to last season my goalkeeper picks up an injury before the final game of the season that will rule him out of the playoffs. As per last season I do not have a competent back up keeper. I’ve learned from my mistakes and can repeat them almost exactly.

In our final game of the season a home win against 16[SUP]th[/SUP] placed Barrow guarantees promotion and a draw should do it, but might run it close.





We scrape in by the skin of the teeth, ultimately due to Gateshead dropping points in their final game. That was a bit close. We draw Dagenham & Redbridge away in the first round of the playoffs. Our last game against them ended 0 – 0, but we had the better of it. I still don’t rate us for the playoffs, but we have a chance at least of getting past D & R. A breathless summary report of the game follows.

Centre back Tom Brewitt bundles the ball home in the 4[SUP]th[/SUP] minute to give The Shots an early lead.

A tight first half, low on quality with few chances at either end suits Aldershot fine – they go into the break one goal to the good.

Griffiths rifles in an equaliser for Dagenham & Redbridge 10 minutes into the second half.

It’s all Aldershot as they set up camp in the opposition half, but miss several decent half chances.

Whitely puts Dagenham & Redbridge ahead with a little under 20 minutes to play.

Aldershot hit back immediately, with a 20 yard beauty from on-loan striker Alex Fletcher.

With 84 minutes on the clock Griffiths hits the bar for Dagenham from 8 yards out.

Substitute Matt “Troy” McClure heads straight at the keeper from 6 yards out in the 92[SUP]nd[/SUP] minute. Will Aldershot rue that incompetence?

2 – 2 at the final whistle as we head into extra time.



Not much happening in the first half of extra time. Aldershot on top.

Wright hits the post for The Shots a minute into the second half of extra time. Both teams extremely knackered at this point.

And Aldershot have scored! A glanced header from Fletcher in the 112[SUP]th[/SUP] minute surely wins the game!

Midfielder Emmanuel Oyeleke seals the win in the 119[SUP]th[/SUP] minute with a thunder-*******!



We have Macclesfield away in the Semi Final. They finished 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] in the league and so have had a bye into the semis, meaning their squad should be much fresher for this game. They thrashed us 5 – 2 last time we met. Oh dear.

This is the condition of my first 11 from the previous match on the morning of the Macclesfield game.



I replace as many tired players as I can and cross my fingers.

Macclesfield gift us an early goal with an atrocious back-pass that Fletcher intercepts and converts from 6 yards. We go into the break a goal to the good. Macclesfield equalise early in the second half with a nice goal from star striker Koby Arthur. He nets again with 15 minutes to go to put the (Return of the) Macs in front. Arthur is annoyingly good. In the end it was a game too far and it ends up 2 – 1.



A reasonable season I would say. But what does Chairman Shahid Azeem think? Just remember, we've had a “highly respectable finish”. Not my words Shahid, the words of TEAMtalk.com.



End of season awards are in. The three awards are split between two of our on-loan players.



The finances make for pretty grim reading. The club is now £400k in the red, which would explain the transfer budget the club have provisionally set at £0. There is an extra £10k p/w for wages though, which with some loan signings should allow me to sufficiently improve the squad. Still no sign of a new contract offer from Aldershot…..

 

Sly Old Fox

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June '19


June

Look what came in the post:



I negotiate them up to a whopping £725 p/w. Let’s see how much closer I am to the top five.



I think it’s fair to say: no closer. Guardiola drops out, Mancini pops in, otherwise no movement.

In Aldershot transfer news, I secure striker Alex Fletcher on another season long loan from Plymouth. Centre back Tom Brewitt, who struck up a good partnership with captain Callum Reynolds, rejoins on loan from Middlesborough and I pick up goatee sporting, veteran midfield playmaker, Chris "Blurred" Lines on a free from League One Northampton.







The UK leaves the European Union, which as far as I can tell has no effect whatsoever on the Vanarama National league. But my PA Lily Crittenden has a new-found spring in her step and a steely/demented look of determination in her eye.

I’ve decided to stick with the 4-3-1-2 system this season, mostly because I can’t face trying to sign enough decent wingers to rejig the system. To appease my coach, Darren Huckerby (yes, that one) who consistently and loudly worried all through last season that we only had one prepared tactic, I am also setting up a 5 – 3 – 2 for an alternative that can use mostly the same personnel. So my transfer activity is aimed around upgrading the players from last year. To that effect, po-faced striker Christian Hardy, on loan from Wigan could make a real difference.



A real coup is signing midfielder Callum Chettle who was on loan from Peterborough on a free. I had to adjust the budget to accommodate his agent fee, but it should be well worth it. We pick up another solid, if unspectacular (the buzzword for my stint at Aldershot) central midfielder, Tommy Rowe. We still need backups for striker, right back, centre back and keeper, but I’m pretty pleased with the recruitment so far. I’m tempted to hand over to the Director of Football, Head Coach style (you should check out that FM story if you haven't already), to see if he can unearth any gems for the last few signings.



 

Sammuthegreat

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Tommy Rowe is the absolute epitome of unspectacular. So much so, in fact, that his screenshot is LITERALLY INVISIBLE.

Lines, Brewitt, Fletcher, Hardy, Chettle, Rowe. There must be some puns to be had in there for someone far more inventive than me.
 

Sly Old Fox

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July/August pre-season '19


Sammuthegreat - Tommy Rowe gets the screen-shot he deserves. If you can't do anything pun-wise with those names, I'm certainly not going to attempt it.

July/August pre-season '19

The pre-season team meeting results in the players being unimpressed with my stated - and previously agreed - aim of making the play-offs. Alright you bunch of Billy Big Potatoes I mutter, we can win the league in that case, happy now? Not really, is the answer. I just can’t get on with this lot.

Another signing for the Shots, as the poor man’s Peter Crouch, aka Jon Stead joins the club as player/Under 18s Assistant Manager. This means I can finally take down that ill-advised U18 *** Man advert that was up for 6 months and garnered a grand total of no responses.



In managerial top-earner rival news, Pep Guardiola joins PSG on a contract of…..£38,500 p/w. He must be doing a different Football Manager challenge to me. Absolutely bizarre.

Back in Hampshire, ex-Wolves stalwart George Elekobi joins on a one year deal. The fans are unsure about this signing. Why? Look at him, he’s a beast!



Chairman Shahid Azeem pops up with one of his heavy-handed “Expectation reviews”



“Failure to meet one or all of these expectations could make your position at the club untenable.” Well which is it: one or all? Would applying for the managerial post for the Jamaican national team make my position untenable Azeem*? How would you like that huh?

*It wouldn’t, I wasn’t offered an interview and Azeem was not bothered.

We make about half a dozen more signings, including one blast from the past, Stefan Ljubicic, the towering CAM/SC I had on loan from Brighton at Bognor. He’s not likely to tear up the Vanarama National, but he’s only been brought in on loan as a backup to first choice attacking midfielder Sonny Hilton, who joins on loan from Fulham. The only other signing that might be of note is striker Jonathan Edwards, who joins on relatively big wages (£1800 a week i.e. more than twice as much as I’m paid) to a squad already well stocked for strikers. Flashback to Hussein Mohammed at Bognor….



The pre-season friendlies are not particularly revealing –we beat the smaller teams and lose to the bigger ones. One pre-season oddity – Aldershot have been installed as favourites to win the league this year. I have no explanation for this.

 

Sammuthegreat

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Well obviously you're going to win the league, you've got George Elokobi. He's the exact opposite of Tommy Rowe - the world's least unspectacular footballer. He's so absurdly muscular that he has his own gravitational pull. Absolute hero, Big George.

I mean, he's a terrible footballer. But that's not the point.

George will carry you to the title. As in, literally. He will lift you on his enormous powerful shoulders and walk you there. Along with the rest of the squad, an African elephant and a double-decker bus.
 

Sly Old Fox

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August '19


Sammuthegreat - George Elekobi is scientifically proven to be able to lift any weight, this is true. Carrying Aldershot to the title is to George what carrying a cup of tea to the desk is to me. Start engraving our name on that trophy now!

August '19

The new season kicks off with a 2 – 2 home draw with Eastleigh. We had the lion’s share of possession and shots, but Eastleigh were producing better quality chances, so probably a fair result. New loanee signing Christian Hardy scores both our goals and is a menace throughout.

The problems with the 4-3-1-2 remain and are evident in this game. It lends itself to overplaying with players not suited to technical football and leaves us open to long ball counter-attacks. I originally adopted the tactic out of necessity, but my logic in keeping faith with it is that at this level, the full backs very rarely join attacks, mostly because it’s almost impossible to find full backs capable of doing so. They are usually on a defend duty, so wingers tend to be isolated and less effective and as a result most of the threat comes from the middle of the park. The 4-3-1-2 overloads the centre and means clearances from the opponents mostly get picked up by one of those bodies and possession recycled. That’s the theory anyway, we'll see if this season bears it out.

The Eastleigh game does represent one landmark:



Nice one Centurion!

Next up is Torquay, who have traditionally been a League Two side, but have been stuck in the Vanarama National for about 5 years. Not quite a sleeping giant, but a sleeping tall man at least. Summer signing Callum Chettle monsters the game, netting a hat trick, with two assists from Hardy.



That’s followed up with less convincing wins over Boreham Wood and FC Halifax, but wins nonetheless. Hardy bags all three goals against Boreham Wood (especially satisfying as they are one of the many clubs to have declined my services) and the winner against FC Halifax. He is a boss.

I notice during the Halifax game that we now seem to have a big screen in the stadium. Pretty sure The Recreation Ground doesn’t have one of those. The club’s bank balance is now minus £400k, so maybe this is where all the money has gone. If so, then I don’t think Azeem is taking his role as custodian of the club very seriously.



The final game of the month is away to mid-table Dover. A win could see us (temporarily) top the table before current leaders York catch up their game in hand.



Bosh!



Double bosh!

Well that went much better than expected. We do drop down to second after York play, but it’s still a very positive set of results. Maybe the bookies were onto something! It's the Elekobi effect. He's hardly played, but he doesn't even need to.

 
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