My Journal: Life as a Manager

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 19 (February 28, 2019): We have a chance at promotion!



We head to Hayes, Jamaica to face top of the table, Vere United to start February. We’re 18 games into the season and our club is the only side to have taken all three points from them. This time around I would’ve been more than happy with a point as we looked to secure the final playoff spot. We started out ‘very defensive’ and Keith Hamilton was only forced into two pretty routine saves in the opening 45, while we couldn’t muster up a single shot. Regardless, I was content with the way things were going with the scoreline 0-0. I told the boys to stay compact and allow Vere to settle for shots from distance. The second half started the same way as the first 45, but Vere were finally able to find the back of the net in the 56th minute. It was a near post blast from close range. The matched turned on its head when Vere’s goal scorer collected two yellow cards in four minutes and we switched to an ‘attacking’ tactic. Just two minutes after the red, Ronique Francis scored a peach of a free kick and it looked as if we had a chance at winning after being dominated for 70 minutes. However, it wasn’t meant to be as Vere scored a deserving winner in the 88th minute. With Black Stars winning 4-0, our lead in the table slipped to just six points with three to play.

Our second and final match of the month was at home to bottom of the table, Alligator Pond. This was our chance to secure our spot in the playoffs! It was a nervy start as we were wasteful in the beginning and the away side opened the scoring in the 28th minute. From there the floodgates opened. Within the next six minutes the scoreline read 2-2 and that’s where it stayed as we entered halftime. In the second 45 we regrouped and scored four more goals while the defense held strong. The crazy thing about this one was that all six goals were scored by six different players.



All the board wanted was for us to avoid relegate. Yet the boys have secured themselves a top four spot and a chance at promotion as we will finish the season in the top four!




At this point there isn’t much to say about the league table. There are only two matches left in the league and the four playoff spots are locked in. After we beat Alligator Pond, it became official that they will be relegated at seasons end. It looks as if we will be playing Vere United in the first round of the playoffs. We will be the underdog, but we did take all three points against them at home at the beginning of the season.

 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 20 (March1, 2019): Youth Intake

Our youth intake sees two very exciting prospects come in:



First is Levar McGlashan. It’s clear signing players will be a challenge, so it probably won’t take long for McGlashan to break into the first team. With a leadership of 11, he could be our future captain.



Second is defensive midfielder, DaMarcus Osmond. Technically, he has a long way to go, but with his advanced work rate, teamwork, determination, and aggression, he could become a boss for us in the middle of the pitch.
 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 21 (March 15, 2019): A Fallen Star



Absolutely gutted to hear our star player, Ronique Francis will be out 4-5 months with a hip injury. It happened during a 10 minute scrimmage we usually run at the end of each training session. Francis made a run to the far post to get onto a low, hard cross. He was at a full sprint when he tried to slide and redirect the ball into the net, but ended up slamming into the post. It didn’t look too bad at first, but after he didn’t get up I assumed the worst. He is our leader in the middle of the pitch and our biggest threat as we look ahead at the playoffs. Our chances at promotion have taken a major hit.
 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 22 (March 18, 2019): The End of the Regular Season



A nice 2-0 win to start off March. The scoreline could’ve been much worse if it wasn’t for Treadlight’s keeper coming up with 12 saves. The big news from this match was Ronique Francis picking up his fourth yellow card of the season. That means he will miss out in the season finale.

Little did I know after writing a recap of our first match, Francis would miss out until next season. It still hurts to know he’s out, not only for the team, but for the person. He is a high energy player and a fan favorite. He’s 29-years old and gets along well with the fans. We must bounce back quickly without him as we only have one game left before the playoffs start. The boys have decided to wear “Get Well Ron” shirts under their kits. Everyone will be looking to get on the scoring sheet against York Town.

York Town were in survival mode as they were three points back to Holland heading into the final day. Holland were against top of the table Vere, so York Town knew they had a chance. They did got on the board first with a 4th minute goal by Jared Thomas, but we scored the next four to end their chances.



The season is over and now we know we will be up against Vere in the first round of the playoffs. We will be massive underdogs heading into the tie without our man, Ronique Francis. His replacement in the last match, part timer Leford Rickman, did bag a goal against York Town, so there is a slight glimmer of hope. Sporting won both their matches against Rivoli during the season as those two teams make up the other semi-final. Enough of me writing. Let’s kick on!

 
Last edited:

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 23 (March 22, 2019): Gearing up for the Playoffs



It’s about midnight and I’m sitting in my office looking out at our practice field. Without much of a scouting department, I have spent the last couple of days reading up on Vere United. I need to throw together some kind of scouting report for the boys before we step out onto the pitch against Vere. They won 20 of their 22 matches, drawing one, and losing one. Their sole loss of the season was to us on our home turf. I will use that bit to hype up the boys in the locker room on match day. Their biggest threat is Oneke Ford who bagged a league high 19 goals this season. His supplier will be coming from the right side in the shape of Dewayne Dunk who led the league in assists with ten.

I did speak with Bryce McCullock, our Head of Youth Development, this morning to touch base and talk about the kids. He recommended I call up two players, Jermaine Estwick and Levar McGlashan. It didn’t take too long after our conversation for me to realize that they can’t play for us because they aren’t registered. That was disappointing. Rather than ramble on here in my journal I need to get some rest as our big match is just two days away.


 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 24 (April 7, 2019): “Do it for Roni”



I think it’s fair to say we were lucky to escape with a 1-0 loss. As expected Vere were the much better side and the loss of Ronique Francis in the middle really hurt. He was our quarterback in the middle, dictating everything that came through the middle. I would say our only bright spot was Keith Hamilton in net recording 11 saves on the night. If it wasn’t for him this two legged tie would’ve been over after 90 minutes. One goal is not impossible to overcome. We have two great strikers paired up in the final third. If we can just steal a goal it will be game on!



We came out much better in the second leg. Maybe the Vere players were instructed to sit back and allow us to get forward? Or maybe my decision to come out defensive in the first leg led to Vere having so much success. Regardless, we came into this one knowing there was still a chance. The first 45 was pretty balanced, although Vere had the best two chances and capitalized on one of them. After Valbert Campbell lost possession in our opponents half, we were undone by a long ball over the top to Raffique Bryan. I did my best to entourage the boys from the sideline and to their credit they never backed down. Finally we scored our first goal in the 85th minute and the away fans were in full voice trying their best to support their ‘Killa Bees’ in their quest to find a second. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and Vere are off to the Finals.



Congratulations for Vere United for winning the league. With a regular season record of 20-1-1 it’s clear they deserved it. Little did I know the winners from each of the four second tier leagues qualify for the ‘Promotional League.’ The clubs will play each other twice (three home matches and three away). The top two clubs at the end will be promoted to the National League.
 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 25 (May 15, 2019): First Year in the Books

It’s fair to say we exceeded expectations at reaching the playoffs. Losing in the first round wasn’t fun, but after knowing Vere United finished first in the Promotional League, it’s clear we should be near the top again next year.



In the middle of our playoff battle with Vere, our club President handed me a new one year deal to stay on as the Head Coach of St. Bess. I’m excited for a chance to do it again next year! I moved to this country in hopes of living a quiet life on the beach, but now I will be the head coach of a semi-pro club team for a second season. I don’t know what my future will hold in coaching, but for now I will prepare to manage the Killa Bees for at least one more season.




The man who handed me the opportunity to get back into coach is now looking to sell the club and search for a part-time gig with the club. I will admit that I’m a little anxious about what’s going to happen next.



All our first teamer’s had an incredible season. We will be losing four players, however. Both our keepers, Keith Hamilton and Roybert Clarke will be elsewhere next season. Clarke refused to enter talks over a new contract after being stuck on the bench this past season. Hamilton, who was our no. 1 all year, was asking for a number above what we could afford. I offered a high loyalty bonus, but it still wasn’t enough. Kevin Wilson was brought in on loan before I took over the club. I would’ve loved to talk with him to see if he’d join us permanently, but at 42 years old he is calling it quits on his career. Joining Wilson in retirement is Jermaine Russell. We signed him Constant Spring in January and he made an immediate impact for us on the pitch. He too is on the wrong side of 40 and told us he’s had enough and wants to try something new, outside of football.

We signed all our part-time players and with a pretty good group of youth players, I’m hoping we can field yet another competitive side next year. I’m not getting my hopes up in the transfer market, but again I will do everything in my power to added to the club. We are losing both our keepers, a starting center mid, and striker.



Financially the club is pretty well off. I just wish they’d be willing to increase the wage bill. We had a few players interested in coming in last summer and in January, but we just didn’t have to money. At the very least we’ll need a first team keeper.
 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 26 (August 1, 2019): Fun in the Sun



The summer is just about over and my family is heading back stateside after coming down to visit for a week. My stubborn father learned his lesson after he told my mother and I he doesn’t need sunscreen. I’m back in my office looking over the roster with Ricardo Gardner to determine where we need to strengthen. The answer is obvious, we need depth. Our scout has been out looking to find anyone willing to come in. Again, it’s been a major struggle to find players to join us in the second division.



After pricing himself out of a new contract, our starting keeper Keith Hamilton has agreed to come back on a 1-year deal worth $6.75k. He had an excellent year for us last term and there was some interest in our no. 1 from two first division sides, but in the end he agreed to come back for one more season.



We made a signing! Odaine Samuels comes in as our starting right back, but he was only willing to sign a one year deal. He has first division experience with nine appearances with Harbour View, but was stuck on their U21 roster and wanted a chance to play first team football.



The 2019/20 schedule has been released and our opening match will be against newly promoted Four Paths. The toughest stretch of the schedule will be at the very end of the season with two of our last three matches against Rivoli United and Dunbeholden. Rivoli finished third last season and look to compete for the title again this year. Dunbeholden were relegated from the National League and should finish near the top of the table as well. We did beat them last year in the JFF Champions Cup, however.

 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 27 (August 26, 2019): Concluding Pre-Season and Transfers



Pre-season is finally over and we’re ready to start the year. We reached the playoffs last term and that’s where I want to be again this time around. The squad had a pretty good pre-season I would say. Our first three matches were against second division sides and we managed at least a draw from those. We finished our transfer business before the third match, so I would say we were still short handed in those two matches we drew. With our first team squad together we won the final two matches.

We ran out in the 4-2-2 in each match, like we did last year.



The transfer window has passed and we managed to bring in nine new faces. Boy was that tough. We went through the rosters of each first division side, their U21’s, and each team in all four second division leagues. Odaine Samuels was handed the biggest contract as I was excited to find a player who was willing to join us and he will be a key player for us from his right back position. He only managed nine first team appearances with first division side, Harbour View, but most would argue he is a top league talent. Odane Watson also joins us on a free. He will be our starting left midfielder this term and brings great agility, work rate, and natural fitness. To add to that, he has above average pace, first touch ability, and moves well without the ball for this league. Coming in from Negril’s U21 side on a loan is Damion Hutchinson. He has the versatility to play at center back and left back. He will be on the bench to start the season, but was a standout in pre-season, so I do have a lot of faith in him. Another player coming from Negril's U21's is Courtney Garvey. He will sit next to Ronique Francis in the middle of the pitch. He is attacking minded, but with all the talent Francis brings, Garvey will be sitting a little deeper. Also coming in on loan is Ennis Dias from Duanvale. He will be our back up right midfielder, but with his great physical stats and crossing ability, he will be pushing for that starting spot. Joining us on the same day as Dias was another right midfielder, Omari Buck. He comes in on loan from Mount Pelier. He is probably just as talented as Dias, but may sit behind him on the depth chart. Ennis Dias’s club teammate at Duanvale, Delon Palmer joins us and will be our starting left back. He is a natural center back, but after having such a tough time finding a full-back we felt we had to bring him in. He won’t be pushing forward too much, but with two attacking minded central midfielders, it’s probably best to have a full-back willing to sit back. Our last two additions come in on a free. Sean Bucknor will be one of our two starting strikers. He bagged 11 goals in the second division last year and scored two in two this pre-season. We were desperate to add another striker, so added him was massive. Lastly, we added Pierre McPherson from Frasior’s Whip. He was a starter in this league last year before his side were relegated. We already have two strong center backs, but they’re getting up there in age, so McPherson should see the pitch. I’m very excited with all our additions!

 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 28 (September 1, 2019): The Squad and Expectations



Quickly looking over the roster, we see a handful of starting returning. Keith Hamilton will return in net. Sean Fogah, who drew serious interest from a handful of top division sides, and Donovan Alvaranga will pair up in the middle of the defense. New signing Pierre McPherson, who will start on the bench, could start for most second division sides. In the middle Ronique Francis is back after missing out in the playoffs as is Valbert Campbell who was key for us on the right side of the midfield last season. Up front, Christopher Waugh is back after scoring 15 goals for us last year. Waugh will be paired up with Sean Bucknor in front of goal. We lack a bit of depth in the midfield. Courtney Garvey will pair up with Francis in the middle, but behind them, we don’t have much. Odane Watson can play in the middle, but will be needed on the left. Two new boys will man the two full back spots. Our first signing of the summer, Odaine Samuel, will start on the right and will be key for us. On the left, we will be forced into using a natural center back. First in line will be loanee Delon Palmer.



Even though I’m excited for this season will all our additions, the board isn’t as impressed. Again they want us to avoid relegation, which I think is an easy ask and reach the first round of the League Cup. Let me remind you, we enter the cup in the first round. As long as the team bus doesn’t break down, we should be okay.



After finishing above us on the league, I’m not surprised to see Sporting Central and Rivoli United predicted to finish at the top. Dunbeholden were relegated from the National League, so predicting them to finish in a playoff spot isn’t difficult. However, seeing us sixth is a bit of a surprise. Two newly promoted sides are above us in the preview, one of which we open the season again. I’m ready to run out there and prove the media wrong!
 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 29 (September 8, 2019): The Cup Draw



We’re heading to the capital to face Central Kingston in the first round of the cup. I’m not going to put any focus on the cup this season, as my focus is to get this club to the first division for the first time ever. The season prediction of us finishing sixth has gotten to me. I don’t want to risk any injuries in the cup if we truly are the sixth best side in the league. Maybe I do want the bus to break down after all!


 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 30 (September 29, 2019): Off to a Flying Start!



A hard fought win to open the season. We had 11 shots on target, but only one goal. Regardless, I'll take the three points. We had plenty of chances to put this game away, but we failing to capitalize while almost cost us. Right after we made our final substitution, Ronique Francis was forced off through injury. The boys dug deep and fended off Four Paths attack for the final ten minutes. Great way to start the season!

Two wins in two as we won our home opener! Both our striker got on the score sheet as Christopher Waugh now has three goals in two matches. After failing to record a single shot in the opener, it’s good to see one of our summer signings, Sean Bucknor find the back of the net as well. 16-year old Levar McGlashan made his first team debut for the club with a three minute cameo at the end.

We were lined up against our new rivals, Black Stars in our third match. Looking back at last season, they were the club we battled with (although it wasn’t much of one) for the final playoff spot. We came out on the front foot and never looked back! It’s clear at this point Christopher Waugh will be our biggest threat up front. He had the best two chances to open the match and played provider in the opening goal.

I did say I wasn’t putting any stock in the league cup this season, but I was gutted to lose this one. I decided to rotate the side and I’m thankful I did that as the match went 120 minutes. Another 16-year old made his first team debut and DaMarcus Osmond rewarded us an assist on the opening goal. Things opened up in the second half as it took just six minutes for Central Kingston to level the scoring. Just eight minutes later they took the lead. Striker Sean Bucknor found the back of the net for the second time of the season and the scoreline was even once again. With the score 2-2, we were off to extra time and in the 104th minute we fell behind once again. Super sub Christopher Waugh headed home a corner kick in the 113th minute and I thought that would see the match head to penalties. But, it wasn’t meant to be as Central Kingston find the winner in the 122nd minute. Now everyone can focus on the league.

We are off to an absolute flying start to the league. Our star forward Christopher Waugh bagged four in this one giving him seven in four this season. With Ronique Francis being eased back into the first team after coming off injured in the opening match of the season, loanee Courtney Garvey has stepped up in a major way for us. He now has two goals and two assists in the early going. There is no doubt we had a talented squad last term, but having the added depth this season will be key for us.




We’ve only played four games, but we sit top of the table after one month. It’s a major weight off my shoulders and makes my job a lot easier with the boys growing in confidence from their positive play on the pitch. Again, it’s very early, but it looks like Sporting Central and Super Action will be at the top of the table for the majority of this season and will be our biggest competitors. Sporting Central’s sole defeat was to Super Action, but outside of that match they have recorded three clean sheets. We will be home to Sporting next month. That will be a must watch!





 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 31 (October 27, 2019): Sitting at the Top



The first match of the month was an emotional roller coaster. We hit the woodwork an incredible six times before we finally found the back of the net in the 84th minute. It was right after we hit the bar that sixth time, Sean Bucknor tapped in the rebound and I could breathe a huge sigh of relief. The nerves came back in the 86th minute when Roni Francis picked up a second yellow and we were down to ten men. From the free kick which saw Francis sent off, Holland scored off a deflection and I threw my clipboard in the air and took a seat on the bench. After dominating the match only recording one point was too harsh. Luckily for us, we found the winner in the 90th minute. It came from a corner kick to the far post and our big center half, Donovan Alvaranga out jumped his marker and headed it across goal and inside the net. What a match!

Our second match was probably our first real test of the season. We did manage a point from this one, but I’m not sure either side deserved it. Both sides lacked anything really threatening in the final third, but in the end I’m happy with a point from the match against a team who will surely finish in the top four.

After dropping points in our last match it’s nice at win with such emphasis. Last years star Roni Francis scored his first two of the season and our third choice striker Annsert Ranger scored in his first start.

After two goals in our last match, Roni Francis bagged a hat trick in this one. We dominated this one like we have most matches thus far. One more note to add, Christopher Waugh now has ten goals in eight matches in the league.



We are the only side without a defeat, but our schedule has been pretty light. November will be a real test as we face four sides all in the top six. If we can come out on top heading into December, then I will think we are favorites come playoff time.



 

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31

tbuc

Member
Nov 17, 2017
409
9
18
31
Entry 32 (November 25, 2019): A Test Against the Best



To begin November, we were off to Portmore, a suburb of Kingston, to face second place side Dunbeholden. The home side were the better team throughout, but it was a Roni Francis blast from 25 yards out, which saw the Killa Bees take the lead in the 11th minute. Right before the half, our main man up front, Chris Waugh was forced off with a pulled thigh. After Waugh was subbed off, we looked lost in the final third of the pitch. Luckily, the injury wasn’t too serious and the striker should be back in time for our next match. Eventually, in the 79th minute, Dunbeholden scored their deserving goal to level the scoring and that’s where it stayed. I’m disappointed to drop points, but they are one of the best sides in the league and we were on the road, so I wasn’t too bothered.

After a 1-1 draw on the road, we were back home to Rivoli United in the second match. They lost in the playoff final last season, so we knew we were in for a real battle. Two goals in the opening seven minutes from Sean Bucknor saw the fans bouncing, but Rivoli regrouped and scored two of their own right before the halftime whistle. Both sides came out cautiously in the second 45 and the match turned into a snooze fest. With Waugh limited to just 25 minutes off the bench, I was happy to see Bucknor stepped up with two goals of his own. But, if we want to win the league a draw at home after securing a 2-0 lead is inexcusable. We’re halfway through the month and the club only has two points to show for it after getting on the score sheet first in both matches.

Our third match of the month was to newly promoted Super Action. They have a very strong side and currently sit third in the table. After dropping points in our previous two matches I told the boys they had to dig deeper if they wanted a chance at promotion. Yes, we’re still top of the table, but we’re only one point above Sporting Central and just four points above fifth place Rivoli United. After this match we will be actually halfway through the season.

My pre-match peptalk must’ve worked as we ran Super Action off the pitch with a 4-0 win. Well I can’t take all the credit and Chris Waugh, who was limited to just 25 minutes off the bench in our previous match, played all 90 minutes in this one and scored three and assisted on the fourth.

We’re home again in our final match of November and I’m excited to get this one out of the way. After a tough three game stretch, I just wanted to get this month over as our December fixture list should be a walk in the park. Well on paper it is. Coming in we are favorites over Four Paths, but we were without Chris Waugh and our starting no. 8, Courtney Garvey who missed out through yellow card suspension. With a depleted team the boys and I were expected with another three points! Four Paths did come out attacking, but were wasteful on a couple good chances. We finally settled in and had two great chances of our own, but Bucknor hit both his shots right at the keeper. Finally, thanks to a major defensive error, Bucknor redeemed himself and we got on the board in the 38th minute. The big striker bagged his second with a simple long ball over the top and that was all we needed. Congrats to Keith Hamilton who now has five clean sheets on the year. He’s been a bit of an unsung hero for us in net this season.



We are 12 matches of 22 in and we still sit on top. The gap is very tight after dropping four points this month, but we have a massive advantage in goal differential. Three of our next four matches are against teams sitting in a relegation spot, so my hope is that we can expand our lead against the four clubs below us before we head into our holiday break. The boys definitely deserves some time off.



 
Top