Dec 9, 2008
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"Please Mr. Lerner, I'm begging you to think this one through, This could undo the great progress we made last season."


I am Michael Clince, a football manager in the English Premier League, where I've recently been making a bit of a name for myself as the coach of Aston Villa.

The man I am pleading with so strenuously with is Randy Lerner, American business man and chairman of Aston Villa Football Club.

The date is June 24th 2012 and this is the conversation I've just been having with my employer;


Lerner: Good morning Michael.

Me: Morning Sir

Lerner: Nice work on the Stewart Downing Deal, I thought we'd never be rid of him with that wage around his neck.

Me: Thanks sir, just doing my job.

Lerner: Yes indeed, and of course tying up the acquisition of Owen Hargreaves when he's performing so well at the Euros has not gone un-noticed by myself and the board either.

Me: Yes, I was surprised with the lack of competition we had for his signature to be honest sir.

Lerner: Well Michael I won't keep you in the dark any longer. We've had another offer for Edin Dzeko from Chelsea.

Me: What is it this time 17 million? I mean really did they honestly expect they would get him with that measly 15 million bid a couple of days ago?

Lerner: Quite right Michael, however this time around they've been a bit more persuasive with the cash their throwing at us.

Me: Well they can offer whatever they want Mr Lerner but Edin is far too important for the future of this Club to hand him away after just one season with us, I'm sure that without him we would not have done quite as well as we did last season, I mean after coming 9th the season before, 2nd was really a great showing for our fans,

Lerner: 33 and a half million Michael! You're right, Edin put in a great shift last season, however that is not the kind of cash we can afford to turn away at this club. I'm afraid......

Me: Mr Lerner, tell me you haven't..... you haven't accepted the bid??

Lerner: The board was unanimous in it's decision Michael, we will provide you with half of the funds of the transfer but thats it. Dzeko is on his way to Stamford Bridge as we speak.

I was gutted! I had a sick feeling in my stomach for the rest of the conversation, Even leaving the room knowing that my transfer fund now stood at over 50 million did nothing to disturb the sinking feeling going right through me. Right up until I somehow got to sleep that night, I contemplated resigning from my post.

I was now in charge of a club that as far as the fans, football lovers world wide and the general public would see it, did not have the dedication to push on from where they were. And the players, would this unsettle them in a big way, was this transfer to be the first of many. Who could blame them for becoming at least the slightest bit disillusioned - in fact I would be worried if there was no reaction.


Chelsea had finished 6 points off us last season and scored 33 less goals than us. Why would the board agree to sell to them of all clubs, surely Madrid or Barcelona would have been a better option. Gabby(Agbonlahor) had been superb last season but In Dzeko we were about to lose 19 goals and 15 assists over one season and the player who seemed to bring all the play together.

Eventually before I slipped off into stop start sleep, I decided that as manager of Villa, I must step out as a leader and begin a search for a new charismatic front-man straight away tomorrow morning.

All was not yet un-salvageable.

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Good start mate, I like Villa stories tbh so I will follow with interest


This morning I awoke knowing that the talisman of my team would not be around for the forthcoming season. Time for action. Before any action could be taken however, I knew that I would have to do a press conference on the Dzeko saga to assure our fans that we will get past this point in the clubs legacy.

An interview was organised for 10:30


I answered everything as honestly as I could without endangering the clubs status in the footballing world. Therefore when it came down to why the Edin was to be sold, I simply used my chairmans words about the club not being in the position to turn down such a bid. The player had previously made it clear he would love the chance to play for Chelsea and I made sure the press got that information also. Even though I had not even been consulted about the sale, I declared," I simply didn't want to have a player on our books, not giving his all for the sake of this team."

As for the clubs stance in the transfer market now, I summed it up by saying," We're rid of a player now, who made it quite clear his loyalty was not to this club. We got a nice amount of money for him. A nice portion of the cash from that sale has been added to the already generous budget afforded to me by our chairman and I intend to use the budget to fill the hole left up front by Edin and to improve right through the team in any way I can.

With the press conference out of the way, I could now get down to what i had become famous for, wheeling and dealing.

My first rule for wheeling and dealing is always draw up a shortlist. Without it you are wasting precious time and could end up having to spend more money as your time runs out for negotiating.
So I followed rule number one and came up with this shortlist:

Giuseppe Rossi - Man City
Luis Suarez - Ajax
Nicola Kalinic - Blackburn
Abel Hernandez - Palermo
Edinson Cavani - Napoli


Rossi had only been given 10 starts over the past year and a half in an uber-competitive Man City squad. Maybe Villa would be somewhere he could feel more comfortable with his football. He's small but then again Dzeko's best work for us was always done with the ball at his feet. Besides we weren't looking for a new Dzeko, I'm not a fan of such limitations. Man United never got a like for like replacement for Roy Keane, Barcelona never got a new Ronaldinho, yet both sides have remained highly competitive since those key players passed from their team sheets.


Luis Suarez, I was amazed to see still plying his trade in the wilderness of the dutch league. He has always been great for link up play with his team mates- the key reason why Diego Forlan performed to such a high level in the last world cup I believe. I was going to need a player of such interplay ability first and foremost so Suarez is just about top of my list.


Nicolas Kalinic has been one of the main reasons for Blackburns impressive form over the last two years and in many ways reminds me a bit of Dzeko, he scored 15 goals and 8 assists last year in the premier league, a total valuable to any team. I think in a Villa shirt he could probably get more. One draw back though is that he didn't perform well in the champions league for Rovers last year and we need players capable of doing so this season.


With 33 goals in 43 games last season, Abel Hernandez is up there in my estimations with Suarez and at just 21 has plenty of time still to improve on his abilities. If I buy him I think the fans might just take to him very well and inspire him to a great and lengthy career here at Villa. He usually plays as a more out and out attacker though, so he would need to adapt to playing just off Agbonlahor if that particular deal was to come through for us.


Edinson Cavani is the third Uruguayan on my list, but still no less impressive that Suarez or Hernandez, something which is a great sign for their national side, However I am not the Uruguay coach, so what does Cavani offer to Villa. Well, he has european experience, he's a consistent scorer of great goals both in european and domestic competition. An extremely athletic player with pace and power, however that is also where he falls down for our needs. I feel if we brought him in it would be impossible to sepperate where his play ends and Gabbys begins. They literally are that similar in their abilities.

And so the search begins
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great start mate cud u post ur transfers in the first season ??
great start mate cud u post ur transfers in the first season ??

I have actually played two seasons so far so I will post the transfers from the two seasons.
The reason I started the story this late is because of the twist that came in my game with Dzeko being sold.( I know you didn't ask that, but it's really just in case anyone wanted to know why)
I have actually played two seasons so far so I will post the transfers from the two seasons.
The reason I started the story this late is because of the twist that came in my game with Dzeko being sold.( I know you didn't ask that, but it's really just in case anyone wanted to know why)

alrite mate so cud u post up ur transfers in ur 2 seasons and i wud get suarez or kalinic to replace dzeko
cheers mate

No bother, thanks for taking an interest.

---------- Post added at 10:38 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:30 AM ----------

July 1st


Ochoa and Hargreaves officially became Villa players today
Little did Hargreaves know it when his transfer went through, but he would be a European Champion that night as England beat France 2-0 in the Finale of Euro 2012.

With Hargreaves on international duty, Guillermo joined me for a press conference that afternoon.


One of the journalists questioned Guillermo on how he felt about joining a club that already had 2 very well thought of shot stoppers in their ranks.

" I think this is a good thing, I feel I am ready to play at this level and the competitiveness for a place in the team will only help me improve."

I was delighted with Guillermos response.

Another journalist asked me about the signing of Hargreaves and what effect that might have on the teams playing style.

"Well to be honest, I felt that if we had been a bit tougher at times in midfield last season we could probably have gone on to win the Championship. This is what Owen will bring to the team, he has the ability to nip an opponents attack in the bud with a crunching tackle or early interception and then start up an attack straight away for his own team. Thats what I like about him, his attacking mentality from deep. Too many deep midfielders hold there position and/or play to many backward passes, offering nothing in the way of creativity for the team. Owen just likes to get on with the game when hes got the ball at his feet."

After the press conference, I spent some time with Guillermo discussing my views for the future of the club and how I saw his part in that. I could tell straight away he was a proper football man, he spoke with real passion about the game and how he would love to one day be named up there with the likes of Schmeichel and Seaman as one of the greatest goalies the Premier League has ever seen.I was really looking forward to seeing him develop to fulfill his potential.

From speaking with Ochoa outside the conference room I went straight to see Paul Faulkner the clubs chief executive with a list of players I wanted him to check up on, to see if any deals could be struck for them.


One of the players was Robert Lewandowski, Dortmunds Polish international. Before Dzeko even left I knew we would need additional firepower in the squad to cope with injuries etc now that we had the champions league and hence a more cluttered season to look forward to. Lewandowski is a great all rounder with an eye for goal and great movement off the ball as well as a classy touch on it. With 31 international caps he has good experience for a player of just 23 years of age also.


Another one of the players I wanted Faulkner to strike a deal for was Phil Jones, Blackburns young, but extremely talented centre back. I had decided on bagging the team a new centre back when I realised Richard Dunne was becoming more heavy legged. Jones is an amazing all round athlete and a certainty to be a future first choice for the English national team."This guy is going to be big, very big Paul so he's worth just about whatever they want for him"

Of course I also handed Paul my shortlist of replacements for Dzeko to see what he could come up with for me.

July 2nd

At training today Ochoa really impressed me with his awareness and how amazingly agile he was bending this way and that to push shots clear of his goal.
I'm also pretty sure however that I won't be handing out new contracts to Dunne or Petrov at the end of the season. Those two have served the club well during there time as Villains but you need to have some bit of zip about you in this league and that now appears to be a diminishing quality of there play. Meanwhile Reo-Coker and Fabian Delph have done nothing to show me they deserve a place in our team and I will be looking to ship them out permanently this year after their loan spells at Lazio(Reo-Coker) and Cardiff(Delph) last year. I may try to get Nathan Delfouneso another loan club for this season as I'm still not sure he's ready for a season in the first team.

After I left training today I received a phone call from Paul. It was an update on his discussions with Ajax for Luis Suarez , he said that he was sure Suarez would be available this season. He wasn't yet sure on an amount that the club were looking for but would keep me posted. For a player like Suarez though I was willing to spend a large amount to bring him in.

July 3rd

Today i received more good news from Paul."Michael, Blackburn are looking for 20 million for Jones and Dortmund want 11 million for Lewandowski.", " Well at least there open to selling them, I think we can definitely get them to bring down there prices somewhat though. If you can get Blackburn down to 15 take it Paul. As for Dortmund 11 is steep for Lewandowski, try to get it around the 8 mark"

July 4th

" I think I've got you a bargain at 16million Michael.....", "For Jones yeah?". "No Michael, Luis Suarez!". " Suarez?!, super stuff Paul, really well done." " Apparently he's been very noisey about moving this summer and Ajax just want rid of him." " Just get him here Paul and we'll try and thrash things out as soon as we can."

Great news, I was expecting to spend up to 40m for a new striker this summer and then this happens.


July 5th

I woke up this morning feeling like I was on top of the world.

"**** it Michael. It got out and.....well........ United are in for Suarez."

With those words I sank back into my chair and clenched my fists tight up into my face. The wind was out of my sails now, after a great morning in bed with the wife, I could now only feel frustration for the days happenings. Reputation is everything in football and theres no doubt United won't even have to say a thing to get Suarez on board. If necessary I'm sure he'll get down on his knees and beg them not to let the nasty Villains take him away instead.

July 7th

" Just thought I should let you know the Suarez deal is now officially off."
" Alright Paul, we tried our best now lets see who else you can get me into discussions with."

Only a couple of hours later. The opening riff of Sweet Child Of Mine rings once more from my pocket.
I answer the phone to my strangely enthusiastic sounding Chief Executive.

" Michael, the deals are tied up with their clubs and their coming to meet you tomorrow to finalise their contracts. Phil Jones will see you at 10:30 tomorrow morning and Robert Lewandowski should be at Villa Park by 5 tomorrow evening. We've organised a 15 million deal for Jones and a 7m deal for Lewandowski."

" That's sweet music to my ears after yesterday Paul. Great work, it'll give the fans something to cheer about."

July 8th

At 5:30 this evening Robert Lewandowski became my second signing of the day. All of a sudden our squad now looks as though it will be more capable of dealing with the challenges that lie ahead for us.

Today is one of those days that the stress of football management is really worth what you get out of it.

At the Press Conference later that evening I was ecstatic. I couldn't wipe the smile from my face for all the money in the world.

Sky Sports reporter Vinny O'Connor: "Michael, what roles do you see both of these players carrying out over the next season and beyond?"

" As everyone in this country has seen for the last couple of seasons, Phil is just about one of the best prospects in world football at the moment. He's a player ready to come in to the first team right now but also one who can improve to be so much better than he is currently."

"Robert on the other hand, is a proven international striker who like Phil, has great potential to improve at this club. Looking at the squad for this season, I saw that we really lacked back-up for the main strikers at the club and I'm confident Robert can come in and perform when called upon."

Ron Beckford then asked,'" Does this signing mean that you don't yet have enough confidence in Nathan Delfouneso or Lucas Gaucho to compete in the Champions League?"

" Not at all Ron, on the contrary I have a massive amount of confidence to be great for this club in the future, for now though neither of them have had enough first team experience at the highest level to expect them to come in and win games against big teams. I think it would be unfair of me to put such pressure on their shoulders."

In saying that however, I was now hoping for a reaction from both players, to excel as first team players and provide a real sense of competition between the strikers.


Things are now rosy on the rollercoaster that is Aston Villa football club.

---------- Post added at 08:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:39 AM ----------

Anybody got any tips or aspects they would like to see in this story?
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July 9th


Today I wanted to discuss with my new assistant, Gil Baiano, his opinion on the state of the club.

" Gil, you've been here for a month now, what do you think of the set up here and the players we have on our payroll?"

" Well Michael, it's certainly a step up here from what we had at Botafogo and obviously the players are of a much higher standard. I have been particularly impressed with Steven Defour's attitude during training, he drives his team-mates on to work harder and at the same time brings them together as a unit."


" I agree with you 110% there, Steven's attitude has been amazing from day one and he has a future as captain of the team in my plans. In fact when Richard Dunne isn't playing, which will be the majority of games this season, I will make Defour Captain."

" I think that's a good idea Michael"

" I just hope Curtis will be ok with it, having been vice-captain for last season. It's best that I see him in my office before setting that plan in motion."


I had Curtis accompany me to the managers office after training. He was hurt by my decision, because the club has in important place in his heart, but for the same reason he said, he would accept my decision if I thought it was best for the club.

After that meeting I checked in with the club physio Gary Lewin to see how Gabby was progressing with his torn hamstring, an injury picked up while playing at Euro 2012.
" Unfortunately Gabby will be missing the duration of pre-season, but should be back to full training within the first couple of weeks or so of the season."


"Thats fairly problematic, but we'll just have to push on without him for now, I trust you'll have him back to fitness as soon as is possible. See you later Garry"

Later on I received a phone call from Nottingham Forrest manager Phil Brown. Phil's a great footballing man, he's managed to bring Forrest back to the big time, however he explained to me, that with all the technical players his team now possess he finds himself needing a tough tackler for midfield. When he mentioned Reo-Coker I was delighted and by the end of the call we had agreed a fair 2.5 million fee.


I called Nigel and explained that he was free to go, as unfortunately he was not in my plans for the coming season. Nigel accepted my stance on the situation and seemed more than happy with the approach from Forrest.
He wrapped up his transfer the next day.

With Gabby now sure to miss a hugely important pre-seaon regime for us, it was more important than ever to get a top striker in.

Wednesday night, I stayed up contemplating what kind of player I wanted to bring in. I reviewed the players on my list through DVD's and reports that my head scout Jeff Vetere had provided me with. I stared hard at my squad asking myself what it was missing. Then looking to the strikers at my disposal right now with Gabby injured, I decided I should bring in someone with a real physical edge. They should be at least 6 foot and have been in top form last season.With Gabby out I needed someone who could come in and hit the ground running.

Unfortunately this meant I would have to cut Rossi from my list as he just didn't have the height or the match fitness I felt was needed. It was too bad really, with a better strike force available to me, I might have liked to have had a punt on him.

The form requirement I had now put in place really brought two players to my attention, Abel Hernandez and Edinson Cavani. Although Kailinic had been putting in fair performances already in the premier league, they really hadn't been much more than that. On top of this Hernandez and Cavani to my recollection had been setting the ground they played on alight since I had been manager of Villa.


So it was now between two. I decided to keep these two options open, as I didn't want to end up having talked myself out of signing one of them and then not end up with a deal for the one. As much as I thought this was the best way to conduct the situation, I couldn't help but be drawn to Hernandez. I wanted someone primarily to partner Agbonlahor up front but who could also drop deep at times to help out with build up play. Cavani, from what I had seen in the footage I had been given, had a tendency to try to drop deep too often and what I really wanted was a player in the mold of Thierry Henry who really only ever did so when needed.

Hernandez reminded me of Henry in many ways from what I'd seen of him. He was fast, strong and liked to run at players. I could really see him becoming a great of the world game.

15th July

Fabian Delph found himself on his way to Bolton today for another fee of 2.5.

To be honest I couldn't have cared less about that transfer. Not because I didn't see eye to eye with Delph but because I had my mind on other things, namely getting players in.
After 4 days of negotiations with Palermo and Napoli, neither club had yet given in to selling their player and I was beginning to grow restless.

16th July

Success!!!! After holding out for what was now 5 days Napoli had put a price on Cavani's head. "30 million and not a penny under it.", said Paul down the phone, as I sat in my boxers, eating my cornflakes. "Well done again Paul!", I shouted down the phone, creating such a hullabaloo that my wife burst into the kitchen, enquiring as to whether an ambulance was needed. "No dear, not just yet, you'll have to wait another while for that insurance payment, haha."


A few minutes later though a cloud replaced the sunshine of happiness that had been in my head, pouring subtle droplets of doubt over the deal that had just been explained to me. I hadn't realised until just now that I really had wanted a call through about Hernandez
more than anything. I waited until 11 o'clock........nothing. I phoned Paul enquiring as to whether there had been any movement from Palermo," Nothing I'm afraid, we've offered 30 mil but there still saying no." " Ah well just let me know if there's anything before 5 and if not just go ahead and put a deal together for Cavani. If Palermo accept any sort of bid, take there hands off."

I waited, and when I say waited I mean the kind where 30 seconds of every minute has been spent checking the clock. 1 o'clock became 2, 2 to 3 and on till 5,nothing came through no sudden changes. On sky sports news it came up along the bottom,
"BREAKING NEWS: Sky Sports understands Aston Villa have made a move for Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, more to follow"

"Ah it could be a lot worse", I thought to myself, this could turn out to be the better deal for all I knew.

Sure enough 5.30 came and I received a phone call from Paul" We've done it Michael!", "Yeah I've just seen it on the news Paul, at least its something for the fans to cheer about, listen I've got to head out the door, great work, see you soon".

That night, still wondering if Cavani would perform as well as I was sure Hernandez would have, I sat down to a late Dinner with my wife Sandra in front of the T.V.

Seeing my reaction to what was on the TV in front of me, my wife enquired yet again about an ambulance? This time I couldn't think of any smart response, something which I couldn't recall happening before. There was good reason though.

I rang Paul at once,

" What's going on here Paul?",

" I'm not sure I follow you Michael, what seems to be the matter?"

" I take it you haven't seen it either then lad, turn on Sky Sports News",

"Ok Michael, I've got it on, nothing standing out here to me that seems out of place"

"Have you you're glasses on lad, I've never seen such a **** up, there going to be ruing that!"

" Whats that then?"

" Look down at the bottom of the screen man, they've got it all wrong"

" Not really Michael, I did speak to you about this, as I recall you said you were on you're..."

"On my way out the door", I said to myself. I thought for a moment and then began,

"I see, so does this mean they've got it right then"

"Yes Michael, it does "

The conversation continues a while longer and then,

"Ok so Paul, sorry to have bothered you, and again, great work today."

" That sort's that out " I said to no-one in particular after hanging up.

" F#ck@ng Yeeeeeeessss!!!!!!", I shouted with all my might, sending my wife jumping from the couch and her dinner to the floor.

"You mad B@st@rd, whats gotten into you today", she cried.

"Hernandez, you beauty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I couldn't believe what had just happened! As I had left the house earlier today and hung up on Paul, he was trying to tell me we'd signed Hernandez after all. He had explained just now in that phone call that when Palermo got wind of our 30m going on its way to napoli, they called Paul straight away and offered Hernandez at 30 mil upfront and 10m over the next two years. The excitement of the moment had completely drained me and as my wife stood there looking demented, with chicken cassrole all down her outfit, eyes demanding an explanation I only had the energy to mutter" heading to bed now love, night"


What an eventful day it had been, a whirlwind of emotions had gone through me and now I was on top of the world.

---------- Post added at 09:23 AM ---------- Previous post was yesterday at 11:27 AM ----------


Having now completed the signing of a player I was sure could gain legendary status at the club, aswell as Jones, Lewandowski, Hargreaves and Ochoa, I was certain we had the potential to push on again in the Premier League.
Despite going into the new season without Dzeko, for me we now had a better squad with more depth. In fact I could easily see myself leaving the rest of my transfer budget untouched, for the summer at least.

The day after his transfer, I played Hernandez for the first time against Atletico Madrid in a friendly. So far in our pre-season friendlies we had faired well against Lyon, AEK and River Plate, winning against the Greek and Argentine teams and drawing with the French team. Against Atletico however, we came undone an lost 1-0, despite having more of the game and showing more creativity. The performance though was all I wanted in our pre-season campaign, the results would come when we were playing games of importance.


It was the next day while watching a football special on Sky Sports, that a player made me sit up and realise that I may not yet be finished spending the clubs money. It was James Rodriguez of Porto. The boy had more natural ability than any player I'd seen in a while and with Young being our only natural winger maybe it was worth having a look at his situation at Porto. He was by no means the finished article yet, but with the right guidance I sensed he could be a player to set England and Europe alight.
When we checked with Porto however they didn't seem as sure of his potential and on the 26th he became a Villain.


Before that however, after being chased by Liverpool in February after they'd sacked Roy Hodgson, Juventus had their eyes on me and offered me the Job straight out. It was an easy one for me to turn down though. I was in charge of a club on the up and since going down to Serie B, Juventus had never been as great a team as before.

In out remaining friendlies against Standard and Udinese, the performances were great again but we only managed a draw and a loss. I was still unworried by this though. The press on the other hand were already prematurely predicting that without Dzeko we would never again reach the heights of last season. In an effort to nip in the bud any negative reactions to this from the players, I organised a team day out.

I hired out a Leisure Complex and organised the guys into teams for the day, trying to keep defenders with defenders and so on. Bonding with each other off the pitch, might allow the players in close proximity of each other on it, to improve on their communication during games.
When they day was over we combined the teams scores in pool and bowling to determine the winners. " Right lads we're going to announce the winners at Villa Park". There were a few curios faces looking back at me but everyone agreed and we moved on.


When we arrived at the stadium, I took the players to the home dressing room where a solitary kit bag lay in the middle of the room. " Right lads the winners are Gabby Agbonlahor, Abel Hernandez, Lucas Gaucho And Nathan Delfouneso." The rest of the team layed out plenty of jeers and banter for the winners. " Well done lads, now open that kit bag and hand out every one of those jerseys. In football, one player does not make a team, having a good strike force does not make a team, like wise with defense, midfield and goalkeepers. We will need each of you now wearing a shirt, to show up when called upon for the coming season. There are a lot of people saying, that last season is as good as it gets for us. If I agreed with them, I would be over in Italy right now, on a more lucrative contract, taking in the sun and fine dining, managing a team of players not fit to where their once great clubs jersey. I think we have a team with the potential to win things here lads, I think we've got a better squad to choose from than last year but the press says no. Are you gonna prove to them and the rest of England that regardless of who has left the club that you are a team, a unit fused together for the better of those in it?" "Yes Boss!!!!" Their roar reverberating off the walls that evening said more about this teams character than any newspaper journalist ever could.

Steven Defour texted me later that nigh, saying he couldn't sleep, he was looking forward to the season so much. I had done what I had set out to do at the start today. The players were now all of the one mind and we could go into the start of the season with confidence.
I knew I had the team I needed at my disposal and my only transfer dealings were for two youths that had earned rave reviews. Andreas Borgnia had been recommended to me by Newton Motta, who had been tipped off by a friend of his in Argentina and Cidinho was recommended by my Assistant Gil Baiano, who had coached him while he was with Botafogo. Both players would be joining the team next year.


With all my transfer dealings and pre-seson plans over with, their was now nothing more to do but kick off our season.
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wow fantastic story man , this is ******* brilliant !!!! im gutterred you didnt start it first season :(
wow fantastic story man , this is ******* brilliant !!!! im gutterred you didnt start it first season :(

Thanks mate, make sure to continue following :)

Would probably have started the story earlier only my computer had been ******* up a lot, causing me to loose my FM saves.
18th August


Its 7:30am on the morning of our opening Premier League match against West Ham. I've just been woken by "Before Tomorrow Comes", a song by my favourite band Alter Bridge ringing from my phone. I find that setting the alarm on your phone to a song you really enjoy can start your day off on a high, not to mention make you less likely to send your phone flying across the room for waking you up.
I opened the curtains of my London hotel suite to find conditions perfect for football.

During my usual matchday morning routine, I heard the predictions for the Premier League season. It was expected that we would finish in 6th place, a position that fans of the club became well acquainted with while the team was being managed by Martin O'Neill. I couldn't believe this, the press had been so hung up on Dzeko's departure that they had failed to notice the quality of the players we had brought in. I really couldn't care less for predictions though. We had proved everybody wrong last season and would do so again this season.

I set about picking my team at 10:30 or so, scrolling down through the squad list on my laptop.


Marco Amelia
Guillermo Ochoa
Alez Smithies


Richard Dunne
Curtis Davies
Ciaran Clark
Phil Jones
Carlos Cuellar
Stephen Warnock
Cheik M'Bengue


Stiliyan Petrov
Owen Hargreaves
Steven Defour
Stephen Ireland
Ibrahim Afellay
Steven Pienaar
Ashley Young
Marc Albrighton
James Rodriquez


Robert Lewandowski
Gabby Agbonlahor
Lucas Gaucho
Nathan Delfouneso
Abel Hernandez

The team I settled on was;


Cuellar Jones Dede M'Bengue

Young Defour Afellay Rodriguez

Lucas Lewandowski

This left me with a strong bench of,


I revealed the team to the players in a conference room before leaving for Upton Park. I explained to Abel afterwards that I wanted to bring him on late in the game so that he could get used to the way we play when we were in full flow. He understood completely, knowing that I obviously hadn't spent such a massive amount on him to use him as an impact player.


The dressing room was quiet, with an air of anxiety about the place. We had much higher expectations for ourselves this season than anyone else had for us. Fortunately this meant that the only pressure put upon the team was directly from myself and the fans.

" Right lads, I want you to go out and control this game from start to finish. You're going to get a lot of abuse from the terraces playing this way, fans don't like the away team having the majority of possession. However you're all professionals and I don't want to see any sign of nerves! You're only reaction to abuse is to be one of you punishing their team and making the fans more frustrated. I don't want to see any missed passes at all out their. At the same time, keep your minds open to any potential creative moves."
On the way out of the dressing room I was made aware that Jose Mourinho was watching todays game. That seemed a bit of a strange one but I had no time to think about it.

West ham kicked the game off, and although it was mostly their fans shouting for the first touch of the game, i had a thrill go down my neck as the season began.

West Ham 0 - 1 Aston Villa

(Ashley Young "25")


View attachment 134879

A good start to the season with a solid away win. We controlled the game as I wanted and Ashleys goal was a cracker, sending the ball in off the post with an effort from my left foot. It wasn't a prolific day in front of goal by any stretch of the imagination today. However we did have plenty of opportunities in front of goal, as you can see from this map:

View attachment 134878

At the same time though, it's great having all the possession and chances, but if you can't put away your chances you won't win many games and that's exactly what I told the players after the game. Hopefully we can get the majority of our shots on target in the next few games. The whole team defended very well today, limiting the Hammers to only 3 shots on target and there was no real danger from any of those.

Overall I was pleased with the pressure we put them under high up the field and the creativity we showed when in possession. The goals will come as the strikers get more match practice.

I went home feeling great about our prospects, having produced a performance that showed once we got a few more games into us, we could only improve.

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Afellay Targeted by Real Madrid


Sky Sports understands that Jose Mourinho attended yesterdays West Ham - Aston Villa game to take a close look at rumoured transfer target Ibrahim Afellay. Reals president Florentino Perez had this to say about the player," As of yet, we have not made any approach to Aston Villa for the player. Jose merely went along to the game for a first hand look at Afellay. He is a top player and with players of such quality there will always be interest". There's no telling whether Real will make a move now or in the summer, but surely it has to mean something that Mourinho took the first opportunity possible this season to go to a Villa game. Michael Clince is yet to comment on the possibility of Afellay departing Villa Park, but is expected to do a brief press conference, following his sides convincing performance yesterday.

Keep your eyes on Sky Sports News and for more news on Aston Villa and Afellay!

"Ibrahim's not going anywhere, he's an important part of our squad and he's happy here". That was the line that everybody at the press conference had been waiting for. I had been surprised how quickly Ibrahim had adapted to the English game in his first season and was anxious to see how well he could do in his second.

However the next day:


Afellay Unhappy with Clinces Comments

Ibrahim Afellays Agent has today moved to criticise Michael Clince for blocking a dream move to Real Madrid for his client. At such an early point in the season, Clince will have to deal with this situation swiftly, to avoid any dis-harmony in his squad. Afellay made 35 starts for Villa last season, scoring 7 goals and laying on 10 assists. He arrived for a free in the summer of 2011 from PSV, so with Real Madrid involved Villa could find themselves making a massive profit if indeed Real do put in a definite bid and of course if Villa choose to accept a bid for their midfield maestro. Real are rumoured to value the player at 13 million pounds.

Having this article brought to my attention was distressing. Ibrahim had seemed to be happy here and had seemed as ambitious as anyone in the dressing room to do well for the club. Even before I could get the chance to speak to him on the subject though, another story popped up on the screen in front of me.


Villa Star Sacks Agent Over False Claims

Just minutes after Sky Sports reported that Ibrahim Afellay was unhappy to see his manager squash claims that he would move to Real Madrid, the player has sacked his agent Theo Brouwer for giving false information to the press. Asked for comment on his happiness at Villa Afellay responded," Of course, I a very happy here. We feel we have the potential to win things and we have a manager that all the players believe in", Clince must be highly relieved to hear that one of his outstanding players from last season has no intention of going anywhere soon. It is understood that Clince, who won manager of the year last year after guiding Villa to second in the league, has himself in the last year rejected the opportunity to join two historic clubs in Liverpool and Juventus.

Midway through reading the article I had received a call from Ibrahim apologising for the antics of his now former agent and declaring his love for the club. He said," Like you said boss you could have gone from here yourself boss, but we have potential. I'm smart enough to know that no matter what Real would say, I would only ever be a bit part player there and thats not what I want." Thats great Ibrahim, just keep playing the way you have for the last year or so and show the fans that you are committed to our cause here".

It was an enormous relief to hear such strong words from an important player for our team and now I could get on with tackling the prospect of Forrest, Spurs and Man City in our next three Premier League games, before the clubs first game ever in the Champions League.

25th August

Aston Villa 2 - 0 Nottingham Forrest​
(Kelvin Wilson o.g "2", Abel Henandez "25")

We kicked off our first competitive home game of the season in front of a full house. We produced another completely dominant display, yet our finishing again let us down. From 25 shots only 9 were on target, even though only 9 were from long range. With so many chance available against the lesser teams it wasn't much of a problem, but if we didn't improve on it for the games against Man City and Spurs we could be punished. The first goal came from a great ball, whipped in by Ashley young from a corner. Dede met it powerfully with his head and the ball was diverted in off Kelvin Wilson. Abel scored his first goal for the club today with a comfortable finish into the bottom corner. He had been left in mountains of space when Lucas ran at the defense drawing Hernandez' marker towards him. Lucas held the ball out wide before his pass left Abel with an opportunity easier to score than miss.

3rd September

Tottenham 0 - 1 Aston Vila​
(Lucas- pen"71")

A great away win against tough opponents today. We had to depend on a 71st minute penalty but I was very happy with the performance that went with the result. Of 13 shots on goal today, 8 were on target and we took up much better positions to score. Strangely enough this didn't actually lead to a goal from play, as Gomes put in a man of the match performance. It did however lead to a penalty which Lucas slotted home from. Lucas took up a great position in the hole and sent a pin point pass into the path of Ashley Young in the area, only for Assou-Ekotto to barge him over. Lucas then sent the keeper the wrong way, with a pass into the left bottom corner of the net from the resulting penalty.

15th September

Aston Villa 2 - 0 Manchester City​
(Abel Hernandez "28" + "36")

This result was extremely pleasing for me, as it meant we had defeated two contenders for the title in a row and being a Man United fan it didn't hurt either. Hernandez continued on from the last game, scoring a brace in this fixture. His first goal came through a swift team move that Arsenal would be proud of. His second goal came in the aftermath of a corner for the team. City cleared the ball to the edge of the area but we managed to retain possession. The ball eventually made its way out towards the corner taker Young once more. Abel dashed to the front post to meet his low drilled shot and sent it blistering into the net.

The signs are good heading into our first game in European competition. Abel has found his feet early and our defense hasn't conceded after 4 games this season. Our dominance in games is particularly encouraging and I can't wait to see how we do against Roma.



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Superb story mate, I don't know why I but I actually love the fact that you have started a couple of seasons in maybe because it's different I think its brilliant. Just to let you know, You still have Lucas as the scorer against man City rather than Hernandez with a brace :p ;) KIU though I will follow.