To be the best, you have to beat the best... Starting from the bottom


Mar 10, 2013
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I check my emails on a rainy Tuesday morning, typical British weather. Sky Sports News is on the telly in the background as a particular name pops up in my inbox. An email from James Hunter, he was my FA managerial course lecturer. There’s an attachment on the email, this must be the results from my final exams and dissertation. I opened it and read what could change the course of my life forever…

Stew Fell
Congratulations, you have passed your exams and completed an excellent dissertation on ‘How the Football Manager 2012 Game can help future Managers’. These are your finished grades:
Player Analysis – B
Transfer Dealings – A
Team Talks – C
Financial Awareness – A
Training – C
Tactics – B
Football Manager Potential – You have the potential to become a manager that may be able to run a club in the Championship, you will be out of your depth at any higher level.
You are now eligible to become a football manager in any EU country. Any applications will have to be run through us so we can add a reference to it.
Congratulations again.

James Hunter

I finished reading the email and one bit stuck in my mind. My potential has to be higher than that! He can’t tell me what my potential is after being sacked by Brighton and Hove Albion in 1997. 12 games, 12 defeats and 1 goal scored. What a **** record he had. Still though, I had my licence and could now go and find a job. I wonder where I will end up…
Thanks to anyone that reads this, any feedback is much appreciated :)
The manager job market is up on my screen. There are many jobs available but there is only a few that I would feel confident in. Chelsea have another opening, seems Benitez left thanks to the fans. No point thinking of going there, obviously I don’t have the experience to manage there. Others include Shanghai Shenua, I’m pretty sure Drogba just left there. But anyway, the clubs that I deemed realistic I could take on and develop are:

Charleroi in Belgium Pro League
Santa Clare in Portuguese 2nd​ Division
Kerkyra who are last in Greek SuperLeague
Swindon, Oldham and Coventry who are all in English League 1

Applications have been sent and now it’s time to play the waiting game. I have a date tonight with someone who I met when learning to become a football manager. She was top of the class. She has been wanting to go out with me for ages, tonight is the night.

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After returning to my apartment the next morning (it was a great night) and switching my phone back on, I found 3 emails and a text. I decided to look at the text later and saw an email from Mario Batista, the Santa Clara chairman. He liked the look of my results and needed a young manager to take the team forwards and into the first division. The offer was massive, £1,300 p/w until June 2014!

This was what I had wanted, a managerial job straight away. This seemed far too quick, and how was I supposed to move over to Portugal without speaking the language as well as not knowing a lot about the players.

A second text popped up onto my phone. It was Rebecca, my date from the previous night. She had been offered the job of Benfica reserves manager. She had taken it without any hesitation, and congratulated me on the Santa Clara job, how the **** did she know about that?

This made my mind up. I accepted the job of manager at Santa Clara and then asked Rebecca out when we got to Portugal. Not a bad second date! Conformation of my plane tickets came through and I packed my things. Portugal won’t know what hit it.

PS the next post will happen after the end of the transfer window. I need to settle in to my new job first.
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What a week, its fair to say I’ve been waiting for this moment for what seems an erternity.

The club is currently 8th​ in the league and after a long discussion with the chairman we decided that the target was a top 10 finish and to build for next year. He has been great to me and allowed me time to get used to the technical play this league requires. I have no transfer budget and must manage the current wage bill. We also have Porto as an affiliate so I may try and get some youngsters on loan to develop the thin squad here.
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The lads played their first game against Oliveirense and it resulted in a 0-0 draw. Both teams created chances but it wasn’t to be. The next game proved better however with a 2-1 away win at Portimonense. My first victory was sweet but there was a lot of work to be done on the training pitch as we only had 41% possession, not close to my target. There is a great team somewhere here, they just need to believe in themselves.

The transfer market has been interesting and much more difficult than I could have imagined. My chief scout has a great knowledge of Central Europe and I bring my own knowledge from the UK. We had drinks my first night here and began to plan what I envisaged this team to become. He said he would come back with the right players and he did, there was some great talent available. Contracts were offered to 5 players but we ended up with only the one. He arrives in July, there’s no need to upset the team until I have given them all a chance to prove they are good enough.

Aside from all the football stuff I moved in my new apartment and WOW, it’s amazing. Although not as big as some I was told that AVB stayed here when he was taking his exams… a good omen? Rebecca is based in Lisbon and that’s only an hour away in a car but I have to go and buy one first. We have skyped a couple of times and I can’t wait to see her on for our second date.