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Is it safe?, is it secret?...(LotR Challenge)

Tyrone the Magazine

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..."Yes dad your homemade whiskey is where you left it 10 years ago, second drawer down on the left"

"cheers son"

"Anyway as I was trying to say Newcastle made me manager...

...well I'm off down the pony with Lee I'll see you in there later for a jar"

"rito son, me and your mum are so proud..."

"yeah, yeah dad I know I'll see you later"

I couldn't believe it me manager of Newcastle United, I mean its not like i'm a big name in football...hell i'm not even a name in football...so to speak. I was just a lowly pub football team manager for the pony, I know I did a little with the NUFC under 19s but still...MANAGER. It's gonna take some getting used to.

authors note: Seeing as this is my first attempt at a story I will be making the odd refferal to LotR. It is my favourite book and the films were excellent. However, to save confusing myself and probably you by trying to intertwine LotR and football (unsuccesfully I predict)I will try to keep it simple and stick to mainly the football side. The main character is Jazz O'neil, and as in the book he has a trusty sidekick in Lee Winstone.

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..."Yes dad your homemade whiskey is where you left it 10 years ago, second drawer down on the left"

"cheers son"

"Anyway as I was trying to say Newcastle made me manager...

...well I'm off down the pony with Lee I'll see you in there later for a jar"

"rito son, me and your mum are so proud..."

"yeah, yeah dad I know I'll see you later"

I couldn't believe it me manager of Newcastle United, I mean its not like i'm a big name in football...hell i'm not even a name in football...so to speak. I was just a lowly pub football team manager for the pony, I know I did a little with the NUFC under 19s but still...MANAGER. It's gonna take some getting used to.

authors note: Seeing as this is my first attempt at a story I will be making the odd refferal to LotR. It is my favourite book and the films were excellent. However, to save confusing myself and probably you by trying to intertwine LotR and football (unsuccesfully I predict)I will try to keep it simple and stick to mainly the football side. The main character is Jazz O'neil, and as in the book he has a trusty sidekick in Lee Winstone.

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NUFC Press Release:

We here at Newcastle United Football Club would like to thank Bobby Robson for his great service to this club and for all the hard work and effort he has put into it. We wish him well in his retirement and will never forget him. He has played no small part in helping us find a successor, he has worked with him and rates him very highly. He is a young man who we hope will have a long prosporous carrer with us. He has worked with our under 19s and helped us nurture young talent at this football club. The new Newcastle United Football Club manager is Jazz O'Neil. Mr O'Neil is in charge as of now, we expect him to carry on what Bobby Robson left behind. We have told Mr O'Neil we expect progress in the league and in Europe and he expected no less. He will be in full command of who will be comming to leaving this club, however, he is also aware of players we regard as 'key assets'. Transfer funds will be available to him however, we will not reveal how much at this present time. Once again Jazz O'Neil is the new Newcastle United Football manager.

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The Pony (local Pub)

He stood outside just looking at the door, he'd been here a million times before. He knew everybody and everybody knew him. As soon as he walked through the door he knew Phil, the landlord, would have his pint waiting for him by the time he got to the bar. On the pool table would be Adam, Ben, Steve and Graham all shouting and laughing, in the corner would be Jim with his pint and paper smoking those thin cigars. On the bandit would be Dave putting pound after pound trying to win them all back, while Josh would be choosing cheesy songs on the jukebox. At the bar would be Joe, Tom and Farmer, whos name was Tom but only his mother called him Tom, so being a farmer that was how was known. It was so familiar he knew it would be no different, but it somehow felt different. He himself hadn't changed but his life had. As he pushed open the door it hit him, as it always did the familliar wall of smoke and the warm smell of smoke and stale beer. Some people would expect everyone to cheer and congratulate him offer him drinks want to shake his hand, but no it was the same as it always was: Adam, Ben, Steve and Graham all held up their glasses as he entered, Jim looked over his paper for a second and went back to it, Dave gave him a nod. As he reached the bar Phil sat his pint on the mat, he handed over his money as if like clockwork Joe, Tom and Farmer looked at him and said 'alrite'. It was if nothing about him at all had changed, and he liked it normal, thats how he wanted it.

"hey, hey" Lee shouted at him as he came out of the toilet

Jazz: "hows it going?"

Lee: "not bad, not bad at all. So, first impressions in the flesh seeing them face to face, training with them whos gonna make it and who aint?"

J: "well...


Shay Given is quality all the way what can I say what you don't know already? 52 caps for Ireland been number 1 at Newcastle for the last 5 seasons bar injury. Steve Harper a very good backup but is unlikely to take number 1 from Given. Tony Caig good keeper for lower levels nothing more than backup backup.


Jonathan 'Woody' Woodgate top class central defender for me will be the first on the teamsheet. Alongside him mainly will be Titus Bramble who most of the time will get in the first team ahead of Andy 'OB' O'Brien who would be an adequate replacement. Full backs will be mainly Aaron Hughes on the right ahead of Andy Griffen. The good thing about Hughes is he can play anywhere along the backline. Olivier Bernard who I think is highly underestimated will command the left back position as his own. Other candidates for that position are Robbie Elliott and Wayne Quinn who will both be transfer listed as they are basicly useless. the three Steven's Caldwell, Taylor both centre backs and Brennan right full back, are promising youngsters.


Darren Ambrose and Laurent Robert will be the main wingers for now. Ambrose is still young and all being told probably not ready for regular first team action and a replacement is probably needed. Robert is infuriating he mixes the sublime with the rediculous, I will give him a go and try to kerb his rediculousness. Jermaine 'JJ' Jenas, Kieron Dyer and Gary Speed will rotate in central midfield. Dyer is a superb talent who can run at defenders with electrifying pace. JJ will most likely rotate with Speed depending on whats needed, he is more attacking than Speed whos steely resolve and experience will be much needed throughout the campaign. Lee Bowyer and Hugo Viana play mainly play in central midfield but can play on the wings, right and left respectively, but will be mainly cover. Diego Gavilan and Jamie McClen are useless and will be offloaded at the earliest opportunity. Brian Kerr and Bradley Orr are both promising young talent.


Alan Shearer speaks for itself. Craig Bellamy's pace and tenaciousness is the perfect partner for Shearer when he's fit. Shola Ameobi is a very good young player who will play a big part in the season. Lommana Tresor Lua Lua is gifted but not for this level and will be allowed to leave. Michael Bridges on loan from Leeds is a decent player whos contract is up in the summer. Michael Chopra is a very gifted young player who will go on to do great things, hopefully still with Newcastle.

J: ...there you have it"

L: "blimey, so what formation will you be playing?"

J: "I'm a Sunday league manager so good old 442"

*Grabs bottles, glasses, sugar bowls until he has the 442 formation laid out on the table*

J: "up the wings with the full backs overlapping getting crosses in and players joining from midfield...traditional y'know. Anyway enough with that get the drinks in"

L: "rito, hey you don't think you could get me a job there do you, nothing special like but something so we can work together"

J: "I'll see what I can do"

L: "cheers, another two pints please Phil...and a packet of crisps"

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*buzz buzz* Suddenly as if out of nowhere a huge flailing arm came crashing down on the alarm clock. Which in turn got its own back by jumping off the bedside cabinet onto Jazz's head...still buzzing. Shouting at it to shut the **** up didn't seem to work, but hurling it accross the room did, which pleased Jazz. However, he knew he owed a debt to that little £6 machine as it has saved him from turning up late for a meeting with chairman Freddy Shepherd. His head pounding and his mouth tasting like an ashtray he pretty much fell out of bed and shuffled like a zombie into the lounge. He opened his eyes and what greeted him was a bombsite, he couldn't believe his eyes...he rubbed the gunk from his eyes hoping that would change the situation. No, his lounge was a bomb site, and this bomb site had its own sleeping drunk. Lee had effectively passed out on the sofa, as he waded through the empty cans and pizza boxes he tripped, over what can be only described as a snoring Dave camoflaged in empty beer cans. 'Kin hell' Jazz said as he made his way to the kitchen and found some asprin and a glass of water. He headed for the shower in which were more beer cans, these were unopened, sitting in the bath tub with the remains of ice cubes. As he showered he started to remember the night before. Feelling almost human he headed back to his room where he found his best, well his only, suit thankfully still hanging up in the wardrobe. He could still smell the Pony the smoke and stale beer reeked from his clothes so he threw them into a basket and opened his window. As he looked out he could see the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. He headed back to the kitchen where he made some coffee, he smacked Lee on the head which in turn he got a grumble of '**** off'. He helped Dave off the floor and as they sat round drinking coffee laughing about the night before Jazz noticed he had to get to the ground.

J: "right i'm off, Dave i'll drop you off at home on the way, Lee clean this mess up will you"

D: "cheers Jazz"

L: "why me"

J: "because i'm doing you a favour by trying to get you a job so you can do this, ok"

Chairmans office St James' Park

FS: "right Jazz i'll try and keep this short and sweet. Basicly we bought you here for the long term, your a young man, and these are in the whole young players, so we are hoping this will prove to be a success in the future as you all grow and learn together."

J: "ok, i'm still in awe of this place and the whole situation. I mean i've worked a little with the under 19s but this, wow."

FS: "yes, anyway we have taken a big risk appointing you as manager, the fans expected a big name not somebody like you, i'm sure you understand what i'm saying"

J: "absolutely, I wont let you down Mr Shepherd"

FS: "please call me Freddy, now just because your in here for the future doesn't mean you can **** up the now. We don't expect miracles but we don't want to lose ground on the top few, I demand a top six finish"

J: "of course I totally understand, what about transfer money"

FS: "you will have approximately £12m to spend plus about 75% of what you make from sales. Speaking of which, I know what the press release said but you are not to sell: Given, Woody, Dyer, JJ, Bellamy, Shearer at all no matter what the cost ok"

J: "sure I wouldn't dream of selling them anyway they are our best players"

FS: "good, now John Carver, your assistant, will take the first friendly for you to give you time to get settled in after that your first friendly is away to Slagelse of Denmark. The first league match is away to Man U, good luck kid. We will also have a Champions Cup qualifiers to come but the dates and opponent hasn't been decided yet."

J: "wow away to Man U"

FS: "yeah, now we expect to be in the Champions Cup this year. That should be about it unless you have any questions, then i'll give you the tour"

J: "just the one, are there any jobs going?"

FS: "WHAT?!"

J: "its just my mate Lee has always been there for me and asked if I could ask you. He doesn't want anything special as he wouldn't be any good, but anything you've got he'd give 110% I can vouch for that."

FS: "well, there is a space on the groundsmen staff, tell him to make an appointment and i'll see him, ok."

J: "cheers Mr Shepherd, i..i mean Freddy"

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The Pony

Jazz entered his home from home. The Pony was essentially his office, he spoke and thought about football here than he did at the stadium. On this wet thursday evening in the east end of Newcastle something was wrong in this corner of the world. The pub seemed its usual self appart from one thing Lee was nowhere to be seen. This was very strange as Lee basicly lived in the Pony, he was always there before Jazz, usually ****ed out of his head. He went over and spoke to Dave, and he informed Jazz that as a bet Lee said he would run stark b*****k naked if he got the job at Newcastle. As it turned out the phone rang, at the pub, ten minutes earlier and Lee had got the job. No sooner had Dave finished explaining when a soaking wet naked Lee ran through the doors almost fell over a table and into the toilet. A sight that nobody should ever see left Jazz staring bemuzed until Lee emerged from the toilet fully clothed. He and Lee walked to the bar Phil already had his drink waiting for him as usual, but Jazz said no to it, he ordered an orange juice. This left the pub silent everyone stared at him as if he had just declared that he was an alien. Jazz said to the puzzled crowd that being a manager of a top flight club meant he had to be more healthy, thus he must cut down on the alcohol consumption. They went back to what they were doing shaking their heads, Lee just stood there gobsmacked, Jazz said he could have it and within 10 seconds it was gone. So strange was his order Phil had to find a carton of orange juice as the half full one in the fridge had gone off. Lee and Jazz, when he finally got his juice, sat at their usual table.

L (p***ed as a fart): "Jazz, mate I...I...I just wanna thank you. I am now a gardener and you are my leader..."

J: "your more than a gardener Lee you look after the whole stadium not just the pitch, I aint no leader either i'm just the manager i'm not your boss"

L: "you...you are my leader and I am your gardener...its...its like that film whatyamacall it...Lord of the Rings thats it. To show my thingy...erm...grat...er thanks er no app...appreciation thats the one I got you this ring. I want you to keep it through your long journey of football management"

J: "Lee, you got this PLASTIC ring from the Frosties this morning"

L: "don't you like it?"

J: "its very nice Lee"

L: "isn't it"

Next morning at Jazz's office at St James'

*knock at door*

J: "come in"

L: "its me, are you free?"

J: "yeah mate come in how are you this morning *chuckles*, I kept the ring as a memento"

L: "yeah, sorry about last night i was a bit wrecked, you should just throw that away y'know"

J: "no way im keepin this, really, and don't worry bout last night"

L: "so...what have you done so far since you've been in charge?"

J: "well...

Its been busy actually especially with comming and goings. I got rid of those useless lumps Elliott, Quinn and McClen to Tottenham, Milwall and WBA respectively, got about £2m for the lot of them. I've also spent some money getting Danny Pugh from Man U, he's only in as cover for Robert, he's young and fairly talented one I hope will learn when he gets his chances. Philippe Mexes came in from Auxerre for about £3.5m. Young but very gifted central defender, one who will get his fair share of chances throughout the season. I'm trying to get Ludovic Guily from Monaco but am still waiting for a reply. The staff here are all good and i wont need to bring anybody new in there, and the wage budget is well under control. I have a feeling we will do well if I can get them playing properly. Anyway we will have to see.

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Jazz was musing about the past couple of weeks, which saw new faces arrive into the club, a training ground bust up and pre season games come and go. Now the night before the opening game against Man U it had hit him, the reallity that was being a football manager. He found himself fiddling with the plastic ring that Lee gave him, it was strange it was nothing more than a drunken gesture yet he had kept it. He threw it down on the desk and thought about the big game tomorrow. The new signings of Celestine Babayaro and Mikel Aranburu add depth to the first team squad. Aranburu will probably go straight into the first team and Babayaro will have to battle it out for a first team spot, at the moment he will be waiting for his chance. However, as he can be a winger as well as a full back his chance may not be to far away. Bellamy and Robert had a training ground bust up and as a result don't get on at all, if this continues Jazz thought he would have to get rid of one of them, for the sake of the team. James Williams had also been brought in by Jazz after recomendation by one of his scouts. The 21 year old central midfielder is one for the future. He was tired and with a big day tomorrow he left his office and headed home, not before picking up the ring which he did sub-conciously.

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Man U v Newcastle

Man U GK: Howard, DR: G.Neville, DL: Silvestre, DC: O'Shea, DC: Keane, MR: Ronaldo(82), ML: Giggs, MC: Butt, MC: Scholes(44), FC: Van Nistelrooy, FC: Saha(62). Subs Carroll, Bellion, Lynch(44), Kléberson(82), Solskjaer(62)

Newcastle GK: Given, DR: Hughes, DL: Bernard, DC: Bramble, DC: Woodgate, MR: Aranburu(58), ML: Robert(58), MC: Dyer, MC: Speed, FC: Shearer, FC: Ameobi. Subs Harper, Mexes, Babayaro(58), Jenas(58), Bridges

Man U 2 v 0 Newcastle

Saha 12

Van Nistelrooy 46

MoM Saha

Att 67,674

The game went as expected, Man U is always going to be hard, not least away on your first real competitive game. However, Jazz savoured the moment, being on the touchline at Old Trafford in the blistering hot sunshine on a Sunday afternoon. He knew he was going to enjoy his time at Newcastle. The game itself saw two fairly evenly matched sides, Newcastle almost had as many shots as their hosts, it was just their hosts who took their chances. The two Newcastle wingers were very disappointing and so about an hour into the game Jazz decided to replace the both of them. This gave Newcastle more options but they squandered the chances they had. Although defeat is a jaggered pill to swallow Jazz wasn't really that bothered, he had gotten a difficult game out of the way. He thought to himself the season starts now, his next match was at home to Southampton, he couldn't wait for the first home match in charge. Jazz sat on the team coach with that thought in his head and a smile on his face as they pulled away from Old Trafford.

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Results for August

CC.Q3.L1: Slavia Prague 0 v 2 Newcastle

EPL: Man U 2 v 0 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 1 v 0 Southampton

EPL: Leicester 2 v 1 Newcastle

CC.Q3.L2: Newcastle 3 v 0 Slavia Prague (Newcastle win 5-0 on agg)

EPL: Newcastle 2 v 0 Charlton

Monday September 1st: The Pony 11.00

For once Jazz was in the pub before anyone else, even Lee, he also alowed himself a pint. He was thinking about what the last month threw at him. Newcastle were sitting 7th in the league after beating Southampton and Charton at home but losing to Man U and Leicester away. This obviously needs rectifying thought Jazz, where am I going wrong on away days? He had expected the Man U result but he had rather hoped he'd come away from Leicester with at least a point. At least he had won his first home game he thought as he sipped on his pint. He also managed to guide them through to the Champions Cup proper, welcome to football he said to himself, lose to Leicester one day and qualify for the Champions Cup group stages the next. It wasn't half a rollercoaster ride. Just then a flood of people walked in among them was Lee.

L: "alrite mate, I ain't half enjoying my new job"

J: "yeah well your doing a great job the pitch is emaculate"

L: "thanks anyway did you see the match yesterday?"

J: "which match was that then" he had been to wrapped up in his own club to worry about anyone elses.

L: "Everton - Man U, hey it was a mint game you should have seen it"

J: "Man U won I take it?"

L: "no"

J: "no! what was the score then ones each?"

L: "nah nah man, Everton won 6-4, brilliant game for the neutral and Everton I guess"

J: "really wow, they weren't joking when they said it's a funny old game"

L: "yeah, so whats your Champions Cup group like then?"

J: "didn't you know, we got CSKA Moscow, Real Sociedad and Olympiakos. I think we are in with a chance of progressing."

L: "could've gotten worse"

J: "anyway I had better get back get them ready for the next match."

As he left he was planning his next match already. Away to Leeds, how am I going to get the team performing away from home? he thought to himself. He was also thinking about the teamsheet problems of which he had good and bad. The good problem was that he had a good sized squad and was who he was going to pick and those he wouldn't. However, things aren't always as good as they seem, Bellamy had recovered from his injury layoff and needed some match fitness, he thought about giving him a run out this Saturday. It was Robert that really troubled him, this 'spat' with Bellamy may come out on the pitch which wasn't good. Also Robert had been performing very much underpar perhaps because of this 'spat'. If they didn't sort it out soon it may come to selling Robert as Bellamy was 'key' and Robert was the one performing badly. New signing Aranburu had also been a bit poor with his performances, hopefully he just needs time to settle Jazz thought as he pulled into his parking spot at the training ground.

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Results for September

EPL: Leeds 0 v 1 Newcastle

CC.GrpD: CSKA Moskow 0 v 1 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 1 v 1 Wolves

EPL: Liverpool 0 v 3 Newcastle

Liverpool 0 v 3 Newcastle (Speed, Shearer, Bernard)

Liverpool GK: Luzi, DR: Finnan, DL: Riise, DC: Hyypia, DC: Henchoz(61), MR: Murphy, ML: Kewell, MC: Hamann, MC: Smicer(60), FC: Owen, FC: Diouf(60). Subs Dittmer, Diao(60), Biscan(61), Heskey(60), Traore

Newcastle GK: Given, DR: Hughes, DL: Bernard, DC: Mexes, DC: Woodgate, MR: Aranburu(80), ML: Babayaro, MC: Dyer, MC: Speed, FC: Shearer, FC: Bellamy(80). Subs Harper, Bramble, Jenas(80), Robert, Ameobi(80)

MoM Woodgate

Att 45,343

This was a game that Jazz was expecting to get very little out of. So when Speed shot them ahead in the second minute with a stunning 25 yeard screamer after good work down the left from Bernard and Babayaro, who cut it back to Speed who was lurking just outside the area. The game got a little scrappy after that both sides having chances. However, when Riise fouled Shearer in the area the ref had no choice but to give the penalty which Shearer dispatched in typical form. From then on it was all Newcastle. Newcastle started the second half as they had finished the first and Liverpool looked as if they were going to buckle, Gerard Houlier brought on subs to try and freshen up Liverpool but to no avail. No sooner had the subs got onto the pitch Bernard fired home Newcastle's third. After good work by Speed who the squared it to Bernard who ran with the ball to the edge of the area and fired in a fearsome shot that took a wicked defflection leaving the Liverpool keeper stranded. Liverpool had a couple of chances but nothing that troubled the Newcastle keeper. In the end it was an easy victory for Jazz O'Neils men.

This was a great month for Jazz but however, was tinged with some bad news. Striker Craig Bellamy handed in a transfer request because he is unhappy working with Laurent Robert. The request was rejected and Jazz told Bellamy to grow up. Jazz had finally won away from home, twice, and what a result it was against Liverpool. They are now sitting 5th in the league and both Woody and Dyer are playing very well. On top of this is two good results in the Champions Cup Jazz told himself, which sees them sitting on top of their group. Bit of a blip against Wolves but so far so good, the defence seems to be coping very well. Just then Jazz noticed a memo on his desk telling him that Ameobi had been awarded the EPL young player of the month award which made him smile. As Jazz left his office he couldn't help thinking that Gerard Houlier now he had met him in the flesh looked rather like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings films, I think its the eyes he muttered to himself...

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Results for October

CC.GrpD: Newcastle 0 v 0 Olympiakos

EPL: Newcastle 0 v 0 Arsenal

EPL: Aston Villa 0 v 0 Newcastle

CC.GrpD: Newcastle 1 v 0 Real Sociedad

EPL: Newcastle 3 v 0 Fulham

LC.R3: Arsenal 1 v 4 Newcastle

A busy month for Jazz and his team but a good month. No loss and only one conceded in all competitions in 6 games, which actually meant they had gone 12 games unbeaten in all competitions, that surprised Jazz. They had also conceded only two goals in that time and kept 10 clean sheets, they had scored 19, all in all not a bad record for a fresh faced manager that Jazz was. Ameobi, Dyer and Woodgate had all impressed him too, however, Aranburu had not, he had been very poor of late. After Newcastle's impressive victory over Arsenal in the League Cup third round this left them with a fourth round home tie versus Chesterfield. They currently occupied 4th spot in the league and top spot in the Champions Cup group. Jazz had impressed his critics and the Newcastle fans had warmed to him, perhaps even support his reign as manager as it had been a good one up till now.

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Results for November

EPL: Man City 2 v 2 Newcastle

CC.GrpD: Real Sociedad 1 v 3 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 2 v 0 Middlesborough

EPL: Newcastle 6 v 0 Bolton

EPL: Portsmouth 1 v 3 Newcastle

CC.GrpD: Newcastle 2 v 0 CSKA Moscow

EPL: Newcastle 2 v 1 Blackburn

Results for December

LC.R4: Newcastle 3 v 0 Chesterfield

EPL: Everton 0 v 2 Newcastle

CC.GrpD: Olympiakos 1 v 1 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 3 v 0 Tottenham

LC.QF: Wigan 0 v 2 Newcastle

EPL: Birmingham 1 v 4 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 0 v 0 Chelsea

The Pony - 31/12/03 23:59

*singing to the tune of olde lands ayne: ha'way the lads, ha'way the lads... can be heard* Two very busy months for Jazz on the most part very good ones. They had progressed through to the knock out stages of the Champions Cup and the semi-finals of the League cup. Jazz had prooved to be a good manager so far and the board and now the fans seemed to be enjoying his success. Unbeaten in the past two months another 7 clean sheets Jazz was very pleased with this he couldn't believe how well the season was going. That was why he was now paraletic singing along with everyone while Newcastle sit 4th in the league. He put his hand in his pocket and found the ring, he diddn't know why but he couldn't throw it away, he started taking it everywhere it was like a lucky charm to him...

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Results for Janurary

FAC3: Leeds 0 v 2 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 1 v 0 Man U

EPL: Southampton 2 v 3 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 1 v 1 Leicester

EPL: Charlton 0 v 2 Newcastle

LCSF.1: Man U 4 v 0 Newcastle

FAC4: Newcastle 2 v 0 Southampton

EPL: Newcastle: 1 v 0 Leeds

Results for February

LCSF.2: Newcastle 0 v 0 Man U

EPL: Newcastle 3 v 0 Liverpool

FAC5: Newcastle 1 v 1 Southend

EPL: Wolves 0 v 1 Newcastle

EPL: Arsenal 3 v 2 Newcastle

CC.2: Lyon 0 v 1 Newcastle

FAC5r: Southend 0 v 2 Newcastle

Janurary was a frantic and hectic month for Jazz, with 8 games and the re-opening of the transfer window. Jazz was brought down to eath and the stark reality that is football. Bellamy had gone behind his back to the chairman to say that he couldn't stay at Newcastle any more as he wasn't happy and handed in a transfer request to Freddy Shepherd. He accepted this and sold Bellamy behind Jazz's back for £7.75m.

J: "how can you tell me that he is one of our key assets and I was never to sell him, then sell him on the sly behind my back?"

FS: "Jazz calm down, he wasn't happy and you know he wasn't"

J: "thats not the point, what the hell else have you got planned who will i be left with?"

FS: "Jazz there is no need for this, he was playing terribly and had a speight of injurys and we got a good price for him, which you will be able to re-invest in the team"

J: "we did not get a good price he was worth double that, in future I want to know about these things"

Jazz stormed out of the office in a rage, later that day Bowyer came into his office requesting a transfer as he wasn't happy with not having regular football. So Jazz sold him to Fulham for £3.4m, so now Bellamy had gone to Charlton too. To top it all OB had also requested a transfer. His team was falling round him. However, the team still produced the goods, most of the time. Progressing in the FA Cup and still going strong in the league, however, their chances of reaching a final had been dashed by Man U. There was some good news Dyer had won the EPL player of the month award, JJ had won the EPL young player of the month and he had won the manager of the month. He had also enlisted the help of Simoni Inzagi for £6m from Lazio to replace Bellamy. By the end of February Newcastle had progressed to the sixth round of the FA Cup and have a good chance of progressing in the Champions Cup. They also held 3rd in the league.

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Results for March

FAC6: Newcastle 2 v 0 Gillingham

CC.2: Newcastle 1 v 2 Lyon

EPL: Fulham 1 v 1 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 5 v 0 Man C

EPL: Middlesborough 0 v 0 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 4 v 0 Aston Villa

Results for April

FAC.SF: Newcastle 1 v 4 Arsenal (aet)

EPL: Bolton 2 v 2 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 5 v 0 Portsmouth

EPL: Blackburn 0 v 2 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 4 v 0 Everton

Results for May

EPL: Tottenham 2 v 1 Newcastle

EPL: Newcastle 1 v 0 Birmingham

EPL: Chelsea 1 v 2 Newcastle

Jazz couldn't believe how his first season in charge had gone. He had guided his team to the semi-finals of both domestic cups into the sencond phase of the champions cup and the teams final position in the league was 3rd. He had achieved exactly what the board wanted, to gain European football. The fans and critics had also been won over, however, some were still sceptical saying that he won't have prooved himself untill he repeated the feat. But Jazz didn't care about them, as far as he was concerned what he had to next season would be decided then not now, nothing was going to spoil this high. It hadn't all been plain sailing, some of the squad didn't like beeing left out and requested transfers, which Jazz granted as he didn't want people who didn't want to be involved with the squad. Also the fans didn't like new signing Simone Inzaghi so Jazz was trying to find a new home for him. On the lighter side Michael Bridges and Jermaine Pennant had signed contracts to join the squad when the transfer window reopened. He had also managed to get most of the backroom staff to sign extensions on their contracts however, some thought they deserved ridiculous amounts of money which Jazz refused to pay. JJ had picked up the young player of the month for March. At an awards ceromony Jazz picked up the 3rd manager of the year award, JJ picked up the EPL young player of the year award and Dyer was awarded the 3rd EPL footballer of the year. Jazz knew these two players were instrumental to the success this season and would be in the next. Things to note Arsenal do double, Man U win Champions Cup and League cup, Blackburn Fulham and Portsmouth relegated. Coventry promoted as champions of div 1 along with Preston and Millwall.

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The Pony

The warm summer sun shone through the grimy window of the pub, the smoke in the air suddenly became more obvious in the ray of light. Lee and Jazz were outside in the beer garden, well the pub yard there was no plant life visible, Phil the landlord had invested in some picnic tables for outside. Jazz was enjoying his summer vacation, he had just returned from Tennerife and was now relaxing in the English sun outside his local pub. He was surprised how stressful professional management was, even when your doing well. Although this may be his holiday he was never really 'away' from club business. As most people know most club 'business' is done in the summer break. This summer was certainly no different Jazz had certainly been busy and he was pleased with how his squad now looked. Just then Dave and Josh joined him and Lee outside, Dave was carrying a TV which Phil had allowed them to watch the Charity shield on.

Josh: "so then what really happens at the end of the season with the board and the supporters association?"

J: "well I had a couple of meetings, one with the board, and one with the board and the supporters association"

L: "so what did they have to say?"

J: "the head of the supporters ass. said that they were very pleased with how the campaign had gone and that I had won most of the fans over. They also said they were impressed with the domestic cup runs. Inzaghi was a bad move though they don't like him and want him to go. Oh they did make Shearer their player of the season"

Josh: "really I didn't think he was that bad, so what do they want this season"

J: "they want me to really push for the League title thats all !, seeing as the bookies have made us third favourite there is just a little pressure on me!"

D: "1-0"

L: "what?"

D: "to Man U in the charity shield man"

L: "anyway, what did the board have to say?"

J: "they were very happy, especialy with the money made from the champions league campaign and the fact I hadn't spent all the transfer money of go over the wage budget"

Josh: "typical, its all about the money with them"

J: "yeah they want the same next season they gave me a transfer budget of £12.5m"

L: "wish I had spending money like that, tell Josh who you've signed, he's just got back from holiday and doesn't know"

J: "rito erm well, Stephane Dalmat £2.5m, Jermaine Pennant £2.8m, Michael Bridges free, Graham Stack free, Sunday Oliseh free"

D: "2-0"

L: "you have to hear who he has just signed today...tell them"

J: "Edgar Davids £3m"

D: "what!?"

Josh: "what!?, really"

J: "yeah he signed today I can't believe I got him. I've got rid of the deadwood Inzaghi, Caig, OB they would never had got a game so.."

Josh: "Davids...wow, I mean...wow"

J: "I know"

They all sat there watching the football, seeing Man U beat Arsenal 3-1. Discussing what had happened over the summer and what was to come in the next season. What Jazz hadn't told them, mainly as he thought they would laugh at him, was that the ring Lee gave him, he believed it was lucky (in the whole). Lee was his best friend and he didn't want the others to laugh at them. But what Lee hadn't told Jazz was that the ring wasn't something he found at the bottom of a cereal packet. The jewl in the ring which Jazz thought was glass was actualy very, very valuable. He had stolen it from some big gang lord in America. The gang lord didn't know who exactly who had taken it but had sent his men to look for it, some of these men were looking for ex employee Liam Winsbrooke (Lee Winstone). Jazz didn't know who Lee worked for when they were in America, and he didn't know that he was being saught after.

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By Janurary all was going well. Well almost all, they were sitting pretty at the top of the table on 48pts after 20 games. That would probably not last long however could it? Although they held a 7 point gap on Man U, Man U had two games in hand over the magpies, it was going to be a close season as far as the League title was concerned. Arsenal last season double winners were a way behind them in 6th with 34pts. Jazz was extatic he had guided his team to the top of the top and they looked good, however, he couldn't help feel that it was all going to fall down around him. Although he had progressed to the second stage of the champions cup, it hadn't gone as well as last year, he hoped they would do better this year but in some of the games they had struggled. The reward for this was a tie against Arsenal which they had already beaten twice this year, they certainly seemed a different team than the double winners. His team had been dumped out of the League cup by the same opponents as last campaign, this time in the fourth round not the semi final. The FA Cup third round had thrown up a home tie against Middlesborough. Along with the victories over Arsenal beating Coventry and Preston 5-0 and 6-0 respectively, also beating Liverpool were nice memories of the season so far for Jazz. He had recently parted company with Aranburu, Griffin and Caldwell over the winter period, and the rotation of some of his players hadn't brought up any complaints as of yet. The new signings had settled in well and were playing out of their skin. Jazz had received a £60m off for Dyer from Chelsea and Man U, he was sorely tempted but thought he would never get a player as good as Dyer to come at this point in time, so0 he turned down the offers. In the whole a very good season so far for Jazz, but would it last?

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He was right their lead at the top of the table didn't last long. The second half of the season hadn't gone as well as the first. They found it harder to get results, they tripped up here and there, they got only a draw in games they should have won. Once again they were dumped out of the Champions Cup at the first of the knockout stages. Yet Jazz still managed to pick them up by the collar and better what they achieved last season. They ended the league campaign in second place behind Man U, with last seasons winner Arsenal ending up in fourth. Jazz and a couple of the team members had picked up a couple of the monthly awards, Jazz himself had come second in the EPL manager of the year award. In fact he thought he would never do anything better in his life, he had just guided them past Chelsea to win the FA Cup. He worried that he was going to have a heart attack during the game. After Dyer had put them ahead Shearer had missed a penalty which would have put daylight between them and Chelsea, in the end it wasn't necessarry as Newcastle ran out 1-0 winners. After parading the FA Cup on an open top bus Jazz, the players and staff were going to have a big party at the ground. Jazz had organised to hit the town with some of the players and staff and mix it with the locals. He was still a fan at heart, he wasn't one for fancy things he would rather be in the pub than an 'official' club thing. If there was one thing Jazz and Lee were going to do tonight it was get wasted. Things to note Man U win EPL and retain Champions Cup, Arsenal win League Cup, Newcastle win FA Cup, Chelsea win UEFA Cup. Preston, Tottenham and Middlesborough are relegated. Derby are promoted as champions of div 1 along with Rotherham and Blackburn.

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Jazz's Flat

As he opened his eyes he saw it, just sitting there, he knew he must have had a good night if he woke up with a traffic cone. Then he remembered and smiled, he had won the FA Cup, then it hit him. The pounding, like a pnumatic drill, unrelenting pain, the hangover hand landed. All he could do was catch a bit more sleep, he woke two hours later still suffering but this time less so. He headed for a shower after swiching the coffee machine on. When he opened the bathroom door he could hear the shower was on, he could see and feel the steam and on the floor...a bra, suspenders and as he followed the trail from the bathroom to the bedroom he noticed handcuffs on the bed railings. He sat on the edge of the bed and tried to remember the night before but it was all a blur, then as he looked up there she was. His eyes widened his jaw almost dropped, standing there completely nude was this beatiful woman her long wet dark hair covered her face. Then he stood up moved the hair away from her face and kissed her. What am I doing he thought, it was as if he was doing all this automaticly he couldn't help himself, they moved to the bed and began to make love. The first thing he could think of when they were finished was his headache was gone. The next was, who was she? She noticed the look on his face and said:

O: "my name is Ocean...Ocean Camoresi"

J: "Jazz...Jazz O'Neil"

O: "I know" she smiled

He looked into her deep blue eyes and couldn't help thinking they looked like a deep blue...

J: "...Ocean, what a bueatiful name, it suits you, I take it your part Italian?"

O: "thanks, and Sicillian actualy. Before you say anything I'm not a plant by a reporter or anything wiered like that."

J: "what makes you say that, I didn't think you were anything like that"

O: "its just your a high profile manager people will talk, the papers may have seen us anything. I like you I just don't want you to think like that."

J: "I wont, I like you too but I don't know anything about you"

Just then his phone rang and he answered it. It was the chairman, he sounded rather flustered and angry. He practicly ordered Jazz to get to the ground this instant. Jazz quickly got ready and arranged to meet up with Ocean later that night. Then he rushed as quickly as British roads would allow. As he walked into the chairmans office he had the Sun newspaper thrown in his face and was told to read the cover story:


Newcastle United manager Jazz O'Neil has reportedly been seen 'shooting up' and having sex with a prostitute at an exclusive club last night. Mr O'Neil who was out celebrating with players and staff after the FA Cup win was reportedly seen taking heroin in the v.i.p. area of an exclusive club in Newcastle. He was also seen in the toilets having sex with a prostitute....the article continues.

FS: "well...is any of this true, and I hope for your sake it isn't"

J: "of course its not true, yeah I was at the club but heroin...I mean come on Freddy"

FS: "ok and the woman, is she a prostitute?"

J: "NO, at least she says shes not and I certainly haven't paid her for sex"

FS: "so you know who she is?"

J: "sort of, I picked her up last nite got to know her a little and woke up this morning and she was in the shower, what do you want me to say?"

FS: "did you have sex with her in the club toilets?"


J: "NO, we were going to I think, I can't remember I was wasted, we were going to but we got disturbed and decided not to"

FS: "great so you almost had sex in a public place with some girl 'you picked up'"

J: "well I'm hoping it'll become more than that"

FS: "look this is a difficult situation for both of us, whether any of this is true or not the clubs name has been dragged through the mud"

J: "what are you saying?

FS: "I'm saying this unfortunate incident has made this club look like we are a buch of animals the amount of publicity surrounding this club and the players is huge. It has to stop."

J: "so what your sacking me is that it?"

FS: "not exactly we, the board, are asking you to step down clear your name and make a fresh start"

J: "so I have no say in the matter?"

FS: "no not really"

J: "fine"

Jazz stormed out he noticed there was a large group of reporters outside and decided to make a statement. Jazz went on to say that non of these stories are true I have never taken heroin and am willing to take a blood test to proove that. This woman is not a prostitute and I think its disgraceful that because two people seem to be enjoying themselves in public there must be something sordid and secretive behind it. I have resigned as manager after this incedent as I need some space and to keep the club moving forward. He returned to his flat and told Ocean the news, they then went to the Pony and shared the real story there.


authors note: In the game I hadn't actually resingned but moved straight from club to club. This is just an angle to help the transition.

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Jazz had been offered a job as the Reading manager, it was a major step down, as they were in division 2. However, it would really test his skills as a manager, was the success at Newcastle his doing or the abundance of good players. It was also far away and enabled him to have a fresh start. As he thought it all over in the pub he realsied he had others to consider. Ocean who was now his girlfriend and Lee his flat and best mate. Lee had given up his job on principle and Ocean was currently between jobs. Lee and Ocean seemed to favour the move give them all a fresh start set something up for themselves down there. It was a shame they couldn't take the Pony down there but he thought he would take it. Stupidly Jazz hadn't actually saved much money that he had earned from Newcastle, most of it went on repaying debts and other things. They would all be living together, which they all liked none of them were ready for serious settling down, they had too much fun. Then Dave walked over and asked if he could come with them to Reading as he was in trouble up here. Jazz wondered how he knew what decision they had made seeing as they only made it ten minutes ago. He thought about it, it would certainly be more company and more money to chip in to a house, plus he would keep Lee company if he and Ocean did things together. He suggested it to them and the agreed with what Jazz had thought.It was getting the money together to get a place that would be the problem. Then he remembered that Newcastle still owed him money for releasing him from his contract. So it was all decided, he and Ocean will go down to Reading and get things signed and sealed and then once they found a place Lee and Dave would follow.

Reading FC

Jazz couldn't believe he was going to move away from the north-east he vowed never to do that. Still he was sure he made the right decision. They arrived at the Madejski stadium and were greeted by the chairmans secretary and Jazz was taken to the board room while Ocean had lunch with the secretary. It had turned out that the club had looked at some suitable houses for them and suggested a few to Ocean. The secretary took her to see them and also the area itself. While that was going on Jazz was in a meeting with his potential new boss'. He was informed that the board and the fans realisticly expected a safe comfortable position in this league, really however, they wanted promotion by hook or by crook. The finances were ok and there was some spending money but the wage budget was already overspent and any more would be reigned in. Jazz got a quick tour of the stadium and was very impressed with the setup a modern 24,200 seater stadium with under-soil heating isn't bad for a division 2 team. He also saw a virtual walkthrough of the training facilities and those seemed pretty good. All there was left to do was sign, which he did. He was then escorted to his office where Ocean was waiting. She had seen a house that was perfect for the four of them, large and spacious. As he lay in bed in a local hotel he couldn't help feeling down, not so long aso he was manager of a team that came second in the league and won the FA Cup, now he was at a division 2 side. One thing was for sure he was determined to proove he was a good manager and take Reading to the top. He wasn't due to start for another week but he was allowed to watch the team train and speak to the staff. He would get a good idea of the team before he took over he thought before he nodded off.

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After about a week of kicking about the training ground and reading reports and speaking to the staff, Jazz felt he had a good idea of what the team held and what its capabilities were. After getting the opinions of his assistant manager Kevin Dillon and chief physio Jon Fearn Jazz decided to write down a list of the players and the comments so he could get a fair idea of what area needs strengthening and who will be in the first team squad.


Marcus Hahnemann: The 33 year old American certainly seems capable at this level and will most certainly be first choice.

Jamie Young: Like the name this young keeper will be the backup for Marcus, has potential but wouldn't like to rely on him for long periods of time.

Bradie Clarke: This young keeper has very little to offer the club except his egerness to learn


Adrian Williams: An experienced centre back who can also play central midfield. Has been capped 18 times by Wales and is sure candidate as first on the teamsheet.

Steve Brown: Model professional who can play right or centre back and at a push in the midfield, again another player with experience which may come in handy

Greg Shields: A Scottish right back at the peak of his career, probably a first team regular.

Robbie Williams: This young tennacious left back who wears his heart on his sleeve and will always give 110% is a usefull player but possibly one for the future rather than now.

Peter Castle: At 18 not one for the first team at first glance but at closer inspection a very good centre back who has excellent positioning and a good tackle. He also has the best header Jazz had ever seen. Let down only by his lack of marking ability.


Ivar Ingimarsson: Capped 11 times for Iceland a very good central midfielder who could also play at the heart of defence if called upon. A must for the first team squad who will run round making tackles all day long.

Curtis Osano: A brave young central midfielder, but will only be a backup at most.

Joe Gamble: Irish winger who is certainly not good enough for this level.

Andy Hughes: Arguably our best player can play anywhere in midfield but is best on the right wing. A definate starter and will be the main supplier of goals, hopefully will chip in with one or two of his own.

Scott Murray: Experienced winger, talented player but will sadly lose out to Hughes, but a great back up.

Nathan Tyson: Young left winger talented and fast, not quite as good a crosser as Hughes, but with both of them on the wing will be a force to recon with.

Alan Moore: Very much an older version of Tyson and like Murray will lose out to the other winger, but like Murray will serve as a great backup.

Michael Foley-Sheridan: Exciting young player with great technique, creativity and flair. Someone who can change a game. Will most likely be a sub.

James Harper: Talented central midfielder good going forward will be perfect partner for the defensively minded Ingimarsson.


Darren Campbell: A fast determined forward but lacks the talent to hold down a first team spot.

Dave Kitson: The star of the team the first on the teamsheet centre forward, will hopefully score most of the goals which will take us to promotion.

Dean Morgan: A gifted forward but lacks strength and stamina to hold down a first team spot. Will hold the line with Kitson until a replacement is found

Sean Goater: The Goat is to old and to crap to do anything worth while and will be moved on asap

It was clear to Jazz that the defence really needed strengthening and a new forward needed to be found. There was also a good group of young players at the club who could potentially be stars. But Jazz was focused on the here and now and immediatly got to work getting in touch with contacts he had made in the game to get Reading some depth.

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Jazz's Office - Madejski Stadium

It was the day before his first game in charge, Jazz had just finished unvaling his two new signings to the press. They had actualy signed contracts earlier in the month but the chairman thought it would be a good idea to show them off now. He had managed to get Leon Cort from Southend who were newly promoted to the first division for about £150K. Leon was a great centre back in Jazz's eyes, great tacle brilliant header of the ball, he could mark, he was aggressive and strong he could leap like a salmon, and he was very quick. A deffinate first team player. His second signing was David Connolly the forward from West Ham. What was strange Connolly wasn't out of contract yet West Ham let him go for nothing. He is a quick agile player who can run arround all day and has great technique, a 'fox in the box' type. A perfect partner for Kitson who wasn't slow but mainly used his strength and power.

Jazz just sat back in his comfy chair, in an office not unlike the one he had at Newcastle. He actualy genuinely felt this was a good move for him, this would proove his skills and he would have to work harder as he didn't have the money or players like he did at Newcastle. He was very nervous he wanted to make a good impression, he had won the FA Cup and he wanted to do well here. As far as settling in was concerned that was all done and he really liked the area, they had even found a new 'local'. The Black Bull wasn't that much unlike the Pony same sort of atmosphere and seemed to be a place where a lot of fans drank. When he first went in with Ocean, Lee and Dave it was odd at first the got the old 'who are you' look, but when they realised he was the manager of their team they all gathered round wanting to shake his hand. that was something he never got at the Pony as everyone knew him already. The fans were asking him what he was doing in the pub and he told him he was like them an everyday bloke and being a football manager wouldn't change that, this only made them warm to him more. As he left his office he knew he wouldn't get much sleep worryin about tomorrow.

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Madejski Stadium Players Lounge

Jazz was enjoying a drink with the chairman while the players celebrated their latest victory. They had just beaten Walsall 5-0 and started September they way the finished August. A successfull start to his Reading career with some excellent results, including a 7-0 thrashing of Brighton at the Falmer stadium. That was one of the best results in his short but resonably successfull managerial career where Kitson bagged himself 4 goals. They currently stood at the top of the table after winning all of their first 5 league games, they had played some lovely flowing football and scored 19 goals and let in only 2. The only bad result was losing 1-0 at home to first division Southend. Jazz was impressed with new signing Leon Cort, Hughes and Tyson had also been playing wonderfully on the wings. What had surprised him was that it was Ingimarsson and not Harper that was chipping in with goals from midfield, never the less he was very pleased with his team at the minute. Funds were still tight and his only senior left back Robbie Williams was now sidelined for at least two months, the only other out and out left back was 14 year old Craig Beale, so Jazz needed to find a new cheap left back or gamble with a 14 y/o or changing the formation. That however could wait till tomorrow as he went to congratulate his players.

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By January Reading were still top of the second division, where they had been since the third game of the season. However, it had not all gone as planned, in fact by January Jazz couldn't stand the sight of Bournemouth. Although he had gone there in September and won in the league, they had knocked Reading out of the FA Cup 1st round and Vans trophy 2nd round. Both games were at the Fitness First Stadium. To rub salt into the wounds because these games had been back to back the Reading team had suffered numerous suspensions, due to both 5 yellows and sending off offences, and a few injuries. Bournemouth were also 2nd bottom in the league, so all combined it had puzzled, annoyed and generaly sent Jazz round the bend. Although in whole the squad was good there was very little depth of quality. When Williams the left back was injured Jazz decided to try out 14 year old Craig Beale, who as it happened filled in very nicely until Williams returned. Jazz also fumed about his American keeper having to fly off and play for the good old U.S of A so he had to be interchanged with a young keeper who didn't do to badly. Because of this Jazz decided to bring another keeper in, he got Graham Stack from old club Newcastle, he had signed Stack for Newcastle from Arsenal. Stack never got a game at Newcastle but Jazz recognised talent in him so he wanted him down here. Another problem occured, all at once most of his strikers were either injured or suspended, despite the clubs bad finances Jazz needed a new striker as cover. So after persuading chairman John Madejski to let him get one he raided his old club again and got Richard Offiong who fitted in straight away and started scoring. He also bought in Eddie Johnson from Man U on loan as extra striker cover. Jazz was pleased that star striker Dave Kitson wasn't out long, Kitson was averaging a goal a game and despite the talent at Newcastle he never had a striker that bagged lots of goals. Kitson wasn't the only scorer Connolly has chipped in with his fair share, also midfielders Ingimarsson and Tyson had given 6 a piece to the cause along with new arrival Offiong. Reading were currently 4 points ahead of Bristol City but had played a game more. They had only lost 2 games so far in the league but had drawn much more than Jazz wished, they were also leaking more goals at the back than he would like. But he had to remind himself that he was working on the whole with a threadbare squad that had finished 14th in this league last season, so he was doing well. He only hoped he could keep it up for the rest of the season.

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Jazz was fuming on the last day of the season, despite beating Swindon 3-0 he was appaled at the run of results which read like this: 14 games, won twice, drew 6 and lost 6. His team had collapsed and given in, Brstol City had won the championship with Ipswich runners up. Reading who for much of the season led the second division ended up 3rd. The win on the final day had prevented the fans from booing the team, some of the player were literally only at the club for an easy cheque. Jazz shouted at them all at an end of season meet up that there will be major changes at the club, and that some of them had the play offs to proove what they can do. Castle and Stack Jazz knew would not get another game, they quite simply were appauling, although his words to the players were threatening they weren't real Jazz already knew who was going out the door. Not only was it down to poor players but also the finances demanded it, Jazz wanted maximum ability to spend in the summer whatever division they were to be in. This meant wage budget as well as transfer budget, the defence was where he really needed to change things as it was the defence that had cost the the league title. They had been drawn against Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-final playoffs.

Reading 3 v 0 Sheff Wed

Sheff Wed 3 v 2 Reading

They had made it to the final at Wembley where they will face Scunthorpe. They had beaten and drawn against Scunthorpe already this season so the outlook was good, but the form book goes out the window in finals. Jazz despite thinking luck had deserted him recently was wearing the lucky ring on a chain around his neck. He was currently in the Black Bull with Ocean, Lee, Dave and some regulars watching the Champions Cup final between Newcastle and the holders Man U.

L: "so what do you think the score will be?"

O: "1-0 Newcastle"

J: "thanks babe, I reckon 2-1 the toon"

D: "sorry Jazz mate but I reckon 3-1 Man U"

L: "I think 1-1 then Newcastle win 5-4 on pens"

J: "I'd like to think I helped get them to this final, i mean it was my team and my players mostly who are out there and I wasthe one who got them into it in the first place"

O: "yeah you did help them get here, may be you'll get Reading there some day too"

L: "fat chance of that happening you saw how they succumbed to Torquay 5-1, when they were at the bottom and you were at the top"

O: "oi"

J: "he's right love, we'll be lucky if we make it to division 1"

D: "ere we go its starting"

By the end of the match Newcastle win 3-2 after extra time and all four of them are rolling round the floor hugging each other. People in the Black Bull had to remind themselves that these were four geordies and that their manager, who was at this point in time on his back drunk as a skunk screaming 'come on the lads' used to manage them. Still it was quite a sight, just then Jazz jumped up onto a table and demanded silence, which remarkably he got.

J: "people of the Black Bull thank you for being behind me in my first season in charge and for being supportive in our darkest hour. We have a chance to gain promotion and I will personally assure all of you here today that you will be at Wembley and watch us win and gain that promotion that we richly deserve. I hope to be doing the same thing on that night as i am tonight, and I hope you will all join me"

This got a huge cheer from everyone in the pub and as Jazz staggered home with his friends he hoped what he had just said will come true.

Reading 2 v 0 Scunthorpe

When Jazz stepped onto the team coach at the end of the game the relief on everyones faces was apparent, they hadn't blown their season. Jazz made an announcement to the players saying that all of them had worked hard, they may not hav played well, but they had worked hard. They were back where they belonged, in the first division which sparked mass roar from the players, but that next season will be very hard. He also announced that Dave Kitson's goal was his 100th for the club and handed over a bottle of champaigne. To the Black Bull Jazz told the driver.

Awards and titles to note: Jazz had come second in the manager of the year for ESD, Ivar Ingimarsson had been awarded ESD goal of the seaon for a fabulous 30 yard volley away to Rushden. Brisol City (champions), Ipswich and Reading will replace Gillingham, Burnley and Bradford in division 1. Middlesbrough (champions), Crystal Palace and Cardiff will replace Coventry, Bolton and Charlton in the premiership. Arsenal win the EPL, League Cup and FA Cup, Newcastle win Champions Cup and Liverpool win Uefa Cup.

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Shakeup at Madejski - article in Reading FC official magazine

At the end of last season, despite gaining promotion, Reading manager Jazz O'Neil promised a big shakeup to the club. That is exactly what has happened at the Madejski. O'Neil promised to fans that deadwood and players who were only there to pick up an easy pay cheque would be shipped out. Ahmet Rifat was sold to Besiktas for £90k, Daniel Day's contract wasn't renewed and has since moved to St. Johnstone. Darren Capbell's contract also wasn't renewed and he moved onto Swindon. That was just the beginning of what was to be a busy summer for the Reading manager.

We caught up with Mr O'Neil on holiday in Tenerife with his girlfriend Ocean. He was kind enough to give us the lowdown on what he and the board had planned for next season.

R: "so Mr O'Neil, can you give us your view on last season"

J: "call me Jazz, please. Well to be honest I was deeply disappointed that we had to fight to get promoted. At one point it looked as if we were going to sail through to division 1 as champions, but it wasn't to be."

R: "so what went wrong?"

J: "I don't know, i can't put my finger on it, we just seemed to crumble and we lost a few on the bounce and thats when the pressure really kicked in. When you had been doing as well as we had and suddenly you can't buy a win the pressure becomes to great, the players started to panic. They had it knawing at them in the back of their minds during games which isn't what you want to happen."

R: "but you came good in the end"

J: "yes I knew we could do it and I'm glad the players started to really believe they could to."

R: "so what did chairman John Madejski say to you and the head of the supporters association"

J: "both were very supportive and were fully behind me and the team. In reality when I had the first meating with John when I took over, the aim for the season was a respectible position. We actually did better than we hoped for."

R: "What now?"

J: "for me, i'm gonna enjoy the rest of my holiday. Seriously the aim for next season is to avoid relegation at all costs. It would be a major blow if we were to come straight back down."

R: "and transfers, what can we expect of these?"

J: "that there will be some"

There we have it disappointed after going further than planned. What can that tell you about the character of the manager and the team. New faces will be arriving in the summer and faces will be leaving in the summer, all we can be assured of is that whoever plays next season they will give 110%, as manager Jazz O'Neil will settle for nothing less.

Managers office, Madejski stadium - 28/06/06 11:12

Jazz had just finished reading the article in the official magazine and was smiling. What an idiot I sound he thought to himself. Jazz knew the one area of the team that needed the most work was the defence, that whole area including the keeper needed remodeling. Graham Stack had really disappointed Jazz, he thought Stack would do a good job, but he hadn't. Going over the lines 'new faces will be arriving...and faces will be leaving', well some had already left and others were due to leave, and he hadn't signed anybody yet. However, that could change by this afternoon, there was a potential signing having a medical at this precise moment. The players that had gone were Peter Castle, Alan Moore, James Armstrong, Lee Wood and Robbie Williams. Castle and Williams were two regulars in defence, that had performed poorly and both of who's contracts were up in the summer so Jazz managed to get £80k for the both of them, Castle going to Bristol Rovers and Williams going to Southend, Moore had gone to Bradford City whilst the two from the under 19s Armstrong and Wood are still on the free transfer list. Shaun Goater was retiring in a couple of days when his contract was up and Marcus Hahnemann was not getting a new contract and so will be allowed to go back to the states where he is reportedly going to DC United. Adrian Williams has signed a pre move contract with Bristol Rovers and will team up with Castle when his contract with Reading was up. Jazz was seeing his squad get fewer and fewer and hoped his approached players wanted to come or he was in trouble.

Managers office, Madejski stadium - 28/06/06 13:17

Jazz was at his desk doing some paperwork and chasing up leads that his new scouts had seen. He had hired Spencer Field, Rob Campkin, Dave Jarrett, Dave Colley and Ian John to be his new scouts. All of which seemed a lot more capable than the ones he had already, and they had just had their contracts terminated as Jazz didn't need them anymore. Also Jazz had hired some new coaches to aid those he had and to help take the club forward, ex Southampton keeper Paul Jones was brought in as head keeper coach. Andy Nicholson was brought in to help with the youngsters, just then Jazz's new assistant manager, Arne Kjaersgaard, popped his head round the door.

A: "you free?"

J: "yeah, yeah well?"

A: "he passed with flying colours and is here to sign the contract"

J: "show him in"

A: "this is Ibrahim Tall, he speaks a little English so we should be ok"

Ibrahim Tall is a Senegalese central defender with 4 caps to his name. They had agreed a fee of £65k for his services from french side Sochaux. Strong, brave and a good marker, he can also keep up with all but the fastest players around. A usefull player who can also play as a right back

J: "nice to meet you at last Monsieur Tall"

I: "you too Mr O'Neil"

J: "if you would just like to sign here I can say welcome to our club"

They completed the signing and Jazz was happy that he had made his first signing of the summer, he hoped it wouldn't be his last. With a slender wage budget and a small transfer kitty, which is almost all the cash the club has, Jazz knew he would have to unearth some diamonds and be cleaver in the transfer market.

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Season Overview

Jazz had been busy during the summer, he knew he had to invest in the defence. He certainly had done that, whether he had invested wisely only time would tell. With a transfer budget of £1.5m Jazz couldn’t do an awful lot, saying that however, that £1.5m was all the club really had. The wage budget hadn’t risen that was still locked at £50k a week. As he did after signing Tall he thought he needed to be cleaver in the markets. He couldn’t afford to bankrupt the club so he needed to get players in who wanted to play for the wages he offered, and not ridiculous ones their agents wanted. By mid August amongst the pre season friendlies Jazz had managed to sign enough players to make him comfortable.

Alan O'Brien: Free transfer, left winger, promising young talent who will mainly be backup for Tyson

Lee Norton: Free Transfer, centre back, backup mainly probibly will only get one season at the club

Tommy Williams: Free Transfer, pretty good left back but will only serve as backup

Graeme Gillian: £22k from Stevenage promising young central midfielder

Hasney Aljofree: £575k from Sunderland good left back who can also play centrally and in midfield if necessary. Good crosser and pace will be first team regular.

Darren Holloway: £200k from Coventry, good right back who can play centrally, will be first team regular.

Paul Robinson: £250k from Millwall, very good centre back excellent tackling and heading, let down by lack of marking ability. Will most likely be rotated throughout the season

Kim Odelius: £22k from Brommapojkarna, young full back, one for the future

Peter Karlsson: £24k from Norrkoping, backup keeper

Chinedum Onuoha: £95k from Man C, another young promising central defender.

Luke Steele: Loan from Man U, young but talented keeper who will take the number 1 shirt

Steven Davis: Loan from Aston Villa, a half decent young player who can play anywhere accross the middle, ideal person to have on the bench.

Jazz was very pleased, especially with the defensive signings. Also the loan signing of Luke Steele seemed promising he would become the mainstay between the sticks and as Man U were willing to sell him, if he did well Jazz would like to sign him full time. He felt like the team was coming together and the defensive signings will be decisive. The midfield and the strike force are good enough for this level Jazz thought and so did little to change them except get some cover.

The pre-season was indifferent, although they went undefeated they drew all but one win. With these teams being non league clubs it wasn’t brilliant in the way of results or performances. Their first match at home to Norwich however, was a different story, Reading played some good football and were actually unlucky not to come away with more than a 1-0 victory. After a great 4-0 win away to Nottingham Forest Jazz and his team had the strangest encounter. They were drawn away to Stevenage in the second round of the League Cup, where they were held to a 1-1 draw by a hard working Stevenage team. Then in extra time Jazz thought he was back managing a pub side, by the end of the game Reading had lost 6-1. After this match they went on a 19 game unbeaten run which stretched into January when they lost away to Southend. They then went on a 10 game unbeaten run in which they won an amazing 9 goal thriller with the leaders Tottenham, with David Connolly getting a 90th minute winner. They were knocked out of the FA Cup 5th round by Cheltenham. By the end of the season Jazz O’Neil and Reading had done what nobody expected them to do, they were promoted as runners up into the Premier league. Nobody could believe it, the goal was to not be relegated, not to gain promotion. Once again Jazz had done better than expected of him, however this season unlike last he wasn’t disappointed.

He had almost proved himself to be a good manager, successive promotions and he was now back in the premiership. This will also allow the club to develop, the money they will get for television rights. Jazz had put a request in to the board to develop the training facilities. Hopefully he will get a decent transfer and wage budget to spend next season. It was now that the team as a whole would need looking at. Dave Kitson having scored 37 and 18 assists will certainly start and Jazz was actually about to phone John McDermott the Man U manager about making Luke Steele’s stay permanent. Darren Holloway had done well but Jazz didn’t think that he was upto the premiership, Aljofree on the other hand certainly would be. It was the midfield that Jazz felt needed the major overhaul. After the match the buzz around the city felt as if Reading had won the league and cup double, everyone was so excited about being in the premiership. For Jazz however it was time to book his holiday.


End of season achievements: Chelsea win EPL, Wolves, Cardiff, Crystal Palace are relegated to ED1, Tottenham promoted (champions) to EPL with Reading as Runners up and Fulham winning playoffs, Reading Under 19s win their league. Arsenal win League and FA cup they also won the Champions Cup.

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Returning to the club after his holiday Jazz had to remind himself they were now in the premiership, he couldn’t wait to play Newcastle. There were a few exits from the club over the summer. Stuart Hill, Joe Gamble, Greg Shields and Michael Foley-Sheridan had all left for free. Despite Jazz’s hopes he only got the same transfer budget as the past two seasons £1.5m, Jazz couldn’t believe it considering the club now had ten times what they had last season. Saying that the board had agreed to improve the training facilities and now the club could start producing real gems. The board had also tripled the wage budget giving Jazz some room to renew contracts. Now Reading were in the premiership the players and the future incoming players wanted bigger wages. Jazz had secured the contracts for these players:

Luke Steele: £75k from Man U made his stay at the club permanent

David Romo: £150k from Le Harve a right sided winger with an immense cross, likely a rotation player

Lee Canoville: £1.1m from Rotherham a great right full back with a great tackle and is quick, a definite first team player

Davide Carteri: Free from Modena a central midfielder with fantastic technique and bags of creativity, another rotation player

Pontus Farnerud: Free from Alavés a defensive central midfielder backup player

Sunday Oliseh: Free from Newcastle great central midfielder who will be a first team regular

Shirt sales increase with signing of Oliseh, and the fans welcomed the signing at the official unveiling. Oliseh said he wants to repay their enthusiasm by his performances on the pitch this got a cheer from the crowd at the unveiling. At the start of August the bookmakers gave Reading 1000-1 odds to win the title. Jazz put a tenner on it although he knew there was no chance. Chelsea win community shield on penalty’s after a 2-2 draw with Arsenal. Jazz couldn’t have asked for a harder start to the season away at Arsenal.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | | Arsenal | | 11 | 11 | 0 | 0 | 30 | 6 | +24 | 33 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | | Man Utd | | 11 | 9 | 1 | 1 | 21 | 7 | +14 | 28 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | | Reading | | 11 | 7 | 2 | 2 | 15 | 5 | +10 | 23 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | | Chelsea | | 11 | 6 | 3 | 2 | 23 | 12 | +11 | 21 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | | Everton | | 10 | 6 | 1 | 3 | 14 | 11 | +3 | 19 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Newcastle | | 11 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 20 | 13 | +7 | 18 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Southampton | | 11 | 5 | 1 | 5 | 17 | 18 | -1 | 16 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Tottenham | | 11 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 11 | 16 | -5 | 16 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | Birmingham | | 11 | 4 | 3 | 4 | 10 | 11 | -1 | 15 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Millwall | | 11 | 4 | 2 | 5 | 14 | 15 | -1 | 14 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Aston Villa | | 10 | 4 | 1 | 5 | 17 | 18 | -1 | 13 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Liverpool | | 11 | 4 | 1 | 6 | 16 | 19 | -3 | 13 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Man City | | 10 | 3 | 4 | 3 | 13 | 16 | -3 | 13 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Derby | | 10 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 15 | 15 | 0 | 12 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Leicester | | 11 | 3 | 3 | 5 | 13 | 14 | -1 | 12 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | Rotherham | | 11 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 17 | 27 | -10 | 10 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Leeds | | 10 | 3 | 0 | 7 | 11 | 19 | -8 | 9 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | | Fulham | | 10 | 2 | 1 | 7 | 11 | 14 | -3 | 7 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | | Blackburn | | 11 | 2 | 1 | 8 | 7 | 20 | -13 | 7 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | | Middlesbrough | | 11 | 0 | 2 | 9 | 6 | 25 | -19 | 2 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</pre>

Jazz was astounded never in his wildest dreams could he believe this. Especially with the start to the season they had. They lost away to Arsenal on the opening day of the season, then drew at home to Southampton and then away to Millwall. They then continued their unbeaten run for 8 more games, all of which they won. That came to an end away to Tottenham where a 90th minute Freddy Kanoute goal ended Readings unbeaten run. However, Jazz was more than a little miffed that his team had lost away to third division Gillingham in the League Cup. It's a funny old game Jazz thout as he walked onto the training field.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | | Arsenal | | 24 | 21 | 2 | 1 | 60 | 14 | +46 | 65 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | | Newcastle | | 25 | 16 | 5 | 4 | 56 | 21 | +35 | 53 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | | Man Utd | | 26 | 15 | 5 | 6 | 48 | 29 | +19 | 50 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | | Reading | | 26 | 12 | 5 | 9 | 42 | 31 | +11 | 41 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | | Chelsea | | 25 | 10 | 10 | 5 | 42 | 27 | +15 | 40 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Birmingham | | 24 | 10 | 9 | 5 | 33 | 24 | +9 | 39 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Tottenham | | 26 | 10 | 9 | 7 | 29 | 38 | -9 | 39 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Liverpool | | 26 | 10 | 5 | 11 | 35 | 35 | 0 | 35 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | Everton | | 26 | 11 | 2 | 13 | 30 | 48 | -18 | 35 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Aston Villa | | 26 | 8 | 9 | 9 | 35 | 36 | -1 | 33 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Southampton | | 25 | 9 | 6 | 10 | 33 | 35 | -2 | 33 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Millwall | | 25 | 7 | 8 | 10 | 32 | 37 | -5 | 29 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Leeds | | 25 | 8 | 5 | 12 | 31 | 38 | -7 | 29 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Fulham | | 25 | 7 | 6 | 12 | 31 | 30 | +1 | 27 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Derby | | 25 | 7 | 5 | 13 | 31 | 44 | -13 | 26 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | Rotherham | | 26 | 6 | 8 | 12 | 39 | 56 | -17 | 26 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Man City | | 25 | 6 | 7 | 12 | 33 | 44 | -11 | 25 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | | Leicester | | 25 | 6 | 7 | 12 | 28 | 39 | -11 | 25 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | | Blackburn | | 25 | 6 | 5 | 14 | 22 | 43 | -21 | 23 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | | Middlesbrough | | 24 | 4 | 8 | 12 | 21 | 42 | -21 | 20 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|</pre>

Reading were still defying all the odds. After their defeat at Tottenham they decided to bounce back in style, they thrashed Blackburn 6-0. However, there would be a six game run without a win, a run which saw them pick up one point from a possible 18. This saw them drop to eighth and after changing the team slightly Jazz reverted back to what he considered to be his strongest 11. It was this 11 who were to get Reading out of this rut and on the straight and narrow again. Their task however seemed impossible, they had to face Arsenal, the team which had just won the inter-continental championship. Arsenal were unbeaten all season in the league and had only dropped two points. Strange it was then that it was to be Reading who stopped their unbeaten run with an inspired Luke Steele. Jazz's men would go on to have an inconsistant period in the league where they never found a form of any sort. During this period would be a game etched into the minds of Reading and Southampton fans alike. A free flowing game of football which was a delight to watch even if the defending was non existant. Like the famous Liverpool v Newcastle match this was one which would be long lived. David Connolloy had put Reading ahead on nine minutes and scored the only goal of a thrilling first half with chances going begging for both sides. Tyson then put the visitors 2-0 up near the hour mark. James Beattie then pulled one back for the home side in the 70th minute, as Southampton mounted on the pressure. Beattie then struck again nine minutes later to equalise,at this point there seemed only one winner. That seemed to be the case when Fredy William Thompson struck on the stroke of the 86th minute to send the home fans into a state of exstacy. Then an inspired triple substitution by the Reading boss saw Dean Morgan, Davide Carteri and David Romo thrown on with instructions for the team to bomb forward. A Morgan shot was parried by the keeper and Kitson slotted the rebound in in the 88th minute to equalise for Reading. Then two minutes later in the last minutes of the game a Kitson brace gave the striker a two minute hat-trick and Reading a victory to an excellent match. Jazz guided Reading to the 5th round of the FA Cup where they face an away trip to Stockport. After beating Macclesfield and Crystal Palace 6-0 and 5-1 respectively Jazz felt his love affair with the FA Cup was moving on a level. Since winning the competition with Newcasle almost 3 years ago Jazz had lost in the first and fifth round with Reading. With Reading having a brilliant season so far Jazz thought it was time to take them up another step. He was now a sought after manager, teams had started to notice him. Since his promotion into the first division Jazz had been receiving job offers from mediocre clubs and clubs going downhill. Since the minor miracle that has seen Reading elevated into 4th spot in the premiership some of the bigger clubs were coming in for him. Villa and Rangers to name but two, but most significantly Celtic who lead the Scottish premier by 16 points. That was very tempting for Jazz, but he vowed to stick with Reading until they had won a trophy other than runners up and playoff winners.

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<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | C | Arsenal | | 38 | 30 | 5 | 3 | 91 | 26 | +65 | 95 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | | Newcastle | | 38 | 28 | 6 | 4 | 86 | 30 | +56 | 90 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | | Man Utd | | 38 | 23 | 6 | 9 | 80 | 42 | +38 | 75 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | | Chelsea | | 38 | 18 | 14 | 6 | 65 | 33 | +32 | 68 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | | Birmingham | | 38 | 15 | 15 | 8 | 53 | 44 | +9 | 60 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Tottenham | | 38 | 15 | 12 | 11 | 48 | 52 | -4 | 57 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Everton | | 38 | 16 | 4 | 18 | 55 | 66 | -11 | 52 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Reading | | 38 | 14 | 9 | 15 | 56 | 54 | +2 | 51 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | Liverpool | | 38 | 13 | 12 | 13 | 47 | 46 | +1 | 51 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Southampton | | 38 | 14 | 9 | 15 | 51 | 54 | -3 | 51 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Derby | | 38 | 13 | 8 | 17 | 52 | 62 | -10 | 47 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Millwall | | 38 | 13 | 8 | 17 | 49 | 65 | -16 | 47 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Aston Villa | | 38 | 11 | 12 | 15 | 48 | 61 | -13 | 45 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Leeds | | 38 | 12 | 8 | 18 | 57 | 56 | +1 | 44 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Fulham | | 38 | 10 | 11 | 17 | 46 | 51 | -5 | 41 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | Blackburn | | 38 | 10 | 9 | 19 | 38 | 65 | -27 | 39 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Man City | | 38 | 9 | 11 | 18 | 43 | 65 | -22 | 38 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | R | Leicester | | 38 | 7 | 13 | 18 | 42 | 61 | -19 | 34 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | R | Rotherham | | 38 | 8 | 9 | 21 | 49 | 80 | -31 | 33 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | R | Middlesbrough | | 38 | 5 | 11 | 22 | 36 | 79 | -43 | 26 |

| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|</pre>

Reading had finished where Jazz had dreamed they would before the season started. A top half finish in the first season up was the best of dreams Jazz had. However, considering where they had been for large parts of the season he couldn’t help being a little deflated. Fluctuating between 4th and 7th for the most part of the season Jazz secretly hoped they may get into Europe. Once again they had proven critics wrong and bettered board and supporter expectation. Since being 4th in February they had fallen by the wayside and started dropping points where before they would keep them. Jazz had however been right about the FA Cup. After beating Stockport 4-0 in the 5th round Reading had been drawn away to Bournemouth and the Fitness First Stadium, this time however Reading were in the premiership and Bournemouth the third division. Saying this Bournemouth had knocked Chelsea out on penalties in the previous round. However, Reading brushed them aside 4-0 where the romance of the FA Cup took its toll, they were drawn against Newcastle in the semi-final. Jazz had dreamed of meeting them in the final but this will be good enough. This match would be the next one after Jazz had returned to St James’ Park. Although he was warmly greeted by the Geordies Newcastle took no mercy and completely out played Reading. They did the same again in the semi-final of the FA Cup. The final match of the season for Reading saw them away to Chelsea who in the end ran out a comfortable 2-0 winners. Leaving Reading finishing the season in 8th place, everybody of the club were over the moon Reading had finished above Liverpool, Leeds and other big teams. Jazz was now thinking where he could take the club next or if he would receive a job offer to good to refuse.

The club announced in close season that they were expanding the stadium by approximately 12000 seats, from 24000aprox to 36000aprox. This was welcomed by everybody, more fans could see the games, revenue from gate receipts would be up and a better atmosphere. Again avoid relegation was the target for the new season, and yet again a measly £1.7m transfer budget. Jazz understood the club needed to be secure financially but he was frustrated with the lack of support from the board. If last season turned out to be lucky Reading may find themselves back in division one if Jazz can’t find the right players. There was to be an exit of players in the summer, players who’s contract wouldn’t be renewed. These included Andy Hughes, James Harper, Graham Stack, Ivar Ingimarsson and Peter Champman. Jazz had lined up future signings though both Darren Ambrose from Newcastle and David Bentley from Arsenal would be joining him at Reading. Ambrose would be the 5th player to have joined him at Reading after working with him at Newcastle.

Jazz put some of the clubs good fortunes down to his lucky charm, he wasn’t usually a superstitious guy but he felt the ring had bought him luck. Not in the love life department though, Ocean had left him towards the end of the season. She said he cared more for the football than he did her, which wasn’t true, she had returned to the North-East. Also Dave had gone missing, well he had left and said he would get in touch but as yet he hadn’t. So once again it was just Jazz and Lee the odd couple.

Arsenal win EPL; League Cup; FA Cup and Champions Cup. Leicester, Rotherham and Middlesbrough are relegated and replaced by Wolves (champions EFD), Coventry and Preston.

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Jazz's Office - 12/07/08

His first thought as he walked into his office this morning was that the previous season could be a fluke, simply the players were on a high and played out of their skins to stay in the prem. He was looking through the squad assesment and frankly the players he had weren't good enough, apart from one or two. If he wanted to keep progressing at the club the whole squad needed a new look, but he was frustrated with the lack of funds, he had gotten onto some contacts he had and was waiting for some answers. Not so long ago Jazz had received a letter from the FA which had surprised him, because Reading had finished 8th it meant they would be entered into the third round of the inter-toto cup. This means if Jazz was able to win the competition Reading would be in the UEFA Cup, Reading in Europe, he couldn't believe it. He really did now need a much better team if they were going to hold their own, he also realised he needed a better backroom staff. Brian McDermott's and Kevin Dillon's contracts hadn't been renewed so that was the last of the bad coaches out of the door, it was to be a very busy summer for Jazz and the club with a new look team and a new look staff to find on a £1.7m budget Jazz knew he was in for a tough time. With the first of the inter-toto matches on the 19th Jazz didn't have much time.

Jazz's Office - 27/07/08

Jazz had just finished agreeing his latest transfer in what had been a very busy two weeks. Steven Pressley and Kasey Keller had joined the club as physios, the two had just finished their playing careers and both had good refrences for being physios so Jazz decided to give them their break in the backroom side of things. Craig Miller and David Weir had also joined Jazz's backroom staff as his latest coaches, he now felt he had a good team behind him all he needed was one to do the business on the pitch. Darren Ambrose and David Bentley had already joined up with the squad and a few days before the first match of the inter-toto Adrian Bastia had joined from Aston Villa.Two players were also loaned in before the match, Gianluca Curci a keeper from Deportivo and Leon Best a striker from Southampton. Leaking goals was a big problem last season and was what let them down, its not just the players Jazz thought to himself, I need a new formation. So with his coaches he came up with a new formation, a variation on the 3-4-2-1 formation. Keeping the two central midfielders deep, sitting just in front of the back three, and the wingers bombing up the wings, and a player in the hole behind the front two.The team flew out to Russia to play Krylja Sovetov for the first leg, which Reading ran out 2-0 winners. The return leg saw the Russian side reverse the score and send it into penelties, after a thrilling shoot out Reading managed to come out the victors. Between the two legs Jazz had aranged the transfers of Christian Panucci, Juan Jose Rojas, Mikael Forsell, Alou Diarra and Elpys Jose Espinal. These players were all joining Reading on a free after their contracts are up, Panucci was also going to take up a small coaching role

Jazz's Office - 13/08/08

After wining the first leg of the final 3-0 against 1860 Munich Jazz went into the home dressing room to congratulate his players, they had almost secured a place in the UEFA Cup. They had already knocked out Standard Liege of Belgium in the semi-final and his new players had joined him at the club, all he had to do now is get them ready for saturday.

David Bentley: Free from Arsenal. Young England starlet will feature predominantly in Jazz's plans. Will most likely play in the whole behind the strikers.

Darren Ambrose: Free from Newcastle. Talented right winger will take over Hughes'/Romo's duties on the right.

Adrian Bastia: £1m from Aston Villa. Aggressive; hard working; brave; fast; strong; and can run arround all day are only a few ways to describe this very talented Argentinian central midfielder. Will partner Oliseh in the midfield, both will sit just in front of the back three.

Christian Panucci: Free from Roma. The well capped Italian defender now aged 35 will probably only have this season left in him, but his experience will be well needed.

Juan Jose Rojas: Free from Real Madrid. Young Spanish under 21 player with bags of potential who will be mainly backup/rotation player.

Mikael Forssell: Free from Real Zaragoza. Finnish striker with abundant ability will partner Kitson up front.

Alou Diarra: Free from Perugia: Another fast hard working brave player, who will play mostly in defence but can also cover for Oliseh or Bastia if necessarry.

Elpys Jose Espinal: Free from Atalanta. Very talented winger who can dribble through a whole squad and tackle with the all but the very best defenders, will make Tyson a backup player.

Gianluca Curci: Loan from Deportivo. Very good keeper who will be first choice unless Jazz's judgement turns out to be wrong

Leon Best: Loan from Southampton. Another young pacey English striker, who will provide excellent cover.

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This had been a very surreal and hard season for Jazz, not just on the pitch but off it also. After ensuring that Reading had made it into the UEFA Cup after beating 1860 Munich 5-0 on aggregate, Jazz had made a poor start to the domestic league. He put this down to his new tactic and reverted to a 4-4-2 diamond formation, however their poor form continued. They were knocked out of the League Cup by Stevenage but surprisingly they still went strong in the UEFA Cup. Picking up the odd win here and the odd draw there saw them in 12th place by Christmas. This actually surprised Jazz, the amount of talent at the club on paper should put them about 6th.

Off the pitch things seemed to get worse Jazz finally got it out of Lee that the ring he gave Jazz wasn’t his. To top it the ring belonged to an American gangster and was quite valuable. He only got this information out of Lee after being done over by two of the gangster’s men on New Years Eve. The men also warned him not to cross paths with them again or next time there will be no salvation at the end of the pain. This led to Jazz having an almighty argument with Lee in which he said some really harsh stuff that he wished he hadn’t. Lee left and went back to Newcastle leaving Jazz on his own, no girlfriend, no mates and the pressure of the job was getting to him.

Reading managed to get through the next couple of rounds of the FA Cup and picking up a couple of wins, and thrashings along the way. Miraculously they were progressing through the UEFA Cup with relative ease. This would normally surprise Jazz, but now doubly so, since the argument Jazz had been sinking lower and lower. He turned to the bottle and started turning up to training sessions even games hung over or even drunk. So with him in the state he was he was surprised how the team were faring, he thought to himself may be it’s the fact im doing so well in the competition that I still have my job.

As it happens the team were knocked out in the semis on away goals to Dinamo Kiev. The FA Cup had stopped long ago and league wins were sporadic. Jazz found himself getting sick of Reading, lack of any real support apart from words by the chairman. There was no people left to keep him here and the team were crap except in the UEFA Cup. As it happens they finished 13th in the league as Arsenal again won the league and Champions Cup. Blackburn won the FA Cup and Newcastle won the League Cup. The job no longer interested Jazz and handed in his resignation. His official statement to the fans was that he felt he had taken the team as far as he could. What was he going to do now no friends and no job…

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | C | Arsenal | | 38 | 27 | 7 | 4 | 90 | 32 | +58 | 88 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | | Chelsea | | 38 | 21 | 8 | 9 | 76 | 43 | +33 | 71 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | | Newcastle | | 38 | 16 | 14 | 8 | 56 | 43 | +13 | 62 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | | Wolves | | 38 | 17 | 9 | 12 | 56 | 40 | +16 | 60 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | | Coventry | | 38 | 17 | 9 | 12 | 59 | 48 | +11 | 60 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Tottenham | | 38 | 15 | 13 | 10 | 55 | 54 | +1 | 58 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Southampton | | 38 | 15 | 12 | 11 | 50 | 37 | +13 | 57 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Birmingham | | 38 | 16 | 9 | 13 | 57 | 48 | +9 | 57 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | Everton | | 38 | 16 | 9 | 13 | 58 | 52 | +6 | 57 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Blackburn | | 38 | 14 | 13 | 11 | 64 | 51 | +13 | 55 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Man City | | 38 | 13 | 11 | 14 | 47 | 57 | -10 | 50 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Liverpool | | 38 | 14 | 7 | 17 | 62 | 65 | -3 | 49 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Reading | | 38 | 14 | 7 | 17 | 47 | 58 | -11 | 49 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Man Utd | | 38 | 13 | 10 | 15 | 53 | 65 | -12 | 49 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Leeds | | 38 | 10 | 12 | 16 | 57 | 65 | -8 | 42 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | Preston | | 38 | 12 | 5 | 21 | 40 | 59 | -19 | 41 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Derby | | 38 | 10 | 10 | 18 | 48 | 69 | -21 | 40 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | R | Millwall | | 38 | 10 | 10 | 18 | 38 | 63 | -25 | 40 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | R | Aston Villa | | 38 | 10 | 8 | 20 | 45 | 60 | -15 | 38 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | R | Fulham | | 38 | 4 | 9 | 25 | 24 | 73 | -49 | 21 |

| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|</pre>

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Jazz’s House

He had returned to what he once was, a lazy; messy; smelly coach potato of a drunk. Once again he found himself wading through seas of empty cans; pizza boxes; Chinese and Indian foil cartons. This time it wasn’t on a morning it was 3am, Jazz had really let himself slip. He looked at himself in the mirror and the face staring back at him had three day stubble and a scar from the beating he got on new years. Looking round the room he spied a vodka bottle half empty, but as he put it up to his lips he stopped looked at the bottle and told himself he didn’t want to be like this and poured it all away. Again looking round the room he was appauled and looked at himself in the mirror and vowed to change. He tidied the mess up had a shower and a shave, by the time he had finished he walked back into the now clean room, tidy he thought…what’s the point he told himself he had nothing. A change was what was needed, a new start not just city or job but lifestyle. Just then the mail was shoved through the letter box, with it was a postcard from Dave, saying he had moved to Marseille and if he wanted to join him.

As soon as he had finished reading the postcard he knew that’s what he had to do. He was going to make a new life for himself in France, he was going to sell up and join Dave out there. Jazz did just that, he sold everything apart from clothes and a few essential items, he piled them into what space his new Aston Martin and drove down to South France to start his new life. Arriving a little past midnight Jazz with the help of Dave moved things from the car to the apartment.


The next morning Jazz was sitting outside a little café enjoying crossoints while the early morning sun warmed his face. Jazz looked into the cloudless sky and knew he had made the right choice, he knew the new lifestyle was for him. Dave joined him five minutes later accompanied with a British paper, Jazz explained about what had happened and the other two going back to the north-east, Dave assured him that he could stay wit him as long as he wished. In the afternoon Jazz explored the city with Dave and at night they would go and try the local bars. The next few days followed similar patterns. Luckily Jazz knew a fair bit French as it was the only thing he was interested in at school apart from sports, also working with French players allowed him to practise the language and expressions.

Monte Carlo was home to arguably the most famous race in the world, as it was Jazz and Dave decided to go see the F1 Grand Prix. Having saved his earnings this time round Jazz had the idea of getting his own place between Marseille and Monte Carlo. It was a beautiful part of the world and Jazz saw himself settling down here. Then something happened which he hadn’t planned or really wanted, he met a man who wanted him to return to what ultimately drove him here. The man in question was Monsieur Plessis, the chairman of FC Sochaux-Montbeliard a French team who had just been relegated into the French National league. Monsieur Plessis recognised Jazz mainly from when he won the FA Cup but since then had followed his progress as a manager, he asked Jazz to do for Sochauz what he did for Reading. It was football that drove his girlfriend away and played apart from falling out with his best mate. However, it was football that ran through his veins, it was a different culture and style of football. Jazz said he would get in touch with Monsieur Plessis about his offer.

Jazz spent a few days with Dave trying to come up with a decision, he researched the area Montbeliard. It is situated in Eastern France near the Swiss border and is also not to far from the German boarder. Located in the Jura mountains it is a picturesque Germanic town, the kind of place Jazz would love to live.


The club itself is quite a big team especially for the National league. A modern 20,000 seater stadium called Stade Auguste Bonal and a fairly wealthy club for its level, certainly a team with the makings of champions. After thinking it through Jazz decided he would go to Sochaux and see the area and club for himself. Jazz was given the tour to his surprise there was an immense training facilities and every thought had been put into the detail of the club to make it the best and it certainly should be for the National league. Jazz was told he could expect a transfer budget of £16.75m which blew him away, a National side with that amount of cash could almost buy success. He was also told if he were to become the new manager he would be expected to win the league title. The set up and the area were to good to resist and so Jazz O’Neil became the new FC Sochaux-Montbeliard manager.

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Sochaux – 25/07/09

Jazz was sitting downstairs in the outside terrace of the hotel restaurant, enjoying eating his breakfast whilst reading the local paper in the glorious surroundings of the Ibis hotel. He was feeling a lot better than he was a few months ago, he was loving it here. This would be the last night he would spend at the hotel as the new house he had bought should be finished being decorated and furnished. He had never really lived the rich lifestyle but he now felt the surroundings he was in allowed him to start doing so. The new house was up in the hills overlooking the city with a breath-taking view, although the house was large enough for a big family Jazz had ideas on how to make it into one massive bachelor pad. It was nice in the city, he would get the odd person asking for his autograph but mostly they just smiled as he walked past.

As he strode into one of the local cafes he noticed that Michel Troin his assistant was already at a table. Jazz ordered a coffee and made his way to the table, situated at the back out of the way. Michel was very much like Jazz, same age same height and the same passion for the beautiful game. Jazz warmed to Michel he wasn’t just a colleague but a friend, a nice man with time for people he helped Jazz find the house and settle into the area. The fact Jazz could speak fluent French surprised everyone at the club and some other people he spoke to, it make everything much more simple.

J: “how are you my friend?â€

M: “very good thank you, and your house is it finished yet?â€

J: “just about, fingers crossed it should be ready for me to move in tomorrowâ€

M: “good good, I have brought the player evaluations for you as you asked, also I took the liberty of bringing Denis’ (head physio) report on them for youâ€

J: “great thank you Michel, shall we go through them and try and see what roles they will be playingâ€


Mathieu Moreau: The main man between the sticks with good handling ability and communication, bit weak on crosses and one on ones.

Gilles Moizini: Young keeper with potential brought in on a free but will serve as backup for the reserve spot.

Teddy Richert: A sturdy reserve keeper, will be more than adequate should Moreau be injured or suspended


Fabien Laurenti: Good defender who prefers centre back but can also act as a sweeper or right back if needed. Most likely staying on the subs bench.

Omar Daf: Talented full back who can play on both sides but prefers right. His experience will come in handy and will likely play an active role in the team

Souleymane Diawara: Very good centre back will be first team player and Michel reckons will feature heavily in the drive for success.

David Di Tommasio: Left full back who is quick and tenacious and will be a first team player.

Sylvain Monsoreau: One of our star players great centre back who is far to good for this level.

Antonio D’Amico: Michel reckons that the young centre back will be a class act for the club. Great tackle and lightening pace and a wicked cross.

Jacques Lopes: Promising centre back who could also have a great future ahead of him.


Christophe Lamaitre: Young central midfielder with bags of talent and yet another who will develop into a quality player

Quinton Fortune: Signed from Aston Villa on a free, left winger who is fairly fast and has a good cross. First team status most likely all season.

Adel Chedli: Tunisian born midfielder who can play anywhere across the middle. With a good cross and tackle and enough pace a player who will be on the bench without the quality to hold down a first team spot.

Jeremy Mathieu: Another of our star players, gifted central midfielder who will play every game injury and suspension permitting. Plenty of flair will make him good to watch.

Wilson Oruma: Another midfielder who can play anywhere across the middle. Not as talented though and will only be a squad member with little chance of any sort of a run in the team.

David Romo: Bought from Reading for £725k, Romo will be meeting back up with Jazz and will once again be involved with the rotation system.

Olivier Sorlin: Signed from Niort for £55k the talented right winger will be first choice winger.

Yohan Gourcuff: Talented central midfielder who will also operate in the rotation system.

Danny Guthrie: Loaned from Dunfermline the central midfielder is one Michel thinks we should sign, with the work rate and creativity of the lad he may prove to be a sound investment.


Pierre-Alain Frau: Very talented striker who is the star and playboy of the team. First on the teamsheet.

Victor Ruiz: Capped at schoolboy level, Michel thinks we should give the lad a fair share of games to aid his learning and experience.

Jeremy Menez: Strike partner for Frau, can finish off a move like the best strikers in the game.

Stephane Traore: Talented striker with pace and a spot on pass will be given some games and be pushing for Menez’s spot. However, Denis has pointed out that Traore seems to be prone to injury.

J: “well I think we have established the roles, and I have a clear idea of who will start certainly the first dew gamesâ€

M: “what formation are you thinking of usingâ€

J: “I tried some different tactics last year and they didn’t come off, I think I’ll revert back to normal 4-4-2. Short neat passing and mostly attacking mentalityâ€

M: “that sounds good, we certainly have the players to carry that out. In this league an attacking style should prove lucrative for usâ€

J: “I couldn’t agree more, shall we go to the training groundâ€

M: “yesâ€

Jazz settled the bill and they walked back to his car and they drove to the training ground. He knew only the 4-4-2 would work and with the players the team has got winning the league should be no trouble. Apart from the new arrivals mentioned in the squad outline Jazz had bought two new young strikers recommended by his scouts. Both Gregory Collet and Ludovic Ferrand were brought in on frees. He had also expanded his backroom staff, Rui Faria was a very talented Portuguese coach who will work with the youngsters. Paul Teather, Andy Mintram, Chris Uwins and Simon Clifford have been added to the scouting team. Finally S.Jones and R.Rolleson have been added to aid Denis in the physio room. With plenty finance behind him and a supportive board and supporters and the new improved backroom staff and the great bunch of players Jazz believed he could take them to the Champions Cup. What the board and fans wanted was to win the league and the bookies put them as 6-4 second favourites to achieve it. Everybody at the club expected the team to walk it. Jazz was really looking forward to the first game against Clermont. He had started all over again and he knew he had made the right choice and was loving it.

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Monday 2/11/09, Jazz’s House

The sweet fetor of freshly cut grass wafted into the kitchen where Jazz finaly got a chance to sit and read Le Monde. The air was crisp and clean up in the mountains, but with it came a freshness of cool air, The Montbeliard area got quite cool in November, never the less Jazz still enjoyed the smell of the mountains in his kitchen. He was reading an article in Le Monde about his side. The sports writer was being very complimentary about the teams recent performances and how Jazz had got them playing good football. Jazz had decided to give his players this Monday morning off as a reward for playing well, however both he and the players knew they would be working doubly hard this afternoon to make up for the rest.

Just as he was pouring himself a second cup of coffee he heard the crunching of gravel. As he looked out of the window he could see Michel’s car making its way up the drive. When Michel got out of the car he saw Jazz at the door greeting him with open arms.

J: “welcome to my humble abodeâ€

M: “merci, the team is looking good no?â€

J: “oui, yes the victory over Poitiers keeps our unbeaten run to 9 league gamesâ€

M: “indeed and the victory over Troyes in the cup will only serve to boost their confidence. You are doing a fine job my friendâ€

J: “we…are doing a fine job, I could not have done it without you or the others. But tell me why are you hereâ€

M: “do I need a reason to visit a colleague…a friend?â€

J: “of course not where are my manners…coffeeâ€

M: “please…the whole place seems different now…since you’ve arrievedâ€

J: “oh what do you meanâ€

M: “it wasn’t so long ago this club were in Europe and the first league but since then the club was on a slippery slope to oblivion. Then somehow the club landed you, a man with champions league experience, the man who won the FA Cup. The man who guided a lowly struggling team to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. You my friend were a coup for this club a benchmark for managers to come I can feel it.â€

J: “please stop I am not a coup I have little experience, I was fortunate to inherit a good capable squad at Newcastle and I was lucky at Reading that was all.â€

M: “nonsense, look at what you have achieved here in mere months. You have turned the team around given them confidence, we have progressed further in the league cup so far than the past two seasons, we are heading in the right directionâ€

J: “the players are all very capable of better things and higher leagues as are you and the staff, I have done nothing except add a new face or two to mine. Don’t be counting your chickens too early Michel, we have Saint-Etienne in the next round, they are 4th in the first league. We also have to play Dunkerque and Le Rouche-sur-Yon in the league before then and they are pushing us hardâ€

M: “yes but they players believe they can beat anybody and that is down to you, now come its time to work your magic at the training groundâ€

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | | Sochaux | | 14 | 11 | 2 | 1 | 29 | 7 | +22 | 35 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | | Dunkerque | | 14 | 9 | 4 | 1 | 22 | 7 | +15 | 31 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | | La Roche-sur-Yon | | 14 | 9 | 3 | 2 | 21 | 7 | +14 | 30 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | | Paris FC | | 14 | 6 | 6 | 2 | 22 | 16 | +6 | 24 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | | Tours | | 14 | 7 | 2 | 5 | 28 | 19 | +9 | 23 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Istres | | 14 | 6 | 4 | 4 | 24 | 21 | +3 | 22 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Pau | | 14 | 6 | 3 | 5 | 24 | 18 | +6 | 21 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Valenciennes | | 14 | 6 | 3 | 5 | 17 | 14 | +3 | 21 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | Poitiers | | 14 | 5 | 3 | 6 | 15 | 15 | 0 | 18 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Brest | | 14 | 5 | 3 | 6 | 20 | 25 | -5 | 18 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Toulon | | 14 | 4 | 5 | 5 | 14 | 19 | -5 | 17 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Noisy-le-Sec | | 14 | 5 | 2 | 7 | 15 | 21 | -6 | 17 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Amiens | | 14 | 3 | 7 | 4 | 16 | 18 | -2 | 16 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Rouen | | 14 | 4 | 4 | 6 | 18 | 22 | -4 | 16 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Ajaccio | | 14 | 4 | 4 | 6 | 13 | 15 | -2 | 16 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | Pacy | | 14 | 4 | 3 | 7 | 24 | 22 | +2 | 15 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Clermont | | 14 | 4 | 2 | 8 | 19 | 23 | -4 | 14 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | | RC Paris | | 14 | 3 | 3 | 8 | 10 | 30 | -20 | 12 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | | Saint-Brieuc | | 14 | 3 | 2 | 9 | 15 | 35 | -20 | 11 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | | Valence | | 14 | 2 | 3 | 9 | 13 | 25 | -12 | 9 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|</pre>

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Enjoyed the guest appearance icon_biggrin.gif

Sochaux, eh? Well, I'm surprised Frau is still there, and Menez is IRL one of the bright young hopes of French football -just signed his first professional contract I think, and featured with the Euro-winning U-17s French team, alongside Marseille's own little gems, Yahiaoui and Nasri...Oh, and try Laurenti at right-back, he'll be better there than as a CB...Best of luck! icon14.gif

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Victor Ruiz Profile

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">Forward (Centre), French (Capped at Schoolboy level), Age 20

| | Apps | Gls | Asts | MoM | Yel | Red | Tck | Pass | Sh Tar | Fouls| Fls Ag | Av R |

| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| Non Competitive | 0 (2)| 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | - | - | - | 2 | - | 6.50 |

| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| League | 2 (1)| 3 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | - | 57 % | 83 % | 1 | 2 | 7.33 |

| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| Cup | 2 (1)| 5 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 2.20 | 72 % | 81 % | 1 | 3 | 8.67 |

| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| Continental | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | ---- |

| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| International | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | ---- |

| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| Overall | 4 (2)| 8 | 0 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 1.15 | 65 % | 82 % | 2 | 5 | 8.00 |

| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|</pre>

Sochaux Youth Academy

J: “and Ruiz came from here?â€

M: “yes he was born in Montbeliard and came here at the age of 10 and impressed his way to the first teamâ€

J: “he certainly has impressed his stats speak for themselves. I mean to step into Frau’s shoes or boots so to speak and perform as has done is outstandingâ€

M: “there seems to be many more like him tooâ€

J: “I hope soâ€

Jazz and Michel were watching the young talent be put through their paces. Jazz had made sure that he and some of his players would come down here and help the development of the kids. He knew how important it was to have someone to look up to and aspire to be when wanting to play football. Some of the parents of the kids were here also, one in particular he noticed. Her name was Stephanie, Jazz recognised her from the club. She washed the team kits and did some general work around the club. He walked over to her, she was a shy woman in her mid thirties very attractive, she called him Mr O’Neil which he hated.

J: “hi Stephanie isn’t it?â€

S: “yes it is Mr O’Neilâ€

J: “please call me Jazz I hate being formalâ€

S: “sorryâ€

J: “don’t be, so your son is in the academy?â€

S: “yes number 7, Didierâ€

J: “he’s very talented, I’ll keep my eye on him. Would you like to get a drink?â€

As they drank in the café Jazz was getting to know this shy woman, he liked her. He wasn’t sure why it was something about her that intrigued him. After Ocean he thought he’d never find anybody he liked so much again, but Stephanie was an enigma waiting to be solved. As Dider ran into the café he realised who his mother was talking to and seemed shocked, Jazz hadn’t seen this reaction before, a look of awe was stricken across Didier’s face.

Leaving the academy he drove back to his office and all he could think about was her face. This was a bad thing as they were playing Pacy tonight and he needed to be focused on the game. They had broken away from the chasing pack who had fallen by the wayside and were battling for second spot. An 18 game undefeated run had seen them take a 12 point advantage over their closest contenders Dunkerque and with a game in hand. They had been dumped out of the second round of the League cup by Saint-Etienne, however had progressed to the 11th round of the French Cup. Here they faced Auxerre away, another First Division side they had to face, hopefully they will fare better than they did in the League Cup.

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">| Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 1st | | Sochaux | | 23 | 17 | 5 | 1 | 49 | 11 | +38 | 56 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 2nd | | Dunkerque | | 24 | 12 | 8 | 4 | 32 | 17 | +15 | 44 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 3rd | | La Roche-sur-Yon | | 24 | 12 | 6 | 6 | 31 | 19 | +12 | 42 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 4th | | Tours | | 23 | 12 | 5 | 6 | 37 | 23 | +14 | 41 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 5th | | Toulon | | 23 | 10 | 8 | 5 | 34 | 25 | +9 | 38 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 6th | | Paris FC | | 24 | 9 | 10 | 5 | 35 | 28 | +7 | 37 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 7th | | Pau | | 24 | 10 | 5 | 9 | 42 | 33 | +9 | 35 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 8th | | Valenciennes | | 24 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 29 | 26 | +3 | 35 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 9th | | Istres | | 24 | 9 | 7 | 8 | 38 | 37 | +1 | 34 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 10th | | Poitiers | | 24 | 9 | 6 | 9 | 28 | 27 | +1 | 33 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 11th | | Pacy | | 23 | 9 | 4 | 10 | 38 | 34 | +4 | 31 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 12th | | Clermont | | 23 | 7 | 7 | 9 | 35 | 33 | +2 | 28 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 13th | | Amiens | | 24 | 6 | 10 | 8 | 26 | 31 | -5 | 28 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 14th | | Ajaccio | | 23 | 7 | 6 | 10 | 20 | 31 | -11 | 27 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 15th | | Noisy-le-Sec | | 24 | 7 | 5 | 12 | 25 | 35 | -10 | 26 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 16th | | RC Paris | | 24 | 6 | 6 | 12 | 18 | 38 | -20 | 24 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 17th | | Rouen | | 24 | 6 | 6 | 12 | 26 | 39 | -13 | 24 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 18th | | Saint-Brieuc | | 24 | 6 | 5 | 13 | 28 | 53 | -25 | 23 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 19th | | Valence | | 24 | 5 | 6 | 13 | 26 | 39 | -13 | 21 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

| 20th | | Brest | | 24 | 5 | 5 | 14 | 28 | 46 | -18 | 20 |

| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|</pre>

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