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(FM'09) Destination, Unknown - Job #2 - Leeds United (ENG)


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New Year, New Story! :)

A lot of my stories follow the same basic format. You'll have noticed this, and I'm very aware of it. Apart from the odd one like the Di Cianni Boys story, and The Gambler, I generally start at a domestic or far flung lower level club with my experience set to Sunday League Footballer level, and attempt to move them through the Leagues. Usually I do alright, pick up a few trophies and do a decent job.

But how much difference does that experience setting actually make to the way the save moves forward? How would my save be different when I use the top level experience of International Footballer instead. I can't recall ever using that setting before (prepared to be corrected if there is a short lived save knocking around somewhere on these Boards). Well, lets find out!

Once more, continuing the recent theme of using FM'09, all the Nations and Leagues available are activated. I'll start unemployed, and wait to see what opportunities await me as a 30 year old retired International Footballer with 40 caps and 13 goals to his name for Wales. I don't expect to jump into a job right away, and I certainly don't envisage taking the first job that comes by way, more likely it will be a project that I really like the look of. Lets see what kind of adventure this one takes us on.

Happy New Year readers. Lets hope that 2021 is a huge improvement on last years sh*t show!

No editor is being used for this save, just cosmetics for club badges and kits, and the unfaking process to unlock the German National Team. Expect to see some slightly different formatting for match reports and info as I use this little project to try out some new looks. Feedback always welcome, along with questions and observations. Enjoy.

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I'm like you, never used any other setting than Sunday League and no badges. I may have done way back when, like CM 01/02 maybe, but for as long as I can remember it's always been lowest as poosible.

Am sure you'll do alright mate

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7 hours ago, bigmattb28 said:

I'm like you, never used any other setting than Sunday League and no badges. I may have done way back when, like CM 01/02 maybe, but for as long as I can remember it's always been lowest as poosible.

Am sure you'll do alright mate

Yeah, I don't recall using anything other, though I may possibly have an old save lurking about where it may have automatically set the experience. Fingers crossed mate.


3 hours ago, oche balboa said:

I love the fact you are still playing older FM's. Will look forward to this story with interest 

Always nice to have you following along Oche. I love the match engine on this version. I've a boxed copy of FM'08 that I'd love to play, but can't get it to work on this laptop.

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Wednesday 9th July 2008
For the first time I'm approached to take over a club, and it comes only a day into the game too. This would never happen with reputation set as Sunday Footballer. Also something that would never happen, the offer comes from a good club with some money too. That club is Jaguares de Chiapas, who are in the top tier of Mexican football, despite being formed only six years ago. It's an interesting proposition, and the idea of managing in North or South America is appealing, but I'm passing this chance up for now.

Saturday 12th July 2008
There were three jobs that were open at the start of the game that I was interested in, two club jobs from heavyweight clubs in Holland, and an International job in Europe. I decided that I would only speak to PSV Eindhoven or Feyenoord if they approached me. They didn't. The job in charge of Georgia would have been an interesting project, and would have given me some time for more attractive club jobs to come up. But I didn't want that job badly enough to apply for it either.

Saturday 30th August 2008
For the first time, I'm publicly linked with jobs as they become available. In the morning I was linked with the job at Stabæk Fotball in the Norwegian top tier after they sacked Jan Jönsson, but they very quickly announced the appointment of Åge Hareide as his replacement. By the afternoon, I was being linked with another job in Norway's Premier Division, this time a club in real relegation trouble, Viking FK, who have just sacked Uwe Rösler with the club in the Relegation Playoff spot and only a point above the automatic relegation spot. Scandinavia is a nice option to have, but I'd like to think my reputation would land me a better opportunity right now, or a challenge that I would like to get my teeth into at least.

Saturday 20th September 2008
I'm made favourite for the DC United job in the Major Soccer League in the United States after Tom Soehn is sacked. I decline to comment on the speculation, with other names linked with the job including Adrian Boothroyd and Oleg Protasov.

Saturday 27th September 2008
Another link with a job, and this time before I even had chance to speak out, I was being offered the position. It was a good job too, from twice Russian Champions and Capital City heavyweights, Lokomotiv Moscow. What has stopped me from taking the plunge and heading for Moscow? Well there are only eight games left in the season, the club are in the bottom half of the table, and the size of their First Team squad is bordering on the ridiculous. They have six goalkeepers just for a start.

Friday 3rd October 2008
More interest from Russia, this time in the form of Rubin Kazan after they sack Kurban Berdyev. They have plenty of cash, and a huge squad that is rammed full with International players. But there is player revolt going on at Central, with the club is poor form and spiraling towards the relegation zone, with everyone knowing that a drop out of the Russian Premier League would see the clubs funding likely be reduced, if not stopped entirely. There are only around half a dozen games left in the Russian season. That doesn't sound like a situation I want to get involved in for my first crack at management.

Saturday 4th October 2008
France would suit me much better. It would be a lot closer to home. And it would be an interesting project too. En Avant de Guingamp are rooted to the foot of Ligue 2 Orange, with a squad that should be much closer to the sharp end of the table in my opinion. Unfortunately, by the time I'd registered my interest in the job with the Brittany club, they had already chosen their next Manager.

But I wasn't quite done for the day.......

France wasn't my only option, and in an almost identical situation, an opportunity presented itself in Holland. Actually, that isn't entirely accurate. What happened was that I registered my interest, and within hours they had sacked their 39 year old manager Andries Ulderink, who had been in charge of the club for just 193 days. After winning two of their opening three games, they are since winless in eight, a run that includes them being dumped out of the Dutch Cup.

There seems to be no real reason why this need to be anchored near the foot of the Eerste Divisie. Their squad has some very good players, including a Dutch legend who has been tempted back onto the park for one final season while he finishes up his Coaching Badges. The club offer me a three year deal, on £850 per week. I ask for the night to think about it.

Sunday 5th October 2008
It was very early the next morning when they were in contact again. They were eager to hear what decision I had come to. I was actually very keen. I saw it as an ideal place to start my managerial career, though not without risk. There is plenty of scope to move forward though, due to the unique setup of the League and the way it's split into several sections, rewarding good runs of form. Also there are no restrictions on where we can sign players from.

I didn't tell the Chairman I was keen though. I asked for a deal until the end of the season only, and for the money to be pushed up to £925 per week. He took a whole ten minutes before agreeing to my terms. In the mood to push my luck, I asked him to increase his offer to £1,000 per week. This time he warned me that it was his last offer.....

So I accepted. For the first time, I'm in charge of a club!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Job #1 - (5/10/2008 - ? )
Nation - Holland
Level - Eerste Divisie (Second Tier)
Club - Go Ahead Eagles
Starting Point - 19th position

Job Overview :-
I don't envisage this being a long term stay. Truth be told, I didn't expect to take a job until more like after Christmas at earliest, and I also had visions of my first role being considerably more high profile. But I found this little project irresistible. I should have done a little more homework, as I had visions of being the hero that saves the club from relegation. But there is no relegation from this Division. Never mind, the League is split into several stages, and winning a stage guarantees a Promotion Playoff spot. The top team gets the only automatic promotion spot, but there are eight available Playoff spots, which could be dished out as low as teams finishing 9th depending on the winners of the Stages. That unique setup that allows us a great shot at still getting a crack at promotion.

Club Overview :-
And promotion would be huge for this club. Four times Dutch Champions, but the last of those coming in 1933, the Go Ahead Eagles are very much a club who's glory days are multiple generations ago. They were runner's-up once in the Dutch Cup too, but even that was back over forty years ago now. They've been a second tier club since 1996 now, and have sailed close to the wind with falling into extinction several times, bailed out on several occasions by Chairman at the club Hans de Vroome. Maybe this is why no one at the club seems terribly concerned at the debt of well over £¼ million. This is also the primary reason why De Adelaarshorst, the home stadium, hasn't been redeveloped, expanded or replaced. Built in 1920, and capable of holding just 6,750 people in it's all seater confines, the club could easily outgrow it with some success. The club is based in the central City of Deventer, and holds keen rivalries with FC Zwolle and the much more successful FC Twente near the German border in the City of Enschede.

Squad Overview :-
There are a fair few reasons there that should make it fairly obvious why I only asked for a deal to the end of the season. But it's far from being all bad, or like the Rubin Kazan job, I wouldn't have bothered. The squad has some quality about it in places, though it's lack of consistency and cohesion is there for all to see. Many of the better bits of the puzzle are either on loan, or sat with contracts expiring next summer, and with the club unable to compete financially with the bigger clubs who are circling to take them elsewhere. There has clearly been some mismanagement here too. One of the best players at the club is Dominique van Dijk, the Club Captain. He's an attacking midfielder, not a role I often utilise. So the fact that he is out on loan isn't a huge issue for me. But the fact that he is out on loan to top tier Eredivisie side Volendam, and that Go Ahead Eagles are still covering the entirety of his £3,300 per week wages, well, that is very much a problem. I've got a Transfer Budget of a mere £20,000, and on top of that, a Wage Budget of around £40,000 per week that we are already very slightly over, and the Board are keen for me to bring that outlay number down. Somewhere down the line, someone has had a major lack of common sense there.

So what do we have left. Well, two pretty serviceable goalkeepers, with the younger of the two very much considered the number one for now. He's only with us temporarily though, Remko Pasveer is getting a first sustained crack at regular First Team football in his career after joining on loan for the season from Heracles Almelo of the top tier. He'd love to stay, but with a wage packet of well over four grand a week, he would need to take a significant pay drop to make the move permanent.

In defence, we have two decent full backs, both of who fit my style nicely as they like to get forward and try to deliver a cross. Said Bakkati is a 26 year old Moroccan national who is Dutch born. Jonathan Vosselman has been here three years and is the clubs regular left back. That might be because there is little to no cover for either of them. And they are both out of contract at the end of the campaign.

In the middle of the back four, Finnish born Italian, but long time Dutch resident and Eagles player Marco Parnela is probably the best we have. He's on a deal that has a few years to run, but with interest from Italy and Germany, it might take some smart talking to keep him here. His support comes from Dave Bus and Frank Boers, both in their thirties, both in their first season at the club, and both out of contract at the end of this season.

In midfield, the club has a hidden gem, that for unfathomable reasons they have hardly used all season. 21 year old Luuk te Boekhorst is the outstanding talent in the squad, a 21 year old who can play at centre back, defensive midfield, or the more conventional centre midfield role. A gifted passer of the ball and dead ball specialist, he is also very good at the defensive side of the game, and frankly, the lad is far too good for this level. If the only thing I achieve here in Deventer is getting him to sign a new deal, I'll have done my bit for the club. He's out of contract in the summer, and there are options for him already. Alongside him, and longer in the tooth, but also very important to the club is Jordy Zuidman, in his first season of his second spell with the club, and needing to win the fans over as he has joined from sworn rivals FC Zwolle. He is signed up for another few seasons, and has a market value of around £½ million, but selling him to service the clubs debt would certainly impact the quality of the squad. Unfortunately, the quality drops off a fair way after that pair, Rogier Wissink and on loan Oguzhan Türk get a lot of their football by being versatile enough to play anywhere across the midfield.

There are plenty of options on the right wing, with the most plausible of them being Finland International and playing his first season in Holland, 25 year old Kari Arkivuo. The left side is more problematic because we only have one left footed winger, and that is the now 35 year old veteran Dutch International superstar, Marc Overmars. A former Ajax, Arsenal and Barcelona legend, he is back at the club he started his career with to help out and also do the necessary for his UEFA Coaching Badges. He hasn't yet turned out for the club, but why wouldn't I use him? Let's get him in game shape and see if he can still contribute, and if so, maybe even reconsider his plan to retire again next summer.

Up front is where I believe we have some quality to shift us up the table quickly. Sander Post is a 24 year old 6'6 giant Estonian International striker, who is on a loan deal from Flora Tallinn. His sheer physical presence causes huge problems for defenders, and if I were to stay, I'd have to do everything possible to find a way to keep him. There is an agreed fee that we can activate at any time, but it's £160,000 and may be out of reach for us. 23 year old Koen van der Biezen has rivalled him in the goalscoring stakes despite playing half as much football. Physically, he's not exactly a shrinking violet either, and the fans are quickly taking to him in his first season with the club. 5'10 left footed 19 year old striker Rence van der Wal has matched the pair for goals this season too, and brings a more pace to the squad in a season that is likely to see him play his highest number of games in his fourth season at De Adelaarshorst.

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  • neilhoskins77 changed the title to (FM'09) Destination, Unknown - Job #1 - Go Ahead Eagles (NED)
4 hours ago, BenArsenal said:

Best of luck with this. Any club with Marc Overmars is absolutely fine by me. :cool:

Cheers Ben. I didn't even realise he was there to start with. It was when I went to take a look at the Reserve and Youth sides that I stumbled across him. Hopefully we can get him match fit, he makes a bit of an impact, and we can talk him into another year or two.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Monday 6th October 2008
I've made an enemy already. 45 year old Dutch manager Wilm van der Wal is outraged that he wasn't given the job at Go Ahead Eagles, and has told the press that the club will rue their decision to hire me instead when they fail to climb the Eerste Divisie. Well, I guess that's something we'll see about won't we!

Thursday 9th October 2008
Tomorrow I get started, at home against Helmond Sport, who are sat in 12th place and four points in front of us. We're the favourites for the match, and we need to look at the main League Table right now, as this is the fifth game of the Second Stage, which are in blocks of six matches. With only one point in this Stage so far, we're too far behind to be a contender to win it and secure a Playoff berth that way, so we need to try and climb the main League Table. The Opening Stage was won by RKC Waalwijk, while VVV-Venlo are currently leading the way in the Second Stage. Winning a Stage guarantees a Playoff Spot, while any spots that are left vacant by multiple winners etc will then be allocated based on the League Table.

Friday 10th October 2008

Eerste Divisie
De Adelaarshorst, Deventer

Go Ahead Eagles (2) 2 -
Koen van der Biezen (29), Marco Parnela (32)
Helmond Sport (0) 0
Attendance :- 3,848

Remko Pasveer; Said Bakkati, Marco Parnela ©, David Bus, Jonathan Vosselman; Jordy Zuidman, Luuk te Boekhorst (Frank Broers 86); Kari Arkivuo, Geoffrey Knijnenburg (Marc Overmars 64); Rence van der Wal, Koen van der Biezen (Oguzhan Türk 72).
Unused Substitutes :- Wout Droste, Kevin Moeliker (GK), Rogier Wissink, Achmed Ahahaoui.
Bookings :- Koen van der Biezen 14

| Pos   | Inf   | Team            |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 12th  |       | Excelsior       |       | 10    | 3     | 4     | 3     | 12    | 13    | -1    | 13    |
| 13th  |       | MVV             |       | 11    | 3     | 4     | 4     | 17    | 20    | -3    | 13    |
| 14th  |       | Helmond Sport   |       | 11    | 3     | 3     | 5     | 14    | 13    | +1    | 12    |
| 15th  |       | Telstar         |       | 10    | 3     | 3     | 4     | 14    | 13    | +1    | 12    |
| 16th  |       | Go Ahead        |       | 11    | 3     | 2     | 6     | 14    | 19    | -5    | 11    |
| 17th  |       | FC Dordrecht    |       | 11    | 3     | 2     | 6     | 14    | 20    | -6    | 11    |
| 18th  |       | RBC             |       | 10    | 3     | 1     | 6     | 12    | 18    | -6    | 10    |
| 19th  |       | Fortuna Sittard |       | 10    | 1     | 6     | 3     | 12    | 13    | -1    | 9     |
| 20th  |       | FC Zwolle       |       | 11    | 2     | 3     | 6     | 8     | 15    | -7    | 9     |

That could not have gone much better as an opener. It was clear we were lacking balance in the side, with Kari Arkivuo playing as a conventional winger down the right, while Geoffrey Knijnenburg operated as a right footed inside forward down the left. Koen van der Biezen had me on tenterhooks throughout, the lad has a very aggressive style of play that will scare defenders, concern managers, and attract attention from referees. He was booked just fourteen minutes in for a late tackle. But he more than made up for that with an absolute thumping header from a Rence van der Wal corner in the 29th minute, and just three minutes later, the two Finns in the team combined to double the lead, Arkivuo picking out Marco Parnela with his corner delivery from the other side, and the centre back glanced home his first goal of the season.

I used my bench to drop us back deeper and deeper as the second half went on, determined that we wouldn't drop any of the three valuable points that we were holding onto. We finished in a very defensive 5-4-1 by the time the final whistle went, not even bothering to counter attack, and while van der Wal doesn't have much presence up front on his own, I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief when I was able to get van der Biezen off safely with just under twenty minutes to play. It was great to hear the home crowd reaction to Marc Overmars as he made his second debut for the club, and the 375th League appearance of his career. However he isn't going to manage to play every Friday evening for us, and with two and a half months till the Transfer Window opens, I need to find a left footer who can balance out our team a bit.

Tuesday 14th October 2008
Fantastic news for us, as Luuk te Boekhorst signs a one year contract extension with no pay rise. The midfielder that the club will be built around if I were to stay, stated that it was a relief to have the deal done, as the constant speculation regarding his future was becoming a distraction for him, especially the keeness of German side Dynamo Dresden. I'm not sure the fans in Deventer yet appreciate what a talent the club has, but I'm hoping it will soon become evident to them from the 21 year olds on park performances.

Thursday 16th October 2008
With Luuk te Boekhorst signed up for another season, I ask him if he can recommend a left winger. And he can, De Graafschap are the team he is a supporter of, and his pick is their 20 year old winger Mark Bloemendaal. He seems to have plenty of pace and crossing ability, though he is currently injured, and hasn't played any First Team football since the 2006/07 season. I ask the Scouts to take a look into him.

We're home again tomorrow, this time against FC Dordrecht, who we moved above last week with our win. The bookies expect us to record a similar result tomorrow evening, which if we could manage, it would nudge us up a bit closer to the mid table pack. With no resolution to my left winger issues, 19 year old Yoessef Atibi, a first year professional, is called up from our Reserve squad and into the First Team squad for this one.

Friday 17th October 2008

Eerste Divisie
De Adelaarshorst, Deventer
Go Ahead Eagles (0) 0
FC Dordrecht (0) 0

Attendance :- 4,331

Remko Pasveer; Said Bakkati, Marco Parnela ©, Dave Bus, Jonathan Vosselman; Jordy Zuidam, Luuk te Boekhorst; Kari Arkivuo, Yoessef Atibi (Marc Overmars 74); Koen van der Biezen, Sander Post (Rence van der Wal 74).
Unused Substitutes :- Wout Droste, Kevin Moeliker (GK), Frank Broers, Oguzhan Türk, Geoffrey Knijnenburg.
Bookings :- Dave Bus 57

| Pos   | Inf   | Team            |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 12th  |       | MVV             |       | 12    | 3     | 5     | 4     | 18    | 21    | -3    | 14    |
| 13th  |       | Telstar         |       | 11    | 3     | 4     | 4     | 15    | 14    | +1    | 13    |
| 14th  |       | FC Omniworld    |       | 12    | 3     | 4     | 5     | 18    | 20    | -2    | 13    |
| 15th  |       | Excelsior       |       | 12    | 3     | 4     | 5     | 12    | 15    | -3    | 13    |
| 16th  |       | Go Ahead        |       | 12    | 3     | 3     | 6     | 14    | 19    | -5    | 12    |
| 17th  |       | FC Dordrecht    |       | 12    | 3     | 3     | 6     | 14    | 20    | -6    | 12    |
| 18th  |       | RBC             |       | 11    | 3     | 1     | 7     | 13    | 20    | -7    | 10    |
| 19th  |       | FC Zwolle       |       | 12    | 2     | 4     | 6     | 10    | 17    | -7    | 10    |
| 20th  |       | Fortuna Sittard |       | 12    | 1     | 6     | 5     | 12    | 17    | -5    | 9     |

Both clubs could legitimately claim they were unlucky not to win this one, as sure as sign as any that a draw was probably a fair result. Sander Post was back from International Duty, and his selection up front with Koen van der Biezen led to us being a little more direct than I would usually play, while on the wings Kari Arkivuo played his 200th career League game, while Yoessef Atibi made his Senior debut. Poor finishing certainly played it's part in the result, Dordrecht suffering with that early on, Sequeira blasting over early on, Kalisse seeing his shot saved by Remko Pasveer, the only shot on target the visitors would manage. 

Ramos failed to test the keeper early in the second half, and we then started to take over the game from there. Post met a Said Bakkati cross at the near post, which Nick van der Ploeg turned around the post. Kari Arkivuo was adamant he should have been awarded a penalty when man of the match Bart van Muyen seemed to catch him, but the referee was unmoved. It was late on when our best chances would fall though, substitute Rence van der Wal's corner was met by van der Biezen, but his powerful header was wide of the target. With moments left, the left footed van der Wal was played into space in the box, sending his shot across goal, but wide of the far post. Then in injury time, van der Biezen held the ball up in the centre just outside the box, and with van der Wal on the decoy run, it was the other sub Marc Overmars who was played in. He'd already seen van der Wal miss with finesse, so the winger went for power, but got under his shot and sent it high and wide. A second successive clean sheet was certainly a bonus though, in a League with a reputation for producing high scoring games, and where we had conceded our fair share before my arrival.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Saturday 18th October 2008
So that round of games was the final match in Stage Two of the Eerste Divisie, won by VVV Venlo and securing them a Playoff Place at the end of the season along with RKC Waalwijk who won Stage One. They're the top two in the League as well. We placed 18th in that Stage, and need to show a drastic improvement going forward.

Monday 20th October
The month doesn't exactly start on a high note though, as 24 year old attacking midfielder Ceriel Oosthout has torn his calf muscle during today's Reserve side win over Sparta Rotterdam. He is out until mid to late February now, and our already threadbare Squad takes a hit.

Wednesday 22nd October
And there is another blow to come, with Luuk te Boekhorst suffering a minor head injury in training day, which will keep him out of this weeks game, and makes him doubtful for next weeks final game of October too.

Thursday 23rd October
It's a big game that he will miss tomorrow evening too, as we travel to face bottom of the table Fortuna Sittard. It's my first away game in charge of the club, and we are the favourites against the only club in the League yet to reach double figures for points. They have just one win so far this campaign, though they have proven to be draw specialists, earning a point from half of their games so far.

Friday 24th October

Eerste Divisie
Fortuna Stadion, Sittard
Fortuna Sittard (0) 1
Cédric Olondo (70)
Go Ahead Eagles (1) 1 - Cédric Olondo (45+1 og)
Attendance :- 2,412

Remko Pasveer; Marco Parnela ©, Dave Bus, Frank Broers; Said Bakkati, Jordy Zuidman, Jonathan Vosselman; Oguzhan Türk; Kari Arkivuo, Marc Overmars (Geoffrey Knijnenburg 77); Sander Post (Koen van der Biezen 77).
Unused Substitutes :- Wout Droste, Kevin Moeliker (GK), Robert Muruanaya, Roger Wissink, Yoessef Atibi.
Bookings :- None

| Pos   | Inf   | Team            |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 12th  |       | Helmond Sport   |       | 13    | 4     | 3     | 6     | 16    | 16    | 0     | 15    |
| 13th  |       | FC Dordrecht    |       | 13    | 4     | 3     | 6     | 17    | 22    | -5    | 15    |
| 14th  |       | FC Omniworld    |       | 13    | 3     | 5     | 5     | 19    | 21    | -2    | 14    |
| 15th  |       | MVV             |       | 13    | 3     | 5     | 5     | 18    | 24    | -6    | 14    |
| 16th  |       | Excelsior       |       | 13    | 3     | 4     | 6     | 14    | 18    | -4    | 13    |
| 17th  |       | Go Ahead        |       | 13    | 3     | 4     | 6     | 15    | 20    | -5    | 13    |
| 18th  |       | FC Zwolle       |       | 13    | 3     | 4     | 6     | 13    | 19    | -6    | 13    |
| 19th  |       | Fortuna Sittard |       | 13    | 1     | 7     | 5     | 13    | 18    | -5    | 10    |
| 20th  |       | RBC             |       | 13    | 3     | 1     | 9     | 15    | 26    | -11   | 10    |

A change in tactic for this away match, and we go defensive with aims to counter attack. It wasn't what I wanted to do, but it was the best option with the personnel I had available. Frank Broers comes into the team as we go with three at the back, supported by wing backs and a deep role for Jody Zuidman. There is a start on the left for Marc Overmars, while Sander Post is the lone striker.

Our high pressing tactic was causing Fortuna problems in keeping the ball, but they were the side that looked most likely in the first half, DR Congo winger Cedric Olondo scuffing one effort wide, before firing another right at Remko Pasveer. Midfielder Charlie van den Ouweland came close with a curling long range effort that didn't quite curl enough. It took half hour for us to register an attempt on target, but Sander Post's downward header was right at home keeper David Meul. At the other end, Danny Schreurs just missed the target. In first half injury time, Said Bakkati's raid down the right won us a corner. Marc Overmars annoyed his team mates by taking it quickly before everyone had got themselves into the box. Fortunately, it was headed right back out, and he made the second attempt count. He put it right on the head of Dave Bus, and Olondo got it all wrong on the near post, slicing his clearance high into his own net and we had snatched a half time advantage.

The second half began in much the same fashion that the first had unfolded, though we were finding more room to pick our counter attacks with Fortuna attacking with more intent, but less success. One such raid saw a cross just get cleared away from Post, but only finding Zuidman. His attempt at a shot was shanked badly, but the ball found it's way to veteran winger Overmars, who netted from 15 yards out, only to find the flag was up. Instead, it would be Olondo making amends for his first half misses and mistake on the post from the corner. With twenty minutes to play, he took the ball from a short free kick by van den Ouweland, and the winger unleashed an unstoppable 25 yard shot that dipped and swerved to leave Pasveer stranded as it hit the top corner, a real goal of the season contender. So a draw looked set, until with seconds of injury time remaining, Fortuna sub Emil Miljkovic set off on a winding run that got him beyond several tackles and into our penalty box, but he lifted his shot well over the bar, and the points were shared.

So we lose a place in the Overall Table, with FC Dordrecht winning to go past us, while Fortuna Sittard move off the bottom of the table as they finally reach double figures for points. It's Telstar next for us, who are sat in mid table, and if we can beat them, we would go level with them on points.

Thursday 30th October
It may have looked a quiet week from the outside, but in the background there was plenty going on as I started to get my ducks in a row ready for the opening of the Transfer Window in January. And, it would be fair to say that my ambitions are far more realistic than that of the Board at the club, at least from a financial point of view anyway.

At top level, they have agreed a deal to sign a player for next summer. There isn't too much wrong with the player, a 21 year old winger from Feyenoord where he will have completed two years in their system, as yet failing to play any First Team football. So what's the problem? Well, firstly they have agreed to pay £375,000, which is quite a commitment when we're already nearly half a million pounds in debt. Secondly, the lad has, and will miss, most of this season with a damaged cruciate ligament. I could have spent a lot less, and improved the Squad a whole lot more if consulted. I'll prove it as well if I'm able to get some of my targets in through the door in January.

In the meantime, we have a home game against Telstar to worry about tomorrow evening. We're the favourites for a home win against the side sat in 11th, an overachievement based on their pre-season expectations, though they were beaten last week for a first defeat in five in the League. One of the main reasons for their success has been the form of Ghana born Dutch National winger Richmond Bossman, a 23 year old of outstanding talent, who clearly should be playing at a much higher level of football. He's only contracted till the end of the season, and some of the Eredivisie clubs are starting to show their interest........oh, and he's worth less than a quarter of what the Board have just agreed to pay out to Feyenoord, for a player with less than a quarter of the talent too.

Friday 31st October

Eerste Divisie
De Adelaarshorst, Deventer
Go Ahead Eagles (0) 3
Koen van der Biezen (59), Marco Parnela (65), Sander Post (90+1)
Telstar (0) 1 - Richmond Bossman (53)
Attendance :- 2,729
Remko Pasveer; Said Bakkati, Marco Parnela, Dave Bus, Jonathan Vosselman; Jordy Zuidam, Oguzhan Türk (Luuk te Boekhorst 74); Kari Arkivuo, Marc Overmars (Yoessef Atibi 74); Koen van der Biezen (Frank Broers 85), Sander Post.
Unused Substitutes :- Wout Droste, Kevin Moeliker (GK), Geoffrey Knijnenburg, Rence van der Wal.
Bookings :- Koen van der Biezen 76

| Pos   | Inf   | Team            |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 10th  |       | AGOVV           |       | 14    | 4     | 5     | 5     | 16    | 17    | -1    | 17    |
| 11th  |       | Helmond Sport   |       | 14    | 4     | 4     | 6     | 17    | 17    | 0     | 16    |
| 12th  |       | Excelsior       |       | 14    | 4     | 4     | 6     | 18    | 19    | -1    | 16    |
| 13th  |       | Telstar         |       | 14    | 4     | 4     | 6     | 18    | 19    | -1    | 16    |
| 14th  |       | Go Ahead        |       | 14    | 4     | 4     | 6     | 18    | 21    | -3    | 16    |
| 15th  |       | FC Dordrecht    |       | 14    | 4     | 4     | 6     | 18    | 23    | -5    | 16    |
| 16th  |       | FC Omniworld    |       | 14    | 3     | 6     | 5     | 20    | 22    | -2    | 15    |
| 17th  |       | MVV             |       | 14    | 3     | 6     | 5     | 20    | 26    | -6    | 15    |
| 18th  |       | FC Zwolle       |       | 14    | 3     | 5     | 6     | 14    | 20    | -6    | 14    |

We switch back to our more usual setup for this home game, though Luuk te Boekhorst was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench. This would be the reverse of last week, as we were the team in control of possession for large periods, though it was Telstar who had the first chance, star player Richmond Bossman sending in a shot that Remko Pasveer blocked with his legs, though it was the ref who was more troubled by the visitors early on, as they saw two players booked in quick order as the foul count rose quickly. Both Marc Overmars and Sander Post missed the target with shots, Koen van der Biezen joining them with a shot across goal as the half hour approached.

The first half might have belonged to us on the whole, but just like we landed a punch last week on the road, our nose was bloodied here. Richard van Huelen was allowed to travel way too far down the left side as my players stood off, and he then produced a killer cross too, picking out Bossman at the far post, who netted with a simple but powerful downward header. But we stuck to the plan, and almost levelled right away, van der Biezen's half volley from eight yards out bouncing back off the upright. His next shot hit the frame of the goal too, pressure in midfield won us the ball, and Post found van der Biezen, who struck a screamer from 25 yards out that found the net via the underside of the crossbar! With the midpoint of the second half approaching, we turned the game around, and Go Ahead went ahead. Overmars sent over a corner, and Marco Parnela directed a header across goal and into the top corner to put us in front. We nearly got another quickly, Overmars again delivering the corner, van der Biezen less lucky with his effort this time, his header hitting the cross bar before being cleared to safety. Oguzhan Türk and Overmars were substituted for Luuk te Broekhorst and Yoessef Atibi. With five minutes left, Telstar went all out, and we responded by bringing off the booked van der Biezen, and bringing on Frank Boers as we moved back to the defensive outlook we used last weekend. We still almost got caught, Gynor Piet played through the offside trap, but we recovered enough to force him wide and he sent a shot high and wide. Instead, it was us who put the cherry on the cake in injury time, a loose pass in midfield was pounced on by Atibi, and he got far enough forward to play Post in, the big striker squeezing between a defender and the keeper to round then and slide home the clincher and make it a three point day.

That win gives us a leg up into mid table, and only a win away from the Playoff spots. It also means a very solid start to Stage Three, and a chance of nabbing ourselves one of the spots well ahead of party time, though we have some difficult fixtures coming up in November, with all four of our games next month against clubs currently sat in the top seven, starting next week with a trip into the city of Eindhoven.

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On 20/03/2021 at 15:38, BenArsenal said:

That league table is TIGHT! :D

Very mate. A Playoff place is worth having from one of the stages, as you wouldn't want to go into the last day needing a result in this League when things are this tight.

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Saturday 1st November 2008
Another month where we play on Friday's only, four games of which two are at home. As we head into the month, our next four opponents are all currently placed from 7th up to 4th in the main League, and we face them in escalating order as they currently sit in the table. No easy games for us then.

Sunday 2nd November
Moroccan right winger Achmed Ahahaoui has today requested a transfer, a request that I've accepted. The Amsterdam born dual citizen has been having personal problems since before my arrival at the club, and those issues have been compounded by his inability to shift Finnish International team mate Kari Arkivuo out of the team and get the First Team football that he hopes will lift his own International Football ambitions. Ahahaoui is out of contract at the end of the season, and earns £1,500 per week at the club right now. He is transfer listed with immediate effect, with Southampton of England's Coca-Cola Championship rumoured to be interested in signing him.

Monday 3rd November
Centre back Marco Parnela is the only Go Ahead player named in the weekly Eerste Divisie team, the 27 year old Finnish centre back scored his second goal of the season in the Friday night win at home to Telstar.

Four offers have today been received for wantaway winger Achemed Ahahaoui, and none of them are from Southampton. Offers from Austrian Premier Division side FC Salzburg and American Major League Soccer club FC Dallas are both accepted, with the asking price of £75,000 met in full and outright. Offers from South Korean K-League club Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and our own domestic rivals RBC were both rejected, the first because the offer was underneath our asking price, the latter because they wanted to pay nothing upfront and spread the entire cost over several years, as well as the fact we'd rather not sell to a Division rival.

It's not just outgoings that we are dealing with today, as I have my first new signing at the club too. The Transfer Window doesn't open until January, but Free Agent's can be signed with immediate effect, and it's a market I'm able to exploit, hopefully to our benefit.

26 year old Gabriel N'Galula Mbuyi goes by the name of Junior. Born in Kinshasa, DR Congo, he spent his teenage years in Belgium where he is a citizen and passport holder. At the age of 19 he broke into the Anderlecht side, which is no mean feat, and spent four seasons in all with the club, making 25 League appearances and earning one Under-21 cap for Belgium. He moved on in 2004/05, spending six months with Mons, and earning a summer move to England with Stoke City, where he spent one season playing twenty League games in the Coca-Cola Championship. He returned to Belgium with Standard Liège, failing to make an appearance for them, before spending last season with Roselare, who let him go this summer. Primarily a defensive midfielder, he has signed with us until the summer of 2010 with a £675 per week contract. He is tough and aggressive, though he is surprisingly good with the ball, and should add some steel to the spine of our team. I'm not going to lie, he hasn't been welcomed by all sections of our fan base, some believing he is a player with a history of causing issues in the dressing room. The supporters can be assured I won't stand for any of that, and I hope Junior soon wins around any doubters.

Wednesday 5th November
Spanish second tier club Real Murcia have today sacked their manager José Miguel Campos, and I have immediately been installed as the favourite for the job, at the head of a shortlist that is said to include names such as Andoni Goikoetxea and Gonzalo Arconada. A look at the club shows a huge and diverse squad, but it's clear that their best players have been loaned out to prevent them leaving the club permanently, and with Murcia on the edge of the relegation zone, the prospects of getting them back to the club are slim. I distance myself from the vacancy, stating that I'm happy in Holland right now.

Thursday 6th November
Tomorrow evening we'll travel South West for almost an hour and a half, near to the Belgian border and into the city of Eindhoven to face seventh placed side FC Eindhoven at their Jan Louwers Stadion home. Our chances are boosted with the news that they will be missing their two first choice strikers, Tim Nelemans and talented teenager Serhat Koc, who has half a dozen League goals already this campaign and who the club will lose at the end of the year as he has agreed a January move to FC Groningen, the current Eredivisie leaders. That means we will mostly have to worry about their joint top scorer and Belgian passport holding Ghana born Indian national striker Prince Asubonteng. Talk about keeping your International options open!

The pre match press conference is dominated by questions about new signing Junior and his chances of featuring, as well as discussion about an online forum that isn't affiliated to the club, but is used by it's supporters, and several heated conversations regarding the perceived poor performances of Koen van der Biezen. Also brought up is the delight of the club and supporters alike that I have rejected the advances from Spain and my pledge to remain in Deventer, for the time being at least.

Friday 7th November

Eerste Divisie
Jan Louwers Stadion, Eindhoven

FC Eindhoven (2) 2 -
Prince Asubonteng (2), Bernard Quainoo (25)
Go Ahead Eagles (1) 1 - Luuk te Boekhorst (36 pen)
Attendance :- 2,894
Remko Pasveer; Said Bakkati, Marco Parnela ©, Dave Bus, Jonathan Vosselman; Jordy Zuidman (Junior 45), Luuk te Boekhorst; Kari Arkivuo, Marc Overmars; Koen van der Biezen (Frank Broers 65), Sander Post.
Unused Substitutes :- Wout Droste, Kevin Moeliker (GK), Oguzhan Türk, Geoffrey Knijnenburg, Rence van der Wal.
Bookings :- Jordy Zuidman 24, Dave Bus 41. Sent Off :- Dave Bus 64

| Pos   | Inf   | Team            |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 11th  |       | AGOVV           |       | 15    | 4     | 5     | 6     | 18    | 20    | -2    | 17    |
| 12th  |       | FC Omniworld    |       | 15    | 3     | 7     | 5     | 22    | 24    | -2    | 16    |
| 13th  |       | Excelsior       |       | 15    | 4     | 4     | 7     | 18    | 20    | -2    | 16    |
| 14th  |       | Helmond Sport   |       | 15    | 4     | 4     | 7     | 18    | 20    | -2    | 16    |
| 15th  |       | Go Ahead        |       | 15    | 4     | 4     | 7     | 19    | 23    | -4    | 16    |
| 16th  |       | FC Dordrecht    |       | 15    | 4     | 4     | 7     | 19    | 25    | -6    | 16    |
| 17th  |       | FC Zwolle       |       | 15    | 3     | 6     | 6     | 16    | 22    | -6    | 15    |
| 18th  |       | MVV             |       | 15    | 3     | 6     | 6     | 21    | 29    | -8    | 15    |
| 19th  |       | Fortuna Sittard |       | 15    | 2     | 7     | 6     | 18    | 24    | -6    | 13    |
| 20th  |       | RBC             |       | 15    | 3     | 2     | 10    | 16    | 31    | -15   | 11    |

Our first defeat since my arrival at the club, and the writing was on the wall early on when Eindhoven cut us apart with Rob van Boekel's through ball into the right channel of the penalty box finding Prince Asubonteng, and he beat Remko Pasveer at his near post. And Asubonteng was instrumental in the second goal, making a driving run down the right wing, and then cutting the ball back from the byline and picking out Bernard Quainoo on the edge of the six yard box, and he swept home the second.

Did Eindhoven take their foot off the gas, or had they got lucky? We were certainly the better side after that, getting a foothold back into the game ten minutes before half time. Sander Post was felled on the edge of the box by Ruud van der Rijt, and the ref awarded a spot kick. Luuk te Boekhorst blasted it into the corner to score his first goal for the club.

van der Rijt got booked during that incident, with Jordy Zuidman and Dave Bus also earning cautions either side of it. At the break, I decided it would be a good idea to sub one of them out to reduce the risk, with Zuidman selected to come off, replaced by Junior for his Go Ahead debut. That turned out to be the wrong decision, as Bus left a foot in on Quainoo on the halfway line, and received his second yellow card. I couldn't risk not bringing a defender on, having to sacrifice Koen van der Biezen and go with just one up front, with us now looking to counter attack quickly instead. We failed to create anything, and by the time Asubonteng got a second booking in injury time after his persistent fouling in the second half, it was too late for us to salvage a point. Bus receives and accepts a warning regarding his discipline, and now faces a one match ban.

We return home, where I'm given the news that while we were in Eindhoven, the Moroccan right winger Achmed Ahahaoui has agreed terms with FC Salzburg, and will officially move to the current second placed Austrian Premier Division club on the 1st January. We'll receive a fee of £75,000 for him, and almost as importantly, take his £1,500 per week salary off our books.

I was hoping to sign a left winger who could also cover the right flank in the form of experienced Japanese International player Takayuki Suzuki. He is currently with Portland Timbers, where his contract was about to run out, and we engage him in talks over a move. He was on £350 a week with Portland, and he'll stay there for another season with his new deal seeing him earn £425 per week. That's after he asked us for £7,000 a week. Cheeky sod.

Sunday 9th November
More interest from Spain's second tier, this time from the far more intriguing 10th placed Levante, who have a mostly domestic player based squad, with a few foreign players who enhance the squad, rather than take over it. At this point, I'm still not interested though.

Wednesday 12th November
My attempt to talk Marc Overmars out of retirement has failed, and the 86 times capped Dutch International has confirmed that he will retire at the end of the season. He now receives a contract offer from us to stay on as a Coach in the clubs backroom staff.

Thursday 13th November
Tomorrow night we host 8th placed TOP Oss at De Adelaarshorst. The Central Holland club have lost some ground in the League over recent weeks with two draws in their last two League games, dropping them down to only just inside the Playoff Spots, and only six points in front of us. They had to play a midweek game too, they thrashed semi-pro side GVVV 4-0 at home in the Dutch Cup Third Round. The fact that they had to play that extra game in midweek however could be an advantage to us. That's what I'm hoping anyway.

Surinam's manager Clóvis Barros has selected a Senior Squad based largely in Holland for the nation's upcoming FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifier from the North American Zone Second Phase Group 1 away against Trinidad & Tobago in Arima next week. It's a crucial match too, with USA already qualified, the two nations go into the game level on points for the second qualifying spot. They drew 1-1 in September in the reverse fixture, and T&T hold the advantage with a superior goal difference, so Surinam need to win. Our 18 year old Reserve team right back and Deventer local lad Diego Michiels has four caps at Youth Level for his nation of heritage, but has now been named in the Senior Squad, and could earn his first cap in this match.

Marc Overmars has rejected our initial offer to make him a Coach at the club from next summer. He's decided to wait until the latter part of the season before he makes a decision on his future.

Friday 14th November

Eerste Divisie
De Adelaarshorst, Deventer
Go Ahead Eagles (2) 3 -
Koen van der Biezen (2,27), Kari Arkivuo (86)
TOP Oss (2) 2 - Geoffrey Galatà (31 pen), Roel van Erp (43)
Attendance :- 2,718
Remko Pasveer; Said Bakkati, Marco Parnela ©, Frank Broers, Jonathan Vosselman; Junior (Oguzhan Türk 81), Luuk te Boekhorst; Kari Arkivuo, Marc Overmars (Geoffrey Knijnenburg 81); Koen van der Biezen (Rence van der Wal 81), Sander Post.
Unused Substitutes :- Wout Droste, Kevin Moeliker (GK), Robert Muruanaya, Jordy Zuidam.
Bookings :- None

| Pos   | Inf   | Team            |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 8th   |       | Haarlem         |       | 15    | 5     | 7     | 3     | 22    | 19    | +3    | 22    |
| 9th   |       | TOP Oss         |       | 16    | 6     | 4     | 6     | 25    | 24    | +1    | 22    |
| 10th  |       | Excelsior       |       | 16    | 5     | 4     | 7     | 20    | 21    | -1    | 19    |
| 11th  |       | Telstar         |       | 16    | 5     | 4     | 7     | 19    | 20    | -1    | 19    |
| 12th  |       | Go Ahead        |       | 16    | 5     | 4     | 7     | 22    | 25    | -3    | 19    |
| 13th  |       | Helmond Sport   |       | 16    | 4     | 5     | 7     | 20    | 22    | -2    | 17    |
| 14th  |       | AGOVV           |       | 15    | 4     | 5     | 6     | 18    | 20    | -2    | 17    |
| 15th  |       | FC Dordrecht    |       | 16    | 4     | 5     | 7     | 21    | 27    | -6    | 17    |
| 16th  |       | FC Omniworld    |       | 15    | 3     | 7     | 5     | 22    | 24    | -2    | 16    |

We bag another three points, but we certainly made it hard work for ourselves after a superb start. Frank Broers stepped in at centre back for the suspended Dave Bus, while Junior got his first start in the midfield in place of Jordy Zuidman. We started just how Eindhoven had last week against us, and some nice one touch football produced a goal with 100 seconds on the clock. Junior broke up play in midfield and found Marc Overmars, and his first touch low cross found Koen van der Biezen who sidefooted home a first time finish. The striker almost got another with a curler that Wilko de Vogt turned over the top. He would net his second in the 27th minute though, Overmars corner was met with a header by Marco Parnela that was saved by de Vogt, but pushed right into the path of van der Biezen who fired in from close range.

And then just like Eindhoven did last week as well, we got pushed onto the back foot, and it started with a penalty again. Last week Sander Post was the one who was fouled, this week it was him doing the fouling, matching Regilio Jacobs run to try and defend, then clumsily bringing him down. Geoffrey Galatà coolly slotted the spot kick down the middle, and soon our lead had gone altogether. as we lost the ball in midfield, and Dominique Scholten got it to Roel van Erp, who's shot was helped into the top corner by Remko Pasveer, who couldn't get a strong enough hand on it to keep the ball out. What followed was a second half with both sides noticeably cautious about making mistakes that would cost them what they currently held. van der Biezen had the best chance, heading a Said Bakkati cross against the base of the post. I made a treble change with just under ten minutes to play as the visitors started to tire, and it paid off with four minutes remaining. Substitute striker Rence van der Wal picked up the ball on the left from a throw in, and sent in a low cross towards the tightly marked Post. The Estonian striker couldn't get onto the ball, but it bounced right through to Finnish right winger Kari Arkivuo, who netted his first goal for the club to earn us three valuable points.

We nudge ourselves closer to the top half of the table, and the possibility of the Playoff berths. More interesting yet is the table for the Third Stage, where we currently sit fifth, part of a group of clubs on seven points, just two points behind the only club with three wins from three in this stage, SC Cambuur, who we visit next Friday night.

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Posted (edited)

Sunday 16th November 2008
Despite being with Go Ahead Eagles for only a short period of time, I continue to be linked with much bigger jobs on a consistent basis. After the sacking of Jacky Mathijssen by Club Brugge, I am immediately named as the favourite for the job at the thirteen times Belgian Champions, and the club that were European Cup Runner's-Up thirty years ago. As the halfway point of the Pro League approaches, they are currently languishing down in tenth place with just 16 points on the board, exactly half the total of leaders Anderlecht. I keep quiet and say nothing about potentially hopping over the border.

Monday 17th November
Kari Arkivuo got our winning goal on Friday night, and the Finnish winger is today our only representative in the Eerste Divisie Team of the Week.

Thursday 20th November
Tomorrow evening we travel north into the city of Leeuwarden to face SC Cambuur, the only side who have won all their games in this current Stage of the Eerste Divisie, and as a result of their good recent form sit sixth in the overall table. There is a lot of speculation about how I intend to set my team up for this one, with the particular threat being the hosts 26 year old striker Ruud ter Heide, who has eight goals in all competitions this season for the club hoping to bag one of those Playoff spots for winning a Stage. We haven't given up hope of that ourselves yet of course, and a positive result from this one will give us an opportunity to go into next weeks home game with FC Emmen still in the running for a place ourselves.

Friday 21st November

Eerste Divisie
Cambuur Stadion, Leeuwarden
SC Cambuur-Leeuwarden (1) 1 -
Paul Beekmans (18)
Go Ahead Eagles (1) 1 - Marco Parnela (36)
Attendance :- 5,718
Remko Pasveer; Marco Parnela ©, Frank Broers, Dave Bus; Said Bakkati, Junior (Jordy Zuidam 71), Jonathan Vosselman; Luuk te Boekhorst; Kari Arkivuo, Marc Overmars (Geoffrey Knijnenburg 76); Koen van der Biezen (Rence van der Wal 82).
Unused Substitutes :- Wout Droste, Kevin Moeliker (GK), Robert Muruanaya, Oguzhan Türk.
Bookings :- None

| Pos   | Inf   | Team            |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 8th   |       | FC Den Bosch    |       | 17    | 6     | 5     | 6     | 23    | 24    | -1    | 23    |
| 9th   |       | Telstar         |       | 17    | 6     | 4     | 7     | 21    | 20    | +1    | 22    |
| 10th  |       | TOP Oss         |       | 17    | 6     | 4     | 7     | 26    | 26    | 0     | 22    |
| 11th  |       | Excelsior       |       | 17    | 6     | 4     | 7     | 22    | 22    | 0     | 22    |
| 12th  |       | Go Ahead        |       | 17    | 5     | 5     | 7     | 23    | 26    | -3    | 20    |
| 13th  |       | FC Dordrecht    |       | 17    | 5     | 5     | 7     | 22    | 27    | -5    | 20    |
| 14th  |       | FC Omniworld    |       | 17    | 4     | 7     | 6     | 25    | 26    | -1    | 19    |
| 15th  |       | FC Zwolle       |       | 17    | 4     | 7     | 6     | 20    | 25    | -5    | 19    |
| 16th  |       | Helmond Sport   |       | 17    | 4     | 6     | 7     | 20    | 22    | -2    | 18    |

Unwilling to match up with a team generally considered our superior, I reverted back to the three centre back and counter attacking formation that I set us up in when we drew away to Fortuna Sittard. That decision was made easier with Sander Post missing as he is on International Duty with Estonia. It's a 175th Career League Appearance for Marco Parnela, and a 100th for centre back colleague Dave Bus.

Marc Overmars saw an early free kick deflected wide of the target, before a cross field pass found the former Dutch International in the box, but his first touch was poor and the chance went begging. Which was a shame, as moments later we would fall behind, Dave Bus clearing a cross back out to the flanks, and the ball was sent to the edge of our box. Kari Arkivuo rushed out to block Paul Beekmans shot, but the ball fell right back to the midfielder and he curled his finish into the bottom corner. Ten minutes before the break though Overmars came good with a inswinging corner that cleared keeper Peter van der Vlag, and Marco Parnela headed home from a yard out and it would be all square at the break.

The chances were harder to come by after the break, though we missed a great chance on the counter attack with the hour mark approaching, Overmars linking with Koen van der Biezen, who then played in Arkivuo, but his shot across goal was tipped wide by van der Vlag. We swapped chances after that, Anco Janssen's drive was right at Remko Pasveer, before a speculative van der Biezen volley was blocked by a defender. Cambuur made all their changes at once, while I staggered ours to eat some time off the clock as much as anything. One of those to come on was Jordy Zuidman, who aimed a 25 yard shot at the top corner but just missed. Cambuur showed their intent by switching to a very attacking formation, which brought about a period of end to end football that we would rather have avoided. We still nearly pinched the spoils though, Arkivuo whipping in a corner that another sub Rence van der Wal headed against the cross bar. Deep into injury time, van der Wal was tripped in the box with our players all appealing for a penalty. The ref took a long and hard look, then blew his whistle......for full time.......

Another small success away from home for our counter attacking setup, and for Finnish centre back Marco Parnela who gets his third goal since I arrived at the club. The Italian clubs are starting to circle for the in form £200,000 rated centre back with an Italian passport. Serie B strugglers Ancona are said to be at the front of the queue.

I ignored all questions regarding the potential late penalty claim. I didn't need to say anything, Jordy Zuidam had said everything that needed to be said. When he was asked about it, he replied 'I hope the opticians are open on a Saturday. I'll pay for the ref to go there myself.....'. They could take the opticians fee out of the fine that he may well get for those comments.

Saturday 22nd November
I'm linked with yet another job, and this time I am interested. When I refuse to rule myself out of the running, they immediately sack their current Manager and approach Go Ahead Eagles for permission to speak to me. That permission is granted by the club, but when I'm called into the Boardroom to be informed, there is a catch. 'You can speak to them if you want to, but if you do, then you'll leave the club either way'.

I'm torn briefly, I will always see the job here as unfinished business. While I didn't expect to be with the Eagles for a long spell, I didn't expect to be packing my bags after less than two months. But this is an opportunity at a far bigger club who are in dire straits right now. They have a huge fan base, and if I can help them, my reputation and popularity will increase tenfold......while my wages will also go up 150%. I can't resist........

Job #1 - (5/10/2008 - 23/11/2008)
Nation - Holland
Level - Eerste Divisie (Second Tier)
Club - Go Ahead Eagles 
Finishing Point - 12th position (seven place improvement)

Record - GP 7. W 3. D 3. L 1. GF 11. GA 7. GD +4.
Earnings - £7,000

Edited by neilhoskins77
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Job #2 - (23/11/2008 - ?)
Nation - England
Level - Coca-Cola League 1 (Third Tier)
Club - Leeds United
Starting Point - 16th

Job Overview :-
And I thought the job in Deventer was a project. I'm the latest Manager employed by controversial Chairman of the club Ken Bates to try and turn around the fortunes of Leeds United, who not so very long ago were playing in the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Champions League, before going into freefall. Bates bought the club in 2005, and now he intends to start getting the club moving in the right direction, starting with promotion at the very least this season. There is still plenty of time for the club to turn this season around too, but Bates isn't known for his patience. He's sacked Simon Grayson without giving him too much of an opportunity, and he's certainly not shy about sacking Managers, going through them at more than one per year since his arrival at Elland Road. Hopefully, I'll get a fair crack at the job here.

Club Overview :- 
This club is steeped in tradition and history, three times English Champions, the last time as recently as 1992. In an eight year period from 1967 to 1975, this club reached five European Finals over the various competitions, with two UEFA Cups to show for their efforts in a period that also saw them win two top tier Titles and an FA Cup and League Cup. That is the kind of level that the club wish to return to.

The finances are secure, with over £4m in the bank, though there is a bank loan of almost £3m that needs to be paid off by next summer. The club needs to win the fans back over, this season they only sold 11,000 season tickets for their 40,000+ capacity all seater Elland Road home. We're out of the League Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but we are still in the FA Cup, due to face Oldham Athletic in the Second Round on the coming weekend, with a midweek League game before that.

Despite the reasonable finances, the Transfer Budget for this season is minimal at £100,000, and the Wage Budget of almost £80,000 per week is pretty much running at the ceiling. I've been given a deal through to the summer of 2011 with a wage of £2,500 per week.

Squad Overview :-
The squad has some holes in it, but should still be more than good enough to be in the higher reaches of League One without breaking too much of a sweat. Between the sticks is said to be one of our weaker spots, though that's more from a depth point of view as 29 year old former Danish Under-21 International keeper Casper Ankergren is our main man here and is pretty rock solid. His main competition comes in the form of 31 year old David Lucas, a former Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday man who simply isn't good enough for what we're looking to achieve.

The defence is strong on the whole, though we are seemingly reliant on loaned in players at the full back berths. 20 year old Republic of Ireland Under-21 International right back Seamus Coleman is on loan here till mid-January from Everton, though has mainly played second choice to 26 year old Club Captain and career Leeds player Frazer Richardson. There doesn't appear to be too much evidence to suggest that Richardson is the best man for the job anymore. On the other side of the back four we have another Irish Under-21 International who is being used mainly as a back up, this time 22 year old Alan Sheehan, who's opportunities have been limited by the loan signing of 19 year old Argentine left back Emiliano Insúa from Liverpool, also until mid-January. There are four centre backs, with three rotated fairly equally so far, Angolan International thirty one year old Rui Marques and Slovakian International 6'4 powerhouse Lubomir Michalik, along with veteran former Ipswich Town man and Leeds born Richard Naylor. The odd one out is Carlisle born former Newcastle United youngster Paul Huntington, the 21 year old seeming to get less chances than the other trio.

There's another quartet competing for places in the centre of midfield, talented hometown 20 year old Jonathan Howson has been a regular this season, along with another home grown lad, England Under-19 International player Fabian Delph. Trying to break the duo up are a pair of Full Senior Internationals, in the form of Australian playmaker and twice capped Neil Kilkenny, and the 27 year old Irish International and more defensive minded Jonathan Douglas. We could certainly do with some more depth on the wings, as we only have one Senior option on each side. The right side is the more pressing concern as we only have Niall McGinn who's on loan from Celtic till the middle of January, though the Northern Ireland International has been pretty productive so far. On the left, the option is Scottish Under-21 International winger Robert Snodgrass who has been equally as productive for the club this season.

Up front finally, where we have four players, though you might as well call that two right now. Uncapped American twenty one year old Mike Grella has struck up a pretty nice partnership with the clubs star player, 24 year old top scorer Jermaine Beckford. 18 year old local striker Tom Elliott hasn't been given an opportunity so far this campaign, which can't be said for 24 year old Argentine striker Luciano Becchio, who has appeared in ten games in all competitions, is yet to find the back of the net, and has failed to win over the fans with his lacklustre displays since his arrival from UD Mérida in Spain, and is now injured and probably out for the rest of the calendar year.

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  • neilhoskins77 changed the title to (FM'09) Destination, Unknown - Job #2 - Leeds United (ENG)
On 22/04/2021 at 17:28, mark wilson27 said:

I was staying quiet mate

No 'marching on together' then mate? I'm sure you know the words.......haha ;-)

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En 24/4/2021 a las 8:28, neilhoskins77 dijo:

No 'marching on together' then mate? I'm sure you know the words.......haha ;-)

I'll be more than happy to sing it in Mark's name.

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Monday 24th November 2008
And we're right into it. First job after the press conference to announce me as the new Manager at Leeds United is to decide what to do about Club Captain going forward. Frazer Richardson is the current holder of the armband, but with no guarantee of a place in the First Team for the 26 year old career United player, I decide to go in a different direction right now, with the role given to Angolan International centre back and fourth year United player, Rui Marques. The Portuguese passport holder is one of the most popular players at the club, and the decision is unanimously well received, with Danish goalkeeper Casper Ankergren remaining in his role as Vice-Captain. That's a decent start.

A decent start is exactly what I'm after tomorrow evening when we travel to face Northampton Town in my opening game in charge. They are currently sat in the relegation zone, and the away form is far from being one of the main problems at Leeds. In fact, to date the club have picked up more points on their travels than they have at Elland Road. Do we have some players who are crumbling under the pressure of playing for a club with such a reputation? If so, they'll soon be weeded out and moved along. With the expected pick up that often comes with a change of Manager at the club, the bookies have us as short price favourites for a three point haul at Sixfields.

Tuesday 25th November

Coca-Cola League One
Sixfields Stadium, Northampton
Northampton Town (0) 1 -
Adebayo Akinfenwa (88)
Leeds United (0) 3 - Jonny Howson (50,70), Tom Elliott (90+1)
Attendance :- 3,345
Casper Ankergren; Seamus Coleman, Rui Marques ©, Lubomir Michalik, Emiliano Insúa; Fabian Delph, Jonny Howson; Niall McGinn (Neil Kilkenny 75), Robert Snodgrass (Alan Sheehan 75); Mike Grella (Tom Elliott 75), Jermaine Beckford.
Unused Substitutes :- Richard Naylor, Jonathan Douglas.
Bookings :- Lubomir Michalik 45

| Pos   | Inf   | Team           |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 8th   |       | Millwall       |       | 18    | 9     | 3     | 6     | 23    | 20    | +3    | 30    |
| 9th   |       | Colchester     |       | 18    | 9     | 3     | 6     | 28    | 30    | -2    | 30    |
| 10th  |       | Oldham         |       | 18    | 7     | 6     | 5     | 27    | 23    | +4    | 27    |
| 11th  |       | Stockport      |       | 18    | 8     | 3     | 7     | 19    | 20    | -1    | 27    |
| 12th  |       | Leicester      |       | 18    | 7     | 5     | 6     | 23    | 19    | +4    | 26    |
| 13th  |       | Leeds          |       | 18    | 7     | 3     | 8     | 26    | 22    | +4    | 24    |
| 14th  |       | Swindon        |       | 18    | 6     | 6     | 6     | 22    | 25    | -3    | 24    |
| 15th  |       | Hartlepool     |       | 18    | 6     | 5     | 7     | 19    | 19    | 0     | 23    |
| 16th  |       | Carlisle       |       | 18    | 6     | 5     | 7     | 22    | 24    | -2    | 23    |
| 17th  |       | Cheltenham     |       | 18    | 6     | 5     | 7     | 23    | 29    | -6    | 23    |
| 18th  |       | MK Dons        |       | 18    | 5     | 7     | 6     | 25    | 25    | 0     | 22    |

Seamus Coleman and Emiliano Insúa are selected in the full back roles in the biggest selection dilemma's of the day. An early opportunity fell to new skipper Rui Marques, his header from Niall McGinn's corner caught by Gareth Ormshaw. At the other end, striker Stéphane Calce sent a shot from range inches over the top corner, before both Sean Armstrong and Liam Dolman sent headers from set pieces wide. Armstrong rounded off a fairly mundane first half with a free kick just over the bar, as we struggled to cause too many problems to our lowly hosts.

Calce sent a shot on the turn from the edge of the box wide as Northampton continued to create chances. But we soon found the accelerator ourselves, and five minutes after the restart Mike Grella's cross attempt was blocked, but at the second attempt he picked out Jonny Howson on the penalty spot, who got goal side of Luke Guttridge and powered in a header to put us in front. We put our foot to the floor, Lubomir Michalik had a header blocked, Jermaine Beckford took too long to get a shot off, and Robert Snodgrass curled an effort just over the top. But the second was on it's way, Emiliano Insúa's long throw cleared to Seamus Coleman, and he tee'ed up Howson, who walked onto the pass 25 yards out and crashed the ball into the top corner for his second of the evening. Howson passed up a chance to shoot for a potential hatrick before sending one over the bar. I made all my changes, but the game wasn't quite over yet, as with two minutes to play, and right after Rui Marques had sent a header over the bar, sub Liam Davis cut us open with a diagonal through pass that Adebayo Akinfenwa sidefooted home from 8 yards out. No panic from the players though, and in injury time Alan Sheehan whipped in a corner that teenage striker Tom Elliott finished with a bullet header into the top corner in front of the travelling Leeds fans, his first ever Senior goal! That's a win that nudges us up closer to the top half, which is a good start.

Wednesday 26th November
There isn't much money to spend on new players, but I have identified a player that I'd like to bring in and that we can afford. His club are not going to make it easy for us though, they've decided to stall on our offer that meets his current valuation, waiting to see if any of the other interested parties come in with a better offer.

Friday 28th November
Tomorrow is FA Cup Second Round day, and we're heading across the Pennines divide and into the Greater Manchester area, where we will face Oldham Athletic, a team three points ahead of us in League One and who we'll meet twice in three weeks with a League date scheduled against them soon as well. They have some recognisable names in their squad too, with 32 year old striker Lee Hughes classed as a veteran, but he's got plenty of years on 39 year old Dean Windass who is on loan for the season from Hull City, but is rolling back the years with three goals so far this campaign. But it's 21 year old Matty Wolfenden who is really catching the eye at Boundary Park, the home town lad is having a career season at the club with nine goals in all competitions so far. They also have Kelvin Etuhu at the club for the season from Manchester City, a current Welsh International in defence with Neal Eardley, and a former Welsh International and another veteran in goal, Mark Crossley. The bookies still have them pegged to be beaten tomorrow though.

I've been in this job less than a week, but I'm still getting linked with jobs elsewhere. This time it's Eastern Europe, and Romanian First League new money club FC Arges Pitesti. It's a no from me. They're 100 odd miles away from Bucharest where all the action is, and they're struggling to attract quality players and keep the ones they've got. They could well be relegation cannon fodder this season.

Saturday 29th November

FA Cup Second Round
Boundary Park, Oldham
Oldham Athletic (1) 1 -
Dean Windass (14)
Leeds United (2) 3 - Jermaine Beckford (28,78), Mike Grella (32)
Attendance :- 6,038
Casper Ankergren; Frazer Richardson, Rui Marques © (inj - Richard Naylor 59), Lubomir Michalik, Alan Sheehan (Aidan White 81); Fabian Delph, Jonny Howson; Niall McGinn (Andy Robinson 81), Robert Snodgrass; Mike Grella, Jermaine Beckford.
Unused Substitutes :- Paul Huntington, Jonathan Douglas, Neil Kilkenny, Tom Elliott.
Bookings :- Lubomir Michalik 1, Jermaine Beckford 24

Neither Seamus Coleman or Emiliano Insúa are permitted to play in Cup games under the terms of their loans, and both are unavailable to us today. Deposed skipper Frazer Richardson and Irish left back Alan Sheehan are both called up, while we also bring up 17 year old first year professional left back Aidan White from the Reserves, the Leeds born teenager joined in his promotion by 29 year old utility winger Andy Robinson, the former Swansea City man is in first year at the club but fell out of favour a while before I arrived at Elland Road.

The referee would stamp his authority early in the game, booking Lubomir Michalik inside the opening minute, and four players in total in the opening quarter of the game. By that point we were a goal behind, and it could have been more. Matty Wolfenden had already sent a gilt edged chance over the bar by the time Oldham counter attacked us at pace after clearing a free kick and Lewis Alessandria picked out Dean Windass on the edge of the box, the veteran striker sweeping a shot high into the net. They had the ball in the net again shortly after through Stephen Carson, but he was offside, and we were soon back in the game. Niall McGinn's throw in, Jermaine Beckford's flick on, Mike Grella's route to goal blocked, but he put it into Beckford's path and the striker slammed home an equaliser. Moments later, we had turned the game right around, another McGinn throw in, Beckford again flicking the ball on, and this time it ran between the goalkeeper and a defender, Grella left with a tap in. Windass missed a chance to bring Athletic level again, his glanced header from a Richard Clarke cross missing the target.

We still led at the break, despite our hosts putting us under some pressure before the break. But we soon lost our new skipper Rui Marques, the centre back injured trying to break up an Oldham attack, and having to be substituted near the hour mark. McGinn missed a great opportunity to put us out of reach, latching onto a Robert Snodgrass cross but sending his shot across goal and wide. But with twelve minutes to go we got the goal that would put us in the Third Round, a long curling through ball by Frazer Richardson would utilise the pace of Beckford as he got between the defenders, into the box, rounding Mark Crossley before slipping the ball inside the near post for his second of the afternoon. We were comfortable enough to bring on the two players brought up into the Squad today, with Aidan White making a Senior Debut at 17 for his home town club, and Andy Robinson allowing Niall McGinn to rest up for the last part of the game. Round Three here we come.

That result nets us a modest prize of £30,000 for progressing into Round Three. I say modest, if the club felt inclined to add it to my Transfer Budget it would increase my spending funds by 30%. Sounds unlikely though. Hopefully we can get a plum tie when the draw is made on Monday evening for the Third Round. The Board have set a target of the Fourth Round for this season, though I suspect that I'm not being judged on any of the targets as I've only just got here.

There's no doubt about the star of the squad. Jermaine Beckford isn't quite ready to hit his prime years yet at 24, but he showed his class with two great finishes in that game. He's up to eleven goals in all competitions this season, including five in five in Cup ties. The Londoner is rated at almost £1m now, and is said to be frustrated at the clubs underachieving campaign so far. Hopefully a bit of a move up the League One table will convince him that we can match his own personal ambitions.

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  • 1 month later...

Monday 1st December 2008
December has five League games in the diary, including two in twenty four hours over the Christmas period. Hopefully a few wins this month will see us end 2008 in a better position to challenge for a Playoff spot at a minimum. A double strike from Jonny Howson at Northampton last midweek is enough to secure him a spot in the Coca-Cola League One Team of the Week.

The club we are negotiating with to try and purchase my first new signing at the club have not had any other offers for their player. So they do the logical thing and try and squeeze us for a bit more cash. I raise my offer to meet their asking price this time, but I tell them not to come back asking for any more.

The draw is made today for Round Three of the FA Cup. We are pulled from the velvet bag quite quickly, and at home. And we land ourselves a Premier League club as the visitors too, and a struggling one at that, as 16th placed West Bromwich Albion will travel to Elland Road on the first Saturday of the New Year. If it wasn't for the goals of on loan French striker Marc-Antoine Fortuné, they'd already be all but relegated.

Tuesday 2nd December
A coaches report tells me that 22 year old left back Alan Sheehan has been working hard on the training ground, and is now close to becoming considered a set piece expert. The former Republic of Ireland Under-21 International has been used in rotation this season after the arrival of Emiliano Insúa on loan from Liverpool. It is the hope of Sheehan that his set piece skills could give him the advantage over his Argentine team mate.

Sheehan could yet have a new team mate soon too. Our bid to bring in a new player has been accepted by the club, or more specifically the Chairman at the club. They have intervened above the head of the clubs Manager, and accepted our offer of £60,000, not something I'd be very happy about at all if it were done to me. Personal terms with the player are agreed very quickly, but there is a stinger in the tail. He has been made aware of interest from another club in the country he currently plays in, and he seems to be keen to talk to them should they have an offer accepted by his current employers.

Wednesday 3rd December
Two clubs from the Blue Square North, namely Stalybridge Celtic and Harrogate Town, have both asked to take 19 year old centre back Ross Wilkinson on loan for three months. The North East born youngster is out of contract in the summer, and this will give us a better idea of whether it is worth continuing his development at the club.

Thursday 4th December
Wilkinson has picked Harrogate Town, and will spend three months at the Playoff contending club who also already have a winger on loan from Burnley.

Friday 5th December
Speaking of wingers, I'd very much like to introduce you to someone. He's our new signing. On Halloween of this year, my Go Ahead Eagles side defeated Telstar at home in the second tier of Dutch football. But we spent the evening dealing with Ghanaian left winger Richmond Bossman. And from January he will be strutting his stuff at Elland Road, as FC Utrecht decide against making an offer for the 23 year old Dutch passport holder, and he becomes our new signing for a fee of £60,000. Bossman can also play on the right wing or behind the strikers if needed, and I'm very much looking forward to the arrival of a player who I believe could become a star at the club.

We shouldn't need a Bossman tomorrow, when we host Bristol Rovers at Elland Road, one of the clubs who are just outside the relegation zone, and seem likely to be looking at staying up as a priority this season. We are heavy favourites to pick up three more points as look to move into the top half of the League One table, but will have to wary of the threat posed by Rovers striker and leading scoring, 26 year old Rickie Lambert.

Saturday 6th December

Coca-Cola League One
Elland Road, Leeds
Leeds United (0) 0
Bristol Rovers (0) 1 -
Darryl Duffy (47)
Attendance :- 22,934
Casper Ankergren; Seamus Coleman, Rui Marques ©, Lubomir Michalik, Alan Sheehan; Fabian Delph, Jonny Howson; Niall McGinn, Robert Snodgrass; Mike Grella (Tom Elliott 74), Jermaine Beckford.
Unused Substitutes :- Richard Naylor, Emiliano Insúa, Jonathan Douglas, Andy Robinson.
Bookings :- None

| Pos   | Inf   | Team           |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 10th  |       | Leicester      |       | 19    | 8     | 5     | 6     | 25    | 19    | +6    | 29    |
| 11th  |       | Oldham         |       | 19    | 7     | 6     | 6     | 28    | 25    | +3    | 27    |
| 12th  |       | Swindon        |       | 19    | 7     | 6     | 6     | 25    | 27    | -2    | 27    |
| 13th  |       | Stockport      |       | 19    | 8     | 3     | 8     | 19    | 24    | -5    | 27    |
| 14th  |       | Carlisle       |       | 19    | 7     | 5     | 7     | 24    | 25    | -1    | 26    |
| 15th  |       | Leeds          |       | 19    | 7     | 3     | 9     | 26    | 23    | +3    | 24    |
| 16th  |       | MK Dons        |       | 19    | 5     | 8     | 6     | 25    | 25    | 0     | 23    |
| 17th  |       | Hartlepool     |       | 19    | 6     | 5     | 8     | 20    | 22    | -2    | 23    |
| 18th  |       | Cheltenham     |       | 19    | 6     | 5     | 8     | 24    | 31    | -7    | 23    |
| 19th  |       | Tranmere       |       | 19    | 5     | 6     | 8     | 24    | 25    | -1    | 21    |
| 20th  |       | Bristol Rovers |       | 19    | 6     | 2     | 11    | 21    | 32    | -11   | 20    |

When I took this job, I was made aware of the clubs poor home record, and whispers that I was inheriting a squad that didn't relish the pressure of playing in front of a boisterous home crowd at Elland Road. This afternoon, those whispers turned into shouts, as an expectant crowd of almost 23,000 turned into an angry audience when we capitulated in front of our own supporters once more, this time to a relegation threatened side who were given no chance by pundits and bookmakers alike. Could it be true? Do we have some rotten apples in the Squad upsetting the balance in the team?

Seamus Coleman replaced Frazer Richardson at right back in the only change to the starting lineup from the win at Oldham in the Cup. We created enough chances to win the game comfortably, Jermaine Beckford working Mike Green twice early on, while namesake defender Ryan Green got a vital touch on a Coleman cross to keep the ball away from an unmarked Mike Grella. Even our bread and butter of set pieces failed to find us a way through when a string of corners went to waste.

Darryl Duffy of the visitors was the only player booked in the first half. Early in the second half he became the only player with his name on the scoresheet too! We didn't even get to touch the ball, Rovers passed their way through us down the park, Rickie Lambert flicking the ball on to Duffy who spun away from our centre back pair and sent a shot across Casper Ankergren and inside the far post. From that point on, we dominated possession and territory, but we were unable to find a way through Rovers massed ranks at the back. Beckford twice spurned chances to shoot, electing instead to pass with defenders in close attendance and the chances would be lost. During the last quarter, Tom Elliot would replace Grella and we could go more route one, creating our best chances of the half. Beckford hit the bar with a lob effort, before Robert Snodgrass cut in from his wing and unleashed a curler that beat Green, but whistled past the far post. A fifth goal of the season had cost us a chance to move into the top half and pressure the teams in the Playoff spots, and helped Rovers get some breathing space from the relegation zone.

Tuesday 9th December
Despite the poor performance against Rovers at Elland Road on the weekend, I continue to be linked with jobs on the continent. This time it's a potential return back to Holland, as I'm made the favourite for the job with struggling Eredivisie club NEC Nijmegen. They sit in 12th place, and have sacked Mario Been after a home defeat to Roda JC on the weekend. A trip to Ajax this coming weekend would be a baptism of fire for any new boss appointed this week.

Friday 12th December
It might be a good thing that we're away from home this weekend. We travel to face 21st placed Crewe Alexandra. I could of course peddle you some lines about how much they're struggling and provide some statistics to back that up. But hey, I did that last time out against Bristol Rovers, and look what went down there.......

Saturday 13th December

Coca-Cola League One
The Alexandra Stadium, Crewe
Crewe Alexandra (0) 2 -
Billy Jones (79), Byron Moore (86)
Leeds United (2) 4 - Niall McGinn (15), Tom Elliott (39), Jermaine Beckford (68), Mike Grella (75)
Attendance :- 4,414
Casper Ankergren ©; Seamus Coleman, Richard Naylor, Lubomir Michalik, Emiliano Insúa; Fabian Delph (Jonathan Douglas 69), Jonny Howson; Niall McGinn, Robert Snodgrass (Andy Robinson 76); Tom Elliott, Jermaine Beckford (Mike Grella 69).
Unused Substitutes :- Paul Huntingdon, Alan Sheehan.
Bookings :- Emiliano Insúa 73

| Pos   | Inf   | Team           |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 7th   |       | Brighton       |       | 20    | 11    | 2     | 7     | 30    | 22    | +8    | 35    |
| 8th   |       | Southend       |       | 20    | 9     | 7     | 4     | 27    | 22    | +5    | 34    |
| 9th   |       | Colchester     |       | 20    | 10    | 3     | 7     | 31    | 34    | -3    | 33    |
| 10th  |       | Leicester      |       | 20    | 9     | 5     | 6     | 28    | 20    | +8    | 32    |
| 11th  |       | Stockport      |       | 20    | 9     | 3     | 8     | 21    | 24    | -3    | 30    |
| 12th  |       | Leeds          |       | 20    | 8     | 3     | 9     | 30    | 25    | +5    | 27    |
| 13th  |       | Oldham         |       | 20    | 7     | 6     | 7     | 29    | 28    | +1    | 27    |
| 14th  |       | Carlisle       |       | 20    | 7     | 6     | 7     | 25    | 26    | -1    | 27    |
| 15th  |       | Swindon        |       | 20    | 7     | 6     | 7     | 25    | 29    | -4    | 27    |
| 16th  |       | Cheltenham     |       | 20    | 7     | 5     | 8     | 25    | 31    | -6    | 26    |
| 17th  |       | Hartlepool     |       | 20    | 6     | 6     | 8     | 20    | 22    | -2    | 24    |

Can we play you every week? Heck, we don't mind who we play, as long as it's away from home seemingly. Richard Naylor and Tom Elliott came into the side to replace Rui Marques and Mike Grella as we dominated proceedings from the outset in Crewe. We had already come close through Jermaine Beckford and a Fabian Delph strike that hit the bar, before finally taking the lead a quarter of an hour in. Niall McGinn's effort from Seamus Coleman's short throw in was absolutely a cross, but it found it's way in off the far upright. A similar route provided number two before the break. McGinn collected the ball from Coleman's throw in again, and this time he sent it across the edge of the box to Emiliano Insúa. The Argentine left back failed to control the ball, but recovered it and beat two defenders before lofting the ball back into the middle, where Tom Elliott powered home a close range error.

I made the mistake of telling the team I was pleased at the break, and they were slow from the restart, allowing Crewe to create some chances. Neil McGregor's volleyed effort was too high, and Shaun Miller's deflected shot had Casper Ankergren scrambling across his goalmouth, and he managed to turn the ball away. We showed them how to finish midway through the half. Beckford was about to be withdrawn after a quiet afternoon, and he probably knew it too as he buried the ball from two yards out after McGinn's corner had been met by Richard Naylor and flicked on further by Elliott. It was Mike Grella who replaced Beckford, and he got in on the action himself in the 75th minute, scoring the best goal of the day. He collected the ball from Jonny Howson, pushed it through the legs of a defender and into the right channel of the box, and then when everyone expected a cross he smashed it into the roof of the net. Unfortunately, we were then guilty of switching right off, Byron Moore found full back Billy Jones in acres of space, and he passed a low shot inside Ankergren's near post, before Moore scored himself late on, meeting sub Kenny Lunt's diagonal ball across the box and finding the bottom corner. We do need to stop these lapses of concentration when the game is considered won, as better teams will take advantage and steal points back. But for today, it's a place in the top half, but with two more home games of the three remaining in 2008.

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