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Matt Langdon

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  1. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    SUNDAY November 1st, 2015 The board blocked my termination of the Jeffrey’s contract. Well, at least that’s not awkward. Game day. We took a trip to AZ today. As far as team names go, its very Dutch. They’ve been hovering at the top of the table for most of the season, so no-one was very confident going in. The media considered our chances laughable. The fans were mainly there to show their loyalty. So, I thought I’d mix things up. I benched Mihai Roman and put the young punk, Jay-Roy Grot up front. He’s probably the fastest guy on the team, so I figured it was worth a shot. It may have been worth a shot, but it didn’t provide a shot on target. Not for Jay-Roy, not for the team. This is an ongoing problem. Maybe I need to hire a specialist that just works on shooting at an actual goal. They’re not lacking in shots, in general, it’s just the concept of putting them on target that they’re struggling with. We actually kept most of the possession during the game, ending up with 53%. I think that’s pretty good on the road against a top team. And we kept them goalless in part because our man Frank Sturing put in a man of the match performance at the back. He had 20 interceptions, which seems high for me. But maybe I’m just used to proper football where a defensive back gets 20 in the best entire season of his life. So, honestly I was pretty happy until we gave away a penalty in the 89th minute. Then I was sad. Then I was happy when the big Icelandic giant saved that damn penalty! I never thought I’d be in a charge of a team where the most valuable player was the keeper, but here we are. A draw keeps us in 13th and only ten points off first place. Cocu was skulking around again. Hasn’t this guy got his own club to run? WEDNESDAY November 4th, 2015 Jay-Roy and Frank Sturing have been called up to the Dutch Under 19s. I don’t want to take full credit, but it would be disingenuous not to. SATURDAY November 7th, 2015 Game day. We welcomed De Graafschap to the Goffertstadion today. I’m sure De Graafschap was some sort of German unit in World War One. They were sitting on the bottom of the league table, so we were made favorites. Fair enough. I told the team we should be winning this one and they proceeded to shoot at goal for fun. None of the shots were on target, mind you, but at least they were trying. 0-0 at the half. Standard. 60th minute we were up to 15 shots, two of which were at the actual goal. Two more were off wood. I decided I had to make some changes and bought on Jay-Roy, Joey Sleegers, and Mohamed Rayhi, a pacey winger who has been asking for game time. 72nd minute: Goal for Joey Sleegers, assisted by Jay-Roy. 90th minute: Goal for Jay-Roy, assisted by Rayhi. Now, if everyone was saying what they were thinking, I’d be getting sick of being called a genius. But they’re not, so I don’t have to show my modesty. I do have a pretty impressive level of modesty. And guess who was in the stands again today. Cocu. It’s definitely getting a bit embarrassing, all this attention. One downside, Frank Sturing capped off his great week by being sent off in extra time. We’re still in 13th, but only eight points off first place. It’s within reach. A long reach. TUESDAY November 10th, 2015 Jay-Roy Grot was chosen as the lone striker in the team of the week! Seventeen years old and already winning awards under my guidance. Got the news this afternoon that Ritzmaier broke down in training. It’s a sports hernia, so not a real injury. He’ll be out for up to six weeks. I wonder if Cocu had a word with him. I mean, he’s only our best player of the season so far. How much could we possibly miss him? SATURDAY November 21st, 2015 After a long break for internationals, the Eredivisie started up again today. After a 2-2 draw, Ajax fired their manager! Ajax! I don’t want to take full responsibility for it, but it was obviously a big factor. The management there is obviously keeping the reasons pretty tight to their chests, but I know some of the press have been reading between the lines. The Sack Race is back in the papers and I’m still not on it. Not lined up to take over Ajax either. SUNDAY November 22nd, 2015 Game day. We welcomed Utrecht and their slightly favored team today. A few niggles for guys who probably would have started and the obvious omission of Ritzmaier. However, Mihai was up front, which always creates a bit of confidence. Three minutes in, they scored. Three passes, including the one from the keeper that started the move. God, how I hate this game. Then in the thirteenth minute, we scored from a corner. I’m pretty sure that’s the first one for the season. We were getting a ton of shots actually on target in the first half. Despite that, we went in at 1-1. I told the boys this was their chance to do something. Make a statement in the league and get into the top half of the table. They responded by handing the ball over from a defensive throw in, resulting in two pretty impressive passes and a tap in for Utrecht. I may have thrown my water bottle. Five minutes later, my Venezuelan Adonis, Christian Santos, ran into the box and scored at the inside post, somehow squeezing the ball at an acute angle past their keeper. Pandemonium! Why am I getting happy with pulling equal with opposing teams? Oh, but there’s more. Mihai actually scored a header from a cross while marked by three defenders. It was bafflingly good. That might be another first for the season. The cross came from Buysse, so my love/hate relationship is currently in a love phase. Three minutes later it was Mihai Roman the Romanian again. He received a pass inside the box, took one touch, and slammed it home. I could not believe my eyes. Four goals! What is this dream? We’ve moved up to 9th, two points behind Utrecht. Maybe Ajax will reconsider me now. God, how I love this game. SUNDAY November 29th, 2015 Game day. I got into a bit of a public fight with the Vitesse manager. This game is our local derby, I’m told. He said it wasn’t that big of a deal. I told the press that he’s out of his head if that’s his approach. Then some of the journalists got me to say some words that seemed like I was downplaying the efforts of the Vitesse players in getting them into 1st place. I was obviously quoted out of context, but now the whole town was expecting us to rub Vitesse into the dirt. No pressure. One thing I noticed in the first half was that our players were executing the basics better. Passes were connecting and they were getting rid of the ball earlier instead of holding onto it and then losing it. Is it possible they’re starting to gel and the work on the training ground is starting to take effect? Something I didn’t notice in the first half was a goal. For either side. Oh, except for when we scored a penalty in the 45th minute! No goals in the second half as we went toe to toe with the league leaders. We matched their shots and their shots on target (who’d have thunk?) and had 8% more possession. Just call us the giant killers! We’re now solidly in ninth place and finally have a zero goal difference. The only way is up. And guess who took the loss like a professional? Not the Vitesse manager, Peter Bosz, that’s for sure. Went on a bit of a tirade and slammed the referee for awarding the penalty. I feel bad for the guy - he knows what happened to the Ajax manager after we outperformed them.
  2. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    SATURDAY October 3rd, 2015 Game day. From the dizzying heights of beating PSV, we dropped to a home draw against Den Haag, also known as The Hague. Is that a weird name for a city? Yes. There was not a lot to write home about in this game. Lots of shots from both sides missing the target. Some of my guys really struggle with the whole aiming thing. One shot crossed the sideline for a throw. 0-0, but I’m not too broken up by all of this. On the back of three loses, a win and a draw are welcome. MONDAY October 12th, 2015 It’s the international break, so mostly boring. One of my reserves got his first cap for Iraq, which was a surprise, I have to say. I didn’t even know we had an Iraqi at the club. Maybe I need to spend some time with the reserves. Iceland held the Netherlands to a draw in the Euro qualification game. And we know who keeps the goals out for that Iceland team. Thor to the rescue. He’s going to have a hard time coming back to play in front of the Dutch crowds this weekend. We’re heading to league leaders, FC Twente. SUNDAY October 18th, 2015 Game day. I can see why they’re league leaders. Although, to be fair, 4-1 is not an accurate reflection of the game. After I yelled at the guys for not being able to hit a barn door with their shots last week they came back with six out of eight on target. The two that were designated off target both hit the goal frame. I’m going to be approaching league officials to request that two shots off the woodwork should count as a goal going forward. I don’t need it to apply to this game, the rules are the rules, but come on! My on loan left back had a terrible game, but otherwise I was pretty happy with everyone. Ritzmaier was very good and the Scot was equally impressive. The midfield appears to be clicking and we’re certainly getting some shots. Eight shots on the road to the team at the top of the table is nothing to cry about. The press described Twente as lucky, so that’s nice of them. They also reported that the fans were upset that I kept the left back, Woudenberg, on the pitch despite him sucking it up. The fans can shut up. I only say that to you, dear diary. My head would be on a spike if I shared that with anyone else. SUNDAY October 25th, 2015 Game day. There must be a better way of working out who wins a soccer game than just using goals. We lost 0-1, but really, anyone watching would have said we were the winners. Groningen might have scored the goal, but we had twice as many shots, 10% more of the ball, some great woodwork targeting, and frankly, some amazing haircuts. And yet, today goes down as a loss. Gijs Kuipers knows what’s up. He works for the Groningen Football Messenger (not sure I believe that’s a real thing) and asked just how robbed I felt after that game. Very, Gijs. The answer is very. Philip Cocu was apparently in the stands at today’s game. The theory is that he was watching Ritzmaier because he’s on loan with us. That loan was news to me. Sad news to me. However, I’m pretty sure Cocu was just there to steal a bit of tactical knowledge after we (I) beat him last month. That’s obvious, right? Feyenoord fired their managed today. That was an alarming jolt to the system. Teams are firing managers this early in the season? They’re in 18th and we’re in 13th. That’s worryingly close. The positive news is that with this announcement, the press have listed the odds for the top three most likely managers to be fired next, and my name was not among them. The “Sack Race” they call it. Heartless ********. MONDAY October 26th, 2015 My third choice left back came into the office today to discuss his lack of playing time. He’s obviously against it. I told him I understood and that I’d find a new team for him as soon as possible. He responded by telling me that there was no need for that and he’ll just train hard and hope to gain a spot. Am I missing something? Isn’t that what he’s supposed to be doing anyway? And not complaining while doing so? He’s 34 anyway, so doesn’t fit into my Olympic-qualifier team. The ex-Liverpool player (as he constantly reminds everyone) Emilsson came in shortly after and asked for the same thing. I gave him the same answer, but he agreed to go. Bam. I can do without his $1,500 a week salary. Maybe I can hire a centre back. THURSDAY October 29th, 2015 Watched a few Dutch Cup matches today and yesterday. Also watched a few press conferences. I now realise that I was supposed to say, “Being out of this competition just allows us to focus our energy on the league, which has always been our main priority.” I’ll know for next time. FRIDAY October 30th, 2015 Press are running with a story that my third choice left back is angry with my treatment of him. It’s so good of him to keep this in house and work it out with me face to face. I terminated his contract. Mess with the bull and you’ll get the horns, Jeffrey.
  3. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    TUESDAY September 1st, 2015 Bursapor came in with a bid for my captain, Rens van Eijden this morning. I rejected it, obviously. Why would I sell my captain the day after the Dutch transfer window closed? Then my right hand man, Toon, came in to deliver the news that Rens was not happy about that decision. He wanted to meet with me. Sure, I said. Rens came in to my office and sat down with some pretty clear body language. I stayed firm. “You’re our captain. The transfer window has closed.” He was not convinced, to say the least. I told him we need him for this season and I’d let him go at the end of it if he still wanted to go. “No, I can’t wait that long, I want to play for a bigger team.” I added another name to my revenge list and told him I’d accept a higher bid. Told Bursapor that I’d accept double what he’s worth. Also told them I’d be happy if I never heard from them ever again. WEDNESDAY September 2nd, 2015 Now Brøndby are sniffing around as the media believes van Eijden is “unsettled”. I even had a “journalist" call me about him. The damn transfer window just closed! I’ve also had two clubs ask to have two other central defenders on loan. This is obviously a conspiracy. Probably a scheme cooked up by those Ajax guys. I only have four central defenders. I need three on the pitch and one on the bench. This is not difficult math, guys. Christian Santos got his first cap for Venezuela. He thanked his national team boss publicly, but I think it’s pretty clear who he really credits with making this achievement possible. I don’t need the public adoration at this stage in my career anyway. SATURDAY September 12th, 2015 Game day. No press conference before the game. Second time in a row. Why don’t the media understand that I need to get in front of the public? What’s the point of wearing green pants if the fans don’t notice them? Today, I saw an overhead kick goal for the first tim in real life. Pity it wasn’t by one of my players. Roda FC took the lead with that in the sixth minute. We equalised, but as is our wont, we conceded in the second minute of extra time in the first half. Every 50/50 ball goes against us. If we shoot from a crowd, it gets blocked. Passes fly all over the place. Players hold onto the ball for too long and lose it. Blah. Second half, they got another two and we got another one. The press said Roda was lucky. I’m not so sure. On the plus side, I don’t think anyone will be making bids for van Eijden. He tore his calf muscle and will be out for five months. Lots of drinking tonight. Starting now. SUNDAY September 13th, 2015 I woke up this afternoon to the news that the manager of Brøndby has “never heard of the player” when asked about van Eijden. I now have an enemy manager. Why didn’t I sell him? Oh why, oh why. I’ve sent out a few messages to old, useless centre backs to come on trial. I need at least one to sign on permanently, so my toes are crossed. FRIDAY September 18th, 2015 Game day. We welcomed Heerenveen to the Goffertstadion this evening. Friday Night Football? One shot for us in the first half versus two goals for them. The second half got a bit better and we managed two of our own goals. Unfortunately they got one at the start of the half. At what point should I buy a book on tactics? WEDNESDAY September 23rd, 2015 My centre back triallists went home, all of them wanting more money than I could afford to offer. Amazing. Only one of them was even any good. Game day. We traveled to visit the Go Ahead Eagles for our easy win in the Cup. The board reminded me before we left that they expected us to go to the next round at a bare minimum. The game started. I waited for us to have a shot. Half time arrived and I was still waiting. Then in the 56th minute, the Go Ahead Eagles went ahead. I changed to a 4-2-3-1 to try to get something happening. And to rest one of my three centre backs. I kept waiting for a shot. Then the final whistle went. I didn’t speak to the team after the game. Nor on the bus ride home. I just ordered two tactics books from Amazon. Time to change things. Clearly, three central defenders is just too ambitious with this squad. SATURDAY September 26th, 2015 Books have been read. Changes have been made. My head is awash with Ws, Ms, Christmas Trees, and inverted pyramids, but I’ve decided to build a system that fits the squad. I’ve got more central midfielders than defenders, so starting with four at the back, I’ve got five in the middle, and have stuck with one up front. I’ve told two of the midfielders to concentrate on winning the ball while the other three get forward to support Roman the Romanian. And who better to try a new tactic out than PSV? Away. I did a little reading up on this latest opponent. Last month, I learned that Ajax are a pretty regular winner of the league. Today I learned that between them, Ajax and PSV have won 34 of the last 40 titles. At least that gives me something to aim for. Apart from Champions League victory. A couple of players whined to me before the game that they weren’t getting enough game time. We’ve played six games! Thanks for being understanding. Game day. We arrived at the pretty impressive venue and got to work. We kept up with them for the first twenty or thirty minutes and then started struggling. But credit Joey Sleegers who started a break from a PSV corner and then ended it, getting onto the end of a cross and slotting home. Winning! The gulf in class was made clear at the start of the second half though, when their Mexican dynamo slammed home a free kick. Another 1-1 draw with a Dutch superpower was going to be okay with me. But wait, there was more! I’m seriously having heart problems in this job. In the 82nd minute, one of their fullbacks crossed the ball while coming out of defence and put it between their defenders and goalie, neither of whom took responsibility for it. That allowed Roman the Romanian to run onto to the ball and finesse it past their keeper. We won. We won. I’m sending a gift basket to Jonathan Wilson. Naturally, I lost a central defender to injury during the game as well. Just to keep things real. I was asked by the press what I thought about PSV’s manager complaining about the late match winner. I told them, calmly, that we were obviously the better team and that Mr. Cocu should stop whining. That’s how you do press conferences, right?
  4. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    SUNDAY August 2nd, 2015 I told the players that I didn’t care about the result and that all I’m concerned is that they got some fitness. I lied. How the hell did we lose to UDI ’19-Beter Bed? And how is that even the name of a soccer club? Their striker got a hat trick. Now ask me if I gave Thor a rest. Yes, I gave him a rest and put in the guy with a name I can pronounce. Punish me, dear diary. The first game we’re playing in the league is against Excelsior, which I can only guess is a team created by Stan Lee. I sent Todd Kane back to Chelsea. The more I thought about him the more annoyed I got. And his multi-thousand dollars per week are a welcome saving. THURSDAY August 6th, 2015 Woke up to the news today that captain courageous has injured himself in the weights room over night. Lovely. Out for two weeks, which means I’m without a captain for the opening of the season. I had the option of making him play through the pain of a sprained wrist, but that seemed a bad thing to do to a captain at the start of the season. The press has us at evens to win the game, claiming the home ground advantage will make a difference. Those bloody fans had better turn up. One bonus is that the Excelsior manager has also been in charge for only six weeks. SUNDAY August 9th, 2015 Game day. Someone tried to interview me in the tunnel before the game kicked off. He probably won’t try to do that again. What the hell? I’m trying to concentrate here. My professional career could not have started better. Anthony Limbombe got the start up front after some debate in my mind and he scored in the ninth minute. I nearly sat down after that, but kept pacing throughout the game. Except when I fell to my knees in the 79th minute after Excelsior scored. Without Captain Fantastic, the backline is definitely weaker. Not sure how much that played in with the goal. So, a draw in the first game seemed reasonable. My players had another result in mind though, as Joey Sleegers (yes that’s his actual name) crossed to Gregor Breinburg who slotted it home. In the second minute of extra time! I don’t need to tell you, dear diary, that I had brought those two on off the bench twenty minutes earlier. Genius is a strong word, but I’m sure some people were using it. SUNDAY August 16th, 2015 Game day. Heracles. Can you really just name your team after a mythological hero? Is that how it works? Anyway, they pretty much slew us in the first half. At no point did we get to 40% in total possession and dropped below 30% at some points. Still, we kept them out of goal with the massing of bodies that we’re becoming famous for. Plus our own god in goal, Thor. The second half started with Marcel Appiah coming off with an injury. His third since I started working here eight weeks ago. The boys worked hard and the last ten minutes of the half were edge of my seat stuff. But god damn, they scored in the second minute of extra time. It was Frank Sturing’s fault, but after the effort all game, it’s hard to criticise. Thor kept us in it with a Player of the Match performance, but ultimately we couldn’t hang on. Two games in a row decided in extra time. I’ve got my cardiologist on speed dial. I will say that the midfield of six is making it hard for teams to score. Heracles had 24 shots, but only 6 of them were on target. Lots of long range attempts make it easy for us. Lack of attacking penetration makes it difficult for us. Appiah is out for three months. Convenient. That means we’ve got three first team central defenders. Might have to look around for unemployed defenders or repurpose one of these fullbacks. MONDAY August 17th, 2015 Mesut Ozil just signed a new five year contract with Arsenal, so there go my chances of signing him. Next team up is a team called Ajax. I was quickly corrected to pronounce it as I-Axe. Sounds like a team Gimli would like. They’re currently in fourth place, but a little look into the dossier my PA gave me shows they won the league in four of the last five seasons. Last season they only finished second. So, you can imagine how excited I am to play this off the back of that last one. Thor won the goalie position in the team of the week! Love this guy. So much. SATURDAY August 22nd, 2015 Game day. Good news is that Captain van Eijden was back. His timing is impeccable. I put him in that all important ball playing defender role. I told the team to go and look to control the game - we’re at home after all. The Axemen would know they’d played, either way. We started the half well enough, even getting two offsides called against us in the first ten minutes. That’s progress - we were attacking! It’s not a secret that our flow has not yet arrived. Then it happened. Christian Santos, that Venezuelan Adonis, slid the ball across the box to the one and only Scot, Jay Fulton who slotted in the easiest shot you could imagine. 1-0! The crowd went nuts. The only way they could have been more excited is if a Dutchman had been involved. It didn’t matter. Here we go, I thought, and immediately told the boys to drop back and start looking for the counter. Enough of this positive approach! And can I tell you, dear diary, that Ajax didn’t have a shot on target? I told the boys they were playing well, but there was room for improvement. Didn’t want anyone getting a big head - especially that Emilsson up front. He used to play at Liverpool and tells everyone about it every day. Not that he actually ever played for the first team. The second half continued things as they’d been. The Axemen had most of the ball, but they were frequently frustrated by our midfield numbers. And then it happened. They brought on a guy named Sanogo who got a yellow card almost immediately. Score!, I yelled. But it turns out I should not yell out “score” when an opposition striker is involved. Ten minutes later, he took the ball at the half way line, ran past two of my men who will remain nameless (van Eijden and Golla) and took a shot from the edge of the box. It was off target, but my wingback who I’d been trying to sell all season, Bart Buysse, decided to try to block it. Or something. And he kicked it right into the goal. Dear diary, we drew 1-1 against the best team in the history of the league and they recorded zero shots on target. Zero. Twelve shots, five inside the box, zero on target. The Goffertstadion was packed to the rafters and our fans let the boys know they’d done well. Except the obvious three idiots. They didn’t do well. WEDNESDAY 26th August, 2015 Four of my players have been called up to their national teams. This is news to me. I knew Thor was playing for Iceland, but it turns out that Golla plays for Poland, and I should have known Santos would play for Venezuela. But who knew Aruba was a country? Gregor Breinburg is off to wherever that is. In other news we’ve been drawn to play in the Dutch Cup. We’re playing the Go Ahead Eagles. I kid you not. I knew there was a drug culture here, but I had assumed that teams would be named while off drugs. Our next league game is against Willem II, presumably named after a king. Thankfully my Detroit Lions aren’t the Detroit George Washingtons. SATURDAY August 29th, 2015 Game day. Our visit to the Kings started well with Mihai Roman on the bus after the physio team gave him the all clear. I couldn’t start him, but it was a big plus for all the boys to have him with us. The pregame talk was the usual sombre affair with no-one really paying attention. Thor, in particular, seems to turn off. Might need to talk to him about that. If the pep talk was the same as usual, so was the first half. 0-0 anyone? I brought Roman the Romanian on pretty early into the second half to see if I could spice things up. He was rusty, but made some decent runs. With ten minutes to go, Thijs van Hofwegen (really) crossed the ball just over the top of a defender’s head right onto the swinging foot of Roman who first-timed it into the back of the old onion bag. Dropped everyone back for the last ten and we came away with a win. Bam! After the game, I got some feedback from my assistant, Gerrit. He told me Ritzmaier and Limbombe are having trouble motivating themselves while playing for someone of my stature. Wow. I’m adding them to list of people whose comments should be shoved back in their faces when I’m king. Thor might be on that list soon. We finished the game in second position on the league table. I should probably retire right now. MONDAY August 31st, 2015 End of the month. I made it through without being sacked. We’re sitting in seventh with two wins, a draw, and a loss. I probably would have taken that at the start of the month. We’ve got the international break coming up. Fingers crossed that no-one comes back injured. Four games next month, including a cup game. I still can’t believe we lost that game to Ajax. As a bit of a time capsule, I’d copied the current tactics on this page. I can try to do that each month to keep a record of where my head has been. Alternatively in the clouds and up my ass, most likely.
  5. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    Oh cut them out! Humour me.
  6. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    SATURDAY July 4th, 2015 I got to spend my Fourth of July at a little ground in Waalwijk (don’t even ask) watching the boys win their first game. No hot dogs for obvious reasons, but I did shoot off a little bottle rocket when Mihal Roman scored. Thought about shooting off a second, but this time at Frank Sturing when he was sent off for a last man tackle. But it’s only a friendly. No point injuring a player for a mistake in a meaningless game. The tactic mostly sucked. The wide midfielders and wingbacks were stepping on each other’s toes, so I’ll have to think about what to do there. Maybe push the wide guys up and in a bit more. That should also solve the problem of no-one supporting the false nine who seemed more of a lonely target man. On the bright side, nearly half of their shots were from distance, which was mainly because I accidentally had eight or nine players behind the ball. Also, Rens van Eijden got into double figures for intercepted passes in that advanced ball playing defender role. Player of the Match? The Icelandic goalkeeper, of course. Happy Fourth! TUESDAY July 7th, 2015 We’ve been working on the tactic over the last few days. I’ve kept the same basic shape, but I’ve got the wide midfielders and one of the central guys attacking more. We’ll see how it goes. Players are unhappy with the quality of training they’re receiving, so I’ve put a few ads in the various publications. No idea who’s going to turn up to work with an inexperienced manager and a newly promoted team. Should be amusing. We’re also looking for a physio because I’m told we have the worst medical team in the whole league. We’re #1! This does mean I can sneak an offer into Eva Carneiro. That’s really the main reason I got into management. WEDNESDAY July 8th, 2015 Eva said no. We’re not playing at a high enough standard, she says. Challenge accepted! SATURDAY July 11th, 2015 Game day. We played Brighton from England in our first home match under my watchful eye. Just over 4,000 fans turned up to see me, which is disappointing. I wore the green pants and everything. Clearly the media is not doing a good enough job at promoting the pants. I decided to try out my up and coming Dutch keeper as obviously Barcelona and the like will be coming after my Icelandic guy any minute now. Joshua Smits is his very pronounceable name, which is also a good reason to try him out. The experiment went well for the first seven minutes. Then we conceded in the 8th and 10th minutes. Both from crosses. I waited until half time before bringing on Hannes Þór Halldórsson. Look, when your middle name is Thor, you’re probably okay with me. 2-0 down at the half. I sent Thor on and we scored three goals and won the match. He won’t be getting a minute’s rest until he retires, let me tell you. I was pretty happy with the goals. Two came from the right wide mid position that I had made more attacking, asking them (Santos in the first half and Foor in the second) to drive to the box. The third was from a penalty, so I’ll take that. Overall, not bad. I’ve been told I can check a heat map for the players, but damned if I can find it anywhere. TUESDAY July 14th, 2015 I’ve had zero bites on the ads for new staff. So, I went out looking myself. Found a couple of likely lads and hired them. Now, that wasn’t so hard. Can’t wait to turn some of these ******** down when we’re cruising through the Champions League. Had a game today against some sort of farm club. We won 1-0 and Thor won man of the match. Not exactly happy with that result and I told the team. A couple were not impressed with me, but maybe they need to find another team where crap performances are deemed satisfactory. I have decided to dip into the transfer market though. Which means I need to sell some players. A couple of the young guys are really attacking wingers which means they haven’t got much of a role in my team. I’ll see if any of them are of interest to the world at large. Going through the existing contracts and lo and behold, the two highest paid guys are defenders. Who on earth was running this club before me? There are also two backup goalies on over $1,000 a week. In the reserves? Nuts. Naturally no-one wants to leave on a mutual agreement. SATURDAY July 18th, 2015 Game day. Today we were in Schötz in Switzerland. Lots of nice mountains and lots of lovely schötz. It’s possible the boys are starting to get into this. We won 4-0 with 20 schötz - only seven schötz on target though. I found the heat map. And we were hot. Next up is a tour of England. I’ve always wanted to go to England so when the opportunity to run a tour for the preseason came up, I jumped at the chance. Halifax, West Ham, and Lincoln. I’m sure they’re all lovely places. WEDNESDAY July 22nd, 2015 Halifax. I’m told Ed Sheeran is from here, which is enough reason to beat the crap out of this team. I left a couple of the transfer-listed boys home. Hopefully they’ll be gone before we get back from sunny England. This trip should be good for squad harmony. Well, we beat them. 1-0. 61% of the possession and 15 shots (5 on target). Still not thrilled with that though. I counted the shots - only four of them were outside of the box. So, am I just working with some poor shooters? And as luck would have it, not a single team is interested in any of my goalkeeper flock or the unwanted wingers. SATURDAY July 26th, 2015 West Ham provided our first loss of the preseason, but that was expected. They won 3-1, but the third of those goals was due to a ridiculous pass from van Eijden from defence to their attacking midfielder who then passed to an open striker who was played onside by van Eijden. And the papers still gave him a 6.7 rating! Amazing. I don’t really know how West Ham rates compared with the Eredivisie. Hopefully they’d sit somewhere at the top and we can have faith that we can compete with anyone in our league. Am I deluding myself? We’re still not getting enough bodies forward, but I’m not sure which one I should start sending. Hammers fans loved the green pants. So, there was that. They chanted “Belmondo’s a ******!” for at least five minutes. Todd Kane told me that’s an English term for fashionista. WEDNESDAY July 29th, 2015 We traveled to Lincoln for the last leg of the tour. Mihai Roman, my first choice striker came off the bench in the second half to score a brace and secure a win. He was also kicked onto the physio’s table for 4 weeks with a back injury. For a city with a lovely cathedral, Lincoln have got a team of not-so-angelic shin-kickers. 24 fouls against my poor boys. They couldn’t manage a shot on target though, so we got the moral victory as well as actual one. THURSDAY July 30th, 2015 Another moral victory as we signed Scottish midfielder Jay Fulton from Swansea on loan. He costs way more than we can afford, but I needed to make sure I had coverage. Not that he’s coverage - he moves someone else into coverage. He’s paid well, so dressed well. I called him a ******. Todd Kane will be sitting on the bench for the next few games. Also got to make the tricky decision on who to captain this fine squad of barely adequate players. Rens van Eijden got the vaunted captain’s armband. This is his seventh season with NEC, so he makes sense. Gregor Breinberg is his deputy. Let’s hope they can inspire their team mates. Our final friendly is in a few days against some obscure Dutch team. Then we’re off to the big leagues. God help us.
  7. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    Thanks a bunch. I hope it's worthy.
  8. Matt Langdon

    The Belmondo Diary

    FRIDAY June 26th, 2015 End of day one. What have I got myself into? My office has still got random pieces of treasure and trash from the last guy, but I’ve brought a few of my own pieces in. Have to make it feel like home. Had a Dutch hot dog today and definitely didn’t feel like home. First meeting with the owner today and he told me not to worry about what the media is saying about me. Which obviously means he’s worried about what the media is saying about me. His name is Ton van Gaalen - couldn’t get more Dutch. Thankfully he spoke English. He’s given me a one year contract which communicates his faith in my appointment. He sent me on to meet with Ron de Groot, who was not a walking tree, much to my surprise. He and his team gave me their thoughts on the squad and how to move forward. They suggested signing four different 34 year-old strikers. Clearly we’re not in the same school of thought when it comes to team building. I’ll be looking young. And as luck would have it, we’ve got a very young squad. Only six players above 23, so we’d do well in the Olympics. Three of those boys are on loan. Not sure if they’ll stay, but one of them is from Chelsea, so he can’t be all bad. The board expects me to finish mid-table. Seems reasonable. I’ve got $96 per week available in the wage budget, so I might be able to hire a courier to bring me enough booze to get through the season. More tomorrow when I actually meet the players. SATURDAY June 27th, 2015 I decided to fire Grooooooot. I’ve got my eye on a few options regarding his replacement, so we’ll see if they’re as interested in me as I am in them. Got rid of a couple of staff who, honestly, made it seem like I'm a good coach. And we know that’s not true. Without my right hand man, I faced up to the players. They have no idea who I am. For good reason. I got them on side though, by telling them I was pretty sure we could aim for mid table. Not bad for a newly promoted team, but I’m quietly aiming higher. Don’t tell anyone, dear diary. There are a few playmakers in the squad. That’s good to see. A couple of central defenders make me happy too. I think we’ll need someone up front, but maybe I’ll go with a single striker. I’ve probably got the squad for a 4-1-4-1, but I’m interested in mixing things up in the Eredivisie with a 3-6-1 or a 2-5-3. We’ll see how brave I’ll be. Speaking of brave, I wore my green pants to the press conference. I figured I might as well stand out for my dress sense as my soccer history wouldn’t be doing it. One of the first questions was whether I considered myself more of a cerebral, well-dressed manager than a “lead-the-training” kind of guy. Jurgen ten Avest has already figured me out. It was obviously the green pants. They also got wind of my hiring of Toon Gerrits as my assistant. In other news, Jaap Stam has been hired by Heerenveen. So, that should take the media focus off me for a while at least. SUNDAY June 28th, 2015 Tactics day. With our first friendly a week away, I decided to lock myself in the office all day to work on a tactic and philosophy to carry me through to the Champions League Final. Ambitious? Maybe. I’m going with three central defenders with the middle guy pushing up with the ball when able. I have to include the young Chelsea right back Todd Kane though. The last thing I want this season is a call from Jose complaining about me not using a young English player that will never see a first team game for Chelsea. That means using advanced wingbacks as part of the six-man midfield. Two wide midfielders are going to sit narrow, flanking a box to box midfielder and a roaming playmaker. A false nine is going to sit up front supporting attacks as well as closing down the defenders with help from the wide midfielders and the playmaker. Yes, I have no idea what I’m doing. Fingers crossed. I need to at least stay in the job until this Sinterklaas guy turns up. WEDNESDAY July 1st, 2015 The press has predicted we’ll finish 14th. I have no idea how many teams get relegated, but that should keep us safe. 150-1 to win the league. I haven’t told any family members to lay a wager. They also highlighted our best player - goalkeeper, Hannes Þór Halldórsson. Naturally, I hadn’t even talked to him because I only worry about scoring goals, not preventing them. This is a pleasant surprise though. I’ve heard a good keeper can be important. And he’s from Iceland. I’ve never heard a bad thing about Iceland. Plus one of the guys told me he directed the Icelandic video for the Eurovision music contest. Bonus!
  9. Brilliant. Thanks guys. This is a great thread. Very helpful.
  10. Thanks. I'm going to reduce the expressive nature and see what happens.
  11. Hey guys, love this thread so much - it actually got me playing 15. I am playing Liverpool and won the league on the last day in the first season, so very happy. Into the second season now and wanting to fine tune things, so wondered if you had some advice on the two concerns I have had. I'm playing with the two DLPs and M(a), the WM(a) and the F9. TIs are Shorter Passing, Passing Into Space, Play Out of Defence, Push Higher Up, Roam From Positions, Close Down More, Higher Tempo, and Be More Expressive. I play a Standard mentality and Very Fluid. First concern - I'm getting a lot of flack from the media and opposing coaches about the rough play. We foul a lot. I assume that is simply from the closing down, but wanted to check to see if others were experiencing it as well. I'm not too worried about it, but figured it would be nice to not be considered the brutes of the league. Second - nearly half of my shots are from long range. Despite pushing higher up, the team doesn't seem to get forward, so the ball carrier is almost always driving toward the box and shooting. I know I need to find some wide midfielders who will run, but I wondered if there was something obvious that was causing the long shots.
  12. My search pages don't seem to be working properly since updating to the latest patch of FM12. At first, the filtering options were missing. Now, there's nothing at all. Any ideas? I should add that I am using a Mac.
  13. A friend and I both have AT&T internet service and want to play against each other. The links I followed to find out about port opening said the AT&T modem doesn't support open enough ports. Has anyone had any luck making it work?
  14. Okay, I could use some help. I've just started again and the first thing I've done is look at "trained with the club". I have two. I need four for the Europa League. I've promoted two from the Leichtenstein U-18s, but they don't appear to count. I didn't see anyone else having trouble with this. Any advice?
  15. I started this yesterday, but got to European competition and had apparently sold my "trained at the club" players. There didn't appear to be anything I could do. Will try again today. My plan is to get young Australians over to play in Europe and gain nationality.
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