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  1. [FM17] The Strong Story

    August 15th 2017 Off to Penang. A Malaysian Super League side. That's right top league in a country. I sit on the plane about to fly off still in disbelief about how quickly things happened. I'm in the middle of a run of poor form, I win one game and then a week later I'm flying out to coach a different team. My parents were even ok with what I got as a contract. $15,000 which is average for Malaysia, as far as I can tell. No more living in my office for me. My contract started yesterday and the first flight I could get out was this morning which suited me just fine. I had business to take care of. After I talked to Rochani and the rest of the players who were young and I wanted to take with me I cleaned up my office. Once packed I called the last person I was talking to Singgih Prasetyo Wibowo into my office. "Yes sir" he said as he walked in. "You got me this job about a year ago. Do you remember" I asked. He nodded. "you and I have become friends over this year and I have one thing to ask you" "Yes sir anything" he said "I want you to come with me to Penang and be my assistant, you're young so you would sit on the bench in case I needed a sub but I don't want you to be fooled, you won't play anywhere close to how much you play here" "I only play a quarter of the games now and most of those are sub appearances" he said "I know, you would probably only play cup games at Penang" I said being honest. "But you're a better assistant manager than a player and you filled that roll perfectly here" "I love Indonesia and I don't think I want to leave" said Wibowo. "I respect your decision but do me a favor", Wibowo nodded, "when you're done playing call me up. I would love you in the back room." "Can do sir" he said as we shook hands "Did I ever tell you thank you for this job?" I ask "Only every time we win" he said laughing Once he left the room I went out to end practice. I called everyone in a circle. I told them how upset I was that I was leaving and that I was proud of every single one of them. I also said I would cherish the time we spent together. I told them that I would be keeping up with them and I expected big things. Afterwards I went out into town to go see some friends. Sinta and her husband were the first house I went to. I walked in and wished them my luck. I also gave them some money which they refused but eventually took when I told them of my new contract. I knew I would never see them again so I also brought them to that same restaurant where I had seen them before my first home win. All they could say was how happy they were for me but that they wished I could stay. Then Sinta said "remember us little guys when you make it big" I said always and told them if I ever made it big I would dedicate a trophy to Persibangga and them. ------------------------------------- The Story of Singgih Prasetyo Wibowo After Cole Strong left Wibowo was even more motivated to do well. If Strong didn't believe in him as a player he wanted the new manager to. Cole and him were friends but Wibowo wanted to make it as a soccer player and not rise to the top in a back room position because of a friendship. It didn't matter though as the new manager released him into free agency on December 3rd 2017. Wibowo had only made 15 appearances and one goal while he was at Persibangga and was now a free agent. He went back to his work and tried out for every team he could. After traveling across the country he finally got his break. On August 16th 2018 he was picked up by Persik Kendal. Persik Kendal was a division bellow Persibangga but Wibowo was happy to be playing soccer again. He knew if he tried hard enough he would be picked up by a better team. He worked hard for 3 years making 78 appearances and scoring 15 goals in the lower division but still no one big wanted him. On August 20th 2021 he was picked up by another Indonesian Nuswantara league side PPSM Magelang and given a raise. He made 23 appearances and 6 goals for the team before he was released on June 30th 2022. After not being able to find another playing job Wibowo travelled back to his old club Persibangga in an effort to get hired. Persibangga had just been relegated to the Indonesian Nuswantara league and he wanted to rejoin his old friends Fendri Maryono and Trifandi Ardi Sukrila at the club. Even though he was an ok striker at that level the team didn't want him to add depth. Wibowo got a job as a chef at restaurant in town and thought about calling Cole Strong for that back room job but decided not to. He hadn't spoke to Cole since he left and he figured Cole didn't want him in the back room anymore. He decided to completely give up on a soccer career just shy of his 30th birthday and retired into the restaurant business. When told years later that Cole had been waiting for his call until the day he retired he responded with "I'm proud of what I did and what I do now, maybe things would have been different if I had called him but who cares, I lived a good life, I wouldn't want it any other way". Wibowo even put up his old Persibangga kit up on the wall when he opened up his own restaurant years later. The one he wore the day he debuted with Cole Strong in the stands watching.
  2. [FM17] The Strong Story

    August 14th 2017 I sit in my office looking around at the walls, the mattress in the corner, my steel desk that's rusty and was here when I first stepped into the office. I wait a second as my door opens, in walks Yanuar Rochani. "You're not going to be a Persibangga player for much longer" I say as he sits down. He starts to immediately cry. I take in the sight of a 6'2" 175 pound man balling all over my papers. "Please, I don't want to only work at the building company, soccer is all I've wanted to do my entire life" he manages to get out with a lot of effort. I think to myself that this could have went better "I'll play for free if you want me to, I thought I was improving" "No, No, No, that's not what I mean" I say. He stops crying and looks up confused. "I'm leaving this place because I got a better offer in a bigger league and I want you and some of the lads to come with me." I say. He immediately becomes jubilant and says "you ****, I thought I was getting released, I saw Nur Lubis out there and thought he was going to bring me out of the stadium without me throwing a fit and I saw Ridwan Awaludin and figured you must be firing him also" he said "after he cheated the club" "So will you come with me" I ask and he shakes his head yes. "Ok send the others in, and don't tell anyone I'm leaving yet. I want to tell them in person later after practice today" "Will do Mr. Strong" he says as he stands up and leaves. I think to myself I better not lead with that line that made Yanuar cry. ----------------------------------------------- Overlook of Persibangga In charge: 1 year 9 days Silverware: none Board: happy Player awards: none Coaching awards: none Most important player: Nur Lubis, Anggi Prabowo. Record: 8-7-9 33% win
  3. [FM17] The Strong Story

    August 6th 2017 "Go get a win today" I yell to end my prematch talk. The players yell back in unison "we will win, we will win, we will win". It's something I had been been doing before we walked into the tunnel all season. As I walk out onto the pitch I think about how the two games before this went, the only two we've played since we decided to stay. The first was away at Persepam in front of 6,100 people. My largest crowd ever. The match was also televised. The main problem with a crowd that large though is the players get nervous. They did well though, for 13 minutes. Then Persepam put on past off the foot of Aditya Putra Dewa. We went 1-0 down and despite our best efforts we went 2-0 down in the 44th. The shot once again coming from Aditya Putra Dewa. At half time I told the lads to settle down. They didn't and in the 66th minute substitute Widowo Prianto, a man who barely plays, was sent off. We were down to 10 men and if we weren't out before we were then. Thankfully the rest of the game went without them scoring and we lost 2-0. Up next was Celebest FC which we were home for. This game was in front of a more regular 200 person crowd but it didn't matter. At home it's better to have more people and Ardiansyah Ardi took the crowds voice away when he put one past Rochani in the 8th minute. Rochani had never messed up like Jaya but he had been In the team for a while now and never really impressed but he did have some great improvements so far. I think he has potential. Our defense was abysmal though and Celebest kept braking through. Rochani saved 10 shots the first half to keep us at 1-0. I still didn't tell the boys to stop attacking though because I would rather go down swinging than not fight at all. It didn't help though as we squandered every chance. Then Ardiansyah Ardi killed off any hope we had as he put one in in the 90th minute to get a brace and make us lose 2-0. The day after that game we made some moves in the transfer market though. Inggit Prayitno was poached by Persema a fellow Premier Division team who went down later that season. So much for Prayitno making a career helping move. He retired from soccer when they got relegated around his 30th birthday and went to be a mechanic in England. We managed to bring in two players, a striker Ridho Setiawan and a man named Gilang Suprapto who never went on to play a game for the side. Both were free agents who stood outside our stadium looking for a job. The game today was against Sumbawa Barat at their stadium. The crowd was about the size of a normal crowd for our division and I stood there praying for a win. We hadn't won in six games and the lads we getting upset. I also wanted to show Sumbawa Barat why I didn't come and work for them. The game was supposed to be easy because they were last in the division. I quickly realized it wouldn't be. Neither side really had any shots until we broke through in the 29th. Our new signing Ridho Sitiawan put one just wide of the goal. 0-0. We didn't create again until the 40th minute when Trifandi Ardi Sukrila put the ball top left corner of a cross from Nur Lubis to make us go up 1-0. At half time I pushed the lads on and it seemed to work. In the 51st minute Ridho Sitiawan put one past the keeper and put us 2-0 up. I fancied our chances of winning a game and ending our losing streak but I started sweating again as Khoirul Huda put one into the back of our net for Sumbawa Barat. 2-1. The time slowly started ticking down and I sat petrified. Then Ngurah Hidayat stepped up in the 73rd minute to put one home and give us a more comfortable 3-1 lead. It turned out that we didn't need the third goal as the game ended 3-1 but I didn't complain, we finally went back to winning ways.
  4. [FM17] The Strong Story

    July 19th 2017 We haven't had any games since my 21st birthday but the week was very eventful. I sit behind my desk trying to understand. We haven't won in four games and now I am getting job offers. 4 to be exact. 2 were for no money so I didn't fancy those because my parents are angry I'm living on a grand plus farm income, they would definitely not be happy I was working for free. One was a move to Sumbawa Barat, another Premier Division team for $1000 which was last place in our group, and the only really intriguing one was the $1,500 move to Madiun Putra. Madiun had come in the last safe spot last year but had improved to a mid table team in their group. I talked to my parents and they said they still wouldn't be comfortable with me living on $1,500 and I should come home. I told them that Madiun had money for me to spend to try to make it to the super league and get a raise and they said I should do whatever felt right. I went up to Lubis and he said he would move with me wherever but I still had my doubts. The transfer budget is tempting but I would have a budget here if I didn't waste my money of Eko Sri Herman who had not started filling his potential, in fact he was getting worse. I sat at my desk awaiting Madiuns call. I hadn't yet made up my mind as the call came in "Mr. Cole Strong. I am eager to here your decision" I sat in silence for a second. "I want a club with a future" "That's us" the chairman said "If you upgrade your youth facilities I'll come" I replied. If they said yes I would go, if the said no I wouldn't. "I'm sorry but I can't do that" the chairman said "Then I'm sorry I can't come, I wish you luck, goodbye" I say and I hang up my phone. I look around my office and sit in the silence. Lubis walks in "Sir did you take the job" he asked wondering about his future. "No but I need a big move before the season is done, I already told the chairman I won't be renewing my contract to which he became sad" I reply "Well maybe we can make a run at the super league this year" Lubis says confidently "Yeah maybe"
  5. [FM17] The Strong Story

    July 12th 2017 "Happy 21st birthday" it came from Nur Lubis, who was now one of our best players and significantly outshining his big money competition of Eko Sri Herman. "Thanks Lubis, now tell me how the team is feeling" I say professionally. "Pretty neutral right now boss, it could be better and it could be worse" he said "Thanks Lubis" I say and he starts to leave "Lubis, your doing a great job as captain, my only worry about the squad is that someone will poach you from us" "Thanks boss, for now I'll go wherever you go" He said respectfully before once again turning around and leaving my office. I look down at the report Lubis gave me. We had played four games since we won at home on TV and I was trying to take that old lady's advice to heart. I tried to also have ambition. I had heard rumors from other managers that teams were looking at me. We were always expected to go down but we had been mid table last year and we were looking the same this year in a group that was definitely tougher. We had improved our team and we were still expected to be in the relegation battle. I wanted to impress those teams but it may be slow after last month. We had 4 games, two in the league and two in the cup. We had also had one player leave us. Imam Nursae. A player that I released because I never played him and he thought I should. Our first game was away at Bintang Jaya, which would once again be televised. We went off to a flaming start as Trifandi Ardi Sukrila continued his hot streak by scoring in the 3rd minute. 1-0 us. I noticed that instead of the usual complete quiet that happens when we score a goal away we had some cheers. It looks like 20 or so away fans came to our game. Delightful. Those 20 people weren't happy for long those as Sandi Sitanggang put one past Rochani in the 18th minute. 1 all. At half times I begged the team to push on but they didn't. Luck for us neither did Bintang Jaya and the game ended in a draw. Our next game was our first leg of the cup. My first cup game ever. Lubis also told me we could play our first signing Ridwan Awaludin in the game even though he was banned from the league. I was angry that Ridwan didn't tell me he couldn't play in the league so I left him out of a game he could play in to punish him. He had been looking forward to the game because he hadn't played a soccer match in a long time. We were away at Persikabo who managed to draw a crowd of 2,000. The match was big and our boys were nervous. It showed as we were completely outclassed. They scored in the 10th minute in the form of a header from llham Anwar and a near post laser from Gilbert Dwaramury in the 29th. We were down 2-0 and the boys looked defeated. We were unable to even create a chance and the game ended 2-0. We had work to do in the second leg. In the second leg our fans didn't believe we could beat Persikabo so only 100 came out rather than the usual 250. I didn't blame them because we had to win 3-0 to get the round win. Our players also didn't look into the game as we let up a goal in the 30th minute. 1-0 down and now we had to win 4-1 to win the game. At half time I walked up to Ridwan Awaludin and told him he was being subbed in. Even though I was angry I used contract money on him I still wanted to see what he could do. At the start of the second half Ridwan ran circles around Persikabo. Ridwan had something to prove and was just happy to be playing again. In the 68th minute he did it. He proved to everyone he could still play when he put one past the keeper to tie the game at 1-1. I knew we couldn't win the game or the cup round but I was proud to have given a player a shot, even if I was mad he was on our team in the first place. Our next game was at home against Persip. I fancied our chances and told the team I expected a win. The first half was completely uneventful. The whistle blew and I could have slept through the entire thing. Neither team had a chance. At the team talk I told the players I expected more of them. That must have pressured them to much though as we conceded a goal right away. Fahrikhin put one past our keeper in the 46th minute to make us go 1-0 down. I watched the game glum, certain we would lose again until I remembered the old lady. I did what she told me a calmed down and analyzed. I made some tweaks to our plan in the 50th minute and didn't have to wait long for an equalizer. Anggi Prabowo, who never fails to show up, put one bottom right corner just outside of the keepers diving reach in the 63rd minute to make it 1 all. While our players were still celebrating the equalizer Persip managed to hit one passed our keeper not 30 seconds from the restart. We were down 2-1 and lost 2-1. We hadn't won any of our last 4 games and I was certain I turned away any club who wanted me. *buzzzzzzzz* I pick up my vibrating phone and look at the number. It's not one I know. "Hello" I answer "Hello, am I speaking to Cole Strong manager of Persibangga" "Yes you are, may I ask whom I am speaking to" "It's the chairman of Madiun Putra FC, we were in your group last year and we have a job offer for you. We can give you $1,500 a year to be our manager" "Thank you but this is a shock, give me a week to think about it, I can't make this decision that quickly" "No problem, I'm eager to hear your answer"
  6. [FM17] The Strong Story

    June 3rd 2016 I wake up to a splitting head ache and sit behind my desk. On it was a piece of paper with the words "remember last night". I look at it trying to remember but I couldn't. I laugh to myself and say hopefully it was not important. I take a shower in the locker room and go to a restaurant for breakfast. "You look a lot better today" says a women as she sits down at my table. I look up and see it's my friend Sinta. She must have been outside of the bar last night. "My husband was on the street when the bartender pulled us in and told us to take you somewhere else, we took you to the stadium so you could sleep" Her husband came walking up after her "You ready for the game today, we will be there and I know we will win today" the husband says. "We're going to win. No doubt about it" I say trying to sound confident. We engage in small talk but after a while Sinta stands up and says "We will leave you alone to prepare but look for us in the stands" before walking away. I think to myself, how can they expect us to win when I don't think we can. Maybe because there isn't much entertainment here and this is a cheap option where they can watch their friends and family from their work or home try to win. Maybe this 90 minutes of hope is what gets them through the week. "I need to win for them" I say to myself now full of confidence. When match time comes at 3.30 I have the boys fired up as we come out of the tunnel. I look up in the stands and see Sinta and her husband among the 250 people. "Boys we win it for them" I say as I point into the crowd. Then I look next to me on the pitch and standing there in front of the opposing team was the old lady. It all came rushing back to me, the bar, the advice, Sinta and her husband bringing me home. I walk over to shake her hand "You manage Martapura FC" I asked shocked and confused "Your look better" was all she said as she shook my hand and returned to her team. I walk over to my boys before kick off and tell them to listen to me when changes happen on the pitch. We're going to win today. In the beginning of the match Martapura came out attacking just as we did. I tell the boys to wait back and hit them on the counter. They kindly obliged and in the 30th minute we had our first chance. Trifandi Ardi Sukrila stole the ball from the halfway line and ran all the way to the box beating two defenders. Then he put his laces right through the ball to put it out of the goalkeepers reach. We were up 1-0. Martapura didn't change anything else and we stayed 1-0 up until half time. During the team talk I was skeptical of congratulating the team because I didn't want them to think they had already won. Then after the half I noticed Martapura were now trying to defend and hit us on the break. I adjusted and Trifandi Ardi Sukrila came up good. He put a ball in far post to make us go up 2-0 in the 67th minute. Then 3 minutes later Eko Sri Herman, who had not lived up to his price tag, put a ball far wide of the goal, or it would have been if Martapuras player Fahreza Agamal hadn't stepped in front of the shot and put it into his own goal. We were up 3-0 so I just told the team to waste time and contain. We stopped many attacks and Martapura FC was only able to break through in the 89th minute with a long shot from Aris Dwi Bakhtiar. 3-1 to ruin Rochanis clean sheet but no one cares. We had finally won at home and all it took was the advice of the opposing manager and 10 months of hating our stadium.
  7. [FM17] The Strong Story

    June 1st 2017 "How do you feel about letting Emalue Serge go" said a reporter. "He didn't feature for us and his only achievement was a 2006 top goal scorer award in the Indonesian Cup for Arema. For his career he has made 47 appearances and 19 goals. However none of them were for us so I'm surprised you even know who that is" I reply, fed up with the questions. Who knew so many people cared about the Indonesian Premier Division let alone an old washed up player in our Division. I retreat back to my office which I'm still living in. The $1000 doesn't get me much. I sit at my desk, once again preparing for my next game home against Martapura FC. Who knew being a manger took so much preparing and studying. I look forward to the game even though it's at home because it's televised and that still excites me. Maybe one day I'll play in a match big enough that my family can watch me on TV. Last month we had four games. Two at home and Two away. The first was at home against Perssu. I felt that Perssu was slightly better than us so I went for a more defensive game plan and hit them on the counter. However the plan was abandoned by the 14th minute when Perssu striker Feriansyah Mas'ud put one past Rochani from in close. At half time the score was 1-0 and I told the team that we needed to make our pitch a fortress if we had any hopes of going up. They didn't listen and in the 52nd Perssu made it 2-0 when their midfielder put one in from a corner. At this time I told the boys to just run into the box to try to make the score up and despite a goal from Anugrah Setia Aji in the 86th minute we came up short, once again losing at home 2-1. Our next game was away against Persekap, a team who was not expected to do well in our group, and it showed. The first half was close as the only goal came from our team. Trifandi Ardi Sukrila was supplied a brilliant pass from Nur Lubis and came up good. 1-0. At half time I told the team they were playing well but I wanted to see more. In the 49th minute it looked like Persekap would equalize but then we stole the ball and hit them on the break. Nur Lubis once again pushed a ball into the box but This time there wasn't anyone to put it in. The reason was the target, Anggi Prabowo, was laying on the ground. A Persekap defender put him down in the box and gave us a penalty. Anggi Prabowo wanted to make the defender pay so he stepped up to take he shot. He barely kicked the ball and it floated right past the Persekap keeper. We were up 2-0. After the penalty Prabowo came alive. He was on the end of every ball, but he kept putting it just wide or forcing saves from the keeper. Then in the dying minutes the keeper must have started to tire because Anggi Prabowo put a lazy dribbler near post and the keeper failed to save it. Prabowo showed me his class once again to make us win 3-0. Then we had another home match. I spent days studying the opposition for ways to stop their attack. I badly wanted to win at home because I hadn't done it yet and the match was going to be televised. Our opponent was PSGC. We once again tried to counter PSGC but they also sat back so by the end of the first half there wasn't any action. I decided to go attacking for the second half to at least give the 233 fans a show and to try to give excitement to the 10 people watching in the bar down the corner. It seemed to work as there was finally more action. Every five minutes we would put a cross in and go wide or straight at the keeper. 60 on the clock, 70 on the clock, 80 on the clock. We kept creating chances but nothing came good. 90 minutes, injury time, final whistle. The game was over and we drew 0-0 with our opponents. We had 30+ shots and they had 3. We dominated the second half but came up short. I went back to my office and sat down. Still no home win, this stadium must be bad luck. Our final match of the month was away at Cilegon United. This match was also televised so I once again wanted to put on a show. I went there attacking even though Cilegon were top of the group. The whistle blew and I didn't have to wait long for my attacking plans to come through. In the 19th minute our MVP, our savior, Anggi Prabowo once again came good from up front. He hit one from outside the box that would have taken the hands off the keeper if he had got to it. At half time we were still 1-0 up and I praised the players. We also went to a more neutral game plan at half time because I didn't want to let up the lead. Both teams came close to scoring. In the final minutes of the game I was on the sidelines bitting my nails. Cilegon were on the attack and a ball over the top landed at the feet of Taryono. Taryono dribbled up close to our young keeper Rochani and put it past him. 200 fans leapt up and cheered. 1 all from an 89th minute equalizer. I was angry but when the final whistle blew and we came out with I draw I decided one point was ok for this fixture. Now onto the only games I dread, home games. ------------------------------------------------------------------ June 2nd 2017 "What do you want most in this world" The old lady next to me at the bar asked. I was speaking Bahasa Indonesian good enough to talk to the local people on a regular and I had made a great effort to meet as many people as I could but I had never seen this women at the bar before. "What" I asked, the question had shocked me because we had been siting next to each other in silence for 15 minutes. I wasn't trying to make friends tonight, I was trying to forget tomorrow was at home and that I was going to embarrass myself on TV to the 10 fans who watch group D Indonesian Premier league soccer and the 200 that would show up. She repeated the question and I looked up and answered. "To win a home game and to get a job at a bigger club so I can be a manager for longer than the end off this year." I say slightly sarcastically, and slightly with hope. "You plans in life aren't to be happy, or have a family, you're plans are to win as a manager" the lady asked while chuckling to herself. "That's why you're sitting in this bar moping around" she said more seriously. "Do you think you're happy" she asked "I'm happy until we have a home game, I've managed for almost a year and I haven't won once at home. I don't even know why the fans show up" I said back. "Out match is on TV tomorrow and I don't want to lose" "Do you want to know what your problem is?" she asked "Yes, I would" I say taking a drink "You're already sure you're going to lose so you miss things that are happening on the field. You just need to calm down, keep an open mind, and have confidence." She said "Why don't you try being a manger" I reply drunkenly fed up "I already am" she said as she stood up payed for her drink and walked out. "Who are you?!?" I yell as I stumble out of my chair and hit the ground. The bartender picks me up and gets someone to help me walk to the stadium. I still sleep in my office at Goentoer Darjono and I don't sleep very much. I was trying to think of who that women was, and why did she say she was a manager
  8. [FM17] The Strong Story

    January 9th 2017 I sit in Alec's college apartment watching the College Football national championship. We have hung out a lot while I have been home and it's great to have everyone understand you when you talk. I had started to learn Bahasa Indonesian but I was speaking at a Basic level. The clock says 2.07 left when Alabama scores. Alec looks over at me angry "**** they scored to early" He yells. I look up "Their defense is the best in the game, they're going to kill it off" I say. We continue watching that game as Clemson brings the ball back down. With 1 second to go we're throwing stuff everywhere around Alec's dorm yelling things that I hope children will never hear. "See Offense wins games, if you can score enough to cover up the cracks in defense then you don't have to worry" Alec says depressed. I look up "That's a great idea!" I run outside to call my effective assistant manager Wibowo. "Tell the scouts to find me some attacking talent, I don't care how much it costs" I yell when he picks up. "Fine, but I think I could do it for you coach" Wibowo says. For a second I forgot he was a stricker. Trying to save the confidence of my player I say "No you idiot, I do trust you, I want attacking midfielder talent so we can line up in a more attacking formation and have two attackers, Lubis and some one else to score or feed you guys" Wibowo seems to cheer up and says deal. Then like in the movies Wibowo doesn't say goodbye before he hangs up. I'm left there in the silence planing a way to improve the team next year. ------------------------------------------------------------------ April 30th 2017 "This is the first game of the year, I know there are some new faces, some new big money moves, but we are one team, and we will win. Put last season behind us and don't think about this season, only think about now, only think about today, and only think about how we're going to beat Perseka" I yell passionately before our first game of the season. This is the part of being a manager I haven't gotten used to yet. My high school made me dress up in a sport coat and tie so that wasn't awkward but I always feel like my speeches are missing something. I'm lucky Nur Lubis, our 17 year old captain talks to them in the tunnel. We start the season away but that suits us perfectly fine. In case you all don't remember I still haven't won at home. We kept busy in the offseason after I called Wibowo. We signed 4 players and sent two away. The window started normally as I signed a defensive midfielder who I thought would be better than our current first choice, I was wrong but at least he was free. The player was Mohammad Sardin and he was relegated to bench duties early on. With my second signing I hit gold. A younger and better goalkeeper than Jaya. Yanuar Rochani went into starting duties for goalkeeper and looked impressive in training. I was just happy to get rid of Jaya. Then three days later I signed a full back on a free from PSCS. I was confused why he wanted to step back down after being promoted but I didnt complain as he was a vast improvement over our current left back. Ginting Noer Arifin was a blessing to me. The Clemson money move was hard to come by and I was getting worried I would only improve the defense. So far I had signed Mohammad Saridin (DM), Yanuar Rochani (GK) and Ginting Noer Arifin (LB). While I was searching for an attacking midfielder to compliment the up and coming Lubis I got an offer. $1,000 dollars for Rizky Yulian Saputra. I was so excited because none of my transfers involved any money yet and the sale could pay my salary for the year. Off he went to Madiun Putra. We also had another departure. Indra Jaya Retired from football. I was so excited. I will celebrate April 15th 2017 every year for the rest of my life. The next month was spent looking over reports until I found the player I wanted. Eko Sri Herman, a young player who I thought had even more potential than Lubis and was currently just slightly worse, they were also both 17. I looked at him, the attacking midfielder from Persijap, and decided I would pay anything to get him on the team. After being rejected several times I had him. For a whopping $38,000. He came in yesterday and would be in the lineup because I wanted to see him preform. The opening whistle goes off and we line up in our 4-2-2-2. Eko is out there next to Lubis and it's time to see who will be the one that I bring up with me if I ever get a better job. The game starts fast with shots coming from everywhere. In the 4th minute Perseka puts one past our new keeper Rochani. I try not to let that affect my opinion because it may be opening night jitters. I don't ponder on it for long though as Anggi Prabowo proved his worth again by hitting a screamer pass the keeper to make it 1-1 in the 8th minute. Before I could even analyze the situation we fall back behind 2-1 in the 12th. Both were scored by Kristian Kassi. I tell the lads to go forward and they don't wait long to respond. Trifandi Ardi Sukrila headed a ball in off the cross to make it 2 all in the 19th minute. Then Golden boy Nur Lubis showed he outclassed Eko by scoring a floater from range in the 39th to put us in the lead. Maybe he wanted to be worth $38,000. We went to a defensive mentality and changed to a 4-4-2 after Lubis scored and we shut down the game giving us the win to open up the season. That's three points and we're tied for the top in Group D. Things couldn't be going better. ------------------------------------------------------------------ In - Mohammad Saridin, Yanuar Rochani, Ginting Noer Arifin, and Eko Sri Herman Out - Rizky Yulian Saputra and Indra Jaya Net transfer -37k
  9. [FM17] The Strong Story

    November 8th 2016 I sit on the staircase of my hometown airport. Our last game of the season was the 6th and we didn't make it to the second stage so I went home until training starts next year. My parents car arrives and I jump in. They're excited to see me but seem to have something on their minds. "What's wrong" I ask after a twenty minute drive filled with small talk. "We can't let you go back" My Dad replies very sternly "What do you mean" I ask angrily, "I have a contract that I signed for next year, I have the same contract as last year and right now I'm happy" "You make a grand and live in your office. You also work at a farm for some extra cash. This is insane" my Mom says with tears in her eyes "Ok, I promise if I don't get a better job by the end of my contract I'll terminate it and go back to school" I plea trying to compromise. They aren't happy about it but the reluctantly agree. Then they ask how my year went. To close the year I had 4 more league games. The first was away at Persigubin. When we showed up to the ground we were worried that a game wasn't happening. The usual crowd of 200 people was thin, I could count the spectators on my right hand. At first I thought the team was just siting in the bleachers. The small crowd suited us well though as we won on the road 3-2. I decided to start Wibowo and my favorite player finally didn't disappoint me. He scored a screamer from outside the area with just 3 minutes on the clock. Persigubin pulled it back to even though when Jeckson Baneftar scored a shot from close range in the 9th to make it 1 all. However my lord and savior Anggi Prabowo hit one past their keeper in the 20th. Going into half time we were 2-1 up and I was very pleased with that. I went into a sweat in the 51st minute when Abdul Rahman wrong fotted Jaya from 20 yards out to pull the game back to even. My luck turned good when Wibowo was fouled in the box and our trusty penalty taker Fendri Maryono stood up to take the chance. He put one past the keeper even though the keeper dove the right way in the 79th to win us the game. The next game was at home which gave me a bad feeling. PS Bangka, the second placed team came for a visit. Before the game I called Nur Lubis into my office and told him "I think you're special, you and I could go right to the top with your Attacking midfielder skills, I just need you to start scoring". He kindly obliged knocking one past the PS Bangka keeper in the 55th. The only problem with the goal was we were down to ten men as Inggit Prayitno was sent off in the 40th minute and we were already down two goals as Mayona Antop scored a header for PS Bangka in the 18th and Sukron Makmun scored a penalty in the 40th. The penalty was given when Inggit was sent off. The 2-1 lead however was not good enough for PS Bangka as they went 3-1 up to win and embarrass us at home when Makmun scored again in the 61st. The third game out of the four game run in excited me as it was our first televised game. We were on the road to Persekam's stadium, Kahuripan, and when we showed up the crowd was gigantic. 4,200 people showed up to watch us play, a pleasant surprise when we usually get crowds of a few hundred. Our team was the first to break through as Muhammad Hambali played a cross from Prabowo brilliantly off the volley to put us up 1-0 in the 28th minute. In the 53rd the creator turned scorer as Anggi Prabowo put one past their goal keeper to make us go 2-0 up. Then in injury time to further control things we went 3-0 up to win when Trifandi Ardi Sukrila scored coming on from the bench. At this point we were far off from relegation and comfortable in the mid table with nothing to play for. The only thing we were playing for was my first home win in my career during the last game of the season. 250 people showed up for our home clash with Persika. Persika were not making my life easier though as they scored a penalty in the 23rd to go 1-0 up. I was furious that we gave another penalty away and Jaya was unable to stop Imral Usman. We had shots on goal but none of them went in. The game ended 1-0 and the curtain dropped on the season with the elusive home win still out of reach. The season however was fairly comfortable considering our goals. We were 6th in our group on 30 points. 9 points ahead of 11th and 12th, the two relegation spots. The table went like this PSCS (4th in the whole league meaning they will play the next season in the super league) 45 points PS Bangka 39 points Persekam 36 points Persika 35 points Sidoarjo United 32 points Persibangga 30 points PSBK 28 points Persigubin 27 points PSBI 26 points Madiun Putra 22 points Yahukimo FC (relegated) 21 points Persatu (relegated) 21 points Once I explained this to my parents I texted my friends telling them I was in town and we should meet up, and I started looking for ways to improve the team. Training starts up again march 1st so I didn't have much time. ----------------------------------------------- Season Review 2016 Persibangga 6th in Indonesian Premier Division Group C out of 12. (Above expectations) No Awards at all. Knocked out of Indonesian cup second round second leg (before me)
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    October 1st 2016 "Wibowo, please tell me he can play." I plea. I was standing next to my new signing, Wahyu Tri Saputra, a central defender. "Yes he can play, do you have anyone else to bring in?" Wibowo asked. As I shake my head no Wibowo becomes disappointed. "I don't think one defender can replace our Captian." Wibowo was referring to the loss of Bruno Casimir to Barito Putra, a super league side. "It probably won't but it's better than having no new player" I reply. "And the young Nur Lubis is a good player and even better leader. Actually go send him in on your way out". Wibowo walks out and sends in a 16 year old kid, one of the few players younger than me. He was about to turn 17 soon but I didn't actually know when. "Lubis, come in, sit down" I say waving my hand. "This is our new signing and I want you to show him around, as acting captain this is the job for you" They both get up and leave. Lubis obviously excited that I called him captain. I sat down to study the last month so I could better prepare for the next. We had two new signings, Wahyu Tri Saptura and Ridwan Awaludin, one of which couldn't play. One player left, our former Captian Bruno Casimir, and we played 4 games. The first game was at home against Madiun Putra and 400 people showed up, my biggest crowd yet. The first half was boring, no one scored. Then in the 49th minute we struck. Rizkiloh Adi Pratama ran up to 5 yards from the goal from the half way line and placed it brilliantly past the keeper. 1-0. Then I stood in terror during the 67th minute. An opposition player fell down in the box after a lazy tackle from our defenders. Madiun Putra had a penalty and Andhika Priono smashed it home. Jaya, failing to impress again, jumped the wrong way. The game would fail to provide anymore excitement as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The second game was at home again vs PSCS. PSCS was siting top of our group, group c, and seemed to have a commanding lead on the group. I went into the game only wanting points. However I was desperately praying for points after the first minute. Asep Rudianto put one past Jaya in the top left corner with just a minute on the clock. The lads heard about my anger at half time. We were down 1-0 and didn't seem to be fighting at all. In the 56th minute we got lucky though. A poor cross went into Fendri Maryono and even though he couldn't reach it the PSCS defenders pushed him to the ground giving us a penalty. Maryono, wanting to get even, stepped up to whack it in. Then just like that, bottom right corner and the game was tied. The game also ended tied and I was relieved because we were lucky to manage a point in that game. The next game was against Sidoarjo United, who found themselves around us in the mid table. The team was on the road though and I was excited because I had won on the road but I hadn't won at home. That feeling quickly turned sour though as United got off to a blazing start. Imam Yulanto hit a perfectly placed shot, far post, in the third minute. Then supaham scored in the 15th. It was 2-0 and stayed that way until half time. After encouraging the players they played better in the second half. Anggi Prabowo, who was putting up good numbers under my tenure so far, put one in from close range to bring the score back to 2-1. Our side desperately threw men forward in an attempt to equalize but came up short. In the last game of the month I told the team we needed to win because we hadn't won at all that month. We invited to our home field new bottom of the league Persatu. We got off to a flying star as Yoga Pratama scored a deflection in the 9th and Fendri Maryono placed a shot dead at the keeper and the keeper pushed it up into the crossbar and in. We were 2-0 up after 20 minutes. At halftime I let the team know this would be my first win at home and they needed to defend it. I looked up at the clock later and the time said 80 minutes. I started to tell Wibowo, who was on the bench, how excited I was to finally win at home. Wibowo told me that saying that was bad luck. I laughed and walked away, but I wasn't laughing for long. Saddam Husain put a ball past Jaya in the 80th minute. However when the clock went to 90 we were still 2-1 up and I walked back over to Wibowo. "See they scored once but we still won" I said, to which he said, what I later learned was the word idiot in his native language. As soon as I turned around to look back at the pitch I started to hear screams from our 250 person crowd and the net shaking. "For ****s sake! Wibowo, screw you and your luck!" We drew 2-2. I still hadn't won at home. I stop studying previous games at my desk and scroll through instagram, I look through and see a #tb. It's Alec and I standing on top of a mountain with the caption "If I can climb this I can do anything". I screenshot the picture and put it as my home screen. Then I mumble to myself "we're going to win tomorrow, it's a good thing we're away too"
  11. [FM17] The Strong Story

    Thanks mate, I've never done anything like this before so I hope it goes well
  12. [FM17] The Strong Story

    August 6th 2016 "Wibowo, I need the run down, what formation do we play, who is usually good, that stuff" I plea with him in my new office bedroom. "Don't you have coaches for that" Wibowo asked, trying to hide his excitement that I put my trust in him already. "None of them speak English and those that do are not as good as you are" I replied. "Well, we're semi professional so most of us are not on contracts and we play to either get a contract or go to a team that will give us one." "So who's on a contract" "No one" Wibowo answered, I tried to let the shock not show on my face. "Ok so who's the best that we need to give one to" I asked "Well we usually play in a 4-3-3 with 3 strikers and one defensive midfielder. I'll right down who should probably be in the lineup" GK- Indra Jaya (player/goalkeeping coach) RB- Yogi Mardana CB- Yoga Pratama CB- Inggit Prayitno LB- Rizkiloh Adi Pratama DM- Faisol Arief M- Muhammad Hambali M- Otot Herman RS- Anugrah Setia Aji CS- Anggi Prabowo LS- Singgih Prasetyo Wibowo "Thanks Wibowo, I'll watch practice today and consider what you gave me" I say taking his paper. Wibowo walks out and I look at the paper again. I notice Wibowo put himself on as the left striker, he only made one appearance as a substitute and failed to impress, but then again no one did. Maybe I'll let him out, but I doubt we will play this formation, the team looked abysmal defending in the game I watched and I want to get simpler. I respect his ambition though. I go out to watch the team practice and I'm not happy what I see. They don't look good. I start to dread the match we have away tomorrow against PSBI. ----------------------------------------------- September 2nd 2016 "I would like to display our new signing to the fans and the club. Ridwan Awaludin is a player that I believe can help this team push further up away from the relegation zone into the mid pack. He is an excellent midfielder and has convinced me with his skills and words to offer him a contract." I look around and there is no applause or even acceptance of this man. Wibowo walks up to me looking very concerned. "You know this man can't play" Wibowo said awkwardly "What do you mean" I snap back, confused and angry about what is going on. "He has a suspension until the end of 2034 in this division" Wibowo says, "I hope you didn't waste your money" I walk back to my office, upset and broken. Everything had been going so well. How did I miss this. We had won two and lost one last month, a respectable start to avoiding relegation. I decided to play a 4-4-2 and rotate players around who didn't do well the last game until I could find the best first team, I also decided to bolster the team through free transfers but that didn't work so far. I also gave Wibowo a few chances but he hasn't impressed off the bench so far. Away at PSBI was a tough one, for them. With 200 fans watching the game (none of them ours) we ran to victory in my first match as a senior manager. The stadium went completely silent every time we scored. It was one of the most sublime experiences, scoring and being able to hear a pin drop. We went up early by scoring in the 10th minute. Ngurah Hidayat scored a lazy dribbler that the goal keeper should have got but failed to and it stayed like that until half time. Then right after the whistle PSBI equalized in the 50th minute because of a mistake by our keeper Jaya. I decide right then that if I make it through the year Jaya is out and into the back office. Thankfully our lads came alive after that as Muhammad Hambali came up good from midfield in the 59th, Anggi Prabowo put a screamer past in the 66th, and our substitute Fendri Maryono scored a penalty in the 77th. We won 1-4 and the entire bus ride back was incredible. The singing never stopped. Then we stayed at home to bottom of the table Yahukimo FC. We lost. My first lost as a manager was not as exciting as the win. Yahukimo scored first with a near post rifle from Musa Ambolon in the 38th and an outside of the box chip from sugito in the 57th. I started yelling at the players, desperately trying to get a response. It came in the form of Anggi Prabowo who scored a brace with a shot in the 72nd and 81st. I sat there sweating for the next 8 minutes praying for a draw. Then it happened, Indra Jaya pushed a ball into our own goal in the 89th. I was furious, our goalkeeping coach doesn't even know the fundamentals of his position. I was about to fire him from coaching because I didn't want the youngsters learning that. To end off the month we went away to PSBK, a team I was sure we were even with. I was right. It was 0-0 for almost the entire game, both sides had shot but neither team dominated. I was excited about getting my first draw as a coach but then Anggi Prabowo played a header off an angelic cross and scored in the 85th. It may have been lucky but when the game ended 1-0 I decided that I was happy with not having my first draw, Anggi Prabowo was a God, and home field advantage was ****. However after all that I couldn't even sign a player. I sit in my office alone and prepare for our next match. Madiun Putra at home. Why did it have to be at home. -----------------------------------------------
  13. [FM17] The Strong Story

    ------------------------------------------------------------------- February 23rd 2016 Mr. Cole Strong, I would like to inform you of your acceptance to the University's Indonesian Service opportunity. As you already know this is a month long trip where you will build wells, irrigation lines, and help the local people in any way required. Your service will be in the morning and in the afternoon you are free to explore the country in anyway you please. We only ask you inform the student leaders of your departure and where you will be going. We will be going to just outside of Purbalingga, Central Java and will be taking trips into the city occasionally . Further information will be given in upcoming emails. Congratulations I look up from my laptop and realize my professor asked someone in the crowd a question. My only thought is I hope it's not me, until I see a man in the front row answer. Remembering I was no longer in high school and I won't get called on if I don't want to I return to looking at my laptop. I hit forward and off it goes to my parents, looking down at my watch it says 10:45, only 5 more minutes of Calc III. I look at the board. How am I ever going to finish my engineering degree if I can't even understand Calc I let alone pass Calc III. Well that's a question for another day. At least the professor just let us go. A whole 4 minutes early. While packing my laptop up I get a text. "So happy right now!!!!". It's my mom, she texted me a minute after I forwarded her the email, doesn't she have anything better to do than sit around looking at email. I text back "Me too!!!!!" "Hey, bro." I look up seeing it's my freshman year roommate Alec. We went to the same high school and came to College together. We also both applied to the Indonesian trip. "I got in what about you" says Alec "Yeah, were going to screw some stuff up in Indonesia. It's going to be lit" I chuckle. "They said we get afternoons off so we need to see what's in Central... ugh what was it" "Java" Alec says "Yeah, there. We need to see the best stuff to do, well I see you later I have to go to my next Class" ------------------------------------------------------------------- July 25th 2016 "I can't believe we came a week early just to climb a mountain" I said. We were standing on top of Mount Slamet, which also is a volcano. The view was breathtaking, you could see for miles at 11,000ft. The place was surreal. "Well it was the only thing I actually wanted to do once we looked this place up, everything else seemed lame. Also we don't speak the language so how was I supposed to understand the website" said Alec with a laugh "I can't believe you talked me into this, I could have died, this is crazy bro" I said as I went for my phone to take pictures. It's not everyday you climb a mountain volcano with your boys. "This is going to kill on Instagram, no one will believe this. What's the caption?" I asked "If I can climb this I can do anything" Alec said "Yeah...That sucks bro, we will think of something later" I chuckle and start the descent ------------------------------------------------------------------- August 2nd 2016 "Hey guys, everyone is going into town to find a bar if you want to come" said Ian, one of the student leaders. Alec and I instantly agreed, as a 20 year old I couldn't legally drink in the USA and I wasn't totally sure if I could drink legally but we had been drinking in public all week and no one stopped us. They also never carded. The only problem was everything to drink was so expensive. When we arrived at a bar/restaurant I sat next to an young man, about my age. He looked up and said "English or American" "American" I replied as the bartender gave me a beer. "Why are you here" "We're on a trip to volunteer" I said "what's your name sir" "The name is Singgih Prasetyo Wibowo I play, well I am on the team for.... as you call soccer at Goentoer Darjono Stadium, for Persibangga, and have a job at the farm a mile away, I believe your group helped us with irrigation earlier" He replied "I didn't help with irrigation today so not me but maybe our group did, you play soccer, when is your next game, I would love to watch a game while I'm here" I said "I watch soccer all the time and volunteer as a coach for a youth team back home" "You're a manager" Wibowo asked excitedly. Before he let me reply saying not exactly he said "we need a manager, there is money and we will give you a job interview if you want it" "I'll just watch a game first" I said "Deal" Wibowo said as he got up and walked away "I can get you fine chairs, and come early" "What was that about" asked Alec as he walked up to take Wibowo's seat. "I think I have plans for tomorrow night" I replied ------------------------------------------------------------------- August 3rd 2016 Alec and I walk up to the stadium, which is not that bad. It holds 20,000 people and seats 5,000. The training grounds look abysmal though. Out of the corner of my eye I see the man from the bar running up waiving his arms "Over here American, Welcome, Welcome." Wibowo says shaking our hands. " I asked for you to be here early to meet the team and to give you front row seats to our cup game" "It's a cup game, that's brilliant, I guess let's meet the boys" I say. Wibowo looks at me confused "They are all older than you or the same age sir" Wibowo says, obviously confused by my American Slang. He takes me out to the yard where I meet all of the team. The greeting and formalities all remind me of rushing freshman year, without the hazing. In total the team is well spread out in depth per position and they look decent, or I assume so, in a second league semi professional way. After practicing with the lads Wibowo takes us to our seats. "We are about half way through the season and I haven't played a game yet but wish me luck" Wibowo says as he leaves us. The whistle blows and I look all around. There are about 70 people here. I take a note that my former high school sporting events were more popular than this cup game and my College events definitely are. "Look" says Alec, "Wibowo is being subbed on, we're witnessing his senior debut, maybe we're good luck" We weren't, when it was all said and done Persibangga got destroyed by PSKS. 0-3 at home. Once I met with chairman afterward I started telling him how to solve some of the problems that he had and he offered me a job on the spot. I guess I left a good first impression ------------------------------------------------------------------- August 4th 2016 "Mom I got a job offer... What do you mean, a soccer team offered me a job as manager... $1,000 US... Here that goes a long way... No I haven't said anything... They don't care that I don't know the language... I can always go back to college, I'm young, these are the things people do while they can... I don't even think I'm going to pass that electrical engineering degree... I know I can easily make six figures if I do... Ok Mom love you" "What did she say" asked Alec "She's not happy about it" I answered "But I know I can make her understand" "So what are you going to do" Alec replied "Take it" --------------------------------------------------------------- August 5th 2016 "We will let you sleep in your office and Wibowo said he will talk to the farm manager about getting you a job" Said The Chairman "All you have to do is avoid relegation" "Ok then it's a deal" I said, "I'm now a football manager for Persibangga." -------------------------------------------------------------------
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