easternhawk2

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About easternhawk2

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    Amateur

Favourite Team

  • Favourite Team
    Havant & Waterlooville

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    The Posh
  1. First off either Peterborough or Man Utd, then once the editor forum starts to fill up and a lower league file is available, I'll hop to Havant and Waterlooville who now reside in the Isthmian league. After that who knows.
  2. RE "Hey, do you know whats happened to the girls at the nursery? I've just been told I need to get there as soon as I can but I've been told nothing else by the staff." CE "It's 5AM, hun. Sorry I don't, they've not sent me anything just yet. Can you let me know whats going on once you get there?" At this moment in time I was doing nothing to dispel the opinion that professional footballers aren't the sharpest tools in the box. Chelsea was over in America for work and that I meant I was the primary carer whilst she's away. If ever there was a time for her to be in the UK this I'd say was definitely it. Or for her to give birth to our next child who's not too far away from coming out either. Long story short, she needed to be here with me and the kids but her dulcet tones has meant that she's over making use of them in not only a different country but a different continent. It was a 10 minute drive to get to the nursery from the training ground, which gave me 10 minutes to be worrying about what had happened to either Katie or Amelia with little else to distract me other than Jess Glynne being played on Radio 1. Hold my hand the song in question which I find quite catchy and bop my head along to sometimes, hoping that I don't get caught doing so by anyone that can see me, whether someone else in the offices or the driver in the car alongside me on the road. I soon arrived at the school the nursery is based at and walked into the reception area where I was greeted by one of the staff with a smile. She can't have been long out of education herself, perhaps 21 or 22 at most, but despite potentially having some bad news to share with me she was rather positive which is something that anyone would notice. JA "Hi Ryan, I'm Jade, one of the nursery nurses here today." She offered her hand out to shake mine. RE "Nice to meet you to. What've I been asked to come in for, has something bad happened to Katie or Amelia?" JA "Unfortunately Amelia has been complaining of a sore stomach all morning and has just been sick before we rang you. She's just been sick again a few minutes ago too as well. Katie hasn't been sick but is quite distressed at seeing her sister being ill in this way so they're both off with other members of staff being looked after and cheered up." RE "So what should I do right now?" JA "Well I'm no medical nurse or anything like that so I'd just recommend taking at least Amelia home, if not Katie as well to see if it settles down over the next 24 hours. If it doesn't there'll be medical professionals who can help you with where you should go from there. But yeah take the girls home and let Amelia rest up." RE "Okay thank you. Can I go and see the girls quickly then we'll get going off home." JA "Of course, just this way." I was led through the playground where the rest of the children were outside playing in the sun through to the actual building where Katie was sat in one corner with a nursery nurse and some toys, whilst Amelia was in the opposite corner looking rather under the weather. Katie was the first to notice me and came running up to me, shouting 'Daddy' and swinging her arms up in the air as she arrived, her go to move when she wanted picking up off the floor into my arms, and I was happy to oblige. Amelia however was less responsive, she stayed almost perfectly still despite all that was going with me and Katie just a few metres away. I left Katie with Jade to start putting her shoes back on whilst I went over to Amelia. I picked her up but was almost immediately met by tears flowing from her eyes, holding as close as humanly possible whilst Katie slowly came over with her bag on her back. See grabbed my spare hand after flinging Amelia's bag over my shoulder and we walked back out to my car for the ride home.
  3. Today marked my next meeting with my backroom team to go through numerous topics on our agenda. This was including a wide variety of topics, ranging from our game on Saturday against Oldham, our game on Saturday against Dagenham and changes to the training schedule. A further key talking point is our plan for the playing squad next season, with players out of contract soon who we need to either offer new deals to or tell players that come the 1st of July, they'll have no part to play at the club, as well as looking at players at other clubs we could target to add to our ranks. TM (Scout Tommy Mooney) "Dagenham played fairly well last time out. They like to keep the ball amongst their defenders quite a lot but without really pressing forward and putting the opposition under pressure. A lot of the time their midfield just gets bypassed though, the ball just going over the top to their strikers to either run onto or hold up for others. Normally in a 4-4-2 formation, they go for a little and large striker who are responsible for either holding up or running onto the ball. Jamie Cureton is one you've probably all heard off, he's normally holding the ball up slightly more but that doesn't mean he can't be ignored at other points, he's fairly clinical in the penalty area." RE "What about that Jones lad, Jodi I think his first name is?" TM "He's the other half of their front two. Very fast lad and is quite capable on the ball. He'll normally be running onto any balls that are played over the top but he is also quite adept at dropping off towards the midfield a little also to collect the ball and drive forwards towards the defenders. Also fairly likely to create something out of nothing, if I had to rate his flair out of 20 he'd easily be a 16, if not higher. Technically, probably his dribbling or kicking technique are his strong points. Ash Hemmings on their wings is also one to look out for, also quite a fast lad and is particularly tricky to deal with. Exceptional dribbling and also quite good at crossing in to the middle. Nyron Nosworthy helps keep their defence in line, but he's not the fastest and we can definitely exploit that on him." I'll skip the part where we went over our previous game against Carlisle. Not much was really to be said about it, just watching the 'highlights' of the game, not that when you lose the game you can call it highlights. We moved on swiftly to plans about next season with the playing staff being the main focus of our attention. Big decisions had to be made about what our plans were whichever level we found ourselves in and I wanted to start this all off sooner rather than later. Just as we began however, I received a phone call asking me to rush to the local hospital, something had happened at the nursery.
  4. Today's game was very much my hardest task as a manager. The majority of the games so far have been against clubs competing at the top of the table and very much with their final fate still to be decided, as such these games were by no means easy matches for 24th out of 24 Crawley Town. Today we placed host to yet another team with things still to play for, second placed Carlisle United, who still had a slim chance of finishing top of the table but also with a chance of slipping down to the play off places. Yet another team who who had to take the game seriously and weren't already thinking of their holidays to the Caribbean that would be taking place in just two or three weeks. The positions in the table would very much suggest that the game was going to be very difficult, never mind upon further inspecting some of the finer details. An example being that the club are not only top scorers in League 2, but in the whole of the Football League. You'd have to drop down to the Southern League Premier to find a side who has scored more than them. Inspection number two also informed me that the team has the second best defence in the league but only by a matter of three goals, again a further challenge for our somewhat low scoring attack to get past. The third was closely linked to the second, Carlisle have the most clean sheets in the league. To counter this, throughout the past 43 games we've fired the most blanks in the league this season. I won't bore you with the rest, but we're up against it. Think about being in a boat that more resembles a large sieve, in a storm and without any paddles to propel you forward. Don't forget you can't swim and don't have a life jacket. Jimmy Smith had his ban extended for an extra 2 matches following his recent red card, meaning he would miss this afternoon's fixture and in the relegation clash against Dagenham and Redbridge next week. Callum Preston continued in goal, whilst it was up to Bawling, Yorweth, Bradley and Liddle as the main men to protect him. Gwion Edwards and Roarie Deacon continued on the right and left wings respectively, flanking myself and Si Walton who occupied the middle. Lee Barnard was partnered in attack by Darren McQueen. News broke to us after 6 minutes that there had been some development in the game between next weeks opponents Dagenham and their opponents today Plymouth Argyle. Jodi Jones, hotly tipped to win an ward for youth in the Football League, opened up the scoring to give Dagenham the lead after 5 minutes. A minute later however Daniel Nardiello's strike was made known to us as he'd just equalised. It took 21 minutes for anything of real note to happen in our game, that being the somewhat unsurprising news that Carlisle had taken the lead. Asamoah collected the ball just inside our half but disappointingly found himself in plenty of space. Jabo Ibehre made a run towards our goal that Asamoah spotted and passed to him expertly. He powered his shot home past Preston to increase their goal tally for the season once again. I was disgusted at our defence and my counterparts in midfield at the complete lack of positional sense that we found ourselves in, with far too much time afforded to Asamoah to do his thing. The 41st minute brought about two items of note. The first being Nardiello scoring again to put Plymouth 2-1 up in London. The second being Ibehre scoring again. Balanta played a great lobbed through pass to Gillead who had run in behind our defence. Preston came running out to close him down, before Gillead softly rolled the ball across the goal where Ibehre passed into the empty net to double his tally for the afternoon. My complaint this time was that I didn't clatter Balanta when I had the chance just before he played in Gillead. Half time soon followed where the riot act was read to them and I broke a fridge door off, meaning our energy drinks for after the game probably won't be chilled. After the 53rd minute we further compounded our misery as we went 3-nil down. Yorweth fouled Joyce on the edge of the area which gave Grainger a chance from the dead ball situation. The drove the ball in low at around knee level, where it Yorweth on the edge of the wall on his right knee. The ball rolled out to Balanta whose driven shot was well saved by Preston but Ibehre was again on hand to score his third goal. Unlucky for Preston but that's just the way the cookie has crumbled on all too many occasions this season. These were followed up by McQueen and Liddle being replaced by Fenelon and Wyatt in straight substitutions. It was Fenelon who had a part to play in the 58th minute where our first goal of the day arrived. Bradley played a long ball up to Barnard who held the ball up well despite challenge from the centre back marking him. Fenelon collected the ball from Barnard and ran forwards towards the goal. He however got tackled well by the other centre back but the ball rolled out to Deacon on the left. Roarie then lofted the ball across the box to the onrushing Edwards who volleyed home with no challenge. 10 minutes later though and a 3 goal lead was once again established by the Cumbrian outfit. Bradley this time took his turn to commit a foul on the edge of our penalty area, this time Ibehre being the man on the receiving end of a strong tackle. Grainger again stood up to the task, this time opting for a more airborne shot. Again driven, this time the ball arrowed towards the top left corner of the goal. The ball swerved a fair bit and this caught Preston out as the ball beat him into the back of the net. Their joy was short lived however. Straight from the kick we launched a counter attack down our right hand side with Bawling and Edwards combining. It was Edwards who got the assist for the goal, a strong dribble took him past Grainger at left back and crossed in to the middle. Fenelon beat his marker to the ball and scuffed the ball home from 3 yards out to give us another chance of a comeback. Just 3 minutes later and we clawed another goal to make it 4-3 to the visitors. I collected the ball in midfield and saw the run of Barnard who had set off behind the defence on our right hand side. His first touch my my lofted pass took him wider than hoped and allowed Grainger to make up a bit of ground on him. Lee then crossed in towards the back post where Fenelon was running in. He rose highest to head home via the underside of the crossbar. We were within touching distance of an equaliser and the momentum of the match was very much in our favour. Momentum and luck however were not on our side in the 76th minute, just 4 minutes later. Our penalty area very much resembled a pinball machine with the ball cannoning off a good four or five players before it got loose out to the sides. Asamoah however was the lucky gentleman to have the ball fall to him and he coolly passed into the area again where Hery had found space. His first time shot from just next to the penalty spot beat Preston in goal to establish a 2 goal lead for Carlisle that made our job just that extra bit harder. Soon after this Rooney replaced Deacon on the wing. In the 50th second of the minimum of 60 seconds of injury time we had another chance fall our way. Barnard played Fenelon through on goal but his shot went just over the crossbar in yet another clear chance for us to score, but to no avail. The ball made its way back from the fans and onto the pitch as the clocked ticked into its 91st minute. The ball was kicked from the goal kick just before the referee blew to bring the proceedings to a close. I shook hands with my opposite number before returning to the dressing room immediately and as such I'd have to wait until my Monday to get the overall consensus of the fans feelings about the game, but they were probably quite guessable. Rather disappointed at our lack of clinical finishing and general haphazard style to playing Football. All of this despite playing second in the league and being the first to score 3 goals against them all season. At around half 5 that afternoon the news broke that fellow relegation rivals had sacked their manager Warren Feeney, with one the club coaches stepping up to the head honcho role for the final two games of the season. The first question in my press conference focused on this news. DA "Ryan, Newport have sacked their manager Warren Feeney in the past few minutes. What do you have to say about this?" RE "No manager likes to see others lose their jobs and I feel for Warren at this time. But the board at Newport feel it is the right thing to do for the club at this moment in time." DA "How will it affect Crawley as a club, with Newport also fighting for their lives but now being without a manager to guide them through the next couple of season defining games?" RE "All we will do is focus on our games and our games alone. We can't control what happens over in Wales, but we can control what happens here in Crawley, so that's what we're going to do. KJ "Today marked your first defeat as a manager, how does that feel?" RE "Obviously I would have liked to have won today, that goes without saying. Carlisle are a very strong side though and the league table shows that. Teams that are second place with two games to go are going to be good sides and as such we need to bear that in mind. We were the first side to score 3 goals against them this season which is a positive and something to give us hope. There were lots of positives in our game today that we can take on into future matches. We just need to be more clinical with the chances that we get and if that had happened throughout the season, we wouldn't be in this position that we're in now." KJ "You spoke there about missing chances. Is there anything that you put that down to?" RE "Not easily I don't think so. It's not down to a lack of experience and not down to older players being past it. Maybe goalkeepers playing well in a game against but in all honesty it's a whole combination of reasons for us to not be doing so well this season. Putting all the blame on a select few players won't be of any help at all and would in my opinion only further compound our misery rather than to improve our scenario."
  5. Sorry for the long gap, next post up next week due to Uni exam this week!
  6. Despite not really having much an impact on the overall performance of the team throughout the season, a fans forum was called for by the Crawley Town Supporters Club and my presence was requested at the event. Whilst I thought there was little use to me being there, with my presence at the club barely lasting a month so far I felt there was little input I could make into why we are in our current position, I decided I would go, just to keep the supporters club happy more than anything. We need the supporters behind us now more than ever and we'll sure need them next season, whichever level of the pyramid we find ourselves playing in. I arrived at the ground around half an hour before the event started and the first person to greet me was Sam Thornhill, the official spokesperson for all the fans at the club. He has a role within the board of directors, although I don't think he is really likely the person to be handing me my P45 should it ever get to that. Despite, he is worth keeping onside, with an influence on both the board and with the fans he is one of the most important people at the club for me to be in good contact with, an eyes and ears for me within multiple stakeholders that I need to please for me to keep my job. After a brief discussion with Sam, I bumped into Michael Dunford who had been sent by the board to be their representative at the forum to get the views of the board on the season so far. They've kept themselves quiet throughout the season, with any news on their views being aired on the day of both sackings and the hiring of each replacement. Even on these occasions, they were quiet with little coming from them on what there thoughts were other than that they have either felt a change in manager was required to improve the results or that they have faith in the new manager to help improve the teams results depending on which situation we are talking about. This is perhaps one of the reasons the fans are unhappy, the club haven't exactly been outspoken with their feelings about the way the season has been handled so far and fans feel that something is going behind the scenes that they aren't being told the 100% truth about. Rightfully annoyed if I were in their position where they don't know what the club is planning on doing one bit. MD "Ryan, how's things?" RE "Things are good. How's Mr D.?" MD "Mr Dunford is good. I'll chat to you afterwards, I've got something else I need to be getting on with." Not long after, Sam came to find me to ask me to get ready to take my seat. We stood in a corridor within the ground, whilst the room on the other side of the wall was full of noise. Over 600 fans had given up their evenings to come and get answers to some of their questions. I'd been warned to expect questions on all sorts of different areas of the club, never mind just the playing squad and our season as a whole, of which I've been responsible for 3 games. As such, some questions would be much harder to answer than others, especially if Michael left me to answer the question myself, something I was hoping and praying wouldn't happen. One thing I had decided to do however, was avoid dragging the names of former managers into it all, out of respect for them and their attempts this season, no matter how good or bad they performed whilst at the helm, I think it's unfair to single either of them out for any criticism about the season, instead focusing on the last few game to save the season. ST "Right gents, time to go. I'll introduce you both and then open up to the floor to ask any questions from those present, as well as questions sent in on social media." ST "Ladies and Gentleman, please welcome to the stage our First Team Manager Ryan Evans and Club Managing Director Michael Dunford" There was a sort of muted applause as we walked in through the door to the room, Michael in a shirt whilst I had gone all out and was wearing one of the better suits I could get my hands on when leaving the house this morning. ST "So the first question here is from John" J "Perhaps more towards Michael, but why was Ryan selected for the job? Rumours of over 70 applicants and some big names on the list. Surely we need someone of experience for this sort of mess, and quite frankly I don't think Ryan is necessarily up to the job." MD "Ryan is someone who has the potential to grow into the role and as a manager. He was playing top level football not that long ago and is someone that we can trust to do the right thing. He was also cheap and didn't require any sort of compensation, something that can't be said for all applicants. Whether you like it or not, he's here for the next 3 games and quite possibly longer." ST "Next question is from Facebook from Louise, what are your plans for next season?" RE "Promotion, whichever League we're in. What point is there in settling for a mid table finish? If you feel confident you can avoid relegation then in my mind you should be aiming to get promoted, whether automatically or winning the play offs. That goes for either League 2 or National League. ST "Here's Dan for the next question." D "Can you pinpoint what exactly has gone wrong this season and for it to be such a disaster?". At this point I realised I had to face one of those awkward questions alone, Michael just looked at me as if to say it wasn't his problem to sort out. RE "It's hard to put a finger on it. We've just been unfortunate with the way things have gone this season." D "What about the past managers, surely you've got something to say about them and the s__t they've left you in?" Dan had raised his voice getting this question across, the people in front of him jumped a little as his voice boomed out, to the point that he got his point across clearly without the need for Sam and his microphone. RE "One thing I refuse to do is dirty the names of other managers, whether those who've gone before me or who I will face in my career. If you want me to make a comment on the previous managers then Dan, I'm afraid to say that you're out of luck because it's definitely not going to happen. Next question please." D "You don't decide when the next question comes. I don't think you're up to the job and this is just proving my point. Explain the season to me, you've surely got stuff you want to say and get off your choice?" His voice again further raised and droplets of saliva sprayed from his mouth. RE "As already said, it's been a combination of things that have led to the club ending up in this position, and I'm not going to single anyone out for any criticism about the club, whether managers or players. " ST "Moving on, this one again from Facebook, specifically Red Devils 1896. How will the changes in staff help you moving forward?" RE "The new members of staff with an exception to Anthony are experienced in their fields of expertise, whether it be goalkeeping, general football or strength & conditioning. We need the players to be the best that they can be when it comes round to a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday evening and the coaching and sport science staff that I have hired to work alongside are all people that I feel will help us to achieve this and to a good standard also. I've got no criticism of any of the old staff, I'd just prefer to have some fresh faces in that I've hand picked. I wish nothing but the best for all the members of staff that have just recently left the club in all of their future endeavours, whatever they may be." ST "What impact will the changes have on the continuity at the club then?" MD "We're trusting Ryan to do what he feels is the right decision to make with regards to the players and his support staff. He's got a budget to work under, which he is doing so, to help the club achieve our aims. Ultimately, if things start to go wrong though, the buck stops with Ryan and he'll have to face the music so to speak about what's happening. He feels that the new staff hes brought in will be more effective when achieving our goals and as such we're happy to let him continue." ST "Next question from Dexter." D "Have you got any ideas on players for next season yet?" RE "Yes, absolutely. A lot of it will depend on what league we're in, as some players currently here might want to stay in the Football League and if that is their wish then I'm not going to stand in their way. A proper and more final assessment will be made once the season is finished but there is conversations already happening with players who have been made available that I feel will add to our squad whether we're a League 2 side or a National League side next year. Those identities however will remain secret until the day that any deals are announced for obvious reasons. ST "Our final question for this evening is from Alan." A "Quite notably we have no youth system at the club, is this likely to change any time soon?" RE "That is something I have spoken with the coaches and with the board about, so it's a work in progress. In my opinion, having a youth system would be of great benefit to the club, as it brings a steady stream of players that hopefully will grow into the first team squad and compete for places in the starting eleven, with the potential to perhaps even outgrow the club. There will of course be a cost to running the system but I feel the benefits of having one will far out way any costs that we're likely to incur from setting it up." ST "Ladies and gentleman thank you all for coming along this evening and for your support throughout the season. Hopefully we'll see you all again at some point this season if not next. On behalf of Michael, Ryan and the rest of the club, thank you and goodnight." Michael and I stood up to some applause from the fans before walking back out through the door behind us. Michael made a very swift exit, walking back down the corridor towards the exit whilst I awaited Sam to return back through the door to say our goodbyes. ST "How did you feel it went?" RE "All things considered, it went well. It could've been a lot lot worse that's for sure, so in my eyes it's been a successful evening." ST "Thats what I like to hear. I'll provide you feedback on the event tomorrow hopefully but if not I'll catch you on Saturday, good luck with the final prep work." RE "Cheers mate!" We shook hands before I went back to my office to collect my bag and leave for home. It was now nearly 10PM so I was desperate to get home. Upon returning to the room, I walked through the door and immediately stood on an envelope that had been pushed underneath whilst I was out. It had Ryan written on it in blue ink in quite a scruffy style, barely readable to most people. I opened it up to find a note folded up inside. You better damn well get us out of this mess Evans. It would be such a shame if something were to happen at pre-school in a few weeks time, young Amelia and Katie are two little sweethearts so I'm told and we wouldn't want anything happening to them would we now? You've got your instructions on what to do. Just know I don't like threatening or hurting people but needs must I suppose, be such a shame if I did have to cause some harm. See you around Xx
  7. Cheers ten-3 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A short two day break before our next game, a trip north to Sixfields stadium, the home of Northampton Town. By all accounts this game was probably one of the easiest when I took over. Northampton are in 12th place and are well out of reach of both the play-off places and the relegation trapdoor we found ourselves on top of, so there players were without any real need to put gusto into their performance. Quite remarkably and very annoyingly, in our two light sessions between games we still managed to pick up injuries to the team. Not just a bruise to the shin or a sprained wrist, but a dislocated shoulder. Flying full back Lanre Oyebanjo was the unlucky man who would now be spending the rest of his season and start of summer in the the first aid room with Paul Turner. A bitter blow to both Lanre and the team, a key figure who I was expecting big performances from down our right hand side which played host to two of not only our players, but League 2 as a whole. Further team news of sorts also developed over the two days and again it featured our right hand side. Despite assurances from Gwion Edwards himself a week before that he would be staying with the club next season, his agent came in to see me on the Sunday to make me aware that Gwion now wants to leave the club. The ink on his new contract had just dried however, so we would require a fee for him to leave us, if he even did. This gave me two headaches, one being our best player in all likelihood won't be here next season. The second being that my best player doesn't want to fight next season, so what about this. Play him and hope that he does pull through, or drop him from the team and stick with players who actually want to be here. With the game though, as previously mentioned were playing 12th placed Northampton, who have won 2 and lost 3 of their past 5 games, very much a record of a team stuck in mid table. Their point tally is 2 points closer to the play off places than it is the relegation zone, having little meaning to the way I set the team up. One man to be wary of however was left back David Buchanan. He's almost nailed on to be part of the Team of the Year and is thought to be a good bet for the Player of the Year award too, despite being a full back for a team destined for mediocrity this season. A strong player too good for his team or his team mates under-performing this season was something for other people to ponder if they liked. The press conference was rather short today. I was happy with the performance against AFC Wimbledon, there might be some rotation, Lanre dislocated his shoulder and David Buchanan is a decent left back for League 2. I don't I actually said all that much more in the conference than that. I don't know whether to even call if a conference, it was with just one person sent here by the BBC to cover the game. The line up was as follows: Preston; Bawling, McNerney, Ashton, Wyatt; Edwards, Jenkins, Walton, Deacon; Fenelon, Tomlin After less than a minute we had already had a great chance to go a goal up. Fenelon found space on our left hand side and crossed the ball in towards Tomlin but it was headed clear by Buchanan. Running onto the ball as it dropped was Edwards who without changing his stride hit the ball sweetly with his right foot. The ball went like a missile towards the goal and it looked like it had Smith in the goal well beaten. It did in fact leave Smith well beaten and with little chance of getting anywhere near to the ball, however the goal frame was not to be beaten. The ball cannoned off of the crossbar and over for a goal kick. Talk about an anti-climax. A quarter of an hour later and Nortampton took their turn to hit the woodwork. Brendan Moloney advanced down the right hand side before swinging in a cross towards the back post. Bawling rose to try and head clear but Ricky Holmes comfortably beat him in the air. Holmes met the ball with his head and sent the ball goalbounds, leaving Preston to try to dive back across the goal to get his hands to it. He failed but fortunately the woodwork saved the day, the ball hitting the post and going out for a goal kick. Another quarter of an hour later, a bit of a theme developing here, we took the lead. It started off with McNerney being booked for a foul on James Collins . The free kick was floated in but Walton volleyed the ball clear and went just ahead of Tomlin. He took a touch before playing the ball towards the centre into the path of Fenelon. He collected the ball, composed himself and placed his shot home in the near post. 7 minutes later in the 39th minute and we managed to double our lead. Edwards switched the play over to Deacon on the left hand side, whose touch set him up well to take on Moloney. He beat him with a couple of stepovers and made an advance on Smith in the goal. Roarie's initial shot was well saved by the wrist of Smith but the ball fell back to Roarie who was able to pass the ball into the now empty net, much to the delight of everyone associated with the team. The two goal lead didn't last for very long however, just 1 minute and 41 seconds from the ball crossing the Northampton line had the ball been put across ours. Danny Rose, Holmes and Collins all partook in some neat interplay on the left hand side, with Buchanan eventually making an overlap into space. Rose spotted the run and played the ball over the top of our defence into a gap that was there to be exploited by Buchanan. He took a touch to set himself, before crossing in to back post. Nicky Adams ran in from the right wing and rose higher than a feeble attempt by Walton to get his head on the ball. Adams' header went in the top corner with Preston just out of reach. Half time soon followed and the instructions were clear, to keep tight in defence and not let the lead slip. Not much happened until the 73rd minute, and even then it was only a substitution. Gavin Tomlin came off to be replaced by Darren McQueen in straight swap. Probably not the most common change to make when leading 2-1 and wanting to consolidate and keep hold of our lead, but Northampton were getting too much time and space on the ball, with McQueen being the person I felt being the man to do this. This didn't last however, with a Northampton equaliser coming in the 81st minute. Walton took a deep free kick but it was comfortably cleared by a defender. The ball went to Adams who had space to exploit and comfortably beat Wyatt on our left hand side. He was then left with a clear route to goal and leaving Bawling with a decision to make, close down Adams or stay towards the centre with Holmes. He opted to go over to Adams and hope that Walton would be able to get across and back to Holmes in time to nullify the impending danger to our goal. This didn't work however, just as Bawling got over to Adams they'd reached just outside the area, with Adams drilling the ball low to Holmes who curled hit shot into the corner of the goal. Northampton continued to knock on our door for the rest of the match and in all honesty, we did well so survive the last 9 minutes and injury time. Upon our return I very much read the team the riot act, they'd let a 2 goal lead slip and that could quite easily have ended with us leaving Sixfields with no points at all, never mind the one we have got ourselves. Slip ups like this had been costing the team all season and even at this crunch point where our Football League status is on the line the same mistakes are still being made. Dagenham like ourselves managed to beat AFC Wimbledon which put them into 22nd place with 34 points from 43 games, whilst Newport County stayed ahead of us by virtue of goal difference, having 33 points from 43 games. Preparations now began for the game against Carlisle coming up, probably my toughest test as a manager so far.
  8. A week from my first game in charge against Oxford, we made the journey to the Kingsmeadow Stadium, home of Isthmian Premier Side Kingstonian, but also shared with AFC Wimbledon, who were a facing in the Sky Bet League 2 fixture. 14 years ago Wimbledon FC were granted permission by the F.A. to relocate themselves to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire and as a result, AFC Wimbledon were founded by Kris Stewart as a protest to the move going ahead, with many Wimbledon fans finding a new team to support following the move, many of whom deciding that AFCW would be their preferred choice. Such was the almost immediate popularity of the club, 230 players turned up for trials to be part of the new team within a month of the initial announcement of the club being founded, a fine feat by any standard of club that should be applauded. Success has been in the clubs veins most of the time since then, such as their promotion into the Football League via the Conference play-offs in 2010-2011 being their fifth in nine years. Another record also being the first club formed in the 21st Century to compete in the Football League, something else to add to the growing record book. Back in the present however, AFCW are sitting in 6t place in the League Table, 6 points clear of 8th place who are chasing them from just outside the play offs. 3 wins and 2 losses in their last five could suggest a little inconsistency, but by all accounts we've been consistent all season, just a shame the word rubbish should also be added in to that sentence somewhere. Still, we had little time to preserve our Football League status so as far as I was concerned the previous games under both former managers were in the past now and all that we could do was to focus on our games, ignore the other 22 clubs in the league and give our all to the cause. I was met at half 11 by BBC Sussex reporter Andrew Wilkinson, who had opted to cover our game against 'The Don's' rather than his usual role reporting on Brighton and Hove Albion in the Championship. AW "Hi Ryan, nice to catch up with you again. Obviously last week our drew your first game in the hotseat against Oxford, where a more methodical approach was adopted by the team. Are we likely to see a similar sort of thing again this week or are you a chop and change manager?" RE "Hi Andrew, I'm very much looking for us to adopt a similar sort of style. Wimbledon are a different side to Oxford of course so we need to be wary of that, but in my opinion that's more of a defensive mentality that wold require changing from the Oxford game. On the ball, we're going to be very much the same, keeping hold of the ball and trying to find a gap for us to exploit. At this point of the season in the position we're in, completing changing our style week in week out isn't going to do anyone any favours whatsoever except our rivals, so we're sticking to our guns. AW "Callum Preston has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism from your own fans recently and Neal Ardley has singled him as a 'weak link' in the Crawley side, how does Callum feel and what do you have to say about this?" RE "Obviously Neal is more than entitled to his opinions on my squad, just as I am to his. His preferred method of trying to gain an advantage is to single our players out for criticism and to try to get inside their heads. I'd prefer it if Neal hadn' said it, but I won't hold it against him as a person, he's just trying to get his team an advantage. For our fans, I'm a bit disappointed. Callum will admit he's not been playing at the best of his ability, but the fans need to be encouraging and supporting the players on the pitch, especially the younger ones who might be more susceptible to the comments. What use is it to berate a player at this crucial stage of the season where our future as a Football League club is on the line when we should be building up the players to try and save the club. The National League is a hard league to get out of and I don't want us to have to run that risk. AW "The pitch isn't in the best condition at the moment, with multiple teams playing on it meaning it can't always recover properly, how will this affect you? RE "I Don't really buy into comments about the pitch that much. It's the same for both teams to have to deal with so it shouldn't be used as an excuse for our performances. We have to adapt to the situation we're in, whether it be a poor pitch condition or someones got a tummy bug, we need to give our all or get off the pitch and out of my sight. AW "Thanks Ryan, good luck with the game!" RE "Cheers Andrew, speak soon." The players arrived at the ground just after 1 where they made their way to the changing room for the first of my rousing team talks that I would deliver to them with a real gusto. You know the position we're in in the table, and a lot of you should know how hard it can be to get out of the National League in the right direction, a lot of teams go down and don't immediately come back up again. None of you will want to have that you were part of the team that got Crawley relegated from League 2 on your Footballing CV's. A lot of you are all a lot better than the position that we're in, but it sure doesn't look like when you get round to actually playing on a Saturday afternoon We made two changes from my opening game in change. Simon Walton was replaced in the centre of midfield by myself, whilst Shamir Fenelon dropped down to the bench in place of Gavin Tomlin. Adebayo 'The Beast' Akinfenwa started for Wimbledon, whose goalkeeper McDonnell was reportedly their key player according to the scouting team. Within the first twenty minutes of the match Tomlin had three good chances to put us ahead of Wimbledon but McDonnell lived up to his key player billing superbly. The first two were at the 7 minute mark, the first shot by Tomlin saved by McDonnell before Gwi Edwards had his shot blocked. Smith then collected the ball from Wyatt before giving the ball to Tomlin who was again met by McDonnell before the resulting corner was cleared. Smith won a tackle on the halfway line after twenty minutes, and the ball fell at my feet. I spotted Tomlin's run ahead of me and I played him in behind the defenders but when 1 on 1 McDonnell again came out on top. Not long after I picked up a yellow card for a foul on a player whose name I've forgotten. The number 7 was again a recurring theme in the game, and 7 minutes from half time we took the lead. smith took a corner from the right hand side and aimed it towards the near post. Bongo met the ball though and headed it back out to Smith. His second attempt again went to a Wimbledon man, McDonnell in fact, but he flapped at the ball pushing it just behind his head. Edwards was stood there gratefully to volley home from a couple of yards out to capitalise on an unfortunate error. 2 minutes Tomlin missed yet another 1 on 1 against McDonnell after Lee Barnard had played him through on goal, with the shot going wide of the post. The second half began quietly for the first five minutes before swiftly exploding into life in the 51st minute. Smith swung a corner in from the right towards the back post where Roarie Deacon was running in. He met the ball with power on his head which crashed against the bar and bounced back out. McDonnell again suffered some misfortune at a corner with the ball hitting him on the back and bouncing back over the line and in. Whilst we ran out celebrating the goal, the referee had in fact whistled to blow for a foul in the penalty area as the ball came in, in particular Josh Yorweth pushing his marker. Once some of the players realised, as mass protest was staged at the referee, with this sort of thing going unpunished over 99% of the time. The next 15 minute to 20 minutes brought about a wide variety of changes on the pitch. The first of these being Roarie Deacon leaving the pitch to be replaced by Lewis Young in a straight swap on the left wing. The second being the substitution of Tomlin off to be replaced by Walton. I went into Defensive Midfield, with Walton and Smith playing just ahead of me in the middle, whilst Barnard was left alone in attack. Not long after the second substitution happened did disaster strike. Callum Preston went up to catch the ball but landed awkwardly on his way back down, immediately causing a problem as he's the only goalkeeper at the club. I saw fit to put myself in goal, mostly because I was on a booking and my legs were starting to go. Sonny Bradley came on in place of Callum and slotted into the centre of defense with Ashton and Yorweth, leaving us in a 5-4-1 formation. With quarter of an hour to go we doubled our lead. The ball was crossed in from the Wimbledon left back and it invited me out. I came out to punch it but rather unsurprisingly ended up punching mid air rather than the ball. Jon Ashton covered for me though and headed the ball clear to the left wing. Young ran onto the ball and passed forward to Barnard and continued his run up the pitch. Barnard however had other ideas, taking the ball round the centre back and running in behind, then placing his across the goal into the bottom corner, with the rest of the team running not far behind him to come and celebrate. A further ten minutes passed before we wrapped the game up and made it three-nil. Oyebanjo flung the ball in from the right hand side towards the near post. Barnard was stood there marked by Wilson along with Ashton marked by the other centre back. As Lee jumped to flick the ball on, Wilson pushed him gently in the back, probably softer than the earlier incident. The referee however again deemed this to an offence to be penalised, with the result of course being a penalty. Si Walton stood up and fired it home in the top left corner well out of the reach of McDonnell who had done little wrong all game, but when he had he'd been punished. With a minute of play left, our performance ended with a sour note, with the industrious Jimmy Smith involved. His two footed tackle in the middle of the pitch was needless so late in the game with the result as it was. However, he'd left the referee with absolutely no choice but to give him his marching orders to get in the showers probably no more than ten minutes before the rest of us. The full time whistle blew five minutes later to the sound of cheers from our support but the Wimbledon fans were visibly and audibly annoyed at the result. The win took us to 23rd place, with Newport County's superior goal difference over keeping us in the relegation zone. upon entering the changing room, I congratulated the team on their fine performance that if we were able to match again, would greatly enable us to leap towards safety, and probably be comfortable when reaching the 46 game mark. Onwards and upwards was certainly something I was hoping would now happen.
  9. 14.4.06. The start of something I'd been invited to an event at Cardiff University Christian Union to do a Q&A on being a Christian in the public eye and how if affects me in my day to day living, especially in a 'manly' profession with bravado and adrenaline the order of the day. Joining me was Worship Leader Chelsea Jones who was one of the best selling musicians in 2006 and continues this run again in 2007, despite being in an under represented musical genre, especially in the UK. It all seemed cool with me and speaking to some students upon my arrival they were also excited too. Except one fella, whose Ipswich team I'd just scored a last minute equaliser a couple of weeks ago. I'd love to say it was a screamer, but in reality I was four yards out and it went in off my shin. One of my best goals if I do say so myself, which sums up my abilities when I get inside the opposition third. Still, he took it in good light when I explained the stick I got about the 'finish' in the changing rooms after the game. I got a fair bit from the press and the squad were ten times worse with it. I "Ryan this is Chelsea, Chelsea this is Ryan. I need to get a couple of things sorted before you start so I'll let you two chat and I'll be back in 5 or 10 minutes ready for the start." RE "Hi, nice to meet you." CJ "Likewise." RE "Big fan of your work by the way." CJ "I'd like to say the same, but I always preferred Liverpool and Swansea over Everton and Cardiff. But if you're this charming I suppose I can let you off of those." RE "There's a compliment in there somewhere I think. Might just be your accent though, hard to listen to Liverpudlians sometimes." CJ "Touche. Play your cards right and we might be going out somewhere this evening" RE "I hear the students union here is cheap?" CJ "Hmmm, classy. You've just played a 2. I'm looking for Kings and Queens." RE "Just you wait. I've got a second wind coming soon. I'l be your King and you be my Queen" CJ "That's more like it. I'll take your word for it and look out for more." I "Right, we're ready. Just this way" I "So Ryan, you've played Football at the highest level for a few years now, at a level that many dream of playing as a child. How do you feel about living out the dreams of many?" RE "Well I'm just using the gifts that I've been blessed with, and mine happens to be that I'm fairly good at kicking a football and running around a fair bit. I'm i guess privileged that I get to live out a dream that as you said so many have at a young age and for that I'm eternally grateful. I "How have you found being a Christian in an environment where it's very much unforgiving at times?" RE "Chelsea will probably back me up on this but it definitely has its ups and downs that's for sure. When I'm struggling for example I can take peace etc. from God so from that point of view it's really good. Alternatively though, I can get a fair bit of stick sometimes from fans at other clubs because of how outspoken I guess I am about my faith. I also get a fair few questions from teammates which is something that I expect you guys all get." I "Something for both of you, how is it dealing with being in the spotlight in the ways that you are?" CJ "Blessing in disguise is how I'd put it. For me my music is all about God and faith so that's how people know I'm a Christian so because of my music people know about my faith and beliefs. I don't think it's in peoples faces as obviously if the don't want to listen to the songs, they don't have to buy them. RE "Things like these or interviews I do with the press are pretty much the only way that the public find out about my faith in God. Those then get published in newspapers or on TV and as such if people are reading the paper or watching whatever sort of shows, they either stay watching the show and listen to what I have to say or they just turn to a different show and miss the rest. Newspapers, well they've bought them so I don't see the point of throwing it away if something they don't agree with gets published." I "Chelsea, a new album just out named 'L.C.A' which stands for Love Conquers All. Where did the title come about and how are the plans for the next tour going?" CJ "I think that showing everyone you come across with love and respect Yeah the tour starts in a few weeks time with dates in the UK and around the world coming up. Just rehearsing the new songs and putting different spins on some of the old songs is what we're just putting the finishing touches to at the moment." I "How do you find spending long periods of time away from your friends and family?" CJ "When I'm in the UK it isn't that bad, friends come to shows all over the country sometimes so I still get to see them quite a lot. Abroad it's obviously different as people won't fly out to America to come and see me, but I've got friends over in America that I get to see when I'm over there. Everyone that comes along on the tours with from my band to my manager are all really good friends so it's nice getting to hang out with them in all these cool places that I get the immense privilege to go to for 'work'. It's one of the best jobs in the world and there's not much else I can think of that I'd rather spend my life doing." I "Well thank you both for coming along tonight, I've certainly enjoyed speaking to you both this evening and I hope everyone else has liked what you've both had to say. Good luck with the tour and with the rest of the season. Ladies and Gents, Ryan Evans and Chelsea Jones." CJ "Ry, about that drink?" RE "A nickname already. Some would say that I've definitely had an impact" CJ "Excuse me, whereabouts is your students union?" Aimed in the direction of our interviewer. I "Turn left out of here and it's 500m down the road." CJ "Thank you. Thanks for having me! It's been great." RE "Likewise." RE "Come on Chels, let's go." CJ "I'm very okay with this. VERY OKAY"
  10. "Hi Ryan, I'm ruining to let you know I accept your contract offer, I can't wait to get started next season. Just know I'm happy to be here whichever league you're in and look forward to the good times that will be ahead. You've got my email so just send anything that needs signing over. Speak soon Boss, Ian" That delightful man I'd just had a voicemail message from was Irish Goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin, an Ipswich Town youth product currently without a club. He'd just agree to sign a contract worth £475 a week until June 2018, covering the next two seasons with the option for a third built in. A steady hand so I'm told, a man who will be a welcome addition to the squad and is likely to be number 1 next season. Also on my to do list was to complete negotiations with a couple of other players whose availability was made known to me by Director of Football Nas Bashir. The first of these being defender Scott Tancock of Merthyr Town. Formerly of Swansea City, he dropped down to get regular football but he's a player with definite quality and that was shown in media reports often singling him out for praise suggesting he should be much higher up the footballing food chain. I'm willing to take a chance on him and our offer of £6k in clauses being accepted by his club. RE "Hi Scott, it's Ryan Evans of Crawley Town. How would you feel about joining us next season?" ST "Oh, hey. Gonna need more than that to get me..." RE "Good, you care about what you're doing which is good for me. If you look at the League 2 table you'll see it's not exactly all high in the sky at the moment but I feel were a club that can definitely have room to grow. I want you to be a part of that and grow with us" ST "That's all well and good, but what role will I play? I don't wanna move house just to watch games from the stands every week, I want to be out on the pitch having an impact in what we do." RE "You'll definitely have a role to play, that's for sure. I think you're good enough to be challenging for a first team role at the club whatever league we're in. A major overhaul is going to happen in the summer and you're one of my key targets that I want to get tied down early and you'll be fairly central to the plans that I have for next season." ST "That's what I like to hear. What are your aims for next season exactly? You don't even know what league you'll be in yet." RE " If we're in League 2, the players that I'm targeting all have the ability to be able to help us push up the league and challenge all the big boys, the way I see it this year has been a blip and we can be much higher up the league. If we get relegated, we're going to be going straight back up as champions, mark my words, no excuses and I won't settle for less as a club. We've got improvements going on at the club, facilities wise and just in general that'll help push us on to the next level." ST "What's in it for me?" RE "I want us to be a club that develops players for the future. We'll craft players, make them stronger as people and when they leave us, they'll be going up the league pyramid if we're not already that the top. You'll get the chance to prove Swansea wrong that you shouldn't have been released and still very much have a future in the game, at the highest level too. This will be the start of something great for you, and with us the only way will be up Scott. You can hold me to that" ST "You've turned it around Ryan, I'll give you that. Let me have a few days to think if through and I'll get back to you with a decision, but it's looking positive at the moment." RE "Cheers Scott, thanks for hearing me out. Speak to you soon." Mission accomplished. The next player on my list was Crewe midfielder Brad Inman. The Australian started his career at Newcastle and went on loan to Crewe in the 2012-2013 season, before joining them permanently shortly after. He's represent Scotland at your level but is still eligible to play for Australia at a senior level. As a part Aussie myself, I felt a connection to him already like a young more technically gifted but less hotheaded version of myself. Rarely used by Crewe this season and on the transfer list, I fancied my chances at getting to join us. A similar conversation to the one with Scott ensued, just with the added interest in his international future that I feel I could help shape with him at the club. A Sydney vs Perth rivalry is on the cards but I felt confident that I'd already started to develop a relationship with him in just a phone call that could like his footballing career and the strength of the Australian national team when he makes the right choices grow. Once those were over, a database was loaded with Lewis and George sat across from with Nick and Anthony on either side to continue ou searches of players. A target of players whose contract is up in the summer was definitely our main area to look, with players such Tosin Kehinde at Man Utd or Jordan Sparkes at Braintree being just two that caught our eyes in particular. Tosin is described as an energetic teenager with a live wire attitude, whilst Jordan a winger earning rave reviews alongside teammate Chez Isaac on the wings at Braintree, with playing a key part in their team so far this season. At the other end of the age scale, Alan Smith at Notts County and Simon Gillett of Yeovil were looked at closely, both experienced gentleman and also looking to get involved more in coaching. Convincing either of them to join us would be a great stepping stone towards getting the board to reopen its youth system. Former star of the youth system Harry Anderson now at Peterborough is attracting close attention in the Premier League showing that the players in our area are most definitely there but at the moment are just going to other clubs. Following this early morning search, training went ahead as plannedfor the game against AFC Wimbledon coming up on Saturday. A main focus of our training in particular was our defensive positioning, something that was somewhat lacking against Oxford. I want to say something different to somewhat lacking but swearing isn't great to say and looks even weirder to read in my opinion so I'll leave it out for now. Anthony was fairly vocal during the session with it being his area of expertise and with myself taking part in the session too, with a first start very much on the cards against AFCW. Currently toying between 442 or 451/41221 was a devious that produced more than a few headaches and the week had barely started as it is, never mind as I get round to naming the team come Friday afternoon. Jimmy is I'm fairly sure going to start but he'd either have one of Simon or me alongside him, or me behind him with Si alongside to do the more crafty work and let Jimmy just do his usual running around lots game. Tough decisions lay ahead both for the game on Saturday but also concerning the future of the club as a whole.
  11. 9.4.16- A New Beginning Thanks Ed, hope you enjoy the rest __________________________________________________________________________________________________ I started my tenure as a Manager against 5th placed Oxford United in a game that statistically would only be harder against four teams in the league. Before actually taking charge, I had the matter of a small press interview. First game as a Manager at any level of the game, how are you feeling about this? Nervous isn't exactly the right word for it, perhaps wary. I want to get off to a winning start as a manager and I have full faith in the team that I've selected to be able to pull off a shock this afternoon. It won't be easy at all but I fancy our chances of getting a report. John Lundstram is a key man for Oxford in the middle of the park, how do you plan to deal with him? We've watched some of their games and seen how Oxford play and Lundstram as you said definitely plays his part in their overall performance. If Jimmy and Si, maybe even Sham or Lee can get close to him and prevent him from getting time to pick a pass that'll help. If not, I can come on off the bench and show him to my style of play... As you've just mentioned, you're reigstered to play as well for Crawley. How will this impact on you as a player and as a manager? Kevin Nolan seems to be doing alright at Leyton Orient. Obviously from a managerial perspective, if I'm on the pitch it's difficult for me to manage the team, but if I need to play my part I can play a role fitting the needs of the team without having to instruct others. Hopefully my presence on the pitch won't be needed to regularly though and the guys already here can play their part for me. Thanks for your time, good luck with the game. I opted to go for a 442 formation, I didn't want to complicate things for the players so we went with perhaps the best known formation in the world. Short passing and keeping hold of possession were the two tactical points I wanted from the players and ones I would place the most emphasis on in general wherever I end up managing. Callum Preston; Lanre Oyebanjo, Jon Ashton, Josh Yorweth, Ben Wyatt(Debut); Gwion Edwards, Jimmy Smith, Simon Walton, Roarie Deacon; Lee Barnard, Shamir Fenelon. Oxford started with a 4231 formation, with John Lundstram starting as one of the two in the middle of the park. Tricky winger Callum O'Dowda started on the left of the three attacking midfielders whilst Jordan Bowery started on the right. Just 3 minutes in it looked like we'd made the breakthrough I prayed for the night before. Neat interplay between the midfielders eventually saw them play the ball up to Fenelon. He turned and played through Barnard but he was met by Sam Slocombe in the Oxford goal who saved his shot. Oyebanjo then crossed the ball in but Skarz cleared away and out for a throw in. Not much else happened in the first half except for Oyebanjo picking up a yellow card for a foul on O'Dowda. In all, a strong performance to keep one of the best sides in the League nullified and something I expected them to continue in the second half. In the 60th minute I made my return to professional football and my debut for Crawley, replacing Simon Walton in centre midfield. Lundstram had been running them ragged in the middle and as Jimmy had the legs on Simon, Simon was the one to come off. 9 minutes later though and we'd gone 1-nil down. Oxford took a deep free kick short and passed it around a little. Eventually they went forward to Hoban, who passed short to Arthur in the midfield. Meanwhile LUNDSTRAM had run forward into space to receive Arthur's pass, collecting the ball before firing past Preston to the back post. 10 minutes after this goal and we equalised. Oyebanjo's long throw in was punched clear to the edge of the area. I met the ball as sweetly as you could imagine but Slcoombe was again equal to our attempts. His defense didn't anticipate the follow up though and DEACON stole in score his first of the season from a few yards out. The last ten and injury time went along without note, only a yellow card and a substitution to our names. We returned to the changing room to applause from the fans, something not that common so far this season reading reports. I congratulated the team on their performance before running off into the showers and then to complete various managerial duties. FINAL SCORE: CRAWLEY TOWN 1-1 OXFORD UNITED Deservedly Lundstram was named as man of the match, a performance better than I'd seen for a while and he's a player that certainly won't remain in League 2 for much longer. Peterborough in , a club known for picking up lower league players then selling for a profit, Connor Washington being this seasons example a club very much interested in his services, despite the possibility of the cubs swapping leagues in summer. John Lundstram had a great game today, what do you have to say about his performance? The lad's a great player, I said that before the game and he's proved with his goal and all round performance. Sort of player anyone would want in their team and he won't be in League 2 for much longer, whether with Oxford in League 1 or a new club. A draw in your first game, a good result or not? Obviously a win would've been great, but a point against a side chasing promotion and in the playoffs is no mean feat and one that the players can be proud of getting. Shamir Fenelon failed to score again, surely it's a risk starting someone so out of form when you need players to be on top of their game at the moment? His record isn't the best and Shamir would be the first to admit that, but he's young and I have the confidence in his abilitites that he will be able to break this run that he's in and start scoring goals on a more regular basis like we know he can. Just a matter of when rather than if he starts scoring again. Thanks for your time but I've got other things to be getting on with. Have a nice evening It was 8PM by the time I'd got home and having left at half 7 in the morning, I was quite tired and the family all missed the big dog. By that I mean me, not our actual dog Oscar. Chelsea was sat watching The Voice whilst Amelia and Katie were sat by the lounge door with Oscar waiting to run out to me as soon as they heard the front door open. A "Did you win Daddy?" K "Can you come and play with us?" O "Woof woof" C "Girls let Daddy walk through the door first and sit down, come back in here." I didn't know who to respond to first but whilst Katie ran back inside, I picked up Amelia whilst Oscar followed me closely behind like you see with security guards to big name celebrities walking to local Tesco these days. C "Hey hun, sorry you didn't win, but there's still time to save the club right?" M "Five games, but I'm home now so let's do something else other than talk about Football. Okay?" C "Very okay, VERY OKAY" We burst into laughter whilst the girls giggled as they climbed up onto my lap. Very okay indeed.
  12. Cheers 10-3, we can only hope... __________________________________________________________________ Following Mr. Dack's resignation, I was left with just one other coach at the club as a whole, and to be honest he wasn't good enough so he also followed Jimmy out the soon to be revolving door. At time of writing I've forgotten his name, but that might come back to bite me in the future. Wayne Hatswell was also employed at the club as Head of Youth Development. No major issue here until you remember that he is in charge of nothing at the club whatsoever with the club lacking a youth system. He was only recently hired though by the former management team and as such he's not able to be relieved of his duties due to the compensation package that he would be entitled to. FA rules stipulated that he is unable to coach within the senior squad either, so until our financial situation improves he's a drain on our finances effectively nothing to do. Our Physio is allowed to stay on virtue of he's quite decent at his job and reasonably low paid, but he'll soon be given someone else to work alongside him. Upon finishing training with the team and my current trusty sidekick/only other member of first team staff Lewis outside, we returned to my office to have a look at available staff to join us. Lewis was left to scour LinkedIn with various parameters set for him to search under, whilst I looked through a football database including all manners of people and staff, both good and bad. I immediately noticed an option for my assistant to filter out unrealistic options, but alas that's the first role I'm looking for and as such everyone came up. After looking through for a good hour or so, I stumbled across a chap called Nick Haycock of Bishops Stortford, the Essex based National League South side. I could tell you what they're like at the moment but I didn't have the time to look in detail. He appeared to have decent attributes and had the potential to growth further professional development. I noted down his phone number to give him a call whilst Lewis carried on his search. It took a couple attempts to reach the full time estate agent and part time assistant manager but after a half hour discussion, an agreement was reached with him to come and be my assistant manager, leaving Stortford for a £6,000 compensation fee and a heavy heart. I soon enough returned to my office to see Lewis' attempts at finding a Head of Sport Science. My mind was soon enough made up though, with Ross Preston coming on board to the club. He was a free agent and came with low wage costs also. The next piece of my jigsaw was looking for a goalkeeping coach. Quite a few options had cropped on my search for this, with some retired players near the top of the list but also experienced pro's looking to get into coaching featuring. With my inability to register players for this season, numerous deals for experienced players fell through as they were unwilling to wait. Unfortunately some if these would have been certain starters in the side and a big improvement on Callum Preston. However, in the end I opted for Stephen Pears who was currently up in the North East with Gateshead as their goalkeeper coach. He came in for a £10k fee and would be a much wanted addition. The final man to join the coaching team was recently retired France international Anthony Réveillère. The 36 year retired at the culmination of his Sunderland contract in 2015. My request for him to come of out retirement for next season unfortunately failed but he comes highly rated, having played in Euro 2012, he was of the highest standard and knew how to coach our defenders, despite some being a matter of 2 or 3 years younger. The final addition to the footballing staff was scout George Rooney, who will spend his time watching our next opposition and keeping a general eye out on League 2 for me. Time permitting, Lewis and the rest of the coaching team will also be responsible for this. I've also put an ad out for a new personal assistant, but that won't be sorted for a week or so yet if I'm lucky.
  13. To say it started badly would be an understatement. I drove to Oakwood Sports & Social Club, the club training ground and encountered my first problem of the day at the main gate. I introduced myself to Darren, the security guard in a small hut controlling the barriers, as the new manager. Darren however appears to have had some sort of training in his role though, refusing to let me in without identity. RE "How do you expect me to have identity with me if this is my first day?" D "Not my problem mate." I pulled my car round to the exit side of the road and rang Susan, only to not get any sort of response. Michael was my next port of call who thankfully picked up fairly quickly. RE "Hi Michael, it's Ryan Evans, new manager." MD "Alright mate, what's up? No one ever rings except Susan asking me to do something for her." RE "Your, I mean, our, security guard Darren isn't letting me in the gates to the training ground." MD "Oh that's you is it. Blue Focus right? RE "Yeah(hesitantly)." MD "I' just behind you, I'll tell him to let you in." RE "Cheers boss." With the security gates tackled with as much success as most X Factor winners, I followed Michael round to the car park. We soon parted ways however, I went off on a guided route to my new office with Lewis, the club performance analyst fresh from an internship at Pompey just last week, whilst Michael went off to do his managing director stuff. It would've been Jimmy who was meeting me, but upon hearing of my appointment from Susan, he handed in his resignation having applied for the role himself. LA "Ryan, nice to meet you, I'm Lewis, Performance Analyst." RE "Pleasure to meet you Lewis. Thanks in advance for your work, you're going to have it cut out the next few weeks." LA "I look forward to the challenge. Anything I can do for you?" RE "If you could send me the stats for all the players so far this season. Including under 21's and under 18's" LA "You do realise there's no youth set up here?" RE "I do now. Just the first team in that case then. I'll catch up with you later" we ended as I walked through the creaky wooden door to my new office. Taking a look around, it wasn't all that bad. A view of the first team training pitch, reasonably well decorated. Rather close to Gatwick airport though. Still, we're going to play on the ground at Crawley now so it won't be of any hassle. No stray footballs hitting the windscreens of planes. Are they even called windscreens. After a short five minute introduction from Susan, I was then left to fend the assembled reporters for questioning following the announcement of my appointment. Club legend Sergio Torres has said that you are the right man for the job here. How do you feel about this praise? Any sort of praise is welcome to me, whether from people like Sergio or the fans. It's reassuring that people held in such regard such as Sergio has publicly put their faith in me. Obviously you're bottom of the league. Just how out of your depth are you when taking this job? Not at all in my opinion. If the board didn't their faith in my abilities to succeed and keep the club in the Football League you wouldn't be sat here in front me. Quite frankly saying I'm out of my depth without even doing anything as manager is in my opinion quite disrespectful. Jimmy Dack. Explain? Jimmy resigned from his role as assistant manager upon being informed that I had been appointed this morning. No more to tell you. How do you rate your chances of staying up? It won't be easy of course, but I genuinely believe that we can stay up. There's a lot of tough matches left to play, 5 of the 6 teams left to play are all very much in the battle for promotion or to avoid relegation so they're all going to be gunning for a win. But I have faith we can make it out of this, and make it out alive. Thank you for your time but I've got other things to be getting of with as manager to ensure we stay in the football league. From there, I went off to speak to the team, lead by Sonny Bradley. Alright lads, not going to beat around the bush here, we're right in the middle of a fat off mess here and I've been brought in to keep us out of it. All I ask of you is to give 110% to the cause. If you don't give that or feel that you can't get out the club and don't come back whilst I'm still manager. But if there's stuff you want to speak about, I'm all ears and will take any requests you make on board if possible. See you all after training.
  14. 4th April 2016 "Great, that's a deal. You'll be unveiled at a press conference tomorrow. 8:00AM at the training ground if you can, which you can. Bye!" The phone beeped as they hung up. And that was that. I'm back in Football. I'm 34 year old Ryan Evans by the way. I'm the new manager of Crawley Town Football Club. Currently facing an uphill battle to stay in the Football League with just 6 games left of the season. Only 4 points off 22nd place, which is by no means out of the realm of reality. However we've got 5th, 6th, 8th, 2nd, 23rd and 16th. It could all be over by the time we face 23rd Dagenham and Redbridge in a relegation battle, especially considering the gulf in class that I'm able to see with just a quick glance at the league table. Looking at the squad wasn't too much better in all honesty. Here's a quick report I've been given by my current assistant manager Jimmy Dack. He hasn't been at the club long, joining from Aldershot along with Barry Smith in just January, the man who went before me after a disastrous spell. Credit where it's due, Managing Director Michael Dunford sent this over almost as soon as I hung up. If the players perform at even half the level Dunford had just done so I'd be a happy man. Probably also have a safer job and legendary status at the club. Goalkeepers Callum Preston, GK, 20. Joined in summer following release from Birmingham. Ever present so far. Rated for national league North/South. Only getting a chance with me because he's the only keeper at the club. Defenders Lanre Oyebanjo, RB, 25. Second season at club, only just recovered from Knee Tendonitis injury from summer. Bobson Bawling, RB, 21. Second season and mostly Right back so far. Sierra Leone international with 9 caps following a debut earlier this season. Jack of all attributes, master of none by some accounts Michael Liddle, LB, 26. Joined in March on free transfer. Can't see him contributing much during my time in charge with his contract up in a few months. Ben Wyatt, LB, 20. Joined day after Liddle, no first team experience but he looks like he can grow. Jon Ashton, CB, 33. Joined in summer after 6.5 years at Stevenage and looks one of the standout men in the side. Joe McNerney, CB, 26. Back up CB after joining from Woking in the summer and may be one for the revolving door in the summer. Sonny Bradley, CB, 24. Undisclosed from Pompey last summer and current club captain, something that won't change until summer at the earliest if at all. I need all the consistency I can get at the moment. Josh Yorweth, CB, 21. Season long loan from Ipswich and looks a good player. His good performances so far have kept Bradley out on the left hand side of the defense. Midfielders Gwion Edwards, RM, 23. Second season after joining from Swansea. Previous loans at St Johnstone in SPL and our star player. Much expected of him to deliver in the final 6 games, it certainly doesn't look like he has so far though. Lewis Young, RM, 26. Second season, mostly on as substitute so far and I'm told there's reason for this. Luke Rooney, RM, 25. Joined from big spending National League South side Ebbsfleet and another of our inconsistent and most off of the bench wingers. Roarie Deacon, LM, 24. Left sided utility player, one of best players in the squad and a threat from the left wing. One of our best players so far according to the reliable statistics and slightly less reliable wordpress site CrawleyFCMad. Jimmy Smith, CM, 29. Hard man in midfield who likes a thundering tackle. A lack of appearances so far makes his role of vice captain a strange decision in my eyes. Simon Walton, CM, 28. Defensive playmaker in midfield glueing the team together with Ross Jenkins. Clearly five years old Lidl own brand glue than super glue if the league table is anything to suggest Ross Jenkins, CM, 24. Bright start as youth at Watford but tailed off a bit. Joined in summer and has featured regularly so far. Forwards Lee Barnard, ST, 31. Bit of a journeyman forward but top club goalscorer, who I'm relying on to muster a few more goals late in the season. Shamir Fenelon, ST, 21. Impact sub so far with over half of his appearances from the bench and just a solitary goal to his name. Gavin Tomlin, ST, 32. Been around the lower leagues a bit but on his day a tricky forward/winger to deal with. Matt Harold, ST, 31. Target man, mostly on off the bench so far and with age not exactly on his side not likely to play much part this season or next. Darren McQueen, ST, 20. Joined in March but hasn't featured yet. Jimmy didn't really have much to say about him. When initial discussions with Susan Carter, the club owner took place I registered as a player too. I'd spent the last half a year on 'holiday' as my seven month pregnant wife Chelsea put it. By that, I got released from Fulham when my contract end in June 2015 and didn't exactly find another club to take me. As a precaution I registered and it looks like it isn't my worst idea ever, of which I've had many. With that, I walked in from the garden to the living room where Chelsea was sat with her guitar whilst our twin daughters Amelia and Katie were sat playing. As I walked through the doorway with a beaming grin on my face, Chelsea looked up and met my eyes. "Guess who's back in the game?"
  15. Has anyone got any experience/thoughts on Gundogan. I've managed to get an offer accept for £21M for him with £130k wages, whilst Herrera may be on his way out to juventus at the same time for more money. Don't really which of the two I should go for and I think I'd probably be happy with either as it stands. Currently got Pogba and Schweinsteiger in the two CM roles with Schneiderlin having a stormer of a season so far at CDM behind them.