Mike7077

From Somewhere to Somewhere... via Somewhere!

244 posts in this topic

That's what I'm hoping, but the next month look really tough.

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News on the player front this month.

[B]James Brown[/B], if you remember, was banished to the youth team (functions like a reserve team in Australia) at the start of last season after missing training. I brought him back in this season after failing to sell him because he does look good. Anyway, he was poor on the opening day and has been on the fringes. He came to talk to me about his concerns and we had a big falling out. It's unlikely he'll play again.

Meanwhile, [B]Michael Thwaite[/B], captain and marquee player, was offered a new contract, but we failed to agree terms. This is a blow because it looks like I'll lose him in the summer. If I stay for the final season of my contract, I'll be without a key player. On the plus side, it will offer an opportunity at right-back to Josh Brillante, and also open up the Marquee Player slot. For all his quality, I never really felt Thwaite was a marquee-level player anyway.

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Not sure if I said but on an older FM James Brown was awesome for my Wellington side.

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I'm finding him a bit like an Australian Mario Balotelli. I gave him his chance and he underperformed so I dropped him. Now he's kicking off. So he can do one.

It won't matter much because it's not like I plan to manage Gold Coast well into the future.

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Looking forward to seeing where you move to, I always find people moving the most interesting parts of the career threads.

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Oh. Then you'll be disappointed with this one so far!

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[quote name='Mike7077']Oh. Then you'll be disappointed with this one so far![/QUOTE]

Far from it I love the A-League.

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[B]James Brown[/B] came back to me to tell me his been bitching to his teammates. We had another huge barney and he agreed to a mutual termination to his contract. Glad to see the back of him.

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Did he terminate it for free?

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No. £24K! But I don't care. I can't manage him.

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Haha, I had Balotelli agree to terminated his 100k a week contract with 3 years left to run for free I annoyed him that much.

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The delightful [B]James Brown[/B] has now signed for Central Coast Mariners. So I guess I'll be seeing him again sometime soon. What's the betting he'll score a winner against me?

-------------------------------------------

[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastUnitedLogo.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2012/2013[/B][/size]
[B]DECEMBER[/B][/center]


[B][U]This Month's Fixtures[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/DecemberFixtures-1.jpg[/IMG]

I really feel that the first three fixtures this month represents a tough run. Two away games against strong teams and a home fixture against a Brisbane Roar side on a magnificent unbeaten run. If we can take as much as five points from those first three games and then win both of the easier-looking games that follow, I think I could consider it a very good December.


[B][U]This Month's Results[/U][/B]

[B]Saturday December 1st, 2012[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]nib Stadium, Perth[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/PerthGloryvsGoldCoastSnip-1.jpg]Perth Glory 1-4 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

That's two big away wins in a row, and I couldn't be happier. Suddenly, we look full of goals. I looked upon this, despite Glory's indifferent start to the campaign, as a difficult fixture, but we were always in control and fully deserved the win. Even more so than last season, Ante Rozic is getting on the end of every corner or free-kick we deliver into the box. The new formation seems to have given us a new attacking dimension. We looked really good today.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Matt McKay - The 29-year old Australian international on loan from Rangers looks like he's played for us all his career. He's been phenomenal down the left and he was at his brilliant best today.


[B]Saturday December 8th, 2012[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsBrisbaneRoarSnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-3 Brisbane Roar[/URL][/B]

Today, we were simply outclassed in the first half by a side in scintillating form. In fact, we were the first team in seven games to score past Roar. We did make a better fist of the second half, but the game was over by half-time. I can't be too critical because, although we weren't at our best, Roar didn't allow us to be. I don't begrudge them their win. Most of the time, when we lose, I'm frustrated at things we did wrong which allowed the opposition to take the points. Not today. They were just too good for us.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Matt McKay - On a difficult day, McKay again led the way with his intelligent play and constant running. It's a shame we couldn't get on the end of some of his excellent crosses. Daniel Severino, last year's right-wing option, is a forgotten man.


[B]Saturday December 15th, 2012[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]AAMI Park, Melbourne[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/MelbourneHeartvsGoldCoastSnip-1.jpg]Melbourne Heart 0-4 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

Back on the road, and back into our stride. We've scored four in each of our last three away games, and conceded just once across those three games. It's true that Melbourne Heart, despite my earlier prediction that they've have a good season, have been on a poor run, but I never expected us to brush them aside so easily. And two goals from Ante Rozic! He really does seem to get on the end of every dead ball we whip in. This was arguably our most complete display of the season so far.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Ante Rozic - Another two goals today, so I could hardly overlook him. It wasn't just his presence in the opposition penalty area that impressed me, though. He stood firm when Heart came forward.


[B]Saturday December 22nd, 2012[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsNewcastleJetsSnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 3-1 Newcastle United Jets[/URL][/B]

The Jets are in a total mess and went into this without a win in ten games. So you can imagine the shock when they took the lead. They had a helping hand from a missed interception by Michael Thwaite, though. But we managed to turn it round quickly, which was a relief. David Healy struck twice and we probably deserved to win, but we did look unsteady defensively when Jets came forward. A few times, we were caught napping and they could have scored. But the three points went to the right team in the end. The only downside is that David Healy picked up an injury that rules him out for four weeks at least. That is a real blow.

[B]MOTM:[/B] David Healy - The Northern Irishman looks more and more comfortable and the gold and blue. He was deadly today, combining a brace with some all round top-quality movement and link-up play. We'll miss him now he's injured.


[B]Monday December 31st, 2012[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/AdelaideUtdvsGoldCoastSnip-2.jpg]Adelaide Utd 0-2 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

Another comfortable away win and another vindication of my move to the new system. Adelaide are struggling and there was only going to be one winner. Ante Rozic continues his Steve Bruce-like scoring stream from central defence, and Matt McKay adds another to his tally. We've been excellent on the road lately and were again today.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Matt McKay - Bringing him in looks like a really good move. He was on fire again today. I really want to sign him permanently.


[B][U]League Table[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/A-League-December.jpg[/IMG]


[B]Player of the Month:[/B] - Matt McKay - McKay dominated the MOTM awards through December and was streets ahead of anyone else for this. He's got a touch of real quality, which you expect from an Australian international in the A-League. I couldn't ask for more than what he's giving us at the moment.


[B]Monthly Reflection:[/B] - After those three defeats in a row during November, I couldn't see us reaching second place by the end of December. But somehow, we have. It's helps that Melbourne Victory lost four in a row, but it also helps that we found our shooting boots and have been lethal in front of goal. Will we be able to hold on to second spot? At this stage, I'd be surprised. But so far, at least, we're once again exceeding my expectations.

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Good news about the awesome [B]Matt McKay[/B]. With his Rangers contract six months from expiring, we've agreed a deal. So he signs permanently in the summer. He insisted in a Marquee Player contract, so that means [B]Michael Thwaite[/B] will definitely be leaving.

Of course, the big questions is whether I will be there next season at all. At the moment, I just don't know.

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[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastUnitedLogo.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2012/2013[/B][/size]
[B]JANUARY[/B][/center]


[B][U]This Month's Fixtures[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/JanuaryFixtures.jpg[/IMG]

Last January, a 100% winning run helped us into second place, and we never relinquished it. This time round, with three home games in a row, I certainly expect plenty of points. It's especially important to do as well as possible in the home games, with a tough away fixture at Melbourne Victory to round out the month. That being said, our away form has been excellent.


[B][U]This Month's Results[/U][/B]

[B]Saturday January 5th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsCentralCoastSnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-1 Central Coast Mariners[/URL][/B]

This was so incredibly one-sided. We had 27 shots, 11 of which were on target. But we wasted so many opportunities and, after Mariners went in front, I ended up relieved to take a point. We attacked with the verve we've been displaying of late, and found our way through on numerous occasions. But we couldn't manage more than a solitary goal. True, David Healy and Jhon Pirez were both missing through injury, but when you create as many chances as we did, you feel you should win. And we didn't.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Richard Garcia - When you're struggling, you look to your experienced players. Garcia was good throughout, but his screamer saved us from what would have been a very harsh defeat.


[B]Saturday January 12th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsSydneyFCSnip-1.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-0 Sydney FC[/URL][/B]

Sydney have been good this season and I anticipated a tough game. In truth, it was tough, but, rather like the previous game, we created tonnes of chances. I thought we'd end up dropping more points, but Rigters came off the bench to seal the win. It's rare for Rigters not to start, but he's not been on top form lately, so I thought I'd sit him out for a game or two. He certainly reacted!

[B]MOTM:[/B] Adama Traore - Once again, I'm left marvelling at what my left-back can do. He's good defensively, but his pace going forward and the quality of his deliveries are a key part of what makes us so good, and he was excellent today.


[B]Saturday January 19th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsPerthGlorySnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 3-1 Perth Glory[/URL][/B]

Perth Glory had just won 6-0 away from home going into this, so I certainly didn't expect it to be the cakewalk it was last time we played them. And it certainly wasn't. Despite being 2-0 up inside half an hour, Glory created plenty of chances in what was end to end game. David Healy and Mile Sterjovsky both scored brilliant goals and I was very much relieved to come away with the win. But that's not to say we didn't play well, because we did. It was a deserved win that leaves us closing in on top spot.

[B]MOTM:[/B] David Healy - Healy has now gone past Kezman's goal total from last season, and he's definitely been the better player for us. Every time he plays he looks like scoring and his movement always impresses me.


[B]Saturday January 26th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]AAMI Park, Melbourne[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/MelbourneVictoryvsGoldCoastSnip-1.jpg]Melbourne Victory 1-2 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

Well, we rode our luck here, but we've come away with three fantastic points. Victory must be sick of the sight of us! There were negatives, though. Adama Traore will miss two weeks through injury, while Jonas Salley saw red in stoppage time for a foul on Nuno Gomes as he was about to pull the trigger. Gomes scored the penalty. But those are blotches on a really good day for us. I would have been thrilled with a point, but we hung in there and hit them on the break. You can't win them all by dominating and sometimes you need luck.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Maceo Rigters - We relied heavily on breaks to forge our attacks, and Rigters was responsible for the majority. He's quick and intelligent and his goal was crucial.


[B][U]League Table[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/A-League-January-1.jpg[/IMG]


[B]Player of the Month:[/B] Adama Traore - Nobody had more assists than Traore during January. He's still only 22 but he's first-name-on-the-teamsheet material. I can't speak highly enough of him.


[B]Monthly Reflection:[/B] We didn't match last January's 100% win record, but it was still a very fruitful month. To be level on points with top of the league is brilliant, and, rather like last season's success, totally unexpected. But there are nine games left and we need to keep going. It looks like we've done enough to achieve both the board's and my own minimum aims. But we're on the verge of something more special than that.

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Right back in it now with a great couple of months, I think you will end your time here with a good season.

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Haven't played for a little while now so no updates but I might play later on, I dunno.

Been thinking about the save though and one thing I know is that I really feel like I want to move on. The problem is the Asian Champions League. It starts during February and, if we progress, could still be going at the start of next season. This means, if I was to resign at the end of this season, I'd miss out on most of the Champions League action. Do I want to do that? I don't know. If I stay, I may as well see my contract out, which runs till the end of next season.

I'm really not sure what to do.

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Personally I would play through the Champions League and then resign.

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The problem is that if we go any kind of distance in the Champions League, I could end up walking out at the start of next season, a few games in. I don't want to walk out at that kind of point, so I may as well see the final season all the way through.

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February's update is on its way, but prior to that, here's the news of our draw in the Asian Champions League.

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/ChampionsLeagueDraw.jpg[/IMG]

Truth be told, I can't reflect too much on that. I don't know much about those teams. Shandong are from China, Busan from South Korea and Vegalta from Japan. What they do have is experience in the competition, so I don't expect to cruise through the group, at any rate. What bothers me the most is the way the Champions League comes along just as we're trying to finish top. It makes it feel like a distraction and I'm not sure how seriously to take it.

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[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastUnitedLogo.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2012/2013[/B][/size]
[B]FEBRUARY[/B][/center]


[B][U]This Month's Fixtures[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/FebruaryFixtures.jpg[/IMG]

The game away at Brisbane Roar looks massive in terms of the Regular Season title race. If we can somehow win there, it could set us up for a fantastic end of season run. It's true that it is a tough place to go, but they should fear us because we've been brilliant away from home. The rest of the month yields fixtures I really think we can win. February gives us a big chance to push Roar as hard as we can, and who knows? On the other hand, I've looked at months before and seen a lot of possible points and then we've come away with fewer than I expected. So let's see...

Just the one Champions League game this month (the fixtures snip was taken before the draw) and it's a home game against Shandong of China. I'm looking for a win there, but it feels like a big distraction more than anything else.


[B][U]This Month's Results[/U][/B]

[B]Saturday February 2nd, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsWellingtonPhoenixSnip-1.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-1 Wellington Phoenix[/URL][/B]

The side from the New Zealand capital have improved tenfold on last season, and deserve credit for doing so. Here, they worked hard and were close to a very good win. But the team that made all the running was us. It was another one of those games where we miss a host of chances, so in that context, it feels like a point gained, especially after going behind in the second half. David Healy is becoming more and more reliable.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Ante Rozic - For all our dominance, our best player on the day was a defender. Phoenix broke on several occasions and he made crucial interventions, clearing one off the line.


[B]Saturday February 9th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/BrisbaneRoarvsGoldCoastSnip-1.jpg]Brisbane Roar 0-1 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

Our wonderful away form continues, and a what a big win this is. We go four points clear thanks to yet another Ante Rozic goal. It would be disingenuous to imply we were the better side here, because we weren't. Roar created a lot of chances and I was sure we'd concede eventually. It felt like a huge relief when the final whistle went. This was one of those games where you have to dig in and hope to hold out. Rozic and Mitchell were excellent at the back.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Ante Rozic - This was an immense performance. He was a rock in defence and scored our winner. Brilliant.


[B]Saturday February 16th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsMelbourneHeartSnip-2.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 3-0 Melbourne Heart[/URL][/B]

The win in Brisbane would have been wasted if we couldn't claim three points from this one. We were missing our inspiration left-back Adama Traore, but the victory was a straightforward one. We left it late to finish them off, but only one team deserved to win and that was us. Heart have been incredibly disappointing this season and offered little here. The only negative was losing Michael Thwaite to an injury that will keep him out for a while at a time when the fixtures are coming thick and fast. Even more of a problem is that my back-up right-back Josh Brillante is already out for the season. But I'm still pleased with the win, especially as Brisbane Roar dropped more points today.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Kaz Patafta - The midfielder is ever present so far this season and has quietly driven the team on alongside Jonas Salley. He ran the game today.


[B]Saturday February 23rd, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Ausgrid Stadium, Newcastle[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/NewcastleUtdJetsvsGoldCoastSnip-1.jpg]Newcastle United Jets 2-5 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

I was nervous about this one. On paper, there should only be one winner. Jets are bottom and struggling both to score and to keep goals out. But we were missing Michael Thwaite and Josh Brillante, so Ryan Dingle was making his debut at right-back. I also decided to drop Healy and Rigters to the bench and leave Patafta out entirely. Rotation will be necessary over the coming weeks. In the end, we came away with another win on the road, although the final score doesn't tell the whole story. Jets, admirably, tried to take the game to us and were undone by poor defending. I can only be thrilled with the result, though, and even more thrilled with Brisbane Roar being held to a draw.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Jhon Pirez - Two goals and lively display from the young striker who filled Healy's shoes with aplomb.


[B]Wednesday February 27th, 2013[/B]
[B]Asian Champions League: Group F[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsShandongSnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 2-3 Shandong Luneng[/URL][/B]

The club's and my own first venture into continental competition, and it was a day to forget. We lost the battle in the midfield and couldn't handle Shandong's slick passing moves. We under pressure throughout and deserved nothing. Nevertheless, at one point, it looked like we might scrape a win, so it's disappointing to let them sneak it towards the end. I just hope this doesn't have an adverse effect on our league run-in. Even worse, we lost Josh Mitchell to injury. I may have to give him an injection.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Matt McKay - On a fairly bleak day, McKay did his best to get us something. He was his usual creative self out wide and deserved his goal.


[B][U]League Table[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/A-League-February.jpg[/IMG]

[B][U]Asian Champions League: Group F[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/ChampionsLeagueGroupF-February.jpg[/IMG]


[B]Player of the Month:[/B] Ante Rozic - The centre-back was imperious through much of the month and managed to avoid the yellow card that would have seen him suspended.


[B]Monthly Reflection:[/B] - We seem to just get better and better in the league, and have taken real advantage of Brisbane Roar's dip in form. Our away form, in particular, has been immense. Several players are on fire and we look confident and controlled. Just five games left to try and seal the Regular Season title, which would feel like a bigger achievement than last season's victory in the Finals Stage.

The spanner in the works could be the Champions League. We slumped to a poor home defeat against Shandong, and fixtures are about to pile up. Fair play to Shandong, though. They were class.

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Thought I'd post the below just to demonstrate the incredible form we've been in since the three-in-a-row we lost earlier in the season.

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/Form.jpg[/IMG]

As you can see, one defeat in 14 games. Eleven of those 14 games have been wins. We're undefeated in eleven games and have won seven away games on the trot. In those seven away games, we've scored 22 goals and conceded just four.

Considering what was predicted when I first took this job, I never saw a run like this coming. It's been such good fun. Big month coming up, though. Five games to win the league.

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Brilliant run in the league, Asian Champions League group doesn't look easy. Good luck dude.

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Thanks guys. It's been a brilliant season so far. Can't believe that run we went on. I'm not used to this!

--------------------------

[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastUnitedLogo.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2012/2013[/B][/size]
[B]MARCH[/B][/center]


[B][U]This Month's Fixtures[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/MarchFixturesSnip.jpg[/IMG]

It's something of a relief, I suppose, that there are only two Champions League fixtures getting in the way. I genuinely feel that something is wrong here. The Champions League should be something to excite. It should be wonderful new experience for the club. It would be if it started in, say, October. But because it starts just as the season draws to a close, it feels like a distraction. I look at the fixtures we have this month and I see the first two away games as very tricky. Sydney FC lie third and are scoring goals, while Central Coast Mariners have had the measure of us so far this season. This is a huge month. We're five matches from an incredible achievement.


[B][U]This Month's Results[/U][/B]

[B]Saturday March 2nd, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsAdelaideSnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-0 Adelaide Utd[/URL][/B]

It was disjointed and frustrating, but we've taken a big step towards winning the title. Rather like I said after the win at Brisbane, we needed a result here or our previous excellent away result would be wasted. Adelaide have been desperately poor and certainly seemed to play for a draw here. But, as so often during my time at Gold Coast, when we need a goal, up pops Ante Rozic. Grinding out a win like this is all part of winning trophies. I have to admit, I really fancy us now. The injury to Howard Fondyke could be a problem in terms of squad rotation over the next few weeks, though.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Ante Rozic - We didn't have much defending to do, but given how disjointed our display was, nobody deserves the award more than my wonderful centre-back. Matchwinner again.


[B]Saturday March 9th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SydneyFCvsGoldCoastSnip-2.jpg]Sydney FC 5-3 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

And so, the wonderful run is over. Although I knew this would be a tough game, I'm actually furious that we threw some really hard work away with stupidity. I couldn't begrudge Sydney FC their 3-0 half-time lead. We couldn't get the ball from them. They were brilliant. But, in a frenetic second-half spell, we clawed our way back to 3-3. Sadly, right after our third, Jonas Salley got himself sent-off and we were left exposed again. Sydney came back at us. With eleven men on the field, we'd have won. I'm sure of it. Instead, we suffer a defeat that looked certain at half-time but felt like a real kick in the teeth at full-time. I'm fuming with Salley. With the games coming thick and fast, we're losing key players.

[B]MOTM:[/B] David Healy - The Northern Irishman led our charge back from 3-0 down with two goals. Didn't deserve to be on the losing team.


[B]Wednesday March 13th, 2013[/B]
[B]Asian Champions League: Group F[/B]
[B]Busan Asiad Main Stadium, Busan[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/BusanvsGoldCoastSnip.jpg]Busan I'PARK 3-1 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

I made a decision which will feel like it's backfired if we don't finish top of the A-League; we will be resting as many players as possible in the Champions League. The board simply want us to "enjoy the experience", and I don't feel the squad can handle fighting on the two fronts. So it was a weakened team that took the field in South Korea. And it showed. We were second-best throughout. Nevertheless, we contributed to our own downfall. Ante Rozic's red card didn't help, and it's another suspension, albeit only in the Champions League. It looks likely we will crash out in the Group Stage, which might just make my decision on my future a little easier.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Chris Harold - The young striker made his debut and came out of it with some credit, taking his goal well.


[B]Saturday March 16th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/CentralCoastvsGoldCoastSnip-1.jpg]Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

Is our season disintegrating? Let's just say I'm now reminding myself how good a second-placed finish would be. Thankfully, Brisbane Roar could only draw today, so we are still top, but clear by just a point now. We don't look ourselves. No doubt missing key players and the demands of the extra fixtures are hurting us. We never looked like getting anything here, although it took a really special strike to beat us. If we're going to finish top, we need to turn this form around as quickly as possible.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Matt McKay - The players look burnt out, but McKay played well. We're finished if he gets injured or suspended.


[B]Wednesday March 20th, 2013[/B]
[B]Asian Champions League: Group F[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsVegaltaSnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-2 Vegalta Sendai[/URL][/B]

Another weakened/exhausted team took the field against the Japanese side, but I fancied us to win this. How wrong I was. We weren't on the same level and even though I'm trying to rotate and not taking the competition too seriously, it's been huge learning curve so far. The squad isn't big enough to handle all this football. That being said, young midfielder Ben Halloran, who I'm told is a bright prospect for the future, was directly responsible for both goals we conceded. With better concentration, perhaps we'd have scraped something.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Matt McKay - I desperately needed to rest Adama Traore, but with other options unavailable, the only choice at left-back was McKay. On a poor night, McKay did well enough, and scored a penalty.


[B]Saturday March 23rd, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsMelbourneVictorySnip-2.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-0 Melbourne Victory[/URL][/B]

[B]GOLD COAST UTD WIN THE A-LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON!!![/B]

Despite our poor form and the narrowness of our lead at the top, I felt that if we could win today, we'd probably see it through. I didn't expect Brisbane Roar to lose, however, which meant this results sees us guarantee top spot. We still weren't at our best, but Melbourne Victory have gone hugely backwards and couldn't muster a shot on target. Our old failsafe, the Ante Rozic header, saw us over the line. It wasn't a pretty way to claim our title, but we did enough. It also feels nice just to be back to winning ways. We had to play most of the second half without Kaz Patafta, who saw red, but Alioum Saidou came off the bench for only his third appearance of the season, and did a very solid job. (As with last season, a proper reflection on the achievement will follow in an end-of-season review.)

[B]MOTM:[/B] Richard Garcia - Garcia is a winger but, with injuries to Thwaite and Brillante, and Ryan Dingle proving himself not to be good enough, I've been playing Garcia at right-back. He's struggled, but found his feet in that position today. He got forward well and defended solidly when called upon.


[B]Sunday March 31st, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League[/B]
[B]nib Stadium, Perth[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/PerthGloryvsGoldCoastSnip-2.jpg]Perth Glory 2-3 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

With the league sewn up, I suppose I could relax. I brought Ryan Dingle and Sebastian Usai back in as a result, but truth be told, I really wanted to win so we finished as many points ahead of Brisbane as possible. Things started brightly when we took the lead in the second minute, but we were immediately pegged back, and eventually, Glory went in front. But we looked more like our usual selves today and deservedly swung things back in our favour. This win means we win the league by four clear points. No mean feat, that.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Jonas Salley - Salley scored his first of the season and generally bossed the midfield.


[B][U]Regular Season Final League Table[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/A-League-March-1.jpg[/IMG]

[B][U]Asian Champions League: Group F[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/ChampionsLeagueGroupF-March.jpg[/IMG]


[B]Player of the Month:[/B] Ante Rozic - It's getting repetitive, but this guy is so crucial to everything we do. He's a fantastic defender, but he scores goals too. He more than any other player got us over the line in what was a difficult month.


[B]Monthly Reflection:[/B] Taken in isolation, it was a poor month. But in truth, we did what we needed to do. And my decision to rest players in the Champions League has been vindicated. Domestically, we still won more games than we lost. The injuries, suspensions and extra fixtures threatened to derail our efforts to finish first, but we managed to see it through, helped by the inconsistency of Brisbane Roar.

In the Champions League, we're finished. I will continue to blood younger players and mix it up a bit in the remaining three games. It's been disappointing, but not completely surprising that we've struggled.


[B][i]So that's the Regular Season over. There are still three matches left in the Champions League Group Stage and the small matter of the Finals Series in the A-League, so it's not quite time for an end-of-season review just yet. But what a season it's been![/i][/B]

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Congratulations to Matt McKay. Very much deserved!

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/McKayPOTY.jpg[/IMG]


Congratulations to me, as well! Probably just as deserved, if I may say so. Two seasons in a row, I've won this.

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/ManageroftheYear.jpg[/IMG]

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Of the 50 goals we scored in the league, only 19 were scored at home. The remaining 31 were scored on the road. Potent travellers, us.

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Pity you couldn't make much impact in the Champions League but will that make it easier for you to move on?

Great regular season, good luck with the finals!

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The Champions League was a royal pain. It came right when I didn't need it. I've played weakened teams and it's shown. We'll be out by the end of April.

It creates a great opportunity to move on, but I honestly couldn't say if I'm going to. The one thing holding me back from leaving is that there are potentially six new players coming in and I don't really want to leave it to a dodgy AI manager to not even play them, or to screw things up in general when I have a year left on my contract.

Watch this space.

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If you stayed on for that year I would be interested to see what you did when the next Champions League comes round.

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[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastUnitedLogo.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2012/2013[/B][/size]
[B]APRIL/MAY[/B]
[B]FINALS SERIES[/B][/center]


[B][U]This Month's Fixtures[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/AprilFixturesSnip.jpg[/IMG]

This will alter slightly after the two-legged semi-final against Brisbane Roar. Whatever happens, we face at least one more match other than what's listed above. Roar are our bitter rivals and I can only assume it's getting more intense given how often we seem to play them in important matches. I do feel we can get past them, but it will be difficult. The Champions League games are an irrelevance and I expect to lose them all.


[B][U]This Month's Results[/U][/B]

[B]Wednesday April 3rd, 2013[/B]
[B]Asian Champions League: Group F[/B]
[B]Shandong Provincial Sports Centre, Ji'nan[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/ShandongvsGoldCoastSnip.jpg]Shandong Luneng 2-1 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

Unsurprisingly, it's a losing start to the month. Shandong created far more chances and deserved to win, but I do feel that they wouldn't have won were it not for the red card. It was an all-round good effort from another weakened Gold Coast line-up, but it wasn't to be. What games like this have taught me is that some of the younger players in the squad are far from good enough. Chief among them is Ryan Dingle, who gets beaten constantly by his left-winger.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Kristian Rees - It's another one of those times when picking a MOTM is difficult. But Rees, who hasn't played much this season, at least gave us some hope with his goal.


[B]Sunday April 7th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League Finals Series: Major Semi-Final - 1st Leg[/B]
[B]Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/BrisbaneRoarvsGoldCoastSnip-2.jpg]Brisbane Roar 1-1 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

When Richard Garcia and Jhon Pirez emerged from the bench to combine for our late goal, I thought we'd done enough to take a lead into the 2nd Leg. But no. To concede in the 94th minute like we did is thoroughly galling. Nevertheless, it's hardly a result to sniff at. This is a hard place to come and we can at least take the slender advantage offered by our away goal into the match at Skilled Park. It was an evenly matched affair and both sides squandered chances. In the end, my substitutes earned us a goal, although I take no glory in it as they were just straight swaps; it was no tactical stroke of genius. Roar probably did deserve their equaliser, but I just feel we've wasted a massive chance here.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Jonas Salley - Nobody stood out today, but Salley provided a solidity in central midfield. He does provide a sound base for what we do with his strong ballwinning approach and simple passes. A competent display.


[B]Saturday April 13th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League Finals Series: Major Semi-Final - 2nd Leg[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsBrisbaneRoarSnip-1.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 1-0 Brisbane Roar - [i]Gold Coast Utd win 2-1 on aggregate[/i][/URL][/B]

Why do these things have to be so tense?! This was [i]such[/i] a tight game! Rather like the 1st Leg. It could have gone either way but, perhaps unsurprisingly, a centre-back rising to meet a corner with his head is what made the difference. We're into the Final for the second year in a row, which has to be considered some achievement really. I would have liked it if we looked more like the team we were before the Champions League came along, but a win is a win, and you'll take it however it comes in a semi-final.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Josh Mitchell - Immaculate at the back and a matchwinner up top, this was a perfect display from a very good defender.


[B]Wednesday April 17th, 2013[/B]
[B]Asian Champions League: Group F[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsBusanSnip.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 0-3 Busan I-PARK[/URL][/B]

The scoreline doesn't tell the whole story. Once again I weakened the team - understandably, given the match to follow this one. But for the first time, we actually looked competitive. We missed a number of really good chances before Busan took the lead late on. I then switched to a very attacking approach and they took advantage, scoring twice more. This was a real kick in the teeth because I felt we might get something. Instead, we again leave with nothing.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Howard Fondyke - There were no amazing performances, but Fondyke played 90 minutes despite lacking fitness, and did okay, so he deserves it more than anyone else today.


[B]Saturday April 27th, 2013[/B]
[B]Hyundai A-League Finals Series: Grand Final[/B]
[B]Skilled Park, Gold Coast[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastvsWellingtonPhoenixSnip-2.jpg]Gold Coast Utd 2-3 Wellington Phoenix[/URL][/B]

Heartbreaking. This couldn't feel any different to last year. In time, I'll probably reflect on an excellent season and a wonderful achievement over two seasons, but right now this hurts. It hurts so much because we turned in our best performance in a long time and missed a whole host of gilt-edged chances before Phoenix took the lead. At 1-1, we again dominated. But somehow, in the second half, we found ourselves 3-1 down out of nowhere. We chose the wrong day to forget how to defend. Ante Rozic was all at sea and Josh Mitchell little better. David Healy's late goal gave me hope and Maceo Rigters missed an easy chance in the 93rd minute, but we couldn't squeeze in an equaliser. Congratulations to Wellington Phoenix, though. They finished bottom on 15 points last season. To go from that to finishing 4th and winning the Finals Series is very impressive. Gutting for us, though.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Mile Sterjovsky - The veteran got our equaliser and was pretty creative until his withdrawal on 50 minutes. Would have played longer if I didn't want fresher legs on to chase the game.


[B]Wednesday May 1st, 2013[/B]
[B]Asian Champions League: Group F[/B]
[B]Sendai Stadium, Sendai[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/VegaltavsGoldCoastSnip.jpg]Vegalta Sendai 3-1 Gold Coast Utd[/URL][/B]

I decided, with this being the last match of the season, to send out a strong side, but it made no difference. We suddenly look so vulnerable at the back. It was width and pace that hurt us, two things we probably don't possess, and which we couldn't handle from the opposition today. Vegalta are almost certainly a stronger team so perhaps I shouldn't be too harsh, but I just think we could have lived with them better than we did. Oh well.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Mile Sterjovsky - Another good performance and another goal for the elder statesman. Overall, he's had a disappointing season, but he was good again today.


[B][U]Final League Table[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/FinalLeagueTable.jpg[/IMG]

[B][U]Asian Champions League: Group F[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/ChampionsLeagueGroupFSnip.jpg[/IMG]


[B]Player of the Month:[/B] Mile Sterjovsky - This hardest month I've ever had to make this decision. Nobody even came close to standing out. Sterjovsky's late flurry of form and two goals probably just about win the day. I would have liked a bit more of this throughout the season from him.


[B]Monthly Reflection:[/B] Reflecting on the season as a whole can wait a little while longer. The month just gone was a very disappointing one. My young players offered next to nothing in the Champions League and, although we did well in edging out Brisbane Roar, we threw it all away by failing to defend against Wellington Phoenix in the Final. I've no doubt that continental competition through a spanner in the works. I won't miss this month at all.

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[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/GoldCoastUnitedLogo.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2011/2012[/B][/size]
[B]SEASON REVIEW[/B][/center]

Having calmed down from the disappointment and not insignificant level of anger at our defeat in the final, I can reflect on what was a really big season for this still very young club. I can also be proud of becoming the first manager to win Manager of the Year two years in a row, of finishing top of the league, of finishing in the top two in two consecutive seasons and of reaching the final in two consecutive seasons. When I took this job, I never for a moment thought things would go as well as they have. I was setting my sights on trying to finish higher than 9th last season. Suddenly, we can make a case that we're the best team in the A-League. In the cold light of day, finishing top feels like a bigger achievement than finishing second and winning the Finals Series. Despite all this positivity, it is tinged with disappointment; disappointment at not being able to go all the way and win the Finals Series, and disappointment in not having it in us to properly compete in a touch Champions League group. Continental competition was an eye-opener and, ultimately, I'm left to ask if I've taken this club as far as I possibly can.


[B][U]Player of the Season[/U][/B]

I feel that the burden of pushing us on was spread more equally around the team and the squad than last season, where we relied quite heavily on a handful of individuals. Nevertheless, three players did stand out for me.

3. [URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/DavidHealy-1.jpg]David Healy[/URL]

The Northern Ireland international provided what I was looking for - a striker who can score goals on a regular basis. He ended the season with a respectable 13 goals in the A-League, and vindicated my decision to replace Mateja Kezman with him.

2. [URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/AnteRozic.jpg]Ante Rozic[/URL]

It was another wonderful season from this guy. He's monumental and recovered from a wobbly start to have another stunning season. He even outdid his previous season's goal tally, scoring a very impressive nine. That the Croatian national team haven't so much as looked at him doesn't seem right to me.

[B]1. [URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/MattMcKay.jpg]Matt McKay[/URL][/B]

Bringing McKay in on loan from Rangers proved to be a masterstroke and, thankfully, we've now agreed a contract for him to join us next season. The left-winger was a creative tour de force and might be the single biggest reason why we did as well as we did. The guy is arguably the best player in the A-League (at least he will be after Harry Kewell retires this summer) and, if I move on, I'd have to think about trying to sign him.


[B][U]Favourite Match[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/BrisbaneRoarMatch.jpg[/IMG]

In a season with some wonderful performances, especially away from home, one game stands out. We went into this match knowing a win would send us top for the first time. As with many of our matches with our bitter rivals, it was a tight game, but we won and the feeling of relief was palpable. We stayed top from here on in, and this game was our platform. Just a brilliant day for the club.


[B][U]So why so good... again?[/U][/B]

I was talking about making sure we qualified for the Finals Series again at the start of the season, and, as you can see, we certainly surpassed that! I didn't see us having such a good season again, but we did. This time, just like last season, I have to deduce that we have good players, a good tactical set-up, and I managed morale well. That seems to be the key. But also, I made good moves in the transfer market last summer. Matt McKay, David Healy and Josh Mitchell in particular proved very effective, while Richard Garcia did well coming off the bench.


[B][U]Thoughts on next season[/U][/B]

Some of what I saw in the last few weeks makes me wonder if our bubble has burst. So I'm a bit concerned about how the club will fare next season. I have five new players coming in and more may arrive after that. Will it make us competitive at the very top yet again? I don't know. But I suppose I have to be honest and admit that, despite the two previous seasons, qualifying for the Finals Series would still represent a success for this young and financially crippled club.

Then again, who's to say I'll be here next season? I've made no decision about where I go from here. It does feel like a good time to leave, but does it feel like the right time? I need to have a little think. If I do stay, it will definitely, one hundred percent, be my final season with the club.

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[Code]-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Season | Team | League | Country | League Position | Notes |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 2011/12 | Gold Coast Utd | Hyundai A-League | Australia | 2nd (R.S.) | Won Finals Series |
| 2012/13 | Gold Coast Utd | Hyundai A-League | Australia | 1st (R.S.) | Lost in Grand Final |
| | | | | | 4th in Champions League Group |[/code]

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When I started this save, I expected the decision to leave Gold Coast to be an easy one. I just needed somewhere to get my career started. I had no idea I'd do so well and that my reputation would therefore grow so quickly. In the end, it's been really hard to decide whether to leave or to stay for one more season. In the end, I've decided that there's not much more I can do with a club that's going down the toilet financially. Could I finish top again? I doubt it? Could I do any better in the Asian Champions League? It's very unlikely. So, while it's been wonderful, and while I was certainly seriously considering a third and final season in Queensland...

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/Resignation.jpg[/IMG]


Within moments of announcing my resignation, I was offered two jobs:

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/CharltonJobOfferSnip.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/DoncasterJobOfferSnip.jpg[/IMG]

Both these clubs have just been relegated from the Championship, which means I'd be starting in League One. They both look like very similar opportunities, and I'm not ready to decide on which job to take, or indeed whether to take either of them. More thinking needed. I shall have to delay.

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One more job offer has come in:

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedJobOfferSnip.jpg[/IMG]

They finished 4th in League One last season but failed to win the Play-Offs. Look at that transfer budget! Only downside would be that the club is overspending on wages.

I'm going to bed now. No decisions as yet.

[B][i]EDIT: After I posted this, Wednesday made me a second offer. £2m to spend and a wage budget of £110K a week! In League One! I'm very tempted. Still not deciding tonight, though.[/i][/B]

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That Sheffield Wednesday offer is a very good one. What is the overall finances?

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Maybe Sheff Wed depending on financial situation.

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In the end, I rejected the offers from Doncaster Rovers and Charlton Athletic. Both good clubs and jobs I fancied, but I could resist this opportunity:

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedJobAccepted.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/ChairmanMessageSnip.jpg[/IMG]

With regard to the finances, they're in decent shape. Certainly nothing to be too worried about.

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/Finances-1.jpg[/IMG]


I was offered a three-year contract, but asked for just the one year. There are two reasons. Firstly, if I'm in line for an even bigger job, I don't want compensation to be a constant barrier like it was at Gold Coast. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, if I fail in my first season, I don't want the club to have to pay me any compensation (although this is FM. They'd probably just sack me rather than wait a few weeks for my contract to expire).

It's gonna be a tough job, I reckon. Full introduction to follow.

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Nice move, the club looks like it is financially secure.

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Them finances look very good. Can understand the budget now.

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Thanks to those who have wished me luck. I suspect I may need it. I don't envisage this being as easy as my time at Gold Coast.

--------------------------------------------------

[center][size=+3][B][U]Welcome to Sheffield Wednesday[/U][/B][/size]


[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedLogoSnip.jpg[/IMG]


[size=+2][B]Stadium[/B][/size]
Hillsborough (capacity: 39,812)
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/HillsboroughSnip.jpg[/IMG]


[size=+2][B]Introduction to the Club[/B][/size]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedBackgroundSnip-1.jpg[/IMG][/center]


The contrast between where I began my managerial career and where I take my next step are huge. I leave Queensland's Gold Coast, with its beaches and year-round warm temperatures, for the Steel City of Sheffield. I leave a club struggling to develop a supporter base for a club still deeply-rooted in a working class community whose supporters bleed blue and white. I leave a club which dates back to only 2009 for one of the oldest football clubs in the world. I leave a club with few real demands for a club which has fallen on hard times, with a board and a supporter base hungry for the return of the good times. You could, if you didn't mind being a little unflattering to Gold Coast Utd, say that this is my first [i]real[/i] job. Will I be up to its demands? Time will tell.

[B]Finances[/B]: I've already posted a screenshot of these, so you can see how healthy the club's financial position is. Please scroll up for all of three seconds if you're interested.

[B]Aims and Expectations[/B]: I feel it was a mistake with my Gold Coast introduction to go into detail about these, and also about the key players. This is better left for the Pre-Season update, as they change for each season. But overall, my aim is rather like it was at Gold Coast - to do enough to keep my job. Realistically, I will have failed if I don't return Championship football to Hillsborough. And if I do get us there, I really hope I could then, at the very least, stabilise the club in that division.


One final thing; if anyone's wondering, there will be no Steel City Derby. United are in the Championship.

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Gold Coast United, meanwhile, have gone in a very different direction in appointing their new manager. Having given inexperience its chance in appointing me, this time they have gone for the very experienced Dutch manager Aad de Mos. He has managed widely throughout his native Netherlands, as well as taking charge of clubs in Japan, Spain, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Greece.

I wish him well.

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[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedLogoSnip.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2013/2014[/B][/size]
[B]PRE-SEASON[/B][/center]

It seemed like the right time to leave Gold Coast. There was no way I could do much more with them than what I did. I was so pleased to walk straight into such a high-profile job. The mission to restore Sheffield Wednesday to their rightful place in English football begins here! Plenty of better men than me have failed in the past (Gary Megson also failed), so don't assume I'll be at Hillsborough forever! But anyway, pre-season was very busy. The nucleus of a good squad was there on my arrival, but I did feel it needed augmenting.


[B][U]Transfers[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/TransfersSnip.jpg[/IMG]

The two signings that probably leap out the most are the two lads I've brought in from Gold Coast Utd. New Zealand international goalkeeper [B]Glen Moss[/B] did such a good job for me that I decided he'd be worth bringing with me. It remains to be seen whether he establishes himself at my first-choice, but I do feel he's good enough for this level of football. The other signing is a loan move for [B]David Healy[/B]. By kick-off, Healy will be 34, and Gold Coast's new manager was quick to transfer-list him. I have two good strikers in Gary Madine and Chris O'Grady, but I wanted another striker to add depth in that position. Getting Healy in on loan fits the bill.

I also tried to bring in Michael Thwaite and Jhon Pirez, and we agreed contracts. But neither player could get a work permit, sadly.

[B]Chris Eagles[/B] has struggled to hold down a first team place at Bolton and was a key player on loan to Crystal Palace as they won League One last season. I really do feel getting this lad in on loan is a good piece of business, and we've agreed a fee of £240,000 if I want to buy him.

[B]George Boyd[/B], rather like Eagles, is a wide player who can operate on either flank or through the middle if needed. An established player at Peterborough Utd in the Championship, for some reason they haven't offered him a new contract, which means I get a quality player for free. I'm excited to see what he can do.

[B]Inigo Calderon[/B], 31, is an experienced right-back who signs on loan from Brighton and gives me a good option in that position. Should do well back in League One.

A Manchester Utd academy graduate, [B]Matt James[/B], is a young midfielder with a good future ahead of him. Most recently playing Championship football for Reading, I fancy James to have a good season with us in League One. Played very well in pre-season before getting injured.

During pre-season, nobody impressed me more than [B]Ryan Tunnicliffe[/B], who signs on loan from Man Utd. The youngster was a creative force in midfield and should do well during the season.

[B]Chris Weale[/B] will be a familiar name to Leicester City fans. The goalkeeper means I have three good options in that position (Weale, Moss and Nicky Weaver).

I always like to find a decent youngster with an eye toward the future, and in that vain, I have brought in 19 year-old Czech centre-back [B]Jakub Sokolik[/B], who was released by Liverpool. Despite not making the grade at Anfield, he should still have a bright future.


[B][U]Pre-Season Results[/U][/B]

[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/AldershotvsSheffWedSnip.jpg]Aldershot Town 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday[/URL]
[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/HayesYeadingvsSheffWedSnip.jpg]Hayes & Yeading Utd 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday[/URL]
[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/DerryCityvsSheffWedSnip.jpg]Derry City 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday[/URL]
[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/StPatsvsSheffWedSnip.jpg]St. Patrick's Athletic 1-3 Sheffield Wednesday[/URL]
[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedvsBradfordSnip.jpg]Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Bradford City[/URL]
[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/StockportvsSheffWedSnip.jpg]Stockport County 0-3 Sheffield Wednesday[/URL]
[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedvsCercleBruggeSnip.jpg]Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Cercle Brugge[/URL]
[URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/CrusadersvsSheffWedSnip.jpg]Crusaders 0-3 Sheffield Wednesday[/URL]

We got better as the friendlies went on, but this is no surprise. I allowed much of the first-team squad varying amounts of extended leave, which means we weren't up to full strength until the Bradford game. You can ignore the defeat at Aldershot, as most of the first-team weren't available. I feel that we played opposition who, while not too taxing, were good enough to test the squad against and would have exposed any major problems. In the end, we came through comfortably and looked good. Naturally, the real tests are ahead.


[B]Aims and Expectations:[/B] The board have given me incredible budgets to work with - £2m to spend on transfers and £110K a week for wages. As you'd expect, they want results. They expect me to win the league. Not just to get promoted, but to actually win it. Personally, I'd be happy to finish in the top two and get promoted. They couldn't sack me for that, could they? Without the board's insistence on a title win, I'd be aiming for the play-offs. But something tells me, if we were on course just for a play-off place, I'd be sacked before we got there. This is going to be a tough, tough season.

[B]Key Players:[/B]

[i]Chris Eagles[/i] - Eagles has real pedigree, even at a higher level. It's hard to imagine any player being more important to our season than him. I'll be looking for plenty of assists, and hopefully he will chip in with a goal or two, as well.

[i]Jose Semedo[/i] - Semedo is vice-captain, and can play at centre-back or in central midfield. He is among the best players at the is level and a lot will be expected of him.

[i]Reda Johnson[/i] - The Benin international is our captain and leads from the back. He looks like a really solid, capable central defender and I'm hoping will lead us to promotion.

[i]George Boyd[/i] - On the opposite flank to Eagles, Boyd will be required to do a similar job. On paper, he's a great signing. I hope he lives up to it. If he does, we'll have one of League One's very best players.


With pre-season out of the way, the serious stuff can begin. I'm a little nervous, I admit, but hopeful our pre-season form will carry into the early matches. Morale is up and all that's left to do is see if I've got what it takes to get this club going.

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Brought a couple of players with you there I see ;).

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Wow! Interesting move! Good luck with this!

Do Wednesday count as sleeping giants? Surely they do! You need to find the new Chris Waddle, right? :D

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[quote name='SRL88']Brought a couple of players with you there I see ;).[/QUOTE]

Couldn't resist! Would have been four if it wasn't for stupid work permits.

[quote name='crouchaldinho']Wow! Interesting move! Good luck with this!

Do Wednesday count as sleeping giants? Surely they do! You need to find the new Chris Waddle, right? :D[/QUOTE]

I would say they do. Not sure where I'll find the new Waddle, though. I'd settle for the new Graham Hyde.

[quote name='deltablue']Boyd should be a great signing.[/QUOTE]

I think so. Was a regular for Peterborough in the Championship. No idea why they didn't offer him a new contract.

[quote name='Nobby_McDonald']Will the Owls awake?[/QUOTE]

I couldn't give a hoot. Actually, I could. But that was the only pun I could think of. As for the Owls awakening, I doubt they have the right manager for that somehow.

---------------------

[center][IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedLogoSnip.jpg[/IMG]
[size=+2][B]Season 2013/2014[/B][/size]
[B]AUGUST: PART 1[/B][/center]


[B][U]This Month's Fixtures[/U][/B]

[IMG]http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/AugustFixturesSnip.jpg[/IMG]

Of the sides we face in August, only Southend were challenging near the top of this division last season. For this reason, we should be able to get off to a decent start. It's obviously hard to make too many predictions, but we must consider ourselves superior to those sides. I think a 100% start is possible. The League Cup draw was reasonably favourable, an away trip to Morecambe of League Two could have been worse.


[B][U]This Month's Results[/U][/B]

[B]Saturday August 10th, 2013[/B]
[B]npower League One[/B]
[B]Broadhall Way, Stevenage[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/StevenagevsSheffWedSnip.jpg]Stevenage 1-3 Sheffield Wednesday[/URL][/B]

It was the perfect start, really. Well, except for Stevenage taking the lead. A few adjustments were required and, in the end, we came through. In truth, it wasn't a wholly convincing performance from ourselves, but we did okay. I suppose at least we did enough. Stevenage seemed to sink into themselves after scoring and we had little difficulty picking them off. Still, we'll need to up our game if we're to achieve promotion.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Gary Madine - The no.9 gets his season of to a good start with a brace. Madine was outscored by Chris O'Grady last season, but he looked sharp today.


[B]Tuesday August 13th, 2013[/B]
[B]Carling Cup 1st Round[/B]
[B]The Globe Arena, Morecambe[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/MorecambevsSheffWedSnip.jpg]Morecambe 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday - [i]after extra time[/i][/URL][/B]

Two games in and I'm already counting the cost, in this instance because we've lost two defenders. Slovenian left-back Leon Panikvar saw red and will miss three games, while cente-back and captain Reda Johnson faces a short lay-off through injury. We really didn't need to extra time. This was a bit like the Stevenage game in that the better team won, but without being particularly convincing. A win is a win, but I hoped we'd produce a stronger all-round display.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Sammy Clingan - The Northern Irish midfielder scored a wonder goal, drilling home from 30 yards. He also ran the midfield and was the standout performer.


[B]Saturday August 17th, 2013[/B]
[B]npower League One[/B]
[B]Hillsborough, Sheffield[/B]

[B][URL=http://i797.photobucket.com/albums/yy259/MichaelSevenOhSevenSeven/SheffWedvsTranmereSnip.jpg]Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Tranmere Rovers[/URL][/B]

During my time at Gold Coast, I had the odd disappointing result, but I was never left quite as angry as I was after this. We swarmed all over Tranmere, who flooded the midfield and defended in numbers. We controlled the game, but conceded a sloppy goal, while spending ninety minutes looking bereft of ideas to unlock the stubborn resistance. However, regardless of the amount of possession we had, I would still call our performance disgraceful. The likes of George Boyd and Chris Eagles looked as if they'd be out of depth in the Conference, let alone League One. Just terrible.

[B]MOTM:[/B] Jose Semedo - Broke up Tranmere's occasional forward forays. Had to do little to outshine anyone else today, though.

[i][B]ctd below[/B][/i]

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