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Pakito

Champagne Football in Cloud Cuckoo Land

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Tuesday, September 12th, 2017.

 

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is the boarding call for Swiss flight two-zero-seven-eight to Porto. We are now inviting those passengers with small children…”

 

First time I catch a plane since I moved here two years ago. I would have imagined it’d have been a short flight home, instead here I am, people pointing their phones at me snapping photos, leading a band of rascals to the end of the continent.

Let’s be honest - we are not meant to be here.

We stroke lucky.

Repeatedly.

Then again, there’s only so many times you can call it luck before you have to admit to yourself you’re good. I promise that if we won’t get embarrassed Thursday I’ll join the ranks of the believers.

But for now, let me be skeptical.

We look more like high schoolers on a end of year field trip than a football team. My first choice starting eleven’s average age is twenty-two.

Twenty-bloody-two.

I’m no Arsene and, as much as I may enjoy youth’s exuberance, I could do with some experienced head these days. Some of the kids are excited, some are tense, none of them has a clue what they’re in for.

We’re gonna get demolished.

It’s gonna be ugly.

Whatever.

Let’s take a leak before boarding.

 

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Here I am, Hervé Alicarte, 42, mediocre footballer turned manager sensation in the land of cheese, chocolate, and cuckoo clocks, staring at myself in a mirror in the restrooms of the Geneva airport, wondering how to survive the humiliation I’m about to be put through. I kinda hoped Mirsad would miss that last penalty. He didn’t. We lifted the cup and got a direct ticket to the Group Stage of the Europa League.

 

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Fantastic.

Except for we’re a second division outfit that got a few lucky draws and got catapulted into the football that matters.

Well, technically we aren’t a second division outfit. Not anymore. We’re a first division outfit that last year got promoted against all odds. On goals difference. Scraping a 1-0 win against our cross-lake rivals of Lausanne in the last match of the season.

 

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We’re an outfit that two years ago was stuck in the third division, having been relegated due to financial instability.

I remember it back in 2004-2005, when the team first went bankrupt, and I used to play here. It was a disaster. They stopped paying salaries in November, by February I was gone together with most of my teammates.

Some big names in the consortium that took over after the last relegation remembered me as a “serious professional” - their words-, and, having heard that I was looking to transition into management, offered me the job.

I repaid them with a promotion in dominant fashion, playing high-scoring champagne football in a cheeky, cavalier 3-4-3. But the situation reminded me a lot of my playing days here. Cash stripped. Stuck in the lower leagues. The team reduced to a bunch of promising kids from the academy, plus some have-beens and a Moroccan international with a guaranteed contract that stood out like a sore thumb in the sea of mediocrity we found ourselves in.

But enough for pondering. Time to board.

 

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“This is the final boarding call for passenger Jérémy Guillemenot, booked to Swiss flight two-zero-seven…”

 

The kid isn’t coming. I told him to come sit on the bench, that it’d had been good for him. He came to the airport, checked in, then left. He’s been out for 7 months with a crushed knee, carried us for a year and a half, now he doesn’t even feel a part of the team anymore. We had to fend off offers from half of Europe last January, this time we’re probably gonna lose him on a free. The agent is an absolute disgrace. Management offered a new contract last week, he turned it down. Not sure what to do with Jérémy once he’s fit. Maybe using him in dribs and drabs will make other clubs forget about him. Maybe making him our undisputed spearhead will make him want to stay.

 

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I don’t know.

I don’t know what to do, and these kids think I do.

Let’s go conquer Europe, shall we.

 

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Edited by Pakito

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I remember them playing in Swiss Superleague a few years before..Good luck!! 

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On 6/21/2017 at 22:08, Sheriff7 said:

I remember them playing in Swiss Superleague a few years before..Good luck!! 

Yeah, when I was a kid some 20 years ago if I had to name a Swiss team it was Servette or Grasshopper... shame to see the implosion they went through IRL over the past 12 years. However that makes them a great save in FM16 :D

Gonna update when I get to Xmas I guess

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