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The year of the B*****d

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Posted (edited)

‘If you leave now, I really think you’ll have a black mark against your name at this club, football fans, as you well know do not forget’ the older of the 2 men said

‘I never said I was leaving now, I’ve told them I’ll happily take over at the end of the season when I’ve finished what I started here’ the younger man replied

‘It’s as good as selling out, why leave for the easy win?’

‘How is it an easy win?’

‘They’re the highest rep team in the country, they’ve got the best players in the league and the biggest budget, as well as that….’ He was cut off by the younger man

‘If they’ve got the best players, why are they struggling to win a game? Why has their manager just been sacked, and why are they coming in for me?’ he didn’t let the older man reply ‘I’m not selling out, I’m not jumping ship and the fan’s, well they’ve not been exactly on board with me despite winning the cup last season, and with us looking like winning it again this year either’ he said through gritted teeth

‘Look, it will all come crashing down, we both know fine well that you’re over achieving here and I think you’re going to fail there I really do’ the older man said in a desperate sort of way.

‘I won’t, you just don’t want to have to hire someone else, I’ve done enough here to earn the right to manage them and I’m going to go there and take my chance’. Before the older man could reply, the younger man continued  ‘Look, I’ve verbally agreed to it, I’m not one to go against my word, I will succeed there mark my word’

‘You leave now my friend, you’ll always be known as that bastard that sold out’

‘Well, when I take over in November and the seasons starts proper in February, you can call next season The Year of the Bastard’

And with that the younger of the 2 men left the office and headed down to the training ground. The older man, the chairman of the club sat there in his chair, not angry, not bitter but like a parent that found out his child had cheated at a test he felt disappointed. Disappointed that just 18 short months ago he gave a chance and an opportunity to this out of work manager, a nobody in the world of football who has now figuratively spat in his face and taken a job at another team in the league. Granted the team he’s leaving for are the favourite’s to win the league, despite sitting a disappointingly third place in the league, knocked out of both cups, but despite being a team that look short of confidence, they’re still a threat. There’s still 1 game left to play, and his team are currently second in the league, 1 point behind the leaders with it all to play for, as well as being in the final of the FA Cup and winning both is a real prospect.

As the younger man walked into the training room he’s greeted by his assistant manager who has a notepad and is ready to speak, but as he looks in the managers eye he withdraws and waits for the boss speak

‘It’s done, we’re leaving, thanks for having my back’ the man who earlier had walked out of the chairman’s office said in an abrupt manner

‘I’m with you boss, 100% of the time. This is a good move for us both, we’re going up in the world’ the man replied.

‘November 19th is our last day here, and we’re still in with a shout of winning the league and the cup, lets do what we can to leave on a high’

The assistant manager nodded back, turned towards the changing room and ordered the players on to the training pitch.



This is my attempt at a story covering 1 in game year of my current save. I will try to get updates posted every few days.

Feedback and criticism is appreciated. Thanks for reading.


Edited by mark wilson27
Changed title due to bad language

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Posted (edited)

Chapter 2 - The beginning

As Vince Lloyd walked in to the room, the players all looked up, excited and nervous.

‘I’m not sure how many of you know me, but I’ll explain just who I am. I took the team that was bottom of the league half way through the season last year to winning the League Cup, as well as that I was responsible for stopping you lot from winning the league the season just finished, and before any of you say anything I know we finished second in the league but you all finished third, 10 points behind me. For a club of the size and reputation of this one, that is simply not good enough and will not do’ he allowed himself a moment as well as letting the team take in what he was saying. ‘I know the rules around signing players and this club only allowing players of 1 nationality to be played, but that’s exactly why I took this job, the challenge is there and I know that if you all listen to what I’m saying then we will have a good season’

Silence from the team as the new manager pulled out a flip board and started drawing

‘4-4-2, nothing fancy, target man and poacher up top, box to box runners in the middle, 2 wide men getting the ball into the big man, and a flat back 4 that stays back and defends only. Any questions?’

Before anyone could answer he carried on ‘We’re going to go all out attack every game, every game is there for the taking, no excuses, if we lose we go down fighting. I want 100% from you every game. I am here for 1 reason and 1 reason only, and that is to win the league’

‘It’s a good job that fitness coach can speak English you know’ his assistant manager Jim Love remarked

‘You what?’ Vince replied

‘They’re all Japanese Vince ya daft bugger, and you’re speaking in English with a Scottish accent’ Jim Love said as the clubs fitness coach was explaining in Japanese what Vince had said

‘Oh, bugger, that might be an issue’. As the fitness coach finished speaking and pointing to the flip board, Vince approached him. ‘Thanks for telling the team what I had said. I need you as translator as well as fitness coach’

‘No problem, you no speak Japanese, I speak English, we match made in heaven’ the fitness coach said with a grin

‘Look, I need this lot to believe in me, so do me a favour will ya, tell the team that I turned down an offer from Pohang Steelers in South Korea to come here, as I firmly believe we can win the league this season’

With that the fitness coach turned to the team, spoke in Japanese and as if by magic all 20 players turned and looked wide eyed at Vince Lloyd, their new , and apparently in demand manager

A few moments after the team left for the training pitch, Vince asked the fitness coach ‘Did you tell them about Pohang?

‘Yes Vince, they firmly on board now’ he said trying to hold back tears of laughter

‘Something tells me he’s lying Vince’ Jim Love said

‘Sod off’

Edited by bigmattb28
Housekeeping - chapter title change

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Chapter 3 - Team talk fortunes

As he stood on the sideline of the pitch, wearing a white shirt, black trousers and grey shoes, his new team headed on to the pitch for their first match under his stewardship. For the past 9 weeks he’s been trying to convince himself joining this team was the right move, in his head he was making excuses, well my previous team released 6 first team players, none would sign new contracts, the wage budget was decresaed due to debt levels, not only that this team had come calling, Vince hadn’t approached them, they wanted him, they needed him he said with a laugh to himself. He’s got absolutely no loyalty to any team that isn’t called Motherwell FC and that doesn't play at Fir Park, but he is ambitious, he wants to emulate the greatest of all time Alex Ferguson, and to do that he needs to prove his worth, and coming here and meeting expectations, as in winning the league, will help him achieve his own dreams and ambitions.

The first 45 minutes of his tenure in Albirex were nothing spectacular. 0-0 away to Tampines Rovers with neither team really threatening. Both were having shots but most were long range efforts and neither keeper really had much to do. The first half time team talk of his time here was vital

‘Well. At least you’re not losing. You, big unit, you’ve played well so far, tell me what you need to get us a goal today’ Vince said to the clubs striker Rion Taki, a big intimidating presence, who has had the games best chance when he hit a half volley just inside the area, which the home keeper parried away in the 32nd minute

Taki spoke in Japanese to the clubs fitness coach and translator ‘He says just get the ball to him, he do the rest’ the translator said to Vince

‘Fantastic idea. Let’s get the ball to our forward to score, why didn’t I think of that?’ he said sarcastically, hoping it will spark some sort of reaction.



‘Right, tell them just to pump the ball forward, as early as possible, we’ll go all Sam Allardyce and route one the game’

The translator said something in Japanese, whether it was what Vince had said remains to be seen.

The second half came, and much like the first both teams only threatened from distance, that is until the 81st minute when there was a break through. The team looked really good in the build up, 18 passes between then before the ball was swung in by the clubs right sided midfielder Yuki Yamanouchi, the ball was swung in with some pace, it flew past the Tampines back line and into the path of the onrushing Taki who poked it home at the far post.  Whilst the break through was just what they needed, Vince couldn’t help but think the translator hadn’t told the team to play route one football, in fact the team has hardly played any log balls at all in the second half. With not long left in the game, they saw it out without any real threat from the home team and the ref blew for full time.

On the way out of the stadium on the team coach, Vince sat with his assistant Jim Love at the front

‘It was my half time team talk that did it you know’ Vince said

‘Did what? Make you look like a tit, because you really did’ Jim replied

‘Shut it, you know fine well I’ve got this lot eating out of the palm of my hand’

‘Hah funny guy, look you really need work on that you know, don’t you remember during that cup game at Hougang when you called Funaki a kung pow chicken sh*t because he didn’t block that shot? You got fined by the Singaporean FA for that’

‘Haha yeah I remember, Rodders found it funny didn’t he’

‘Maybe, but you really need to work on your people skills Vince, it may not end well’

‘Ahh we’ll see, don’t you worry about me ya daft twit I’m…’

Jim cut him off ‘That’s what I mean, you’re always calling people names, it’s banter between us, we’ve known each other years, but to footballers, especially in players that don’t get your banter, you’ll regret it pal’

‘Alright life coach, sorry, how I see it, I gave a team talk at half time in a game we weren’t winning, by full time we’d won, therefore I’d say I did alright, agree?

‘Debatable, fitness coach over there may have said something totally different to what you said’

‘Well if I find out he has, I’ll kill him’

‘Not funny’

With that the team coach headed the short journey back to their training ground, and Vince started formulating a team plan for the next game, a home match against the club he left for his current team, Hougang United, this was definitely a game he needed to win. With the team showing some desire to win today's game, he’s already decided he won’t change the line up and the same team that started today’s game will start the next.

Edited by bigmattb28
Housekeeping - chapter title change

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22 hours ago, mark wilson27 said:

Really enjoying your work mate

Thanks for the kind words mate

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Chapter 4 - The right decision

‘I told you, I told you this team were in for a hiding this year, you can’t have a director of football that knows nothing about football being in charge of contracts, look at how this team played today, not 1 of them gave a sh*t today, and I am absolutely loving it’’ Vince screamed at the directors box from the touchline ‘And another thing, who is this absolute schmuck you chose to replace me?!’ he continued as the new Hougang manager, Vince’s former under 18’s manager who he never once spoke to during his 18 months in Hougang approached him to shake hands at the final whistle.

‘Come on Vince calm down, you don’t want to be getting in bother with the FA after only 2 games’ Jim Love, the clubs assistant manager and Vince’s best friend said as he tried to calm him down

‘Shut up Vince, you’re a disgrace to football, I’m glad you’re gone…’ the rest of what the Hougang chairman was saying was drowned out by the sound of the fans cheering as the final had been blown, Vince’s outburst had started just as the fourth official put the board up for extra time, 3 minutes, 3 full minutes of Vince screaming and mouthing off at the directors box

‘Do you want some do ya? Come on then you Singaporen sheep shagger’ Vince carried on his verbal assault before Jim Love, with the help of the clubs security guards dragged him into the dressing room.

‘F*cking brilliant that lads, abso-bloody-loutley epic stuff that, the stuff of dreams, keep playing like that and the league title is ours!’ Vince gave his team talk, to which the fitness instructor spoke in Japanese to the team

‘Oh, and you’ve all earned tomorrow off, go home, put your feet up and relax’

With that the team headed out. In his own head, Vince had just masterminded an incredible 2-0 victory over his former employers, and at this moment there seems to be no better feeling. It’s not as if he left on bad terms really, he won the League Cup in his first season there, finished a very respectable 2nd in the league after finishing 7th the season before, and they won the FA Cup last season under his management. Those 2 trophies are the only trophies Hougang has ever won, but on today’s showing, the desire for more increases.

As with his time in Hougang, Vince’s go to tactic so far at Albirex is a standard 4-4-2, 2 flat back line, 4 across the middle and a big man little man combo up. Following Motherwell religiously until he took his first step in management by coming to Singapore, he had never really witnessed any technical football being played, and with that he was confident in his ability to coach this style of play, and it worked well for him so far. Despite going down 3-0 away to Home United, questions were asked in the locker room in anger, who the f*ck was marking that tall pr*ck at the far post, what were you doing for their second? Marking who?!? What’s a regista?!? Oh defensive midfielder, that’s great son but he was on the half way line when we went 2 down, and don’t even talk to me about their third, all of you p*ss off now.

The team had merely lived up to expectations by the time April and 13 league games came around. Top of the league with a record of 9 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses, scoring 21 and conceding only 8, 3 of which were in that Home United game.

Turns out he’s quite good at this football management lark, so Vince keeps telling himself.

Edited by bigmattb28

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Chapter 5 – Turning point

‘It’s not that hard really, pick 11 lads out of this lot, tell that fella over there what you want to say and he tells the team in Japanese, they go out and win’

‘But surely there comes…’ the young female reporter was cut off

‘Yeah, I am quite good at this, despite not speaking the lingo these players are all on board with me, I’m like the messiah, or something’ Vince replied to the young lady

‘Your team look unbeatable, going the full month without losing, you must be happy with that?’

‘It’s my tactics and the training plans I’ve got in place that do it flower, this league just can’t cope with the way we play, just look at the defending champions Warriors, they’ve just given the manager the boot, they’re already caving in and conceding the title to us’

‘Well that certainly is true the Warriors manager has been sacked, but I think we’ve run out of time, thank you for your, erm, insights today Vince’ the reporter finished off and headed out of the media room at Jurong East Stadium, home of Albirex Niigata.

May came and went without much fanfare, the team only had 2 games due to international commitments, but won both without, as Vince kept telling the players, breaking a sweat, however it was the Singapore cup quarter final first leg that really showed what Vince was made of.

Playing the first leg away to Balestier, the game plan was simple, get the ball up top quickly, have the big man either control or knock it down for the smaller forward, get a goal, rinse and repeat. However Balestier had ideas of their own, namely taking the game to Albirex and within the first 7 minutes, there was a goal for Balestier as they went on the attack and after a good build up and ball into the feet of Abdul Aziz, he buried it.

‘Sit down you absolute fairy, you’ve not won anything yet’ Vince had screamed at the Balestier manager. True, he was acting like they’ve already won the cup but it was the second goal that really got Vince’s back up. A quick and decisive counter attack undid Albirex, they had been on top of the game and in the 8 minutes since conceding, they had no less than 4 shots on target, 3 of which the keeper saved and the last being cleared of the line, it was just a matter of time before they equalised, however Balestier held on and got their rewards with a second. The 11 Albirex players on the pitch actually looked deflated, their heads all dropped and Balestier looked comfortable for the remainder of the half. All of the shots Albirex conjured up came in those opening 19 minutes, and from then they created nothing.

Vince left the half time team talk to his assistant Jim Love, who in turn relayed his message to the clubs fitness coach and translator, but nothing came out of it. The full time whistle eventually came around and the whole coaching staff from Balesiter ran onto the pitch and gave a lap of honor with the team whilst the Albirex players all went into the dressing room

‘Look at those f*cking knobs, they actually think they’ve won the cup already, hey you, blonde tit, yeah you’ Vince had shouted towards a member of what he thought was the Balestier coaching staff, but in fact was one of the ball boys ‘Yeah we’ll have you in the second leg you mark my words sh*t house!’ the game finished a disappointing 2-0 to Balestier, the only saving grace is that this is the first leg of the quarter final of the FA Cup, the second leg is going to be testing to say the least.

As Vince and Jim walked into the changing room, there was a hush all around. The translator walked up with his notepad and before he said anything Vince cut him off ‘Don’t, just don’t. There’s no point in me screaming and shouting and giving you the hair dryer treatment, you’re all an absolute’ He was cut off by the translator

‘Vince what exactly is hair dryer treatment?’

‘A figure of speech, look I don’t need you this time, go get a shower or something’ he turned back to the players ‘Where was I? Oh yeah, look, you may not understand me, you may not even listen to what I have to say, but that today, that was nearly as bad as watching Motherwell in the late 90’s, and that’s being polite. I don’t have anything else to say, if there is ever a time to show your mental strength, this is it’ He finished and walked out.

Tomoki Menda, a right sided full back asked the team in Japanese ‘What did he just say?’

Ryuya Motoda, the only player in today’s squad that spoke English replied ‘Dunno, something about being gay’.

With a chuckle among themselves they headed out of the room and on to the team coach.

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Chapter 6 – Touching distance

‘That’s exactly what I’m talking about, every day when I say only concentrate on playing football, this is what I mean’ he gave his translator a moment to rely the message ‘There is absolutely no reason you can’t get another 4 goals in the second half, Tommy, great work at the back son’ he directed toward Tommy Stokes, an Australian center half that is part Japanese on his fathers side ‘Thanks boss, just doing what you said, stop the attack, get the ball out wide’

‘Keep it up. The rest of you, this is a great opportunity for you to go out there and let everyone know last week’s first leg was a blip, an anomaly, this time though we don’t let up, we go out and we show them all exactly what we’re made of’. The team seemed to respond positively, they had gone 2-0 up just like their opponents last week within the first half, except this time they were now drawing the leg 2-2, and the next 45 minutes would be make or break.

‘Rion, RION you f*cking donkey, hold it up and play it out there, no not there, over here look’ Vince was pointing to where he wanted the ball to be played, out wide where the Balesiter left back was on a yellow card, however as Rion Taki, current leading scorer doesn’t speak English, he can only assume what Vince wants from him.

As the second half continued on Vince was doing his own in-game commentary in his head, like what players of the game Football Manager do (which has been proven true by various forums online), the ball’s played forward by the center half, moved from central midfield, give and go between the left sided players….now the ball’s played forward to Taki up top, he’s got the ball edge of the D, looking for options, here’s Motado with a burst of speed down the right, Taki plays it into his path, Motado takes a touch, fakes a cross and the defender is all over the place, Motoda has options, he plays it along the floor…TAKKKIIIIIIII it’s in, 3-0!! Taki stroked the ball home just inside the area to make it 3-0 on the day and 3-2 on aggregate.

78th minute of the game

Saito was mouthing something towards Vince on the touchline, however it’s in Japanese so Vince is struggling to understand what he’s saying

‘Up to you, hit it or run the clock down’ He mouthed back whilst making gestures with his hands. Saito had no idea what his manager had just said so, taking a short run up hit the dead ball up and over the wall into the left hand side of the goal, the keeper got a hand on it but it was his touch that took it over the line, 4-0 on the day, 4-2 on aggregate, game over and a place in the semi final of the cup.

At the full time whistle Vince rushed out of his seat with 1 idea in mind, to rub it in the faces of the Balestier coaching team, but just as he did Jim Love grabbed his arm and yanked him back

‘Don’t do it pal, it will wind them up even more if you don’t do anything, let the players and fans do all the cheering, be the bigger man’

‘But I just wanna, look at the little sh*t house…’

‘If it was the other way around, you’d be more annoyed if they just left it, just shake hands and go to the dressing room.

Which Vince did. No gloating, no shouting, just a simple hand shake and walk down the tunnel. The best revenge was letting the team do the talking. No team talk was needed, nothing needed to be said, the players knew they’d done just what they had to, and now had a semi final against defending S League champions Warriors. Before then, they had a game against Tampines Rovers in the league, and just like this game they scored 4 goals and came away with a 4-1 win, and 3 points better off

‘There’s 7 games to go, and really, it’s only a matter of time before we get that league title wrapped up’

‘Agreed Vince, lets not let up, go out to win every game, we’ve got a nice 7 point cushion, unless something catastrophic happens, I’m sure we’ll be champions before the season is over’ Jim Love replied

‘It’s ours to lose, I knew coming here was the right thing at the right time to do, it’s going to open doors for us when we win this league you know’

‘1 thing at a time pal, 7 games is a lot of football, not to mention the semi of the cup as well, we’ve got to stay firmly grounded’

Vince knew it was a formality that the club were going to be league champions, surely there was no way they’d throw a 7 point lead away, or would they?

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Jim deserves a knighthood!

Fabulous read, looking forward to more

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1 hour ago, Mandy42 said:

Jim deserves a knighthood!

Fabulous read, looking forward to more

Hey man cheers for the support.

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Chapter 7 – It’s in our hands

‘The bloody German’s. Never count them out’ Jim Love remarked as Germany won the 2018 World Cup with a 3-1 over Belguim in the final.

During the same week, Vince’s former team Hougang United have turned the corner as they won the Singaporean League Cup, their second in 3 years, after spending much of the season struggling for points. ‘Meh, they only won it because of the team I built you know’ Vince said to Jim as the final whistle went in the cup final they were watching together.

‘You’re so far up your own a*se it’s unreal, when you left half of the team also left, not to mention me, Steve, Andy and Marc all left Hougang and came with you here. There’s literally nothing left of you in Hougang mate, they’ve done this completely without you’ Jim love said

‘Well, whatever, they won their first 2 trophies under my leadership’ he said to Jim who just stood there and stared a hole through Vince ‘As well as your exceptional coaching of course’ Vince carried on sarcastically.

For Albirex, there were 7 league and at least 2 cup games to go in their season. The first 2 being the semi-final first and second legs against Warriors, the current S League champions, who barring a catastrophic set of circumstances aren’t going to be retaining the title, and are looking less and less like champions as the weeks pass by.


As the final whistle went in the second leg of the semi, there was an air of relaxation as the teams played out a 1 all draw at Jurong East, the home ground of Albirex Niigata, Vince had rotated the team and only 3 of the starting 11 from the first leg, an emphatic 3-0 win, started the second leg. Warrirors as expected were on the attack most of the game, even taking the lead in the 18th minute, but the quality of Albirex shone through even with a so called weaker line up. They kept passing the ball around and had countless chances that they didn’t convert. Vince wasn’t concerned, he knew if any of the regular starting forwards had been playing the game would have been wrapped up long before they did equalise in the 71st minute. Albirex had been playing with a swagger in their play, not once had they seemed flustered by the occasion, and played without fear. Vince always remarked in his team talks and daily meetings that there should be no bloody fear, we’re the strongest team in the league, not one team can hold a candle to you lot, you shouldn’t even break a sweat to win this division. His confidence eventually wore off on his players, they’re actually starting to like him.

Which became ever more apparent when Albirex hosted Vince’s former team Hougang United in the league. In their first encounter of the season, each team plays each other 3 times a season, Vince had been warned by the Singaporean FA for his conduct during the game in which he confronted the directors of Hougang United, after Albirex won 2-0. In this fixture however Hougang didn’t show up, or so that’s what you’d think after seeing the 5-0 result. At the full time whistle on this occasion Vince walked in front of the directors box, smiled and flipped the bird at the Hougang representatives. They were absolutely livid at the conduct of a manager who is fingertips away from winning the league as well as possibly winning the cup this season

‘You’re a disgrace to football. I’d do anything, ANYTHING to get you shipped off back to Scotland’ the Hougang chairman said, not really to Vince, he clearly couldn’t hear the chairman’s voice from the pitch, but as Vince stood there smirking like a child that’s just got away with something, a reporter from ESPN Asia came over for an impromptu interview       

‘Vince, I’m not sure if you know, but Tampines Rovers lost today, and they have a game in hand against Hougang on Wednesday, if they don’t beat Hougang, you will be crowned champions, what are your thoughts on your former team, and evidently a team you hold a grudge against being in a position to do you a favour?’

‘I’m not concerning myself with that, I’m only bothered about what we do and if today’s showing from Hougang is anything to go by, Tampines Rovers won’t even have to put some effort in to beat this lot, anyway I’m not bothered if Tampines win, it’s always been in our hands’

On the Wednesday, at 19:45, moments before Hougang United kick off at home to Tampines Rovers, Jim Love turns to Vince and says ‘This is either really stupid, or absolutely brilliant’

‘Haha, which do you think it is?’

‘I’ll let you know in 90 minute’s time old friend’

It wasn’t long until the fans in the stadium realised what was going on. The TV cameras and presumably radio coverage had picked up on it as well. In the Jalal Besan stadium, there is a standing section for fans in the East Stand which sits to the bottom left of the directors area, and currently housed in there, wearing Hougang United shirts and cheering the team on were none other than former manager and assistant manager Vince Lloyd and Jim Love. The fan’s clearly hadn’t forgotten that these 2 had brought Hougang their first 2 pieces of silverware and were delighted to be stood next to them, a lot getting photos and autographs and joining in the chants. Up in the directors box word got to Bill Ng, the Hougang chairman

‘You’re kidding me?!? Where exactly?’ the chairman asked the steward who brought him the news, who then pointed out where Vince and Jim were

‘That b*stard. If we don’t lose this game, he’s going to win the league, if we do lose he’s going to stand there and rub it in, he really is unbelievable that guy’

Vince really was living it up in the East Stand. He was getting the crowd going by chanting and hollering at the opposition fans. He’d been asked to leave the stadium already, but as he was a paying customer and technically not doing anything wrong, he managed to stay in the ground. By the time the 75th minute rolled around, and Hougang had scored their 6th goal of the game, Vince had the section of the stadium singing we are the champions, much to the disdain of the Hougang players, staff and chairman. At full time Vince jumped over the barricade and proceeded to run on to the pitch cheering and generally making an idiot of himself, but he didn’t care, his team had just been crowned champions of Singapore and it wasn’t long before security apprehended him and escorted him off the premises.

‘This is a cause for celebration Jim, we’re going out tonight, but first we need a little bit of the bubbly to celebrate’ Vince was saying to Jim as they made their way into the players lounge of Jurong East Stadium, half an hour or so away from Jalal Besan Stadium. As Vince popped the first champagne bottle he yelled DRINK IT IN MAAAAANNNN and proceeded to neck as much of the bottle as possible. They were soon joined by the chairman and other directors of Albirex Niigata who congratulated them and joined in the celebrations. It wasn’t long until the players had made their way to the stadium as well, there is a no drinking rule during the season for the players, but Vince said that didn’t apply to coaching staff, and proceeded to drink his body weight in alcohol.

Edited by bigmattb28

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Chapter 8 – Singapore? Completed it mate.

‘It’s been a great 2 and a half years for you hasn’t it Vince, 2 cup wins as well as the league win, you’re really on a roll, but DPMM have beaten you in the last 3 meetings between you, does that a psychological edge on you and the team? The reporter asked.

‘No not at all. Barry Ferguson has done well with his team, but I’m always going to back my boys no matter what’ Vince replied

Another reporter, this one from Sun Sports Asia asked ‘Even if you win this game, DPMM are going to be in the Asian Champions League, and Balesiter, due to finishing third in the league behind DPMM are going into the Asia Confederations Cup, with Albirex not being eligible for either of those, does that not weigh on your mind that no matter how well you do domestically, this club will never be able to test themselves at continental level?’

Vince wasn’t prepared for the question, in fact he’d not even wrote any notes going into the press conference, but that statement actually made him make a decision on the fly, something he’d not actually thought about until now. ‘That hadn’t actually ever crossed my mind, I just want to continue improving my players as well as improving myself, and hopefully building on the success I’ve tasted already. Thank you for your time, I’ve got a team to prepare now.’  

The day after the press conference, and the day of the final, Vince and Jim Love walked into the dressing room, the team had already been picked the day before and the starting 11 were in their kits, ready to go out to the field, to play in the Singaporean cup final. Vince decided to say a few words before they left the room

‘Look, we’ve not always seen eye to eye, but we’ve had a great season already haven’t we with the league win, but do me a favour please, go out there and beat these f*ckers today, I can’t stand to imagine the smug look that tw*t Barry Ferguson will give us if we suffer another loss to him’

The players all responded positively to Vince’s words. It would be a fitting end to their season if they won the cup, but after winning the league it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they did lose the final to DPMM, who have beaten Albirex in the last 3 games between them.

He'd been here before, twice Vince had found himself in cup finals in the last 2 years, and both times he’d come out the other side as the winning manager. In his head he wasn’t sure he was going to win a third time, DPMM have beaten Albirex in the last 3 meetings between the sides, and as their current manager is ex Rangers and Scotland midfielder Barry Ferguson, and Vince is a lifelong, for better or worse Motherwell fan, he despises any and all Scottish teams not called Motherwell.

‘You can’t win you know’

‘Says who, certainly not you?’

‘We’ve embarrassed you in the last 3 games, if I’d had been here earlier I’d have made sure you wouldn’t have won the league either’ Barry Ferguson said as both men were on the touchline, exchanging pre match words. He wasn’t wrong, since Steve Ken left DPMM and went to Malaysia, Barry Ferguson took over and in the 3 games they played each other, Vince has been on the losing side

‘Doubtful, I rested players against your lot, we’re winning this game believe Baz’

‘We’ll see’ Barry replied and walked away.

As for the game itself, it certainly was an advert for football in Singapore. Both teams took the game seriously and went at it, there were multiple chances for each and by the time the full time whistle came, both goalkeepers had earned their wages, with both making some exceptional saves to deny the other team.

‘Well, all I can say is unlucky going forward, their keeper is playing a blinder, we just need to be wary of attacks on the counter’ Vince was addressing the team on the pitch, he’d told them not to go into the dressing room. He turned to the clubs translator ‘Tell Taki I want him holding it up edge of the box, I’m doing something we’ve not done before’ as the translator brings Taki over, Vince turns to the only English speaking member of the team Tommy Stokes, an Australian half Japanese center half. ‘Tommy, how confident are you up top son?’

‘In attack boss?

‘Yes, I’m thinking outside the box here, they won’t expect you up there, when we get the ball back I want to play it out of defence, then get the ball into you over the top for you to head down, just like we practiced on corners, except this time in open play’

‘I’ll give it a go boss, but what about the gap at the back?’

‘I’m moving the 4 in the middle around, don’t worry about that’ As Vince finished DPMM were making their way out of the tunnel, ready for the second half.

It wasn’t long until the gamble paid off. DPMM had the ball all of extra time so far and had a shot that whistled over the bar, had it been on target the Albirex keeper should’ve covered it. As he was about to take the goal kick, Vince nodded to Tommy Stokes, who turned to the keeper and explained what was going on. As he turned away he darted forward just as the keeper played a short ball to Taro Yokoyama, a young center promoted to the first team by Vince Lloyd on his first day in the job, he played it wide to Ryuya Motado, the clubs player of the year, he made a run forward down the right wing before playing in field to Kenya Kodama in center midfield, all the while Stokes was now in the center forward position, he dropped a little deeper to receive the ball from Kodama and then played it back out wide to Motado who’d carried on his run, he then chipped the ball back into Stokes who was now on the edge of the box, inside left channel, and being a natural left footer put in the most delightful thru ball you’d ever see a defender play, it was almost defence splitting as the 2 center halves were all over the place, neither committing to closing down either Stokes or the onrushing Tsubasa Sano from midfield who placed the ball to the keepers left to give Albirex the lead in extra time.

After the celebrations died down, Vince composed himself and shuffled the team again. Stokes went back to center half, Sano the goal scorer went into defensive midfield, the 2 wingers were given defensive roles and the instruction was retain possession and be more disciplined.

The fight back was on as DPMM went 4-2-4 and threw everything at the Albirex defence. Long ball over the top was the aim from Barry Ferguson, and it almost worked a couple of times. Their main striker, 6 foot 4 Ramzotti, their leading scorer with 13 had their best chance to equalise when the ball was played into him and he out jumped Tommy Stokes to head the ball down into his strike partners path. Instead of taking the shot on the smaller man passed back to Ramazotti who hit it first time towards goal, but the ball took a wicked deflection off another DPMM player which almost wrong footed Hasegwa in the Albirex goal, almost. He twisted his body to his right at the last minute to palm the ball onto the bar, but was then able to gather the rebound and run some time down for his team.

Not long now. 10 seconds. 9. 8. 7. Each passing second seem to take an age. 3.2.1. Come on ref why aren’t you blowing the f*cking whistle? Vince was talking to himself, willing the ref to blow. Hasegwa launched the ball forward but there were no Albirex players there to get onto it, not that it mattered as finally the ref blew for full time. Albirex had won the Singaporean cup, and Vince Lloyd has completed a domestic double!

3 days later

As he sat waiting at the desk in the chairman's office at Jurong East Stadium, the chairman had already said he wants to discuss the team’s plan to defend their S League crown next season, but Vince has another thing on his mind. He’s practiced what he’s going to say over and over in his head already, at least 100 times, the decision was actually made a few days ago in a press conference, but as he sits there, his hand written note in his hand, the chairman comes in and smiles at Vince, but before he can say anything to him, Vince stood up, and said only 4 words to the chairman, as he knew his life had changed already, and he only wants to go 1 way and that way is up, and when those 4 words left his mouth, the chairman had nothing to say, no comeback, no pleading, just gratitude and thanks, and when Vince said those 4 words, the end of a great year for Albirex had just arrived.


‘This is the end’


Edited by bigmattb28

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