Weston’s Super Mare? – Episode 33: Doing it properly

Right, before anyone says anything; I know, we need a good striker. And, not to sound too Brexit-y (what is Brexit? This is 2014!), we need English players too in order to meet the league requirements. I have learned my lessons from last season. That is why I went out and snapped up this little beauty.

He may have the name of a player from the 60s but he is our modern-day saviour and I am confident that he will be the difference between draws and wins this season. He’s a beast. An English beast.

Once that deal was done, I was handed some excellent news regarding my own contract. The maximum they would offer me is an additional two years. Not bad, I suppose, but given that I was pleading to sign on for longer the contract I was given seems a little bit conservative. Obviously winning an actual cup for the club doesn’t guarantee you very much job security.

More exciting news for those fans of sponsorship admin as the club signed yet another lucrative deal. This new sponsorship package gives us a whopping £4,500 per year for the next three years. That will go a long way to filling the funding gap created by yet more expansion work to the stadium, as announced last episode.

With this influx of cash, expectations have changed at the club. Whilst last season the board expected me to battle against relegation, this season we are expected to consolidate. Quite what that means in real terms I am not sure, but they have at least given me an extra £300 in weekly wages to splash on some players to help me meet our targets.

In a welcome break from our frustrating league campaign, I put my feet up for a few days over the summer and enjoyed the Brazil 2014 World Cup. England, having lost out in a play-off to Russia, were not competing. Nor were Wales, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. However, the Home Nations were being represented in Brazil as Scotland made their first tournament in what felt like forever. Once they were there, though, they seemed content to follow in the footsteps of Scottish teams of old by not managing to get out of the group stages. Two draws and a loss condemned them to a bottom-placed finish in Group C.

They may have gone home early, but all of Scotland collectively reminded fans of the other Home Nations that you did at least have to qualify in order to suffer an early exit, before sticking their fingers in their ears and making loud noises until everyone else agreed to shut up about it.

Whilst Scotland fans were grieving their side, France were busy winning the entire tournament, beating Mexico 4-1 in the final in the Maracana. Well done France. Mugs.

So, with only the joy of watching Scotland get dumped out of yet another World Cup to warm my cockles, I was forced to turn to scouting for more players. The club may be wanting me to consolidate this season, but I have loftier ambitions. We will be on the hunt for promotion, or I will get very annoyed. To start things off, I signed up Joel Ambalu on a three-month loan deal from West Bromwich Albion. Joel is English (tick) and a striker (tick). Let’s hope he bangs in a few goals during his time at the club. Say hello to the nice people, Joel.

Next through the swinging doors that I have had installed at the club was Liam Conway. Liam is, let’s face it, lacking in the talent department, but he is quick and young and he will provide a good bit of cover for Norwegian Mo and Captain Barbosa.

Conway’s first act as a Weston player, before even kicking a ball in anger, was to get himself ruled out for three months after knackering his hip in training. New physio, Rachel Greenley, must have been left some handover notes by David Callow who left us last season. I assume they went along the lines of “GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN. SO. MANY. BROKEN. WRISTS.” but we will never know. Either way, in her first week of the job she was already getting well acquainted with the kind of injuries she will be having to deal with. If she didn’t know before what the job would be like, she does now.

My next signing was English central midfielder, Roy Burnell. Burnell is another young player with the name of an old chap who wears a flat cap and who brings his two massive dogs to the pub and insists it is fine despite it not being fine, but he will offer us some much-needed steel in a defensive midfield role. He’s also bald at the age of 18, so steer clear of him, he’s probably hard.

And finally, I brought back lovely old George Moncur on a season-long loan from West Ham United. He performed well for us after joining in January last season and he will add much-needed competition to the centre of the park.

One last mention of player ins and outs; I allowed Gavin Donoghue to leave and sign for Altrincham. He was shown up a bit last season and was a bit out of his depth in League Two football, so I thought it would be best to let him leave and get some game time rather than have him rotting in our reserves. Thanks, Gav, see you around!

Our preseason schedule was not as packed as it usually is with ridiculous friendlies against big clubs. Instead, I went for a mixture of big teams and sides that would give us a good test of where we were at. We faired pretty well, too, only losing to Liverpool and Chester (oddly). In our other games we beat two Championship sides pretty comfortably, one League One side, and a load of Blue Square Premier sides. On the basis of the results (although a good preseason is no guarantee of a good rest of the season) I think we will fare a bit better than last season. We have definitely sorted out the goal scoring problems; we grabbed 25 in our eleven games.

We even had some admirers, in the shape of Sheffield United manager Alan Shearer. Shearer liked the way we pass the ball around, which makes sense because we are excellent. Unlike the last ex-England legend that I have faced in football management so far (PAUL INCE), I think I can find it in myself to get along with good old Alan, who strikes me as being a bit like a nice, old Labrador that is just happy to be involved. You keep it up, Alan, and maybe one day we will face off in a competitive match. There’s a good boy.

Before we opened our new League Two season against AFC Wimbledon (again), we were told who we would be playing in this year’s League Cup. Last season we got to the second round before being knocked out by Premier League Newcastle. This season we would have to make our way past Bournemouth, our JPT semi-final opponents from last season, if we wanted the opportunity to do so again.

Well then, that was preseason. Drop me a comment down below if you think the signings that I have made will be the difference between us being a mid-table side and one challenging for promotion. How do you think we will fare when we play Bournemouth again? Where do you think we will come in the league? Let me know! Until next time, cheers!



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