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The Alan Thompson Chronicles

Started on 23 October 2013 by a_esbech / First Post
Latest Reply on 13 November 2013 by edu1878 / Last Post
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A very nice update Esbech, this is a great start. I need to read that book that you mentioned, Louis told me something about it.
2013-10-28 08:33#139900 Walter : A very nice update Esbech, this is a great start. I need to read that book that you mentioned, Louis told me something about it.

I also suggested that he uses it, but he made his own decision before. Which happens to be that too :P
2013-10-28 08:42#139902 Louis O. :
2013-10-28 08:33#139900 Walter : A very nice update Esbech, this is a great start. I need to read that book that you mentioned, Louis told me something about it.

I also suggested that he uses it, but he made his own decision before. Which happens to be that too :P

Great minds think alike. It's due a reread for me as well.
Some great updates here mate :D
a_esbech's avatar Group a_esbech
5 yearsEdited

Part 3: Setting up Shop

Alan was sitting on the wooden bench in the first team's dressing room. He was tying up his brand new boots, the Franz Beckenbauer model, Adidas Copa Mundial. He liked those boots. He stood up and looked at himself in the mirror. Track suit trousers and a t-shirt both were black with yellow detail, the two primary colours of Olsa Brakel. The T-shirt had a big AT written on the chest, Alan had thought that even if the team was in the relegation zone of the Belgian 3rd Division they certainly didn't want their manager to look like it. It felt completely professional.

It was Friday afternoon and it was Alan's first day at Olsa Brakel. Alan had been offered the job last week, he had accepted and the club had given him the weekend to pack all of his things. He had moved to Belgium on Wednesday and was accommodated in a small house on Tenbossestraat roughly half a mile from the Parkweg Stadium and training grounds. He had travelled the half mile on foot, but decided that he probably need a bike soon. When he arrived he was greeted by the kit manager who showed him into the dressing rooms and gave him his new track suit and 3 t-shirts to wear. The kit manager told Alan that the first team had a washing basket in the dressing room and he could just throw all dirty things in there. Alan was offered a pair of shin-pads and boots, but he had already brought his own and respectfully declined.

As Alan was standing there looking at himself in the mirror trying to understand that he was only a few hours away from his first training session at a semi-professional football team, the door to the dressing room flung open. A young man came in, roughly the same age as Alan, he introduced himself as Roman Lambert, his new assistant manager. They walked in to the office designated for the coaching staff. Here they talked over the different aspects of the jobs at the club. Alan gave Lambert some of the tasks that were expected of him, such as instructing the team how to deal with the opposition's players done from the research of the scouting report provided by the head scout.

"Let's talk tactics" Alan said "how did you play before I took over?"
"Usually we played a regular 4-4-2 with an offset midfield." Lambert said "but I would have preferred to play a 4-2-3-1 to gain more control of the midfield."
"I agree with you on that point, but I don't want to gain control by having two midfielders staying back to hold. These days a lot of teams a playing with on up top, which means we have a lot more people in midfield to worry about. I want to play with a defensive midfielder who will drop back between the centre backs when we go forward. This will allow the wide backs to get forward and add width to the midfield, we would then be playing a flat 3-4-3 as the wingers will go forward." Alan explained with passion
"That sounds good, but are you sure the players will understand this?" Lambert asked
"That's my hope, why shouldn't they? It is not that complicated". Alan said, he was taken aback by the question. People who get paid to play football should get this kind of stuff?
"Well, we'll have to practice it. A lot" Lambert said.
"Ok" Alan got the notion that he may not have the best players in the world available to him, far from it. "So who should I look out for in the different positions?"
"Well we've got a few guys in on loan and some of our own, but to start off with the goalkeeper we have our captain James De Cabooter, he's a great leader, but I've seen better goalkeepers." Lambert said and went on about each positions strenghts and weaknesses.

Quite a few of the best players at Olsa Brakel seemed to have come in on loan. Jordy Van Acker at right back, Kylian Butseraen at defensive midfield and Steve Bael at left wing. These was, according to Lambert, only surpassed by the club's own Steve Jacobs at central midfield or right wing. Alan noted the names of players like Arne Houtekier, at left back, one of the most essential players in the season so far. The central midfield duo Kenneth Van Den Berghe and Kevin Mackaert. The defensive pairing was Kjell Knipping and Yannick Pauletti. The big issue was the strikers position. Despite having 4 pro strikers they seemed to have failed to find the net. 3 of the strikers were, according to Lambert, not good enough to start, the last one, Jelle Delie, simply couldn't find the back of the net.

"Oh and I should probably mention" Lambert said as he rounded off his report "All pro players' contracts are ending this summer. We haven't got a budget to allow any salary increases unless we release some players. So we should look into offering pay cuts to all players."
This Alan Thompson is one cool cat!!!
Ahh, the reverse sweeper. But will your team execute it well?
2013-10-31 08:35#140449 Arvind : Ahh, the reverse sweeper. But will your team execute it well?

I'm still figuring that out :))
Ahhhh, Copa Mundials... I used to have them. Great boots.

Part 4: The First Away Day

Alan had been in charge of Olsa Brakel for little over a week now. He had quickly come to realise that the level of football being played wasn't much different to the one he knew at Hardly Athletic, he had even thought of calling one or two of the lads he knew from back home. The lads worked hard the few hours each week they had for training. They had to run a lot of short passing drills, but most of the practice was playing to either one or two goals just to get the feel of the tactics right. Alan was now standing on the touchline of the impressive Florent Beeckmansstadium in Denderleuw. Alan reckoned that there might even be clubs in the English third tier who would kill to get a stadium like this.

This was a first in many ways for Alan. It was his first away game for Olsa Brakel, it was his first game for Olsa Brakel, it was his first game ever in professional football. It was also the first time he had ever thrown up because of nerves. It was the tenth match since Olsa had last won, having only grabbed two points along the way. Alan had been so tense for the past three days that he could hardly sleep. The only reason he could walk today was all down to coffee and red bull, however these stimulants only seemed to enhance his nervous twitching and anxiety.

Alan was still getting used to the pre game routine. As he was delivering his first ever pre match talk, he was interrupted by a knocking on the door and had to give time for the three refs telling the team about the game. This had distracted Alan so much that the only thing he could think of saying when the referees had left was "Just remember what we did in training!" and Alan led the team out 10 minutes early for the warm-up. Alan realised his mistake when he saw that the home crowd was giving the abuse for the 10 minutes until the home team, FCV Dender, came out onto the pitch. Alan thanked every God he could think of that the crowd only counted 800 people.

15 minutes later the game was going. Dender had been agonisingly close to scoring, but only a super save from James De Cabooter ensured that the game was on level terms. The game clock showed Alan that the game was only 5 minutes old as Van Acker hit an early cross. As the cross sailed past attackers and defenders alike Alan got irritated; they had practised for several hour that Van Acker was to overlap the winger and try to cross from the goal line. The ball eventually got picked up by Steve Bael who looked up and made a backwards pass to the edge of the box where Kenneth Van Den Berghe unleashed a thunderous shot. The ball sailed past the closets upright leaving little chance for the goalkeeper to reach it. The team bundled on Van Den Berghe in celebration. As they were trotting back to their own half noone as much as looked at Alan.

"The best time to score is just after the other team has scored a great goal. They will be unfocused and think that nothing can hurt them." Alan thought back on this quote as the ball was kicked off. He started shouting that the players should remain focussed. As he yelled just the word "focus" for the third time Dender had worked the ball into the Brakel penalty box. As the attacker was trying to shield the ball Kjell Knipping, the centre back, tried to go for the tackle, pushing they guy with the ball in the back, who let himself fall to the ground. Alan looked around. Flag waving. Whistle blowing. Ref pointing. Alan looked at the clock and saw that they had had the lead for 45 seconds. So much for the great start.

40 minutes later they walked back into the dressing room with the score 1 all. The penalty had sucked the life out of the game as the Brakel players were looking to get more and more afraid to go forward. This left little space for Dender to attack in. This would all be well and good if Brakel had come here for 1 point, but to stay clear of relegation they had to beat FCV Dender. Alan tried to be as optimistic as possible in his half time talk and even said that he loved the goal, despite it being as far removed from the tactic as it could get. Early crosses and long shots were banished during tactical training. Alan asked the team to move a bit more forward in the second half.

As the second half was 4 minutes old, the Dender right wing put Arne Houtekier 2 yards behind as feinted a bit and slit past him. This resulted in that the winger could pick out his opposite number on the left side who could easily trap the ball, make a move and force it past Van Acker and De Cabooter making the score 2-1. So much for going forward and allowing Dender space. Alan started to shout instructions to the players "We have to stay aggressive", "Don't lose your heads", "Pass and move; Pass and move!". Alan felt he was just shouting clichés.

The match started to reach an extreme tempo. You could be sure that when one team won the ball it wouldn't take more than a few seconds before they were ready to take a shot. Both teams' defences played really well. Just before the hour mark Brakel broke the play in the middle of the pitch with a snap pass to Steve Bael, who then played an even faster one-two with Jelle Delie. As Bael caught up with the ball he was behind the Dender back line, onside and clear on goal. He opened up his body to place it past the Dender keeper. When the celebrations died down for the kick off, Alan started hoping that the team could score the ugly goals too, when needed.

A minute later Jelle Delie called for a pass into the attacking third, he got the ball and a Dender defenders boot in the knee too. Alan almost ran onto the pitch and kept shouting at the ref to send the player off. The ref inspected Delie and called for the physio. The ref started looking around for the defender and when he found him he instructed him, with his whistle, that he should join the ref for a nice conversation. As the player reluctantly walked back up the pitch the ref pulled out the yellow card. Just as Alan was to throw another bombardment of profanities at the referee Delie hobbled off, the physio signalled for a sub. Alan turned around looking for Christof Maes, he was already warming up on the sideline. As Maes ran onto the pitch the physio came up to Alan and told him that it was just a knock and the Delie would be ready to train tomorrow.

At the 66th minute Alan got irritated by another early cross, this time from Steven Jacobs. The ball and Christof Maes seemed to have the same destination but from different directions. Maes volleyed the early cross into the roof of the net and scored Brakel's 3rd goal of the game. Alan decided two things in that instant. Early crosses wasn't that bad. And, he wanted just the beautiful goals.

As the game wore on the Brakel players seemed more and more content in defending they lead. This led to a lot of possession from the Dender players which then again led to a lot of shots. 6 minutes before full time the ball was cleared by the Brakel defence. There were only three Brakel players on the Dender half. One was Bernd de Coene, who had been subbed on for a tired Kenneth Van Den Berghe. Kylian Butseran won an aerial duel and placed the ball at de Coene's feet. As the ball travelled towards de Coene, he turned and looked back down the pitch. Alan thought it was a good idea to keep possession and Van Acker had no marking. The ball didn't go back, de Coene flicked the ball on the first touch with the outside of his heel to Kevin Maerckert. Maerckert trapped the ball and with the precision of Dennis Bergkamp he put the ball into the space between the Dender defence and the goalkeeper. Christof Maes had started his run as de Coene received the ball, he caught up with it and for the second Bergkamp moment in the space of a couple of seconds he lobbed the ball over the keeper and saw it land in the net. 4-2 Christof Maes had scored his second. Bernd de Coene was standing just outside the technical area and unlike the rest of the team he turned to Alan gave him a hug and said, "Thanks, boss".

8 minutes later the referee blew his whistle. Alan had won his first pro game ever.
A great result for your first pro game!
Nothing but a one-hit wonder, I say.
2013-11-04 12:04#141648 Akash : Nothing but a one-hit wonder, I say.

Don't jinx it!
Your updates are really well worded! They're great, I'll definitely follow like I did your last Alan Thompson story, and this time I can follow from the start:P
Great writing Andreas, me likes it. Hopefully, you'll take your team to the top :)

You are reading "The Alan Thompson Chronicles".

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