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Paul: The Football Manager

My rise
Started on 21 November 2013 by TheNorthman
Latest Reply on 26 November 2013 by TheNorthman
  • POSTS17
  • VIEWS6618
I finally could sit down and say “I am a football Manager”

The last few days have been crazy. After living in Norway for the past 10 years I was finally moving away. I was going to miss Norway and hoped to return one day. Growing up in England I never wanted to leave my home town, but as always in life, things change.
People have been coming over to me all day as I did my shopping - Is it true Paul, are you going to Iceland?

“It is true, the chance of a lifetime came to me in the strangest way” I explained to Steven, the local butcher. I had walked in for some farse I brød, mouthwatering food that reminded me of home made burgers, but without the salad. I loved shopping there; you could smell the fresh meat, you could see the pigs hanging in the back waiting to be ripped and sold, the chunks of steak on the tables waiting for the knives to slice them up. The smell hit you as you entered and I loved it.

“I was finishing my coaching badges in Oslo a few weeks ago when I met the agent that the Norwegian FA assigned people to help us find work. We spoke for a while and he took my number saying that I have been watched during my coaching training and a couple of people wanted me. I could not believe it, I thought he was just trying to be nice to me.
No clubs would want to take a risk on me surely” I continued to explain to Steven.

Steven looked really interested and I was shocked, people has asked a lot about me leaving Egersund but no one had actually spoken to me about it in such detail, he asked me to continue.

The agent asked me if I was interested in going to Iceland, I told him my Icelandic was poor but of course I would love the chance. My agent asked me to meet him at the Icelandic FA, my mind started to wonder, who wants me, do they want me as a coach, assistant manager or could I be getting the chance of a life time and going straight into management? I arrived at the Icelandic FA, it was beautiful. Standing outside was Soal, my agent. He came and greeted me with a smile - come on Paul, they are waiting. I ran along with him, inside were two men who introduced themselves as chairman of the Icelandic FA and the other one as Oscar Olafsson, the chairman of IBV. I could not even pronounce the clubs full name. We entered long talks and it turned out both wanted me. Iceland wanted me to be the U19 manager and IBV to be the new manager of the club. I couldn't believe it, this was a dream come true.
I left the meeting as the New Iceland U19 manager and the Manager of Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja who I would from now on call IBV I explained to Steven.

Steven was laughing, - this is amazing, will you come back and visit and explain how you are getting on? Can this butcher become a Norwegian link to the club?

I couldn't help but to laugh back, my 1st real fan! But all the hard work was about to begin. I returned home, walking in with a smile on my face. My wife met me with a hug, and asked if I wanted coffee. I shouted yes as I ran upstairs to start packing, the excitement was to much for me and I had to spend energy on something. Even though I hated packing I found myself standing there with boxers all over the bed and a complete mess in the suitcase. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that we had a full week to get sorted, so no need to stress. I went downstairs to drink my coffee and relax with my family for a while, still with a smile on my lips. This would be a great journey, and a great change.

What will happen in the life of Paul Wandless, the football manager?
Wow brilliant start, have me hooked already. Good luck, and I will follow!
Chapter 2:

The day was here, the plane was on the runway and we were in our seats; me, my wife and our little boy. Two suitcases settled in the hold and five pallets of household items on a boat meeting us in Iceland. We would stay in a hotel for a few nights until the boat arrived with all our things. We would eventually load them all into a van before progressing to Vestmannaeyjar, the small island south of Iceland where IBV are based. Our final destination.

A new day, a new start! Today we travel to the new house, the van is loaded with all our gear and we are ready to go. A fresh coffee in my cup, still so hot I have to leave it steaming in the cup holder, a bag of sweets next to me which the wife is dipping into with a smile on her face. She turns to me and smiles. “Lets get to our new house” I shouted in excitement.

We pulled up outside the house, 5 minutes from the boat which brought us from Iceland's main land to Vestmannaeyjar. And we were here, a nice sized house, big wooden shutters on the windows, white fresh paint on the outside. No one living next door but two sheep and a cow, this is the life. All I could hear for a moment was silence, untill I heard a car pulling up next to the van. Out jumps David James, talking faster than ever with excitement. - Welcome Paul! I've been here for a month now and I love it!
David was recruited as player/assistant by the previous manager and I think he was happy when I took the job, meaning two English men at the top of the club. I was planning on keeping him, he has alot of experience and well me, Im a ex semi professional footballer, no one in the club playing staff will know who I am so its good to have a familiar face next to me.

David continued to talk as he wanted to tell me as much as he could about the team from what he had seen. - We have a few English people in the squad, aswell as a few great young Icelandic players who you will probably use in Iceland U19s. Congratulations on that job also, great to see you working in that role, it will help our young players develop if you take some in the squad. Well Paul, oh look, you can see the training ground from your house, what do you think? The stadium you will see shortly when we have a walk around. See you later Paul, nice to meet your family also.

David left and me and the family as we entered the new house, the smell of wood hit me in the face, the walls just redecorated. It was perfect, the kitchen was massive with a center table to eat on, and the lack of curtains made it look even bigger. Walking on into the living room I saw the raw and beautiful nature outside, I was happy, the family was happy.
I said to the wife -Im off to the ground, need to get settled in as fast as I can.

I turned up and just took a minute, the air was fresh but cold. There was a silence which was nice, I walked around the ground just thinking and planning. I stopped at the bench and sat in what would be my seat looking out onto the pitch, imagining big clubs comming here to compete soon enough. My aim was to push the club on, I was due to meet the chairman soon in his office to discuss the season, see what we could agree on.

I knocked on the door, a solid wooden door with a golden handle. As he called “Come in” I was just thinking how nervous I was. I had the job but still I'm new at the club, these meetings need to go well, what would we talk about, what would he say.
I entered and sat straight down on the chair, trying all the time to make myself look calm and collected where really I was shaking with nerves. The nerves calmed when another knock at the door happened, the chairman had asked David James to join the meeting! As David walked in the chairman asked me -hope you don’t mind Paul. I replied with a shake of the head. - Good to see you again, David.

The meeting went on for a couple hours, discussions about what is expected, what finances will be like for signings, if we can make any at all and stuff like that. All in all the meeting went well, me and David showed a bond already which was good as trust would be needed, and we came out of the meeting with a clear goal of what was expected.

Now it was all about getting settled down for training and pre season having a look at who the scouts recommend and how we can improve the team.
Brilliant update again, and that is such a nice stadium :P
thanks mate, it will be tomorrow night next update, already done just needs proof reading :) glad you like it, its my 1st attempt at this type of story
Very good start :)
Brilliant start to your story. The pitch is in a great location.
2013-11-21 14:29#145298 Kane :

Was that really necessary? He put a lot of work into this and there has been nothing but positive feedback from everybody else.

Anyway, great start mate, keep up the good work :)
Chapter 3 Pre season

My 1st day of training. The end of January. I opened the curtains, hoping that it was a nice day. In reality, the ground had 5 inches of snow on it and training was taking place in the local school sports hall. Great.
I set off to work, if you could call it work. I was so excited, and as I walked down the drive I turned and saw my Wife waving, She had a busy day also, starting work at the local store. Thats correct, working as a football manager is not always the best paid job, and for extra money the wife had to take a job on arrival. It was ok though, this did mean she could meet new people and get new friends in the area to keep her company whilst I was away travelling Europe with Iceland U19s.

I arrived at the school sports hall to find the team doing fitness drills. I requested that the team focus mainly on fitness during pre season as I wanted us all fit for the Upper League cup group games which were starting in only 1 month. We had a few friendlies in this time to give me a chance to view the squad, but nothing really important. The layout in Iceland means the club plays the whole of the Upper League Cup before the season starts, and in my eyes we did not have a chance 1st season to win this so it was a chance to evaluate the squad more.

I stood back with a pen in my hand watching the players continue the days training, passing drills followed by some small 4v4 games. We had some skillful players in the team, things were looking good, and I was pleased with what I saw. I was starting to dream, later in the season we are due to participate in the Europa League due to the club finishing 3rd last season.This was discussed with the chairman. He said he had not expected anything from the cup but as I watched my 1st day of training I started to dream that anything was possible, a couple of wins and we were in the play-offs against the big boys.

Training over and I made my way to the ground. My 1st day was nearly over, so I went to my office with the idea of looking over a report from the scout, but on my way the phone rang. I was walking so it was windy but I could hear and understand the conversation, it was an agent offering me two players! Both were Icelandic and without a club, so I asked him to get the players down to train with us which he was very happy to agree to.
Once I got to the office the scout had gone and his report was nowhere to be seen. I was confused but as I had many more things to do I didn't think more of it. Sitting at my desk I had a view people would dream of, looking over the stadium with the backdrop of mountains; it was beautiful and I could not believe my luck to get this job. I would have taken any job but a top division club in any country is an honour.
My happyness did not last long, a knock at the door startled me as I thought I was alone. I shouted come in. It was Matt Garner, an English center back that has been at the club since 2006. I welcomed him and he got straight to business. -Paul, I want to leave. I have done all I can here, I've been here many years and I want to go back to England. I was shocked, first day at the club and I get this? I asked him to please give us time; -we will grow and you will achieve big things here. Hoping this would change his mind I waited for him to answer as he stood up staring out the window, he turned and just smiled. -I'm sorry, I’ve been here long enough, I love the place I really do, but I need to leave.
That was it, he walked out, leaving a letter on the desk. I guessed it was a transfer request.

Putting Garner on the transfer list I hoped that no one would want him. He looked good in training and as the weeks progressed and the friendlies continued he looked like a 1st choice center back for me. Why did he want to leave? He looked settled and happy playing, and I had not relieved to the press he wanted to leave as I did not want any fans getting on his back. I was hoping he would see his contract out and leave at the end of the season but it was a matter of hoping no bids came in.

Pre season went well as I sat at my desk. Two weeks at the club have past, we have played all our friendlies now and they went well! Holding FK København to a draw at home was a highlight for sure, also making two signings, both on non-contract deals which were best for all parties; meaning they could leave if better playing offers come in and we wouldn't have to pay the wages if they are not playing regular.

Next up was the 1st game of the Upper League cup, a chance to test myself in a competitive game for the 1st time. I was pleased to say I had held onto all my players including Garner, I felt my team was strong, but only time would tell. Before the games I altered training, asking David to take control whilst I watch over things to see as a whole how the team is doing. Changing to focus on ball control I was hoping they would show a willingness to get the ball down and play football more in our games, as a lot of clubs in Iceland are known for long ball play, but I wanted to bring style and control to the games.
2013-11-22 00:33#145369 The Madridista :
2013-11-21 14:29#145298 Kane :

Was that really necessary? He put a lot of work into this and there has been nothing but positive feedback from everybody else.

Anyway, great start mate, keep up the good work :)

Just to say, I had an actual serious post to him regarding the story but it seems that has been deleted to. No need to jump to conclusions. However, I'll post it again as the story deserves it...

Some lovely results, especially the draw against Kobenhavn. Must have been a cracking game. Hopefully the new signings do well for you, good luck in the new season!
2013-11-22 00:33#145369 The Madridista :
2013-11-21 14:29#145298 Kane :

Was that really necessary? He put a lot of work into this and there has been nothing but positive feedback from everybody else.

Anyway, great start mate, keep up the good work :)
You tell him sista! This is definitely not on and he should definitely be made a fool of by deleting his post, quoting it, and then have somebody telling him off! ;)
*facepalm* #WTF #OMG #GRRRRRRRRRRR #TheMadridista4Mod

Chapter 4: Upper League Cup

The date was the 17th Febuary 2013, two days after my 26th Birthday. The family had come over to visit me from England, they were still here after deciding to stay so they could watch me in my 1st competitive game as manager of IBV.
They were as shocked as me, my brother, five years older than me and having no interest in football was even sat on google learning more about IBV, shouting random things about the club from the corner of the living room, the family was all sat around with the fire burning, the heat making us so hot we had the buttons on our tops undone.
My mother was talking to my wife in the corner of the room, I could hear here from the kitchen but to be honest I think the neighbours could here hear, shouting about how proud she was, her son, a football manager, only just turned 26.
I stood in the doorway – ok gang, I'm off to the stadium, I will see you all there, 15:00 kick off remember, do not be late.
Walking outside I started to feel the excitement in my blood, today is going to be a good day. I had a clear plan in my head, what we are going to do, how we would play, but the question still remained; would it work?

The game came and went fast, we were awesome, and I was delighted with how we did! We held on to the ball well and took our chances
539 fans turned out to watch the game, 4 of them my family, I got a great reception and could hear songs from that stands on many occasions with my name in them. I will admit it was great to hear, the roar of the fans gave the players a lift all the way through the game.

Nearly 2 months now since playing in my 1st competitive game and the Upper League Cup has finished for IBV, and we failed to make it out of the group. I called David into my office; the chance to sit down with the Assistant after the competition was over was a great idea in my eyes, to compare notes on what we did correct and what we did wrong.

-Well David, lets get straight to it.

Paul, I think we need to look at the defence, I would love to look at the way we have been playing defending corners as well as how we attack them. Looking at how we line up for corners needs changing, we need to alter how we sit across the line and how we close the ball, I have a idea I have drawn up, here:

-Great David, we will work on that in the next few weeks as well as a few other Ideas I have, we will be sorting some local games to keep players fit as we still have 28 days until the opening day of the league.
Chapter 5

Wow, time flies when your having fun

I was walking to the ground, the 2 minute walk was perfect, I loved taking the walk to the ground, amazing views to see, I had received a call after the last game, the chairman wanted a chat to discuss the 1st half of the season.
Walking to the ground it was a beautiful day, the sun was so warm on my face, a nice breeze from the coast was blowing through my hair, gorgeous day.
As I made my way to the ground I walked past the postman, he stopped me to tell me I had mail, I took it off him and opened it in front of him, as I was reading he was talking about the club, how he thought we had been playing, what we should change. I felt rude as when he finished talking he was awaiting a reply but I had failed to listen, I had no idea what to say so I just nodded.
The letter was all I could think about, it was Steven, the butcher from Egersund, he had done what he said, he had covered the shop in IBV flags, he was streaming games live in the back room, I did not want to know what illegal sites he was using to find the steams but it was amazing, we had a fan base outside of Iceland, he continued for a long time in the letter about how he was loving watching the games and a group of them were hoping to travel up and watch a game before the end of the season.

I arrived at the stadium, only 1 car in the car park, well by car park I mean a patch of grass next to the stadium with some rope to mark the parking spots.
It was the chairman’s car, I was looking forward to the meeting, we had been doing above expectations in the league so it was a matter of seeing what he wanted to discuss.
I walked in and went straight to the coffee machine, nice Latte to drink ready for the meeting, the smell was so fresh on a morning, I loved a coffee to wake myself up.
Arriving at the chairman's office I was ready to chat.

Paul, come on in, how are you? I called you here just to sit and discuss how you think the season is going, before we get into details I would like to say I am very happy with your job and your in a safe position so you can relax and chat about the season so far.

Well, I'm also happy with how things are going, I will admit I think the squad is weak, we are missing a couple of defenders which is something I want to change over winter break, also me and David are hitting a bad patch, he is not interested in staying beyond this season, we still work well together and have not told the players but it looks like he is leaving in the winter.
Games wise there is nothing to shout about, you asked us to avoid relegation, we are 10 points above relegation but we are also the same distance behind the top, sitting in mid table, I know if we finish here it will be a great season, we did break a IBV record in the 1st half of the season going 6 games unbeaten which is the main thing to shout about.

Europe did not go as hoped, playing a team from Bosnia I was hoping we could get through to the 2nd knockout round but we failed in that, they were very strong, beating us in the away leg and after us taking a 1-0 lead in 2nd leg they pulled it back to 2-1, we continued to attack but could not get the goals needed, falling so short but so far away, going out on away goals 3-3

The Icelandic Cup has only just started, only playing 1 game so far and it was a win, nothing major to report, they were a non league side so I was expecting goals, a solid 2-0 win, not a lot of goals but enough for the win.
all in all a solid if not spectacular season so far, I'm hoping we can talk about funds available for the end of season early? I know we are 6 month from the end of season but what are we expecting?

Well Paul, im glad you asked me, as you know many players have only 6 month on contracts left and we can start to look for players to sign. I am sorry to tell you it is looking like we will have no money to spend on players but I can tell you that you will have around 3k per week spare for contracts which should give you the chance to strengthen team massively.

Wow thanks, 3k extra is a massive amount, I will start discussions with scouts and with David about how to improve the team, I know David wants to leave the club in a good position, I would also like to leave you with a parting discussion about the 2nd half of the season.

I am hoping we can push the season on, I want to move up into the top half and see if we can chase down the final Europa league place, also my aim is to win the Icelandic cup, maybe its not possible this season but I want to aim for the best.

Ok Paul thanks for coming into see me, was good to hear what you think of this season so far, good luck in the 2nd half of the season and I look forward to watching how the team develops.
Chapter 6:

So, I stand in the chairman's office, my hand are so warm, the last game of the season has just finished, the fans have all gone home, the ground is empty, I just stand silent looking out of the window.
The chairman enters the room and I can see its not good.

Paul, ok where do we start, What happened, why did this happen, we had a good 1st half of the season, sitting in mid table, how, why, I really do not know what to say.

I can not explain it, I never planned my 1st season in football management to end like this, how could this happen, getting IBV relegated was never the plan.

Paul we all know it was not the plan, the plan was to push on and I was hoping next season would be a great one for the club, now we have to fight to get back into the division.

I have some ideas, I know I can bring the club back into the Premier league at the first time of asking.

Paul, you will not be the manager any more, we love you here but we can not trust you, we need you to leave the club, hopefully you can learn and get a new club soon and grow as a manager, but for Paul Wandless and IBV it is over

1 week had past since me losing my job, I had spent the week just looking at the newspapers, reading stories online about the season, what I did wrong according to all these reporters.
Today things seemed different, I woke up and the sun was bright, it was October, the weeks had been cold but today was hot, and I was feeling better, I walked downstairs to see the Wife and my son eating at the table, a spare bowl sat with cereal in it just waiting for Milk.
The wife asked me- so are you joining us today?
I sat with the silence in the room very clear to all before the phone rang to break the silence.

It was my Agent, calling to ask how I was feeling, he informed me he had some news, I had to check my emails, he had applied for a job for me.

Turning my computer on, the wife joined me with a cup of coffee in her hand for me, I could not wait to see what he had applied for, on the day of my sacking with IBV he contacted me to tell me he would be looking for new work for me.

The Email opened and looked promising:

KR are looking for a new manager after a poor season finishing in 8th place in Icelandic Premier Division.

The email continued with descriptions of what would be expected in style of play and finances and it welcomed me in for a interview.
I sat back and took a sip of my coffee, what would I do, I looked to the wife, this was a importunity I could not turn down. KR are the oldest and most successful club ever in Icelandic Football, I never wanted to be rude or abusive to IBV but this was a step up, a bigger club all round, I was shocked they wanted to meet me.
I traveled the same day by car, I had only just purchased a car in Iceland so it was fun to take it for a drive, the whole time I kept thinking how crazy this was, I had failed so bad at IBV and feared my career as a football manager was over before it got running and now I'm traveling for a Interview with the most successful club of all time in Iceland.
I arrived in Reykjavík in good time, got to the ground and had a walk around, wow it was amazing, facilities were a step up to what I was used to, the changing rooms were perfect, I hoped the meeting would go well.

I entered the meeting, it lasted for what felt like a eternity, my hands were shaking, the board members sat across from me looking like I was a mistake, why was I here I kept asking myself in my head.
The meeting was over, it seemed to go ok, they all smiled at the end, maybe they were glad it was over also, guess I will find out soon.
I called my wife to tell her I was staying in a hotel in Reykjavík over night, traveling back to the island at this time was a bad idea, the cold nights were setting in, no matter how warm during they day it was, on a night It was cold, shuttle ferry’s stopped running early evening also and I did not want to make the mad dash to catch it only to have to turn back when I failed.

I had been in the hotel room for 30 minutes when my phone rang, assuming it was my son wanting to say good night I answered with a smile. A deep voice was at the end of the phone, it was not my son.
The chairman of KR had called, that was fast I thought, I asked him how he was and if everything was ok.

Paul- we would like to offer you a contract, 1 year at the club, we will not discuss what is expected next season yet but we would like you to come in and work straight away, the faster you start the faster you can prepare for next season

I called the wife, we discussed for a long time how this would work and decided to move, this was a big step, what would happen, how would it happen. Where would we live.
Big changes were happening in our lives and all was been discussed over the phone.

Paul, See you tomorrow, you get a good sleep and look at the positives, you have landed a job at the oldest and biggest club in the history of Icelandic football, you would never have dreamed of this 1 week ago, you must have shown potential, IBV were a small club, you did you best.

What will happen next in the life of Paul: The Football Manager
Chapter 7:

Christmas in a new house. Was this the plan? No.

leaving IBV, all be it not by choice was turning into a blessing. I had signed the contract and was officially the manager of KR and things were looking good.

Me and the family moved to Reykjavik just in time for Christmas, it was looking good, it was a nice newly built house, nice big garden, we were home and we knew it, the wife smiled and looked delighted, we had agreed she would not look for work straight away, I got a pay-off when I left IBV and that would support us for a while, this meaning she could be at home with our boy more as well as been there to support me, coming to games as well as at home.
A happy home means me going to work happy.

Pre season was due to start in a few weeks so I went down to the stadium to have a look around, get a feel for the place. It was a cold winter in Reykjavik so I wrapped up warm, the snow was falling, not a lot but enough to make you feel like you wanted to run inside, arriving at the ground you realize you are at a new level, totally different to IBV, facility's looked fantastic.
It was fantastic, I walked around the pitch, the ground staff were working hard to keep the pitch alive during winter, keeping the pitch clear of snow was a job that needed to be done more than once a day as well as making sure the seating and standing areas were up to league standard for the coming season.
As I walked inside I called all the staff over, the came over wondering what I could be wanting, it was simple really.

You guys have been working outside all day, doing a great job for the club, now you all will sit down and eat a warm meal and drink, my treat.

They all looked shocked but happy, my aim at KR was to become a popular manager, I had no problem interacting with all members of staff, no one from the bar tender to the coaches were to big or to small to me.

I made my way up to my new office, the 1st time I had been in properly and it was massive! I loved it, I sat at my desk just looking around the office, it had everything I could need, tactics board area for discussions with assistant as I requested, I noticed a note on the board waiting for me, at closer examination it was my 1st scout report as well as a report on players who's contracts were running out. Perfect, a chance to look over where the scouts think we need to improve as well as who could be leaving the club in a matter of weeks.

Now the hard work starts, getting ready for pre-season and trying to challenge for the title with KR.
I had 1 more surprise for my new chairman, I called him but no answer, I decided to put it in a E-Mail.

Hello Matthias,

I tried to call you but got no reply, thought I would send it in Email as I know you get them on you phone.
I wanted to tell you, after our discussions about me doing KR and the Icelandic U19's job, I know you were happy to let me continue the U19's job but I’ve decided against it, I have resigned from the role so I can focus on KR. You have given me a great responsibility in managing the greatest of all Icelandic clubs and I want to make sure nothing gets in my way.

Paul Wandless

You are reading "Paul: The Football Manager".

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