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Alessandro Del Piero: A Journeyman In Management

I, Alessandro, aim to conquer the world as a manager
Started on 22 June 2014 by Zed
Latest Reply on 30 June 2014 by Zed
  • POSTS45
  • VIEWS14539

The First Match Ever
“Alessandro. Del Piero. Is Sydney’s Number 10!” I still get goosebumps when I think back to that moment. It was my first home match as a Sydney player, and I scored a great free kick. We played against the Newcastle Jets.

Today was almost the same: we also played against the Jets, fans were also singing chants, only now they sang “Alessandro. Del Piero. Is Sydney’s Manager!”. I almost walked onto the pitch, but I realised I had to go to the dug-out. I had put out a strong team, but six of our players were on international duty, so I could only name four of the possible five substitutions.

The Match:
I was keen to get off to a good start, and I told the team to go and pick up three points. I sent them out with a tactic that was bound to bring results: Catenaccio. We defended, and we countered, that was the plan.

After 45 minutes, we had more big chances, but Gameiro missed both of them. At half-time I decided to have a word with the boys: “C’mon guys, you’re doing well, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll score. But don’t get complacent, keep focused!”

In the end, after 90 minutes, we deserved the win, but we didn’t get it. It was a mix of bad misses and good saves. I decided to motivate the team after this bad result: “That wasn’t good enough boys, we should win these matches if we want to challenge for the title. Next time I want to see a better performance from all of you!”

Meeting With David After The Match
After the match, I drove home to my house next to the beach. When I stopped the engine, somebody called me: the owner of the club. I picked up the phone, and David Traktovento said that he wanted to see me. I was a bit worried, because he sounded very serious.

After driving back to the stadium, I went to the office of David, there was a paper lying on his desk. I greeted him, and we started a short conversation:

Alessandro Del Piero: “Hello, why did you want to see me?”

David Traktovento: “Hello Alex. First of all, I want to congratulate you with your managerial debut”

ADP: “Thank you.”

DT: “That was not the only thing I wanted to see you for. To your recommendation, we are going to extend improve the training facilities of this club. Here’s a design for your impression:”

David passed me a paper with a couple of drawings and pictures on it

ADP: “Hmm, this looks really nice. I’ve felt that the training facilities right now aren’t good enough for a club like Sydney FC. Thanks for granting me my request!”

DT: “No problems at all. We’ve been thinking about upgrading the facilities for a long time now, and you’ve persuaded us.”

ADP: “Thank you, I hope to have a good career here at Sydney FC. I’m grateful for the opportunity you here gave me.”

DT: “It wasn’t a hard decision for us to make, you’re a good man, and a good leader. See you around Alex.”

ADP: “See you.”

I drove back to my house with a happy feeling: this club has everything for me to get better as a manager.
AAN: Trust me, the season up until now is even better :) (I'm about halfway through, update coming tomorrow probably).
Loving the story so far mate! Keep up the good work, I'll be following from now on :)

The First Half Of 2013/2014 Season
We’re halfway through the regular season: 15 games played, 15 to go. We have had a very good first half of the season, and I’m very happy for the boys, they’ve put in solid games! We struggled at the start, but now we’re in a good form!

The Fixtures And Results:

I think our form has been excellent, and I’m happy to see that we’ve only lost one game so far.

The League Table:

We’re clear by some points at the moment, but in our form, we should be able to keep our first position quite easily.

League Position Development:

As I’ve said earlier, we started off pretty badly, and since then, we’ve been picking up results. This can clearly be seen in the league table at the moment.

Transfer Update:
I’ve chosen not to sign anybody this transfer window, as the board told me we’re spending quite a lot already. And I feel we’ve got a squad that is good enough as is.

Match Reports
Sydney FC - Newcastle United Jets (0-0):
My first match as a manager, and it wasn’t very good. We had opportunities, but they were saved, or they went wide of the goal. Our play wasn’t how I liked it, but they boys didn’t have very long to get used to it. It was a pretty disappointing debut, but there were some positives to be seen.
Nikola Petkovic

Brisbane Roar FC – Sydney FC (0-1):
Our first victory, in an away game as well. We played on the counter attack, they dominated possession and shots, but we were clinical. This is how I like my boys to play in away games: not great football, but good effectiveness.
Nikola Petkovic

Sydney FC - Wanderers FC (0-0):
A derby between two local teams, so the atmosphere was good in the stadium, but it still wasn’t full, not even half-full. It was another draw for us, and we had only conceded once. But on the other hand: we only scored once. For a derby, it wasn’t very interesting to watch from the sidelines at all: there were only 10 shots in total! Wanderers had more of the ball, but we had 6 of those 10 shots, only one on goal.
Sasa Ognenovski

Perth Glory FC – Sydney FC (1-1):
Another draw, but still unbeaten. It was the first match we conceded in, and again, we weren’t very good, as we were dominated in possession. And to make matters worse, my defender Sasa Ognenovski scored an own goal! I was fuming, things weren’t going well, and fans were booing me. But luckily, we managed to save a draw because Dimitrijvic scored in the 36th minute.
Milos Dimitrijvic

Sydney FC – Melbourne Victory FC (1-1):
Some fans were standing in front of the staff entrance: they wanted results, right now. But once again, we only managed a draw. Our new player Tim Payne managed to score from a role he’s also familiar with: striker. This match, we did play better than the opposition, and we had four more shots. So our performance got better, but the results still aren’t coming.
Tim Payne

Melbourne City FC – Sydney FC (1-3):
Our first win in a long time, and a solid one as well. We played against another team from Melbourne. I saw the line-up, and I only really recognised one name: David Villa! When playing or Italy, I came up against him once or twice, and he’s a good player. So I ordered my players to close him down, and mark him tightly. In the end, it wasn’t necessary, as Nick Carle scored two good goals, and Matthew Jurman scored the other goal for us. I gave the boys a pat on the back, and told them to try and keep hold of their form.
Nick Carle

Sydney FC – Wellington Phoenix FC (2-1):
To my relief, we won this game as well, which gave the fans some joy. We played well, and we had 9 shots, 3 of which on goal. Another really effective match in terms of finishing. This match, Shane Smeltz got himself a double, in the course of two minutes! He also got the Man of the Match-award. In the 90th minute Manny Muscat scored, but it never put our 3 points in danger, as it was too late in the match. After the match, the board once again held a performance check: they were happy, as we were still unbeaten.
Shane Smeltz

Sydney FC – Newcastle United Jets FC (2-2):
Newcastle were second at the moment, so I expected a hard match. And, we got a hard match. We were down 2-0 at half time, and I told my players that they really needed to improve, this seemed to really motivate the boys for the second half, as we scored twice. Another double, this time by Despotovic, helped us secure a point, and it meant that the Jets didn’t take a bigger lead on us.
Ranko Despotovic

Central Coast Mariners FC – Sydney FC (0-2):
After the draw, I wanted to secure 3 points in this game, as it would pile more pressure on the Jets, and it would please the fans and the board. Luckily, Carle managed to score just before half-time, which made my half-time talk a lot easier. In the 86th minute, Dimitrijvic smashed a penalty into the top corner, this goal secured our victory. We dominated the match in terms of shots, we had 12, they had 4. But possession-wise, we lost the battle, this doesn’t worry me at all, because that is the sort of football I want to play.
Milos Dimitrijvic

Sydney FC – Melbourne City FC (4-0):
Another match against the club of David Villa, and this time, we won again. We recorded our biggest win of the season to date against City. It was an unlucky day for ex-PSV-player Orlando Engelaar, as he scored an own goal. Despotovic scored two goals, and the last goal was scored by Nick Carle. We dominated the match, with 13 more shots than our opponents. This match, just like the other match, Villa didn’t score a goal, and Melbourne were still rock bottom, with 1 point from 10 games!
Ranko Despotovic

Wellington Phoenix FC – Sydney FC (0-2):
I was hoping for another victory, to extend our unbeaten run of 10 games. We could also go top if we won this match, for the first time this season. And once again, we won the match with relative ease. This meant we went top, and Wellington were still only 9th in the table. Rhyan Grant and Ranko Despotovic scored our two goals, to help us secure another three points.
Nick Carle

Sydney FC – Brisbane Roar FC (2-1):
We kept our top spot in the league, because of this hard-fought victory. We trailed for most of the match, because Jurman scored an own goal in the 16th minute, but he was really solid for the rest of the match. Bernie Ibini equalled the score in the 60th minute, and I was already happy if we got a point. But three minutes before the end of the match, our youth player Corey Gameiro scored the 2-1. I was happy, and gave Gameiro a compliment, because he fought hard, and he scored his first professional goal.
Matthew Jurman

Adelaide United FC – Sydney FC (2-0):
Our first loss of this season, and we were pretty bad. Just before half-time, Jeggo scored. I told my players to play their game, and try to get back into the match. They didn’t manage to do so, and to make matters worse: Ryall got sent off in the 70th minute, he got his second yellow card of the day. These two cards weren’t the only two, as our team alone had 8 bookings in total. Then, to top it off, Griffiths scored in the 86th minute. All in all, it was a bad performance, and we didn’t deseve to get anything out of this match.
Tom Mickel

Wanderers FC – Sydney FC (0-1):
After that loss, I wanted to recover from it, by winning this tricky away game. And to my relief, we did. Rhyan Grant scored the only goal of the match in the 21st minute. Once again, somebody got sent off. This time, it was midfielder Milos Dimitrijvic. It was after 30 minutes, so I decided to change to a more defensive formation: 5-2-2. By the skin of our teeth, we managed to hang on and take our hard-earned three points back to Sydney.
Rhyan Grant

Sydney FC – Central Coast Mariners FC (1-0):
I wanted to close the first half of the season off with a victory in front of our fans. We narrowly won this match, as Carle scored the only goal of the match in the 74th minute. This time, nobody got sent off, I told the players to play a bit more carefully, and they did. But still, we made 29 fouls, why they only made 3. It’s a surprise we only got one yellow card that match!
Matthew Jurman

General Update:
I’m enjoying my life as a manager, and I’ve got to say: it might be more exhausting than being a player! I’ve chosen to delegate some tasks regarding the youth system to some other people at the club, and this has really taken some stress of my shoulders.

In terms of other jobs to look at, I’ve only seen two vacancies at big clubs: Leeds United and Olympique Lyonnais. But for the moment, I want to stay here and bring success to the club, as it would be a bit rude to leave after half a season.

I’ve had several meetings with the board, and they’ve been pleased with my performance so far. However, they don’t want to give me a higher budget, which I feel is necessary for the club to grow further. With more money, we could bring in some good players, and then we’d be ready for a good run in the OFC Champions League.
Radders: Glad you're enjoying it ;)
This has been a really good story so far, also nice little run you have going on. Hope you can keep it up.
great results mate!
Zed's avatar Group Zed
8 yearsEdited

Two Thirds Of 2013/2014 Played
A smaller update this time, because of some interesting stuff going on at Sydney...

The Fixtures And Results:

Our preformances have been bad, I haven't changed the tactics, I haven't messed with the formation or player selection or anything. It seems like I lost the trust of some players, because some performances have been bad. Really bad.

The League Table:

We’ve dropped to 4th, and if we keep this form, We'll be around 6th in no time.

League Position Development:

If you look at it from this perspective, I think we lost focus after we were top, we got pressurized and maybe stresses by the fact we had to actually perform.

Match Reports
Melbourne Victory FC - Sydney FC (1-0):
We started off the second half of this season with our second defeat, and it was because of a horrendous mistake by our keeper in the 34th minute. The ball was coming straight towards him, but he stepped aside. I decided to take drastic actions, and I subbed him off. He shouted something at me when he went to the showers, I’m glad I didn’t hear it. We didn’t manage to score in the rest of the game, and I’m disappointed with how we played.
Vedran Janjetovic

Melbourne City FC – Sydney FC (0-3):
We played this team twice before, and we recorded big victories. And this time around, they didn’t even have Villa, so I expected a good victory. And they certainly put in a good performance. After Carle scored the 1-0 in the 4th minute, our lead was never in danger. Before half-time, we were leading by 2-0. And in the end, we won by 3-0. It was a very easy victory against the poor Melbourne, I’m glad to see that the boys bounced back in great fashion: with a solid victory.
Pedj Bojic

Sydney FC – Adelaide United FC (0-1):
We faced the team that gave us the first loss of the season, so I was eager to deal them a low, by defeating them. But once again, we lost. And our first place in the league is in danger, we’ll have to play better in the coming games. Petkovic also decided to get himself a stupid red card in the 57th minute. Nobody really performed today, and Adelaide deserved the win today.
Tom Mickel

Sydney FC – Perth Glory FC (1-2):
A winnable match, against a side in 5th place. At that moment, we were 3rd, because of the many slip-ups lately, so I wanted to pressurize the two teams above us. And it would hopefully get us out of this spell with bad results. In the 39th minute, I thought we were doomed, when Mickel made another horrible mistake, but luckily it was offside. In the 52nd minute, Perth opened the scoring, at it wasn’t looking good for us. And in the 60th minute, another huge mistake by Mickel led to the 2-0 for Perth. I was fuming. In the 64th minute, Despotovic got us back into the game. But then Bojic got a red card, and there was no way back for the team. We’re slipping down the table, and I had to take drastic measures for the following game.
Ranko Despotovic

Newcastle United Jets FC – Sydney FC (0-3):
“Del Piero can go, Del Piero can go”, one of the songs around the stadium that day, I was feeling uncomfortable and I wanted to leave the club. I realised I didn’t have a good relationship with the fans of the club. But I had to focus for that game. To stay in the race for the 1st place, we needed to win this match against the league leaders. And after 8 minutes, Petkovski scored. After 20 minutes, even Heskey managed to score. I felt my career at Sydney was over, I didn’t have a new club yet, but I felt I would get an offer in the coming days. Eventually, Heskey scored 2 goals that match. And at one point, we were trailing four goals to nil. Luckily, Chianese scored a cracker to save us from total humiliation. Smeltz is very unhappy with himself and the club, and I can’t sell him: nobody wants to pay his wages. Things certainly aren’t looking up for me at the moment.
Pedj Bojic

I decided to apply for a job at Levante after this match, because I felt that at Sydney, I didn’t have enough finances to compete, and my players weren’t working for me: they were only thinking about themselves, how they could improve as a player, not as a team. I also wasn’t very pleased with the atmosphere in and around the stadium: every week, there were only about 8000 people in our massive stadium, and when we lost a game, everybody was booing, and shouting “Del Piero out”.

The decision wasn’t received very well by the board and by the fans. I had to go to a meeting with David Traktovento:

DT: “Hello Alex, you probably know why I wanted to see you.”

ADP: “Yes, I have an idea.”

DT: “Now, Alex. We respect you, and your methods. And we don’t want to fire you. But we have decided to give you an ultimatum: you can apologise, or you can choose to resign.”

ADP: “I appreciate that you don’t want to fire me. And I will apologise, I don’t want to resign. David, I’m very sorry for the way I have treated the club recently, and I was stupid to apply for another job while still having duties here.”

DT: “We appreciate your apology. But Alex, if you really want, we will let you go. We know that you have already attracted some attention by managing this club with good results.”

ADP: “It’s nice to know that I have this choice. But I think I’ll stay for the season. Thanks for clearing this up. See you.”

DT: “Not a problem. See you Alex.”

I realised it was stupid to just apply without even telling the board, and I drove to my home not feeling great.

Next Update: finishing the season at Sydney, or leaving for another club?
BayernAmerica: Glad you're enjoying it! Not so much of a run anymore :/
AAN: Thanks :)
Really love the detail in this one and I hope to see ADP maybe managing in Italy or the Aussie National Team one day! Keep it up!
2014-06-25 03:12#181425 MCox93 : Really love the detail in this one and I hope to see ADP maybe managing in Italy or the Aussie National Team one day! Keep it up!

ADP managing the Australian national side would be brilliant!
Zed's avatar Group Zed
8 yearsEdited

The First Half Of 2013/2014 Season
Just the play-offs to go, and then my first season will be over. I’ve had a good time, and the club has progressed in this time.

The Fixtures And Results:

We have had a very bad second half of the season, with too many losses and draws.

The League Table:

We’ve finished in a quite respectable 4th place, considering we don’t have that many star players, we don’t have the likes of Heskey, or Gallas, or anybody of that standard.

League Position Development:

In this view, our change in form is most noticeable.

Match Reports
Central Coast Mariners FC - Sydney FC (0-1):
We had to win this match, really simply put. I decided to change up the tactics, and I gave my players some motivation before the match. It worked brilliantly, as the opposition didn’t really know how to respond to my change of tactics. And in the 86th minute Despotovic scored us a vital goal, and the fans finally had something to cheer. I enjoyed watching the team play, as I finally saw us play a bit differently. This result changed my mind a bit: I wouldn’t mind staying until at least the end of the season, but I still searched for vacancies.
Ranko Despotovic

Sydney FC - Wanderers FC (0-1):
“If we want to keep the fans and the board happy, we have to win this match. Come on boys, deliver a good performance!” I hoped this would motivate my players for this winnable match, but in our form it was doubtful. And my fears were justified: we lost. But instead of countering and scoring the match with cool finishing, this time we played better than the opposition, we had more shots and possession, but we still lost. We’ll have to figure something out if we don’t want te slip further down the table.
Sebastian Ryall

Sydney FC – Brisbane Roar FC (1-1):
I was really feeling the pressure, and we just had to win this match to secure a spot for the play-offs at the end of the season. In the 11th minute, Smeltz finally got himself a goal, but in line with our luck: it was offside. And then to make it worse, Brisbane got a totally undeserved penalty. Ono slid it into the bottom corner: 0-1. Ognenovksi got us back in the game after 67 minutes, and the hunt was on. But he didn’t score another goal. Still, I was happy with a point.
Sasa Ognenovksi

Adelaide United Mariners FC - Sydney FC (1-1):
Because of some slip-ups by the opposition, we had already qualified for the play-offs. But I wanted to go into the finals with a good feeling, and in a good form. It was hard to do so, because 3 of our starting 11 players were suspended via a yellow-card limit ban. In the 60th minute, we paid the toll for those 3 bans, as Adelaide took the lead. Luckily, Dimitijvic scored almost instantly after the 1-0. And in the end, I was very happy with a point against the number 4 of the league, because if they won, we would have slipped down to 4th.
Milos Dimitijvic

Melbourne Victory FC - Sydney FC (2-2):
Another hard away match, and I wanted to get at least a point in this important match. And with our banned players back, it wouldn’t be that hard to get a draw here. But in the 22nd minute, Tom Rogic scored in a stadium that actually was almost full. And before half-time Archie Thompson doubled the score. Just after half-time, Dimitrijvic got us back in the game with a penalty. From there, things went uphill as Despotovic scored the 2-2 in the 63rd minute. And in the end, we took a hard-eared point from Melbourne.
Ranko Despotovic

Sydney FC – Wellington Phoenix FC (0-1):
An important match, as we needed to win to stay 4th in the league. And I fully expected the win: Wellington were 9th in the league. We took the lead, but then the ref decided to give a penalty for Ryall slightly nudging a player from Wellington: 1-1. And then, we missed a penalty, and Wellinton scored with a good counter attack. The match was almost finished, when we managed to score. And this meant we drew our 4th match in a row.
Nikola Petkovic

Sydney FC – Perth Glory FC (0-1):
Last match of the season, and I wanted to give the fans something to cheer. But in our form, it would be very hard, as Perth were also 2nd of the league. And my worries were justified, as Marinkovic scored in the 22nd minute. Ibini got us back in the 75th minute, and I was happy with one point. But it wasn’t to be, as Jamieson scored a cracker one minute before the end of the match. I had already accepted the defeat, but Ibini scored once again in the last second of extra time! This meant we finished the season in a quite respectable 4th place, but our performance in the second half of the season was very bad.
Bernie Ibini

The Play-Offs
Sydney FC – Perth Glory FC (0-1):
We had to play against Adelaide United FC in the first round of the play-offs, a team that’s very hard to play against. But we played at home, which made it a bit easier for us. And once again, the referee awarded our opponents an unbelievable penalty: 0-1. After 90 minutes, it was still 0-1, and our season ended early. I’m very upset at the way we went out: it was never ever a penalty!

End Of Season Review
I have really enjoyed my first season as a manager, I had a good time at Sydney. I’ve learnt a lot, and I think I’m ready for a bigger challenge.

We started off the season badly, with a lot of draws. We then went on a very good run, but towards the end of the season, we started losing more and more matches. And eventually, we finished 4th, after being 1st halfway through the season. In the play-offs, we should have reached the final, in my opinion, but we went out in the first round, because of the worst penalty decision that I’ve ever seen in my career.

I’m looking to move on next season, to a European club, may it be in a top division, or in a lower league. But after this decent first season, I wouldn’t mind staying at Sydney. However, I don’t think they have enough finances to give me a decent budget, and the atmosphere in the stadium has been awful all season long.

I have also signed a new deal with Sydney, just so that I;ve got some security for the coming seasons, if I don't get any offers.
MCox93: Glad you're enjoying it! Thanks!
Griffo: I might take a job there, if I get the opportunity ;)
Great detail on show here which makes a story worth reading. Also unlucky loss in the play-offs.
I love the detail that you put into your match reports. Keep up the good work bro :)
Heartbreaking result, hopefully you can improve next season as well as qualifying for AFC Champions League!
Zed's avatar Group Zed
8 yearsEdited

The Start Of A New Season
I was still at Sydney FC when the pre-season started, and the board had given me a good budget to work with. I was happy with the budget, and I more or less decided to stay at the club and wait for a good opportunity to manage a new team.

The first thing I wanted to do, was put Shane Smeltz on the transfer list again, as he was taking up a big chunk of our wage budget, and he was 32 years old. So I decided to list him up for free, as I really wanted to sign a new striker. In the end, I sold him to Arminia Bielefeld for free. This freed up a lot of wages for us, and Smeltz wasn’t that good of a player anyway, performancewise.

So now I needed a new striker for the team, and I scouted Ryan Griffiths, he’s 32 years old, but his wage was much lower than Smeltz’s. Griffiths played against us last season, as he played for Newcastle last season. He seemed like a good palyer when I watched him on the training field for the first time.

Then I decided to visit our fellow club from Sydney, and I found out Angelos Charisteas was playing there, a striker that used to play for the Greek national team. I made an offer of 20k for him, and Sydney Olympic accepted the offer. I offered him 2.2k a week, and he accepted. He’ll be fighting it out with Griffiths who takes up the spot next to Despotovic. I knew Charisteas was already 34-years-old, but I felt we needed a real marquee player, and Charisteas was fit for that leading role.

I also listed Nick Carle, he performed well, but he too was taking up a big part of our wage budget. Nobody bought him, and it was probably due to his wages being too high.

Staff In:
Our goalkeeping coach had left after I didn’t renew his contract, also due to wages. So I decided to invite out-of-work goalkeeping coach Jess Vanstrattan for a job interview. He asked for a wage of 1.2k, and eventually, I managed to sign him for 1k per week.

Club News
We were starting to have more financial trouble after the signings I made, so the board announced some very good new sponsor deals, which gave me new opportunities in the transfer market. That day as well, I was invited to the kit presentation for the season. I was eagerly awaiting the kits designed for that season, and I was very happy with how they looked:

The design of the home kit is classical, with the club colours. It was also not too busy with little details, all in all a good kit. The away kit I also liked, as it featured some interesting colours.

Parent Club:
In other news, we have signed a deal with Galatasaray, so that we could loan players from them, without a fee. This was the only option that the board gave, but I felt it was a very good club to work with. I looked at the players from their squad that were for loan, but I found out that we had reached the limit of foreigners in the squad, so I had to sell some.
Josh_MU: Thanks! Yeah, it was hard to watch how we conceded that penalty...
Radders2109: Thanks mate!
Griffo: I hope so as well! Would be nice to get some silverware!
I'm interested to see who you bring in from Galatasaray, good update!

Pre-Season 14/15
The start of my second season as manager, and it would be an important year: the board and the fans wanted more than the slightly disappointing season we had last year.

Fixtures And Results:

A mixed pre-season, some easy matches, and some harder matches. We stayed unbeaten against both the amateur teams, and the A-League teams.

AS Magenta – Sydney FC (0-5):
A pretty easy match, against an amateur team from New Caledonia. We won this match very easily, with two goals from Despotovic, a goal by transfer-listed Nick Carle, and a beautiful free kick from Joel Chianese. Just before the match ended, Gameiro scored the 5-0. We dominated, and Magneta had zero shots that match.
Ranko Despotovic

Sydney FC – Wanderers FC(0-0):
Our first real test in pre-season, against an A-League team. It was a hard first half, where the only real chance went to Wanderers. The second half was really boring, as there were no big chances. It finished 0-0, and for a pre-season match, it was a pretty good performance from the team. Both teams had 8 shots, and 2 on goal.
Mark Warren

Sydney FC – Hiengène Sport(3-0):
Another match against a team from New Caledonia, this time at home. We were the favourites, and I told the boys I was expecting a big win. We only scored once in the first half, youth player Haris Gligor scored just before half-time. And in the second half we scored some more goals, Mark Warren and Joel Chianese made sure we left the stadium with a decent result: 3-0.
Ryan Griffiths

Sydney FC – Newcastle Jets United FC (3-1):
A real test, against last year’s champions. They’ve got a really good squad, with the likes of Heskey and Joel Griffiths. I wasn’t really expecting a win, but I was hoping for a surprise. In the 27th minute however, Adam Taggart scored the 0-1. Only a few minutes later, Despotovic scored the equaliser for us. It was a very entertaining first half. And the second half was also exciting, as Gligor scored the 2-1 in the 55th minute. And from then on, we were in control, we rewarded ourselves with the 3-1 in the 75th minute, Gameiro scored the goal that gave us a good lead. We kept this good lead for the rest of the match, and I saw a lot of things that appealed to me: we won against the champions, and we also played better than them.
Hagi Gligor

Sydney FC – Blacktown Spartans (3-0):
An easy win was predicted here, as we were playing an amateur team. It was our last match of this pre-season, and I wanted to keep our unbeaten run going. In the 24th minute, Charisteas scored his first goal for the club. Later that half, Despotovic scored the 2-0. In the 51st minute, Antonis profited from a mistake at the back. Eventually, we won the match with 5-0, due to a goal by Ryall in the 80th minute and Antonis’s second goal in the 86th minute.
Ranko Despotovic

Transfer News
Because of the signing of Angelos Charisteas, we now had 6 foreigners, and in the A-League only 5 foreigners can be registered. This made me decide to put Dimitrijvic, a Serbian, on the transfer list for free. We got some offers, and we sold him to Dijon FC for 31.5k after a bit of a bidding wars. I’m glad we’ve got rid of him, as I felt he was getting too old, and he was lacking general quality for this team.

As his replacement, I went for Josh Brilliante. He was a free agent, so it was a really affordable transfer. I was completely convinced of his abilities, and he was the best player around who was from Australia, and not playing for an Australian team. This last thing was important, because we weren’t allowed to sign players from the A-League. Eventually, the 21-year-old centre mid joined for a wage of 2.2k per week. He was also part of the Australian Under 21 squad, so he was a really good player already, and in my opinion already better than Dimitrijvic.
Griffo: Thanks! Problem is, I've already got 5 foreigners, so I'll need to sell somebody first...

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