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From the Sofa to the Dugout

A Story of a Nobody Who Thought They Could Do Better!
Started on 6 August 2015 by MinusZ3R0
Latest Reply on 28 August 2015 by liverpoolbros
For one second I thought that were your results! You have a tough task ahead of you!
2015-08-14 02:06#218492 Jer : For one second I thought that were your results! You have a tough task ahead of you!

I second this - I did the same :P
My bad guys, still learning the ropes and hopefully over time my updates will improve and get better :)

The First Game

It was a chilly morning on the 27th of July and I was sat in my kitchen having a cup of tea whilst feeling the most nervous I think I have ever felt in my life. It was the morning of the day of my first game as a football manager. I had only had one training session with the team so far but it had gone well. The fact that I was an unproven and unknown manager didn’t seem to bother them, they were happy to listen to my ideas and train in the way I wanted them to play.

I finished my cuppa and got dressed then headed out the door. My small apartment was only a short walk away from the ground so it didn’t take me long to get there at all. It was still weird though, I had only been in the country for a couple of days and I was still not used to my surroundings. I started to wonder if I had made the right choice in coming here at all, I don’t feel ready at all for this. No time to linger on those thoughts though as the players had started arriving so I quickly set about getting them warmed up. I let the coaches take over the drills though as they got there. I went off into my small, dimly lit manager’s office and started to write down my starting eleven.

Before I knew it though, it was time for the game. I walked into the dressing room full of nerves, so much so I could feel my stomach tightening; I should have gone to the toilet before this. I could see it on the player’s faces too, everyone was feeling a bit of pressure and nerves. If this has been the mood no wonder the results have been so bad. I had to try and relax them somehow but this was all new territory for me, I had never given a team speech before. Oh well, here goes.

“Listen lads, I can see on your faces that there are a lot of nerves around the place. Rightly so too, you are on a bad run and we are currently on course for relegation come the end of the season. I get that, I’m nervous too, this is all new to me if I’m being honest. That doesn’t mean a thing however. I may have only seen you in training once but already I can see the quality that is here in this squad, you are all much better than our current league position would suggest. So what I want you to do is go out there and play the way you know how, each of you has the ability to reach the top of this game so get out there and prove it to me, the fans, but more importantly, prove it to yourselves. As long as you believe then anything is possible!”

Not the best or most inspiring speech ever made before a football match but it seemed to have done the job. They all looked a bit more relaxed and dare I say it, ‘fired up’ to get out onto the pitch and show the world, or at least the locals in the city, what they can do.

First game in charge and at first it looked bleak for my new team. We went a goal behind around the half an hour mark and even though we had more of the ball and constantly looked a threat we just could not score! In the second half I brought on Birgir Magnusson, who produced a super sub performance to give us two goals in five minutes to send us ahead. The celebrations did not last long though, as in the 80th minute Atli Valsson got a second yellow for persistent fowling and left us with a nervy ten minutes (plus added time) to see out the game. Fortunately we managed just that and we walked away with all the points.

I was truly ecstatic, what a way to start my career! It was a magnificent turn around by the lads and I let them know as much. I also put emphasis on the fact that we would need to continue to work hard if we are to achieve the aim of avoiding relegation. At least for tonight though, they can savour their amazing performance and victory. As I know I will be!
Good victory to start off your career - will become a fan favourite, I can tell :)
Brilliant win!

The Last Month (And a Bit)

After a first fantastic win in my first game in charge the lads carried that form into the next two matches and we came out with a 2-1 win against Leiknir R and a 1-0 win against fellow relegation battlers Tindastoll, and a vital 9 points from my first three games which shot us up into mid-table redemption.. Well-deserved victories in my opinion as the players had really started to show what they could do.

It wasn’t all glory glory though as we only took 1 point out of 9 in our next three games. The players had fought hard previously and it was showing, many were simply too tired to keep up the same levels of performance. Not having the depth in the squad that I would have liked, I had to play some of the youth players to cover a few positions, and whilst they showed small glimpses of potential, in the end they were just outclassed. We had slipped back down to 10th place and were only safe at this point due to our goal difference not being the worst.

With some of my main players back from being rested and our best striker coming back from an injury he had suffered before I took charge we really showed our quality in the match against KV. Atli Stienporsson showed me exactly what my team had been missing up front as he scored a hat-trick upon his return and all in the first 20 minutes of the game! KV pulled 2 back after half time and we looked like we might let out lead slip but Atli was there again to score his and our 4th goal of the game and we saw the rest of the time out comfortably in the end.

The last two games of the season were going to be tough. First we would play the team in 2nd place. Then onto the team who looked like they would be crowned champions of Iceland’s First Division. Why I was worried I had no idea. We played magnificently in both games. Nicking a point off of IA who was in second place was glorious, and felt more like a win as we bagged our equaliser in the 92nd minute! Selfoss, who needed to beat our team to secure the First Division title had the shock of their lives. We were much quicker out the traps and scored within 4 minutes and gave them a mountain to climb. The rest of the match was a bit of a bore to be honest but I would happily take a boring 1-0 and 3 points than an exciting 4-5 loss and none. However in the 89th minute they equalised. We further spoiled their day though by grabbing a winner in the dying seconds of the game sending IA to the top of the table and denying Selfoss the title. Whilst we finished two places, and seven points above the relegation zone!

So we had done it. I had done it. I saved the team from relegation and hopefully secured myself a job here for the next season. I would have to wait for the board to come to me about that though. I have come to like it here in Iceland and admittedly I have also grown quite fond of the club. I was confident that if given the job full-time, that I could lead this club into the Premier Division again and who knows, maybe even win a domestic cup. The players and I had proven that we could cope against the big guns in this division, so why not aim for the top teams too? With the right additions to an already talented group, there was no limit on what we could achieve here at HK.
Apologies for my absence for the past few days. Currently working on the next few updates and will roll them out soon :)

The Contract Meeting

9:00am on a very frosty 21st of September, the day after our last game of the season where we had ruined Selfoss’ day and snatched a First Division Title from their grasp. The newspaper that morning loved it, hyping up the drama of it all and presumably, in my opinion, making more of what the Selfoss manager had said in his post-match interview. It was still nice seeing my name in the paper though, something I don’t think I will ever get used to. The article was only small but it was basically saying that I fluked it by leading HK to safety in the remainder of the season and that everyone involved in Icelandic football and fans of HK and every other club were positive that I would fail to do anything in the next season should HK decide to offer me that full-time contract. If? I thought, how about when? Because as far as I was concerned that contract was mine as I had fulfilled my end of the bargain with the chairman and I wasn’t going to let him screw me over without putting up a damn fight!

My phone buzzed, it was the Chairmen, just a text message informing me that he and the rest of the board wanted me in their office within the hour to discuss my future. I quickly got myself ready and on my way. My nerves were sky rocketing and my adrenaline pumping, I was expecting the worst and was fully prepared to fight my case should they decide to tell me they were not going to give me a contract. I arrived at the office 20 minutes early and knocked on the door. A familiar voice called for me to enter the room so I walked in and sat on the solitary chair in the room facing a desk in which the chairman, Sigurjón, and another four members of the board whos names I did not know having never met them before were sitting behind.

“So“ Sigurjón started, “You have kept up your end of our arrangement, by successfully avoiding relagation in our remaining games. Congratulations for achieving this goal, however, before we agree on anything long term, I think myself and my collegues would like to hear from you explain why we should keep you as HK manager“

A fair question I suppose. I mean, it has to be, I was still an inexperienced manager by all accounts and although I showed potential and garnered some good performances in my short time, one swallow doesn‘t make a summer as they say back home. I took a deep breath and decided I would say what they wanted to hear and be ambitious with the hopes that they like the sound of what I was waffling about.

“Well, first of all I would like to thank you personally Sigurjón, and of course the rest of the board for giving me this oppertunity. I don‘t think anyone else was willing to hire me and I appreciate that you all took a huge gamble when you decided to make me an offer. However, sometimes you have to bet big to win big! I promise you all right here and right now that if given the job full-time I will work day and night, with passion, ambition and guile to ensure that in the next season HK will win promotion, no, not just promotion, but the Division, and get back to the top league in the country. Not only that, I will make us competetive in the two cup competitions and who knows we may even come home with a trophy? This is what you would get if you keep me on. I am a young, ambitious manager who is hungry for success and I firmly believe that I can pass on those feelings to the players and bring glory to HK. I love this town, I have settled well and I am even picking up more of the language witch the lads all like to take the piss out of me for! There may be doubters but I am here to prove them wrong!“

I waffled on too long didn‘t I? Panic set in, my mind was all over the place. I‘ve aimed too high, they want someone with more realistic targets! It was too late now however, as I had given my speech and judging by the looks on everyones faces they didn‘t buy into it at all. My head was already on a plane back to England with my tail between my legs and thinking of how embarrassing it will be explaining it to everyone especially my mate!

“Hmph, a..aha. Ah ha ha ah!“ Sigurjón, the chairman, just started laughing. What the... “YES!“ He boomed. “Yes! This is good! This is what we need“ He looked to his left and then his right to his colleagues who all nodded in agreement, although they didn‘t look as ecstatic as Sigurjón who had a goofy looking wide grin on his face at this point. I was starting to realise he was a bit of an eccentric man. “You will have the job Mr Fairbairn! You show great ambition and desire to win, two qualities I like to see. I will give you another year here at HK and you will deliver this success. I can feel it already! Though I must warn you, failure to deliver a good, no, fantastic season will result in the termination of your services as manager.“

“Of... Of course Sigurjón. Thank you so much!“ I mustered. I can‘t believe he bought into that. I really couldn‘t believe it, surely any sensible man in charge would have let me go home straight away and started looking for my replacement. Sigurjón was no ordinary man though I was slowly starting to discover, and I hoped that that was a good thing, but when I really thought about it, those types of people were usually trouble...

I shook everyones hand, with Sigurjón grabbing my hand and pulling me into a tight embrace. Ok that was definitley weird. I took my leave and put a message in the players group chat, I had secured another year at the club and would be managing them next season. The replies all seemed to be positive on the whole, they had made me feel welcome since my arrival and to be honest I was quite lucky to have them. They could have just as easily turned on me and our recovery last season would have been a different story.

So with another new sence of drive and determination, I went back home and started making preperations for next season. I did say I would be working around the clock didn‘t I? Hopefully the success would come and I would not end up regretting that decision...

Pre-Season and Transfers

It had been a long winter break but the players had finally returned from their holidays, maybe I should have taken one myself, and the transfer window was open. Now I didn’t want to make too many moves in the transfer market as I had confidence in the players that were already there, however we had three players leave the club so I had to replace them as best I could. My main objective though was to just add some decent quality cover for a couple of positions.

I had also been busy, organising some pre-season friendlies for the lads to play upon their return. I had lined up games against some bigger opposition in the form of Premier Division teams such as FH who would give us a real test of our ability and potential, and also Selfoss who if you remember were only promoted last season via second place as we beat them on the last day to deny them the title. I hadn’t arranged any games against lower teams as I firmly believe we need to consistently play against the best to be the best. Also I was confident that if we lost a few I could get them back in a good frame of mind with my team talks, which I was slowly but surely getting better at.

Here is the business that we did over the transfer window in pre-season.

Our first piece of business was securing the signature of released player Hillmar Por Hilmarsson. A very strong left-back, who in my opinion should never have been released by Stjarnan. He would become our first choice, as we were lacking quality in that position, he also had great leadership qualities so I planned to make him vice-captain if he fit in well with the rest of the team.

The second signing of the window was attacking midfielder Kristjan Pall Jonsson. A very talented and pacey winger, who could play on either side a backup for now but at 21 years old, he could show decent enough improvement to be contending for a starting spot. This potential however, is the reason we had to spend money to bring him in. £7k which at this point was a club record. Fans and the board alike were dubious about this decision, but I had faith that this would be a move that paid off big time for us.

Another attacking midfielder in our third signing in Hallur Flosason, except this time for the centre. We couldn’t agree terms for a full transfer with IA unfortunately, but we did agree a loan deal for the whole season. This guy was just too good for me to miss out on and if he plays to his full potential then we will have a great season ahead of us.

My last signing was a 19 year old full-back in David Olafsson. He has potential so I have my eye on the future with this one but he is good enough to provide backup should my first choice full-backs get injured or suspended.

Transfer outs were pretty standard with only the departure of David Magnusson hurting us. He had been a faithful club captain for HK and the fans were disappointed that I let him go. He had already agreed terms with IBV a few months back though, so realistically there was nothing I could do to keep him at the club.

Here are our pre-season results.

Now I won’t go into too much depth here as these are friendlies and a chance to test out new tactics and players, but nonetheless I was very happy with how the boys performed. All teams we face were in the Premier Division and apart from the loss against Fjolnir (which I put down to tiredness and the players not being match fit) we pushed every single one of them and I would argue we came out looking the better team each time. The draw against Keflavik was admittedly a bit lucky, and we would have to shape up quickly because we faced them again in four days in our first game of the Upper League Cup.

The Upper League Cup for all intents and purposes is almost like a pre-season cup competition but it features all the teams from the two top divisions in Iceland. The first stage is three groups of eight teams. The teams all play on neutral grounds once each. The two top teams in each group after this, and the two best third placed teams then go into the quarter final knockout stage. Then the winners into the semi-finals, then obviously the final. A new concept for me when it comes to domestic cup competitions as traditionally in England the whole competition is a knockout and they are played during the course of the season. In Iceland however, this competition is kicked off before the start of the domestic leagues.

The board had reminded me of my goals, so I was feeling a bit of pressure but determined to do well in this competition. We were in a tough group, full of mostly Premier Division clubs, but I was determined to put them to the test.

Here are our upcoming Upper League Cup fixtures.
good story .will follow it

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