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The retirement of Alex Taylor

Started on 15 May 2016 by ninjaskill
Latest Reply on 14 October 2016 by ninjaskill
mgriffin2012 Thanks hopefully can lead to a job

Lippo Yeah all that tax free Qatari money allows you to be picky in life. Also the loyalty of the armed guards has to be questioned if the guns have to be faced away from you

MJK46 Thanks, means a lot

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone
It was later that day during family dinner that Alex received a call from Graham. Risking a stare of death from his wife who had a no technology at the dinner table rule he took the call.

“You just received a call from the best agent in the world.” Graham crowed.

“Oh, hi Jorge Mendes” Alex retorted.

“Cruel, I may not tell you about the interviews you have lined up now.”

“You want the 10% of my wages to much to do that” Alex fired back “And did you say interviews. As in plural.”

“Yes I did” Graham stated proudly. “Club Brugge in Belgium want you but, I saved the best for last. You have an interview to take over at Watford. The chance to start your career in the Premier League even if they are cut adrift a bit in last place. You can thank me now or later, along with my fees”

“I knew there was a reason your still my agent. You have done well for yourself there although Watford are a bit less attractive than they were at the start of the season. When are the interviews anyway?” Alex enquired

“That’s why I called now Watford haven’t set a time but, Bruges want to see you tomorrow and to get there you will have to leave on the 8am train to get the Eurostar to Belgium to arrive in time and meet them so pack something for a one night stay and I will get someone to get book you a hotel room there. I think they really want you so don’t mess it up and you can either go there or use them as leverage to get more money out of Watford if they want you.”

“Wow, um alright I’ll pack later tonight and set an alarm to get there”

“You’d better” Graham growled “nothing harder than getting a manager their first job. Also as a thank you you’d better return from Belgium with some nice chocolate.”

“Will do” Alex chuckled “anyway I better go I’ve been getting a death stare for the length of the conversation. Great job though Graham I appreciate it.”

Alex sat back down to 4 questioning faces. “I have two interviews lined up soon. Watford and Club Brugge, in Belgium” He added cutting of the next question. “I have to go tomorrow to interview for the Brugge job.:

“But, Dad I have football practice tomorrow and you’re in charge” Jake whined.

“Oh, I’ll have to message Tom to take it. Sorry Kiddo nothing I can do I have to go to the interview if I want the job. Anyway you all like Tom and he knows a lot about the game.” He could see his son wasn’t pleased with his answer but, still had an ace up his sleeve. “I’ll also be bringing back lots of chocolate from Belgium.”

This stopped any protests and the rest of the day went as normal but, Alex struggled to get to sleep the chance to manage a team was an opportunity of a lifetime and he didn’t want to mess it up.

Alex’s journey had been uneventful and calm until just before the “Chunnel” and it wasn’t going under the sea for a while that scared him it was a different realisation. He had no idea what to expect. He had never had a job interview before, they weren’t needed as a player and he had never held another job. Some googling gave him a basic idea of what to expect but, what had been a loose knot in his stomach was suddenly very tight. He tried to relax by reading and listening to music as he didn’t want to rack up data roaming charges.

A quite stress free change at Brussels and Ghent saw him arrive at Brugge almost six and a half hours after he left and when you add the time difference it was 3:30. A club representative was there to pick him up and whisk him to the stadium where his interview would be conducted in a suite at the stadium, just over ten minutes away.

Some nervous steps got him up to the suite and in front of 3 men only one he recognized from some hurried prep, club president Bart Verhaeghe the others turned out to be Vincent Mannaert the CEO and Roel Vaeyens who was the Coordinator of Sport, whatever that was.
Some polite chit chat about travel lead into the interview. Fortunately, they all spoke English well enough to not need an interpreter.

The first question covered that issue “We are concerned that you don’t speak Flemish or French which most of our players do.” Asked the president.

It was an expected question but, a hard one to answer “Well as you have all shown the education system here is good and so with a combination of that and an interpreter I should be able to get my point across. I also managed to learn Arabic quickly and it doesn’t use the Latin alphabet so I think that I would be able to learn basic Flemish by the start of next season which would be enough to get everything done.”

The next question was from Vincent Mannaert “You have been linked to a few jobs can you tell us why?”

This Alex hadn’t seen coming “Well… it is hard to get a first job in management so my agent said I should apply for as many jobs as possible so I followed his advice.”

Roel Vaeyens took his turn to ask a question “We feel that poor morale was a key reason for our failures so far this season do you think you could change that.”

This one was a hard answer as he had no experience should couldn’t cite examples so he decided to take a different tack. “From my time as a player I know how important it is to have high morale in a squad so I would endeavour to bring that here. I think the fresh perspective I would bring and blank slate that all of the players would get with me would provide an instant boost to morale.”

The rotation of questions seemed to fall back to the president and did. “This is somewhat awkward but, Roel is what you would call our director of football and he has done a good job of getting us top players for a cheap price the highlight being Carlos Bacca so we would require you to keep him.”

It would have been awkward if he had said no but, Alex had no reason to as Roel seemed to have done well in the past. “Yeah I have no experience with backroom staff so I had just planned on keeping everyone here. Especially if they have as impressive a body of work as Roel has”

“Wonderful, we would also like you to buy young players as we can make a profit on them and that helps us to keep the club running smoothly financially.” The committee question plan seemed to have been aborted as it was again Bart Verhaeghe.

“Yeah, I would be happy to do that I want to develop youngsters and if it helps the club financially then I’m more than happy to do that. Especially if Roel can find some more bargains for me” Sucking up is always good in an interview Alex was sure of that despite his lack of experience.”

The committee seemed back in force as Roel questioned Alex. “We would propose a top half finish is realistic. What do you think?”

“Well the club is there now and the table is tight above and below Club Brugge so I think that it is a very fair plan for the rest of the season. Hopefully I could take the team up a couple of places but, I would be very disappointed if the team fell down the table if I was placed in charge.”

Roet now seemed to be in charge of the interview “We would propose a transfer budget of 3.7 million euros and a wage budget of €375k a week. What do you think?”

Alex knew the club had debt but, wanted a bit more. “I’m happy with the transfer budget but, as the wage budget is what you are currently spending I would prefer it to be increased so that I could afford to sign new players.”

The President took over to end the interview. “Well thank you for coming, I think that I speak for us all when I say it was a very interesting interview and you are a strong candidate for the position. Thank you for attending.”

Akex was relived that what felt like an interrogation was over. “Thanks for considering me and I’m glad that you though I did well.” He then shook hands again and left to go to his hotel. He could feel the sweat on his shirt and couldn’t wait to get it off and shower before going to buy the promised chocolate.
With a small bag loaded down with chocolate Alex made his way to Graham’s London office to discuss how his previous interview had gone and plans for his interview with Watford. He’d only been to the office once before, and was far more nervous this time.

“Ah, Alex I was about to call you I have news from Watford and Club Brugge” Graham said welcoming in Alex “Watford have called an arranged your interview for Friday at 4:15 so you will have to come back to London for that. Brugge also called and they want to offer you the job as manager.”

Alex mulled all of this over before responding. “Tell Watford I don’t want to interview for the job and negotiate a deal for me with Brugge”

Graham looked a bit shocked at the news “You don’t want to interview for Watford, you could start your management career in the Premier League most managers would kill for that.”

“Yeah, but they look like they will go down and I don’t want my first job to be a relegation. The owner also sacks managers quickly and I liked the board of Brugge and Bruges so I want to go there”

“Okay less money for me but, oh well” Graham huffed “I’ll not turn down Watford until we have a deal agreed to try and get you more money”

“It will let you earn more money in the future and don’t mess up the negotiations, I want the Brugge job” They talked over some more details of what he had already been offered before Alex ended the conversation by looking at his watch “Anyway I have to go to grab the train home”

“Alright” Graham replied “I’ll get on the phone with them soon to get you at least 10% more than they offered”

Alex smiled at that as he left, Graham charged 10% and always boasted that he earned his clients more than ten percent than the initial offer to try and justify his wages. Alex couldn’t stop smiling as he headed back home. He had his break in management but, he would have to make sure his career got off to a good start. He was also nervous moving to another country and the pressure of being a manager would be different for him and he wasn’t sure how he would do.
Just a day after going back home Alex was back on the Eurostar to heading to Belgium and this time it was for the foreseeable future instead of an interview, and Alex couldn’t decide which trip had made him more nervous. The one where he was trying to get the job or the one where he had the job.

His arrival in Brugge saw him met with a small reception party who were sent to brief him for the press conference he would have, Graham had also appeared out of no where as he often seemed to do when money was involved. Alex was sure he wasn’t on the train and doubted the history and architecture of the city convinced him to pay for an overnight stay.

He quickly briefed Alex on the plan for the next few hours “Go to the training centre sign the deal your incredible agent negotiated for you and then your off to meet the press. After that you’ll be meeting the backroom staff here and getting a tour of the facilities. You arrived to late for training so will meet all of the players tomorrow before they fly off to Serbia.”

Alex hadn’t heard anything about Serbia before but, his questions were cut off as he was ushered into a car to take him to the training centre. Under the watchful eye of his agent he was ready to sign the one and a half year deal that had been agreed. Graham had told him he had negotiated the initial offer of €9,500 a week to €12,250 which he had added was less than Saudi Arabia or Watford would pay but, Alex was sure he had made the right decision.

The contract was gone over with a lawyer for the club and Graham analysing each line to ensure no new clauses had snuck in from when they last looked over it 3 minutes ago. With that done Alex and the President signed and initialled a number of times until he was then congratulated on being the new manager of Club Brugge Koninklijke Voetbalvereiging, although a smart man had shortened that to Club Brugge with an optional K.V. at the end. With that he was accompanied by the president to go out and meet the press who didn’t have much knowledge as to who the manager would be some pictures of him from the train station meeting had been seen though so most guessed Alex was going to be the next manager and were surprised at the decision.

They both settled down in the seats and the President made a short speech. “This has not been a good season for us so far but, we have faith in our new manager to turn things around. We are a club known for nurturing young talented players and have decided to do the same with a manager so please join me in welcoming to Belgium and Club Brugge Mr. Alex Taylor!”

Great place to start man
Interesting place to start mate, looking forward to this!
Seems a nice club to start with, good luck man.
Club Brugge is certainly a great club to begin at, good luck!
Poor choice mate, you know they sold their prized asset to Valencia, right? :P
MJK46 - Yeah can't do much worse than they are already doing and have a good side.

Mrgriffin2012 Yeah never done Belgium so looking forward to it

ScottT Yeah not a lot of pressure for year one which is nice

Justice Hopefully it can be a great place to start, thanks

C.J. Lippo You'll be pleased to know they seem to have a history of Aussies along with Ryan they had Frank Farina and most importantly to you they currently have a player from "The best football nation on the world" A decent looking young player called Bernie Ibini-Isei. Anyway they have a new prized asset me. :P
After surviving his first run in with the press Alex met with the chairman for what he was told would be a brief talk about the club and its history but, was more of a lecture. “Historically and recently we are one of the best teams in Belgium and are the only Belgian team to make the Champions League final, where we lost to Liverpool who also beat us in the UEFA Cup final the two years before. Brugge have the most Belgian Cups with 11 and also the most Super Cups with 13. We are big rivals with city opponents Cecle Brugge, one of few city rivalries in Belguim that is played, we are also rivals with Gent nearby and have a competitive rivalry with Anderlecht that dates back to the 1970’s. We have 13 top league titles but, our last one was in 2004-05 so if you could bring one here you would become a legend. We also recently celebrated our 125th birthday so we hope you can try and turn the season into something special anyway. Our fans are also voted the best in Belgium and we constantly sell out the stadium so don’t let them down they will create a great atmosphere for you.”

The passion of the President was hard to miss and Alex thought he might have a very demanding owner but, as it was based out of a love of the club and not a want to earn some money from the club. “Well I will try and push the club on and add to the impressive trophy collection that the club already has.”

“Great” responded the chairman “Well I’ll let you get on with your job Philippe Clement, your assistant, is waiting for you in your office a quick chat with him and the staff and then you can get some rest before a full days work tomorrow.”

“I look forward to it” Alex said as the chairman rose and left the meeting room. Alex then realised that he hadn’t asked where his office was so would have to find his way there. He decided to turn left guessing that his office would over look the training pitch. He walked past a couple of doors before seeing one with office on the door and a man inside who could be the assistant and if not point him in the direction of his office. “Excuse me are you Philippe?” Alex asked.

“Ah, Mr. Taylor welcome to Club Brugge. I’m not Philippe I’m Thierry along with my brother Lode we are the club doctors. I was just getting ready to meet you with the rest of the staff to update you on the health of the squad.” Thierry seemed nice and the sort of person who could break bad news well which was a key part of the job.

“Oh, well nice to meet you Thierry and you can call me Alex, do you know where my office is? I’m supposed to meet Philippe there then everyone else after.”

“Yes” Thierry gave him the directions to office and Alex found himself with is assistant a 6 foot 5 centre back who had 38 caps and had been the caretaker before Alex was hired so he wanted to ensure that Philippe was happy to work under him.

“Great to meet you Alex, I am Philippe your assistant you’ve just got yourself the second best job in Belgium after mine as I don’t get sacked if things go wrong.” Well that answers that thought Alex it wasn’t surprising he was happy to stay according to Wikipedia when Alex had checked him out he had played for Brugge for 9 years and joined the backroom staff right after he retired.

“Pleasure to meet you and hopefully I won’t have to worry about the sack any time soon.” Alex replied.

“Yes, hopefully you won’t as that would mean trophies. Anyway I’m just here to give you an overview of everything before we meet everyone else. They will go over the squad and all that. The big thing is that after thirty games when everyone has played the other teams twice the league separates into two groups. In one the top six teams all get their points halved and the winner of that group is the winner of the league. In the other there are two groups and the winners of them play each other and the winner of that plays another playoff with the chance of Europa League football. Got it?”

“Err..” Alex stalled he understood pretty much it just seemed a bit odd. “Yeah a bit odd but, simple we just need to get top six and with the halving we should have a chance.”

“Pretty much” Philippe confirmed. “Anyway I was hoping this could be longer but, we are running late to meet the rest of the staff and I can explain some other stuff there.”

“Yeah sorry about that. I couldn’t find the office.” He admitted sheepishly “So I’ll let you lead the way to the meeting”.

Philippe laughed “Good idea.”

Alex introduced himself to all the staff and sat back to listen to what they had to say.

Thierry spoke first “Well from an injury point of view you’ve come at a good time some players are going to be well recovered from some long term injuries and will be more than ready before your first match. Other than that Bernie Ibini has the flu so within a week you should have a fit squad if nothing happens.”

“Great, hopefully you can have a relaxing few months for us”

Stephan Van der Heyden, the assistant assistant manger, spoke next. “We like to have a happy squad and we have three players who are unhappy so you will have to deal with that. Felipe Gedoz the backup right winger, Brandon Mechele fourth choice centre back and Benoit Poulain fifth choice centre back all want first team football. Gedoz was promised first team football when he started while the other two are promised rotation football. You arriving should placate them though.”

Alex thought it over “Okay, good I’ll talk with them all as soon as I can to make sure that it isn’t a big issue for them anymore.”

Renaat Philippaerts, a fitness coach, spoke up. “You can change the captaincy if you want but, the best man for the job has it.

Alex knew the impact changing the captain could have and had no intention of changing captain. “No leave it as it. One final thing then you can all go home who is our star player the man to build the team around to you guys.”

Philippe laughed “They are two different things here our best player is not who you should build your squad around.”

“Oh, so he is over 30” Alex guessed if he was it was fine it was a character issue he wouldn’t be happy.

“Yes” Philippe confirmed “He is quite a way over thirty, Timmy Simons is our best player a 39 year old defensive midfielder.” Alex realised there was a player that was older than him which he hoped wasn’t awkward. Philippe continued “Model professional and still got the legs to play the role. He had a 5 year spell here in 2000-2005 and then re-joined in 2013 he is also Belgium’s second highest capped player got another year or two in him”

Alex wrapped up the meeting and headed for his hotel with a lot of reading work to do which made him glad his family was only joining him in February.
Alex was back in his hotel room looking over a how the team had done so far this season. Surprisingly Brugge were still competing on two fronts having got out of a Europa League group containing Ajax, who were first along with ASA Tirgu from Romania and BATE from Belarus. Getting out of the group had given them a tie with Braga where they would be big underdogs. They were knocked out of the Champions League playoff by Fenerbahce, the Belgian cup by Lokren and lost the Belgian Super Cup to Gent. In the league they were 8th out of 16 teams but, it was tight so the team could go up or down eaily in the ten games left.

Alex then had a look at the squad it seemed solid with some star players and considerable depth in most places, although he would prefer to add some depth at right back to ensure that he was never short of players in key positions. Alex was concerned that some players he could have used were loaned out for the rest of the season. He picked picked out a few players who he felt he would be relying on for the rest of the season and would ensure that they got as much playing time as possible.

A solid squad that has definitely under performing so a strong finish is in order

Thomas Meunier is a top quality player and fitting him into the squad should not be a problem

Star defender Stefano Denswil taken from the Ajax academy he has been a hit in Brugge and has some interest from Norwich but, I have no intention of selling. Even if his instagram is suspect

A talented playmaker to pull the strings in midfield is needed and Hans is the player for this team. He has great vision and makes good decisions, things that are hard to teach.

A team needs a good goal keeper to be near the top and in Butelle Brugge have a goalkeeper who is more than good enough for this level and can win the team points on his own.

He then looked at his youth coaches report and was amazed at what he saw either whatever had been making all of the football superstars in Belgium was concentrated in Bruges or he had the world’s most optimistic youth coaches “He completed a pass future Ballon D’Or winner. His shot went for a goal kick not a throw in he will captaining a side to the Premier League title.” He wasn’t sure why the board were so desperate for him to sign young players when they seemed to be able to produce such a number of talented players. If he believed his youth coaches and he had no reason not to most of the U21’s and U19’s would be able to start for the first team In years to come and he would just have to plug in some new signings and the team would be able to dominate for years come. All he would have to do was keep them all at the club for the future.

The Under 19s should ensure that the team has a bright future and more than enough money if they sell a few of them. Younes Boufus is the big talent for them although he is far from the only one who could make the first team.

Alex's youth coaches seemed to think that around 20 players could play for the first team one day and Alex had to question the possibility of that but, was sure a number of the players would join the first team in years to come.

After having gone through all of the reports Alex went for a walk through the centre of Bruges which was as beautiful as advertised and planned out all of his meetings for the next few days. Then he laughed one day and his job was already all he could think about.
Got some good youth there
The future definitely seems bright enough mate!

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