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The retirement of Alex Taylor

Started on 15 May 2016 by ninjaskill
Latest Reply on 14 October 2016 by ninjaskill
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Lyon were in eighth place in the French league although had won the Coupe de la Ligue to guarantee Europa League football next year. It was fortunate for Lyon as they looked unlikely to get into Europe through the league and there only hope of Champions League football was to win the Europa League so they had all the motivation to go out and do well.



Since the draw Lyon had found some form winning two league games and the Coupe de la Ligue final which would be a huge help to the morale of the squad which was strong on paper although hadn’t shown it throughout the league campaign with some very inconsistent form.

Lacazette up front would clearly be the biggest threat that the Brugge defence would have to deal with and the France international was a frequent scorer and would have to be closely watched by the defence to ensure that he didn’t get some goals that would make the tie far harder for Brugge. At the other end Umtiti, who was heavily linked to Barcelona, was the defensive threat that whoever Alex picked up front, likely Luciano, would have to contend with and also be testing when he had the ball as he would a good passer with the ball as well.

Alex and everyone else in the team took a short flight into Lyon, far shorter than Alex had thought it would be, and the weather was also far colder than Alex expected being only a few degrees above freezing.

Everyone hurried into the terminal to grab luggage and get onto the bus to get to the hotel which was on Lake le Grand and very close to the stadium in the outskirts of Lyon. It was a nice enough hotel and everyone got settled in with Engels declaring that he wanted to go and swim in the lake despite the weather and him having no idea of the temperature of the water.

No one wanted to miss it so the entire team and staff headed to the lake, Alex had snuck away from the group to see what the temperature of the lake would be and was told it would be a decent bit above freezing but, definitely cold. It was a very short walk to the lake and it was fed by the rather cold Rhone and everyone was looking forward to seeing if Engels could live up to his bold claims.

He did with some casual looking swimming betrayed after with some teeth chattering and shivering. If he was ill for the game Alex would be very annoyed as the last thing he needed as his first choice defender missing a big game due to a stupid bold claim.

Fortunately, Engles warmed up quickly back at the hotel and looked fine as the team went to the stadium for pre-match practice. Lacazette would be possibly the best striker that Brugge had faced all season so Alex had Philippe drilling the defence and Ribeiro making runs similar to those of Lacazette so that the defenders could be as well prepared for the game as possible.

With everyone done the team headed back to the hotel. Some of the team watched the Champions League games with the rest in their rooms. Alex was pleased to see that everyone was in their rooms at a decent hour and he didn’t have to chase anyone to bed as they all knew how big a game it was.
Preparation going well before a huge game man!
Hopefully the board don't push you out to make way for another manager. You've put a lot in to the club!
mgriffin All ready just need to get a good result

Justice Yeah, hopefully no issue with the board but, then many of them aren't known for making the smartest choices


Lyon lined up in a 4-2-3-1 at home while Alex went for the usual 4-1-2-3 formation. The only change was bringing in Denswil for Emerson with Schonheim moving to left back and allowing Denswil to play at centre back and partner with Engels. As Alex named his first choice centre back pair.

Just after the twentieth minute Bedimo took a throw in just in the Brugge half. He threw the ball up to Scarpa on the left wing. He passed inside to Schaub who passed across to Grenier. He overhit a pass out wide to Reine-Adelaide who was forced to go out wider than he was. He turned and whipped in a cross that was headed out by Meunier to Gonalons 40 yards out. He passed up to Schaub who played the ball wide to Bedimo. He whipped in a cross and no Brugge defender could touch the ball for fear of an own goal and Reine-Adelaide took advantage by powering in the ball at the back post.

Just before half time Gedoz played a 1-2 with Meunier wide deep in the Lyon half. He cut the ball back to Vanaken just inside the Lyon box and he hit a precise strike towards the bottom corner but, Lopes got down quickly and with Luciano driving down on goal held onto the shot.

The game was pretty even at half time and Alex implored with his team to create some good chances and get an away goal which would put them in a good position for the home leg of the tie.

With nothing happening and the game almost at the 70th minute Alex mad a triple change. Emerson, who offered more of an attacking threat at left back than Schonheim, came on for him. Ribeiro replaced Luciano who had been ineffective and Gedoz came on for Centurion.

Two minutes later Butelle hit a goal kick long and after some bouncing around in midfield the ball fell to Meunier out wide. He hit a great curving pass into the path of Ribeiro to play him in on goal. Ribeiro took three touches and from a decent angle went across the keeper but, miscued his shot quite badly and it went well wide of the target.

With three minutes of normal time left Darder passed the ball wide to Jallet in the Brugge half. He passed inside to Gonalons who chipped a pass back to him. With space Jallet took a touch and then drilled a cross in. From three yards out Scarpa shoved his leg out and kneed the ball towards goal. Butelle made a great reaction save to push the ball away and Denswil blasted the ball away just before Lacazette could get to the rebound.

With one minute left Gedoz stood over a corner for Brugge with 18 players in the box and one lurking outside the box there was a lot to aim for. HE hit an outswinging ball in and Emerson ran across two static Lyon defender and from ten yards out flicked the ball powerfully towards goal. The header was just out of reach of Lopes and the man on the line and put Brugge ahead on away goals with only a minute left. Emerson was mobbed by his teammates as most of the stadium turned silent. Alex punched the air before telling the team to concentrate.

They did and saw out the one all draw that put Brugge ahead on away goals. When Alex put Emerson on he had hoped for more attacking output from left back but, was more thinking assists than heading in corners. He still wasn’t sure why Emerson had gone up for it as he never did in training or any other game but, wasn’t complaining.



All the other games were tight. Leicester had drawn 0-0 away to Juventus, Inter claimed a 1-0 win away to Man Utd and a Dzeko penalty saw Roma take a slender lead to Ukraine in the tie that the winner of Brugge’s would play.

Fantastic away draw & goal for your side! You are certainly in with a chance of progressing with a solid home leg performance, good luck!
Justice Yeah the late goal could be key, hopefully we can navigate the home game as well
Alex was back home after the draw in Lyon and was pleased with how the trip had gone and also pleased to be back in Beernam outside Brugge. With lots of games and all of them being important Alex had been away from home a lot and hadn’t seen much of his family. As he had Saturday morning off Alex had decided to do something with his kids as he was at home.

Alex was roped into making pancakes for breakfast which wasn’t what he had planned but, wasn’t overly reluctant to take part in. After making some batter and putting it in the pan Alex learned that they don’t take so long to cook as to where you could go to the bathroom and return as it was rather stuck to the pan and took an age to get out of the pan and get some new batter in.

After making three cooking three pancakes correctly in a row and losing them to his kids Alex decided to go for a flip of the pancake and misjudged getting the pan underneath it and was able to catch about half of the pancake and the other half fell onto the floor. Alex binned it and had to quickly remember half a pancake was still cooking and was able to reach it before it burned and ate it quickly burning his mouth in the process.

With breakfast done Alex was able to leave the kitchen in one piece and with nothing permanently broken. He took a risk and decided to “forget” about the pan and left them by the sink. After a quick kickaround in which Alex was able to claim victory with an inspired performance bagging a hat trick of hat tricks to claim a narrow win with Jake over Ellie and Lauren.

Saturday was the day that everyone in the squad could take family to practice and Alex brought his kids with him into practice. It had been recent that he had taken his kids to practice after the Jelle Vossen incident was forgotten and Alex hoped it would stay that way forever.

A scrimmage was organised between the players and it was decided to have the kids who wanted to play being on the same team as their parents with Alex’s being used to keep the teams level.

In the game with the grown ups was first choice attack and second choice defence against the second choice attack and first choice defence. A long range strike from Fejsa got the defence led side in front before Izquiredo blasted free kick in to level the game after 20 minutes. Ribeiro nicked in behind the defence to put the defence team back in front and Ebert fired in a third goal and the attacking side could only muster a consolation goal through Luciano.

In the kids game it was a 7-2 win for the defending team again mainly as Timmy Simmons and Alex had the oldest kids and with them being on the same team it was likely to be one sided and was. If they hadn’t let up it would have been a much larger. Alex was pleased with both results as his defence looked solid and attack looked quite good and with good depth as well which was a bonus. In the other game Alex was pleased as his kids scored a few goals and were nice enough not to run the scores up on kids who were younger than them.


It was a big local rivalry game against Oostende and with it being at a key point of the season their was big pressure on for the game. Alex put Ribeiro in for Luciano who was missing the game for personal reasons at late notice. Oostende went for their usual formation with well rested players opposed to Alex’s who were getting a bit fatigued.

After 29 minutes Oostende had a throw in in their half. A incredibly long throw in got to the ball to the centre circle of the pitch. It was then played up to Akpala who was able to turn and run at the Brugge defence. He played the ball back to Gohi Bi who played it to Faes who passed out wide to Musona who played a 1-2 with Akpala to go in on goal. From an alright angle he faked a shot to let Denswil run past him and then curled an effort inside the back post to get Oostende ahead.

That was the only action of the first half and Alex exhorted his team to use all their effort to try and get something from the game.

After the 67th minute Gedoz stood over a corner and whipped it in. Milic headed the ball to the edge of the box and Ribeiro rose highest at the edge of the box to head it back into the mix. Ribeiro’s header was looping and the keeper came out to claim the ball and Denswil got in ahead of him to head the ball into the middle of the goal and leave the men on the line helpless and level the game.

After 78 minutes Gedoz was over another corner and this one was headed away. Gedoz was first to the loose ball and passed to Emerson who beat a man on the edge of the box before passing up to Centurion in the box who lost the ball and it was cleared to the halfway line. Denswil won the ball and passed up to Santamaria who moved forwards with the ball. He passed to Ribeiro on the edge of the box, he used a backheel to play in Gedoz who took a touch and shot at goal. The keeper pushed the shot across goal and the ball was cleared away to end the chance.

Just before the game entered the 90th minute Oostende had a free kick just outside the box. Montaroup stood over the free kick and whipped in a cross. Butelle took a step towards the ball then decided to stay put. Cvetkovic rose high above Cools to power in a header and give Oostende a late lead over Brugge.

A couple of minutes into injury time Oostende had a throw in in the Brugge half. The ball was thrown up to Akpala who played it to Jali thirty yards out. He passed to Musona out wide and he cut inside past the back tracking defender and with the far side of the goal gaping went for the outside of the foot towards the near post and gave them a two goal lead to end any hopes of a comeback.

It was disappointing to lose to such late goals despite Brugge having scored a number of late goals themselves including in the last match. The tiredness showed at the end and cost them the game in a 3-1 loss.



The table looked good for Brugge still in front and with a game in hand. The next game against AA Gent would be a title decider a win for Brugge and they would surely get the title a loss and it would be anyone’s game.

Good luck next time out man, gonna be an exciting game that's for sure!
mgriff Thanks, some big games coming up now hope we can do well
Heading into the quarter final against Lyon Brugge were three games on the run without a win and while a 0-0 draw would see them through and a 1-1 draw would see extra time. Breaking the slump with big games against Lyon and then a title decider vs AA Gent meant that some wins now would be perfectly timed.



Tuesday night produced a shock result as a pair of Harry Kane penalties pushed the Tottenham Barcelona game into extra time and then penalties where Tottenham came out top to knock out the big favourite for the Champions League and put themselves in the semi final with Bayern also booking a place in the semi final with a comfortable enough aggregate win over Atletico Madrid.

An upset win before they had to try and get an upset of there own was always a bonus and could be used to inspire the team that they could pull off one themselves. The result was the talk of the players and Alex hoped they would be inspired by the result to try and knock out Lyon.

With a clean sheet guaranteeing progression into the next round the focus was on defending and trying to get into the next round by forcing a tight game in which they could sneak a goal or two to help them out, although they weren’t needed if they could keep Lyon out of the goal.

With Philippe drilling the entire team on keeping their shape and defending as a unit while countering with speed and decisiveness to try and take advantage of any chances they may get which would be an important part of the game as chances for Brugge would likely be limited in the game as Lyon would look to attack as they were behind and needed a goal to have a chance.

With the team drilled to perfection in defending Alex then turned their attention to set pieces as he wanted the team not to concede any simple goals which would make it a much harder game for them. He also had the team working on attacking set pieces as they had been very good with attacking set pieces so far and if they could get a goal from them it would go a long way to helping them get into the next round.

It was a long but not to strenuous training session as Alex didn’t want the players to be tired out before the big game and let in some more late goals like they had at the weekend. Unlike Brugge Lyon had claimed a win at the weekend so would be on a high heading into the game more than Brugge could.


Brugge were playing the usual 4-1-2-3 formation which should match up well against the 4-2-3-1 of Lyon. Cools and Santamaria were the players who places were the hardest to decide if they should play or not. Lyon went for a similar team with failed ex Manchester United player Bebe on the bench for Lyon as well.

The first half went as well as Alex could have asked for, it was a dull half wit no chances for either side and almost all the possession in the middle of the pitch with Brugge slightly edging it.

The game went past the hour mark with nothing significant having happened and no chances for either side as Brugge dug deep to keep the lead on away goals. As the game edged towards the 75th minutes Yanga-Mbiwa threw the ball up to Bebe just short of the halfway line. He hit a long diagonal ball Engels headed down and Denswil booted away and Amat headed the ball down to Gonalons. He sprayed the ball wide to Bebe who had taken advantage of Emerson being far forwards to make a run in space on the wing. He took a touch and cut inside. From a wide angle he ran into the box and from a tight angle for some reason chose to shoot and his shot was no where near the target and left some frustrated players for Lyon in the box.

The game ticked into the last final five minutes of the game. Butelle hit a ball long up the pitch that Dardar won over Santamaria to head up to Grenier. He played the ball up to Bebe in the Brugge half and he ran at the two centre backs for Brugge. From 25 yards out he unleashed a strike that was powerful but wide of the target and Butelle took an age to get to the ball back into play.

Three minutes into injury time a shot from Grenier went well wide and Butelle got the ball placed it down on the edge of the six yard box. He stepped back then went forward and moved the ball before firing the ball high into the Brugge skyline and the referee blew the whistle once, twice and then a third time and the stadium erupted in noise as Brugge made it into the semi final of the Europa League.



It was a poor game by all accounts except for the fact that Brugge got a result that saw them into the semi final of the Europa League after a tough ninety minutes.



It would be a group rematch as Roma got through on away goals after extra time, it was a rule Alex didn’t like after extra time but, Roma had taken advantage and would be taking on Brugge for a spot in the final at the Friends Arena in Sweden. The other semi final was an all Italian affair as a Dybala hat trick saw Juventus sneak past Leicester to take on Inter in the semi’s who hammered Manchester United in the second leg.

In the aftermath of the draw with Lyon to get to the Europa League semi final Alex had to stamp out any celebrations that would turn into a party as on Sunday the team faced a huge game with AA Gent in the weekend. A win would knock AA Gent out of the title race and would give Brugge a very commanding lead over Standard to have them huge favourites for the title.

Alex had not had a great run of form against AA Gent with a 3-1 loss this season and a 7-2 drubbing in the final game of last season which was still the worst moment of Alex’s managerial career. AA Gent played a very odd formation and Alex felt that it had played a large part in the results in the game as his side struggled to play against it and as they rarely faced it they couldn’t get much better against it.

As a result of these conclusions Alex planned to have the team working heavily on facing the AA Gent tactic with different combinations of players attacking and defending against the tactic that they were almost guaranteed to face in a couple of days.

It took a while but, the defenders were finally able to do some good defending against the formation and seemed less and less nervous with every attack that came their way. With the sheer numbers going forward it was the back five man marking a player each with the two central midfielders dropping back to help out and the wingers dropping back more than they normally did to help out leaving a rather isolated striker up front which was the onlu issue.

Attacking wise it was a struggle but, the best way to get goals was clear. With three centre backs and no wing backs the wings were far more open to be attacked and could be with great success with the winger tracking back outnumbered. The issue was when the ball was played inside it was a numbers game and the numbers were heavily in favour of Gent who had some very good players for defending.

With only two days to prepare instead of the week that AA Gent had they had far less time to prepare and while they had the morale boost from the huge result in midweek Alex was concerned as game day dawned.

It was a 2pm kick off so Alex was up early and headed to the training ground for 9am. He got the final update from the physio about the fitness tests from yesterday and most players were tired but, none were to tired to play the full match with very little risk of any injury however, it was likely that as the game was getting closed out AA Gent would likely be the fitter side and press forwards or counter based on what they had to do.

The players filtered in from 10-11 and chatted and messed around on their phones and talked to each other before lunch was served. The team ate together and where in high spirits heading into the match which Alex hoped wouldn’t fall. Some final checks with the physio for players with niggling issues and then the bus left the training complex and headed to the stadium.

Some final tactical advice was given and the players went out to warm up and Alex planned his team talk and was relived to see that AA Gent had not changed formation and had gone for the one they had spent two days preparing for.
ninjaskill's avatar Group ninjaskill
3 yearsEdited


Alex went for his usual formation Ribeiro started up front over Luciano with Vanaken and Martins starting in the two CM spots and Meunier claimed the right back spot with Schonheim on the other side and with all the games his team had faced recently Alex planned on using his substitutes in the big game. AA played their usual way with Ter Avest the rock at the back and Gutierrez who rejected Brugge for AA Gent up front in great form.

After Denswil cleared a cross in the 7th minute Martins had the ball just outside the Brugge box. He looked up and passed to Gedoz who was in space just inside the Brugge half. Gedoz turned and passed to Vanaken who hit the ball up to Ribeiro. Despite being swarmed by three defenders he was able to wriggle away and pass to Gedoz out wide running inside. He took a good couple of touches and then fired low across goal but, it was an easy enough save for Sels.

After 22 minutes Meunier stood over a throw just wide of the AA Gent box. He played the ball up to Ribeiro who just stopped it from going out for a goal kick and turned. He looked up and picked out Martins wide open 12 yards out. He smashed a first time finish across his body and inside the far post to put Brugge in front. The Brugge bench erupted in cheers and celebrated in the technical areas as the players and crowd also went wild.

Just before the half hour Gedoz stood over a corner for Brugge. His cross was cleared and Wikheim ran onto the ball outside the box. With no one near him he ran into the Brugge half and kept motoring forwards. He cut inside to wards the box and as he got into it calmly knocked the ball past Meunier and with Butelle coming out calmly passed the ball just inside the far post to level the game with a great solo goal. Alex was furious with his team not getting back quick enough to allow a player to only have to beat one man running from one box to the other.

As the game went towards half time it got very bitty and three bookings were given to AA Gent players and one for Engels. With three minutes left until half time Meunier had a throw in that was an inch from being a corner. He threw the ball into a crowd and it was headed back to him by someone. Meunier crossed in and it was hooked away in front of goal by Da Silva. Martins got the ball just outside the box and passed wide to Schonheim. He took a touch and whipped a cross in front of goal. Sels couldn’t reach it and Gedoz cushioned a volley in at the back post to put Brugge back in front on the brink of half time.

Brugge got to half time in front and Fejsa was spent in midfield so Alex opted to put in Timmy Simons who could use his experience to help the team. The formation stayed the same as Alex wanted a win out of the game as a draw would leave them with very little progress from the game.

Seven minutes after half time Da Silva got the ball from a clearance at the halfway line and passed up to Deaux. He turned and passed up to Rayos who with one touch layed the ball of to Teo Gutierrez. He just cushioned the ball into the path of the run of Crivelli. He ran in on goal and Butelle came out. Crivelli went for the fake shot and Butelle fell for it. Crivelli pushed the ball wide of the prone keeper and then rolled the ball into the back of the net to level the game again.

Four minutes later AA Gent came forwards again Deaux got the ball in space thirty five yards out. With time on the ball he passed up to Kums in the hole just outeide the box. He squared the ball to Rayos who slipped in Teo Gutierrez. He went for the first time shot and it was powerful and had Butelle beaten but, it went just wide of the post and it was a chance missed.

At the hour Alex made another change and went 4-4-2 with Vanaken coming off and Luciano going on in his place.

The pace of the game dropped and the clocked ticked over to the 80th minute as Simons played a free kick just in the AA half short to Engels who played it wide to Schonheim. He cut inside and passed to Simons who chipped a pass up to Gedoz, who had found space if he could control the ball. He couldn’t as he chose to shoot first time on the volley. It was a powerful shot and Sels could only parry the attempt. Ribeiro got to the rebound first but could only poke the ball right at Sels who reacted quickly to dive on the ball. It was a golden chance wasted.

With less then five minutes left Centurion was back defending and intercepted a pass and played the ball wide to Gedoz on the other wing. He chipped a ball up to Ribeiro who headed it down for Centurion who ran down the wing before passing to Schonheim on the overlap. He took a couple of touches and with everyone in the box he passed to Simons wide open 25 yards out. He passed back to Schonheim on the goal line and he chipped in a cross. From close range Ribeiro got in front of his man and headed the ball back to the near post and past Sels. It was a key late goal and Alex joined the stream of delighted staff and players out of the technical area to dive onto the pile with Ribeiro at the bottom.

It was a huge goal but, wouldn’t be overly relevant in the title race if they couldn’t win the game. With the game just short of the 90th minute Butele finally hit a goal kick long. After some head tennis Martins got the ball down and passed out wide to Gedoz. He pushed forwards then passed inside to Andre Martins. He overhit a pass to Centurion and Schonheim ran onto it. He fired a cross in and Luciano was his usual poaching self and reacted well to poke the ball in and double Brugge’s lead and set off another round of huge celebrations.

The final whistle triggered the third large celebration as Brugge had all but knocked AA Gent out of the title race and had a huge chance of winning the title. They could win it midweek when they took on Lokeren and Standard played Anderlecht if they could better the result of Standard.



The table looked wonderful and the title would be heading to Bruges or Liege who would need Brugge to tank the last three games and win two and get a draw but, it looked like the trophy was heading to Bruges.

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