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Boots to brains

The journey of a player who was forced to retire after a horrific injury ended his career at the age of 21
Started on 2 November 2016 by Balik
Latest Reply on 4 November 2016 by mgriffin2012
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Balik's avatar Group Balik
7 yearsEdited

30th August 2012

'Tighten up, man to man!' I shouted as we prepared for a 60th minute free kick in the 2nd-leg Europa League play-off in Berne at the Stade de Suisse. Three players are behind the ball, Mario Raimondi, Scott Stutter and Christian Schneuwly all had emotionless faces as we waited for the ref to blow his whistle....Scott began his run up but he passed the ball to Christian and BANG! the ball flew and struck the crossbar. Lössl picked up the ball and threw it to Igboun as he started his run up, I followed back for support as the Young Boys' players rushed back to their goal and take the ball off Sylvester. He dribbled past one, past another and laid it off to me; I faked the ball and played it out wide to Santi as he pushed the ball forward and tackled. Santi laid there holding his leg as our physio rushed up to aid him.

It was the most fierce 10 minutes of my life as both our players and theirs fought and argued. Both managers came on and exchanged words before separating the players. The ref kept the cards in his pockets but awarded us a free-kick. I stepped up, and saw that Jasper was un-marked, a powerful whipped curved around the crowd of players and landed straight on Jasper's head.

Alex whips a powerful one in that curves around and lands on Jasper's head and it hits the crossbar! Thee goalkeeper was lucky with that one as it goes out.

'Come on!' I shouted as we rushed back and prepared for the goal kick...

74th minute. I played a through ball to Rilwan Hassan as he dribbled past through one and was away at goal, we were close to get one past but Nef comes in from behind and takes him out! All of my team-mates rushed towards the ref claiming it's a pen and a red card but I ran up to Nef pushing him and arguing, he was laughing at Rilwan as he was rushed to the sideline for treatment. Alexandru Tudor booked Nef and he was off to an early shower.

Igboun stepped up and put it past Wolffi. 'Yes come on!' I heard Riddersholm shout from the dug out.

80th Minute, the ball was loose; I ran to control it and push it forward, it was a 50-50 for me, I place my leg straight and high, I was close....'AHHHHH' I shouted in pain as the opponent landed his shoe on my knee at full power, I was out and I knew that, I stared into the night and shed a tear as my career flashed before my eyes
Balik's avatar Group Balik
7 yearsEdited

23th September 2012

FC Midtjylland vs Brondy IF (1-1)

I sat in the changing room as a fan, not as a player....The crowds roared as the rest of my team-mates dragged themselves after they fought hard for the past 45 minutes versus Brondby IF. 'aye, Alex, I see your back to show of again' Jasper laughed, 'well I can't leave my baby Jasper so they can bully you' I limped towards him giggling.

The players all sat down as Glen took the spot and tried to motivate them to hold on... 'We have a goal lead and we SHOULD keep it, I don't want any relaxation, I want 100% focus from you. I don't give a fuck if you are tired come near the end, I still want to keep that lead and win this match. Understood!'

Silence filled the room as each player nodded and headed off; I followed back into the green pitch as many young fans screaming my name, but a middle aged man started screaming my middle name 'Matthew! Matthew!' and it grabbed my attention, I signaled for the stewards to take him into the Wolves' changing room to meet me there.

'Alex, thanks for allowing me to talk to you' he said as he entered the room with a thick registration form under is arm. 'How do you know my name' I asked as I poured him a glass of cold water. 'You don't remember me from school? I knew you had a memory of a goldfish but you're not this dumb' he replied as I leaned backwards.

'Wait, Marc?!' I screamed out as I took another look at his scruffy, hairy face. 'Ya! you finally remembered me' he giggled as he hugged him. 'How may I help you bud?'. 'I didn't come here to ask for anything, I'm just gonna give you thins, it's a registration form for a coaching class run by the Scottish FA' he said as he handed me the paper and took a sip from his glass of water 'You also have an advantage since you're an ex-international player now, but it starts in January 2013' he added. 'You're doing it?' I questioned him as I hear the disappointment scream from the fans as they pull one back. 'I did it and now I'm working with Jess at his club; he also suggested that you do it and become your mentor'

I sat there for a good long 5 minutes thinking about it; 'Well I have all the time of the world since I'm 17' I spoke as I signed up. Now all I have to do is wait till January 21st 2013; I'm off to Esbjerg to be mentored by Jess...
Great start man!!!!
I'm with MJK a great start!

21st January 2013

I pulled up in the parking lot at the Scottish coaching school and made my way to the front door and to the receptionist, 'Hi, how may I help you?' she asked as she hung up the phone. 'Ya, I'm here for the National C license course...' I spoke as I took a look around the big, spacious building. She didn't respond as she was bringing up a picture of me on her computer. 'Of course, Mr. Balik, would you please follow Ashley' she said as she was pointing towards a young, beautiful lady with blonde hair. 'Would you like to follow me Mr. Balik' she said as she walked off towards a long corridor.

'I see you want to become a manager Mr.Balik' she questioned me, 'Ya, after my Injury last August the doctor said I'm not and will never be fit to play again so I thought that I would become a manager, or try to be on, oh and call me Alex' I replied as I smiled at her. We continued our way towards my classroom, on the way we talked about our past and ourselves. When we arrived at the door, she gave me her number so I can ask her if I ever need help in Aberdeen.

I entered the room and saw a familiar face in Marc and 5 new ones I didn't know but I caught a glimpse at their notepad that had their name on it, there was: Michael (Mike), Ashton, Marco, James and Kieth. All of them were young and new to the footballing world except me and Marc, I took a seat between Marc and Mike and we got chatting. 'I see your an ex player; shame what happened to you, you have my sincere apologizes' Mike told me as he grabbed a notepad from the front desk and handed it to me. 'Thanks, but the past cannot be changed, the present and future can, so imma focus on them' I replied as our teacher Ian walked in, 'Good morning class, I'm Ian your teacher for your coaching course and that's Marc, my assistant' Ian spoke pointing at Marc 'Now, a manager has the ability to come up with a tactic with the players they have, so you have A goalie, 3 defenders, 2 full backs, 4 midfielders, and 1 striker, what's the best tactic to use that suits those players?' he added and questioning us. 'a 5-4-1 with 2 wing backs' I firmly replied as I finished writing the positions he named out. 'good, well done Alex. A manager can think of a solution on the spot and doesn't need to ask his fellow staffs on their opinions before finding one' He told the class.

We went on for another 6 hours of problems we could face as managers and how we can fix them. As the day ended, Ian, Marc and the rest left as well as the staff, I stayed back kicking the ball to the wall. The white, digital clock read '22:19'. as I headed outside, I walked to my dodge and saw Ashley on the side of the road. 'Ashley, why are you here in the night and in the cold?' I asked as I approached her with my jacket read to warm her up. 'Waiting for the bus' she said, 'I'll give you a ride home, no need for a beautiful girl to be standing out all alone'. Ashley's face turned bright pink as we made our way to my car and into the town. 'So an ex-footballer' she asked while turning on the radio and to the sports channel 'Ya, is that a problem?' I said 'No' she replied in a shy way. we continued our way towards the residential area... Current Manchester United gaffer and legend Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that he's retiring in the coming May 'What a great manager he is, I hope that I can beat his records' I jokingly said as we stopped at a red light, 'Well I can ask him to help you with your coaching' she asked as she stared at the side of my face. 'How?' I asked he, 'Well he is my Uncle, and I'm his baby niece' she added before I widened my eyes in surprise

She called her uncle and told him that she's coming with a friend to Manchester in a week, he happily said yes. I pulled into her driveway and walked her to her doorstep, we stood there for a good 5 minutes before she leaned in for the kiss, after that smooth, gentle kiss he opened her door and shut it straight behind leaving me in love with her....

30th January 2013

We drove all the way from Aberdeen to Manchester in Ashley's Range Rover; it was an interesting ride as we got to know each other more, we both love football, support Arsenal, grew up as the eldest sibling and well, we both have a thing for each other ;)

We arrived at Fergie's big house and parked right behind Darren's bright red and white, with a black interior Ford Boss 302 Mustang. I adored cars as much as I do with football. Ashley ran up to the door as I slowly but surely emptied the trunk and got all of our bags out, and carried them towards the door. As the door opened, I became speachless as my idol Alex Ferguson said 'Ashley! you grew up so much since 2 Christmas's ago, and this must be Alex Balik', he extended his arm straight out and offered me a handshake. A grip firm and a hearty 'It's an honor to meet you Sir Alex' made him smile as he said 'Call me coach laddy, you'll be working under me till May at United then back up in Aberdeen at the coaching school, you got that?'. 'Easy up on him, he;s star struck' Ashley interrupted us.

We entered the house as we met his lovely wife Grace and made our way towards the bedroom and turned in for the night. 'Morning babe' Ashley whispered into me ear before tickling me with her cold, soft hand. 'Morning love' I smiled as I kissed her on her head and got up, dressed and left the house with Fergie and drove to the training ground. 'You seeing Ashley, Laddy?' he questioned as we took a hard right turn, 'Excuse me sir?' i replied in shock, 'Are you dating my cousin, Al?' Darren spoke from the back of the car, 'Why should that matter' I spoke trying to change the subject desperately, 'Look if you want my help, just promise me you won't use her to get to me then dump her, got that laddy?'. 'I love her till death, I won't do that' I replied quickly as possible. I got a firm nod from both him and Darren as we pulled up into his parking spot.

We made our way into his office just as Darren went into Woodward's office finalizing my contract; we started to prepare for our 9 hour day training:

09:30 - 09:45 - Breakfast
09:45 - 10:00 - First Team meeting
10:00 - 11:00 - Fitness Test (Jogging, Running, Jumping Jacks, etc)
11:00 - 12:00 - Pass & Move
12:00 - 13:00 - Attacking Set pieces (Free Kicks, Penalties, Corners)
13:00 - 13:00 - Lunch
13:30 - 14:30 - Gym
14:30 - 15:00 - Ice bath treatment
15:00 - 16:00 - Defending Set pieces (Free Kicks, Penalties, Corners)
16:00 - 17:45 - Practice Match (First Team players vs Back Up players)
17:45 - 18:00 - Healthy Snack

We ended the day with a great mood throughout the players.

I booked Ashley and I a hotel not so far from the training ground to spend some alone time together. Ashley registered us in late afternoon before I finished my day. 'So how's your first day? Did anyone bully you?' She jokingly asked as she started to relieve me from my stress with a glass of champagne .'Good, the players were teasing me calling me 'Baby Gaffer' since I'm strict with them' I replied as I took a sip and laid on the bed. 'Well, only a few more games till they stop bullying you' She said as she changed into her PJ's. We spent the rest of the night watching TV as we slowly fell asleep....

19th May 2013

I stood across the office of fergie as he sat there thinking if it was the right thing to do as he was crying, 'Do you think that I made the right choice laddy?' he whined, 'Ya, you've been in the industry for a lot longer then anyone imagined, you made United one of the most legendary team in England, hell even in Europe and the rest of the world. You are and will always be the idol of many young managers like myself and Darren.' I softly said as I went on to comfort him with a glass of water, 'Now it's time to go and play for the away Devils' I added as I extended my right arm.

We headed out of the office and towards the garage as Fergie was whipping away the tears and looking serious, we boarded the coach and settled down ahead of Giggs and Darren. He didn't speak or do anything throughout the ride, he just stared out of the window and writing tactics he wants me to learn in 2 weeks time.

We arrived at The Hawthorns ready for the Match against WBA, We gave in our team sheet to the ref and got ready for kick-off

6th minute: Kagawa puts us ahead with a neat header after Javier Hernandez chases down the lost ball and whips it in making it 0-1 United

9th minute: A Jonas-Olsson own goal makes it 0-2

30th minute: Buttner's first time hit flies into the far corner of the net gives man united a 3 goal lead (0-3).

40th minute: James Morrison pulls one back who manages to get goal-side of his marker to just toe-poke the ball behind Lindegaard making it 1-3

50th minute: Lukakau picks up the loose ball out wide before cutting in and picking his corner before rolling a brilliant finish past Lindegaard and into the back of the net making it 2-3

53rd minute: Valencia picks up the ball on the wing before making his way to the by-line, and he's able to play a 45 degree ball back across the face of goal, where Van Persie is on hand to turn home his 26th Premier League goal of the campaign making it 2-4

63rd minute: Kagawa sends Giggs down the right, the Welshman plays the ball right across the face of the goal before Hernandez taps it in giving united a 3 goal lead (2-5)

81st minute: It's two goals in 60 seconds for the Baggies, with Romelu Lukaku scoring the first with a lovely finish into the bottom corner after being played in behind the defence, while Youssouf Mulumbu then makes it 4-5 with a low finish following some intricate build-up on the edge of the area.

86th minute: Romelu Lukaku completes a second-half hat-trick to level the scores! IT was another substitute, Marc-Antoine Fortune, who set the goal-up, cushioning a deep delivery down into the path of his team-mate, who eventually managed to bundle the ball over the line after his initial shot had been saved point-blank.

90th minute: the ref blows after a thrilling 5-5 encounter!

The amazing send-off for fergie ended with the announcement of their new manager. David Moyes of Everton has been announced to take over the champions at the start of the next season. 'You sure he's the right man for the job, gaffer?' I questioned him as we headed off towards his home to celebrate his retirement from management. 'Well you still need help, don't you, but trust me, I will put in a good name for you when we need a new manager in the coming years, but now we need study for your Pro License' he replied after being silent till we reached the parking space of his house. We entered the house and cheers echoed around the room as over 200 close friends and family members waited to surprise fergie with a retirement party. Now all we have to do before this late June is get back to Aberdeen....
Breaking News!

FIFA has revealed that they will boost football in Asia in the coming years to boost the competition there.

AFC president Salman Al-Khalifa; has announced today towards the FIFA governing body that the Gulf Cup of Nations will be held 2 years and will be overseen by Ex-Danish international Alex Balik in the near future.

Salman also announced on behalf of Cai Zhenhua, that the Chinese football league will be given a big financial boost to motivate football in China.

Alex Balik has said 'I'm proud to be apart of the AFC overseeing the Gulf Cup of Nations and the rest of the AFC cups. Asia is filled with future stars that will hopefully conquer the world.'

Israel FA has been kicked out from the AFC after a vote from the countries' FA president held in the summer due to war breaking out. Kuwait FA has been the reason for the vote after they brought it up in the first out of three AFC meeting held in January.

More news will be released following the 2014 World cup where Asian powerhouses, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Australia are participating.
Breaking News!

Alex Balik has announced that Australia are now able to play in the Asian Cup this 2015, they were inducted into the Asian FA in early 2014 representing Asia in the World Cup

Australian FA's president has said in the recent FIFA world body meeting 'We are proud to be able to represent Asia in the international stage as well participate in the Asian Cup in 2015 and host them. We are in debt to AFC vice-president Alex Balik'

In other news, North Korea has been banned from any footballing activities till 2016 due to evidence of their players taking performance-enhancing drugs. FIFA has taken over the investigation from the AFC since last month....

31st January 2015

I stared at the pitch hours before the 2015 AFC Asian Cup final kicked-off. The 84,000 seated stadium was receiving its' last preparations before Hosts Australia play Asian giants South Korea.

'It's a wonderful scene, isn't it love' Ashley said as she walked by, clinching my arm tightly and resting her head on my shoulder, 'Just imagine, if you manage Sydney FC this time next year; you will call this your second home' She added as she kissed me on my cheeks and walked away into the VIP box that was reserved for us.

I stayed at my exact spot, sitting on a chair that was brought out for my weary legs and drinking whiskey till 8 pm while enjoying the beautiful smell of the freshly cut grass. an hour before kick-off. I meet with the referees, South Korean captain and manager, Ki Sung-yueng and Uli Stielike, Austrlian captain and manager Mile Jedinak and Ange Postecoglou ahead of the match to discuss the match ahead. 'Thank you for announcing the team sheets managers, since Australia are also the hosts, we will let Ki to decide heads or tails....

The match has began and the actions got underway..

45th minute: Australia take the lead on the brink of half time as Left Midfielder Massimo Luongo puts it past Kim Jin-hyeon

90th minute (injury time): South Korea ties it all in the dying seconds of the game as the snatch the trophy from Australia to keep their hopes up with a Son Heung-min goal

105th minute: Australia gets the lead once again but with a James Troisi on the brink of half time as they did in normal time.

Australia hold on to win the game and the Asian Cup 2-1 versus South Korea at Sydney.

I headed down to the pitch as I was giving the duty of handing out the Medals to the South Korean players, and to the Australian players as well as the trophy. Captain Jedniak lifted the trophy in front of 72.000 fans.
Reliving that night just put a massive smile on my dial. Cheers mate.

Gotta agree with the others, nice start. Can't wait to see where you go with it.
I remember missing lectures at uni to watch that game! Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

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