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Paul King - Becoming Royalty

Started on 10 June 2019 by TheLFCFan
Latest Reply on 2 October 2019 by ScottT
He has a big future ahead of him at Cinci. Let's hope he can use the experienced he gained from his time in England to push himself, and the team, to new heights.
Aribo is an absolute gem and has a fantastic future ahead of him, I'm sure. I was always intrigued by his decision to move to the States, but hopefully he can really knuckle down next season after a fantastic start to his career with Cincy.
Mr. Haribo has had a good footballing upbringing by some good coaches in Robinson and Bowyer - Bowyer in particular as I imagine him having similar qualities to Haribo. He has had good company throughout his career and is continuing to do so with King!

Five Graduate From Academy

It has today been announced that five members of the FC Cincinnati Academy side have been promoted to the first team squad. Brent Turner, Damián Serrano, Jeff Scott, Peter Pham and Matt Rivera, all 17, have agreed one year contracts with the senior squad.

Brent Turner, born in Fort Wayne, Indianna, was the academy sides star striker last season scoring 12 goals in 32 games. With the young prospect already spiking interest around the league, with reported interest coming from LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, New York CIty FC and current MLS Cup champions LAFC, Cincy are glad to have him tied down.

The second striker to join the first team is Damián Serrano. Serrano also starred in a lethal partnership with Turner. The youngster scored 15 goals in 32 games setting the league alight throughout the year. Born in Spain, Serrano moved to America just over four years ago and has 226 days before he is granted citizenship.

Born in Ohio, a four hour drive from Cincinnati, in Cleveland, Jeff Scott has been on the Cincy books for years. Having risen through the youth ranks Jeff impressed last season, creating eight goals from his attacking midfield spot. Described by many in the youth backroom staff as a “young man who already has the attitude of a professional”, big things are expected from him in the near future.

Next to join was Cincinnati native, Peter Pham. Pham, a standout player last season, scoring three and assisting four in his 34 games, also took home five man of the match awards. Another player with interest surrounding him, coming from LA Galaxy, LAFC, Seattle Sounders and New York City FC, it is expected that Pham will be playing a role in the team this year.

The final man to join the side, is goalkeeper Matt Rivera. Standing a huge 6”3, Rivera kept seven clean sheets last season for the academy side and once again has impressed the staff in the first team.

“I am delighted that these five boys have agreed to first team contracts as all of them have been on our radar for a while now. All of them played a big part in last season for the academy and they will all be used in some capacity over the next few seasons. Some will go out on loan but we are certainly looking at a couple to make a real impact this coming year.” manager Paul King told,

Following the arrival of the academy players, Cincy have also announced the arrival of a much more experienced man. Bradley Wright-Phillips has signed via the ‘Re-entry draft’ having seen his contract run out at New York Red Bulls.

The Englishman started his career at Manchester City, playing in the English Premier League, making his debut in 2004. After two years in the first team, Wright-Phillips was moved on to Championship side Southampton. Despite being a key member of the side playing in at least 33 games a season for the club, the striker was allowed to leave on a free in 2009.

Moving along the coast to Plymouth, the now 34 year old, scored an impressive 17 goals in 32 games. With 13 goals in 17 coming in his last season at the club, Wright-Phillips moved on once again to Charlton Athletic.

Following a three year stint at the London club, the son of Arsenal legend Ian Wright, Bradley was once again let go on a free, following a short and unsuccessful loan at Brentford. With Wright-Phillips unable to hold down a spot at any club in England, he made the move to America.

Signing for New York Red Bulls, Wright-Phillips quickly became a fan favourite, scoring 27 in 32 in his first full season at the club. In total the Englishman scored 110 goals in 211 games for the New York side, winning two golden boots and finishing as the leagues 2016 MVP runner up.

“Bradley (Wright-Phillips) will join the squad with an incredible amount of experience whilst still having a great amount of quality. Despite now being 34 he still managed 14 goals last season and he will have a great impact on some of our younger lads coming through.” Paul King stated to the clubs website.

Bradley Wright-Phillips as well as the five academy graduates will be back in Cincinnati training come January 20th 2020.


Justice:He has bags of potential, especially for an MLS side, so hopefully for Cincy he can continue to make a massive impact.
Scott:It was an interesting move, especially considering the teams that were interested in him. But their loss is Cincinnati's gain.
Jack:The coaches he has worked under have really aided his development. It is now Kings job to continue that development and make him an even better player.
Some good looking young players, especially Pham and Turner who look like they could do a job already.

Bradley is a marvelous signing. He brings quality and an incredible amount of experience. Not as athletic as he once was, but he'll score goals due to his movement off the ball and his clinical nature in front of goal. Certainly a fantastic mentor for the younger players anyway.
Great work to tie down the graduates to first-team contracts for the next year. I'm keen to see whether any of them can force their way into the side at some point over the season.

Wright-Phillips is an excellent striker with a proven record in the MLS during his time with the New York Red Bulls. An established and experienced star is exactly what Cinci need when all of these young players have been welcomed into the first-team setup. He could prove to be a great asset to have for aiding these players with their development, as well as the impact he is likely to have on the pitch. He's certainly capable of bagging a few goals this season. With Wright-Phillips, Johannsson and Black, it appears the front-line looks very strong.

A Chance to Reflect

This time last year I was walking up the stairs to the main conference room at Nippert stadium in order to meet with owner, Carl Linder III, Jeff Berding, our Team President, Gerrard Nijkamp, General Manager and Avram Grant my former assistant. We were set to discuss the upcoming MLS Superdraft 2019, in which we had the number one pick. That pick was only granted to us due to the fact that we were the latest MLS expansion side. This year was different, I was still making my way to the conference room to meet with some of my key staff and directors, but season one of the MLS was complete.

What a season it was. A playoff spot. A Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament win. On top of that, CONCAF Champions League qualification. We had exceeded all expectations in challenging for a playoff spot, let alone finishing seven points clear in 4th. A first round lost to Toronto was upsetting, for sure, but it is a massive learning curve for us. Out of Toronto’s starting 11 in that game, only two hadn’t played playoff football before. One a very highly rated 19 year old centre back and the other Gregory van der Wiel, a 47 time capped Dutch international, who has played for some of Europe's biggest teams in Ajax and PSG. For us only four had featured in the postseason.

A major thing we lacked at the start of last season, was a squad that had been there and done it. We now have a squad packed of playoff experienced players mixed in with some very talented youngsters. Of course, some will be moved on and others will be bought in but last season has given us so much to build on. One player to already be moved on is Diego Pave. The now 34 year old goalkeeper was bought in as cover midway through last season following Matt Turners departure. Playing in just two games for us throughout the season, he has been sold on for $300,000. This deal, seeing Pave leave to Club Brugge in Belgium, gives us a total profit of $300,000 as he was bought in through the waiver draft costing us nothing at the time.

We have also started our recruitment, bringing in Brent Turner, Damián Serrano, Peter Pham, Jeff Scott and Matt Rivera from our academy. Whilst experienced striker Bradley Wright-Phillips has also joined the club on a free. The signings are going to be important to the club, both now and in the future. Bradley will add an extra attacking option this season whilst the five academy graduates have the potential to be the cornerstone of the team for years to come.

The discussions we were set to have today, allowed us another way of furthering and improving this club and its future. We had seen from Brian Black, the league's Rookie of the Year and David Cooper who came third in the ROTY race, just how much of an impact these players can make. The draft is a massive way of bringing in talented young players on small salaries and therefore it is very important to get it right.

The four standout players, announced as the Generation Adidas players for this season were to be Kyle Rios, Gerardo Alvarez, Richard Edwards and Christian Murphy. But unlike last year, we would be very unlikely to have a chance of picking any of those four. After our impressive season, we only have the 16th draft pick this year, a big drop off from number one last year. This means we have to be smarter with our picks, smarter with our preparations and have a number of potential options.

The meeting was certainly a success, it gave us the opportunity to examine certain targets whilst discussing transfer targets. One of which being Ramiro Funes Mori. The former Everton defender was transfer listed at Villarreal having only made a $12,250,000 move a season ago. For $1,700,000 we thought it was a no brainer. Our defense had been great this year, conceding the lowest amount of goals throughout the entire MLS, but we can always improve. Funes Mori would certainly come in and strengthen us and that was our aim this window, strengthen, get better, challenge. However, it would be a challenge to bring him in, six other MLS sides were after him, with the front runners being Toronto FC, FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls. But we believe we have a chance after our incredible season just gone.

Having closed the meeting, I still had a lot on my mind. The drive to the airport was going to take a while, especially on Boxing day, but the flight was going to be even longer. I’d have time to think then at least.


Justice: Pham is certainly someone King will be looking to use this year, he seems to be second or third choice already on the left wing.

Wright-Phillips is certainly a pickup that will be great for the club. He is on a rather hefty contract compared to others at the club, but for what he will bring it was an easy decision. He brings so much experience and with that personality, he is going to really help the youth out!
Scott:The interesting thing with America and the system is, the academies are effectively different teams and play in the pro leagues outside of the MLS. Therefore they are technically not contracted to the club beforehand, but at any point in the season you can sign them to your side, as long as they agree to a contract. A very interesting system, I am not sure I like it yet...

Wright-Phillips just made perfect sense. On a free. Even with his age and his physicals not quite what they were, he is still a great player for the MLS. Even better his experience is going to pay off especially in the later stages of the season. As the update mentions, we lack that experience in the Playoffs compared to other sides, and he brings it in abundance.
Funes Mori would be an excellent signing if you can bring him in. You face stiff competition for his signature, though.
RFM would indeed be an incredible addition. Add him to your squad and you'll almost certainly win the league!

A New Direction?

“Gate 25A at 6pm please Mr King” the young lady sat at her desk told me as I checked in to my flight.

Following my meeting with Carl, Jeff, Gerrard and Garry, I made my way to the Northern Kentucky International Airport. The drive is only supposed to be twenty or so minutes, but with Boxing Day traffic it took me just under an hour. I had expected the traffic and had packed my bag before the meeting with the team at Nippert. It gave me time to think. But no matter what I thought and what I told myself, I kept coming back to the same question, ‘We have achieved so much this season, was I about to fuck it all up?’

After checking in without any problems I still had an hour and a half before boarding opened, leading me to wander around the airport aimlessly. I couldn’t stop my mind from racing. This would be a life changing moment for me. The next 48 hours or so would be huge in my life and my career but I couldn’t worry about that, not at the moment. I decided to head to a pub named Max & Erma’s. I was flying business class, so I could have easily gone and sat in the lounge, but I didn’t want to. Sitting there, being pampered, it wasn’t my style, I didn’t like the idea that just because I have earnt a good amount of money over the past few years, I should be treated any differently. Plus a favourite pastime of mine is people watching, it fascinates me how people go about their lives.

I guess that has helped me in my coaching career as well. Watching how players go about training, what they do in their spare time, how they are with the cleaners and chefs. Every little bit matters and it builds up a persons character, if you can’t help the lady on minimum wage cleaning up the locker room after you, then I don’t want you at my club. I expect every member of the team to know each staff members name, from the top down. It’s a sign of respect, everyone at the club plays their part in making us successful and the players need to remember that.

Sat in the pub drinking an ice cold beer, a few people approached me asking for autographs, before asking where I was travelling to. I obliged with the signatures, but told a white lie in saying I was travelling away for a few weeks holiday. If the fans knew that I was about to go for an interview at another team, god knows what would happen.

Cincinnati has a proud sporting heritage, with sides in the NFL and MLB, before we joined and became its first MLS side. The Cincinnati Bengals, the cities NFL side and the Cincinnati Reds (MLB), are massive here. The Reds are certainly the most successful in the cities sports sides, winning five Major League Baseball World Championships, whilst the Bengals have won a couple Conference championships but never the NFL. The good thing for me in being the Head Coach of the soccer side was, in relative terms, we were still small in the city. Not many people rushing around the airport in fear of missing their flight would recognise me, unlike Zac Collins the Bengals Head Coach.

Having drank a couple of pints, I made my way to my gate. Gate 25A, just a few hundred meters from Max & Erma where I had been drinking before. With my ‘privileged’ position of holding a business class ticket, I made my way to the ‘Priority’ queue and was allowed on to the plane in minutes.

Settling down into my seat an airhostess by the name of Emma approached me with champagne.
“Good Evening Mr King, my name is Emma and I will be looking after you on this evenings flight,” Emma explained “If you need anything please do not hesitate to call and I will be with you as soon as possible. For now if you would like a complimentary glass of champagne, you can begin looking through your menu and I will be right around to take your order.”

It was an easy life. Free champagne and a menu that wouldn’t be out of place in a top of the range restaurant. I decided to go for the Pasta Carbonara whilst indulging in a warm Raspberry and Lemon sponge for dessert.

Upon placing my order with Emma an announcement came over the sound system.

“Welcome to this British Airways flight, my name is Colin and I will be your Pilot today for this flight from Northern Kentucky International Airport to London Heathrow. I hope your flight is one of comfort and we will be there before you know it.” Colin announced. “We are now ready to taxi to the runway and will be taking off in approximately 15 minuets time”

With that, I put my headphones on to listen to my music and we were on our way. London, here I come…


Scott & Justice: He would of been a great signing however, our lack of finances has hampered us and he didn't believe we would be able to match his wage demands.
Endless possibilities with King travelling to London. Intrigued to see which club is interested in making him their new manager!
Time to put the 'do' in 'London'. Whatever you decide to do, it'll be a move fit for a king.
Certainly more opportunities in Europe in terms of football. Excited to see where the King goes!
TheLFCFan's avatar Group TheLFCFan
4 yearsEdited

Promising Talks

“It’s a chilly 2 degrees centigrade at 10:45am local time here in London, England” our pilot Colin informed, “We hope you have had a very pleasant flight with us at British Airways, and hopefully we will see you soon.”

The almost 11 hour flight felt like a short trip to me, as it was the first time in a very long time that I managed to get a good amount of sleep. Having eaten my food, I put my chair into a bed and only when Emma came and woke me up before we landed, did I wake up. It was wonderful to feel refreshed.

Football management can be very rewarding job, winning games and trophies brings a sense of euphoria I haven’t really found anywhere else. However, it is also a job where rest and time off is rare. During the regular season a normal day will see me wake up at 6:00am, be at the Mercy Health Training Complex for 7:00am. From then until 8:30am I begin going through my emails and messages, working through the endless amounts of information being given to me. At 8:30 I go for breakfast before meetings start with my coaches about the days training sessions. I aim to be on the training pitch throughout the entire two hour session starting at 10:00am. I always enjoy seeing how the boys are performing and what we can work on further.

Following the first training session of the day, I normally have further meetings with other members of the staff. Those meetings will be with scouts and data analysts explaining any information they have on our next opponents. Whilst our Head Physio and Head of Sports Scientists to give me updates on anyone out injured.

We then move on to our second training session of the day which generally begins at 14:30pm following the players lunch. Training ends at 16:00pm and the players are given an hour to shower and eat whilst myself and the data analysts go through the video from the training sessions. In that time we break down the session into a quick highlights package to go through with the group at the end of the day. Personal highlights are then emailed to the players for them to go through in their own time. I find reviewing ourselves at every opportunity as highly beneficial to everyone. It allows us to see what we are doing right and more importantly where we are going wrong so we can improve. My expectations of the players is to take the information in and come back the next day and improve on what we said at the end of the previous day.

Once the players have left I have my final meetings of the day with the coaches and my assistant Garry Parker, to discuss how we think the day went. They then depart leaving me alone in the complex from around 19:30pm. I then begin to devise the next days training schedule, focusing on the key areas we analyzed with the players. These broad schedules and ideas will then be adapted on with my coaches in our meeting the next morning. I finally arrive home at 21:00pm before making myself something to eat before reading through whatever emails I may have missed throughout the day. I aim to give myself an hour or two a night to watch TV and destress before getting into bed ready to go again the next day.

It’s certainly a long day and one that sees me feeling the strain especially after a long period of travel between games, like we had in July last year. But as I said, it is rewarding, the end result when you get a big win at the weekend is something out of this world.

But it is important to get rest every now and again. Even though the season finished almost four months ago, I haven’t had a break yet apart from a few days over Thanksgiving and a couple days for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Apart from those few days I have been studying and scouting the potential Superdraft members, whilst also scouting for first team members.

Having got through security and collected my bags I made my way out of Heathrow and the cold wind hit me straight away. I had last been back to England in 2005, with Mum and Dad, going back to their home city of Nottingham. It was a country I loved, I really did. So when the opportunity to come over for an interview arose, I had to take it.

London's transport system is one of the best in the world and with the disappointing exposure the MLS had to England in particular, I was able to get the Tube unnoticed. My journey was a long one, seeing me change at Green Park before finally arriving at Stratford underground station. From there it was only a small taxi ride to the Olympic Stadium, the home of West Ham United.

“Mr King, it is great to finally meet you” announced David Gold, West Ham United's co-owner “How was your flight? Hopefully the journey wasn’t too much of a problem” added David Sullivan, the second co-owner of the club.

“It was great, thank you, I am very excited about meeting with you all today” I replied looking at the pair as well as Karan Brady the clubs vice-chairman.

The trio led me through to an office. I was welcomed by a large conference table made of oak with eight leather chairs positioned around it. A large window looked out upon the London Stadium pitch, which West Ham had moved into the formerly known Olympic Stadium, in 2016. Since then times have been challenging for them. By finishing 7th the season before their move, of the back of some simply incredible Dimitri Payet performances, the Hammers had claimed a Europa League spot. However they had been unable to clinch a top half finish ever since. With this past season being the worst of the lot. Sat in 18th place, the East London club were struggling, massively.

With just 18 goals in 20 games in all competitions so far this season, The Hammers have been lacking any sort of threat in front of goal. This along with a lack of defensive strength, conceding 3 to Bournemouth and Burnley already this season has seen the side struggle. Sat in 18th, and following a 1-1 draw to Aston Villa, they parted ways with former manager Manuel Pellegrini.

“So, Paul, I will get straight to the point, what is going wrong with this football club at the moment?” asked David Gold, bluntly.

“It’s a combination of things, in my opinion Mr Gold. The most obvious being the lack of chances being created and goals being scored. Losing a player of Javier Hernández quality on loan is a disappointment, whilst the £19,500,000 spent on Guido Carrillo doesn’t look like it is paying off” I informed David Gold and the other two board members present. “I think that is also an aspect that needs to be looked at, the recruitment side of things. Losing a player of Javier’s quality, a proven Premier League goal scorer, and replacing him with Guido, who in his previous time in the league, failed to score, isn’t great business unfortunately.” I knew I was risking my chances of the job by being so honest but I wasn’t the type of person to sit around and lie just to tell someone what they wanted to hear.

“So you don’t think we are doing our jobs well enough?” questioned David Sullivan.

“No, it isn’t that, that isn’t your role at all. It should be down to the manager, the Director of Football and the scouts to decide on the best players for the football club. If we are spending so much money it needs to be the right man.”

“What would you do to turn our fortunes around then Paul?” asked Karan Brady, who up to now had remained silent.

“A few things. I think this club needs to start a rebuild focused around the young talents it has here. The likes of Declan Rice and Issa Diop. As a whole, the squad is really beginning to age, I believe only two players were under the age of 26 in yesterday's first eleven, whilst four were above 30. The facilities are in place, it is just about executing the turnaround efficiently and effectively now.” I answered.

The interview lasted approximately a further 30 minutes with the discussion seemingly being productive. I left the stadium and entered my hotel with even more thoughts swirling around my head.


Scott: West Ham are a club that have struggled as late, even with the money they have spent. It is certainly a situation King finds interesting.
Justice: Will be interesting to see if King will hammer home a spot as West Hams manager. ;)
Jack:Europe, has to be the destination any manager wants to be. It is a real test of a quality manager, maybe King will get to show what he can do there.
West Ham would be an excellent move for Paul and would be a significant upgrade on what he has to work with at Cincinnati. The Premier League brings all sorts of pressure, however. Paul would have to get things moving quickly, as the Hammers have a fan-base who won't settle for failure.

The one positive is that he can't do any worse than the last American manager in the Premier League, surely?

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