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Mats Kool | Football Koolture

Started on 25 July 2019 by Jim
Latest Reply on 14 September 2019 by Justice
Two very good performers on the face of it. You do right by tying them down on new deals for that added security in case another side makes a swoop for them on the cheap due to the lack of years on their deal.

Once In A Season

We had 2 weeks to spare before our next fixture. I gave the boys a day off. I don't really know whether I did it for them or me. I feel overloaded from work. Training, tactics, transfers, they all take a lot of time to deal with. I needed a break. So I suppose the day off is more for me than the lads. I told dad I was going out. I asked him to come with me, but he said he needed to study for his coaching license. That man never ceases to amaze me. He never gets tired. And so I left my, or should I say our, apartment. I didn't have any plans on where I would go. I just wanted to relax. We have been performing very well lately but every human needs to relax once in a while. Mine just happens to be once in a season. I thought about going sightseeing in Luxembourg but the thought made my legs feel tired. So where did I go? Where every person who wants to relax goes. To a bar. I think it was called Go Ten or something like that.

After entering and sitting beside the barman I ordered a whiskey. When he looked at me he recognized who I was. He said "You are the Racing-Union manager aren't you? Yeah you are. Not really a fan of the club but I recognize good work when I see it. Here, it's on me." I was left surprised. I didn't expect neither recognition nor being given a free drink. I let out a confused "Thank you" before starting drinking the whiskey. I didn't want to get drunk but the whiskey made me feel relaxed. I controlled myself though, as I knew that bad things happen when you're drunk. Around 12:20 am I left.

I didn't want to call a taxi so I walked home. It was a 10-15 minute walk from the bar. I passed some 5-a-side football pitches and to my surprise, they were full. I didn't stop to look at the people playing but I did catch someone wearing a Racing-Union shirt. I smiled of course but I continued. The whole way I felt like I was being spied on. I was around 2 blocks away from my apartment when I was unfortunately proved right. A guy in a grey hoodie jumped in front me holding a knife. He demanded I gave him my wallet. He was a low level thug, nothing more. He was scared. Scared of the consequences of his actions. I knew he didn't have the guts to stab me but I also knew he wasn't going to give up. I was almost ready to give him money when I heard a police siren. He turned around and disappeared in a dark alley. The police car stopped and the policewoman asked me to make a statement. I kindly refused though. I knew that the kid needed the money. Did his ends justify the means? No. But I shouldn't destroy an already bad life. It was a hunch though. For all I knew the kid was a rich prick doing it for fun. The policewoman did escort me to my apartment though. I of course thanked her and bid her farewell.

When I entered the apartment I found dad asleep on the couch. I tried being as quiet as possible so I wouldn't wake him up. I went and had a quick shower before going to sleep. I thought to myself "enough adventure for this season". Tomorrow I was returning to do what I do best. Win matches."

Comment Replies

Scott: Both players are equally important for the club. I was pretty happy when they accepted the contracts. :D
Justice: We got that out of the way at least. Now we can focus on winning games.
SOA: Cheers mate. Their partnership is outta this world. :)
Seb: This club is a family. Family stays together. ;)
Jack: Both of their contracts were ending this summer. Thought it would be very stupid to leave two impressive players leave on a free.
Could have cut the tension in this update with a knife!
That was unexpected! :O Great update.
Certainly frightening in situations like that, no matter the circumstances. A shame that Kools is approached in this manner on just one of the only times he manages to relax, just very unlucky!

Sky Is The Limit

We started December playing league leaders F91 Dudelange, who were on a 14 match unbeaten streak, at home. It was an extremely difficult match for the whole 90 minutes, but two goals from Simon and Nakache were enough to end their streak. Next up was bottom of the league, Victoria Rosport. We comfortably beat them 4-1 with goals from Dionisio, Bouzid and a brace from Nakache. The downside of the game was the unfortunate injury of defensive midfielder Julien Humbert who twisted his ankle and was out for the next 4 weeks. A trip to Stade John Grün was next against Mondorf-les-Bains. We played poorly but managed to get away with a 1-2 win after a brace from 36 year-old Brazilian defender Henrique. Last match of December we returned to Stade Achille Hammerel to face Jeunesse d'Esch. We were down 40 seconds in and had no shots in the first 30 minutes of the game. Right before half time da Mota found himself open to a Simon cross and headed the ball into the net to tie up the game. The 2nd half was quite boring except when in the 65th minute an Henrique tackle saw us launch a counter attack with da Mota running all the way down the left wing, crossing to Simon who flicked the ball in the net to take the lead. Fast forwarding to the 12th of January (Happy new year!), we played away to former top 4 team Progrès Niederkorn where we saw the debuts of all new signings (Diakhaby, Hadzic, Fleurival and Smigalovic). Smigalovic opened his account with Racing-Union with a point blank shot after a Simon assist. Niederkorn equalised with a Mutsch header after a corner taken by Thill. 55 minutes in Simon scored a placed shot from outside the box to give us the win. Lastly, we had a 14 day break before our final January game against Fola Esch, a team fighting for top 4. Our rustiness showed in that match losing 1-2, conceding twice in the last 12 minutes and thus ending our 4 month unbeaten streak.

On the 22nd of December, we played Coupe de Luxembourg 4th round against Wiltz 71. An easy game for us, beating them by 3 goals. Da Mota opened the score with a volley in the far post after a cross from none other than Simon. Simon then doubled our lead when deflection after deflection gave the ball to him, who in turn scored with a powerful shot from the penalty box. Thomas Birk was subbed out in the 77th minute after suffering a hip injury, leaving him out for 3-4 months. Florik Shala scored the last goal of the game from outside the box.

We have climbed up the league table these past months, now being 3rd, 2 points off Dudelange. We also have a 10 point gap from Niederkorn, who are currently sitting 5th in the table. We had a lucky draw in the cup's quarter final, pairing up with 1.Division (3rd division) side Alliance Aischdall. It won't be an easy match sure, but they are one of the easier teams in there.

For a second, consecutive time, the POTM award goes to Jérôme Simon. Another series of impressive performances from the young French give him the award a second time. These two months he gave a more complete performance, scoring 4 goals but having 6 assists to his name. He continues to improve every day and we could not be happier about that.

Manager's Thoughts:

We are continuing to improve as a team everyday, each match performing better than the last one. We have a few bumps here and there but who doesn't? Anyway, dad and I really feel at home now at this club as everyone here is treating us like family. We are extremely grateful and we can only hope to repay those people with our performances. I haven't had an anxiety attack since October I think. Everything is going well and as days go by we have bigger breaks between matches, so I also have more free time. Right now, the sky is the limit for this club.

Comment Replies

Justice: Please make sure it's not a plastic one. :P
Scott: Thank you kindly mate. :)
Jack: Unfortunately you can't control when these things happen. Poor Mats can't catch a break. :(
Now that's a month to be proud of! Right into the title race with that string of results, although Esch are right on your tails with their win over you to round the month off. Simon's goal contribution has been incredible, hopefully he can have the final Say in the title race!
That form is excellent and a real sign of things to come, I feel. The gap between yourselves and the top two is within touching distance - claiming the league title is still a real possibility! A comfortable tie on paper against lower-league opposition in the cup will really help aid your chances of progressing into the semi-finals. Good luck!

Justice has certainly underwhelmed with that pun, unfortunately.
An almost flawless month there with some great results. That loss to Fola Esch has created and even tighter top four that is increasingly getting away from the rest of the division with that eight-point gap between 4th and 5th. What a month for Jerome Simon too!

Nearing To The End

With a total of 5 games played, these two months went by rather quickly. 4 of the 5 games were away and 2 of them were for the Coupe de Luxembourg. Our first game on tour was away to Stade du Deich against FC Etzella. A rather dull match in terms of shots, as there were a total of only 8. Despite the few shots this game had, the woodwork was hit 4 times, 2 by each team. The goal was scored in the 63rd minute by French midfielder Kevin Nakache from the spot, after da Mota was clearly pushed by Etzella's Donval. The tour continued, this time to Stade Jos Becker against 12th placed US Hostert. A much better performance from our team, as we beat Olivier Ciancanelli's side 0-3 with a brace from Florik Shala and a 3rd goal from Daniel da Mota. Next up was Titus Pétange 2 weeks later. A match that we were outclassed by the opposition, but thankfully managed to salvage a 1-1 draw with da Mota equalizing in the 53rd minute, after Kettenmeyer opened the score in the 18th minute.

The first of our two Coupe de Luxembourg matches was against 3rd division side Alliance Aischdall away to the 120 seated Stade Koericherberg stadium. We started the match perfectly with Simon scoring a powerful header from the box in the 4th minute. Shala doubled our lead in the 7th minute and suddenly we were up 0-2 in the Quarter Final. Jo Barnabo managed to pull one back for Alliance but an immediate reply from Simon gave us back the two goal lead. Alliance’s only consolation was a 77th minute strike from 27 year-old left midfielder Luigi Spinelli. Next day, we learned that we were gonna play Manuel Correia’s Una Strassen away on the 30th of March. Correira was leading the club to a sensational season currently being 3rd, just 2 points off us and Dudelange, whilst being expected to finish 8th. An extremely difficult match for both sides, with the score remaining level for a whole 70 minutes. Strassen’s Agovic got himself sent off after throwing an elbow to Nakache, leaving his team to fight with 10 men. 77 minutes in, Nakache managed to find some space for a whipped cross in the far post, with Shala once again putting us up front in a football game. At the brink of the game, Silva slid the ball to Hadzic, who unleashed nothing sort of a thunderbolt to seal our appearance in the final. The final will be held at the 11th of May against Fola Esch in the Stade Josy Barthel, an 8.050 all-seater stadium.

The continuation of our impressive performances have allowed us to be joint league leaders alongside Dudelange, who are only in front because of goal difference. Una Strassen are 3rd, 2 points off the top and bottom of the top 4 is Fola Esch, 4 points off the top. With our appearance in the final and the almost sealed top 4 spot, we are almost guaranteed to appear in Europe next season.

Florik Shala is this months’ POTM award winner, not allowing Simon to get the three-peat. The 21 year-old Luxembourgian striker appeared in all of our 5 games between February and March, scoring 4 goals and assisting 1 and also managing to earn one POM award. He is making 10.7 km per game, completing more than half of his passes (76%), while also hitting the target more often than not, which of course is needed from a striker.

Manager’s Thoughts:

We are on the verge of qualifying for European matches next season. It just keeps getting better and better. We are joint leaders and have also booked a place in the cup final. Some minor injuries happen from time to time, but our rotation players are more than capable of filling their shoes. I never thought being a football manager would be such a Kool job. I always figured it would be stressful and while it really is, the sense of accomplishment is out of this world. The season is ending shortly and whatever happens, we have to be proud of our campaign.

Comment Replies

Justice: I think I agree with Scott on this one. Underwhelming. :P
Scott: Thanks and as you see everything is going perfectly. Let's hope we won't let this slip.
Jack: I think the top 4 is set as of now. Our recent results have been impressive but let's hope we can keep this up till the last game of the season. We need to be more focused now than ever.
OH THIS IS TIGHT! One point more than Dudelange to secure the title! We're set for an incredible run-in, and I cannot wait.
Fantastic to see other players are really stepping up at the vital moments, with Shala demonstrating his abilities and picking up on the mantel left by Simon the previous month. Having several players capable of scoring and creating opportunities makes it a lot easier! An excellent month of results leaves you in a fantastic position, with only an inferior goal-difference preventing you from leading the way. Hopefully you'll be able to capitalise on Dudelange slipping up. It seems to be a four-horse race and you're neck and neck with the leader!
A fantastic display of away performances there! This really could not be much tighter going into the final month(s) of the season so you need to be on the best form of your life to make sure this is secured. Glad to see Kools be so upbeat about his chances in the manager's notes though.
Jim's avatar Group Jim
4 yearsEdited

The Day Before The Final


I remember the day after our qualification in the cup final. "Cup final for the first time since 1996 for Racing-Union", "Can Kool return the club to glory days with a trophy win after 23 years?" were some of the newspaper headlines. It was a pretty big deal for everyone, including me. How the days have passed. Suddenly it's the 10th of May. One day before we face Fola Esch in the Coupe de Luxembourg final. Last training with the boys went by quietly. Everyone was feeling the nerves, from me and the staff all the way to the players and the water boys. We were serious though. We knew that we would give everything so we could win. Drills were different this time. We focused on defending and of course, penalties. The most stressful experience for a manager. Penalties are 50/50 so I hope it won't come to that.

I also had a press conference to attend. I really didn't want to go as I wanted to focus on the final, but I had to. There were 6 journalists waiting there. I sat down in the chair and greeted them with a smile on my face. After some waiting the conference began.

Jeff Strasser has been speaking highly of you in terms of your recent form, stating that you have built an incredible atmosphere at the club, aiming higher and higher. How much does this mean to you since you’ll be facing each other tomorrow night?

I really appreciate Jeff’s comments. I am thankful for the praise sure, but I think that the players have to be congratulated as much, if not more, as me. I look forward seeing him again in our match tomorrow.

First of all Mats, congratulations on guiding the team to a final for the first time in 8.395 days. With that in mind there is no debate that this is one of the biggest matches this season, with the fans of course having pretty high expectations of you and the team. Do you think the team have their minds where they should be, or are we looking at a case of anxiety?

Thank you and yes, since this is the first final in a long time I agree that this match is one of our biggest tests yet and I of course understand why the fans have put the bar that highly. Of course there are nerves before the match but rightly so. Playing in a final is a big thing, no matter the country. I have made sure though that we all know what we have to do. Go there and win. Those are a lot of days so let’s hope we won’t have to wait any longer.

With a poll conducted in social media, most people think that the best match of this run was the 3-4 win against Progrès Niederkorn. Personally, I think that the win against Una Strassen in the semi final was the best. What are your thoughts?

Yes, some matches were indeed more exciting than others but let’s not forget that in order to reach a final, a team has to win every single match until that point. In our case, that was 5 matches that needed to be won. That of course is no small feat but if I had to pick a match out of those 5, I’d probably go with Progrès Niederkorn.

The last match against Strasser’s Fola Esch took place 4 months ago and ended with your team losing 1-2. Does this affect you or the team in any particular way?

A loss in our previous meeting will guide us to do better this time. We do not hold a grudge against them, but we of course want to “take revenge” for last time. Nonetheless, it’ll be a hard match against a tough opponent that we look forward to.

I know we talked about Jeff Strasser earlier but no one asked you so I will. What is really your relationship with Jeff? Tomorrow you’ll have to face each other again, but this time with a trophy in the line and of course, a place in the Qualification Rounds of Europa League.

Look. I cannot really explain my so called relationship with Jeff. We do recognize each other’s work but I think that’s about it. I try to stay out of his way and he tries to stay out of mine. This time it will be no different. Also, I know this is gonna sound kind of surprising but I do not really care about the continental qualification the cup offers to the winner. We have already secured a top 4 spot with 2 games remaining so we’ll appear there anyway. What we want from this final is the trophy. What comes afterwards is indifferent in this particular time.

That was the last question. I’m actually glad I came. Those were indeed some interesting questions. I do not regret any of my answers as I always try to tell the truth, never hiding behind my lies. I need to rest now, tomorrow is a big day.

Comment Replies

Justice: We still have a final to play! ;)
Scott: Indeed, it's extremely helpful to have more than one player scoring and assisting. Here's to Dudelange slipping! :P
Jack: We're nearing into the most crucial match of the season and we are pumped I tell ya! :D
Best of luck to Mats and Racing-Union. A big day awaits!

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