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The Luke Henderson Story

Finding a way in Scottish football
Started on 22 December 2019 by Luke Henderson
Latest Reply on 14 October 2020 by Karter Mitchell
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You've made strides to improve the club and you can be pleased with the outcome despite not having as much success as you may have liked in terms of silverware. Looking forward to where you end up.


#075 - Unai Emery is thwarting me

01/08/2031 -- We are two months further now and I’m still unemployed. At some point there were some very interesting jobs, but I guess my 3,5 star reputation is bothering me a little bit. It’s probably just a little bit to less for the big clubs to introduce me. Who the fuck is this Scottish dude? What has he won? Huh? One League cup in twelve years? Hell yeah, awesome! I hear the fans say… I’m not really the new Jose Mourinho obvious. But, I’m not such an asshole either.

I placed all my bets at only one club. Chelsea. They are struggling now for already five years. They asked me for a job interview after I applied for it. Surprisingly though! But after a few weeks of silence there were some manager rotations going on at the big clubs all over Europe and from that moment I saw the chances slightly decreasing in my head already. And I was right. Somewhere halfway of July Chelsea brought me the bad news. They said thanks to me for the job interview but at the end they thought Unai Emery was a better choice. I can’t argue of course, he is way better than me…

Beside of Chelsea there was not much more interesting actually. As already said before I’m quite critical for choosing a club. All circumstances must be right for me, and if they are, even then I must feel some kind of a connection with the club, in either way. To give you an idea: I hate clubs having a board with investors from another country. Like the Americans at Manchester United or the Arabian oil money guiding Paris Saint Germain. I know Chelsea had it as well, but the current board in the game is full English again after Abramovich sold the club. But, even when the board is non-foreign, the facilities already there, and there is some big potential as well; it’s definitely not a go yet. For instance West Ham United. They asked me last winter for being their manager. Everything seemed okay, but there was one tiny aspect that annoyed me heavily. Their stadium… That’s not even a football stadium! Please! It’s just terrible. So at the end I said no.

So I guess it could take a while, ha-ha! I made myself a promise: within a year I need to be somewhere. One year off is okay, but any longer is affecting the game in my opinion. Than I lost the connection to it. Maybe it’s a silly thing in my head, but I just feel it that way. So, there are two options left for this Luke Henderson story: finding a club within the next twelve months or this story is coming to an end. Sadly, because I like this career pretty much so far despite the fact I haven’t won that much until now. Okay, I will come back to you as soon when there is some news to share with, otherwise I will return in the winter break for sure.


Note: Youth intakes were shit, are shit and going to be shit as well the next few years I guess TheLFCFan! No matter which club I'm managing apparently. Yeah I think I did a good job at Hearts Scott, but the time is right to say goodbye. A couple of 'in-between' updates are following now, before we have to figure out if I will end up somewhere else!
The next club you choose has to be the perfect fit by the sounds of it!


#076 - My wife is driving me crazy, please give me a chance!

31/01/2032 -- That. Is. Harsh. Keeping at home for a while I mean. I did it before when I ended my career as a footballer, but by the time I was 36. Now I’m 53. And very soon even 54. I never thought I missed football so much as I do right now. I have to get back in the saddle. Any sooner than later. We are a couple of months further now and not much happened since then. Although that’s not completely true. I was really close for joining a new club, twice actually.

The first one could surprise you. Chelsea… I already knew Unai Emery is just to old for this shit. They should signed me last summer instead of him. Stupid fools. Now they asked me for a job interview instead of me applying for it, which is a benefit for me already. I can actually demand something! Which I did, but they weren’t very impressed to be honest. Although Manchester City is more than twenty points a float already they still wanted me to win the Premier League this year. And the next five years as well. I’ve seen such insane expectations before. Right, Hearts asked me the same when I joined them! Completely ridiculous and everything beside realistic. However, they did me an offer. I could earn £130,000 per week! Which took me half a year when at Hearts to earn the exact same amount of money! Just amazing. But it does not felt right. This can harm my reputation heavily and the chance for being sacked in about five months is huge. Then this chance might be happening never again. So at the end I turned the offer down. One day later I had some regret already… It’s fucking Chelsea! How could you say no? My wife was furious. I guess she needs to wait a little while longer for buying her holiday house in Italy…

But only a week later the next manager was put together with the garbage at the corner of the street. The street next to St. James’ Park. Newcastle United! This club is high on my list for sure, maybe even higher than Chelsea was. And as a bonus it’s not that far away from Edinburgh as well, so maybe I can stay in my own house for a while! This club is breathing football. One of the oldest stadiums with such a big capacity and located nearly in the inner city of Newcastle upon Tyne. I’ve stand next to it in real life actually. It’s amazing. In the update before I talked about the connection I need to feel with a club. Newcastle United is definitely one of them! But I need to be focused rather than let me get carried away with romantic thoughts. They are struggling heavily in the Premier League currently and it will be a huge challenge to fill in their demands: end within the first ten. Nearly impossible I guess. Beside of that, the squad is very very old. There are at least ten guys who are over thirty, with six of them even 33! A lot of players need to be replaced for next season, which is a very dishonorable task to do so for a manager who just has joined the club. I’m not walking away for it, definitely not, but when I step into it I need the full support from the board for it and building together for a new squad. So I need a long term contract. I want to stay at the club for at least three and a half years to really put something down, but they only offered me a deal for the next one-and-a-half-year. Okay, that’s a pity, I’m not your guy then.

So the fact is I’m still an unemployed football manager. It’s almost February now and I think the chance is not very big anymore that I will find a new club before the season has come to and end. Although I’m not a huge fan of it either. In the winter you can do some transfers, but outside of these transfer periods you are completely delivered to the weaknesses (or strengths, but most of the time only weaknesses, ha-ha) of the current squad. So next summer it must be happening. Maybe I have to downgrade my expectations a bit as well. I’m not fully fixated for a Premier League club only, a decent Championship Side is definitely worth a choice if the right one pops-up.
I think you may come to regret declining Newcastle's offer. I hope I'm wrong!


#077 - Hearts, just keep faith

28/03/2032 -- Whilst I’m still busy for finding a new club to manage, it’s the perfect time to do a throwback into the past. A year-by-year summarize for my performances at Hearts and at the end a small update how Spartans achieved throughout the last six years as well. Hopefully you are enjoying it again, I did it before when I was leaving Spartans at some point (update #44).

1st year, Hearts finished 7th in the Premiership
The only thing I can remember myself very bright is the complete mess I found here. This club was totally ruined. No finances, a lack of good facilities, and because of work permit issues not even a full first team which is ready for the upcoming season. First I had to sweep. A lot. But, at the same time the board was expecting results. Not the best combination as you probably be aware of. Last season they finished eight, anything better will keep me in the saddle I thought. It was a very though season. I sold everyone who wasn’t granted a work permit, which was good for sustaining our finances, but definitely not in terms of our squad depth.

Because of all the money we earned I was in the position to do some transfers, and that was my escape. I didn’t realised it myself at the end of this first season yet, but now I do. Even more. It was this year we bought Reegan Mimnaugh, Joe Tompkins and Daniel Scullion. You know them for sure. Because they were still at Hearts when I left the club. I will show Scullion and Tompkins definitely further onwards, but Mimnaugh was our best newbie this first year. He scored only twice and took care for five assists, but his amount of key passes did me remind him of Max Ashmore when at Spartans. Throughout the years Mimnaugh achieved better and better with the 27/28 season being his best, although he didn’t even play anything because of injuries. Last year was quite bad. New appointed manager Paul Hartley didn’t use him in his best role obvious, with taking care for only two assists. By the time I was taking this screenshots he even left the club as a free agent… Sadly though.






2nd year, Hearts finished 5th in the Premiership and won the League Cup
Now we do know more currently we could say this season was my best. Because we managed to win a price. In my second year already and for the first time since fifteen years for Hearts (and the last one since then as well). But in the league it wasn’t much better compared with the year before. Although we are back within the best five, where we definitely belong I would say, it wasn’t very convincingly yet. I was still busy to refresh the squad with the board still expecting me to battle for the league title. At some point I was really really close for getting sacked. It was just one more loss away all the time. But that particular loss never came in, luckily. The board kept faith in me and at the end they lengthened my contract.

The player I want to highlight this time is Joe Tompkins. After a difficult first year he played much better in his second. He scored 22 goals in all competitions, which wasn’t that bad. Although I wasn’t completely convinced about him still. But the years afterwards he scored a good amount of goals throughout the seasons, with the 29/30 season being his personal highlight with 27 league goals and crowning himself as the top goalscorer in the Scottish Premiership. Currently he is 28 years old and it seems he is staying at Hearts for a little while longer given the fact he has lengthen his contract for the next three years. A good decision from the board I think.






3rd year, Hearts finished 2nd in the Premiership
We were so close. It was a brilliant year. I definitely didn’t expect we were already here because I was still busy to compose my own squad. There was some dead wood to get rid of yet. But this season everything fell into the right place. If we ever had the chance to split Celtic’s hegemony then it was this year. An astonishing amount of 97 points, but it was just one to short. But at least it is proofed we are definitely on our way. If we can strengthen our squad a little bit more than we can endanger Celtic for sure next season!

The main reason for our resurrection this year can possible be found in our new appointed goalkeeper. Since this year Zander Clark joined us. A very experienced goalkeeper and finally somebody who can touch the crossbar without jumping. Although he didn’t save much points for us, the central defenders played far more comfortable knowing that there isn’t a tiny goalkeeper behind them who literally doesn’t save a single shot. Clark stayed with us the next three years as well, but after he picked up a serious injury he never reached his old level anymore. In his last year he didn’t even play a single match anymore. But, I respect Clark. He was exactly what we need that period. Currently he is enjoying his retirement, although rumours are widely spread he is busy for studying to become a football manager as well.




4th year, Hearts finished 3th in the Premiership
We had to do a little step back. After our brilliant season before we couldn’t invest more money into the squad to upgrade our level of football. We only could afford ourselves some cheap players to add some extra squad depth. With Rangers and Celtic splashing millions of cash every transfer window we realised ourselves we are still years behind of them. That was quite obvious at the end of the season, with us finishing third, behind Celtic and Rangers. Although the gap isn’t as big as it should be if you compare each other’s wage budget. I could live with the fact they are better, but it annoyed me a bit we couldn’t battle in the cup tournaments either. Mainly because of a tough draw every time we never had the chance to pick up some more silverwork in one of the cup tournaments.

At the end it was a very average season. Nothing huge happened, no big transfers or such. The perfect moment to show you my most loved player over the years at Hearts. Daniel Scullion. We picked him up from Aberdeen even before I played my first official match with Hearts. After a somewhat doubtful first season he slightly improved his level of football over the years and at some point he became one of my key players. Unfortunately he is a bit vulnerable for injuries, otherwise I think he was transferred to a bottom-half Premier league club for sure. He is definitely capable to play at that level of football. As a left midfielder he scored a lot of goals and took care for a nice amount of assists as well. Between the years 2027 and 2030 he was just amazing. Last year his form suddenly dropped. Because of Paul Hartley again I guess… The club decided to sell him and Scullion joined MLS side Real Salt Lake halfway the season. A nice adventure for sure, but I think he deserved better than that to be honest…






5th year, Spartans finished 4th in the Premiership
Again we performed more worse than the year before. Celtic and Rangers are slowly disappearing at the horizon and even Aberdeen is in front of us again. Also Hamilton and Hibernian are now above us in terms of finances. Nothing is lost yet, but we definitely had to do something to keep in touch with at least Aberdeen, Hamilton and our rivals. Generating money is the key. But without decent youth players coming through from our own youth academy regularly we can’t sell players to earn money. So our only possibility left is to trade players. It’s the only way to generate a lot of money.

Thanks to our solid club policy we had some big money to spend for transfers this year. We paid almost £11,000,000 in total for four new players, from which three of them could become a huge cash cow in the nearby future. Those four guys are still at Hearts currently and I don’t want to talk about them because they are quite ‘fresh’. No, it’s Cochrane time! Harry Cochrane. He joined Hearts in my second season at the club when he was declared superfluous at Celtic. We took him over for a free and from the beginning he was a quality injection immediately. Together with Mimnaugh they formed a really solid and reliable couple. In my fifth year at the club he crowned himself as the player with the most assists (13) and the most key passes (122) as well. He is almost 31 now and I think he needs to play for Hearts until the end of his career and so becoming a club legend. He really deserved it and I don’t think he will just as successful at any other club over Europe. This is his home, this is were he belongs. By the way, I didn’t even know he was one of the clubs youth talents when Celtic took him over in the 20/21 season until I made this screenshot. Shame on me… Knowing this now it’s even more without any doubt he needs to end his career at Hearts!






6th year, Hearts finished 3th in the Premiership
My very last season at the club. Although we performed a little bit better than last season it was quite obvious it didn’t sort out in the right way. I was hoping for at least some battling for any of the prizes but the fact is we were not even close. Very disappointingly to be honest. There are many reasons for it of course, but beside of that, at some point we just performed not good enough to claim anything. So at the end Hearts is a really good place for players to develop themselves, but definitely not a place to fill your cabinet with trophies… We are the Scottish equivalent of Arsenal I guess. No, that’s not a compliment though.

One of those guys who developed himself as a potential star player is called Lee Saunders. He was one of the very few big talents who came through from our youth academy when I was at the wheel at the club. At some point he was even mentioned as a wonderkid. And yes, Lee Saunders is a very good player for sure. He scored goals from the beginning and never stopped. He had a somewhat difficult year two seasons ago, but he fought himself back really strong. After the first nineteen league games he has already scored fifteen goals and was on top of the Scottish top goalscorers list by the time. Big teems followed his achievements for a while, but in the winter one of them made a bid, finally. Manchester City paid his clause of around £22,500,000 and he is now with them for one-and-a-half year. A big step ahead, and I definitely had some doubts about it, but he did pretty well this far, although his playtime needs to increase a bit. However, scoring ten league goals in twenty matches (with probably a couple of them as a substitute as well) in one-and-a-half year is actually pretty damn good for a 22-year old kid.






What about Spartans?
Not really a big surprise they didn’t reached into the play-offs over the last seven years, isn’t it? They were not even close, at least not as close I was at some point. I left the club after the 24/25 season and from then on they performed quite solid throughout the years, but never spectacular. It’s a good Championship side and that’s just it. Nothing more, nothing less. I think I did made the right decision for leaving the club. After me Neill Hastings managed the club for two-and-a-half-years when he decided to left the club. After him Paul Thomson stayed for only a year after he was sacked and now Lee Hodson is managing Spartans for already three years and still counting. So, definitely not a graveyard obvious, the board did a good job I think.

What about my two key players at the time? Well, star player Max Ashmore left the club just one year after me and joined League Two side Saint Andrew. A huge step backwards. I’m still not understanding why. He really proved he was a very decent player at Championship level, but the managers after me weren’t fully convinced I guess. But even then, from Championship all the way down into League Two! Max, you deserved better… We didn’t hear anything from him after he retired, probably he is working in some kind of a boring office to earn his money, because football didn’t make him rich obvious…




Bryan Griffiths was the other key player at Spartans. A striker who scored a lot. After I left the club he stayed with them for another five years, but in 2030 he retired from playing semi-professional football. In this five years he scored another 54 goals. Not as much as he did before, but not very bad either. After we did some research we found him in a city called Perth not far away from Edinburg, where he is currently working as a cop. Beside of Griffiths and Ashmore I took a view at Spartans current squad to see if there was somebody else I recognized. Only one! Goalkeeper Joe Young is still there. I remember me him, he was a very decent goalkeeper to be honest. But, he doesn’t stay with Spartans all the time. Already one year after I left the club he joined Queens Park for a very nice transfer fee, who loaned them out in his fourth season to Forfar athletic. After another year at Queens he returned to Spartans. Everywhere he played he became the starting goalkeeper and so he played a lot of games throughout the years. He is 29 now, so probably he can go on for a few years more.








Note: A huge update, I hope the die-hard followers of this story are enyoing it! I'm enjoying it quite well to see how my former clubs or former players achieved througout the years. Hmmm, I don't think so Scott! I will tell you more about it in the next update, there is definitely something going on!
Just tell us! ;)


#078 - There we are

14/06/2032 -- Almost a year off. I enjoyed it pretty much after twelve very busy years, but now I’m fully prepared for the next challenge in my career! I’m not revealing my new club yet, next update I will introduce it to you and do a full report of it at the same time. This time I will talk you through the last month in which a lot of opportunities passed by. And, how performed Paul Hartley last year with Hearts? Did he achieve what I was supposed to do, or was he struggling with the same problems I did?

When it became the end of April it was pretty clear to me there will be no new club for me to manage before the season has come to an end. But at one club in particular I keep an eye in sight how they performed. Newcastle United again. When I had a chat with their board in the winter they asked me to end within the first ten (the so called left hand side of the table). A very tough expectation given the circumstances. At the end the Dutch former sweeper Mark van Bommel joined them. Soon afterwards it was quite obvious they never going to make it. At some point they were even engaged in a relegation battle. The last three matches they had to play against Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton, the number four, the upcoming champion, and the number seven (as Everton always being number seventh in the league, ha-ha). My somewhat sneaky mind was hoping for some very bad results, which finally will end in their relegation. Surprisingly my wish was fulfilled! In the very last playing round Norwich City surpassed Newcastle, and so they got relegated. Great, I thought. Van Bommel will definitely be sacked after only five months and that will give me the perfect opportunity to build a new Newcastle United with a very proper chance to get promoted immediately again next year.

Nice plan huh? But it doesn’t sort out like that sadly. For some reason the board didn’t sack Van Bommel… I was asking myself over and over again what probably has happened if I was relegated with them if I joined them last winter. We’ll never know. I was very disappointed to be honest. This was my chance, my only chance maybe. Now I have to wait again for the next one. But that one was coming in soon. Chelsea again. What are those bunch of cowboys doing over there? Actually I didn’t feel like it at all after they don’t listened to my demands before. This time again they were expecting me to become the Premier League winner next season. Forget it my friend. Try somebody else. This ain’t working.

In the meantime a lot of managers switched over from club to club to another and sometimes something interesting was passing by. Maybe France? No, that competition isn’t really attracting me for some reason. Italy then? It’s not even worth a chance, they probably never heard of Luke Henderson before. PSV? A very rich club, with plenty of possibilities for sure. Naahhh. I’m more an Ajax fan, so playing with one of their competitors doesn’t feel right. At some point Hibernian was looking for a new manager! Oh dear, that is huge! I can’t life in Edinburgh one day longer if I do that. One of those hardcore Hearts fans is going to shoot me for sure. Maybe better not. Rangers is also searching for a new manager!! Hmmm, actually, if you take a look deep in my heart I’m pretty much done with Scotland. There's not much to win for me, I can only lose. So, the weeks are passing by without something is becoming serious at some point.

But at the beginning of June my chances were turning into my favor. Jürgen Klopp was sacked. And no, he wasn’t the manager of Liverpool anymore. This is a club I like so much. This is my very last chance for joining a club were I really can achieve something. After a week with keeping some distance I slightly revealed my interest (with care) for the job in the media and soon afterwards I was asked for a job interview! A little bit surprisingly maybe. But, they probably heard that other well-known clubs asked me for my signature as well, perhaps that’s not for nothing, isn’t it? After a very solid interview and (in my opinion) some very realistic demands for the next five years I made the final decision this must be it. I’m a football manager again! This feels great for sure. In the next update I will tell you everything about it, so this story is definitely not ending yet!

By the way, maybe I could have overtook Jürgen Klopp’s position already a year ago. He performed just as shit as last year, but winning the Europe League and so qualifying his team for the Champions League saved his ass by the bell. My sneaky thoughts were hoping he was losing the final so I could take my chances immediately, but unfortunately he didn’t. So we should never know if this year off had never happened if Klopp didn’t win his last match that season…

How achieved Hearts last year?
Although I did a full report over my six years at hearts in the update before, their new appointed manager Paul Hartley has completed his first year as well. And I’m just curious how he performed! After a very good start he did what I probably had done: finishing fourth and getting eliminated quite early in all the cup tournaments. A very regular Hearts year I would say! So yeah, not much excitement to be honest, although I didn’t like it either if he achieved much better in comparison with me, ha-ha! That’s doesn’t feel very comfortable to be me… Okay, that's it for now. Tomorrow I will be back and introducing you the new club which possibly/hopefully can brighten my resume a bit!


#079 - Audere est Facere!

24/06/2032 -- This is amazing. One of my favorite clubs all over Europe asked me for being their new manager after the legendary Jürgen Klopp was sacked. Oh wait, I said one of my favorite clubs? That was before José Mourinho joined the club in real life. Mark that! Oh poor Daniel (Levy), how in the world could you? By the way, in the game there wasn’t a José Mourinho at all joining Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino stayed until the summer of 2023 when he was getting sacked after nine years. There after Gerardo Seoane tried it for almost two years before getting sacked, Guardiola didn’t even complete a full year, after only 286 days Levy showed him the door. The worst thing a club can do is asking a former manager back, but Spurs did. Pochettino returned to Tottenham in April 2026, but was sacked again in the winter of 2027. Although he managed to win the Europa League just a month after a joined the club! Dutchman Mark van Bommel took the lead a couple of days later, but one-and-a-half-year afterwards Levy had to intervene again… Jürgen Klopp was the next guy in charge. He survived for almost three years, but if he didn’t win the Europa League a year ago he was probably sacked after already two years. So, Spurs managed to win the Europa League twice and that’s it. No single English prize in thirteen years’ time. Over the last decade they didn’t even finish withing the first four. A little bit sad to be honest. This club should be done better. Way better.







So you could easily say Tottenham has changed into a graveyard for managers. Someday I’m probably the next one… As you probably be aware of chairman Daniel Levy is still in charge, he really loves this club isn’t it? He is 70 years old now. Although the five year plan is showing that he is searching for somebody who can buy the club. I hope this club will stay In English hands, otherwise I have a very difficult decision to make if I’m leaving or not… Or maybe they don’t want to go further with me as their manager. Who knows?

But until then there is nothing to worry about. No? yes! This club needs to improve. A lot. They are screaming for years to become a competitor for the league title, but the truth is they are drifting away more and more over the last few years. They are still taking part of the so called ‘big six’, but the Everton’s and West Ham’s of this world are becoming closer and closer year after year. It’s not too late yet, but we need a plan. A long term plan and it needs to be started yesterday. As you can see below the expectations of the board are quite reasonable. It’s pretty realistic I would say given the circumstances the club is in. So I guess there is a little bit of space for me to fail in my first year…




Tactics
I’ve already made my own plan. It will be completely different then the years before when I made a tactic which fits the players the best. Now I do it the other way around. I will design the tactic I want to play with and then I have to fit the players into that position and the role I’m asking for. As you probably know I’m never ever download a tactic from the internet. Since I play FM (around ten years or so) I wasn’t even thinking about it for doing so. What if you win something? Who’s success will it be? Right, that doesn’t feel good. I rather prefer to win noting in about twenty years than winning the Champions League four times in a row with a tactic from the internet. So, I do it my own way. And this time it can be a great success or a complete nightmare. I’m aware of that for sure.

I’m turning back to the early days when I started playing FM. I remember me a couple of quite successful tactics with making use of a defensive midfielder. I never used this position in this version of the game so far, but now I will. Further more I like the box-to-box role pretty much, but I haven’t used this role either until now. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to play with attacking wingers or normal outside wingers, I have to figure it out in the pre-season period what works better. So, you probably already know I’m going to play with a 4-1-4-1 system. We are playing positive, with playing very aggressive when we don’t have the ball. When we do have the ball we are playing in a somewhat low tempo with short passes, the main goal being very diligent for creating chances without losing the ball. It’s quite simple: if our opponent don’t have the ball, they can’t score!



I’m not sure which second tactic I’m going to use. It can be a 4-1-4-1 with attacking wingers instead of normal outside midfielders, but I might think about a 3-5-1-1 system. With attacking wingbacks and a diamond figured midfield. That can be used perfectly for counters when we are facing a better team without going completely defensive. Which I can’t by the way because the board is expecting some attacking football most of the time.


Facilities, finances and staff
Guys, it’s fucking Tottenham! Everything what you possible could be imagine is already from a state-of-the-art level. They have one of the best youth systems in the world. Although there are not that many rough gems in the under-18 and under-23 squad currently to be honest, but at least I’m expecting some talented kids coming in from the academy more often than it was with Hearts… The finances are rock solid, although the transfer budget is a little bit tight-fisted I would say. Levy knows what he is doing I assume. He has become a businessman for some reason right? What I already did was asking the board to raise the transfer revenue to 100%, which they agreed with, surprisingly. Most of the time they just don’t except anything you asking for when you joined the club just a couple of days ago…

The transfer budget is okay, as it is for the wage budget as well. The spending will lowering down in about a week; there are a couple of high paid players who are going to left the club on a free, so that will give me some more space to start assembling my own team. One of the big problems is the staff. I think a lot of staff members left when Klopp was sacked because there is barely any trainer left. Furthermore they are missing some other key staff members, so there is definitely some work to do for me. I also have to find a new assistant. I was thinking about taking Stockdale (from Hearts) with me, but in the time I was off for a year he already found a new club.




The Squad
But, most importantly of course, what kind of quality do we have on the pitch! Before I joined Spurs I only took a quick overall look and was mainly focused on the ages of the players. Luckily they did not have a whole bunch of players who are passed thirty already, so my decision whether to join the club or not wasn’t dependent because of that. The most striking issue was the size of the squad. I counted over fourty players. With most of them having a big wage as well and a lot of them for the exact same position (mostly defensive). At the other hand they barely have any strikers or attacking wingers, just enough to fill the positions… So the only possible conclusion was easy and quick to make: this squad is completely out of balance.

Actually it’s just a mess to be honest. Exactly as it was with Hearts when I joined them… Now I know why they chose me for being their manager. I’m familiar with this kind of situations! The very first thing I did was to make a very rough selection to turn down the squad to a maximum of 23 players (the screen below is showing this 23 players). All players who didn’t survive this cutting are immediately placed on the transfer list except a couple of talented youngsters. The squad also contains a lot of foreign players, which I really don’t like. This is an English club right? So they should have English guys. In the very early days of this story I told it already: at least the half of the main squad needs to be non-foreign in my opinion. Of course I can’t change it within a day, it will take a couple of years I suppose, but I’m definitely working on it to have at least twelve English players in the squad someday. If the board is giving me the time to do so of course…



Okay, enough for today. Next time I will go more in depth with the squad together with our pre-season run and outgoing transfer (I hope though!). I will sort out the players we have, their skills, how they are fitting in my new created tactic and if we need to buy some new players. After then I will pick up the pace again as I’m used to, doing four or five (or occasionally maybe six) updates per season. If everything is going well and I’m not getting sacked I will probably stay here for a while; I’m definitely not leaving until I have won some (major) silverwork!
Great post! Looking forward to your new adventure with Spurs.
Well done to land that job!


#080 - Money talks

07/08/2032 -- Thinks are different in England. Firstly the transfer-window is closing before the first league match is scheduled. Although you still can sell player afterwards until the European deadline at the end of August. I was beware of it of course, but it’s limiting my possibilities even more this very first period at this new club. So, in fact I had only six weeks to learn the qualities of my players who are already here, teach them a completely new tactic, play a couple of practicing games and in the meantime I was nearly every day in the office together with the technical staff to decide which players we are getting rid of and which opportunities we have for buying and attracting new ones. Quite amazing I found some time to sleep as well huh?

Secondly it’s all about the money. A lot of money. If you don’t have it you can sign your dead warranty already before the season has even started. Luckily there’s a lot of money at Spurs and now even more because we sold a whole bunch of players. Players who are old, guys who are on a 1-year deal only, youngsters who are never gonna make it into the first squad, you name it. All kind of players walked through the door during the last weeks and we probably never seeing them back anymore. At least not in Northern London I guess.

We earned almost £170,000,000 and spend the exact amount of £0. That was not what I was supposed to do. I really wanted to spend a lot of it immediately, but I just couldn’t find the right players currently. Although I doesn’t figured out yet what I can expect from the players who are already here, so it was a very difficult situation for me actually. Only one dude was offered a contract, but at the end he chose for Barcelona, sadly. It saved us £70,000,000 but it costs us also a very good player. Also a free agent chose for another club, although I wasn’t very angry about it, I was intended to use him as a reserve player only. Did we completely nothing then? Not really, the board already signed three players before I joined the club. Two of them are joining us in the summer of next year and the other guy will come in another year later. I’m not really convinced these players are an upgrade to be honest, but yeah, I can’t do much about it anymore, however it turns down my transfer money a bit because of those three guys… Beside of that I signed one new youngster myself, center back Toby Godden is joining us next summer. This 17-year old Bournemouth player looks very interesting to me! He only has to learn some heading and thereafter I can use him in my first team immediately. Of course he is from England, this squad needs more players from our own bottom as I said already before. We paid £8,000,000. That’s just a tip in England as you probably know. The only immediate transfer we did is loaning in a talented guy from Manchester United as a back-up. I tried to buy him, but they don’t wanted it. Which I could understand. He is looking very promising, but isn’t one of my starting player for sure.





Okay, I will start with a quick overview from most of the players we sold. There are a lot of them. What have they done over the last few years with you Spurs? They bought so many players who are only so damn average… A waste of ship tons of money. Just spend £90,000,000 for one really good player instead of three average guys for £30,000,000 each… They are not going to help you any further… The first two who left the club were Norwegian center back Leo Østigård and Dutch goalkeeper Joey Koorevaar. For both of them we received around £18,000,000 each. A very good amount of money, because both guys were only on a 1-year deal left and Østigård is becoming aging as well. Beside of that he is under 1,85 m tall, and you know what I’m thinking about that, especially for a center back. In England a dwarf is not going to help you defensively in either way. Beside of that, he isn’t really good either. He’s definitely not reaching the level of football I’m pursue with this club. Koorevaar was a very easy call as well. Technically he is a very average goalkeeper, so not good enough for being my back-up goalkeeper. Beside of that, I have a youngster who seems already better. We could get some good money for him, so we said farewell quite easily.





The next two we sold were Panagiotis Retsos from Greece and Alejandro Moramarco. Especially Retsos was on a ridiculous amount of wage with a 2-year deal left… To be honest he is not bad, but he isn’t getting better from now on either. Beside of that, we have other good players who can play on his position. So, let Sheffield United having him, we just say thanks to £13,5000,000. Not bad for a 33-year old guy who has become superfluous. Moramarco was one of the few guys I really doubt about whether I want him to stay or not. But the fact we have some very talented players for his position, having only a 1-year contract and with Olympique Lyon prepared paying £22,500,000 for him convinced me to sell him right now. I was doubting about his technical skills a bit already which seems not as brilliant. I think we need better for this kind of key positions.





The next three we sold are called Leonardo (£27,500,000), Fosch (£16,000,000) and Dannemann (also £16,000,000). I can be very short about this three. All of them are not good enough for the level of football I’m pursue. Neither of them is from England as well, so it is balancing our amount of different nationalities any further at the same time. I’m really asking myself why they bought this kind of players a couple of years ago… I wouldn’t even consider one of those when I managed Hearts. Hmmm, maybe Fosch then, but the other two definitely not… It says enough I think and made more and more clear for me why Spurs drifted away from the other big clubs in this country over the last decade. It’s a shame to be honest… You need to deserve wearing the Tottenham Hotspur shirt in my opinion, those guys definitely not obvious…







Finally we sold another five players for a smaller amount of money (although, these five together delivered us another £39,500,000 in total), but I want to show them as well. Four of them are English sadly and the other guy a Welshmen. All youngsters, which conflicts straight into my ideas how to manage this club. But they need to have a certain level and those guys are not good enough unfortunately. Walsh is 23 years old with only a 1-year deal left. German side Schalke 04 paid big money for him, so there was no much to doubt about. Jenkins is a 22-year old right fullback. Physically and mentally he is probably good enough, but his technical skills aren’t. Championship side Newcastle United took him over. Blower is only twenty. Physically he’s a beast already, both mentally and technical decent. Decent is not enough for a club like Tottenham and I do not believe he will become much better in about a few years. He moved to Legia Warsaw in Poland. Julian Kemp is also twenty years old. Physically brilliant, but he barely doesn’t know how to play that thing… Technically just terrible and mentally doubtful. Unbelievable Burnley picked him up for some good money. If you can run fast, you are gold in FM, apparently… The last guy is Lala. Only 19 years old and I was doubting a bit for selling him or not. He has some brilliant attributes and is even called a wonderkid. But what can a striker do for you if he can’t finish? He is more useful as a number 10 I think, but I never use this position in my tactics. So at the end I decide to sell him. With a 50% future sell-on fee included, because it’s not completely unthinkable he is going to make it to a big club someday.











Furthermore we sold a couple of other players as well, but just for a very small amount of money and it’s definitely not very interesting showing them to you. We also loaned out a couple of our youngsters who are not there yet. I think none of them will be good enough for our first squad to be honest in about a few years, but at least it saves us some wage money. Which dropped down heavily by the way. Because we didn’t buy a new player we are even dropped below Sheffield United in terms of total amount of wage money spending. We are seventh now; Manchester City is almost doubling our total wage money, with Liverpool and Chelsea close behind them.



Okay, now you have an idea which level of players we sold. But you guys didn’t have any idea how good the players are who survived this major cutting. Maybe I will show them throughout the seasons, most likely when the time is there to tell something about them. Or maybe when one of them is leaving us as well at some point. Although one thing is very clear: I doesn’t have to crack my brain again for a goalkeeper. We have a guy called Adrian Purton. A 28-year old English international who just have won the 2032 European Championship with the English squad. He saved his team twice in a penalty shoot-out. He is a world class goalkeeper, maybe even the best one if you compare his value with others. He can continuing his level of football for at least another five years minimum I guess. That’s a very pleasant thought I would say!

Our pre-season run is done, I have a little bit of an idea who are the key players and which of them can make a difference. The squad is a little bit to small I would say, there are two or three youngsters to many currently who are not good enough to play very often. Hopefully it’s not harming us to much throughout the season, although I will try to find new players in the winter transfer window. If we are finishing sixth in the league this season I will be happy, and from then on we can slightly build further for creating a new Tottenham!

Good luck!


#081 - Luck or just a tactical genius?

24/10/2032 -- To be honest it wasn’t the easiest start of the season. Within the first six matches we had to play against three out of the other big five already. But, we kicked some ass! We smashed both Manchester City and Liverpool in our own stadium. Against Arsenal away we played not bad either. We hold stand until the 70th minute, before left fullback Villafene made a sully mistake in our own box, with their striker stumbling down to the grass like a baby. The easy given penalty was a clinical hit by Swanen (one of my own created players by the way). We played more attacking afterwards, with Arsenal taking advantage of the spaces in the last few seconds of the match. Arsenal deserved the win to be honest, but without that penalty I strongly had the feeling we could take a point with us today.

Beside our great victories against Liverpool and City we played an awful game against Leicester City (0-3) and forgot to score against Norwich City (0-0). West Ham United away is a difficult game which you could lose, but against Southampton away we should had pulled more out of it instead of only one point. It’s quite strange we played amazing against two of the best teams in the league, but lost points against the weaker ones. Probably because the squad isn’t fully familiar already with the new tactic and the squad depth not being on a certain level yet, but with these kind of changeable results it will be very though to split the other five big clubs at the end of the season.





Again my fame for having bad luck in draws for cup tournaments is confirmed in the very first draw for any of the cup tournaments yet. I wasn’t even surprised anymore. Manchester United at home in the third round of the League Cup. They played with their strongest eleven, we used only a couple of our key players because I prioritized the league rather than the League Cup. But we played really good again and managed to win the match with a solid 2-0 as a result. There after we draw Liverpool for the next round... Yeah, why not! Just because it can! I’m probably going to play with my reserve players again and will see how things sort out.

In the Europe League we did a good job so far. The very first match away against the toughest opponent in the group results in a 2-1 win after a late goal from Irishman Troy Parrott. The next one was against Levski Sofia. We played a handful of reserve players, but smashed them anyway: 8-0. Against Rapid Wien we didn’t came any further than a somewhat dull 0-0. Nothing to worry about, we should easily qualify ourselves for the next round, although finishing first in the group will result in some extra benefits for the knock-out phase draw. Although that doesn’t make any difference for me probably… If there are 7 clubs from small countries and the other one being Inter Milan for instance you know enough I think, don’t you?

Henderson is largely satisfied so far: “The pre-season period wasn’t ideal, but I’m quite pleased how we achieved so far. It isn’t easy to learn a new tactic and recognize the players qualities in such a short period. It will took some more time for the players to get familiar with it and some of them are probably not fitting in this tactic at all. But, we are trying to put the most out of it, if we are finishing sixth this season we have done a good job. Currently it’s not realistic to ask more, the other teams are still slightly ahead of us.” If you read between the lines you possibly can conclude Henderson isn’t very glad with a couple of his players. It’s not unlikely the next transfer window will result in a busy one again, not in the last place because Tottenham has a huge transfer budget to spend from all of the summer window earnings.


#082 - The very first assessment

02/02/2033 -- We are three months further now since the last update. I have a much better view from most of the players now. The short opinion: this squad needs a lot of improvement. It’s probably taking another two or three years before I have largely assembled my own squad. Mainly because it’s quite hard to attract new players. Not playing in the Champions League is a big disadvantage for most of our targets, even a couple of our own players are complaining about it and are currently not intended to extend their expiring contract yet… Beside of that: we have to pay insane amounts of money for almost every player we want, especially when you want a player from another English club. So, despite having a lot of money in the bank there are other circumstances which works against us. Although we did some business! But first I will talk you through our performances over the last few months.

Our run in the League Cup came to an end against Liverpool. Again we played a really good game against one of the big clubs, but it wasn’t meant to be today. Ten minutes before the end of the game they scored the winning goal, because of which we are eliminated. This cup hasn’t priority for me obvious, but if there is a small chance for winning it at some point (when we have an easier draw for instance) I will definitely go for it! In the Europe League we did a good job for winning the fourth playing round match against Rapid Wien and so qualifying ourselves for the next round already. The last two matches weren’t bad either and so we ended first in this group. It’s not clear yet against we are playing in the knock-out round.

Our job in the FA Cup is already done after the third round (our first round). We faced Watford away, a decent Championship side. I had a very bad feeling about it already before the game has started yet. That bad feeling sort out. They scored a header from a free kick which was their only chance. At the other hand we didn’t created much, so losing the game wasn’t something we could argue about. Although it is an awful result of course. It didn’t satisfied the board in either way and so weakening my position a little bit more then it was before. In the league our result are still hit and miss until now. Most of the time we are playing very well against the better teams in the league, but are struggling quite often with the smaller ones. I really haven’t any explanation for it…

Especially the story about the match against number 19 in the league Sheffield United is something you guys are definitely loving (and probably are familiar with as well if you play some Football Managers regularly). Who said this game isn’t scripted in some way? For those guys who definitely not believing this fairytale please explain to me why Panagiotis Retsos, who I sold this summer to them, is scoring against us with his first goal of the season. And no, he isn’t used as a reserve player or something, he played almost every game with them so far. It’s very, very hard to believe this is just the twentieth (or so) coincidence in my career rather than it wasn’t meant to be he scored his first goal of the season yet against us. Calculated, I tell you… I just can’t see it the other way around…






Transfers
For a time it was unclear if we could do some transfer business anyway. Because of Daniel Levy is still busy with various negotiations for a possible take-over. Until now all the proposals are turned down by him, the last one luckily just before the transfer window opened. Otherwise I couldn’t do anything… First I have to say the current squad isn’t never ever able for ending within the first four in the league or even battling for some silverwork. The biggest weakness is by far our defensive line. The only decent player is our left back to be honest. Who wants to leave by the way… Both the central defenders are not good enough in my opinion, and the right fullback has some incredible mental and physical skills, but technically he can’t play a ball properly… I didn’t have much faith in those guys. There are two talented players in our last line, one right back and one center back. I playing them quite often, but they are still very young and definitely not there yet.

So my main target was finding some decent defenders, but I couldn’t find any… I found just one guy from France (supposed to be a center back, but much more useful as a right back in my opinion because he is not tall enough), but at the end he chose for another club, just as another few talents did who we offered a contract… For all of them I would pay more wage then the other clubs did, but it doesn’t matter obvious. Quite frustrating to be honest. However, we did some business! First we sold two players. I was pretty much done with our left midfielder Álvaro Cañas. A Spaniard who looks quite good, but at the pitch he did just nothing else then standing there. In fifteen matches he took care for only one assist… With a poor rating as a result. Way to less and when I argued his performances he said he played alright in his opinion. Beside of that, after he will reach a total amount of 30 league matches we had to pay Liverpool another £13,500,000 as a part of the transfer deal. That is not going to happen. I placed him on the transfer-list, offered him to other clubs and at the end Chinese side Guoan was prepared to pay £57,500,000 for this 29-year old guy. Much less than his value, but I’ll take it. I want to get rid of him anyway and this amount of money covered the money we paid for him one-and-a-half year ago entirely. Luckily he accepted the ridiculous contract at Guoan and so leaving Spurs. Look at that wage…. I mean, he is good, but he isn’t as good like Sergio Aguero for instance, isn’t he?





We also sold Shannon Hernandez. A bit sad because he is English, but he didn’t developed himself enough to take part in our first squad next season. He is a very solid player, but definitely not on a certain level we pursue. Aston Villa made a pretty good bid for him (£8,500,000), so at the end I accept it. As you see he did score immediately at his debut… Good for him. So, we sold two players who could play as a left midfielder. I think we need to find at least one new guy for this position! And so we did. One of my scouts found this gem, called Flavien Peter. A 19-year old wonderkid from Olympique Lyon. He is French, but that’s okay. Spurs has some experience in the past with guys from this country, they even make use of guys from French almost every season. So having one is quite realistic I would say. We had to pay £75,500,000 without any future clauses, but it’s definitely worth it. The Cañas deal covered it pretty much, with this guy being way better! He is just looking awesome. Maybe technically he has to improve just a little bit more, but remember he is only 19th, so he definitely will! Till the end of the season he can learn English, accommodate in our squad and from next season on he can kick some ass.





The winter transfer window is closed by now. There are a lot of matches to play till the end of the season, but actually I’m more busy for assembling my squad for next year already. I have to get rid of a few players more (there are so many Mediterranean and South American players over here, it’s just ridiculous) and definitely need to find at least one very experienced center back who is an upgrade as well. But, in the meantime I have to make sure I’m still here next year… Ending sixth in the league is probably enough, but it isn’t really convincing to be honest. The early elimination in the FA Cup is definitely not helping me as well and a quick knock-out in the Europa League will not pleasing them either. So I have to make sure we are achieving just enough to keep myself in the saddle. Luckily most of the players are with me already, which can make a tiny difference. Finishing sixth in the league will be the most important part I think, but the teams underneath us are pretty close to be honest… I guess it will be challenging again the first few years at this club, just as it was with Hearts as you possibly can remember. If nothing remarkable is happening I’m probably coming back to you at the end of the season, otherwise just a little bit earlier!

You are reading "The Luke Henderson Story".

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