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Tedo Blacc - Rejuvinating the dream for greatness

A story of the attempeted redemption of a once broken man.
Started on 17 February 2021 by Big Tedo Blacc
Latest Reply on 28 February 2021 by Big Tedo Blacc
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Big Tedo Blacc's avatar Group Big Tedo Blacc
1 weekEdited

Part 1:
Tedo sat in the chair in the middle of the room across from him sat Charlotte Jackson. He shuffled in his seat looked around, adjusting his jacket nervously and wondering how his agent pulled him into this.

Charlotte glanced at him and said, “Don't be nervous you've got this it's just goanna be us having a conversation, and all it is just some cameras taping the conversation ignore the cameras and you'll be alright.”

Tedo took a deep breath and said, “Thank you”. a lady came over and mic'd him up, she asked him “can we do a quick soundcheck, you can say whatever you like we just need to check your levels”.

Tedo thought for a second and said, “Charlie you're really an idiot for getting me into this”.
The lady who had mic’d him up giggling saying, “That's great thank you”.

Charlotte looked at Tedo said, “we’re just going to go through your career and look at how the injuries impacted your potential and how that impacted your life after football”.

Tedo looked at her and close words said, “it would be remiss for me to no say that some of it is a sore spot so please take it easy on me.”
Charlotte smiled at him and said, “just relax we'll take it at a slow pace, and we'll get through it”.

One of the people in the room held up their hand signaling that the cameras would not start rolling in five. the room went to a hushed silence as they waited countdown has started “5 4 3” silence as the last two fingers slowly went down Charlotte went into action.

“Welcome to the Sky Sports special on how injuries have affected the lower League talents of the world who were would never be able to recover from their injuries to achieve what many felt would have been ultimately where their talents would have taken them.
With us here today we have Tedo Blacc, known for his footballing career down in the lower leagues and the hype around him that he would go on to one day play at the upper echelon of the game.”

As she turned to face Tedo he noticed the cameras also panned towards him.

Charlotte said to him “Hi Tedo, how are you today and thank you for joining us?.”

Tedo responded, “I'm great, thank you for having me on the show.”

Charlotte responded, “oh it's a pleasure to have you with us. Why don't we start from the beginning tell us a little bit about where you came from and how it all started?”

Tedo answered “Well you know I was born in Zambia came over when I was three, raised by my beautiful single mother, I love you mom.
I grew up in first in New Southgate between three and five years of age, then we moved to Barnet into the council flats on Dollis Valley estate and I guess that is really where my Football Story begins."

Charlotte intrigued followed up with "Tell us a little about that?"

I found some great friends there, they were great to me, Tottenham supporters… we won't hold that against them, but great. they first introduced me to football I wasn't a big football fan or rather I wasn't knowledgeable about the game."

Charlotte took the opportunity to ask, “When did you really fall in love with Football?”

A cheeky smile appeared on Tedo’s face, “I remember really falling in love with football when I saw Eric Cantona for the first time, I believe that was ’94. He somehow attracted your attention to him on that pitch, he might not have done anything yet but he had an aura about him and I think that instantly attracted me to him and got me watching more Manchester United games, which then made me fall in love with football and yes I am a Manchester United fan.”

Charlotte interjected “I can see if I let you continue this would be about your love for Manchester United. So, I'm guessing that transitioned you into playing the game and then subsequently trying out for the youth team as well?”

Tedo replied “Yeah it did in the end, and it was the greatest thing ever I never actually thought or had the mindset that I would play professional football, I was playing the game for fun apparently my friend Danny spoke to his mum about it and she had a conversation with mine.
It culminated in me going for trial one Saturday, I had no idea that what it was, I was surprised my mother decided to take the day off she used to work harder than anybody else I know.

He paused to think then continued "I think the beautiful thing about it is was I finally got to play football at a level where I wasn't the best player, I was playing at a level where people were hungrier than me who had taken time to work on their skills, ball control, dribbling, passing, shooting, and defending, they had worked on a lot harder than me.

I think what worked in my favour was my natural brain for the game, I may not have been as technical as the other players, but I knew how to use my movement, how to draw defenders in a, how to use my body to create an opportunity for myself. My coaches always said the mental aspect of the game is more difficult to put into a player than the technical, you could have all the technical gifts in the world but if you don't have the mentals to match your technical talent then you'll never be able to achieve your dreams and goals.

So, I had a good trial ended up in the Barnet youth team that was an amazing... I believe 2 1/2 three years I think. That’s the most fun I had playing football.

Tedo paused a slight grimace on his face thinking about the moment that ended that 2 1/2 three years.
Charlotte took the opportunity to direct Tedo to that moment that he had paused on, “And it was at that point that you suffered your first injury correct?”

Tedo responded “Yes” a slight look of pain overtook his face

Charlotte leaned forward and whispered to him “Take your time.” she sat back upright gave him a moment, “Tell us about that first injury?”

Tedo took a deep breath and continued “I remember little of that day.... training had just finished, Danny and I were walking home I realize I had forgotten my boot bag at the field. It is all a bit of a Haze.
I remember being at the main road checking both sides of the road before crossing as I started off….. everything goes black..... there is a moment I have no recollection of what happened.
I come too, I found myself lying in the road wondering how I got here, I looked down at my legs my
right leg was fine then I looked at my left leg and that's when the pain hit me.
The worst pain I think I've ever felt in my life in terms of physical pain. My leg was at an awkward angle. I knew I was not gonna be able to stand upon it.”

Tedo stopped to sip so some water took another deep breath and continued “If what my mom tells me is true, I asked her panicked if I will ever be able to play football again when she did arrive at the site of the accident.”
“That’s about as much as I remember the day is very much a haze, I can't recollect much of it apart from what I've just said.”

The air was quite heavy Charlotte let it sit like that for two seconds and said, “That wasn't the only injury that year, you did recover from that after eight weeks and they did tell you would be able to play again correct?”
Tedo responded “Yeah eight weeks recovery was not even an issue, I had just started physio to try and get my leg strong and fit again, just functional really.
My second injury came in the schoolyard playing football. I jumped for a ball landed, I felt a searing pain in my left foot. I was barely able to walk so I was taken to the nurse’s office, they advised me to go to the hospital.
At the Hospital, the x-rays showed that I had fractured my foot it was just a hairline fracture; the concern though was it was on the same leg I had broken in the car crash.”

"How did that impact you and did you feel you got the support needed from the game's authorities and the youth clubs?" Charlotte asked.

"There has never been a system that supports the kids in those situations. It's sad to think that the future stars of the game lack the facilities to assist with the trauma that can be caused by rejection and injuries.
It affected me badly, I crawled into a shell, dejected and testy. I just wanted to get back on track and knew the time lost put me at a disadvantage. I applied too much pressure on myself mentally" Tedo responded passionately.

Charlotte nodded and continued, “That led to your mum sending you back to Zambia correct?”

Tedo responded “yes it did but I think that was the best thing at the time because I was not right mentally and I felt that maybe I wasn't gonna be able to play football at the level at envisioned when I managed to join the youth team.
Mum made the executive decision to just change my environment and hopefully get me back to the mental fitness I was at before my injuries.”

"Break" There was a pause in the show for adverts.
Tedo took this time to relax and calm his mind. He knew he would need to control his emotions for the next part of the interview.
Big Tedo Blacc's avatar Group Big Tedo Blacc
1 weekEdited

Part 2

They were coming back from the break, the same guy from before held up his hand again. “5 4 3” the fingers went down 2, 1 and pointed.

Charlotte spoke to the cameras, “Welcome back to the show, if you are just tuning in, we are here with Tedo Blacc discussing the impact his injures had on his once-promising career.” She summarised the first half of the interview
Charlotte turned back to Tedo followed up with, “You got lucky going back to Zambia in that you ended up working out with a physiotherapist who specialized in sports injuries, and if I'm quoting you correctly ‘he assisted me to become a better athlete than I thought I could have been, my athletic ability improved beyond what I could have imagined’, you worked with him for most of your time in Zambia correct.”

Ted smiled “Yes, Simba Phiri, he was about training and rehabilitation being in line with the expected function required to play your sport. In other words, your rehabilitation should not be just for function but to ensure that you come back stronger, pliable, and robust, to improve your durability in playing the game.”

Charlotte continued “How did he help you with the mental aspect after your injures?”

“I think the discussions we had helped. A lot of time during the rehabilitation process we discussed where I was mentally, and those conversations helped stabilize and focus my mental health. Tedo responded.

“Five years passed, you in Zambia, playing in the local tournaments for Lusaka Dynamos Youth Team. And then you returned to England, what drove you to come back?” Charlotte asked.

Tedo replied “I was fitter than I've ever been, I thought that I could probably take on any challenge. I felt there was unfinished business in England.”

“Barnet took a chance on a former youth prospect and signed you after your trial with them.” Charlotte went on to summarise Tedo’s short career. Five years at Barnet debuting at 17. Holding down a starting spot at 18 where he played up front two for those two years alongside the likes of Giuliano Grazioli and Liam Walsh. The subsequent transfer to Peterborough United where he again performed above what many thought was the quality of the Peterborough team that took him up again to Queens Park Rangers who were in the championship at the time. It was there his career kind of stalled, he was playing fewer games more of a backup striker at the time. Spending two years riding the bench and then the subsequent loan in the third year back to Peterborough.

“Let's talk about that loan to Peterborough that would be the last time you play football professionally, everything seems to be going right being back with the Posh, you were scoring for fun you were setting up your teammates you became an all-round striker, it attested to the murmurs that you were unjustly overlooked at QPR?”

Tedo responded, “My time at QPR was difficult there was a carousel of managers and they bought some quality strikers in at the time, I was an untested talent at that level. In the few appearances I did have in the League I played well-scored goals and contributed to the team’s effort. The managers perhaps felt I wasn’t ready to play consistently, I can’t blame them they were attempting to reach the Premier League and used players they felt they could trust. The tough part for me was I felt I could have contributed more but the sparse playing time didn’t help my case.

Charlotte took that opportunity to ask, “How did that affect your mindset?”

“If you saw me in training, I was outperforming my fellow forwards, I had tried to show the coach through training that I deserved to be a starter. Towards the end of my second year, I kind of become jaded my training performances slowly declined and motivation declined. It took its toll”.

Charlotte nodded as if giving confirmation, “Then came the loan?”

“I was at my wit's end, I discussed with the manager Chris Ramsey I asked to go on loan. The gaffer agreed and I ended up back at Peterborough.”

Charlotte continued “Peterborough a familiar hunting ground for you. You started off guns blazing if the stats I have here in front of me are correct. you scored 13 in 10 games and had three assists to your name, you continued that form going into halfway through the season this was in 2015/16 correct?”

Tedo responded “yeah 2015/16 season, I started off guns blazing I was happy to be starting games I played with heart, I played fast, I played smart and I left everything on the pitch every game. I was on route to be the top scorer in League one that year".

Charlotte crossed her legs at this point, “So you are flying high, looking as if your return to QPR was imminent as they were struggling for goals at the time when the injury-hit you again?”

Tedo smirked a little, “Yeah, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was the new gaffer, he called me to let me know that they were about to make a decision on me, but it looked positive in terms of my returning to QPR and being given a chance as a starter. I decide to keep my head down and keep working hard. That conversation was 6th January 2016.”

Tedo stopped, took a sip of his water then proceed to continue, “I remember the day I got injured like it was yesterday, 16th January 2016 against Southend, most of the game was a haze it was just that moment that was clear. Gabriel Zakunai hoofing the ball it forwards.”

Tedo paused took a deep breath, loosening the tie he was wearing a little.
He continued “I gave chase, allowed the ball to bounce, I can't remember who the defender I was against that day, I remember leaping to head it out of his reach managed to get my head onto it. As I landed……… I heard a noise that sounded kinda like…... have you ever heard a tree snap just out of the blue, that was the sound. I took a tumble forward, ended up in a sitting position.

I looked at my right leg it was perfectly fine, I didn’t want to check my left leg, I think I knew it wasn’t good. I looked at my left leg and could tell I had done it again it was all bad. I was too shocked to feel any pain.”

Charlotte interjected asking “Do you mind telling us what the injury was in this case?”

Tedo took a deep breath and responded, “I had broken a chunk of bone off the side of my knee, torn my ACL, MCL, PCL, and the impact had also caused quite some damage to the cartilage in my knee.”

Charlotte then asked, “What was the doctor's opinion on your future as a footballer?”

Tedo had a pained look on his face as he answered, “The doctor said to me if I chose to play football again and I suffered another injury and it was highly likely I would suffer another injury, I would lose around 30 to 40% functionality in my leg later in life. Even if I were to return after rehabilitation with the extent of my injuries, I would be a shell of myself on the pitch.”

Charlotte interjected “so is that how you're love for football ended and how your career as a player ended?”

Tedo took a minute to contemplate the question “I don't think I ever really hated football, I'm more hated my inability to reach what a lot of people and a lot of the coaches I had in my career felt would have been my standard. I felt the injures robbed me of what could have been an illustrious career. That spiraled me into a depression and self-loathing, I lost a lot of relationships because of it.”

A look of intrigue hit charlottes face as she went on and asked, “depression how did that affect your relationship with football, and do you feel that you got the appropriate support from football itself and dealing with those issues?”

Tedo sighed a little and stated “I don't think football had the support structure it does now for these types of situations, and I think the support structure currently in place is still noticeably young, so it doesn't achieve a desirable outcome overall, but it is the right step forward.

The depression impacted my relationship with football, while I didn’t hate the game, I didn't want anything to do with it for the next two years.”

Charlotte took over again stating “Two years away from the game you loved, that must have been hard, how did you decide to get back into the game?”

I was invited to a seminar on Leadership, Sir Alex Ferguson was a keynote speaker. I'm grateful to him, he spoke to me he told me about watching me play a couple of times, also reminded me that I had a good footballing brain and asked if I ever thought about coaching.’”

“Had you up to that point?” Charlotte interjected timely.

“Not really, I wasn’t thinking of football at that time. The conversation though did plant a seed of longing for the game again. Then one day I saw a replay of the Eric Cantona goal after his suspension, it reminded me of what I loved about the game and pushed me to get back involved.”

Charlotte smiled “How was your mental health at that point?”

Tedo smiled “I was on the way to getting better, I was in therapy and had a great support structure.”

“Now you are doing your coaching badges and what area of football are you looking to get into?”

Tedo smiled “I’m enjoying the coaching badges, I want to be a manager, but I need to pay my dues first.”

Charlotte smiled “What are your goals going to be as a manager when you get there?”

Tedo bit his lip a little before responding “I want to be great, I wanna take a club and make them treat.”

Charlotte looked at Tedo before asking “How will the injuries and experiences impact how you coach and what would your footballing philosophy be?”

Tedo looked up at the roof for a minute before continuing “I think it will impact my approach to training more than anything else, but I'm still studying my badges so I'm getting acquainted with all the nuances of coaching I'll know better once I'm in a position to make those type of decisions.
And that is the same with regards to the style of football or rather my footballing philosophy I'm not sure yet, I'd like to be a bit more exposed to the coaching aspect before I pen a philosophy.”

Charlotte looked at Tedo and asked one last question “Looking back, would you change anything that happened in your career?”

“At the moment a lot, but I wouldn’t be as strong mentally or be the person I am today without those experiences…. But ask me in 10 years I might have a different answer for you” Tedo replied.

Charlotte turned to look at the camera talking directly to its saying “I think that is a good place to end today's episode. Thank you Tedo Blacc for coming in and sharing your experience with regards to the injuries and their impact on your career. Tedo would you like to say a few words?”

Tedo looked at the camera “Always have fun playing the game you love.”
Great start mate. Tedo has had a lot of experience when it comes to set-backs. I'm looking forward to what comes next.
Big Tedo Blacc's avatar Group Big Tedo Blacc
1 weekEdited
The Unexpected Oppurtunity

23rd July 2020

“Yo turn that off, why are they replaying that episode man,” Tedo complained walking into the living room.

Charlie turned off the TV and replied, It was a great episode, it gave you exposure and got you a few coaching offers too. That job with Ajax U18, you saw some of the beasts come through. It’s a shame the pandemic hit you would have gone back.”

Tedo smiled thinking it would have been great if he had stayed and took his coaching badges to the next level. Tedo walked to the armchair in the room, a slight limp in his left leg.

Charlie looked at him in concern “is the knee still playing up?”

“Yeah, it has its moments but it….” Tedo was cut off by his ringing phone. He checked the number it was a number he didn’t know.

He reluctantly picked up the phone, “He…Hello?”

A familiar voice from his past hit his ears “Hi Tedo, It's Tony Kleanthous, how are you, I got your number from Guli, I hope that’s ok?”

“Its great to hear from you Mr Kleanthous, I’m great how are you?” Tedo replied still curious to the purpose of the call.

“That good to hear, do you have some time today to meet up perchance son?” Tony probed.

“For you, I can make the time, Mr. Kleanthous,” Tedo responded, he had a lot of time for Tony, he was one of the first people to reach out to him after his devastating injury and offered his mobile scanner to assist with diagnosing the knee injury.

“That’s great, say my place at around 6 pm, I’ll send you the address,” Tony said not waiting for Tedo’s response and cutting the phone.

Tedo looked at the phone confused; a message flashed up on his phone it was Tony’s address. Charlie looked at Tedo inquisitively, Tedo shrugged his shoulders not quite sure what was happening. He checked the time, 4 pm. Crap he knew Tony didn’t suffer tardiness.

“I got a dinner with Tony Kleanthouse at 6” Tedo shot at Charlie rushing to get ready.

“The Barnet owner???” Charlie shouted back.

Tedo got ready as quick as he could, jumped into his Audi, and rushed to Tony’s. He pulled up to a beautiful home, remembering how ambitious Tony was. He parked and strolled to the front door, he took in the beautiful property with the immaculate landscape, good money was spent on this he thought. He pushed the doorbell, tugged at his shirt to straighten it out, and adjusted the bottle of wine in his hand. As he waited for the door to be answered, he contemplated what Tony could want.

The front door opened, Tony saw him and embraced him in a big bear hug. “Good to see you son.”

“Good to see you too Mr. Kleanthous and thank you for the invite.” Tedo nervously retorted.

“Call me Tony, is that wine for me.” Tony reached out receiving the wine and studying it.
“Dinners 20 minutes away let’s have a chat about why I asked you here and we can crack this bottle open too,” Tony said showing him in and escorting him to the study.

Tedo remembered Tony loved getting to business first, then they would reminisce later. Tony showed Tedo a seat, while he popped open the bottle of wine and let it breathe. He sat down opposite Tedo. Sized him up for a second. Then asked, “What level are you at with your coaching badges?”

Tedo was taken a little back thought for a second…“Continental Level C”

“That’s great, ok I’m not going to beat around the bush, we had Peter Beadle coming in to be the manager this season. However, he has an issue that will leave him out of management for a while we agreed to terms and released him.”

Tony paused, getting up to pour a couple of glasses of wine. As he returned to his seat he continued “Now we are without a manager for the start of this coming season. I tried to get Guliano out of retirement for at least this season, he refused. He mentioned you though, he said you would be an excellent hire. You have a great footballing brain and your experience at Ajax will be an asset.”

Tedo was in a bit of shock, was he being offered the mangers role at one of his favorite clubs
“I am willing to give you a season to show that you can manage Barnet and consolidate our position in the Vanarama League. What do you say?” Tony finished looking at Tedo intently.

Tedo knew better than to rush into a decision with Tony, “Would I have complete control over backroom and playing staff?” he asked.

Tony smiled “Only if you think you can prove yourself and make the job your long term.”

“Can I implement a style of football of my choice?” Tedo asked apprehensively.

Tony knew he was stalling he had him hook line and sinker, “Yes I’ll give you full control as long as you meet the targets set out for you at the Board meeting, we are having on the 27th.” Tony stretched out his hand, “Does Barnet have its new manager?”

Tedo smiled from ear to ear, grabbed Tony’s hand, and said, “Of course you do, it will be my pleasure!!!”

They both laughed, and started on the glasses of wine, they spent the rest of the evening catching up and discussing their dreams for the club.

25th JULY 2020

Tedo was at The Hive taking promotional photos to be released that Monday, and for the contract signing. He shown around the club and the facilities, he was at a loss for words much had changed for Barnet since he wore the jersey, they were still playing at the Underhill Stadium it did not hold a to the hive. Tedo smiled thinking I could do magical things here.

A young lady walked up to him “ hi Mr. Blacc, I’m Chipo your personal assistant.”

“Tedo or Ted please, Mr. Blacc is my father and grandfather. Nice to meet you” Tedo replied.

“Sure thing sir, Mr. Kleanthous, said you wanted a report on the current team their stats for last season, and coaches reports.” She said while handing over a hard drive and her contact card. “If you need to get hold of me before Monday sir”
“Thanks, Chipo appreciate it” Tedo replied.

When Tedo got home, he quickly showered, got some food ready, and sat at his desk. He looked at the data Chipo had handed over, he reviewed everything. By the time he had finished the early hours of Sunday morning, he knew how he was going to proceed with this team. He was buzzing for Monday.
A gamble to say the very least but congratulations to Tedo on the job. After Barnet lost out in the play-offs last season, it'll be interesting to see what the expectations will be this year.
27th July 2020 - THE FIRST DAY

Tedo was up at the crack of dawn, he jumped on his exercise back going through his agenda for the day. Meeting with the board at 08.00 am, then meet the staff at 8.30 am, meet the players at 9.00 am. Discuss our tactical approach and get that first training season in.

“It’s the first day of the rest of your life Ted, let’s get to it!” Tedo said as he picked up the intensity.
He pulled up to the Hive at 07.00 am, the guard at the gate stopped him, not sure who he was.

“Can I help you sir?” he asked, in heavy bass and gravelly tone.

“I’m Tedo Blacc, the new gaffer…” Tedo responded.

The guard quickly checked his pad… “Yes sir, sorry to have stopped you, first day and all sir.”

Tedo looked at him, he had a nervous look on his face, “What’s your name?”

“Joseph sir” The guard responded looking even more anxious.

“Like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?” Tedo responded smiling.

“Yeah, my mum named me after that musical.” He replied smiling.

Tedo laughed “Well Joseph thanks for coming in so early. I may trouble you this season to be here around 6.30 am, think you can do that for me?”

Joseph calmed down and smiled “Sure thing gaffer and all the best for the season!”

Tedo drove to the staff parking lot, found the spot with his name. He sat in the car for 10 mins, stomach was churning.
“You got this dude, you got this… this is your opportunity to build the legacy you couldn’t as a player. A day at a time, piece by piece.” He took a deep breath stepped out of his car and head straight for the entrance and took his first step into what would be an amazing debut season.

The Board Meeting:

Tedo steeped into the conference room, there sat Tony Kleanthous smiling and enthusiastic about Tedo taking the reins. Next to him was Graham Slyper, the only director at the club, he looked less excited and seemed to have doubts about Tedo’s managerial appointment.

The meeting progressed well; Graham still was unsure despite the discussions flowing well. At this point, Graham decided to take control the meeting “So Tedo, you weren’t my first choice for the position, but Tony seems to have faith in you and that is enough for me to give you a chance.
Let’s set out this season's targets, Top Half finish in the league and the FA Cup First round are Requirements. If those aren’t met, you won’t be getting my backing to activate the 1 yr. extension on your contract.”

“That Should not be a problem, as long as I can make wholesale changes to the staff and key additions to the team?” Tedo responded in a firm yet respectful tone.

“Will you be able to do so will working within the wage budget you are given, cause if you can guarantee that, as I had discussed with Tony, we’d let you take full control of those matters” Graham smiled knowing the tightness of the budgets would not let him do much.

Tedo responded “That’s great I will work within the wage budget. Anything else we need to address?”
Tony responded before Graham goes a chance to quip in “No that should be all for today if you need anything let us know. Got out there and make us proud Tedo.”

Tedo walked out, loosening his tie, he walked to his office at 8.20 am, thank goodness we started that meeting early. He saw Chipo at her desk, “Hi Chipo, call the coaches to tell them staff meeting room 10 minutes please?”

Chipo replied, “Yes sir!”

Tedo closed his office door and changed out of his suit into his tracksuit for this meeting he knew a suit would not go down well with most of the coaches.

Meeting the Staff

He made his way to the staff room, as he walked in the room hushed into silence. “Hey lads I’m Tedo the new gaffer, if I call out your name please stand and stay standing.” He opened his clipboard and looked and the list and drummed of quite a few names. He looked around took a deep breath and said “Those of you standing, we are grateful for your service and contributions, but unfortunately, we will be parting ways from today. Please make your way to HR they are expecting you and they will take over your exit process.”

There was a murmur of discontent among the remaining staff including his assistant Steve Jenkins, who Tedo really wanted to let go, but did not have a better candidate for the job.

After the group had left, he could see angry faces looking back at him. he thought to himself ‘you are not here to please everybody, you need to do it like this to set the tone you are young, but you are the gaffer, they may not like but they will respect it.’

“I know some of you don’t approve of my decision just now, that’s fair. I’m here to bring Barnet out of the mediocrity it has been in for the past decade, I was apart of the League Two Barnet squad in the early 2000s, I know the glory days.

I’m aiming to surpass that. We are aiming for the Zion of English football. I need you to understand the vision and support this club in achieving that vision can I count on you for that?” Tedo bellowed, hoping to stir a reaction for the staff

Everyone in the meeting looked at him shocked, who is this man making bold claims. Tedo saw the dream slowly plant and blossom in their minds. He smiled as he heard the positive response. The chatter was getting louder.

“Thanks, guys, over the next few days a few new key staff members will be joining us I ask that you make them feel welcome and help them get adjusted as quickly as possible. I appreciate you all, can the coaching staff meet me in the coach's room. Steve two seconds of your time before we head out.” Tedo finished.
He had noticed that Steve was stone-faced the whole time. The room emptied and it was just the two of them in the room. It felt like a standoff, who could gain the upper hand.

Tedo started “Look Steve, I know you think you should be in my seat. I have no problem with that. They choose me, now you weren’t my ideal first choice for assistant manager, but I kept you on because you are the best person for the position. So, I’m willing to work with you in making this a successful season are you willing to work with me?” offering his hand as a gesture of good faith.

Steve paused a minute grabbed….. Tedo’s hand and responded, “I’m willing to work with you on this.” In the least sincere tone, he could muster.
Tedo made a mental note this wasn’t the end of this.

In the coaches room, Tedo went over the tactic for this season

A fluid counter-attacking tactic, that also dominated possession against lesser teams. Tedo was taking his concept of complete football and evolving it, this was his first iteration of it designed specifically against route one football.
Tedo, spent the rest of the meeting discussing everyone’s role and the expected contributions going forward.

Player Meeting

He then had his meeting with the players, there was nothing of note throughout the meeting, the players took well to the code of conduct and the season expectations. They seemed to have taken well to Tedo and accepted the change in manager. Tedo knew better though, they were waiting to see if he is good enough or not and it would take a while to convince them. But that was alright Tedo knew that it was all going to be a season of surprise.

As the meeting with the players came to an end he shook their hands as they were leaving. He paused on Alfie Pavey and James Dunne and asked them to come to his office before the first training session started.
Back at his office Alfie and James sat outside his office it kind of felt like the principles office. He called in Alfie first.

“Take a seat Alfie.”

“Thanks, gaffer” he replied

“I'm not going o beat around the bush Alfie, I found you on the transfer list when I took over, and I'm not looking to change that,” Tedo told him.

Alfie gave a hesitant nod and asked “I thought I’d get a chance?”

“I understand, however, you are not a tactical fit upfront, we need to hit teams with bursts of pace and movement. You’re a target man. I don’t want to waste your potential, there are teams that need players like you that will offer you playing time, but here I can’t guarantee your playing time.” Tedo explained to Alfie

“I guess so, just disappointed you didn’t give me a chance,” Alfie mumbled
Tedo added “I have already had a couple of offers, that we have accepted. Your agent should be communicating with the teams now. I suggest you give him a call and see what he has to say. Take the day or join training today I’ll leave that up to you.”

Tedo stood up to signal the meeting had run its course shook Alfie’s hand and watched him leave.
Next James Dunnes strolled in.

“Hi gaffer are you transfer listing me?” he started.

Tedo smiled, that aggressive nature was good but not for the pace that he was looking to play the game, he signaled James to sit. “yes, I am James, you don’t fit in the tactical approach.”

“I realized that when you explained the approach, so what now?” James asked.

“I’m looking to replace you before I let you go.” We have a couple of lads coming in on trial for a couple of weeks and once we make that decision, then we will offer you out. Are you good with that?”

“Yeah, thanks for being straight with me,” James said standing and offering the Gaffer his hand.
Tedo stood took it nodding to James at the mutual understanding.

Tedos day ended with him observing the preseason session, he had to decide as a show of good faith to let Steve have control of the preseason training. Tedo would realize it was a mistake later in the preseason schedule.
A no-nonsense approach. This could either work fantastically or very badly given some of the inflated egos within football. I should hope Tedo won't have that problem in the National League, though.
Big Tedo Blacc's avatar Group Big Tedo Blacc
5 daysEdited
The Preseason:

The preseason was a mixed bag for Tedo, he wasn’t worried about the results in the friendlies just that the team was executing his tactical philosophy and gaining familiarity, he had a good mix to their friendlies from teams they weren’t supposed to beat, to teams they were. Tedo knew it would be a good test to the way his tactic would hold up.

The priority for the first half of the preseason was to strengthen the squad and backroom staff. The backroom staff was simply a quick glance at those available and who would coach the counter-attacking style Tedo was implementing were brought in the first two weeks, from Head of youth to a new scouting team and an improved medical team. This left Tedo with one of the best staff rooms in the league.

The priority for the incoming player for Tedo was a starting CB, a starting striker, and cover for the CM and a backup GK. He utilized the free transfer market to its full potential bringing various trialists to assess.
Amongst the group brought in the standout was Stefan O’Connor a quality CB who Tedo knew would be a start as they progressed up the leagues. His quality shone throughout his trial from training to his match appearances during his trial, he was signed on a £1k p/w contract for 3 years.
Next to come in was Christian N’Guessan, he showed to be a serviceable midfielder who would be good cover in the middle of the park. Barnet signed him on a £400 p/w contract for a year with a 1yr extension option.

A backup keeper was snapped up in James Aspinall, Tedo had heard of him amongst the youth league, he had potential so to find him unattached Tedo was quick to invite him on Trial, where he impressed Tedo and he could see a future 1st choice keeper in him if he concentrated and followed through in training. Tedo rolled the dice and signed him on a 1yr £300 p/w contract with a 1yr extension option.

The striker role was more difficult to cover, none of the trialists had the desired quality to lead the line. He decided to look at the loan market a particular player caught his eye, QPR had Marco Ramkilde on the loan list. He met Tedo’s criteria and was out of contract at the end of the season. He was good physically, mentally, and technically he would score goals in Tedo’s tactic. Tedo took him on loan, with an eye to sign him on a free at the end of his contract, if QPR did not renew his contract.

Only two players left, as Tedo had explained to them at the beginning of preseason, Alfie Pavey left for Vigo B in Spain for £30k much to Tedo’s surprise, he never realized Alfie was on their map. He was happy to take the money and relief to the wage budget, although still over the budget. Next to leave was James Dunne who signed to Wrexham for £19.75K, gave Tedo and Barnet the room in the wage budget to breathe and comply with work in wage budget Graham Slyper had slyly threatened Tedo with.

The preseason games didn’t quite go the way Tedo expected. Losses to Hearts, Dundee, and Gillingham were expected, but the team remained competitive throughout the games.
The Losses to Port Vale and Notts County really disappointed Tedo, he felt they had the greater attacking threat but were wasteful with their chances, where Notts and Port Vale took their chances.
The games against Bedford, Dulwich Hamlett, and Potters Bar were won with attacking flair. Bedford and Dulwich were larger score lines in Barnet’s favor. The Potters Bar game was another display of the wastefulness that had plagued Barnet’s game in some of the other friendlies, they still managed to come out on top.

Tedo was overall happy with the business done during the preseason. The transfer business he felt would take them to compete for a playoff berth. While some of the friendly results were unexpected, the work done to implement the desired tactic was exemplary in Tedo’s opinion, all he needed to address was the wastefulness in Barnet's final third play and shooting. Tedo was most with Barnet never looking outclassed in any of their friendly losses.
To facilitate the focus on staff procurement and player transfers, Tedo had left Steve Jenkins in charge of preseason training... A decision he would regret going into the first game of the season.
An interesting idea to play one of your divisional rivals in pre-season competition. It's not something we see on these shores often.

I think Stefan O'Connor is a good addition to the side whilst N'Guessan will be a decent option to have given the experience and knowledge I have of those two players. Looking forward to the real stuff now!
The Season Begins.



Tedo was sat in his office, across from him sat Samuel Azofra (Chief Doctor) and Luigi Cerullo (head Physio), they looked concerned as they started presenting the injury list for the preseason. As they slowly went through the list a disgusted look slowly took over Tedo’s face.

The list was a catalogue of muscle and ligament injuries all due to training. Marco, Ephron, Jack, Dwight, Michael, Xander, Andy, Alexander and Scott had all had stints out during the preseason, so they wouldn’t be at the level of fitness Tedo had hoped.
The injuries that disappointed him the most was Stefan O’Connor (dislocated Jaw – 3 weeks) and Ben Nugent (Sprained Ankle Ligaments - 3 weeks), his first choice Centre Back pairing would miss the first couple weeks of the season. That was the last thing he needed his two aerially dominant defenders; their cover was serviceable but not as good aerially.

“Why are there so many muscle and ligament injuries?” Tedo growled.

Luigi and Samuel looked at each other. Luigi mustered the courage to mumble “Training Intensity and scheduling, they were doing too much too fast, and with some of the tough games played in between, But mainly training.”

Tedo knew focusing on the transfers and bringing the right staff would require his full attention the first time around, but he didn’t think that Steve Jenkins would be this… He stopped himself there, blaming someone else for a decision that started with him was not going to change the situation, he decided to give Steve the chance and should have known better.
He shook his head, with the intention of letting Martin takeover, he was better placed to understand the training needed.
Tedo closed the meeting with his medical team and was left to review his matchday squad for tomorrow.


First Game:

09.00 am Tedo was on the team bus with the lads on the way to Dover. Matt Preston shouting from the back of the bus “Why are we heading out so early?”.
Andy responded from the front “SO we can’t get used to their pitch, the gaffer wants us fully prepared. He got special permission for us to do a light session on the pitch.”
Tedo smiled, he knew that Andy as the senior player and captain would lead the lads and take authority. He looked at his team sheet, he had wanted to tell them the squad but felt that after the light session would be best.
Tedo observed the players the rest of the journey, they were buzzing talking tactics and singing, he saw the social groups and the personalities that were together. He knew he had good lads and was hoping his tactic would help them win.
6.00 pm The team was on the bus; it was silent no one said anything. Jussi came up to Tedo and said, “Gaffer they are waiting on a few words from you.”
“The full-time team talk wasn’t enough?” Tedo replied confused.
Jussi shook his head.
Tedo exhaled, stood up all eyes instantly fixed themselves upon him. He cleared his throat “Why are you so quiet lads, someone walking on to this bus would think you were outclassed out there and thrashed?
Well… 3-0 winners and this is how we act, Marco you scored a hattrick, I’m surprised your still dry son, where’s the game?
Lads the way you played today was amazing, attackers we scored three goals, defence you kept a clean sheet and midfield you bossed the game. Take the feeling of today, the way you played, review tomorrow ingrain it in your mind and muscles, but for the rest of today celebrate this win. Also, I don’t want to see any of you at the training ground tomorrow!!!”

The lads roared and started singing “3-0 to the Barnet, 3-0 to the Barnet, 3-0 to the Barnet and Ramkilde scored all the GOALS GOALS GOALS!!!!”

Tedo sat down smiling, gave it 10 minutes then put on his headphones and pulled his tablet out and started reviewing the game. This was why James Ryder was his choice for Head of Performance, it only took him a couple of hours to get the data together, he had yet to meet anyone that efficient to date.

The rest of October saw Barnet played a further 5 leagues game and a FA Cup Fourth Round qualifier. Barnet won all their games coming into the last game of the month, they faced Sutton where they lost 2 nil. The month of October saw Barnet dominate every team, with key performances for Wesley Fognuck. They even dominated Sutton, but complacency and wastefulness crept into the game against Sutton 20 Shots, 9 of which were on target, and dominating possession.

However altogether Tedo didn’t expect the start to the season he got from a squad that was predicted to finish 16th in the league. Barnet sat pretty at the top of the league 2 points separating them from second place Wrexham.


Another packed month of fixtures with 6 games to be played. In the League and a FA Cup first-round tie against Salford who was in League 2. Coming off the loss to Sutton at the end of October, Tedo had expected a tougher game for the lads playing Aldershot, but the adjustments to the training schedule seemed to work. Barnet beat Aldershot, hoping it would get them back to their winning ways.

The FA cup tie at Salford was an unmitigated disaster performance-wise, Barnet was dominated and kept incredibly quiet, 6 shots none of which were on target. Salford ran out 2-0 winners. The only consolation for Tedo was that they didn’t score more than the two goals. His concern was the lads' morale dropping and the impact in the following games.

The game following was a draw against Altrincham, they drew again showing profligacy in front of goal that irritated Tedo. This was the game they could have made a statement about their character as a squad, he was content they didn’t lose to be fair. The draw gave Wrexham the chance to wrangle the top spot on the league table from Barnet who slipped to 2nd.

The rest of the games in November saw Barnet win, back to the attacking dominance they showed in their earlier victories. The wins and Wrexham slipping up saw Barnet back on top of the league at the end of the month.

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