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The David Smith Story - Some dreams do come true, will his?

With no badges, no managerial or professional football experience and without a club to start his career, a young man from Bristol attempts to make history with his favorite football team.
Started on 7 November 2021 by Maxporto
Latest Reply on 22 January 2022 by Tango
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Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
6 monthsEdited

Prologue


Profile


Name: David Smith
D.O.B 29/01/2001
Hometown: Bristol, England
Favourite Team: Fulham FC



I know what you're thinking... I look incredible for 20 years old.

Backstory


I was born in Bristol, England. An ever growing city in the South West, but one without much football history, nothing spectacular anyway. Bristol City are the biggest team, and they are currently in the Championship, their rivals are Bristol Rovers, who currently play in League Two. There's never been a Bristol team in the Premier League, certainly not since I been born. And although that would be something I would like to see one day, I have no preference on which of those two make it for the first time. You see I am a Fulham fan, weird I know, but we do exist outside of the capital. My Grandad was a huge fan and that got passed on to me.

We were a solid Premier League team until my 14th birthday. When I was 9, I watched every game of their incredible UEFA Europa League campaign under Roy Hodgson, only losing in the Final against a very strong Atl. Madrid, who had the likes of Aguero and Forlan upfront.

It's been very much up and down since those days, when we get promoted to the Premier League, we don't stay long. And it's always through the nail biting play-offs. We managed to get to the FA Cup final once in our history, which we lost. And quarter finals is as far as we ever got in the English League Cup.

Present Day

Location: Bristol, England
Date: 02/07/2021


It’s Sunday, I'm with my mate Jon at a local football clash between Brislington Football Club and Keynsham Town. It's a cagey affair.

The home team scored early in the first half, only to have their lead taken away early in the second.

The away team manager looks a mess! It’s clear that rather than studying the opposition, he was out drinking the night before.

His hangover just got worse, as the clock hits the 74th minute mark, one of his central midfielders gets sent off. It was the dictionary meaning of Sunday League in a tackle, and the main reason the match attendance reached double figures. "That's what we want to see!" laughed Jon.

In an attempt to hold on to the draw, he takes one of his strikers off and brings in an extra defender. 5-3-1 is the choice of formation.

The home team have a glorious chance to take the lead on the 83rd minute as the ball crashed the outside of the post following a well taken corner and a great leaping header!

They keep pressing for the winner, and just as the game is looking to end in a draw, they get another corner! Everyone and their families are in the box hoping to get the winner, the noise levels are what you expect from a Sunday league match... a bit like a construction site, without the machines, loud banging and radios, just shouting, lots of it, and plenty of foul-mouthed remarks from the leaders in the team to get the blood flowing in their respective teammates.

The only left pegger on the pitch takes the corner. It’s a good one. Out of nowhere comes the tall skinny central defender from the home team to meet the ball. The PERFECT connection... It hits the post again! But this time, it bounces all the way back to the edge of the area, The first to meet the ball? It's Moh, who is without any doubt the best player for the away team this match. He lumps it forward. There are only 2 people in the center of the pitch, the lone striker, and the shortest man for the home side. As the ball flies above them they race to meet it. The striker is clearly the fittest of the two, he wins that race easily, controls the ball perfectly, one touch to set it up for his right foot, he's just outside the area, he hits it.... and it goes in!

It's pandemonium in the away “bench”, their players can’t quite believe it. Me and Jon can’t believe it either. 'What a terrible celebration' Jon says, I agree.

"If that drunk guy can manage his team to win this game, then I can manage Fulham to win a trophy!" – I said.

I said it, but I didn’t quite believe it just yet. Nevertheless, that football game kept playing on my mind, and I woke up the next morning determined to give managerial football a serious go. I put the best possible CV together and start job searching.



Nations Loaded

Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, England, Finland, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and Uruguay. – All of which with every division available on the standard database.
Great start, that, very creative and funny :) want to hear more about the background of your character before/when you get a job, why would a team hire him?
Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
6 monthsEdited


Location: Bristol, England

Current Situation

I work at a local supermarket on a full-time basis, getting paid £280 p/w, with pay-day being every Friday. I'm still living with my parents who thankfully only charge me £150 a month rent.
If I am sensible, I should be able to save around £100 a week. Every penny I save will go towards my travel expenses as I embark on a potential world-wide search for my first ‘footballing’ job.
International football management is a definite no for now as I need to get coaching badges.


First Steps

I have £100 in my savings, it’s not a lot, but it should be enough to cover train journeys in the UK or flights to some European nation. I send my CV to 25 different clubs which are currently managerless. Not sure how I can get to Indonesia, South Africa or even South Korea with £100, but chances are, I won’t be offered a job in any of those nations any time soon anyway.


15 out of the original 25 applications have come back unsuccessful, took them one day to figure out that there’s better options out there, I can’t argue with that, there were some huge clubs, including Newcastle Utd and Levante.
What is really surprising is how many job interview offers I received on the same day! 10 in total. That almost matches the rejections, which in itself is an incredible achievement.
I thought it was going to take weeks before I got even a hint of interest from a club, never mind actual interviews from 10 of them. Plus, I got my first interview with a media outlet as a Sporting Life journalist reaches out to ask me some questions.

Just for the record, everything I wrote on my CV is true, back in school I did act as the ‘assistant manager’ to my PE teacher during inter-school football matches, largely because I was too unfit to play the game. Now that might have been translated incorrectly in the countries I sent my CV, but that isn’t my fault. I will remain truthful as I undergo these interviews.

Wearing one of my Dad’s shirts, I attend all 11 interviews via Zoom.

Job interview 1: Club de Deportes Union San Felipe, Chile

League: Campeonato Primera B (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid relegation

Job interview 2: Persatuan Sepakbola Medan Dan Sekitarnya, Indonesia

League: Divisi Utama (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid relegation

Job interview 3: Semen Padang FC, Indonesia

League: Divisi Utama (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Top Half

Job interview 4: Grindavik UMFG, Iceland

League: Inkasso-deild karla (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Finish in the top 3

Job interview 5: Persatuan Sepakbola Indonesia Kediri, Indonesia

League: Indonesia Super League (Top Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid relegation

Job interview 6: PSCS Cilacap, Indonesia

League: Divisi Utama (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid relegation


Job interview 7: Ahha PS Pati FC, Indonesia

League: Divisi Utama (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid relegation

Job interview 8: Ansan Greeners FC, South Korea

League: K League Challenge (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid finishing bottom
Note: I chose to take charge at the end of the current season if given the job. (might actually be able to save enough money for the plane ticket that way!)

Job interview 9: Musi Banyuasin Bangka Belitung United FC, Indonesia

League: Divisi Utama (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid relegation

Job interview 10: Dewa United FC, Indonesia

League: Divisi Utama (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Reach 2nd Phase


With those out of the way, I end the day with a less stressful but still pretty nerve wrecking interview with Sporting Life. Mick Spencer has asked me if I am open to working abroad. I think the fact that I just attended 10 interviews and neither of them were with an English team answers that question pretty clearly, but I’ll save my sarcasm to when I actually have a job and just say “Yes, I would love to work abroad.” – A short answer I know but I thought the questions were gonna keep flowing, but apparently the editor had enough content for his article with just the one… Well okay then, it’s been a pretty long day anyway.

I spend most of the night trying to master a plan on how I could get to Indonesia or South Korea if I was to get offered a job, 100 scratch cards worth £1 each was just about the best I could come up with before falling asleep.
Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
6 monthsEdited

Location: Bristol, England

I spend the next few days glued to my phone, refreshing my emails every 5 minutes waiting to hear back from any of the 10 teams. I still keep an eye on the job centre, since my first batch of CVs went out, I have applied for another 4 teams, the latest two being Phang Steelers from South Korea and Honka Espoo from Finland.

Then… on a Friday morning, I hear some news, some HUGE news! Not just one, nor two, but 4 Indonesian football clubs have comeback with a job offer.


One team, Semen Padang have emailed me to ask if I want to make any changes to the staff at the club, giving me complete freedom to make any alterations to their contracts and even fire anyone I don’t like the look of… That’s just crazy to me. I can’t remember making this a requirement during the interview, but I was pretty nervous, so I might have agreed to things I wasn’t sure about. Nevertheless, I decline to make any changes to their staff setup.

Job Offers


Persik Kediri offered me a one-year contract on £1.2k p/w.

PSCS Cilacap offered me a one-year contract on £375 p/w.

Muba Babel Utd offered me a one-year contract on £425 p/w.

Dawa Utd offered me a one-year contract on £900 p/w.


I’m not really sure why these teams would take such a risk in hiring someone with absolutely no experience, who doesn’t speak the language, or can even pronounce the club’s name correctly. It’s not like foreign managers are doing incredibly well over there either, there are currently 4 none Indonesian managers working in the 2nd Division and the one doing the best job is a Spanish manager whose team is currently 7th in the league.

One of the teams Persik Kediri are actually in the 1st Division, sitting near enough mid-table! It seems the top tier league known as Indonesian Super League has a fair share of international managers, so maybe this explains the interest in me, having a manager from England would bring positive attention to the club, this is where the most watched football league takes place after all, so word that a man from England has arrived in Indonesia to manage his first ever team would probably get locals quite excited.

If only they knew that this Englishman can’t even afford the plane ticket to get there!

I ask all four teams give me a week to make my decision, and they all agree.

Working out each offer






Unless anything else more tempting comes in during what is going to be a very long week, then my decision is pretty much made. And I could not be any more excited!
Could you really bring yourself to manage a team called Semen Padang? :D
1
Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
6 monthsEdited

Location: Bristol, England

I think I under estimated just how long the week was going to be. I certainly didn’t expect it to be this busy that’s for sure! I send at least 8 more CVs to vacant jobs and I get my first rejection from the original 10 interviews, it’s the Icelandic team Grindavik UMFG, they were an ambitious side, in a country I’ve always wanted to visit, but I’m not too upset, the players names would have been a nightmare to pronounce!

I’ve lost count of the teams rejecting me without offering me an interview, but given my lack of experience in football, the fact that I actually have options to chose from for my first job is pretty insane, so none of the rejections are affecting my mood whatsoever.

Word of the interest in me in Indonesia seems to be going around as I receive more interview offers. I borrow the same shirt from my Dad (brought luck last time) and conduct the interviews over Zoom again.



Job interview 11: Club Atletico Juventud, Uruguay

League: Segunda Division Profesional (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Reach Promotion Playoff


Job interview 12: Knattspyrnufélagið Kórdrengir, Iceland

League: Inkasso-deild karla (2nd Tier)
League Requirements: Avoid relegation

Other Indonesian teams are also keen to get a piece of the pie, and offer me the manager job, they took a little longer than the others, but I won’t hold that against them. Juventud the team from Uruguay definitely didn’t waste any time, and 2 days after the interview, they put down their offer for my services. All 3 agree to a delay, and again I do some research to evaluate the options on the table.

Job Offers


PS Pati offered me a one-year contract on £550 p/w.

Semen Padang FC offered me a one-year contract on £475 p/w.

Juventud offered me a one-year contract on £425 p/w.


Working out each offer






The Big Decision


It’s been a week since I delayed the decision on the offer made by the first 4 Indonesian teams. The Juventud offer came in on the same day, but as much as I like that one a lot, I feel like my mind was already made way before. One team really stood out for me, their ambition is next to none, they are doing incredibly well even without a manager, and the empty record book is tempting me A LOT!

I reject the other offers and call Dewa Uniteds Chairperson to explain my financial situation and ask him what he can do to help. I offer to accept a wage of £800 rather than the £900 he was offering and within minutes he emailed me a one-way ticket to Jakarta. The flight is later the same evening, so after I compose myself from all the excitement, I pack my bags and say goodbye to family and friends.

Jakarta here I come!

Reply to Comments

2021-11-11 13:25#285221 Harleygator : Could you really bring yourself to manage a team called Semen Padang? :D
Lmao I don’t think David's parents would be too proud of that one. Thanks for checking in again, it’s nice to know there’s someone out there reading this
Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
6 monthsEdited


Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

I land in Jakarta just after 6pm, Dewa Utd chairman is there to welcome me. We make the 25-minute journey to the stadium in his flashy new car. Conversation is kept to a minimum, probably due to my jetlag and the fact that my eyes are taking in everything around us as we drive. Things couldn’t be any more different than Bristol around here, and that made me incredibly happy. Not because I dislike Bristol, but due to my adventurous side, if you traveled to the other side of the world and things looked just like home, it wouldn’t be worth the trip right?!

We arrive at the stadium, the newly named Indomilk Arena, formally known as Benteng Tarun, which the club shares with Persita Tangerang, a team that recently got promoted to the top division. The stadium holds a capacity of 30.000 people and was built in 2018. I am a fan, it looks much nicer than I expected for my first ever job. It’s crazy to think only a few weeks ago I was stood pitch side at a Sunday league game, where the attendance just about reached 15 people, I definitely struck gold!


I get a few pictures taken with a Dewa Utd scarf in various locations of the stadium for the club’s social media, and then head inside to sign the paper work. After all the official documents are signed me and the Chairman discuss a few things while we wait for the Media to arrive.





Not many journalists have turned up, which makes me feel a little less nervous, having seen the clubs structure and spoken to the chairman, I start feeling confident about the future, and that confidence glows as I conduct my very first press conference!


With that out of the way, the real work begins now! I grab all the paper work I need to study overnight. A profile of every player, and sta… wait a minute, I have 0 staff!


The team can wait, looks like I’ll be spending the night recruiting people to help me run this club. My first game is tomorrow already which is not great, but at least we’re playing at home, and that’s only a 35 min drive from where I am staying. I’ll be getting there early in the morning to do some more work.

We’re playing the team sitting in 8th, so I should be okay to wait until the morning to pick my first 11. After the game, I will look into every player in more detail and work out what areas need strengthening, scouts are definitely needed for that as I have no knowledge of Indonesian players.

The place I am staying at is charging me £148 p/w, it’s a little guest house I found online while I waited for the plane back in Bristol. I have £450 to my name, thankfully I didn’t have to pay rent before leaving my parents so I had an extra £150 this month! I pay for the accommodation and get familiar with my new surroundings. This will certainly do until I have enough to rent a bigger/better place.


I’ll have to eat at the club’s canteen and local restaurants for the first few months due to not having my own kitchen, but at least I can have a shower while taking a sh*t!

I ring my parents and remind my Mum to hand in my notice at the Supermarket, I barely had enough time to pack my stuff, and I got to be honest, with all the excitement I completely forgot about that place.

I stay up sending job offers to unemployed Assistant Managers from Indonesia as well as Coaches, Physios and Scouts until 3am and crash the moment my head hits the pillow, BIG day tomorrow!
This story is really funny, actually. That accommodation picture made me laugh out loud. I just imagine you Googling "rent in Indonesia" or something, and you know you're gonna be getting targeted ads for weeks about it.



I get to the stadium early, grab a coffee and pastry from the café and head over to my office. There’s no player in sight yet, the game is not until 15:30. So, I take a look at the squad paper work that was provided to me yesterday in detail for the first time.


The first thing that catches my eye is that a player’s grandad has been mistakenly added to the list, okay maybe that’s a bit harsh, but a 41-year-old outfield player is not something that you see every day. The youngest player is 21, and the U21 and U19 squads are completely empty. Getting a few young players to build for the future is a must.

The man I hired last night for the Chief Scout job arrives at the club just before lunch. He’s eager which is always nice to see, I ask him to recommend some players as a first assignment.

Feeling positive that I have someone on board so quickly, I head over to the Chairman’s office and request a coaching course to increase my managerial knowledge. He wastes no time, and accepts it straight away to my absolute delight!


Considering I only arrived yesterday, the trust shown in me is already pretty amazing, I feel like this was definitely the right place to come. For a 20-year-old in his first job in football, the chairman has been very supportive already.

The transfer and wage budget are both incredible, and will allow me to do plenty of work. But given the age of our squad, and lack of youth players at the club, I feel like spending most of that money on scouting young talent would be quite beneficial. But we’ll see what the squad really needs after the first few games.


Now the fun part! I look at the Media predictions, current standings, previous results and everything in between to get a better understanding of the Indonesian Divisi Utama (2nd Division to you and me).




I think looking at those in detail it would be dumb of me to change too much straight away. So I decide to run with the same team as their last game. A 2-0 away victory against a team sitting in 7th place is a very good result, so they should be good enough against the team in 8th in our own patch. They played a 4-4-2. And so I decide to do the same. Not sure the exact instructions they were given before, but I try and keep it aggressive and on the front foot.


Choosing the first 11 for the first time begins to show some cracks in the team. The most noticeable is the lack of natural left midfielders/wingers. I have a choice between playing a striker or a left defender instead, I chose striker. Time will tell if that needs changing, hopefully the newly arrived Chief Scout recommends a M(L) in his first report. The 41 year old player made the cut, not that I know how good he is, but he started the last game… I’ll be playing him as a target man, he’s just over 180cm tall, so that should be enough, hopefully he can still jump at his age without breaking anything in the process.

First 3 games



One at home followed by an away game to 2nd placed Sriwijaya FC, can it get any tougher for my first away game?! And then It’ll be the first round of the Indonesian Cup, which I’m very excited to take part in, I always find cup games to be special.


Game 1




I give my first team talk, the players don’t react much, or at all. But the language barrier is still a big issue. I need to find a translator!

As we leave the changing rooms to head for the pitch, I get stopped by the media for some pre-match questions. I dispatch some quick answers and join the rest of the players on the bench.

Before I know it, the whistle is blown and the game begins!

Pretty sure the echo of the referee’s whistle was still ringing around the stadium when a Persekat player has gone in for a tackle from behind on Nugroho (my Box to Box Midfielder) and takes him out. The ref shows him a straight red, and rightly so! Only 7 minutes gone and my chances of a positive result have gone up tenfold!

Even with the extra man, the first half ends 0-0. We didn’t create much. 9 shots in total, and only 4 on target. Our defensive work has been positive though. So I try and fire up the team to go in for the kill in the second half!

Must be the language barrier again, as the game delivers another uneventful half and ends 0-0. It felt like a defeat to be honest, playing against 10 men for 80 minutes at home, although an attendance of 240 in a 30.000 capacity stadium isn’t exactly going to get anyone’s blood flowing. But we should have definitely have won the game. Plenty of shots, but 0 clear cut chances…


Goalkeeper coach and a general coach arrive before the second game. I ask them to recommend some signings like I did with the Chief Scout. It seems another team managed to capture the man I had offered the assistant manager role, so I spend my time at home that day looking for another hopeful.

My center back made it to the team of the week. I played against 10 men for most of the game and a defender wins man of the match and gets in the team of the week… says it all!

The cup draw was also done before the 2nd game, we got the team sitting in 2nd place in the Indonesian Super League, Persib Bandung. We’re playing at home, we won’t win, but hopefully we’ll have more than 200 people show up for the game.


Game 2


The newly found assistant manager arrives the day before the game. I’m feeling much better now, the first game is in the past, I’m hoping to get a result against the team that’s sitting second in the league just a point behind us.

This time around I let my assistant choose the starting eleven, he’s able to communicate with the players a lot better than I am. And his knowledge of Indonesian football is far superior to mine.








It’s my first ever away game, and what a great place to do it. The stadium is an impressive 40.000 capacity. And it looks to be at least a quarter full.

It’s a much better match in terms of entertainment. It’s as even as it gets, possession, chances created, shots. It’s all very evenly matched and the score is unsurprisingly 0-0 at half-time. Difference this time is that I am happy to finish the game this way!

10minutes into the second half, our right winger makes an inside run that is spotted by our midfield, he’s 1v1 with the goalkeeper but strikes it against the post! Best chance of the game so far.

We have 2 other good chances after that, both coming in the way of a header from our strikers. But again, the game ends 0-0. Our second half deserved much more than what the scoreline shows. But we remain top of the league, and I see a lot of positives from the game.


Our 1 supporter seemed happy at the end of the game anyway. I get the team to sign his t-shirt as a gesture of gratitude for making the 8-hour car journey to see us play.

Game 3


4 day break and off we go again! We are back playing at home, for our biggest test so far. Persib Bandung are only a point behind the top spot of the top division in Indonesia. I certainly feel like there will be goals in this one, I just don’t think it will be us scoring them.

My dream of playing in front of a big crowd is crushed before kick-off as it’s announced that only around 130 tickets have been sold. I have to admit, the lack of supporters did not cross my mind when taking over a newly founded team, but it makes perfect sense. If I ever get this 30.000 capacity stadium filled they will probably name a stand after me!

I keep the line up and tactic the same as the previous game, only changing the role of both strikers to a more familiar one to them. Why not, I still haven’t seen them score a goal so this should help.


Persib start the much stronger side, their first good chance happens at the 15minute mark as they have a shot in the box blocked by Ardinsyah (my center back).

15 minutes later though, we get a corner, it’s cleared by the defence but only as far as Sukmara, our left back, he plays short to Nugroho who himself dispatches the ball quickly back to Al Ma’ruf, the right winger who just took the corner moments before. He’s in acres of space and delivers a low cross into the box, and who’s there to meet it ? Yes, you guessed it, the 41-year-old Dzumafo, he slides to meet the ball and it goes into the back of the net. The first goal of my managerial career is scored by a player who is double my age! But I am not complaining!

They dominate the rest of the half, but we go into the break 1-0 up. I head back to the changing rooms with a smile. I could get used to this! I praised the team and tell them to keep their concentration.

10 minutes into the 2nd half and they score a worldie! The bend on the shot from outside the box was too much for my keeper. A fabulous strike, and the game was levelled once again.

The game is a boring one after that, so boring I almost forget to make subs! Then as the clock hits the 90minute mark, and I am about to find out whether extra time is a thing in the cup or whether it goes straight to penalties. They float a cross to the back post, and their striker wins the header to put the ball in the back of the net. Heart breaking!


Even though we lost in the very first round we still get £2.5k. Very generous I thought. Will definitely hope for an easier tie next year!

Despite the result that was probably the most positive game of the 3 so far in terms of performance. I head back to my guest house with plenty of food for thought.

Next game is in 3 days, away from home, but not too far, we’ll be travelling to Serang, a city just 1 hour drive away to play Perserang Serang who are currently 5th in the league. Bring it on!
Well, your team seems pretty decent to me, you're creating chances... you need a dependable striker, though. These updates are great :)
Location: Jakarta & Serang, Indonesia


Dewa or Die


Although the last game was against a team we weren’t expected to beat, the fact that I am now 3 games without a win makes this next game a very important one. The team were doing great before I showed up, in fact they are unbeaten in the league! So there’s no excuse. I need to get my first win and fast!

I hold a meeting with my assistant, and together we analyse the squad in more depth. Who needs to go? And who deserves to stay?

Strikers and Goalkeepers are both a strength in this squad. The midfield is definitely where things need to improve, the first thing we need to do is find a left winger. I will wait for my staff’s recommendations, if there’s a good candidate there, I will attempt to get him, otherwise, I will get my scout to find one.

My top player is probably Slamet Budiono – or the now nicknamed Buddy. He’s a 26 year old striker with good stats in the right places, nothing spectacular, but certainly above average for this division.


Okay 1 goal in 10 games isn’t great and neither is the rest of his statistics this season, but he’s been having to fill that left midfield spot that no one else is capable of playing. For the next few games I will play him in his natural position and see how he does.

The oldest player in the team, and possibly country is also the highest paid player. Even though he scored the first goal of my managerial career, scoring another 20 wouldn’t save him from leaving in the very near future. Herman Dzumafo – now named just Herman has just broken the record for the oldest ever player to play in the Indonesian Cup, and because of his goal, he is now also the oldest ever goalscorer. Not exactly the type of record I was hoping to break when taking over this team, but congratulations to him anyway.






I have 2 Goalkeepers that are decent for this level, but one is 31 and the other 32 years old. I will get rid of one of them, and look to get a young talent as a back-up.

Next we have a midfielder that I am already a big fan of. Its Bayu Nugroho, the man who got assaulted in my first game in charge, which led to the opponent getting sent off. He seems really good from what I’ve seen during games. His mental attributes are very impressive! I need a nickname for him though… Nugs? Bay? Baytoven! Yes, that’s it, he is the maestro of my midfield after all!



Match Day


The whole team is in the team bus as we make the journey to Serang together, the mood seems positive among the players. I let them know the plan for the match ahead as well as the starting 11.


I spend the rest of the journey with my headphones in listening to my Indonesian learning app, I’m hoping in a few months I can master this very difficult language.

The game


First half is another 0-0. Given the quality of my players, the amount of chances we create is very low. Our games are incredibly boring. We defend well, or at least manage to contain teams from creating much, but we’re not scoring goals. We have more shots, both on and off target. And that’s about the only positive.

Actually, we have 3 away fans this game! That’s 2 more than last time. But the fact that this is one of the shortest trips of the season makes this attendance pretty bad from our fans...

I tell the players I want to see more from them in the second half! They seemed motivated by those words which gave me confidence.

We increase the amount of shots, our xG is above 1, but again we fail to score. Perserang Serang on the other hand, manage to score on the 78th minute with 1 of their 3 shots on target! It was poor marking from us, but a pretty amazing strike from outside the box. They hold on to the lead very well after that as we fail to make anything happen at all.

We lose the game… it’s very very poor. They score with the only chance they had. But despite the 16 shots we had, we didn’t look dangerous enough at any point in the game. It’s back to the drawing board. I need to get this team to create more when on the attack!



As the team heads back home, I decide to take the rest of the day off and visit a nearby place outside Serang, It was recommended by my landlord when I told him where my next match was due to take place. I could do with the distraction as well as a peaceful place to think over the way things are going for me in this crazy adventure..

Wisata Gunung Pinang








As I sit on top of the mountain overlooking the city where I suffered my first league defeat as a manager, I decide that I must tweak the tactic I’ve been using, I need to try something, we’re dominating most games so nothing drastic is needed, but the lack of clear cut chances we’re creating is abysmal!

Feeling refreshed, I get a taxi and head back home. I check the league table on my phone, we remain top of the league for now, but that will change once the 2 teams behind us play their game in hand.




Reply to Comments

2021-11-18 08:38#285378 Harleygator : Well, your team seems pretty decent to me, you're creating chances... you need a dependable striker, though. These updates are great :)
The team is great, it’s the manager that seems to be the problem! Thanks for checking in again
This was an interesting and fun read. Keep us updated. I guess you just need a better striker or two.
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Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
5 monthsEdited
Location: Jakarta & Surakarta, Indonesia

Transfer Window?


The Divisi Utama transfer window is open, which I believe allows teams in the Second Division to buy and sell players from each other. I got to be honest, I am not too sure, I just know that the major transfer window is not until October. Nevertheless, this couldn’t have come at a better time, if I can actually get a player or two in, it might turn out to be the biggest lifeline ever! I need to find myself a left winger first of all, and then a striker that can actually put the ball in the back of the net. Anything else that improves the overall squad is a bonus. I certainly wouldn’t mind finding players aged 20 or less as back-ups for most positions, so they can mature once / if we make it to the top division.


Apparently, it’s open until the 1st of January 1900. That’s 7pm and not the year 1900, not sure why they didnt separate the hour and minutes, although it could actually be my player Herman’s date of birth.

Anyway… I got a few players on trial at the club thanks to my Scout and other members of staff’s recommendations, but unfortunately no left winger. They did however recommend a couple of young goalkeepers that look quite promising. I will wait for the end of their trials before making a decision on which to keep. I take upon myself to search for a left midfielder, and eventually find one who is loan listed. I get him on a trial for a week to see what he’s got before making an offer.

A few days later my scout finds me a young center back who is also loan listed. He is much better than the ones I have at the club, so I make an offer. If he does well, maybe I look to get him on a permanent deal at the end of the season. I also make a final decision on which of the young goalkeepers currently on trial I am going to keep. I put an offer and before long he becomes my first ever signing, unfortunately he won’t be joining us until his contract runs out in February next year. But it's not exactly a position I am desperate to improve.



Match Day


Away from the transfers, there are matches to be played! And the next one is a BIG one!

Turns out I was too negative in thinking we would drop from first place… the two teams that could have overtaken us actually played each other and only managed a draw. Which means we’re all on 25 points.


And to make things even more interesting, our next game is against one of those teams! We already played Sriwijaya FC, so yeah you guessed it, we are off to Surakarta to play Persis Solo.

Sriwijaya FC won their match the day before we play our game, so they are now top of the league. And we are not the favourites to join them. Due to the importance of this match, and given how my defence has actually been pretty solid. I decide to keep the tactic relatively the same, only adjusting certain instructions and player roles.

This time the journey is done by plane, which I am glad the club was whiling to pay for, the 6 hour coach journey would have been a serious handicap for such an important match.


The airport is just a stone’s throw away from the stadium, and what a stadium this is! Easily my favourite in Indonesia so far!







Game




They start the better team, and have a few good opportunities to score, but their shots are straight at my goalkeeper. But then…

13 minutes in, and Buddy gets a goal! Great play on the right-hand side. It’s another assist from my right winger, Al Ma’ruf, who is turning out to be a very important player for me. He does really well to work the ball to the byline and whip a cross to the far post where Buddy is in the right place to meet it. Great start!

Things get even better about 10 minutes later! That man Al Ma’ruf again involved. This time with some fancy footwork in the opposition box, draws a foul and Fandi, a full back on loan who is currently playing as a left winger for reasons previously mentioned, converts the resulting penalty. We’re 2-0 up before half time!

That 2 goal cushion doesn’t last very long, as their midfielder Rumbino opens up my defence with a ball over the top, a great ball infact, and their striker 1v1 with my goalkeeper makes the finish look easy.

It’s 1-2 at half time. And the 12th man seems to have played a difference this game as we manage a record 69 away fans! They should be pleased with that first half. I know I am!

I congratulate the players and tell them I am happy with their performance so far. And ask them to please keep the intensity going in the second half.

And those words seem to have worked really well as we start the second half on the front foot.

Unfortunately Beytoven’s fitness is not the greatest, and by the 65th minute I have to sub him due to tiredness.

Without him on the field the other player that has impressed me the most since I’ve joined decides to take center stage. The central defender Dito, who won man of the match, and got into the team of the week after my first game in charge, has just scored an absolute rocket of a goal from outside the box, he was up the field for a free kick and the ball fell kindly for him with no opposition player anywhere near him, he took his time to pull the trigger, a goal that even the best strikers would be proud off! It’s the 74th minute, and we’re 2 goals ahead once again!

I go more defensive for the last 10 minutes. And luckily due to my lack of midfielders I have a Full back playing right winger (after I sub Al Ma’ruf due to fitness) because on the 91st minute my actual full back gets his second yellow! Nevertheless, we hang on to the result.

My first WIN! Against a team that is battling for promotion with us, and away from home. Just perfect.





The plane journey back home was definitely one to remember as the squad and staff celebrated an incredible away match result.


Reply to Comments

2021-11-23 14:05#285492 nemiarwen : This was an interesting and fun read. Keep us updated. I guess you just need a better striker or two.

Thank you for reading and the kind words, I am really glad you enjoyed it so far. I am looking forward to the first proper transfer window so I can hopefully find a striker who can get this team to the next level!
Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
5 monthsEdited
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia

Aiming for progress



With the first win under my belt I start to feel a lot more positive about the future in my new profession. And for once I am actually really looking forward to the games ahead.

Despite the win, the players are still getting used to me being their manager. But I guess it’s still very early to worry about these sorts of things.



We have 3 games left in August, the best of the 3 teams is sitting 9th in the league. So, without wanting to jinx it too much, we really should be winning all 3 matches.

Especially the first game which is at home against bottom of the league Tiga Naga. I am hopeful I can get a lead in the first half and try out a tactic I have been working on with my assistant in the second half. But we shall see, anything can happen in football after all.




Before the match let’s meet some of the new faces that will be joining our team in the near future. I am still baffled as to what the Divisi Utama transfer window actually means or allows you to do. But never mind, I guess October is only 2 months away, if I can get the results I should be getting in the next 3 matches, I will be in a good position by the time the new players arrive which will make us even stronger for the end of the season.

Transfer Updates


M. Junda Irawan (Now just Junda) - 25 Year Old - Full Back (Right).


Nothing spectacular about this guy, but he offers me the depth I need in that position. At the moment I have 2 players that can play right back, and both of them are here on loan, and more importantly, they are both worse players than Junda is. So, I am happy to have him joins us on a free. He will be with us on trial until he officially joins the club in October.



Komang Tri Arta (Now just Arta) – 20 Year old – Central Defender / DM



Arta will joins in October on loan from Bali United FC a team sitting 2nd in the Liga Super Indonesia. He lacks the physical attributes I would have liked, but everything else is much better than what the players I have at the club possess. He also brings much needed youth to the squad. Should he do well, I will be quite tempted to put in an offer.



Muhammad Faturrahman (Now just Muhammad) – 20 Year Old – Winger (Left)



That’s right, a left winger! Again nothing special, but boy do I need a player in his position! Only 20 years of age, and his wage is the 2nd lowest in the whole squad. All in all I had to get him! Again, he will join in October like the rest.



Muhammad Iqbal (Now just Iqbal) – 20 Years Old – Central Midfielder



Although you cant see the full stats, I am really hopeful about this signing! Another youngster, and with Beytoven alongside him I think Iqbal will be able to boss the midfield, specially in this division. He’s also a freebie, and with only £110 p/w on wages he will be the lowest paid player in the team.



Yandi Sofyan (Now just Sofyan) – 29 Years Old – Striker


The striker I need? Only time will tell, but if there is one man I am very much looking forward to meeting it’s this one. His wage is a bit steep compared to the rest of the team, £725 p/w. But we got him for nothing. At 29, he can hopefully help us for the next 2-3 years at least!




Horrendous News!





Al Ma’ruf the winger that has been playing incredibly well for me since I’ve joined is going to be out for 6-7 weeks! I was always going to be without him for the next game due to a suspension, but I get a feeling I will miss him a lot, especially next month when we have tougher opponents to face.




Resky Fandi the full-back who is here on loan and has covered the empty left wing role for us in the last few games is also out for 5 weeks – 2 months. These next 3 games are looking a lot harder all of a sudden!



Despite the injury news, we have the added motivation of knowing that a win will put us top of the league with a 2 point advantage heading into the next game. The team battling with us (Sriwijaya FC) drew their game against a team sitting in the drop zone!

Back home, Fulham have won their first 2 games of the season. A great start for Marco Silva as the manager, but it’s the fact that Luis Boa Morte is his assistant that really makes me happy with the staff running that club right now.

But anyway, back to Indonesia. It’s match day!



Game vs Tiga Naga




I had to go back to playing Buddy as my left Winger for this encounter. Which is a shame as he scored in the last game playing in his natural position, but everyone else would be just a lump of meat taking up space. Old man Herman is also injured so it’s going to be an interesting match.

Not going to lie, I am struggling to see a supporter in the stand. This might be the worst attendance on record.

In true bottom vs top of the league match, the bottom club takes the lead, their 24 year old striker scoring his first ever senior goal… You just cannot write it!

An embarrassing first half to say the least. Although they have scored with the only shot they’ve had in 45minutes, while we have 7 on target alone! Being clinical is just not in my players nature, I think even Guardiola would struggle to change that in this team.

I certainly won’t be trying any new tactics this game.

2nd half goes the exact same way, they have 1 more shot on target, and score. We have another 8 and fail to put the ball in the net.






Game vs PSMS Medan


The next game is like some one copy and pasted the last game and just changed the team’s names. Again we dominate, again we have plenty of shots, and again we lose the match.





Game vs Badak Lampung


And to end what should have been the easiest run of games of our entire season, we finally get some positives, but nothing too exciting. Just the one point. To be fair, they brought almost as many fans to an away game as we did playing at home, so that alone should give them at least a point.





I feel like my time is already running out, these last 3 results have not done my reputation any favours. I need to put the tactic me and my assistant have been working on into practice, after all, things can’t get any worse than they already have!

The only saving grace is that teams around us haven’t been performing that well either. So even after the terrible results we are still 2nd in the league table.


You've had quite a good start to life in SE-Asia, although the last update had quite a few less than desirable results! Indonesia is such a fun league to play FM in, due to them getting good crowds [just like they do irl] which is semi-accurately represented by the game. Football in Indonesia is extremely political tbh, which can lead to some unsavoury scenes and so on.

Also, when you move to clubs abroad, they actually take care of your accommodation for you :D so maybe ask the club to provide you with somewhere nicer to live! Lol.

Best of luck with this mate.
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