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Drago Barišić - Taking over the World

Started on 28 November 2021 by J_ames
Latest Reply on 27 January 2022 by NTBgaming
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Good to see Drago finally picking up the lead role somewhere! Wellington seem like a club going through some struggles, implied more by the media's reaction to your appointment. However, without knowing too much of the standard of the league, it seems like you have some decent bodies in the team. Hoping that Minniecon's pace will be able to make a difference against what I would imagine is a lesser-athletic division.
A new challenge and one I am sure you will breeze through! A good club to start off at imo and a country I'd love to give a go myself one day. A lot of early change but a chance for Drago to really stamp his mark on the team and build for next season when it really starts for him. Good luck!

I was left stunned in the days following my departure from my mandatory quarantine, with the chairperson informing me that he was planning to depart the club. The man who’d brought me to the club was now leaving: what did that mean for me!? If rumours were to be believed, one of the consortiums interested in taking over was going to look to replace me, whilst the other was happy to give me a chance.

In one sense: I wasn’t too worried. It’d cost the club over €70,000 in compensation to terminate my contract, and if they wanted to go down that road: at least I’d have made quite a bit of money in a short space of time!

With that being said, I didn’t want things to play out that way, as it’d mean I’d have to search and secure a new job, which would [probably] be easier said than done. I've got no body of work that I can show clubs at the moment, I've got no reputation, so the only way that I might be able to secure another job is via a recommendation from someone that I know: much like how I got this job.

Thankfully, it only took a matter of days for the whole thing to play out, with the successful consortium being the one that had said they wouldn’t replace me: happy days! It was a bit of a relief if I'm honest, and I'm glad that it wasn’t a dragged out affair, as that had the potential to de-rail what we were telling all the players and staff. They can go back to focusing on their tasks now, and not have to worry about anything else, and that can only be a good thing. The less distractions that we have: the better.

I've not had an in-depth conversation with Roger Georgieff just yet, but from what we've discussed so far: we’re both on the same page. He wants to change the club culture for next season, which is intriguing to say the least, and I look forward to what we can do for Team Wellington moving forwards.

With our final 3 games just around the corner: it’s time I repay the early faith he's shown in me.

The first thing I’d done upon the takeover being completed had been to ask to participate in an upcoming ‘National C Licence’ course, and thankfully: the new chairperson approved my request. It’s a great opportunity for me to progress as a manager, and I look forward to learning a few new things. I'm pleased to have taken the first steps in the education process, and I’ll be trying to start my ‘National B Licence’ course as soon as I can at the conclusion of this course.

@Jack: It's great to have landed somewhere! There's been a bit of a re-jig in the New Zealand football structure irl, so I'm glad that this editor data pack has it in the former structure, which I'm familiar with. Minniecon's athleticism is definitely a welcomed boost to our arsenal, and we're going to have to find a way to utilize it without being overly reliant on it.

@TheLFCFan: It's great here, and I definitely recommend it as a league worth trying. A nice short league campaign, a few cup comps, and if you do well: continental football too!

Well, its been an interesting two weeks since arriving in New Zealand. A shame to lose the man who bought you to the club but it looks like the new Chairman is going to support you and I'm sure that support will be repaid.
It's not like if the person that brought you couldn't change their mind as well. At the end, what matter are the results you get
Not a day of peace for Drago :)) A huge relief no doubt that he wasn't immediately put on the dole again! It's sad that the chairperson who hired you in the first instance has depart but a good indication and show of faith from the new owners to not only let you carry on but to also fund your progression, it is mutually beneficial anyway.

In the days leading up to my first game in charge of the club, I felt a sense of restlessness and a bit of self-doubt too. What if I’d made a horrible mistake, and was wasting the time and money of Team Wellington? Would my plans work? Could the players adapt to the way that I'm looking for us to play? I spent too much time focusing on the negative things that by the time we had to head to the airport: I was a complete wreck.

I messaged my family in the ‘group chat’ that we have on Facebook Messenger, and their positivity meant that by the time I walked into the terminal: I was composed, and ready to do the job I was being paid to do.

The flight from Wellington to Hamilton takes a little over an hour, and we used the flight to give the lads their game instructions [personal and team] so that everyone was aware of what was expected of them. Whilst I understand that we’re only a semi-professional club, there are lads here that are trying to get to the professional level, and if they want to get there: they need to be ready. It’s why we’ve tightened things up around the place, and so far, it’s been quite well received by the playing group.

Below is the current league table, and to be honest: it’s not pretty viewing for Team Wellington supporters.

We showed up to Porritt Stadium ready to get our season back on track, and from what I saw early on: we were doing well. I was pleased with the ball movement I saw from the lads, and how we were able to create problems for the Hamilton Wanderers defenders, though I was quite concerned with what I saw from our two strikers. Thankfully, both of them are just short-term fixes until the end of the season, when I’ll be able to go out and strengthen the team to a level I feel we can begin to compete for the top-2 next season.

Our plans were thrown into turmoil after 20-minutes when Tahj Minniecon went off with what turned out to be a very minor injury, and things got even worse when Tommy Semmy opened the scoring for our host with a well-placed finish with 31-minutes on the clock. We held on until half-time, which was good, though there were a few iffy moments in the final few sections of it. We weren't playing badly: we just weren't playing smart either. It seemed like our mistakes were helping carve out the opportunities for our host, and if we could tighten that up: we’d be okay. With that being said, there was no wiggle room for me to bring a ‘gamechanger’ off the bench, so it meant that we’d have to just keep hammering away, and hope we could break through.

The second-half was somewhat similar to the first-half to be honest. We weren't outplayed: we just lacked quality. A goal from Owen Comber with 78-minutes gone effectively killed the game off, with the 181 fans in attendance letting us know just how little quality was within our ranks. A late consolation goal from Finn O’Connor in stoppage-time was a bright spot at least, but realistically: we deserved nothing from this game.

We didn’t hang around in Hamilton after the full-time whistle, with the club having organized our return flight home for later that night. It made sense for them to have done it, though I told the lads that if they wanted to stay the night: they could. It’d just mean they'd organize their own travel home, and have to keep themselves out of trouble, with it being a move that I felt helped me earn some respect from them.

A few lads stayed behind, whilst the rest of us returned home to Wellington, with my mind already ticking over as to how we could pick up some points against Hawke’s Bay and Eastern Suburbs.

@TheLFCFan: It was something I've never had happen on FM before! To lose the chairman that brought you to the club, so soon after arriving... you lose that 'security' that you might've had and the leeway he might've given you.

@Tango: It's absolutely crucial that Drago can get off to a strong start, because if he doesn't: peoples patience will evaporate quite quickly.

@Jack: To be fair, a €70,000 compensation payout for a 2 week stint in quarantine would've been quite wonderful in a financial sense for Drago! With that being said, it's great that the new board have kept him around, and even if they do move him on in the future: at least he was able to secure a coaching licence first.

Natural to have those negative thoughts so close to a first game so no surprise they hit Drago. Not the result he would have wanted to kick off his time at Wellington but not a terrible result against a team already in the playoffs.
Nice balance between the teams, almost no gaps except for the cliff separating the 3 football clubs from the other 5 whatever they are
A tough entry into the world of football manager, with Drago's mentality possibly rubbing off on the players. Hopefully with his first out of the way, Drago can focus more positively on his next fixture.

I worked the lads hard during the week in the lead-up to our next fixture, which would be at home against Hawke’s Bay, and it was all about telling the lads how I wanted to convert our possession to carving out attacking opportunities. It’s all well and good to have a majority of the possession, but if you're not doing anything with it in the final-third: you’re wasting everyone’s time.

With that being said, I was pleased with what I saw being done on the training pitch, and I feel confident that the lads will give our supporters something to cheer about.

In what was a great show of faith from our fans, we sold 461 tickets [57 away] for the game, and some fans were still taking their seats when Tahj Minniecon opened the scoring after 24-seconds. It was a well-weighted through-ball that he’d chased down, with him slamming the ball into the roof of the net. From that moment on, the Hawke’s Bay heads dropped, and we continued to pepper their goal.

It was quite an easy team talk today, with Che and I just telling the lads to be a bit more clinical. We didn’t want our wastefulness to come back to haunt us, and it’s something we need to fix up as soon as possible.

The lads took our messages, and executed them to perfection, with central-defender George Stanger heading home from a Michael McGlinchey with 53-minutes gone, and Tahj Minniecon scoring again just 5-minutes later. We were in cruise control by this stage, and a lot of the fans were whispering “where has this been all season!?” to one another in the stands. The lads were cheered off at full-time, and rightly so!

It was a fast start that secured us a strong win in our final league game of the season, with a superb freekick after just 9-minutes from Michael McGlinchey opening the scoring, before a fantastic through ball from Thomas Drillien allowed Tahj Minniecon to go one-on-one with the opposition goalkeeper. Eastern Suburbs are a good side, and they caused us a few issues, but thankfully: we held them at bay.

We spent the majority of the half-time interval building confidence in the lads, whilst reminding them of their roles and responsibilities, and the lads went out in the second-half prepared to get the 3-points. Thankfully, the second-half was a bit of a ‘non-event’ if I'm honest, and the full-time whistle sounded without much action having taken place.

This win secured our place in the post-season playoff series, and although our record compared to the 3 teams above us is quite abysmal: we’ll give it our best shot. If we perform as well as we have in the past 2 games: we might be able to nice an unlikely win.

Below is the final league table of the season, and I'm pleased to have been able to secure a place for the club in the upcoming playoff series. Whilst I'm under no illusion that we’re going to be able to win it, there's always that small chance that you can pinch a result during knockout games. It’ll also be a good chance to see how certain lads cope with the pressure that comes via big games, with some of them being on their ‘last chance’ already.

We’re not a club that will settle for less: we want to be the best.

@TheLFCFan: It wasn't an ideal way to kick things off at the club, but at the end of the day: we weren't battered either. This new group of players have shown they're capable of playing some good football, so that was pleasing to see at least!

@Tango: The top-3 have run away with the league, so it was interesting to see who won the league tbh. Who would win the league, and who could sneak into the playoffs: there was plenty of intrigue league-wide!

@Jack: I think it's fair to assume that the lads picked up on Drago's nervousness, though there was the added hiccup of it being an entirely new team too. With that being said, it wasn't a bad loss against a team much higher on the table, so we could take a 'moral' victory of sorts if we want to. With that being said: I'd have preferred to win the 3-points!

I'm positive that Team Wellington has a lot of potential with Drago on command. That being said, for this season you've hit the roof

There was nearly a month between our final league fixture and our semi-final against Hamilton Wanderers, and to be honest: that tipped things in our favour. All the pressure was on them, and having won the minor premiership: it was only right that it was! They finished 19-points ahead of us on the table, score 19 more goals, and conceded 12 less. It’s safe to say that Hamilton Wanderers are an extremely impressive side, but by having so much time to prepare: we were able to concoct a plan that we felt would give us the best chance of success.

It was a 2-hour bus ride for us from Wellington to Memorial Park in Palmerston North, and we made the trip around midday so that we’d have plenty of time before kick-off to loosen up and prepare ourselves. I felt we made the right move by doing things this way, and we tried to keep the mood as jovial as possible.

You could see the lads were itching to get started as they walked out onto the pitch, and there was an air of excitement as the opening whistle was blown. In what was an amazing showing from our fans, they travelled in great numbers to support us, though they were probably nervous when Derek Tieku opened the scoring with just 7-minutes on the clock. It was a poor goal to concede, though our despair was only-short-lived: we equalized just 4-minutes later. It was end-to-end stuff, and I told the lads to calm down: we weren't in a rush! Eventually, the game found a rhythm of sorts, as the excitement ‘died off’ a bit towards the end of the first-half.

As I talked to the lads during the interval, I could see the determination in their eyes. I didn’t need to remind them of their responsibilities: I needed to ignite the fire.

We took control of the second-half early on, and we took the lead with 60-minutes gone: Michael McGlinchey placing his penalty into the bottom-right corner. We tried to tighten things up, and we did just that, but in a freak moment of misfortune for us: Xavier Pratt equalized for his side with 76-minutes played. It was a bit of a kick in the guts, but there was no time to feel sorry for ourselves: we had to keep fighting. The full-time whistle blew not long after, and we had to regroup so that we could find a result in extra-time.

You only have to look at the match stats to see how dominant we were in this match, and I felt a sense of relief when Tahj Minniecon scored with 104-minutes played, and by scoring just before half-time in the first-half of extra-time: we sucked the life out of our opponent. Hamilton Wanderers did their best to equalize again, but to no avail, and when the full-time whistle went: I felt a surge of adrenaline. We’d done it!

It was such an awesome experience that we had in Palmerston North, and it’s something that I’ll never forget. We’ve already begun to show progress, which is great to see, and I'm growing confident that with some strong signings: we can take control of the league next season. We’re already in talks with a number of Kiwi lads that are currently based abroad, whilst I'm also looking to bring in a few foreign lads to complement them. Despite wanting to bring in Oceanic players where possible, that’s proving easier said than done, so we’re going to play that situation by ear.

We’ll now play Auckland City in the final next week, with it to be played at Porritt Stadium. It’s going to be a big test for us, as Auckland City are a professional side, that have enjoyed tremendous success over the years. But, it’s another one-off game, and based off tonight: anything is possible.

@Tango: There was way too much of a gap for us to have a chance of climbing up the table, but with some strong recruitment in the off-season: anything is possible. There's a lot of work to do, but Drago is ready to hit the 'reset' button on this club, in order for it to put it in the best possible position to be successful.
I don't even care about the football at this point: these updates are just so well formatted, and I really like the inclusion of these photographs too.
Incredible result. Seemed like the month off was exactly what was needed for Drago to formulate the perfect plan. The team then did a great job executing. Great stuff!

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