I'll admit it is probably a tad early to draw conclusions, and probably also far too early to ask the Board for any type of major capital expenditure, but I have lived by the mantra, "If you don't ask, you don't get."
No surprises that the Board rejected - out of hand - my pleas for a stadium expansion. I find it laughable that we are selling out the stadium prior to my arrival, and while I haven't achieved anything concrete with the team yet, it does mean that the gate receipts are somewhat capped until I find a way to change their mind.
I did have a small win however, the Board did agree to find a suitable feeder club overseas to help increase our reputation.
Every little counts, and I hope it isn't the start of a fractious relationship.
Playing Villarreal was always going to be a tough ask for us. A crowd of just shy of 20,000 were cheering the home side on, and for the first fifteen minutes, they had us pinned in our half of the pitch.
Solo brilliance from right winger Faulds gave us belief; after playing the one-two with striker Ramos, he slotted through a banana shot which left the opposition goalie with no hope of stopping it before it hit the back of the net. 0-1 and momentum with Osasuna.
Purely precautionary, but Nicholson was replaced ten minutes before halftime as he had taken a bit of a knock, and I had no desire to risk my star player having to sit out game time injured. He was replaced by Czerwinski.
It wasn’t going to be easy or pretty as the first half drew out to a close, with Villareal defender Llopis picking up a card for blocking the run of Faulds. The resulting restart saw another barnstorming run up the right tramline by Faulds, a pass back to Beck, who saw that Ouattara was open in front of goal. Floated pass, perfect connection and a 0-2 lead.
In the first minute of referee’s time, Halberg was carded for an offside tackle, and in the second minute Tolido headed home a goal from a close in set piece so that we could take into the shed a 0-3 halftime lead.
The score line had made a mockery of how close and intense the half had been. We were grateful to have time to sit and reflect, but more grateful that our defensive line had held, and that we had managed to convert the little half chances into a solid lead.
Upon resumption, the game turned into a spiteful affair, as neither team gave an inch. Villarreal were carded for some trips and tackles and generally sportsmanship which was unbecoming. Faulds, in particular was everywhere around the park, and Wisker was also fantastic in support in the midfield role. In fact it was the Faulds- Wisker axis which gave Osasuna another goal, after Ouattara has managed to run free down the right flank, and pass it to Faulds, who was perfectly positioned to challenge the goalkeeper. Passing the ball back to Wisker, who struck the pile driver home to be up 0-4.
It was soon to be 0-5 as Czerwinski slotted a penalty which was awarded when Faulds was bought down in the box by left defender Debon, and when Llopis was sent from the field for a cynical challenge on Ouattara, it was getting embarrassing for the home side.
Captain Ramos completed the scoring on the hooter after a floated cross from Halberg for the easiest of tap in’s and to record a 0-6 win.
In terms of the score sheet, it looked like a rout, but the reality of it was that the shear brilliance of Faulds was largely to thank for the scoreline, as Villarreal had the possession advantage, so it was more a case of us making the most of the opportunities that we were given.
I am in the last week of September 2021 now, and on track to make my first proper monthly profit (ie without transfer fees involved to artificially boast revenue). Osasuna are leading the La Liga charge on goal difference from Barca, so I am hopeful I am on the right track.
In the backroom staff meeting, it is apparent that many of my "youngsters" are not happy with the heavy training they have been receiving. After the private chats quietened some of them, I have had to concede and develop some "medium" strength regimes for them.
I am also slightly concerned that the technically gifted young striker Fernández has been identified as "injury prone" by the head physio.
Granted, he has been injured for circa 80% of his time with the team, but it is never the best feeling to have fears realised. While we have plenty of cover in the position, the question is now how do I best utilise him, especially given I tied him down to a four year deal.
28 Sep 21
Fauld's banana shot against Villarreal was voted Goal of the Week.
The team of the week included goalie Gorman, defenders Halberg and Tolido, midfielders Faulds and Wisker and striker Ramos.
There seems to be an air of healthy competition for starting positions, and that can only be good for the club!
Left winger Keith O'Keeffe has recovered from his broken jaw after spending four weeks on the sideline. We'll be planning to use him from the bench over the next couple of games so that he can regain some match fitness.
The more things change, the more they stay the same!!
The recoveries of defenders Zakrzewski (sprained ankle) and Günden (twisted ankle) has been tempted by the loss of whizzkid Wisker for three to four months (!!!!) after suffering a torn calf muscle.
I am beginning to think that the sporting gods are conspiring against me, and even more so when I look back at my career with Derby and appreciate how relatively injury free the squad was!
Four players have been selected for Under Nineteen internationals:
Germany: Czerwinski, Bayer and Varol
Holland: De Wit
Double drat!!! My hopes for making a profit during the month of Sept were dashed. Loss of nearly 29K, but a loss nevertheless.
In some weird twist of logic, the Goal's of the Month for September are exactly the same as the Goals of Week from the previous week.
The upside of that is that Fauld's banana shot is voted the top goal.
I do actually believe that I have a financially savvy Board.
Whilst there was a small loss, they believe the club is in a healthy financial state, and they have further been able to negotiate buy outs of some of the sell on clauses. The four buy outs would net another 2.28M, on players who are between 28-30.
With that in mind, I am going to exercise all the buy outs and take the cash.
It is also comforting to know that the monthly loss for the month of September is a result of legacy issues which will be resolved in the next three to four months.
I am in a bit of a quandary now - left defender Beck was unhappy with the heavy training setup.
No problems there, create a "medium" intensity schedule and place him on it.
So what do you do when he is still unhappy? I've told him in no uncertain terms that he needs to step up his training if he wants to be picked in the first team.
My issue is, he has been playing well, has what I would call a reasonable schedule, but yet is still unhappy. His work rate score is 14 at the moment and determination is 15, so I wouldn't have said he is lazy, or is he?
Fred, the Brazilian who played 385 games and scored 200 goals during his playing career has been sacked as Manager of Leicester City, having only been in charge ten months.
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