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I am a Special One.

From humiliation to honour - The diary of a disgraced footballer.
Started on 18 June 2012 by The Blue Basterd
Latest Reply on 19 June 2012 by The Blue Basterd
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30th July 2011

Things have been looking up for us for some time now. Fresh off a friendly win against Manchester City, the confidence in the club is higher than it has been for a long time, and there is a tangible belief floating in the air that this might just be the season we return where we belong: the Premiership.

As expected, Paul Pogba has completed his loan move from Manchester United. While I do not think he can displace Chris Cohen as my primary playmaker, he certainly offers an interesting alternative when we come across weaker teams. I am also looking to sign at least one central defender on loan, my current target being Nyron Nosworthy from Sunderland. I have also persuaded the board to look for Feeder club options, so as to sign players coming out from a successful youth system.

Also, the draw for the League Cup First Round has just been completed, giving us a relatively easy match against Sheffield Wednesday, who are playing a division below us. Although they are dangerous opponents, I would think, that with our current form, we should be able to progress quite easily to the next round.

Today’s match is again at home, as we face off against Arsenal Reserves. This being our final pre-season fixture, I intend to take a final look at all the players at my disposal before our season opener against Pompey next week, so I have decided to play a slightly second-string side.

http://i47.tinypic.com/31526qe.png

The match starts evenly. Neither side impose themselves on the game. Arsenal Reserves however take the initiative several times. This eventually leads to them being awarded a penalty after a foul by Tonetto, which is promptly put in to send Arsenal Reserves ahead. From then on, they constantly attack, forcing several saves from Camp, who has been one of the unheralded heroes of our good form. But going into the break, our overall performance in the first half was disappointing, and I have no qualms in telling the players what I felt.

The second half follows a similar pattern to the first. 20 minutes in, I make several substitutions, bringing on Gunter for the disappointing Tonetto, Ben Idir for Boateng, Majewski for Findley and Greening for Reid, and I switch to a more attacking formation.

For the second match in a row, the flurry of changes in the second half immediately brings about a change in the way the match was flowing, and against the run of play, Ben Idir knocks in the equalizer from Majewski’s corner to make it 1-1. A few minutes later, we almost have the lead but for Arsenal Reserves’ heroic defense. As the match ends, we feel a slight sense of injustice, but a draw was probably fair given our poor play in the first 60 minutes.

http://i48.tinypic.com/ny7l8j.png

As pre-season comes to a close, I am quite happy with the team. We have had some fantastic results, the highlight being the upset against a full-strength Manchester City. The absence of Chris Cohen and Ishmael Miller will undoubtedly make it more difficult for us, but I have confidence in this team to step up when necessary.

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