Alan had just gotten home from the polite and obligatory dinner with the players and staff of both SC Goa and Mes Kerman from Iran. It was still two days until Alan had his continental cup debut. SC Goa had qualified for the AFC Cup, which was the Asian equivalent of the Europa League, when they had won the Fed Cup last September. Alan had no idea what kind of team they were meeting as the scouting department couldn’t afford to go and have a look at their coming opponents in Iran. They had tried to get as much information from the Mes Kerman website, but Alan’s arabic weren’t up to scratch and Google Translate wasn’t providing much help either.
The team had prepared to play their own style of play. Alan had decided that the conventional 4-2-3-1 with short, quick passing would suit the players very well. This had left SC Goa flirting with the number 1 spot on several occasions and had found a nice meridian in 3rd. Football was great and a lot of the players were really starting to shine. “The Indian Gareth Bale” as Alan Thompson had dubbed Sushil Kumar Singh, which led to the nickname Gareth, after he once again had a match where he had run the opponent’s right back ragged, was the star of the team. He had the most assists of any in the team and supplied a goal when needed. The youngsters Alan had brought in from the start of the season Venkatesh Afonso and Sabeeth were proving themselves to be worth the gamble.
Alan still wasn’t comfortable in India, his stomach had finally grown accustomed to the Indian cuisine, but he still didn’t like it there. The heat was too much for Alan at times and he was ever thankful that both his home and his office had air conditioning. The practice field didn’t though and Alan was panting and sweating as much as the players when the training was over, despite the fact that Alan stood still most of the time. Another thing that annoyed Alan was the obedience the players had. He didn’t mind that the players did as they were told, but it seemed to Alan that the players hardly dares speak to him and would never reply to his banter. Alan liked to distance himself a bit from the players, but this was ridiculous. This tension loosened a bit when Alan had ended last wednesday’s training with the words “Right guys, I know it’s been a long time since out last match” It had been a month “Next week will be hugely important to us as we will get our first chance to play European football” The team started to snigger, Alan looked puzzled, when Samir Naik, the Captain, spoke up. “Boss, we are in Asia”
It was more relief than grief when Alan was standing at the security desk in the airport. He was going home on holiday to see his mother for the first time since he moved to India. Alan had been there for a year and a half now and life wasn’t getting much easier on him. Alan felt that the only thing that was different about him from when he left was that he now spoke Hindi fluently and that he was a shade or two darker in the skin tone. Alan retold the story of his season in his mind as he was sure some of his old mates would be asking about it. Alan assumed that the Indian Premier League hadn’t reached the back page of the Sun, just yet.
Alan had won 2 Manager of the Month awards as he had brought SC Goa to overperform by quite a margin. SC Goa was tipped as be mid table finisher who should be looking down instead of up, but this all changed as Alan set about changing the mentality of the club. Alan had insisted on healthier living by all the players and had hired a nutritionist to help every single player live as healthy as possible. Alan had also introduced rigorous fitness training to help players be able to run throughout an entire game. The short passing had been accepted by all players and now long balls were only used to get defenders to back of a bit as a midfielder would punt the ball towards the corner flag with a winger chasing it down. Alan was quite pleased with how his tactics worked and it had led to some great results.
“Sorry sir, I need to see your passport” The woman at the security desk said. “Sir?” She went on more aggressively. Alan had stood there looking blankly into the distance and finally produced his passport from his inner pocket. The female security officer took the passport with a bit of indignation as if Alan had ruined her day when she had to wait 10 seconds for him to show his passport. Her demeanor changed quickly and she smiled and said: “Have a nice flight mr. Tomlinson”. Alan shook his head as he went back to his thoughts.
SC Goa achieved a well earned second place in the Indian Premier League just behind East Bengal but the season had been over for a few weeks, as the points margin had been quite high, so there was no real excitement in the end. Despite the good result in the league Alan couldn’t name a single match as memorable. Alan was convinced that the fans would remember several of the results, but all the games was blurred into one for him. A few weeks ago Alan had gone through his old match reports and found out that he had forgotten about 50% of the games, most of the games came back to him, but some of the home games were completely lost. It had really been a hard season mentally for Alan.
Alan had now boarded his BA flight to London Heathrow, he sat down in his seat and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Alan looked out of the window and considered if this was the last that he would ever see of India as a football manager.
Alan was standing on a bridge overlooking Gamla Stan in Stockholm. He couldn’t quite believe it had been 3 years since he left India to move to the United States. Alan had had 2 seasons in charge of SC Goa, winning 2 Federation Cups and 1 League title. Alan had been named Manager of the Year in his last season. All of this had garnished a bit of attention. He was interviewed for a spot on the BBC (Yes, he was on telly in England), the Sun had made a small mention of him when SC Goa won the league. His reputation was increasing.
It was mid july 2015 when he got a phone call from a foreign number, he had no idea who it was, but figured it might just be another agent phoning him about a player, but that usually wasn’t from a +1 telephone number. The guy on the other end had a broad American accent, they spoke for about 10 minutes and 2 phone calls and a taxi ride later Alan was en route to San Jose for a job interview with an MLS club.
A few weeks later Alan was presented in front of live news coverage as the new San Jose Earthquakes manager with a scarf held over his head. Alan had to get accustomed to a whole new way of organising a football league and had a hard time wrapping his head around drafts, designated players and playoffs. Alan had a talented side and joined up with a former Tottenham Hotspur hero of his. Heurelho Gomes, who was the Earthquakes’ designated player. He also had the 35 year old Florent Malouda at his disposal. He drafted a few very talented players as he traded off Malouda for a few draft picks and then signed Andreas Ohneiser, whom he knew from his Athlone days. Alan hadn’t thought much about him since leaving the States, last he had heard he was playing in the 2nd Bundesliga.
Life in America suited Alan well, but something still nagged him. He saw a shrink to help him understand why he was so forgetful, so inactive and generally so down. Alan was then diagnosed with depression and was given some “happy pills” with a name that was harder to pronounce than some of the Hindi players Alan had come across.
Alan walked up the bridge that goes through the gate in the Parliament and entered Gamla Stan. He surveyed the are and stood at the edge of the road looking down at the rushing waters coming through yet another bridge. He looked up at the Royal Palace and decided that Stockholm in the Autumn must be one of the most beautiful sights on the planet. He continued his thoughts.
It all ended badly as Alan struggled to get points in the Western conference. He had been there a mere 190 days when the chairman had phoned him up and said that Alan hadn’t lived up to his reputation and that they were letting him go. This rejection had caused some problems and it had taken Alan a few weeks and a lot of therapy to get over this. It was on his way to therapy that his agent called and said he had just spoken with some very nice people from Columbia. Alan made a joke about cocaine which didn’t go down well. A week later Alan was announced as the new head coach of the Columbian National team.
“We want you to challenge for a spot in the World Cup” was the message from the chairman, the media and the fans when Alan took over Columbia. And so he did in the last game of the South American qualifiers everything worked out and Columbia avoided the playoff and qualified for the World Cup. The following summer led to 3 losses in the group stages to England, Italy and South Korea and Alan was promptly sacked.
It took his Agent a couple of months to find him a new job. Alan was as happy as he had ever been when he moved back to London. His savings account saw to it that he lived in a nice hotel in Central London and he even had the chance of catching a few Spurs games. He had been noticed by Sky Sports, which started speculations of whether Alan was a new addition to the staff. Had Daniel Levy asked if he wanted a role in the team Alan would have accepted immediately even if it meant that he would have to pay to work there. However here he was a new chapter in his life, this time unfolding in the Swedish Capital. Only a few hours earlier he had been revealed as the new manager for the semi-professional Hammarby IF.
This time lapse have been a product of getting too far ahead with my save. I will answer any questions if you want anything clarified.