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Peter Packett's Potters

Started on 15 August 2012 by Rex_Wrex_Wrecks
Latest Reply on 25 August 2012 by Glenn T
  • POSTS35
  • VIEWS26191

Chapter 6 - A Press Conference and a Team Meeting

(EPL) Stoke City 1 - 1 Aston Villa
Bressan (16)
K Jones (50)

Summary: Stoke City were considered favourites in this match, due to their home advantage, but they couldn't make it count. Agbonlahor was too quick down the right flank and crossed well for Bressan to finish. At HT, Packett minced no words. He was aware that he did not have the confidence of the team yet, but he told them in no uncertain terms that he expected a much better show after the break. Kenwyne Jones responded within 5 minutes of the restart with a clinical finish, but after that, the match became more open. Villa were dangerous on the counter, and Packett was left thanking his luck once again at the signing of Craig Gordon.

(EPL) Stoke City 1 - 0 Man Utd
S Tshabalala (41)

Summary: Picture this, if you will. A team full of monstrosities in red charge up and down the pitch, threatening to destroy my goal and my goalkeeper. There are almost 20 players in my half, when Craig Gordon receives the ball from a defender. Shared shitless (just kidding, he wasn't scared...he was, in fact, TOTALLY AWESOME!), he kicks the ball up the field as hard as possible. Tshabalala is free of the last defender, takes a deep breath and shoots to de Gea's left. No chance for de Gea. STOKE TAKE THE LEAD! Since my defence was doing well, I asked them to continue counter-attacking for a while. We got lucky, they hit the post once. And another time, Vidic's goal was ruled offside, correctly. For the last few minutes, I did this:

Post-Match Press Conference

During the last few minutes of the game, Packett could barely control himself. He waited anxiously for the referee to blow the whistle. Stoke were leading 1-0 against a strong Man Utd side. Finally, the referee blew the whistle and the crowd erupted into a wall of sound.

On his way to the dressing room, Packett had a mic shoved in his face.

"Mr Packett! What did you make of the match?"

"I'm chuffed! That was a magnificent victory for us. Our defence was just brilliant!"

"What do you think about the goal Man Utd had ruled out for offside? Sir Alex Ferguson thinks the referee got that wrong."

"Well, he can suck my ..." Peter muttered.

"I'm sorry, sir? I coudln't hear that clearly."

"Oh, I said it was straight as a stick, that decision. The ref got it right. It was offside. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to meet my players."

The mood in the dressing room was festive. Packett walked in to find most of the players in good spirits. Many of them were even smiling at him.

Maybe, he thought, the time has finally come for a team meeting.

The Team Meeting...

The next day, before the start of training, Packett called the players into the dressing room. He was slightly nervous. The next two games were tough away fixtures at White Hart Lane (Spurs) and Sports Direct Arena (Newcastle). This would be a good time to raise morale, if possible. Also, at the moment, after having beaten Manchester United, Stoke were up in 2nd position in the table.

"Lads, we've been doing really well so far," Peter put it across simply, "and I'm really happy at our league position. Keep it up."

He surveyed the faces to try and gauge their reaction. Most players seemed to take this in a positive way, but he couldn't discern the expression on the faces of a couple others.

"Does anyone want to add something?"

"Well," NIgel Reo-Coker hesitated, "to be honest, boss, I think we can do better."

This took Packett by surprise.

"I sorta agree with Nigel," Jonathan Walters muttered.

"Ok," Packett said, "anyone else have an opinion?"

"Everyone's focused and playing well," David Albelda said, "it's a good time to be at Stoke!"

His words of encouragement seemed to uplift the mood once again.

"Well," Peter said, "I suppose that's the reaction I was after!"

The players went out onto the pitch, most of them in a better mental state than when they had walked in.

...and how it affected Match Results

(EPL) Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 0 Stoke City
R Van Der Vaart (25)

Summary: A match completely dominated by Spurs with 68% possession. Though we were trying to break on the counter, Crouch was wasteful and we couldn't find a goal. Our defence was pretty good, though, Gordon making 6 saves and Huth winning all 9 headers he contested for. Cameron Jerome, who has been playing the part of super-sub, couldn't do much in the 18 minutes he was given as Spurs had an organised defence too, unfortunately.

(EPL) Newcastle 2 - 0 Stoke City
Xisco (16, 47)

Summary: Xisco had good movement and they put in some nice crosses for him. We had slightly better possession in this game (41% compared to 32% in the previous game), but again our attack failed miserably. In fact, Newcastle's defence all got ratings of above 7.1. In comparison, my defence switched off and no one got a rating above 6.5, which is disappointing. Tshabalala had a shocking game (5.4)

Player of the Month
For providing the match-winning assist in the match against Man Utd, and for keeping the score from getting embarrassing against Spurs, Craig Gordon is the player of the month.

Next Month Preview

Only 3 matches next month:
QPR (H) -- We host QPR who knocked us out of the Carling One Cup.
West Ham (A) -- Ought to pick up a win on the road here. They're currently in 17th place.
Reading (A) -- In 13th place at the moment, but currently undefeated at home, so this will be a challenge.

Chapter 7 - Going downhill

After two away defeats on the trot, Peter began to worry. The next game was QPR at home, the very same QPR that had knocked them out of the Capital One Cup and were currently flying high in 7th position, just behind us on goal-difference. It would be a tricky match, but a victory at home would go a long way to building some confidence in the squad.

The next two games would be West Ham away and Reading away. West Ham sounded like they would be easier prey, but Reading were undefeated in 4 games played at home so far.

(EPL) Stoke City 0 - 0 QPR

Summary: In a gritty match, neither team could find the back of the net. Stoke had 4 shots on target to QPR's 1, but Robert Green was up to the task, taking a match rating of 7.2. But the real defensive lynch-pin was Clint Hill, who was MOTM with a rating of 7.4. Our strikers were hapless again, with John Guidetti underperforming again (6.1)

* * *

After the game, Packett re-evaluated his away tactics, wondering if perhaps he should use his scout's reports more often. With this in mind, he read with greater interest his scout's report on West Ham and decided to man-mark their most probably attacking threats. John Mensah would play in defence instead of Robert Huth. Shawcross would play as stopper instead of covering defender. With a few tweaks, Packett had settled his tactics, and he hoped that things would work out. He also decided to send John Guidetti to the reserves team to regain his form and confidence.

The next morning, the team departed for The Boleyn Ground, hopeful of getting an elusive away victory.

(EPL) West Ham 4 - 1 Stoke City
F Camus (16)
R Vaz Te (34)
J Collison (50)
M Noble (61)
R Shawcross (72)

Summary:West Ham scored all 4 goals against the run of play. We had more possession (58%), but they countered quickly and ruthlessly, had more shots and were highly clinical, 9 of their 13 shots being on target. The gamble with John Mensah did not pay off (5.9 rating and a yellow card). At HT when the team walked into the room trailing 2-0, Packett yelled aggressively at them to pull up their socks. Unfortunately, Mensah was one of two players who became too nervous and dispirited due to this uncommon aggression from the manager. Shawcross' consolation goal did little to improve Packett's mood. At this rate, he had a feeling that the vultures were circling above, ready to pounce for his star player.

* * *

After the game, Packett surveyed his players in the dressing room. The players had tried their best, and were certainly not deserving of a 4-1 thrashing. Many hung their heads and avoided eye-contact with the manager. He knew he oughtn't be too hard on them.

"It's all right, boys," he said calmly, "we were unlucky today. We had more possession and we passed the ball around quite well. They hit us on the break, and we'll learn from this and recover, yeah?"

Most of the players responded well, nodding in agreement.

Chapter 7.1 - The Problems Compound

At training the next morning, Peter received some good news. Jermaine Pennant was back in full training after being out for 4 months due to a broken foot.

Packett stood alongside his coaching staff and watched Pennant going through the drills. First, they put Pennant through the obstacle course. Then he did some passing/crossing drills and dribbling drills. As Packett watched his best winger train, a few unwelcome thoughts entered his head. He looked at his coaches and saw reflected on their faces the same thoughts that were currently nestling unwelcome in his head.

Jermaine Pennant's injury had taken a toll on him, and at 28 years of age, it wasn't likely that he would return to the same level he was at before the injury.

After watching for a little more time, Packett decided to go back to his room. The Pennant situation required some thinking.

As he entered the room, he found young striker John Guidetti waiting for him.

"Yes?" Peter asked, taking a seat.

"Boss," he said assertively, "I'm unhappy that you've put me in the reserves team."

"Well," Peter returned calmly, "you've not been performing up to the required standards lately. I think you'll gain some confidence playing with the reserves. Put in some good performances for them and I'll bring you back up."

"I am a quality player and I shouldn't be challenged in this way," he responded.

Peter levelled his gaze and said coolly, "Boy, I'm your manager, and you'll do as you're told."

"Well!" John exclaimed, "if you're my manager, you should make sure I'm not unhappy!"

Packett stood up abruptly. "Boy, I am tired of listening to this. Get out of my office and get back to training!"

"Fine! But you've mistreated me and I just can't work with you anymore!" and with these words, Guidetti stormed out of the room.

Peter found himself quivering slightly with rage. Suddenly, as if exhausted, he fell back in his chair and closed his eyes. In the last 8 games, Stoke had won just 1 and lost 5. He knew that a lot depended on the next match, and he knew it wouldn't be easy. Reading were doing better than expectations and apart from their last match and they had lost only 1 out of 5 games played at home. He wondered if management was meant to be this difficult.

* * *

Over the next few days, discontent began to grow in the ranks. First Asmir Begovic and Nigel Reo-coker had spoken in private to Packett, voicing their frustrations at a lack of chances in the first team. Packett promised them both that they would get some chances over the next two games. Begovic, in particular, was one he didn't want to lose.

* * *

(EPL) Reading 1 - 1 Stoke City
P Pogrebnyak (pen 6)
K Jones (72)

Summary: Ryan Shotton gave away a penalty within the first 5 minutes and Pogrebnyak didn't miss from the spot. After going behind so early in the game, the teeam lost focus and began to play very poorly. We were lucky to come in without conceding any more goals. After the break, though, the team went back out with a renewed sense of purpose. We started breaking better and creating more chances. Jones scored a beautiful long-range effort on 72' and with the improved performance, Packett was encouraged to push his players forward to attack to look for the winning goal. Unfortunately, though Jones had a good chance, he fluffed it just wide.

* * *

The next morning, Paul Winsper walked into Packett's room.

"Peter," he said urgently, "I think you should hold another team meeting. Morale in the dressing room seems to be pretty low right now."

Peter agreed with his fitness coach and went with him immediately into the dressing room. Gathering his players, he chose his words carefully.

"All right, lads. I know we've not been playing too well lately. But I'm keen to ensure that we hold our heads up high and try to regain our early season form. What do you say?"

Captain Ryan Shawcross was the first to speak up, "I agree, boss. We've not been playing well at all over the last few games."

"I agree with Ryan," Robert Huth said, and several players nodded in agreement.

Experienced defensive midfielder David Albelda had the last word, "We really need to buck up!"

"Great!" Peter exclaimed, "that's exactly the reaction I was looking for!"

League Table

I realised I forgot to post this, so here's the league table and a history of our past positions.

Player of the Month
No one really played well, but Huth showed me why I should have picked him in the game against West Ham. He began the season weakly, but he seems to be coming around now.

Next Month Preview

Wigan (H) - Must press for a victory to get the season back on track.
Southampton (A) - Currently in 17th place, but so were West Ham and they beat me 4-1
West Brom (A) - Currently 15th, but yet again, shouldn't take them for granted
Liverpool (H) - A draw would be a good result here ... they've been doing very well in the league.
Arsenal (H) - Again, I'd love a draw. Well, let's see
Well done with the story, not so well done with your results.
#64285 Glenn T : Well done with the story, not so well done with your results.
Yeah, results are pretty bad. I think the next few updates will be about how Packett deals with the problems. He MAY get fired. If that happens, I'll continue the story anyway.
Wait, may get fired? What?

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