As Jock McGhee walked in to the room, wearing his brand new white and purple tracksuit he’d bought from a discount store on the way to the training ground, the players all looked up, excited and nervous.
‘I’m sure none of yous know me, but lemme tell yer jus who the hell I am. Jocks the name, and sorting you lot out is the game!’
Silence from the team as they were sat, bewildered at their new manager as he pulled out a flip board and started drawing.
‘4-4-2, nothing fancy, we’ll be using that big fella over there as the target man and someone else feeding off of him as a poacher up top, box to box runners in the middle, 2 wide men getting the ball into the big man, and a flat back 4 that stays back and defends only. Any questions?’
Before anyone could answer he carried on ‘We’re going to go out and attack every game as if we’re trying to win it, no faffing around trying to defend deep and hold on for a draw, none of that bollocks, every game is there for the taking, no excuses, if we lose we go down fighting. I want 100% from you every game. I am here for 1 reason and that reason is keep you lot in the league’
‘You’ll have to work on that you know’ Craig Anderson, Jock’s best friend said
‘Work on what?’
‘Your Danish. They’re all from Denmark, and they all speak Danish you daft twat!’
‘Oh, I thought they spoke English here?’
Craig just rolled his eyes and shook his head.
As the 2 were talking between themselves, Rene Zedler, the clubs assistant manager stood up and walked over to the pair
‘We do speak English, by the way’
‘See. Perfect. Right, so you know what I want? 4-4-2?’
‘Yes of course’ Rene replied.
With that Rene took the squad out to the training pitches for Jocks first training session as a football manager. After that initial training session, Jock didn’t really do or say much other than observe and give the occasional instruction to Rene, but the team worked on positions and a 4-4-2 set up, the team left for the day and in the afternoon it was officially announced that unknown Scottish manager Jock McGhee had taken over at Skovshoved
The press release actually said he was on a month to month contract, the same as most of the players. But in actuality, Jock had negotiated a modest wage of 75 Euro from the clubs chairman, in addition to his rent free accommodation. Some of the locals had gathered at Skovshoved Idraetspark, the clubs moderately sized 1,200 capacity stadium, and assumed that Skovshoved were desperate, very desperate to hire an unknown manager. Not just any unknown, some unknown manager from Motherwell in Scotland, a place many Danish people probably can’t pinpoint on a map. Not that Skovshoved or the league they played in was full of world class players, or attracted the best of the best, no, they were desperate, depending on which person told you or which media outlet you read, because rumor had it the chairman had his hands tied and had no choice but to hire Jock McGhee, or the chairman had offered the job to the first and only person that applied for it. But to Jock, not so much anyone else connected with football or the club, this was the opportunity of a lifetime.
As a failed semi-pro at best footballer, Jock had made the decision to get into coaching before managing. Well, he’d managed his mates 6 a side team for a couple of weeks after failing a number of times to get on the coaching staff at his local and most beloved team Motherwell FC. Not to be deterred, he sought advice from his most trusted aide, his father.
Turns out, his father was what the cool kids call a ‘journeyman’ footballer. Spending a season here, a few seasons there at various clubs in his 17 year pro career, Jock senior’s youth career started at Saint Mirren in Scotland, before heading to the continent and spending time in Iceland, Sweden, Spain, Finland and spending the last 3 seasons of his playing career in Denmark. His father always maintained that he’d failed as a player, and with a crippling gambling addiction he’d not saved any money from his playing days but made ends meet by running a small shop in the Forgewood part of Motherwell. After touching on his fathers playing career, Jock Senior still had contacts in the game, specifically in Denmark, and in the small village of Skovshoved. All it took was the hastily written CV and a private message to the clubs Twitter account, and the resulting phone call came
From that call and up until now, as he stood in the clubs reception area, Jock had been so elated that some poor sod had offered him the job he’d spent all of zero minutes actually researching his new employers, his new team or the league they played in. For all Jock knew, they could be a Premier League team, or a Sunday League reserve side, but the opportunity to travel and do something so dear to his and his fathers heart was nothing to be snuffed at.
During that first morning, Jock had sat with the rest of the staff at Skovshoved and found out a bit more about the team he’d just inherited. An amateur club playing in the 2.division, which is actually Denmark’s third division, this club were expected to be nothing more than relegation fodder, and would do well just to stay in the league, which was the main point highlighted by Jakob ‘Jock, I don’t care how you do it, just keep this team in the league’ he’d repeatedly say to Jock during their time together ‘I will do what I can Mister Chairman’ was always Jocks go to response
Whilst waiting around for his first media appearance as a manager, Jock took it upon himself to look at the media prediction for his new side. After half the season is done, this league splits into 2, and the bottom 7 from each group go into a relegation group, with the bottom 4 going down. No point going over the top end of the leagues rules, Jock thought, I’ll be lucky to get this lot winning a few games if the media prediction of fourth bottom is anything to go by. It’s actually perfect in a way. Why? Who said that? Me, I did. Oh, okay then, anyway there’s no extra pressure to succeed and as long as we don’t go down, things should be be alright. Okay Jock. Cheers.
The club has a small town feel to it with a small stadium compared to the rest of the league, a 6 foot 8 striker by the name of John Frederiksen which is the obvious outlet, well obvious to someone that has endured years of watching route one football at Motherwell, and no real expectations other than to fight bravely against the drop, this seemed the perfect opportunity for someone of Jocks personality and ability, or lack thereof.
Before accepting the job, the one request other than a small wage he had made was that he was to bring his best friend with him in some capacity. The official role is player liaison office, but what the ins and outs of that are no one really knew. Little did Craig know, but this would be the start of a new career in football for him as well. He’d still been an active player in the Lowland Leagues in Scotland, but once Jock had told him ‘Skaggy , pack a suitcase, we’re off on a road trip’ that was that, and here they were in Denmark about to have their first press conference as a managerial team of a football club. Well press conference is a bit generous. Stood in front of them was 1 young fella, around 22 years old at most, with a Dictaphone (a bloody Dictaphone!!) asking the hard hitting questions:
‘Jock, I think I speak for all the Skovshoved supporters when I say, just who in the hell are you?’
Previous chapter – The beginning
Next chapter – Lets get going shall we?
Authors note, some of the players in the story have some faces on their profiles. As a lot of lower league players don’t have pictures I have picked some player faces at random from the facepack and added them to the game.
If you see any player faces you recognise that aren’t the real ones, this is why.