‘Well I’m glad you’ve asked. I’ve got a background in football in the great nation of Scotland, Aberdeen wanted me you know, anyway I’ve come here, and with my coaching badges, experience and ideas, Skovshoved are going places’ Jock replied to the young journalist as he embraced his first ever press conference as a manager.
He took a moment and carried on speaking ‘I reckon, looking at the league table, we may not finish top of the league, but a top 2 placed finish certainly isn’t out of the question as an initial aim’
The journalist tried to hide the laughter coming out of his mouth. ‘You do realise that this club finished a point above the relegation places in the relegation group last year, and are joint favorites to go down?’
‘Well bookies are always wrong. We’ll be up there or thereabouts. Thanks for your time young man, I’ve got a team to get ready’
‘Stupid move pal, saying we’ll finish top’ Craig commented as they walked toward the dressing rooms
‘I can live with the risk. We’ve got nout to lose really. The chairman says he’s got someone in to help us out, a director of football will see to the signings and all that, we’ll just manage the team’
It was true that the chairman Jakob Grandahl had already made it clear that he had hired director of football Thomas Christensen to oversee the transfers and contracts side of things, at least this season.
He was concerned at Jocks lack of experience, he’d done his due diligence. He knew Jock hadn’t managed anyone before, but his confidence and overall demeanor impressed him and he really couldn’t say no. Well he could, but as he was in Old Man McGhee’s back pocket from years ago, his hands were tied for the time being. He hoped Jock would keep the team in the league this season, and maybe he’d get offered a new role somewhere else, but there was always the worry of relegation. He’d deal with whatever the season, and Jock threw at him.
‘We’ve got our first league game of the new season tomorrow, and we really need to speak about it’ Edith Hodge, the clubs secretary said as she approached Jock
‘I’ve said we will, I just haven’t got time right now’ Jock replied.
‘You need to know about the rules’
‘I’ve told you, I make my own rules’
‘No, the league rules’
‘Do they play football different in Denmark? 11 start, 7 subs and 3 of them get used, boom’
‘No, as I’ve repeatedly said to you, they take grass roots seriously here in Denmark. You need to have 3 under 21 players on the bench for every game, and I’m sure you’re aware, not many of the current first team are under 21’
Jock considered this for a minute, then replied ‘We’ll sort it pet nee bother’
‘You’re a bit relaxed by this’
‘Aye, I guess I am. How I see it, by the time Brondby or Kopenhagen or whoever else comes calling, this 3 player rule is just something else I can brag about’ and with that they both went in opposite directions.
He’s confident, I’ll give him that Edith thought to herself. She’d seen enough managers in her time as a football secretary. She’d been around enough clubs, but none of the managers she’d ever worked with had whatever it was Jock had. Was it confidence, arrogance or a mixture of both with a bit of anxiety chucked in for good measure? She wasn’t sure. She was sure she’d find out though.
But despite the external demeanor of someone as confident as Jock, inside he was nervous. Not nervous about what he would say or say it to, no, he was nervous that he would fail at Skovshoved. He knew he could charm the pants off anyone, he had the gift of the gab, and really people would agree with him just to shut him up. But he was a long way from home, with a team that don’t know him or his ideas, if he even had any to begin with. From landing in Copenhagen and arriving in Skovshoved, the days had gone pretty quickly, what with the meeting the club staff, finding out where things were, who the players were and so on, and the first day of the new season had arrived, an away tie against Boldklubben Frem.
‘Right gents this is it, the start of a new season. Let me start by saying I’ve only been here a few days and I feel that you don’t know me at all, and I certainly don’t know any of you. I haven’t come here all the way from the great country of Scotland for you lot to blow my first chance in management. We’ve got a decent chance of staying in this league and you’re going to make that happen’ Jock said with his arms outstretched as the team once again, sat there in silence.
With a shake of his head he told them they all knew what to do, and to enjoy the game. As he made his way to the dug out for the first time, Craig pulled Jock over.
‘Well I get you’re trying to make an impact straight away pal, but as you say these boys don’t know you, so may not take too kindly to your first ever team talk in this manner’ he said
‘Hmm, well, I need them to know who’s boss, and what I say goes’ he said looking for agreement from his best friend which didn’t come. Jock felt dejected at a time he should be energetic and excited. He looked down at his notepad at the 11 players he’d selected for his maiden game as manager:
Brylle (GK). Kjaer. Hansen. Iljazovski. Arndal. Skibsted (captain). Frick. Jakobsen. Thomsen. Frederiksen. Karajasevic.
Subs – Sangild (GK). Vincent. Erza. Okore. Elvang. Thyssen. Jorgensen.
Of these players, Okore, Vincent and Jorgensen were the under-21 players he’d pulled from the youth team. He’d made a mental note to keep an eye on the progress of the youth team, and had unofficially named Craig as the under-21 team manager. In reality, Skovshoved didn’t have anyone in the role and it fell under the first team managers responsibilities.
Of the starting 11, Frderiksen stood out from the first minute Jock walked into the club, and in the few training sessions up to this point Frederiksen was the best of a bad bunch. 6 foot 8, clearly the teams best chance of getting something this season, he maybe didn’t realise just how much Jock and Skovshoved would be relying on him and his height.
Jock’s initial assessment of playing a rigid 4-4-2 certainly seemed like the best thing to do. After watching Motherwell teams all his life, and the only real technical football he’d ever witnessed live was the football Celtic, and sometimes Rangers had played during games against Motherwell, Jock had a pretty good handle on how to coach and implement a direct style of play. There wasn’t much quality in the squad he’d inherited, and he thought he was screwed. He thought the first game against Boldklubben Frem was going to be nothing more than a loss in his first game as a manager. The fact the players didn’t seem to like him didn’t ease his worries, but he is committed to making this work, and making the most of it, if only for this first season.
As he walks to his seat in the away dugout, he says to no one in particular ‘Jock, this is it, don’t fuck this up!’
‘Huh, you talking to me Jock? Rene Zedler replies
‘No. Let’s get going shall we?’
Next chapter – You always remember your first
Previous chapter – SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANSKE?
Chapter 1 – The beginning