‘I need a job’
‘Well don’t we all’
‘Okay Mister sarcastic, but next time let me finish’
‘I need a job. A specific job. I need a job as a football manager’
‘Haha a football manager, that’s cute’
‘Why? I really do need a job as a manager of a football team’
‘Why though? You graduated uni with a degree in sports psychology’
‘Because dick head, if I don’t get a job as a football manager then the whole narrative is going to be pretty boring’
‘Narrative? What bloody narrative?’
‘Have you seen the title of this story? It’s called This is not another European Journeyman, and if you check the details of the site, it’s a site about lads just like us becoming involved in football management’
‘But I’m a marketing executive, how do I fit into all this?’
‘Well I need to get my name out there somehow don’t I? And what better way to get myself known to people in football than to use a world class marketing guru like you?’
‘Okay, let’s evaluate real quick. You’re 29, a graduate of Brisbane university with a degree in sports psychology. You’ve got zero experience working in a management environment, your playing career consists of local football in Brisbane. You’re not very good on the pitch, you’re even worse off of it and you’re a bit of a knobhead really’
‘Yeah, I can definitely make something of that. But are you expecting to get a job in Australia?’
‘Well not right away no, because of some restrictions to how teams are viewed, there’s only A League sides I could mange, and I’m not getting anywhere near them for a while am I?’
‘Okay, but there’s other teams that are manageable yeah?’
‘Yeah, quite a lot actually, look at this list here, it’s massive ain’t it’
So here I am. A recently graduated student from Uni in Brisbane. A failed footballer, my biggest success was winning 5 games all season in our Sunday League. I was a left back. Literally got a game because I’m left footed, but I’m not actually left footed, I just said I was so I’d get to play. Anyway I think I’ve got a lot to offer a football team. Not to be deterred, I actually send CV and covering letters to teams in Australia. I get laughed at by Wellington Phoenix, stupid New Zealanders anyway, why are they playing in the A League? Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets don’t even waste their time replying to me. I don’t blame them either, I’m a nobody in football. Well not for long!
I need to get myself out there. Being a football manager isn’t easy, if it was then we’d all be doing it wouldn’t we, not just sat playing FM or FIFA. Anyway enough of that for now, I’m sat watching this documentary on football in Asia, of which Australia are part of. Don’t ask, it’s complicated. Anyway this program is about football in Asia, and specifically Steve Kean.
They were talking about Steve and what he’s been up to since leaving Blackburn unceremoniously in September 2012. After watching the whole program and actually starting to feel sorry for Steve Kean I found myself on ESPN’s Asia football page and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued at what I saw. With my ‘optimist hat’ on I’d say I would be a success at any club the world over, however with my ‘realist hat’ on I need a way into football management, and I need a way in soon. According to some reports, the managers job at various Singaporean teams is listed as insecure. There’s loads of other jobs in places like Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Now I don’t like to see anyone lose their job however I’m thinking about 1 man and 1 man only, and that’s me! How any of these clubs would fancy an unknown, failed out of work ex Sunday league footballer I don’t know, but that old saying shy kids get nout rings true here and I’m definitely going to try put my name in the hat for any of these should they become available. My friend Joey, you heard him talking to me earlier, he works in marketing and he popped over, so I’d told him about wanting to get into management but I’m not sure how an Australian manager even gets in touch with football teams in Asia. Without saying a word he somehow managed to declare my interest in a job in Taiwan of all places, and a team called Ming Chuan University. After he’d done that on his laptop, he told me ‘Vin man, it’s not pretty, it’s not glamourous but it’s a start’
I know he must be good at marketing, as the next day I got a call from a guy called Hsu Po-Kai, who spoke pretty good English
‘Vince, Vince Lloyd?
‘Yes, who’s this?
‘My name is Hsu. I am chairman at Ming Chuan University football club’
‘Wow, this is unexpected, I am happy to….’ He cut me off
‘Save the small talk. I need a spark in the team. We need to qualify for Asian Confederations Cup. You tick all my boxes, unknown, unproven and I assume you’re not afraid to ruffle the feathers?’
‘Erm, yeah, I guess that describes me’
We continued the call. He asked some questions. I exaggerated the truth in a lot of my replies. And in the blink of an eye I had just finished my first interview with a football cclub.
I’m sure he had reservations about my experience, or lack thereof, and I tried to ease those fears by saying everyone has to start somewhere, and if somewhere for me is the arse end of Taiwan then so be it. I didn’t actually say it like that, but you get the picture.
By dinner time the next day, Hsu had rang back and had some more questions
‘Vince, I sacked the last manager because he didn’t finish top of the opening stage, and that was not good enough. Tell me why you would be able to finish top of the group in the closing stage?’
I didn’t know what to say to that. I didn’t even realise there was an opening and closing stage. ‘Well, it’s a fresh start for everyone and me coming in with a fresh approach should hopefully get the team into that top spot’ ‘I like it. You seem good enough to me. Vince, I want you to be the manager of our team’
Next episode – The new manager effect
Episode 1 – This is not another European journeyman