I was in a good mood heading into July. I’d won 1, lost 1 and drawn 1 of my first 3 games as a manager, and things can only get better, just like that song.
Tainan City had other ideas though. 2-0 to them at half time in my fourth game and once again I tried giving a rousing team talk ‘Sort yourselves out for fuck sake! How does that sound’ I asked the translator ‘Erm, yes very good boss’ was the reply.
It did absolutely nothing though as a third goal in the second half confirmed another defeat.
But whatever the translator told my team before the next game against Tahung Compnay certainly worked, as we held a 2-0 half time lead of our own for the first time. I tried not to over complicate things with my team talk, and we held a 3-0 advantage before letting 1 in with 20 minutes to play, but thankfully we weren’t put under any pressure and saw it out to finish the best performance so far
Not only that, but the team must know that I have made that promise to the chairman as they went out and completely destroyed NTUS 2-0. Now 2-0 doesn’t sound like a battering, but we had dominated them from the first whistle, and this showing made me think we’re actually going to do it, we’re going to win this closing stage
My feeling of winning the league went up another notch as yet again we blew another team away, Fu Jen tried and failed to take points from us, as another 2-0 win saw us make ground toward the top of the league
Then to really give us that feeling of grabbing the league win, we drew 1 all with NSTC and beat Taiwan Power 2-0 to avenge that loss earlier in the season, which meant we went 5 games unbeaten to see out July
We were sat in 4th place on 20 points, 3 points off top of the league and 3 games to go.
We had to play third placed Royal Blues next, then first placed Tainan in our penultimate game, before rounding out the closing stage away at Tatung.
Royal Blues edged out game 1 of the final 3 in a 1-0 win. Both of us had chance after chance, and during this game I thought that my team were really starting to improve, but defensively we’re weak and it showed. Tainan City then put any hopes of a top placed finish out the window in a game they never looked like losing, before we strolled to a 0-0 in our final game of the season with Tatung
So a fourth placed finish in my first season as a manager. Well it wasn’t really a season was it? Oh shut up will ya, it’s still a top 4 finish! Yeah in a league of 8 teams no less! Piss off you.
Anyway, I tried to be positive in my final team talk with the lads before they went off on their break, I just said what I thought, and that was that we’d sign 1 or 2 players and have a much better season. The translator relayed it to the players, I think he did, and off they went. As I made my own way out of the stadium, the chairman called me into his office
‘Well, we didn’t qualify for the Confederations Cup, and I am in the process of writing out your termination letter’
I had to think on my feet. I couldn’t get sacked from my first job. ‘Well if you sack me now, you’ll look like a proper tit won’t you, sacking 2 managers in 1 season’
Haha that did it, that shut him up
‘Well, yes, I would look a bit stupid. But tell me how you failed to achieve the 1 objective set to you?’
‘You and I both know, if I’d have been here from the beginning of the first stage then..’ he cut me off
‘Yes yes that’s fine but why weren’t you available from the start of the first stage?’
‘It’s a bit of a tough one, I was only able to start managing from the end of June, it’s all about the start dates at the beginning’
‘The beginning of what?’
‘Me becoming a manager of course’
Silence again. I swear I can see the cogs turning in his mind ‘Okay. Enough of this. You’ve got 1 minute to tell me why I should keep you on as manager here’
Shit. Not what I was expecting. Well Mister chairman I need a job, if I don’t then the story is going to be pointless and all I’ll be doing is watching the days tick over and time pass by. It’ll be pretty boring and I don’t actually want to be sacked from my first job as a manager
‘Hello? Vince are you there?’
‘Oh sorry Mister Chairman, I was just thinking about what to say to you’
‘Well, if I had a full season with the team, right from pre season until the end of the closing stage, then I’m pretty sure I’d have done a lot better than we did in my 11 games here. If you keep me on until this time next year, I can guarantee we’ll be in a better position than we are now’ That’s it Vince, put a rod in your back, just don’t say anything else to make it worse
‘Hmm, I still don’t know, what do you need from me to make that happen’
Here’s where I should just keep my mouth shut, but oh no, I go in for the kill with a risky request ‘We need a proper goal scorer. Someone that can make something from nothing. I know just the guy, and I reckon he’ll cost the equivalent of 2 thousand Australian dollars
He pondered the request for a moment or 2, then nodded and said ‘Okay. I can do that. But be warned, no matter what if you’ve not qualified for the Confederations Cup by the seasons end, you’re gone’
I’m not concerned. Surely I can win 1 of these 2 stages?
Gotta dash, I’ve got a goal scorer to sign.
Next chapter – Hope, and lots of it
Previous chapter – The new manager effect
Episode 1 – This is not another European journeyman