So I signed a new contract with the club. It was needed as my previous contract was running out, but really I had to sign a new one if I was to see out this coming season. And as promised, I’d identified a striker. Well not me per se. I had received a phone call late one night, as you do. And during this call I was made aware of Chang Han’s availability. He was the league’s leading scorer the season just finished and named MVP after bagging an impressive 22 goals in 29 games, as his Tainan City side came runners up in the league to Taiwan Power. Still haven’t gotten over how great their name is.
Anyway the story goes he’s had enough of the manager there and had instructed his agent to find him a new club. I didn’t think they had agents here, but whatever. He’d agreed a deal to play for me without ever once speaking to me or asking about my tactics, his role as a forward or even what our aims are long term, none of that, he’s happy to come here and challenge for a top placed finish. Oh and the chairman reckons the conversion rate would work out better for him if we paid Tainan the equivalent of 2 thousand euros, as opposed to Australian dollars as we’d discussed. I don’t know what the conversation rate is, and it’s not my money so I’m not really bothered how he pays Tainan the money, if Chang can grab another 22 goals this season, we’ve already got 1 hand on a top placed finish
So with Han on board, all we had to do in my not very experienced head, is hoof the ball forward, he goes on a Maradonna-esque mazy run, no hand of God bollocks and gets the ball into the net. Rinse and repeat boys, rinse and repeat.
Fu Jen were to be our first victims of the long ball Chang Han latch onto and score mentality. As was the case for my first 11 games we set up 4-4-2. The big man Ceesay was to be there to try and draw defenders out of position, or knock into Han’s path. We’re confident of winning this one.
By half time in the season opener, I was happy as the tactic outlined above worked, and Han had grabbed himself a debut goal. Thing is, Fu Jen the fuckers had scored 3 goals before Han finally got on the end of a long ball to give us a glimmer of hope. That silly twat Hung-wei getting sent off didn’t help either.
All I had to say was that we’ve got to more long looping balls to the forward 2 otherwise we’ll never get anything from the game. My assistant relayed those words to the lads, and it worked. A little over 12 minutes in and we’re right back in the game. Han burying the ball to the keepers left and 3-2 it’s all to play for. Then of course Fu Jen grabbed another shortly after to crush any hopes of a fight back from 3-0 down.
In the dressing room at half time Chang Han was screaming all sorts of nonsense in Chinese. He was pointing and shouting with such venom I could’ve swore I saw a vein in his head pop. I approached the assistant and asked him to tell Chang I said to calm down, and that we’re all annoyed at the result
‘How you know he annoyed? You no speak Chinese?’
‘It’s not hard to tell when someone is pissed off is it?’
‘He not pissed off with you, he pissed off with them, defending like little girls’ (he pointed to nowhere in particular)
‘Right, so we work on defence tomorrow’
‘Oh no Mister Vince, Chang have day off tomorrow, score 2 goals, keep team in the game. Rest of them do training’
‘Piss off, I’m in charge here and I…’
Chang had stormed off before I had a chance to stop him. He’s got a point though, scoring 2 goals that did keep us in with a shout of getting something from the game. Still, the whole team needs to work on defending, not just the other 10 players on the pitch. By the time our next game had come around, we’d done nothing but defending in training. I’d called the team in for double sessions, but whilst we won our first game of the new season 2-1 at home to NSTC, stupid name by the way, we were lucky as we hadn’t defended well most of this game, and we had our keeper to thank for keeping us in the game.
That win, despite not being overly convincing had given me some optimism for the rest of the campaign in which I really need to win 1 of the 2 stages in this league. With that optimism and the need for wins I urge the team to really take it to our opponents in every game from the off, which we did in our next 2 contests, as Royal Blues (awesome name) and Tatung Company, is there a real company called Tatung? Do they own this club? Anyway both found out just how much I wanted to take it to our opponents as we scored 7 goals over these 2 games, but conceded 3. Still we deserved both wins and were confident of adding another 3 points to our tally, however NTUPES, terrible name for a team, they stopped us dead in our tracks as they scored the world’s most luckiest goal in injury time.
But from then on, we had a bit of momentum and by the time we’d played 13 games, and had 1 left, we found ourselves sitting in first place on 25 points, 2 points above second placed Taipower.
We just had to avoid defeat to Taipower who coincidentally we play next, and we’d win the opening stage. I’m confident, we played a 2 all draw with these lot earlier in the season, so another one of those would do nicely.
Next chapter – How to end the season on a high, or low
Previous chapter – From a whisper to a scream
Episode 1 – This is not another European journeyman