‘Jock, the 2 new guys are here and ready to meet the rest of the squad’** Angel Moretti, managing director and unofficial player liaison officer, told Jock as they made their way to the training pitch
‘Oh, erm, thanks I guess. I didn’t realise I’d made offers for new players?’
‘You didn’t, I did, I mean the bosses did. Anyway we’ve got a new forward called Dani Cadena and a defender called Nacho Neira. Neira is expected to start, and Cadena is happy being a squad player, although between me and you, whilst he’s not the best overall forward he is most certainly the best natural finisher we’ve got here this season. The other forwards in the team are more your back to goal types. But it’s your call on how you play them’
Jock hadn’t actually had a proper team meeting since joining officially, so decided now would be a good time.
‘As I’ve already said I will translate for you, until either you learn Spanish or, well never mind. What do you want to say to the players?’
‘Erm, tell them I’m buzzing to be here, and what my aims are this season’
Angel Moretti spoke in Spanish and received a few nods. ‘The lads are firmly on board, and believe avoiding relegation is an achievable target Jock’
‘Avoiding relegation?!? How bad is this club?!?’
‘Well, maybe I’d not explained properly, but the bosses, those being in Italy have made…’
Jock cut him off ‘I thought I was the manager?’
‘Yes, but the clubs owners are in Italy. Don’t worry about it, what I was saying is the bosses understood that last year there weren’t enough things in place, or things happened that prevented the club from progressing last season, and of course the points deduction came about’
‘What do you mean things happened?’
‘You shouldn’t worry about that for now. Things happened outside the club, or didn’t happen as was the case, which prevented the teams progression. What I mean is the bosses have got some big money making plans for this team, and hiring an unknown manager is just the start’
Jock opened his mouth to speak, but Angel cut him off sensing Jock’s unease ‘Just listen. You’re unknown now, but listen to me and between us, we’ll steady the sinking ship this season, and from next season once things outside the club are put back in place trust me, this team, and you, are going places’
‘I take it this is all related to that 18 point deduction?’
‘You are correct. I’m sure you’ve done your research on the club before taking over (Jock hadn’t) and will have heard that the chairman was involved in a match fixing scandal last year. But he has made the decision for me and my associates to come in and steer the club away from relegation this season, and push on from there’
Jock said to himself that Angel seemed very confident in his words. A little too confident. However avoiding relegation wasn’t the high hopes Jock was thinking when he took over despite a points deduction. He assumed that the Spanish third division would be a walk in the park, and everyone has to start somewhere right? But judging by the season preview, Las Rozas were predicted 20th of 20!
As the team made their way into the away dressing room for the first game of the season, Jock noticed Angel Moretti stood talking to a shorter man wearing a suit, he waved and headed into the room
‘You know what to do?’ Angel said to the shorter man, who nodded and replied ‘Of course, we have been through this enough times haven’t we. Don’t worry, I’m on your side’
‘Good. Remember, the family is going to need your undivided support this year, and your loyalty will be rewarded’ Angel said as the 2 men went in opposite directions.
Upon entering the away dressing room Angel saw Jock talking to assistant manager Vicente
‘Right lads, this is it, the start of a new season. Let me start by saying I’ve only been here a few days, and I get the feeling you don’t know me or like me, and I certainly don’t know any of you. I haven’t come all the way from the great nation of Scotland for you lot to blow my first chance in management. 18 points is nothing, we’ve got a great chance of staying in this league if you all listen and do as I say! How does that sound?’ Jock said to Vicente
‘Well, it’s good you’re trying to make your mark early on, but as you know and say, the guys don’t know you yet, and I doubt they’ll take kindly to your first team talk in this manner’ Vicente replied
‘Well the lads need to know I believe in them and their chances this season’
With that Vicente speaks in Spanish to the starters who were named before the game.
The players seemed up for the game based on their reactions from Vicente’s team talk. As the game kicked off Jock noticed Angel Moretti, Antonio Aayate and 3 other men he’d not seen before sat in the stands above the dug out. He assumed they were the associates Angel kept referring to, so in a move designed to make him look like he knew what he was doing, he got up from his seat and went to the edge of the technical area. As he did Las Rozas were awarded a corner in 10th minute.
As the players made their way to the opposition box, Jock called out to Agusto Galvan who was the designated corner taker ‘Hit it towards the bread basket, cause hell with it!’ he yelled. Agusto stood there with a confused look on his face. ‘The bread bas…. 6 yard box, near the keeper. Comprende?’
Agusto said nothing and stepped up to take the corner. He did actually swing it into the 6 yard area but the ball was cleared, only as far as loan signing center half Ramos Mingo who bent his foot around an opposing defender to poke the ball home, 1-0!
Las Rozas could be forgiven for thinking they could see out the remaining 80 minutes, but Internacional Madrid weren’t lying down. They did equalise 8 minutes after conceding, a thunder bolt from just outside the area that made Jock stand up and applause, only to remember he’s a manager not a fan.
At half time Jock left the talking to Vicente and for the second half of the game neither side really threatened the other. Whilst Jock was asking Vicente for advice during the game, he noticed Angel and the other men looking deep in conversation, but Jock thought nothing of it.
In the dressing room at full time, after a credible if unremarkable 1 all draw in his first game as a manager, Jock had told the players he was happy with what he saw, and felt if they continued pushing on they would steer clear of relegation before long.
Vicente relayed these words to the player in Spanish, at least that’s what Jock thought he did.
1 point down, a lot more to go!
Next chapter – Become one with the sinking ship
Previous chapter – I don’t speak Spanglish. I’m Scottish, if you didn’t know
Chapter 1 – In corruption, the foundations need to be built
**Authors note, I have set the responsibilities in game for the director of football to handle all transfers and contract negotiations. Every transfer you see in this chapter and from now was done in game by Taribo West, as I felt it was helping the narrative.