Become one with the sinking ship.

‘We’ve got Ivan in against Merida, he’ll do a damn sight better job than Oscar did last time’

‘We can’t begrudge Oscar anything, he’s been loyal to us, and Inter never did anything in particular to warrant any action from the ref. I’d say Oscar did as well as he could to not draw any unwanted attention’

This was one of the scheduled weekly meetings between Angel and the bosses in Rome. As it transpired there wasn’t as many refs on the pay roll as first thought. Sure the bosses had plenty of club officials that could be called upon, but unless Angel could get more people within the league on board then Las Rozas might have to, god forbid, rely upon the talent of the first team and the know-how of the manager to try and reduce the 18 point deficit, and then try and survive in the league. But that was another issue to be addressed.

The first home game of Jock’s career resulted in a resounding 3-1 win over Merida. There were calls for offside for the first goal but the ref immediately waved away the protests. A number of fouls were given against Merida that could be considered soft on another day. Jock had thought it was his words on the touchline that inspired his new team to victory however.

The favourable decisions kept going the way of Las Rozas in the opening stages of the league. An early goal, after 28 seconds to be precise, came in the game against Don Benito. Although nothing came of it, replays suggested that Dejan Lekic had played the ball at kick off before the ref had blown the whistle to signal the start of the game.

The feeling was Don Benito weren’t ready. Upon further review, the refs whistle was in his mouth, although the investigation was ruled inconclusive whether the whistle was blown or not and the result stood, 3-0 to Las Rozas

From then on the media, albeit the one or 2 reporters that covered this level in Spain, had noticed there weren’t as many decisions going in the favour of Las Rozas. A run of 6 without a win at this point of the season for a mid to lower-table side wouldn’t really be much cause for concern, but this was a team with a huge 18 points to try and make up.

They had managed to make up 16 of those 18 points by the end of November and 12 games played, but the concern was that the teams around them had also won some points, not a lot, but the media were still convinced Las Rozas would be going down by the end of the season

The bosses back in Rome weren’t too disappointed at this time. Angel Moretti had gone about his business as quietly as anyone in his position could’ve done. Not too many questions were asked about results at this point in the season, although he was pushed back in mid December by an old asset of his.

He’d used a physio at Real Madrid for years to get information on upcoming tactics and potential team sheets, and it just so happens that Real Madrid Castilla, Real’s reserve side were in the same division as Las Rozas. The physio in question, Manuel Vargas, had tried and failed to produce any worthwhile information

‘I’m sorry Angel, but the manager, you know him, Raul, he keeps his cards so close to his chest he’s practically wearing them!’

‘So what do I pay you for? You can’t come to me and tell me that Marvin played last time so should start tomorrow, of course he’ll start tomorrow! He’s the best player in the league! You know the type of data we need’

‘But Raul, he’s a very…’

‘I don’t care who or what he is. I pay you to get me the information I need, if you can’t do it then I’ll find someone else who can’

That wouldn’t be the last time Angel would speak to Manuel that season, however Castilla proved too good for Las Rozas, as the 5-1 score line flattered the home side, and it would be Jocks biggest defeat and worst performance up to that point.

Points dropped to Villarrubio & Villarrobledo preceded that loss, and the upcoming game would be a match against local rivals Majadahonda.

‘Jock, not to put any more pressure on you, but this is a game against the clubs local rivals. It might not be as big as Celtic versus Rangers…..’

‘FUCK RANGERS! Sorry, force of habit’

‘That’s quite alright. I just think on this occasion, if you let Vicente lead the team talk, and you lead the player instructions. The players know it’s a big game for our fans, and the club, as you know a win here would mean we’ve cleared that points deduction, and we really could do with that happening so we’ve got as good a chance of survival as we can hope for’ Angel said to Jock as they both walked towards the trainers room at the stadium.

As they did, a man wearing a suit walked past them both, looked Angel in the eyes and winked as he went towards the entrance. ‘Give me a moment please’ Angel said and turned to follow the man

Jock looked back and saw them shake hands but didn’t think anything of it. In the trainers room Vicente was there with a clip board in his hand. ‘Let’s talk tactics. I think I know how we can beat them tomorrow’

‘I’m listening’

Next chapter – The season starts now

Previous chapter – When the heart is full, the tongue will speak

Chapter 1 – In corruption, the foundations need to be built

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