The feeling of elation from surviving relegation was short lived for Jock as he was asked to go and have a meeting with club chairman Antonio Aayate and managing director Angel Moretti the day after the season ended.
The meeting between the 3 was more a pat on the back, thanks for the hard work Jock, you did well kind of thing. Antonio did most of the talking and seemed confident heading into a new season. Angel finished by confirming what the chairman had said and followed Jock out of the room.
‘Now that’s out of the way Jock, let me speak to you in private’ he said as they made their way to Angels office a little further down the hall at Navalcarbon.
‘The chairman is rather reserved in his praise but I wanted to talk about you, not the club’
‘I don’t understand’
‘What do you desire Jock? What do you want out of your career?
Jock hadn’t really put much thought into this. He just assumed, and said as much, that he would just go with the flow and see where it takes him. But further into the chat Jock revealed something to Angel
‘Well I always wanted to play for the greatest club in the world Motherwell, but I wasn’t very good. So managing them would be like a dream come true. But working with you here, and with you being Italian an all, I wouldn’t mind maybe going there at some point, you know take over someone like AC Milan maybe’
‘Well I’m glad you’ve said that Jock, that shows you’ve got some aims and aims are good to have. I don’t think I’ve said this to you, but you’re like a project for me. No don’t interrupt just yet (Jock had made a confused kind of look on his face at this). I’ve not told you the exact role I play in the Family’s business, but I do think between us, your work on the training pitch and my work behind the scenes, I’m sure we can achieve great things’
The rest of the conversation went by and Jock just thought it was Angels way of motivating him to continue doing well.
From the day the club secured survival the rumors of match fixing picked up and didn’t seem like going away any time soon. The Spanish FA intervened again, the PFA and even UEFA made enquires into most, but not all of the Las Rozas fixtured from the previous season.
The speculation didn’t bother Jock and the players. They all knew they’d done well enough throughout the 38 games to survive. Jock just put the speculation down to the Chairman’s antics the year before he joined the club.
The media attention didn’t stop the recruitment at Las Rozas that off-season however. Jock, his assistant Vicente, Director of Football Taribo West and Angel Moretti had a number of meetings to discuss new signings. Despite not being involved in the signings of Ficara and Vitofrancesco 6 months prior, Jock was more than involved in these recruitment meetings.
He was also approached by the media before and after training sessions and unintentionally declared his interest in re-signing left full back Chechu and left winger Galvan back on loan from Rea Madrid.
Although he’d not actually spoken to anyone at Real Madrid, the club had accepted the offers for both young players and they would be back at Las Rozas for the upcoming season. The other notable signing that off season was first choice center back Franco Ramos Mingo, who was on loan from San Fernando.
Not only did Mingo sign permanently, he would be Jocks captain for the upcoming season, as captain Marcos Gullion is happy taking a step back, and at 36 hasn’t got 38 games a season left in him. Right from the moment Jock walked into Las Rozas he and Mingo hit it off, and this would be a friendship that would grow and grow.
As the recruitment drive gathered steam, 2 more players would be joining the Las Rozas ranks. Midfielder Mane who’s versatility will be key signed on a free transfer
During the weekly meeting with the bosses in Italy, Angel had been advised that their contact at Serie A side Benevento had confirmed young forward Pape Simba Thiam had joined on loan.
Not a world beater, not yet at least, but 7 goals in 10 starts (plus 5 as sub) for the under 20’s league in Italy, the feeling was he would come in and play a rotation role.
As the team was just about set up and ready for the new season, training would be based on making the most of set plays. The team had an abundance of players at least 6 foot tall. Forwards Lekic and Losada up front are 6 foot 4 and 6 foot 2 respectively. The 3 regular center halves, Mingo, Aurtenetxe & Mane are all 6 foot 2 so attacking set pieces seems the logical choice.
However, before the season can get underway, Angel had the final meeting with the bosses in July where the next steps were being discussed
‘Angel, you know what we must do now. Put the word out there, make sure the media get a hold of it, nothing concrete just yet. Now is the time we put phase 2 into motion’
‘It will be done’ Angel said as he got his phone out and made a call
Previous chapter – Quick to believe is quickly deceived
Chapter 1 – In corruption, the foundations need to be built