IK Tord, a tiny club based in the city of Jonkoping, and sits right on the edge of the second biggest lake in Sweden, the Vattern.
Jock fancied himself as a master negotiator. When asked by the chairman ‘Why do you consider yourself the right man to steer the club away from relegation’ Jocks reply was simply that he was a motivator, and he has a secret weapon to employ in the clubs survival.
‘The 3 I’s’
‘The 3 I’s. Intensity, intelligence and integrity. No more pratting around, the team is going to be intense in it’s approach, intelligent in the build up but showing the right amount of integrity at all times’
Jesper thought the new man was either bat shit insane, deluded or a genius. Time will tell which of those 3, or combination of the 3 it would be. But someone had to have the minerals to take on this role.
Jock takes over a team 14th in the league, of 14 teams! Winning a grand total of 1 game, drawing 3 and losing 9.
Jock hadn’t met the team, all he saw was a list of names but the day he arrived they’d all left the training ground for the day. Damn you Swedish public transport!
The clubs assistant manager Mikael Eriksson had stayed back to meet Jock who presents the squad report
‘And here we have our best defender, Isaaq Raghe Johansson’
‘Radgy. His name is really Radgy? As in he’s ganning radgy?
‘I don’t know what that means’
‘Never mind. So he’s the best we’ve got then?
‘Yes, he is’
‘Well we’ll have to get more names in then won’t we. I’ll get on the phone’
As his first day went by, Jock had surprisingly felt at ease with his new club. This of course was before he’d met any of the playing staff, but he was optimistic. He spoke to the clubs chairman, Jesper Larsson about signing some new players, the Swedish lower leagues were new to Jock so he didn’t know much about any player at this level. ‘We’ll pick that up after tomorrows game’ were the chairman’s words.
As Jock walked into the home dressing at Rosenlunds, the home stadium of IK Tord for the first time, nerves came over him. He wasn’t sure how the players who were fighting relegation would react to a manager that suffered relegation literally 2 months ago.
‘Just say what comes to mind’ Mikael advised Jock as they walked in
‘Afternoon lads. My name is Jock McGhee. And I’m here to save you from relegation. Any questions?’
Sensing the unease of the silent room, a tall man stood up and spoke ‘We know who you are, you helped Skovshoved get relegated. I heard you tried bribing the refs, is that right?
‘First of all, that wasn’t my fault. We weren’t even properly relegated, the 3 division if you didn’t know….’
‘Yes I know, I played for Roskilde last season. So did you bribe the ref?’
‘Obviously not other wise I wouldn’t be here would I! Anyway who in the blue hell are you?’
‘Nils Nygren, starting right back, the best one you’ve got I might add’
‘Yeah? You’re that good you’ve lost 9 games and are stuck at the bottom of the league? Sit down son you’re dropped. Right, Mikael, who else plays right back?’
‘A couple. The young man Lindell and Thyselius, although he’s wanting to leave.
Jock nodded to Mikael and said ‘The young man starts’ then turned back to the players ‘I’m here to make a real go of it. I don’t want to go down twice in a row, and if any of you’s haven’t got the desire to fight for survival I’m happy for you to walk out right now’
Jock allowed himself a moment before continuing ‘Go out there, and show my why you should be a part of my plans, not just these 13 games but long term. I’ve got some big, big plans’
As for Jocks first match, it was your standard scrappy bottom of the league affair. Tord, the home team struggled to control the game in the early going. They started the game playing 4-4-2 and it worked, eventually. Plenty of long balls to the forward 2, nothing fancy but Karlslunds were equal to everything thrown at them.
Half time came and Jock had praised the teams shape and the fact for the first time this season they went in to half time not losing the game. Continue pressing, don’t wait for them because they won’t wait for you were also words said at the break.
Persistence was key as by the time the 90th minute rolled around both teams were visibly tired. In an inspired move Jock brought on right winger Ekman who cut inside on to his left foot and was touched, barely on the edge of the box. Had the ref felt sorry for Tord? Possibly.
On another day the foul wouldn’t have been given, but on this day it was. Ekman stepped up and buried the spot kick.
Just like his first game at Skovshoved, Jock had earned 3 points.
Could this be the catalyst for the survival bid?
Next chapter – Hope is the physician of each misery
References – 5