‘Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Jock McGhee. You might think I’m not the right man to steer this sinking ship, but believe me, I am. Listen to me and you’ll stay up. Ignore me, don’t do what I want and you’ll end up like Skovshoved’
Jocks first official team meeting with his new squad. Not the most encouraging feedback from the players. As the team left the room for that days training, Jock called for Mikael, his assistant manager to stay
‘Mikael, have you ever heard the tale of Graham Potter?’
Mikael shook his head, rolled his eyes and said ‘The tale? What do you mean the tale?’
‘Well it was a while ago now, but Graham Potter who is English, not that it matters, he came to Sweden to a team called Ostersunds, gained back to back promotions, stabilised in the second division before going up to the Swedish Premier League and winning the cup’
Mikael of course knew all of this but appeased Jock ‘Oh really. Whatever happened to this Graham Potter?’
‘Well he’s now managing in England, Brighton I think. Anyway, we need some sort of plan, a vision if you will. It’s alright me saying that we’ll survive this season, but what next? If Graham Potter can do it, so can Jock McGhee!’
Was it Jocks way of trying to motivate the team? Or was it that he was genuinely thinking he could take Tord all the way to the Allsvenskan? Either way, the short term is simple, 12 games to save the season.
The next game for the players was an away tie against Husqvarna, in which the teams frailties were shown in abundance. 2-1 to the hosts when it could’ve been a lot worse. ‘That was like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump some doorknobs out there!’ were Jocks words after the game. The right back Nygren who got back in the side after being dropped for the first game also got a red card, which didn’t help matters.
Reinforcements (recommended by the clubs director of football) came into Tord in the form of defender Mateusz Bocianski and midfielder Michael Khazzoum.
Not world beaters, but in the 4th division of Swedish football, these were the best they could find
The 2 up top proving fruitful as Oksuz nodded down for Sander for the first & Sander returning the favour by playing a through ball which Oksuz gently tapped in for the winner
Tord were also 13th in the league heading into the final stretch.
The survival bid is still most definitely on. Tord had been rooted to the bottom of the league since the start of the season, and Jock has gained more points in his 10 games than the club had in the 12 before he joined combined. They’re only 3 points away from safety, and they play 2 of the bottom 5 in the final 4 games.
It was at this point Jock approached Jesper, the clubs chairman.
‘I genuinely feel I can take this club places’
‘What are you saying Jock?
‘I’ve turned it all around boss, you can see that surely’?
‘Don’t call me Shirley. It’s Jesper you know that. And turned what around? We’re still second bottom in the league’
‘Glass half full boss, always be that type of guy!’ Jesper rolled his eyes, something he would do a lot of during their discussions. Jock continued ‘Look, real talk, when we secure survival you’ll be hailed as the man that brought me to the club and saved us from going down. Not only am I going to repay that faith by staying up, but I’m aiming for promotion next season’. He took a breath and pulled out a notepad and pen ‘Here, I’ve got it all written down. In line with your club vision I’ve outlined my own vision of where I want to take the club’
‘Season one is now, stay up be the hero. Pretty obvious that one boss man. Next season we go up. Then from then on we keep winning and winning until we get to the Alsvenskan. Any questions?’
Jesper had a lot of questions. Some he couldn’t really put into words, but deep down, well not that deep down actually, he was impressed at this. Was the Scotsman really gearing up for a long stint at Tord? Could he actually take them up or not? Jesper nodded and told Jock he was pleased with the ambition and direction. But without saying it he worried that Jocks grand plans wouldn’t come to fruition due to 1 thing, money
‘Don’t worry about the money, it will only make you ill, turn you grey’ Jock said
‘How did you know what I was thinking about?’
‘A Scotsmans intuition. I’ve got a plan that doesn’t involve too much money. All will be revealed in due time, but I’m going to be building my team around a core of players. Put your trust me, I won’t let you down, let me prove…’
Jesper cut him off ‘Are you singing to me Jock?’
Jock looked slightly embarrassed. Jesper continued ‘I like what you’re thinking, but the odds are we’re still getting relegated’
‘Never tell me the odds!’ Jock said, and said to himself that he hopes they don’t have Star Wars in Sweden. Nevertheless the chairman was right, the odds are still against Tord, they were 4 points off 10th place, but only 3 from safety.
This may not be mission impossible, but it certainly is mission difficult.
Next episode – If you don’t see the bottom, don’t wade.
Previous episode – Obsession rules me, I’m yours from the start
References – 4