Kalman Kittenberger II

Gulliball

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Good day to you.

My name is Kalman Kittenberger. You may have heard of me from having been alive between the years 2014 and 2044, during which I elevated myself from humble beginnings to become the greatest living person in history. I also won quite a lot of football trophies for the town of Levice and went to bed with more than seven Lion Girls.

When I last updated of my progress, I had just retired, aged 60, having led Levice to the crown of European Champions and England to the crown of European Championship quarter-finalists. Having retired immediately after EURO 2044, I went to Brazil for a much deserved holiday with as many Lion Girls as would accept my very generous offer of paying for everything during the trip in exchange for pretty deviant sexual behaviours.

Having had such an exalted career, I made contact with Hollywood to sell the rights to the story of my life. Coming from humble beginnings to become the greatest person in the world ever is a story that needs to be shown to the world, to inspire the next generation of peasants to follow my lead.

There was obviously no-one within the acting community fit to portray me on screen, because Hollywood shunned my proposal. I admired their stance on the issue – I didn’t want some nobody to portray me.

I then sent my memoirs to all the big publishing houses, and it was only due to an international ink shortage that affected the entire industry that I ended up publishing them online. A few of the bigger names in the media bulked at the controversial issues that I addressed in my volumes. The Times, The Independent, The Levice Gazette, The Guardian and The Daily Mirror all refused to pay my asking price for their online editions. A deal was nearly reached with thefootballforum.net, but it turned out to be a cruel April Fool’s Day prank. In the end, I resorted to typing “two bit, tinpot football community” into Google, and my exploits can be read here:

http://www.onefootballforum.co.uk/index.php?threads/life-in-levice.784

Anyway, that is all now well in the past. Having extended my very generous offer of an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil to all thirty-seven of the Lion Girls, I took to the skies with Andrea and Simona to enjoy the spaciousness that a chartered 747 plane has to offer. I didn’t join the mile high club but did purchase a few items that aren’t available on the high street. All in all, a mixed bag if I am honest, given what I had paid out.

It turns out that giving £10m to a man for two years of doing practically nothing as England Manager isn’t as good as it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you can charter planes and hire yachts and proposition women online, but if only two women accompany you on this adventure and neither of them will sleep with you, then reality soon bites.

I was in London collecting my final pay cheque from the FA when I made one final advance at a woman standing on a street corner. I unwound my window and told her that I had a £9.7m fortune, a large sexual appetite and very generous nature, would she like to come to bed with me?

Four months later, having endured tortuous negotiations with their government, I had indeed purchased all the tea in China. But when I returned to her street corner armed with 138 heavy duty trucks filled with PG Tips she still refused me.

A seven month legal wrangle followed, which concluded with the appeal court’s judgment that she had not in fact entered into a legally binding contract with me and thus could not legally be forced into following through on my advances.

I tried my best to carry on with my lifestyle – but millions of pounds in cash wasn’t enough to wetten the knickers of any woman I came across, so what was I to do now that my fortune had been turned into PG Tips? I spent many hours calculating just how many pyramid bags would have to be slipped into the G-String of a woman before she twigged that I was the real deal, but unfortunately I never got the chance to find out the answer as it turned out that slipping them into the top pocket of the door staff does not in fact even gain you admittance to even get near to them.

Aged 61, Kalman Kittenberger committed suicide soon afterwards, and in one final defiant gesture to the world I left my entire collection of £9.4m worth of PG Tips bags to the monkey who does their adverts. I was dead long before I realised that he was fictitious.

As it turns out, this was not actually the end. I had been a pretty lapsed Christian, not having been to church since I was seven. Even so, it was a shock to find out that reincarnation is actually real.

I wasn’t really paying attention to what went on. I had only just begun to nap in the garden of eternal tranquillity when I was faced with the reincarnation jury.

It turns out that Hindus may be correct, but are very bad judges of character, because they condemned my soul to be tortured in the afterlives as penance for all my misdeeds on Earth. I don't think they paid attention to how evil Trencin actually were.

After much deliberation, it was Vishnu himself that decided my fate. I was to be sent back to Earth as the lowest creature in existence.



I don't know who wrote that press release. I actually told them that Slovan were the devil and I would rather have my knackers cut off with garden shears than manage them. But once it's in the papers, it must be true.

Personally, this has all come as a bit of a blow to me. Still, I have taken advantage of my recently found knowledge of the afterlife, and have started a twitter fued with Hugh Heffner. I’m not sure if they’ll see through it, but just in case, it’s worth a try.
 
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Gulliball

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I looked at the calendar on the wall – it was the 10th June. Something looked wrong, but as I stared at Lucy Pinder, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it struck me. This was not the Lucy Pinder, sweetheart of the nation and host of Songs on Sunday. No, this was her in her youth, before the religious conversion and worldwide fame. The Lucy Pinder I know would never eat a banana like that. In a fit of rage I tore the calendar from the wall and threw it to the ground. Sure enough, the year on the front was 2014.

I took it round to Bratislava Antiques to make myself a few bob, but they refused to take it. It turns out that it actually was 2014. As Deities go, I am starting to dislike Vishnu.

I got on the first train to Levice. The castle still looks magnificent, but it overlooks Levice Stadium and not the mighty Kittenberger Arena. I ran along the high street asking people what they thought about Kalman Kittenberger – responses ranged from “who?” to “never heard of him pal” to “my eyes are up here you know”.

Dejected, I took the train back to the capital. I am no longer the greatest football manager in the world ever. Well, that’s not true, but it’s not as much fun when nobody else knows.

Back in my office, I put the calendar back on the wall and got down to business. If I am stuck in this body for the rest of my life, I had better make the most of it. It took thirty five minutes to reach a decision, but eventually I settled for December. If she’s going to dress like that, she can be my little helper any time she likes.

An email from the chairman told me that the wage budget is £29 531 per week, all of which is being spent, and I have a transfer kitty of £500k. I took a look at the squad I was taking over, and tried to recognise a few of their names. Coming from the future is really quite a large advantage when it comes to knowing how good these players will be in the years to come.

It was therefore quite a shock to have only heard of three of them. I bitterly regretted my lack of professionalism in my former life, but hey ho, there’s no use crying over spilt milk.



I looked at my contract and was quite pleased to be getting £2.2k per week. It’s not £5m a year from England, but it’s much more than the Levice misers ever paid me, even after winning the European Cup.

I brought all the lads in for training and ran my eye over them. Not bad, but not a European Champion amongst them. I was used to far better. Offers came in for a few of them, and all I can say is that they have more money than sense in the United Arab Emirates, if only they could all have been sold there. Once the floodgates were opened, I sold anyone who an offer came in for. By the end, I had raised £7m and cleared out a lot of deadwood.



Signing players was slightly more difficult. My demanding standards meant that we had to pay big money for anyone good enough to be worthy of my squad. I did remember that CM Lobotka (£650k) and ST Zrelak (£750k) were the best players in Slovakia. GK Bonilla (£800k) is very good, AMC Humam Tariq (£300k) is one for the future and LB Matej Hanousek (£1.7m) can be a mainstay in the side for years to come. There was no money left after spending more than £4m, so the rest had to be free transfers. DM Petr Trapp and ST Denis Stracqualursi brought the total to 7 decent players brought in.



Sticking rigidly to my favourite 4-4-2 Diamond formation, and with Tariq not ready to play regularly, I had to start 5 of the players I inherited.



In terms of staffing, my thoughts immediately turned to my right hand, Marek. I got him on the phone and told him that I had a new job, so pack his bags for Bratislava. Of course, I had forgotten that he had never heard of me, and so his response was to call me a weirdo and hang up. I tried again, but it turns out that he’s managing Brighton in the Old Third Division and doesn’t want to give that up to be my assistant again. I’ve made a mental note to try again in the future, how else am I to be a European Champion? In the meantime my actual trustworthy right hand will just have to fill in, when he’s not busy with Ms Pinder at least.

Having forgotten who most of the best players in Slovakia were, I didn’t even try to remember staff members, and advertised for an assistant manager and coaching staff. The standard of applicants was good, so I decided that there was an opportunity to take a gamble with the appointment of a physio.

I had attempted to sign the Lion Girls for Slovan Bratislava, but had run into difficulties. Go up to Filip Sebo, offer him £600 a week, and he’s yours. Go up to the Lion Girls and offer them £200 to go with you to Bratislava and they run away. There are only so many police cautions you can receive before admitting defeat becomes the sensible option.

Call me old fashioned, but I wasn’t comfortable without women in my employment. And so for the position of physio, I invited local dominatrixes to apply. Only one applied, but I was impressed.



Looking at her stats, okay physiotherapy is slightly lower than ideal, but just look at that level of discipline.



I’m paying her more than I would like, more than half the first team squad in fact, but some things you learn the hard way. I learnt that contract negotiations are best handled from a position of strength, and telling her half way through her audition that she had the job left her in the position of strength. My tummy was rumbling and if she didn’t untie me soon I would have missed my tea.

Having to call her Mistress Dragana may undermine my authority around the lads, but I think overall I’ll probably come out of it the best, as at least she’s qualified to do what she does to me. It was also encouraging to know that my penchant for violent Serbians is rooted into my soul. I immediately phoned Partizan Belgrade and told them to send me anyone they had going spare. I don’t know how good they are, but it’s nice to have them around.



I reasoned that last time I started out, by this time I was still in the 2nd Division with an eight foot lion up front and was European Champion by 2039. Starting out this time already in Europe, I could afford a few hiccups along the way and surely still be European Champion by 2028 at least, just so long as Filip Sebo outscores Leon the Lion.

£49 202 is being spent every week on wages, which is far more than when I took over but I’ve raised the money to pay for it with player sales. This is more than double anyone else in the division, so really I can’t fail.
 

Smally

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You have signed Denis Straqualursi. I now wish you every success. I love that man
 

Gulliball

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It took pretty much a month for me to get my bearings in my new life. As many players as possible went out, and were replaced by a much higher class of individual.

In the first game under my stewardship we faced Kosice, the giants of the East. Fitting for such an occasion, there was a trophy at stake, one no less significant than the Slovak Super Cup.

After a fabulous 5-3 win (on penalties) I already had the first trophy in the bag. It was slightly disappointing not to destroy these no marks in ordinary time, but it allowed me to not pay out any clean sheets bonuses after we let in 3 penalties whilst simultaneously not paying out any goal bonuses after the 0-0 draw. It was a new level of geniousness on my part, but I was let down by my squad, who having actually spoken with each other, were not happy. The queue of players outside my office on Monday morning was not quite a personal best but was still two full loops around the porta cabin.

As reigning league champions, we began the effort to qualify for Europe in the 2nd qualifying round, against the Northern Irish outfit Clintonville. Funny accents they may have, but superior skills they did not. A 3-1 win saw us come up against the Croats Dinamo. After a 1-1 home draw, we went down 2-1 away to a late winner. Still, as league champions we received several hundred thousands of pounds, and added another million after trouncing Ukrainians Metalist 2-2 on away goals to reach the EURO Cup Group Stages.



For a side on £49k per week, this was all money just thrown into the bank. Our reward was glamour ties against Leverkusen, Sociedad and Hajduk Split. We managed one win and one draw against these giants, paying the wage bill for a few more months in the process.



Now, whilst this was going on, we had to compete domestically. With a three month weather enforced winter break, and six weeks off in the summer, the league season had to go on. With 6 games of qualifying, 6 Group Stage games and domestic cup games, this meant playing weekend, weekday, weekend, weekday, weekend… until early November, when we packed our bags for the extended winter holiday.

Now I am an old fashioned man in many ways. If I have to wake up before noon in time to make it to the end of training sessions, then I don’t see why a bunch of professionals cannot do 180 minutes of work per week on stage.

Nevertheless, I am not one who wishes to appear heartless, and so whenever someone came to me and said he was only 85% fit to begin the match, I told him to get on with it in only the politest of tones.

On field performances suffered, but I was contented in the knowledge that the players under my banner where in fact real men.



Looking back at thing from the half way stage, I was not happy with 6th place, and I told the lads this in no uncertain terms. We are the biggest spenders, have the best side in the country and have given the very best of Europe’s second tier a reasonable workout – there is no excuse for being in sixth place.

I must say that the boys responded to my words immediately.



However, despite immediately rising to 5th, I was called in to see the board. I managed to bluff my way out of it, telling them that this is a Marathon and not a Snickers. They just sat there, dumbstruck.

Still, it must be said, I was slightly worried by the warning that they gave me. I promised them 11 points from the next 5 games, otherwise they would make me the scapegoat for the underperformance of the players.

My assistant Roman told me not to panic. Without European considerations, we now only had one game per week, allowing the 11 good players to play week after week at full fitness. I took what he had to say on board, and then ignored him completely by signing 5 new players, utilising every penny of the wage budget to get us back to the top. By the time I saw them play, it was too late - the ink was already dry.



In the Slovak Cup, we made it all the way to the final. Senica stood in 2nd place in the league, giving us the perfect chance to show Slovakia that we were in a false position. The 4-2 defeat hurt, especially as we were coming into such good form domestically.



In the League, we fought back against our dire mid-season status. From 5th position we clawed our way all the back up to 4th.



Some managers would be happy with raising millions of pounds for their board, reaching the cup final and finishing 4th in the league. But personally I have never rated Arsene Wenger and consider this to be an underperformance.

With the season over, I looked back over the previous eleven months and decided what to do. I called all the players into my office and told them what I thought of them. I started with my £800k investment Cristian Bonilla, and managed to restrain myself to (let the records show, very calmly) tell him that he was (literally) the first name on my team sheet, and therefore the first person to tell that he is a useless wanker and that I want rid of him.



It was the most enjoyable day of the year. I called them all in one by one and told them what I thought of them. By the time the strikers came in I had completely run out of synonyms for vagina and had to make do starting over from the beginning.

The very next day I was called in to speak to the board again.



Would you Adam and Eve it, they actually dared to question how I was running my ship. They said that morale was at an all-time low; even during the communist occupation, the players had been happier.

I was absolutely disgusted by this, and pledged to get rid of any player who had a morale level of below average. With these bad apples gone we could soon reclaim our top spot in Slovak football.

I immediately called in a Human Resources consultant to take a look at the lads, particularly their morale. I don’t want to keep anyone who isn’t completely happy with my methods.



I must say it came as a bit of a blow to me to find out that I would have to sell all of the first team squad. I was hoping to have to keep at least three of them, but it turns out that bad apples can poison the whole barrow, no matter how kind and loving the apple-barrow-keeper is.

I was busy preparing to publish the transfer list – I had just sent my order to Staples to buy in some more paper – when the board responded to my request for a meeting. My 12 month deal was set to end, and they would not agree to extend it.



I cleared out my office, and told that lads what I really thought of them. Not just end of season venting what I thought of them, but really, what I actually thought of them. They responded in turn, but I managed to tune out the chorus of ‘wanker, wanker, wanker’ as I carried my cardboard box of belongings back to my car.

Faced with losing employment, only 12 months into my reincarnation, I could not help but feel a slight failure. Fortunately, it was then that I remembered just why history remembers me as a legend, and also as a genius. Placing a dominatrix on the payroll instead of a physio the previous summer had been described by some people at the time as “absolutely disgusting” and by the Player’s Union as “a thorough misuse of resources”.

What these naysayers never realised was just how crucial she would come to be in enforcing my empire onto the masses. She only needed twenty five minutes alone with Chief Director, Mr Svec, before she told me that things had been taken care of.

That very same afternoon I had another meeting with him, and after laying some really quite incriminating photos on the table, signed my new 5 year contract on quite a nice pay increase.



Not an ideal 12 months, but it takes more than the public opinion of Slovakia to get rid of me, as I believe I also proved in a previous life.
 
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Gulliball

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A lesser manager, nay, a lesser man, might have crumbled under weight of all this pressure. Fortunately, I have already been there, done it and bought the t-shirt, even if it is not currently in my possession.

I had fallen out with players before, but only the shit ones. All I had to do now was not buy the shit ones and success was inevitable. To do this, there is one man I needed on board my ship.

I docked in Brighton for another crack at Marek. I remembered my mistake from 12 months ago, and sold him the idea from scratch. I painted a picture in which I was the greatest manager who had ever lived; the Kittenberger Arena sold out every week, and Lion Girls throwing themselves at me. He wasn’t to know that only two of these were true.

He then asked what role he was to play in this. In my excitement, I had forgotten to include him. “You? You” I told him, “are the man who makes all this happen. You find the best players in the world, tell me who to buy, scout the opposition and tell me what I have to do to beat them. I then go out and do it”.

He thought that this was slightly weighted in my favour, but I convinced him that some men are born to lead, and others are born to trawl through Africa. As it turns out, he has a thing for Angelina Jolie and agreed to take me up on my offer.



Back in Slovakia, and before I sent him off autograph hunting, we sat down to discuss what we needed to do for the future. He didn’t even need to watch any of the squad train, he had actually heard of most of them and knew how good they were already - that’s how much of a pro he is. He agreed that they all needed to go, which was a relief because I had already transfer listed most of them.

With £4.2m in the bank at the end of the season, by adding this to the money raised from selling them all, we would have enough to progress the Club up a few levels. On his advice, part of this money was used to improve the training ground, which was apparently the key to persuading these poor foreigners to leave their native slums for the big City lights of Bratislava. He also managed to convince the board to extend his expenses account, allowing him to go anywhere in the world on his missions. He signed up 5 assistants to help him cover the ground – I originally insisted that they should all be called Marek as well, as I’m superstitious like that, but after taking his advice we signed four competent scouts and one local man called Marek. Compromise, that’s the key to success. I will use that as my theme when asked to teach Management at Harvard in the future.

With Marek dispatched abroad somewhere, I was left to put part one of the plan into operation. This, if you are paying attention, is to get rid of all the deadwood in the squad. I launched this, as all the hip young people do these days, on twitter. #goodriddance never trended anywhere outside of my house, but it was a resounding success.

First up on the chopping block came the dross I had signed in January. They’d added nothing to the squad in the short term, and weren’t good enough for where we were taking the squad long term. I offered them to any Club that would have them, and they all received offers.

Mate Ghvinianidze went for £325k to M. Haifa, Javier Patino to Karpaty for £500k, Andre Senghor to APOEL for £500k, Matic Crnic to Nancy for £250k and finally Faty Papy to Mlada Boleslav for £200k. Never again, I swore, would I sign anyone just for having a stupid name. We’re a professional club now.

I have to say, I was amazed by these 5 players. All together they had cost £68.25k in fees, had only been here for five months, and were absolute rubbish the lot of them. But now, they were all gone and we had brought in more than £1.7m. I also used my previous experience to add clauses of between 10% to 25% of the next fee. It might not be much, but I do this over and over again, they will all add up.

Humam Tariq was next out the door, as he had a long list of clubs after him. Villarreal won the race, with an offer of £3m + 35% of his next fee. Seydouba Soumah went to Young Boys for £1.2m + 10% and Adam Zrelak to the UAE for £1.5 + 25%. Denis Stracqualursi went to Saudi Arabia as they came in with a £2m bid. Stanislav Lobotka had insisted on a £1m release clause, and so went to Auxerre for that price. He was the best player in the squad, so should have gone for more, but still a £350k profit in a season.

Muller Dinda then became famous – the first off the Slovan conveyer belt of youngsters. He had been a £30k signing last summer, offered to me by an agent. He was 18 and raw, so spent the season on loan in Greece. Sevilla offered £3.5m + 50% and he was out the door. This was an obscene level of profit - one which pays our entire wage bill for a year and a half – and we did literally nothing to deserve it. Sign a young player, loan him out for a year with his wages paid by the other side, and then sell him 12 months later. With one transfer Operation People Trafficking was underway. We only paid fees for six players last summer, five for the first team and Dinda being the other, as he was offered to me. Now that Marek was back with me, I wanted more, more, more.

I phoned Marek and told him to spend all his time in Africa. I wanted any teenager with potential. Quality, quantity, whatever he could find. Africans were cheaper than anyone else, so start there. He briefly questioned the morality of this, but this is already my afterlife, what the hell are they going to do next? On that subject, thank goodness Vishnu loaded African players when he created this reincarnation. What a visionary.

20 players left in total, with the rest either released or sold for a few hundred thousand. £15m had been raised, but we had almost no squad at all. Cristian Bonilla had beaten the cull – as an £800k signing I wasn’t prepared to take a loss on him and so he will get another chance to prove himself as my number one. My £1.7m left back Hanousek was retained on the same reasoning. Samuel Stefanik also stayed. He was a guy I had inherited, but was a reasonable player who was home-grown and cheap.

By paying transfer fees over a number of years, we were able to spend £13.8m on 24 new players. People Trafficking was going to pay for the transfer fees and wages of the first team, with a huge squad of players out on loan or making up the numbers while we fatten them before they are sold.

I abused our position as the biggest and richest Club in Slovakia to sign Erik Sabo, Trnava’s title winning captain, for £825k. Marek said he wasn’t as good as some foreigner he could find for me, and for only a fraction of the price, but I wanted to make a dramatic statement. They might have won a league title and have Champion’s League football to offer, but if I can pick and choose their players then it will show everyone that I have the biggest one in the league, and not just in terms of budget.

Malik Bekakchi was the first player Marek found for me, costing £700k from ES Setif in Algeria. I told Marek this was quite a lot for an 18 year old from Africa – though I suppose even if we only get £3.5m again then that’s another £2.8m profit. He told me not to even dream of selling him – this guy was the future of world football.

His strike partner would be a chap called Joel, a £1.6m signing. £700k was sent on a 17 year old left back from Denmark – again someone who would be my left back for the next fifteen years, right up to becoming World Champions. He then found me a third ‘superstar’, an attacking midfielder for £4m from Steaua, who at 18 is already good enough for the first team and only going to get better. To complete the first team, we spent £950k and £700k on centre backs, £600k on a right back and £800k on a defensive midfielder.

Those guys plus Bonilla, Sabo and Stefanik gave us 11 good players to start the season. With the one exception, they’d all cost a minimum of £600k, going up to £4m. For a league that was so poor, this was surely enough to buy any success that we wanted.



I also made sure we signed a few cheap free transfers. They can add some more numbers for the time being, and then be sold for profit. Danny Wilson and Gael Kakuta are, by Slovak league standards, good players and may well challenge for a first team role this season. But as they’re not European Champions they have no long term future. Another free transfer striker came in from Serbia as 3rd choice, and then I gave Marek the rest of the budget to get as many Africans as he could into the back of my metaphorical van. He ended up signing two more first team squad fillers/investments for £850k and £1m before getting his net out for real.

Eight new youngsters came in for fees of £500, £6.5k, £30k, £40k, £125k, £150k, £150k and £350k. Sell one to a big side and you pay for them all, sell them all to bigger sides and you pay for another first team improvement next summer.
 

Gulliball

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With the squad in place for the new season, it was time for Marek to go off scouting the upcoming opposition and now up to me to do my bit. By this I of course mean make the magic happen. I thought back to the golden days at Levice and remembered very the first thing I did when things weren’t going right onto the pitch. And so I stormed into the next board meeting and demanded that they free up some more room in the budget as a successful football club cannot be built if the right foundations are not in place. As a club we cannot afford to stand idly by and not take action – we need to get a new mascot.

If I’m honest it was an issue that had bugged me from the very beginning of my tenure. I won’t go so far as to blame it for everything that went wrong last season, but if there’s one thing I learned in all my time at Levice it’s that ‘If a club is rotten, it’s the mascot that goes off first’.

Frankly, ours is an embarrassment. I had four new signings lined up last season that ripped up their freshly signed contracts when they were told they had to stand next to it for a publicity photo. After that I was limited to signing only the stupid and the gormless.



I never blamed them for this either. It was the same thing at games – only the loser kids were interested in high fiving it or posing for photographs.



Out of desperation we sent him to the local hospital at Christmas to cheer up the sick children, but even they ran away from him. Most of them were rounded up pretty quickly, but it’s been over six months now that one of them’s been on the missing persons list, and his mother keeps blaming me in the newspaper. I keep telling her that it’s too late now, he won’t have lasted ten minutes out there in the cold on his own, but she won’t let it go.

In anticipation of having to take action, I had been keeping my eye on the football mascot forums to see if there was anyone making waves. There was one name that just kept cropping up time and time again and it turned out to be at our own sister club, the Ice Hockey outfit HC Slovan Bratislava, that Harvy the bald Eagle was making his name. I kept monitoring his progress, and he was regularly getting mentioned as underrated in the ‘Overrated and Underrated’ threads – this seems to be a popular issue for all the mascot forums. But when he started getting comments like “actually I think he’s now starting to become overrated” I knew that I had to act – there is no surer sign that you’ve made it.

I went to one of their games and I have to say he’s a magnificent looking creature.



He was popular with the fans, the team and the club cheerleaders. I particularly noted how well his image looked on their chests.



I had to lean in a bit to get a closer look, but it really is a fine sight.



I went in for an even closer look again but without my glasses it just gets fuzzier and I couldn't see the Eagle at all.



The hockey guys clearly had the right management in place and an eye for talent, for not only did they win the game, but they sent the fans home happy, backed by their spectacular mascot and cheerleading department.



Flexible girls, they were. They even spelled it correctly.

Now obviously, I had already installed some cheerleaders at our place last summer. I had learned from my time at Levice that ‘If a club is run right, it’s the cheerleaders they must sort out first’. They had been ok, but if I was asked to judge their performance to date out of 10, I would say “better than nothing”.

There were improvements that could be made though. For a start, they had refused to wear the uniforms that I had designed for them. One of them even labelled me a “Sexist Twat” at the unveiling. I would have fired her for that but I had only been able to recruit five so we couldn’t afford to lose any. I took revenge instead by placing objects in front of her at club events.



Still, now that I knew what was out there, I wouldn’t have to make do with frigid cows like her any more. I tried for all 13 but the board only wanted me to hire 5, to replace the ones I would be letting go. I took in a few photos for them to look at, and explained how important they would be in my set-up, and they agreed to double this to ten.



I went back to another of their games with a pencil and paper to make a few notes. The lady sat next to me noticed what I was doing and asked if I was a scout. I told her that actually I’m a manager, but yes today I am here doing a bit of scouting. She asked who I had my eye on, but I didn’t answer that as she seemed a nice girl and it would only have led to trouble.



In the end she couldn’t resist peeking at my notes and my gentlemanly persona was blown. I had clearly labelled the two axis on the graph with ‘face’ and ‘chest size’ so I had to come clean. I admitted that I was going to hire 10 of the 13 women to be cheerleaders for the football club across town, so was here to decide which ten to sign. “That’s disgusting” she told me. “The plural of axis is axes”.

Other than being quite clever, it turned out that she wasn’t actually a nice girl at all. She also had a very good eye, and began helping me on my list. We agreed on eight of the top ten, and after a lively philosophical debate about just how ugly you have to be before chest size becomes negated, I proposed to agree to disagree and split the difference – we would each choose one for the final two spots.

She agreed to this, adding the tag of ‘reasonable’ to her ever growing list of qualities. I was actually a little bit smitten – she was pretty, nicely endowed, had a sense of humour, could objectify women accurately and was reasonable. If she wasn’t quite so clever, she could have been my perfect woman. I thanked her for her help and invited her to a game as my guest –now I have her number at least, and who knows what the future will bring, maybe she will receive a blow to the head?



A few of them the girls took some convincing to sign – but we actually had quite a bit of cash floating about the club now after all those sales and paying for their replacements over 4 years. Marek says it is crucial that we upgrade the training facilities every summer with it, but he’s away in Ruzomberok so won’t know that I’ve spent half of it on new cheerleaders and outfits. Anyway, I’m the big cheese round here, and this is a vital expenditure if the Club is ever going to win anything.

The bad news is that having spent so much time and money on the recruitment of the cheerleaders, I had taken my eye off the mascot ball. HC Slovan Bratislava were playing hardball, there was not enough left in the kitty to blow them out of the water with a transfer offer for Harvy. Having already sacked the last one, we are therefore without a mascot for the time being, and I can only hope this doesn’t come back to bite us on the bottom.



With the girls in training for the new season, I decided it was time I also focussed on ‘on pitch’ concerns. Marek assured me that we had comfortably the best team in Slovakia, but this was also true last year, and we came in 4th whilst losing the cup final. We had new cheerleaders, and got rid of the mascot, but we hadn’t replaced him – and with this uncertainty in the air I was going to have to do a bit of work with the squad as well if success was to be ensured.
 
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Gulliball

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Morale had been a problem last year, but having got rid of all the troublemakers I knew this year would be easier. Marek suggested that some team bonding would help bring everyone closer together. I must admit that I did slightly mishear what he had actually said, and booked us all in for a group session with our physio/dominatrix Mistress Dragana, but it actually went quite well. For weeks afterwards everyone was walking with the same limp, and I could immediately sense a real feeling of unity amongst them.

On the field, this did have a short-term negative impact, but I knew that giving the rest of the league a two game start wouldn’t matter once the squad gelled together.

In Europe, we were starting at the very beginning – the first qualifying round of the EURO Cup. This meant playing a bunch of no mark foreigners for very little money. Daugava Riga were beaten 3-1 and 2-0, before Rudar were seen off 4-2 and 0-0. 4 games played and we were only half way to qualifying. Next up were neighbours Slovan Liberec from the Czech Republic. We beat them 1-0 at home, and I was confident of seeing the job through – all we had to do was score and they would need 3 to win. The trouble was that they did score three, and they did win. We didn’t score at all, and crashed out the competition.



Take away expenses and we barely made anything out of Europe this year. Marek’s already mad at me for spending the money on the cheerleaders – if we don’t win the league this year and get back into the Champions League then there won’t be a training ground upgrade this year.

Fortunately for Marek the players he recommended were significantly better than last year’s rabble. We lost to Zilina in the 4th game of the season, but didn’t lose again for the rest of the calendar year. When the winter break began, and 19 of the 33 league games had been played, we were clear at the top of the league with 13 wins, 5 draws and that solitary defeat. Not playing in Europe allowed us to play a strong side every week without them even getting tired. Everything was going right – even Sebo was scoring.



In the Cup, I was desperate to go one better. If you have the best team in the country then you really have to stamp your imprint all over the domestic scene. In the winter we faced a few tinpot sides, all of which were seen off quite easily. Zilina in the quarter-finals were the first real test, and they were duly dispatched 5-4 (on penalties). With them gone, the rest was plain sailing – the semi with Zlate Moravce was fairly typical for me - looked favourable at first but ended up being much harder than it needed to. They were finally beaten off late on in the second leg.

In the final we faced 2nd Division outfit Nove Mesto. Seriously, not even a top level side. I briefly toyed with giving myself the day off and collecting the trophy at the training ground the next day, but no, the media would just have stirred up more trouble and I wasn’t going to give them any more ammunition. Besides, I quite like holding trophies aloft and it would be a shame to deny my fanbase the opportunity to share this moment. I think if the media knew the real me, they would be a lot more sympathetic.

At 1-0 down with an hour gone I regretted not focussing more on the preparation for this match. Nove Mesto might be a two bob part-time outfit but they were proving to be no mugs. Several of their supporters were quick to remind me of this with their song choices, and I began to regret my pre-match press conference, during which I had called them mugs. Fortunately three quick goals put them back into their place and I was able to thoroughly enjoy my post-match celebrations – singing cheerio cheerio cheerio to their fans and waving my coffee mug at them as they left the ground.



I was fined for this of course, but it was worth it. As much as I enjoyed my time at Levice, there is something to be said for being Goliath – all you have to do is be vaguely competent and success is much easier to come by.



In the league, all we had to do was hold our bottle. Reigning champs Trnava, our fierce rivals, were still reeling from the transfer blow I had landed on them the previous summer and were now in the bottom half. Marek’s signings were starting to gel and really look the part, which bodes quite well for the future. The league was wrapped up with quite a few games to spare, which gave me some time to focus on the celebrations. Some might say that hiring 11 different aeroplanes to fly over the other grounds with a message of triumph was an unnecessary extravagance. Hand on heart, if I could take it back, I would. 6 of the grounds were empty as their sides were playing away – I didn’t think it through and was reckless with the money that was spent needlessly. Still, at least Trnava were at home that weekend.

At Pasienky we celebrated regaining the league title. For me personally it was a very important piece of silverware – getting your dominatrix to get you new contract offers is a bit like your mum getting the other children to play with you – all very well and I thank you for it, but eventually you have to stand on your own two feet and be judged on your own actions. If my mother had managed to talk the other children into it then I would probably be a more rounded individual today.



74 points was 23 more than we managed last year – a testament to Marek’s work scouting some very good players, and my work picking eleven of them every week. 22 wins from 33 games is simply too hot for the rest of Slovakia, and by the time you throw in the 8 draws and only 3 defeats, it’s 16 points clear of second place. The three superstars in the making Marek found last year are now old enough to drink legally and will only get better. He’s sure to find more too, that’s the kind of guy he is – and once I shake off my rustiness, I will only manage them better as well.

People of Slovakia, sit back and watch us cruise to success year after year. Nothing can stop us now.



Actually, having said that, there is one thing that might be able to stop us. Fortunately Vishnu, as far as I am aware at least, did not reincarnate James Leacock, and so there is no bitter Billionaire Irish Potato Magnet to spend his fortune trying to crush my empire.

Sure, I did get drunk celebrating our early title win in April and get into a little scrape with a tourist. And he did then subsequently buy Ruzomberok and release a press statement announcing his intention to spend whatever is necessary to take them to the top of Slovak football. But he’s an American, and so knows nothing about football. He bought the side bottom of the league, who got relegated the week afterwards and so now quite literally aren’t in our league, having been metaphorically not in our league for quite some time now.



I think that this might be too specific to be of any use to them, but nevertheless when I do come to give my lectures to the Harvard Management students I will tell them that if you are going to punch a Billionaire and turn him into your sworn nemeses, then make sure you punch an American as they’re too stupid to buy the team that finished 2nd and instead buy the one who finished last.



Mark my words, this is the last we’ll be hearing of Billionaire Rollercoaster Tycoon Monty Williams.
 
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Gulliball

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I didn’t want to do too much work on the first XI – they had won the domestic double and as most were young kids, would get better with age and experience playing together. Improvement without me having to do anything is something I can get on board with, so I left the coaches and old father time to do their work and focused on the big issues.

This is not to say we did nothing in the transfer market though. Oh no. Marek came to me excited about this kid from Romania - he was only 16 and wouldn’t shut up about him. His side CSM Rm Valcea weren’t even in their top division but wanted more than a million pounds for him. At 16 he was too young to loan out, so I would have to play him in a lot of games. I wasn’t keen, but Marek went on and on until I gave in. I talked them down to £800k, but it was a big show of faith in my right hand man. Fortunately for Marek, Malik Bekakchi had scored 13 goals in 23 games, which I considered a decent return for an eighteen year old in his first full professional season, and so I decided to back him again.



Joel, a club record £1.6m buy last summer, had to go to fund this. We raised £3m + 10%, so a healthy profit and we now have two youngsters up front who can go right to the top, albeit only currently 16 and 19 years old. To counter this, we added Nadir Cifci on a free transfer. Reasonable wages, but he’s ready to play and having cost nothing there’s a transfer profit there. With Deaconescu on a £35 youth contract they balance out nicely – one large fee, one free and one decent wages, one peanuts. Both can play now and one can grow and grow.

With Cifci available on a free, and with previous success from Danny Wilson and Kael Kakuta, I added exploiting free agents to the human trafficking programme. 12 further free transfers arrived, all of which have some ability and so should make us a profit 12 months down the line. In the meantime, the best of these, such as Ryan Mason, will join the first team squad and the rest will go out on loan.

I then let Marek sign me three more Africans for £4k, £160k and £250k. He says they should all go on and make a profit, and for those fees it’s much easier to trust his judgement.

Having signed these three, I told Marek that I didn’t just want to exploit Africa - we should be equal opportunities opportunists, so I sent him to Eastern Europe and he spent £100k on a Latvian and £250k on another Romanian. I then had second thoughts, and decided that I cannot afford more than a million pounds in a summer just on Romanians and so I sent him back to Africa to unearth a few more for £4k a time.

With 18 guys coming in, only a small number of which are first team material, there had to be some departures. I hawked some players around and saw who got a nibble. An inherited centre back Gorosito went back to Argentina for £500k – I can now claim that the squad is almost entirely my own. From the previous human trafficking arrivals, several attracted interest but only one drew the kind of figure that justifies such a programme. Raphael Dwamena had been a free transfer signing last summer, and after a year out on loan at Myjava where he scored 9 in 20, there was a Saudi Arabian team willing to give me £2.5m. Profits such as these are what will fund my Slovanian Empire, and it was re-assuring that the others also attracted interest and it was only greed for even larger profits in the future that stopped me making more money.

Finally, I offloaded last season’s big name signing Erik Sabo to Sweden for £600k. It was a £250k loss, but I had only bought him because he was Trnava’s captain and I wanted to show who was still the bigger club. He had an ok season, but that’s not good enough for me, and that money could be better spent - so I trusted Marek to invest the profits this summer into training ground improvements and other off-field matters.



With £6.6m raised from only 4 players, I sent the other 23 surplus bodies out on loan to gain more experience. With 100% of their wages paid by the other side, I now have an army of investments that are literally costing us nothing, some of which didn’t cost very much in the first place either, who can be sold whenever we need cash for an off-field improvement or a particularly large Marek signing. Basically I’ve found a way to get other farmers to pay to fatten up my cash cows before I milk them and send them off to slaughter. It’s a crying shame that I can’t publically boast about this practise, because I feel that a Nobel Prize for Business is not far away, but I can’t afford to just give away my trade secrets.

With the playing side taking care of itself, and the coaches working with the first team squad, I had some free time to really make my mark on the football club, by solving the mascot issue once and for all. The forums were turning up some positive leads, but I still hadn’t had that Eureka moment, so openly advertised for applications. I was encouraged by the level of response, but with hindsight I should have written the advert when sober. Any advert that concludes with “basically a pervert in a big costume” is not going to get a professional response, and once it went viral there were quite a few joke replies. At least I hope they were jokes.








In the cold light of day I couldn’t sign any of them whilst maintaining the allure of the club. I ended up having to sign a deal with a children’s entertainment company to supply a temporary mascot for the season, until I can devote my full attention to resolving the issue next summer.

Freddy the Frog made his debut in pre-season, but unfortunately the character actor hired took his part a little too seriously and de-hydrated on the pitch twenty minutes in. We tried to get him to go back out, but he refused unless we flooded the pitch for him to give a realistic impression of his natural habitat. I briefly considered his proposal, but as serious as the mascot issue is, we can’t afford to have games postponed just to get a realistic mascot. For the moment we’re mascotless, as Freddy is ‘on the treatment table’ until I can think of a solution or the weather takes a severe turn for the worse. Freddy the Frog action figures are not selling well in the club shop, as anyone who didn’t attend that friendly has no idea who he is. I’ve cancelled our repeat order and hopefully we can sell them as ‘Limited Edition’ to a few nerds.



By the time this was all sorted, the season was upon us. Hand on heart, I think the uncertainty over the mascot situation handed the impetus to our rivals. We actually started quite well, but Trnava were no longer afraid to challenge us in case we raided them again. At the first International break we had a decent record, but were trailing them.



It was then that fate sent me a little message. Slovan Bratislava were drawn away to Levice in the 2nd Round of the Slovak FA Cup. But this game would not be played in the mighty Kittenberge Arena, no, this game would take place at Levice Stadium.



It was as if Vishnu was saying ‘Kittenberger, anything you can build, I can knock down’. I say as if, but in fact that was actually what he said. I printed out his email and stuck it up on the dressing room wall. They didn’t understand the true inspirational purpose behind my actions, but several of them have converted to Hinduism. I did try and put them off by telling them what a cruel bastard he is, but it turns out that offering evidence is a powerful tool for religious recruitment, even if it’s not your intention at all.

The game itself was an emotional day. It was good to be back at my old stomping ground and see some familiar faces. Obviously they had no idea who I was and it was all a bit farcical, but I enjoyed it.

On the pitch, I was coming face to face with a familiar problem – the early rounds of the cup are played during International breaks. Signing cheap young players from small European countries means that they are pretty much all either U19, U21 or full International players. I tried telling Marek to sign really good ones but ones that won’t get called up Internationally, but he said this wasn’t possible. Until he steps up his game, I think we’re going to be stuck with it too.

The up side is that the lower league Slovak clubs are pretty shit, so as long as you’ve got 7 or 8 really good players then you can throw in any old drunk youth teamer to make up the numbers and still win. With a full strength team we would have battered Levice, but because of this handicap it was a much closer run 2-1 win. Still, in cup football winning is all that matters.

With Levice beaten, we were now in the safer position of having a full squad for the other games, so had a pretty simple run to the final. But there we faced our apparent new rivals, Ruzomberok. I had been quick to dismiss them after relegation, but being a 2nd division side is seemingly no issue if you have a Tycoon owner and can attract a bunch of mercenaries. By the time the final was played it was clear that they will be back with the big boys next season and have money to spend. I really should stop punching rich people.

Fortunately though I am able to forget about them for another two months because they were destroyed 5-3 (via penalty shootout). I think that’s a clear message sent out that we are still the biggest dog in the shop.



Speaking of cups, we were back in the Champions League and on the pursuit of big money. We began in Ireland, where Bohemians had too much artistry for us in the first leg, but thankfully we spared them no lives in a monstrosity of a second leg, and went through 4-1 on aggregate. FC Kobenhavn were up next, in what was a clash of two similar sides, each looking to establish themselves as European regulars despite being from a small country. We had too much for them though, winning both legs, 1-0 and 3-1 to set-up a play-off against Steaua. This was a pretty kind draw to be fair and it was one we had to capitalise on – they’re a similarly sized club and we’ve already pinched the best two youngsters from Romania, so Marek told me.

The first leg was a tense 0-0 at home. This meant we just had to draw the away leg and we would be in the Champions League group stage, which would fund the club for years to come. At 1-1 at half time, we had the priceless away goal, and nothing could stop us. Nothing, that is, apart from another Steaua goal – which stopped us dead in our tracks and knocked us out 2-1. Cruelly, cruelly close to the gravy boat riches, but at least we got £1.8m for being knocked out so late on, and then another million for going into the EURO Cup group stage. It wasn’t quite the £7m on offer from the big time, but for Slovakia was still a lot of money and is enough to fund us for the next few years.



The group stages themselves could have been worse, as we were paired with Lazio, Sevilla and FC Kobenhavn. The latter we knew we could beat twice, and duly did by matching 3-0 scorelines. Against the bigger pair, our home form was enough to scrape a further 4 points and make it through to the knockout stage.

Extending the European run beyond Christmas for the first time is a landmark moment for any small country manager, and I was proud to achieve this so early. I gave Marek something special in his stocking – and to be fair what he gets up to in his spare time is none of my business.

We faced Champions League dropper-outers, a side who I believe it is customary to prefix with ‘Oil Rich’, baguette munchers PSG. A 3-0 home defeat was pretty fair, and a creditable 1-1 draw in gay Paris was too little too late to get the credit it deserved. Overall, a very good season in Europe and valuable money raised for the coming improvements on and off the pitch.



It was now February and the domestic season was soon to restart after the three month winter break. In a two horse race for the title, I had decided on a little bit of team building to give us an edge. This had mixed results – some players became friends, others just realised that they didn’t like each other. One pair took it too far and caused the termination of this policy. I was about to fine Danny Wilson for the assault, but then thought that as a general rule you should never get into a bar fight with a Scotsman, so fined Celustka instead.



Still, in the fifteen games after the break we only lost once. Trnava were also on good form though and it was neck and neck, right down to the wire. We had a hero though in Malik Bekakchi, the man Marek made me promise never to sell. His ten goals in the final seven games included five winners, giving us a run of steam that melted the Trnava challenge at the final hurdle. It went to the penultimate game, but we were three points ahead of them when it really mattered – when a balding fat guy in a suit hands out the trophy.



A second domestic double in two years is all you can ask for really. We’ve also made a little progress in Europe, and saved up some money for Marek to work his magic. If I can just sort out this mascot business then I really think we’re almost there as a club.
 
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Gulliball

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The player sales began early, in fact the season had barely ended when the deal was done for Deaconescu to go to Arsenal. 16 goals in 25 games was a decent return for a 16/17 year old, and of course his potential had attracted the big teams. I could have forced him to stay, but taking the money allowed us to re-invest, so he went to London for £4m + 10%. I promised never to doubt Marek ever again and just gave him the money to go and do it again. In future I’ll just let him buy who he likes and deal with them once they arrive.

Also receiving offers was the young Latvian signed at the same time. Barcelona offered the highest price, and he went off to buy a new sombrero for £3.5m. Not quite as high a fee, but we are due 25% of his next fee – my logic is that he won’t make it there and they’ll offload him, so I won’t buy out the clause for a quick profit and wait for the bigger payday. Also, having signed for £100k rather than £800k he was actually a bigger profit and I’d loaned him out to 2nd Division Nitra for the season, so he had never even played here – I didn’t even have to learn his name or pay him any wages and it was a £3.4m profit in 12 months.

Aaron Samuel was a similar delight. A 21 year old Nigerian striker on a free transfer 12 months ago, he had spent the season on loan at Videoton in Hungary, where his 100% goal record of 1 in 1 had convinced Al-Nassr to take him to Saudi Arabia for £3m. As a free transfer and the Hungarians paying him for the last year, this was the juiciest of all profits to date.

Also crossing the fine line between me wanting cash now and me being greedy for even more in the future were Stankovic (£0 for £250k), Cikos (inherited for £550k), Bonevacia (£0 for £350k), Trapp (£0 for £125k), Sprangler (£0 for £1m), Thiam (£0 for £525k), Mason (£0 for £800k), Odjer (£350k for £650k), Piskov (£150k for £1.4m), Mandzhgaldze (£0 for £150k), Bencun (£0 for £220k), Sarcevic (£0 for £200k), Balic (£6.5k for £1.3m) and Mudrinski (£0 for £650k).

A lesser man would tell you how much profit all those players have made, but having been re-incarnated I am now a more mature and philosophical person. All I will say is that it is more than seventeen and a quarter million pounds. On sales of £19.25m that would represent a gross profit percentage of 89.7%, should a gun ever be held to my head and I was asked.



Thanks to these sales, we were swimming in cash. For a brief moment this was literal too, but Marek convinced me that the swimming pool should be filled with water so that the players could use it for fitness. I argued my side but eventually gave in and the money went to the bank instead. Probably safer there to be fair. That was one of a number of training ground improvements that will help us attract bigger and better fish in the future.

Crucially, it also means that we can afford to keep our superstars Jacobson, Bekakchi and Vilceanu, as well as the other first teamers. This either means offering them a new contract or ignoring their pleas to leave and keeping them under lock and key. From now on, no-one has to be sold unless I want them gone.

I made a deal with Marek that we would bank ten million for the club and he could have the rest to spend. Other than off-field building work, there is a lot of things that eat money. Subsidising the wage bill necessary for a squad that’s good enough to compete in Europe is no easy feat. If you are generating £700k per season in ticket sales and your wage bill is now north of £5m per year then you need to exploit these African lads just to make ends meet, never mind grow even more.

Still, I made a judgement call that giving Marek just shy of £10m would not only keep the roundabout swinging, but add a few more levels to it too. Imagine a multi-story roundabout full of cheap imported Africans, with one constantly falling off after each other, and you’ll be close to what I had in my head. I did check, but human rights legislation and a rejected planning permission application prevented it from becoming more than just a vision – and those players will have to be put up in hotels instead before I can loan them out somewhere.

With these millions burning a hole in his pocket, I apparently “just had to buy” this guy Orcun Alan from Kayserispor. I joked that we already had enough Turkeys in the squad, but as he’d found most of them it didn’t go down well. Still, whenever he says I have to do something, the right thing is to do it, and he was right – this bloke was actually a steal thanks to a £1.9m release clause, otherwise he would not have been coming here. At £14k per week he is by far away the highest paid player we have, or are likely to have, but he is quite literally a world ahead of the rest and tipped to go right to the top. Even if we only keep him for a season or two he might make the difference. That’s 4 superstars in the squad – a few more like him and we could reach new heights.

We needed a new right back and he found one in Africa for £1.3m – he’s a bit older than usual so might not have the same level of sell-on profit, but can step into the team immediately.

Albert Rusnak was a no brainer. Yes he is a but thick, but by that I mean he was of a decent standard (released by Man City), was Slovak, and willing to sign for £1.8k per week - making him the ideal 2nd choice attacking midfielder and also the chance of profit in the future.

Dwight Gayle was also on a free transfer and willing to sign, so I went over Marek and signed him myself. There’s definitely money in the future there if he bangs them in against second rate defences.

In addition to these guys, Marek brought in 15 development (trafficking) players for fees ranging from £10k, £15k and £40k to £800k, £950k and £2m. All but two of these (the most expensive two) were from Africa, giving us real value for money. He then signed 9 more on free transfers.

Work then began getting rid of all them all. In total 31 players went out on loan, which was one hell of a morning’s work I can tell you. Spending £9.6m on players - more than every club in the history of Slovakia ever (probably, I haven’t checked) – and then only keeping £3.2m worth of them, is a risk. It certainly gets you lots of negative publicity and mocking column inches – but what these mortals don’t have is all my experience. I have had my column inches mocked since before they were born, and often by altogether prettier people too. We have a good first 11, decent back-up and 31 cows ready to fall off my roundabout whenever I give them a kick. We also have heaps of money in the bank, brilliant facilities for a club of our stature and are managed by the biggest genius ever to enter into football management. I tell you; once I sort out the mascot, we’ll be unbeatable.



The Slovan board really should be grateful too, because with Ruzomberok now back in the top flight, Monty has been throwing his wallet about. Marek and I had worked hard to exploit all these African youngsters – selling them dreams of a better life in Europe before selling them to the highest bidder. We had worked hard for every single penny that we’d raised, allowing us to sign more and more players, for larger and larger wage bills. Within days of getting back to the top flight, this rollercoaster building yank had come in and blown us out the water. Without achieving anything, suddenly these two bit, tinpot nobodies are spending three times what we are – and revelling in it too.

Now I am big enough, old enough and reincarnated enough to have seen all this before. This guy is just another James Leacock, only richer and with an even more annoying accent. All I have to do is win a couple of European titles, make millions from the England job and retire to Brazil and he’ll lose interest. Admittedly until we reach that point he might make things tricky, but I am always up for a fight. When Monty says in the media that he wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire, I tell him that I wouldn’t shit on him if he was growing roses. Simple.

As long as we back it up with success on the field, I can handle the yank. On that note, I was desperate to do one better in Europe this year. The sides we were getting drawn with are beatable. Take last year for example – Bohemians, Kobenhavn and Steaua – it’s not insurmountable. We signed Steaua’s best player for £4m twelve months before we lost to them in the play-offs – and in the two years since have only grown and grown.

Getting the big European money is now my number one aim – this cash, along with the trafficking proceeds can accelerate our growth to well beyond our rivals, both domestically and abroad.

As a club, we had done our bit – spending £14k per week on a new signing for example - and I asked the fans to do their bit all well. I wanted Pasienky to be a place that visitors feared, and to their credit our fans backed me up.



It wasn’t totally what I had in mind, but I guess I was a bit ambiguous. In between the riots, when we were able to get some matches played, results picked up.

Zeljeznicar may sound like a bit from that good Spice Girls song, but they are actually a Bosnian football team. It’s just before the bit when they say ‘If you want to be my lover’. After a 2-0 home win it was game over. A 3-1 away win was just some icing.



We actually lost the next game in Greece to AIK Athens, but the pre-match hooliganism at home inspired us to turn the deficit around and win 3-1. In another world these kind of qualifications would make me eligible to be Greece’s Finance Minister, but alas, I am but a humble football manager and we had a play-off to come that required my full attention.

There, we faced Olympiakos, with the winner going into the knock-out stages of the Champions League and pocketing £7m. Now I know what you are thinking, and yes – Greece do only get one team in the Champions League qualifiers and that is Olympiakos. It turns out that AIK are a Swedish team and the team in Athens are AEK. Egg on my face, but I don’t book the flights so it’s not like I have to be totally on top of these things.

In the play-offs, neither side could buy a goal. This was short-sighted on Greece’s part because I don’t think austerity is the way out of their problems. 210 minutes of solid football later, we had to take some penalties to settle things – and having spent the last two weeks doing their best jigsaw impressions, suddenly both sides could not miss. After 20 spot kicks it was 10-10 and down to the goalkeepers.

Christina Bonilla and I have had a mixed relationship…

But the guy won me £7m and made Slovan Bratislava history.



My motivational methods really are something else.
 

Gulliball

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Once we were in the Group Stages, well, who cared really? We got another million in prize money, plus some gate receipts and our reputation has never been higher. Job done.



Whilst we were riding this tidal wave of cash into the bank, the first set of annual wage bills were published, and for the second half of the beverage I had to drink some saliva in with my tea as I spat one mouthful out when I first read them and I didn’t want to waste any imported PG Tips.



We had worked hard exploiting African teenagers to raise our wage bill from £40k per week to its current £112k, and this was lightyears ahead of anyone else in Slovakia – or so I thought until I saw that Ruzomberok are paying more than £300k per week.

I only have myself to blame too. No sooner have we achieved our first continental landmark than we are getting challenged again domestically. I really do have to limit myself to only punching the poor. If I ever have a third life then I will get that tattooed on my forehead. Only punch the poor.

Still, if this is a war then I have four nuclear missiles in my proverbial arsenal, and I don’t care how many mercenaries you have, there’s nothing that’s going to stop them.



There was interest in Bekakchi, but I was not going to sell him. He was Marek’s first signing and I had promised him that I would never sell him. As a habitual liar, that promise might not be worth as much as it would coming from someone else, but I won't sell him whilst he’s scoring goals.

After firing us into the Champions League, Bekakchi was my weapon numero uno. The very next week the board tried to capitalise on the good feeling in the City by holding a day of celebration. I told the lads to go out and make it a special day – if we can hold on to a few of these glory hunters then our twitter following may go above 2000, and that would be a special day. Senica were the opponents, and they got Bekakchi’d.



Sadly my attempt to claim it as a verb for the nation failed to get off the ground. It turns out that putting posters up around the district inviting locals to come along and watch someone get Bekakchi’d attracts a very unsavoury and slightly perverted type of individual. I did make a few new friends and get two phone numbers out of it though, so not all bad news.



Still, the official day was a resounding success and attendances are sure to rise. I have re-assured Marek that Bekakchi will never be sold, and at this rate I may turn out to be honest for once.

By the end of October he had 16 league goals. A few weeks later, whilst I was still wearing shorts with my suit to games, he had the all-time divisional record too. Incredible stuff.



By now bids were flying in for him, but I will die before I let him leave. And I have a trunk full of equipment that I can borrow from our dominatrix/physio that I am quite prepared to use if he ever tries to force the issue. Of course form like this does not go unnoticed. We were holders of the domestic double, playing in Europe against big fish and scoring goals for fun. At the turn of the calendar year this incredible performance was acknowledged in the rightful fashion.



I made sure that I was on my best behaviour whilst giving my acceptance speech. Things were going well and I didn’t want to derail anything, so I paid the translator not to let on about the jokes about Monty’s mum. Unfortunately after a few beers I forgot not to do them in English, which rendered the whole thing pointless. Fifty quid down the drain, and probably another few million thrown at a higher class of mercenary for next year. She is fat though.

In the league we had a small cushion over the chasing pack, which was being led by Monty’s men. We were simply too good though, and finished with 76 points – our highest total to date and one which would only be beaten by a much better class of opponent than anyone the yank had bought to date.



Doing it over 33 games gives you a safety net if there is the odd bad performance – the Cup provides no such luxury. The early rounds being played during International breaks is simply a ridiculous aspect of the season that we can do very little about. We managed to beat Sered 3-1 in the first round with only six actual players by sheer ineptitude on their part – had we drawn a 2nd Division side rather than a non-league one we might have perished. For the second round I tried injuring a few of the expected call ups, nothing too serious of course, just a flesh wound here and there. With hindsight, outsourcing the task to Mistress Dragana was a mistake, and the result was three long term injures and one transfer request. I accepted it though – anyone unable to cope with that level of degradation has no business in one of my dressing rooms. We only had 5 players for the match, and needed penalties to beat non-league Kremnicka after a 0-0 draw. I spent the second half asleep.

Fortunately by the third round things were back to approaching normal, and I was able to field an adult team to beat Banska Bystrica, and then in the quarter-finals we beat Senec, again on penalties, to set-up a semi-final tie against arch rivals and massive twats Ruzomberok.

The tie was to be played over two legs. This, I told the boys, was more than any of them would be left with if we lost. Fuck the carrot, my reputation and bragging rights with Monty are on the line here.



Thankfully, if there have ever been question marks over any of my qualities, and there have been some poor judges of character over the years, my motivational skills are beyond reproach. In the first leg we tore out of the blocks like men fearing for their personal safety. By the time we scored our third in the last minute, our dominance had already been established, but a 3-0 lead was even sweeter to take back to Bratislava. Monty must have left early because by the time I gave him the two fingered salute at the final whistle he was nowhere to be seen and I ended up offending a few hundred Ruzomberokians instead. I believe that’s called win-win.

In the second leg, I told them to lose on the day, just so long as they win overall. That’s the official line, and I’m sticking to it. They of course did exactly as I asked, and we were into the final 4-2 on aggregate. Nothing to brag about there Monty. The 2-0 win in the final against Kosice didn’t have the same edge, but it came with a big shiny trophy at the end of it. This was a record third successive domestic double and my favourite of the lot.



One final cherry was added to the cake on the final day of the season when we beat Zilina in front of a record crowd for Slovakia. This was more than double the crowd at the fan day back in September, and more than 4 times as many as we were getting when I arrived, but it was even sweeter as it was a record we took from Trnava and really cemented our position as biggest dog in the pond. Ruzomberok are playing in front of six morons and a yank.



The target now is simple - European qualification every year and domestic doubles until we’re as pissed as newts. Time for Marek to get to work while I have a fortnight off.
 

Gulliball

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I returned from my holiday a much wiser man. The trouble with taking two weeks off is that you’ve barely started your tan, only found a fraction of the local hotspots and the local women haven’t had time to fully appreciate your foreign charms. After three weeks your skin is peeling, you’re barred from half the island and women still don’t want to sleep with me… sorry, you. This is purely hypothetical wisdom you understand.

What also happens when the season ends on 2nd June and the new one starts on 8th July is that you’ve only got five weeks to do everything. Spending three and a half weeks in the Spanish sun does tend to mean you have to rush things in the week and a half you have left, and as such, it was a quieter year for incomings. The official line is that with a good first eleven and players improving every year as they got older, we didn’t need any big money players. This is why only three players were signed - two young centre backs and one young goalkeeper came in from Croatia and Africa for a combined £875k. I have promised Marek that next year I will take a shorter holiday and sign the rest of the wonderful players he found that sadly I didn’t have time to pursue.



Also on the ‘postponed until next year list’ is the ongoing search for a mascot. I really must get round to sorting that, but with time fast running out there were bigger fish to fry.

Selling players is the best part of my job. Getting lots of lovely money for rejects, children, failures, the overpaid and the big-headed. Come to think of it, anyone not currently in my first eleven is ripe for the chop.

The squad now is seriously good. And I should know - I’ve won it all, over two lifetimes. That automatically makes me at least twice as good as any of my rivals. Some players were starting to knock on my door demanding moves to bigger sides. They were easy to deal with; I just kicked them out and ignored them. The ones wanting new deals were slightly more of a pain – I tried telling them that I couldn’t give them a new contract as I had to think of the rainforests, but they didn’t buy it, so I had to give in and hand them all new contracts.

To pay for this we had a car boot sale of anyone or anything not currently in the first team plans. AC Milan, Valencia, Juventus and Real Madrid all sent over their Chief Executives, and Mrs Salayova from the local bookshop bought our old fax machine. Three years we’ve been trying to sell that thing.

Vincent Coulibaly was a nightmare to get rid of. Real Madrid snapped him up for £3.5m, but didn’t have the cash on them. Biggest club in the world my arse.



Roma then stepped in, but wanted to pay by cheque. Who did they think I am?



In the end I had to give Juventus a discount to take him, and they handed over £3.4m in seventeen large suitcases.



The other sales were, thankfully, slightly easier.

In total we raised just over £22m on the day, breaking a Slovak National Record for a car boot sale. I say broke, we actually smashed it, by just over £22m. Particular highlights were turning £950k into £3m, £250k to £3.4m, £4k to £1m, £220k to £3.5m and £10k to £3.3m, and several other free transfers were turned into cold, hard cash.

This left 13 others to go out on loan, ready to be fattened up and sold next summer.

With the new contracts, minus the player sales, our wage bill was slightly up on last season (from £112k per week to £118k). Having giving Monty a good thrashing though, he had opened up his cheque book once again. When the new figures were published, his weekly expenditure had gone from £303k to £409k, and more than £12m had been spent in transfer fees. He had players on £30k per week.



Personally, I spent our piles of cash in a much wiser fashion.



By October the training ground was now a fully blown complex, with state of the art facilities as good as anything in the world. A staggering rise in fortunes in only four years in the job.



By then of course we had played the European qualifiers. Reaching the group stages would immediately pay for the training complex. TNS, Shrek and BATE Borrisov. Of course the smarter people amongst you will realise that I have given away a slight spoiler there by revealing that we faced three teams. If you noticed the little error I made with the team names for comedic effect then you can go to the top of the class. If you missed it, there is of course only one r in Borisov.

To be honest I can’t even remember the final scores. None of them were a match for us on the field and we won all six games, proving in the process that last year was not a fluke. Oh no, the Slovan boys fully deserve our place at the top table.



In the draw we pulled out Chelsea, Napoli and Sporting. This was a pretty tough draw, but after five games we were 3rd, having beaten Sporting and Napoli at home. In the last game we had to go to Sporting, with anything possible.



With a win we could make it through to the knock-out round if Napoli beat Chelsea. Draw and we go into the latter round of the EURO league. Lose and I cry myself to sleep.

At half time we were winning 2-1 and things were looking rosy.



To lose it to an 88th minute goal was a crushing blow, and saw us depart Europe altogether. My reputation took a bit of a blow on the flight home when an attendant asked me to be quiet as my sobbing was annoying the other passengers. I did manage to restore it though by fining them all a week’s wages. Getting the money from our boys will be simple enough, but Marek advises me that legally I have no case to make a claim against the old couple on their way back from holiday. They probably don’t earn enough in a week from their pensions to make it worthwhile anyway.





This was a disappointment, but we still had cup football to look forward to. The Slovak Cup may not have the same financial rewards or prestige, but. In fact, forget that, there’s no way to finish that sentence in a credible manner. We were dumped out of Europe and had to make do with the crumbs.

Still, another domestic double would be two more fingers up to Monty, and as such we were taking the cup very seriously. The problem of early rounds clashing with international breaks was hampering us again, and having sold so many reserve and youth players this summer, numbers were worse than ever. I ended up signing Luke Garbutt on a free transfer the week before the second round, just so we had a left back to play. To some people, spending £5k per week for a man who will only play twice, on the sole basis that he’s not good enough to be called up internationally, might seem a touch extravagant. To me it just proved our fighting spirit and so I signed two others as well. At £14k per week and rising the Slovak Cup may soon be in the same financial echelon as the Champions League.



With this kind of funding, we were too much for the tinpot, part-time outfits we faced. Podbrezova did give us a scare in the semi-finals, but we managed to turn it around in the second leg to qualify for yet another final. With Ruzomberok having lost in the quarter finals we were paired with 10th placed Duslo Sala.

With hindsight, complacency may have been a factor in our defeat. Certainly using the phrase riff-raff in the press conference was ill-judged. I will say one thing though – I have never seen such a bunch of bad winners. If the roles were reversed then I would never have partaken in the shameless gloating that I was subject to. You would not believe the rudeness. I hope they all get mugged in Europe next year and have to stay in Boratstan forever.



With this defeat, the league was now must-win. At half way we were unbeaten, with 14 wins and 5 draws. Monty’s mercenaries were close, but no match for us. You can’t buy pure talent. Well, obviously you can, but you need Marek to find them for you first. If ever a man deserves an award, it was Marek.

His opportunity came at the prestigious End of Year Awards ceremony. Or it would have done, but unfortunately for him, much like MI6, I don’t officially acknowledge that he exists, so he was ineligible for any of them. It wasn’t all bad news for him though, as for the second year in a row I was crowned as Manager of the Year and he can take comfort in the fact that he has contributed to that. Obviously as the figurehead and big cheese, I will keep the trophy and bask in the glory, but he really should be proud of himself.



With Christmas come and gone, there were only 14 games remaining for us to navigate. With nine wins and a few draws, we never dropped enough to give them a chance to recover and maintained a comfortable lead right through to the finish.



The two losses – 4-3 in Ruzomberok thanks to two late goals, and another defeat to bogey side Duslo Sala – were only minor bumps on the road to success. It wasn’t quite a fourth straight domestic double, but it was still a fourth consecutive league win, and with more points and fewer defeats than ever before.



With the season finished, Marek and I had a meeting to take stock of everything and create a new 5 year plan for success, or ‘The Masterplan’, as it will now be known. Actually, that may be a slight exaggeration. We sat down for five minutes, realised we had more than £29m in the bank, no need to spend anything on facilities any longer, so decided that we are going to start spending it on players. Time for Marek to get to work while I have ten days off.
 
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Gulliball

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All I wanted was ten days off. Was that too much to ask? Apparently so, as only two bars had put up warning posters about me before I was on a plane back to Bratislava. We had £29m in the bank and were going to spend money like never before. No more training facilities, no more youth networking, no more embezzling 5% to pay for my summer holiday – we were going to spend it on players.

Marek had been given a simple brief – find us some quality. Not too expensive or wanting to be paid a fair wage for their quality were the only restrictions I imposed on him. No French and No Irish were only semi-serious, and I’m pretty sure he knew I was joking when he said one of them had better be good looking as calendar sales were down last year.

Well, he had called me back from my holiday to let me know that he had found four such players. Paulo Roberto, a 20 year old central midfielder from Gremio in Brazil, Roman Slama, an 18 year old striker from our neighbours Sparta Prague, Svetoslav Nedelchev, a 16 year old right back from Bulgarians Ludogorets and Daniel Ojeda, a 19 year old goalkeeper from Velez in Argentina. All of them, he assured me, would be superstars. Fantastic I said, have a biscuit.

Then it became clear why he had called me back. Paulo Roberto couldn’t be prised away for anything less than £3m, Sparta Prague wanted £4m for Slama and wouldn’t even consider instalments, Ludogorets knew they had the best 16 year old on the planet and wanted £4m for someone too young to go out and buy me fags. I got Marek to phone them back and put this point to them, but they said they were focusing on his footballing potential. “And what about Ojeda?” I asked nervously. Well, £7m. A club record £7m for a goalkeeper. Couldn’t we just fatten the reserve up a bit so that he fills more of the goal? Well, apparently not – he was of a quality too good to ignore.



£18m was a lot of money to spend, and I had to think twice before doing it. Then I remembered the wise words Marek had once said to me in another life – speculate to accumulate. Well, this time, one whole lifetime of experience behind me, I did not misunderstand his point and start rumours about the chairman’s wife, oh no, I looked Marek squarely in the eye and said “Get the chequebook”.

That’s a club record broken and a lot of our money wiped out in one fell swoop. On the positive side we have another four top drawer players to add to the four we already had. That’s eight top quality players, ranging in age from 16 to 22 years old. Give them another few years and Marek the chance to add the other three, and there is no limit for this group of players. In the meantime the squad players we have making up the numbers are more than enough for the Slovak domestic scene and the early rounds of Europe.

Marek was not done there though. He had found the four players of world class quality I had demanded, but Marek would not be Marek unless he scavenged around Africa and a few of the poorer European nations to find some rough diamonds for me to exploit. In total 30 players arrived, for a combined £19.75m. Given that four of them cost £18m, that is an awful lot of free transfers and bargain bucket players.

Now some managers would not be happy if their scout came to them and said, I have found you twenty-six players, some on free transfers and some for fees such as £500 and £5k, all of which will make you a profit in the future, that will allow you to bankroll your march to the very top of football. Myself? Well, I showed just why I am destined for great things. I looked up from my newspaper and told him “go on then”. A lot of these were players he found last summer but I ran out of time to buy, so owed them to him.

Now for a while this show of faith was hard to live with. Literally. At one point we had 61 players at the club, most of which were poor and living in a new country. I had three at my house, a few slept in the street and the rest were scattered around the training ground on whatever makeshift beds they could create. It was witnessing one lad trying to sleep whilst lying across 6 chairs that I made my ‘No Africans over 6 foot’ rule – it’s just not fair on the others.

Eventually though we made some headway. 35 players went out on loan, with their wages paid in full. 9 players were also sold, raising £9m to get the bank balance up to a fraction of its former glory but still better than nothing. No-one too important was sold as I managed to find a few of the 26 newbies to keep around and sell the players they were replacing.

My policy when it comes to players wanting away is very simple. Lock the door and pretend you’re not in. They sulk for a few months but come the next transfer window when their chosen suitor moves on to somebody else, they forget all about the whole thing. By now I have it off to an art form, and no-one with any quality leaves unless I want them to.

The cup final defeat last season gave us the chance to start this new spendthrift era with some immediate silverware. The 2-0 victory was a record 5th Super Cup win. We, of course, already hold the record for most 1st Division wins and most cup wins, so this completes the set.



It also gave us the opportunity to show that we are the bigger men, and not celebrate the revenge win too much. I gave it a lot of thought and settled for locking them in the changing rooms after the game listening to our celebrations – no public outcry but we show them who the big boys are.

Domestically, we were simply a class ahead of anybody else. Even big spending Ruzomberok could not match the quality of the lads we brought in, no matter what they spent. By the time the winter break came along, no-one had looked like beating us and we remained unbeaten.



This allowed us to focus on the European scene, and finding sides that can match us. We sent Shrek back to their swamp, took a few Ventspils and then squared off with Olympiakos in the play-off. After a 2-1 win at home we only had to draw away to get another share of the big money gravy train boat. 2-1 is a dangerous score to take in to a 2nd leg however, as it only takes one goal and you are out on away goals. Oh, how I wish I had considered this before the game and warned the boys, but alas, only hindsight has 20-20 vision.



We did at least have the EURO Cup to fall back on. Ajax and Leverkusen seemed like a good test for a club of our stature, and Genk should be beatable.

Indeed, going into the last game of the group we were in 2nd place and only needed to avoid defeat. We had already qualified Ajax at home, so I fancied our chances. Going 1-0 down in less than 20 seconds was not in the script, but I knew we had enough to come back.

Unfortunately I was wrong, and we did actually lose 1-0.



There was another chance though. If Leverkusen didn’t win their last game, we would be through.



Never mind lads, there’s always next year.

I was comforted a little bit by another recognition, as Manager of the Year for 2019. I would say that writing these speeches get harder every year but that would be a lie and I have no reason to appear humble. Sticking it to my enemies is the only reason I turn up to these things, nay, the only reason I get out of bed each morning.



This European disappointment meant that we had the whole second half of the season to make sure we picked up a domestic double. Some European sides could beat us, but as long as we could lord it over the other Slovak sides, I would be content.

I am not sure what the exact definition of cake walk is. It may be cakewalk or even cake-walk. I may not even be using it correctly. But it sounds right, and the Slovak Cup was definitely a cake walk, so I am going to use it. I hadn’t even heard of half the sides we faced, which may be in small part down to ignorance on my part, but in fairness a lot of them were pretty tinpot outfits. Zilina in the final were a big name, but fortunately a horrific side and we got the trophy back in its rightful home.



The league was pretty much already over. We secured it mathematically very early on. The only question then was whether we would be the invincibles. I have seen more really good Slovak sides than most – being re-incarnated back as a top flight Slovak manager having been a top flight Slovak manager in your previous life will do that to a man – and this was a really good Slovak side. Levice had four or five times Champions League winning sides, I forget which, hell even Trencin reached a CL Final, but no-one has ever done a season unbeaten.

Well, ladies and gentlemen. Bow down before Kalman Kittenberger II.



From Christmas onwards it was a procession to the finish line. Fourteen wins and a draw, plus the cup run in. This was unprecedented. I’m pretty sure it’s also never been seen before.

The plaudits were soon coming. This was truly a side to admire – Bekakchi scoring when he likes, Vilceanu setting them up and record signing Ojeda keeping them out.



Even the new guys had quickly caught on to just how good I was.



This was of course five titles in a row – a feat that had also not been done before, if you ignore the achievements of my Levice side. It was enough to bring me to the top of the Slovak management football tree, if you ignore myself, which apparently we are.





It was also enough to cement my ‘Icon’ status in the City. For a man used to having stadiums named after himself it’s a little low key, but we all have to start somewhere.



This was truly a record breaking year. There were some puzzled faces at the End of Season Awards when I announced how happy I was to break Trencin’s points total from 2044. Living with re-incarnation can sometimes make you look an idiot.

Other than most points, we also broke the record for highest average rating (Bekakchi) and top scorer (Bekakchi at over one per game).

There are still some people to win over though. Even when being forced to mention all my achievements, a section of the media can't resist getting little jibes in the final paragraph. Not to worry though, I am making a list of all their names.





Having splashed the cash in the summer, I think these rewards were richly deserved. Our world class players are still young and need a few more years to develop, but as long as we can add a few more top quality cherries on top in the next few years, I can foresee the Slovan Bratislava cake winning many domestic and European bake-offs.
 
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Gulliball

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To be honest with you the summer of 2020 was a nightmare from start to finish. Firstly, I was asked to do some media work for the Olympic games in Tokyo. Ok, that’s not so bad in itself, but the racial sensitivity course I was sentenced to attend was a total sausage fest and by the time it was finished it was already well into pre-season. That was three weeks I had assigned to a scouting mission for a new mascot all over the Caribbean.

Pasty, sexually frustrated and mascotless, I was already in quite a bad mood when I had people knocking on my door wanting stuff. Centre-back Joseph Udoh was a regular visitor, usually to demand more money, sometimes to ask me to stop making jokes about his Nigerian heritage. I had already used up telling him to go away and promising to make him an offer soon, so assured him that it was an oversight and he’ll get a new deal soon. He actually believed me too. The boy is a fool. If he’s that short of cash then his native royal family are quite generous with their money, so I’ve read.



Erik Jacobsen was next. His agent had told him Olympiakos and a few other sides were after him and he wanted to move. I politely told him to fuck off.

Then my golden boy Malik Bekakchi came in and told me he wanted to move to Dortmund. Now, he’s my superstar so I would never dare telling him to fuck off in case he actually did. It was too late to run away though as he’d already seen me, so my options were limited. I told him to leave it with me and I’ll get back to him.

Our glamour friendly this year was against Dynamo Kiev. After a summer of setbacks I was in the mood for a fight, so hastily googled ‘how to insult a ukrainian’. If I could go back in time and re-do things, I would have never made the Putin masks, but their reaction was totally over the top in my opinion.

As it turned out one of the guys I had punched was Andriy Voronin. Within days he did what seemingly everyone does when I punch them – he put a bid in to buy Trencin.



I don’t think he’s fabulously wealthy, so it might be slightly better than last time. Vincent Bastard is his only signing to date, not that one more bastard in Trencin will make much of a difference. They should try breaking the mould and try signing someone who isn’t one.



By the end of the week Shevchenko wanted in on the act as well. Apparently I was a ‘lysyi didko’ and needed to be taught a lesson. Now as a man who had already googled ‘how to insult a ukrainian’ I thought I knew it all, but apparently not, and having put it through google translate, I was outraged. He’s made this personal now.



Marek had been given the job of focusing on quality rather than quantity this summer. We broke with our traditional system and signed two players who were actually adults – 26 and 25 no less. Isaac Sackey was a defensive midfielder from the Czech Republic and Adrien Rabiot a central midfielder from PSG. Having been forced to pay them each £17k per week, I remembered why we signed teenage Africans, and Marek was told to revert back to Plan A. He found six developmental players for the future, and even if we are paying them too much money we have added some real quality to the centre of the pitch. In my opinion we now have a first XI with quality in every single position, and several of them have lots of room for even further improvement too.

Having splashed the cash last summer, and loosened the wages purse strings this year, I felt it was time for another clear out. They always put me in a good mood. Any cash cow not good enough for the first team but fat enough for market was sold to the highest bidder. 22 players left for a combined £23m, all of them making a profit on the price we signed them for. I then released another 4 and loaned out 19. Chairs can now be used for sitting again.

Transfer clauses were also proving to be quite lucrative. The goalkeeper we sold last summer for a million brought in a further £500k this summer for the 35% of his next sale we demanded. All together we have 53 players out there that should make us some money in the future, on top of the 40 odd still under contract.



After a summer of turbulence, it was a relief to get back to football. To qualify for the Champions League we were first faced with Lincoln. I packed some ear defenders to protect against that stupid siren, but it turned out that we were actually facing the champions of Gibraltar. I googled it, and it’s a ‘British Overseas Territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean’.

Bekakchi scored 6 of the 12 in the home leg and 4 of the 9 in the away leg. His strike partner Slama got 7 in the tie, and after paying out goal bonuses I think we’ll need to make the knock-out stages just to recoup them.

Botev were slightly less shit and we beat them 4-1 over two legs to set-up a play-off against Danes FC Kobenhavn. I don’t think we’ve ever lost to them, and 3-1 and 3-0 wins put us back swimming in the Champions League gravy boat. After the prize money came in we were back up to £42.6m in the bank and I am already eyeing up another splurge.

Bekakchi, with 15 goals in Europe alone, was too important to lose. My patented approach of ignoring any complaints again paid off when Dortmund ended their pursuit.



I took the opportunity to tie him down to a 4 year contract, with the option of a 5th year (that I exercised the day after it was signed). He’s now here until the summer of 2025 at least.



Jacobsen also stopped whinging once the window was over and my two longest serving signings will be staying put.



Joseph Udoh did not crumble so easily. He had been tapped up by Newcastle and wanted to go. Apparently now that someone wanted to pay him 30 grand a week, the 2 grand he’s on here isn’t enough any longer and he doesn’t even want to discuss the new contract that I promised him but never actually intended to offer him. Greedy bastard. I threw him out my office, insulted his mother and fined him two week’s wages for no reason. The unprofessional son of a bitch then went and insulted my honour on twitter. He also threatened to never play for me again, which is much less serious, but as my centre back he may be missed.



Enough was enough. It is for situations like this that we keep a dominatrix on the payroll. Actually it’s my sexual deviance, but she helps with stuff like this too. I’m not sure if whipping Africans against their will is politically correct in this day and age, it’s hard to keep up with the do-gooders, but it is effective, and she talked him round to coming back to training.



Once Newcastle moved on to their next target he even stopped being unhappy. Another textbook piece of man management if I may say so myself.



In the league, we sadly lost on the 1st August to end our 16 month and 45 games unbeaten run in the league. Podbrezova beat us 2-1, Rooney diving for a penalty for the second. This knocked everyone for six, and by the end of August we had already dropped nine points – more than the whole of last season.



We had to satisfy ourselves with the European run. We were 4th seeds for Group Stage, and our current total of 34.4 points needs to rise to 45+ to climb into 3rd seeds.

We were drawn with Chelsea, Zenit & Lyon – three big names and quite a lot of backing behind them. I wasn’t expecting much, but some signs of improvement would be nice.

Well, I am pleased to say that we made some progress.





I believed that our first XI is good enough for Europe, and boy did they prove me right. As group winners we were seeded for the next round and have drawn CSKA Moscow, which I think we stand a chance of winning.

The league is not quite so clear cut. At the mid-season break we are top, but only by a point. I took the decision to concentrate on Europe and use the fringe players in the league, which has meant dropping more points than we are used to. I am confident though that we will still win it – Bekakchi has 39 goals in 30 games and once we play him in every game we’ll walk them.



The winter break is three months due to weather conditions, so I am off for a toboggan or two.
 

Gulliball

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Slovak hospitals really are no respecters of reputation. My demands of “do you know who I am?” were reassured on arrival, but I was actually given an extremely rude level of service. They may have mended my ailments, but I am glad I send my wages overseas to avoid paying for these people to carry on in this manner.

I even had to miss the end of year awards, when I was given the Manager of the Year trophy for the 4th year in a row. I posted my speech line for line on twitter, but without seeing their faces there was little joy in it.



There was then some slight drama as the chairman was arrested for tax fraud. Now I have always liked Ivan, and he’s saved me some money over the years with his advice, but rules are rules and he got what was coming to him. But then, much like when a major drug kingpin is arrested, a vacuum was created within the corridors of Slovan power and opportunists took their chance for a shot at the big time.

My little tiff with the nation of Ukraine in pre-season had led to Andriy Voronin and Andriy Shevchenko taking over at Trencin and Michalovce. This had led to the occasional skirmish, but nothing I couldn’t get the last laugh over by simply being the bigger and better club.

Now though, Eastern European thugs were wanting my head on a spike. They had a puppet to front their bid, so that the money generated from violence and intimidation could be laundered through the books.

The takeover went through and suddenly I was told to get out. Well, not really told but several heavily armed men arrived and I left through a bathroom window. The press release was tarted up, but the Ukrainians had taken over.



I mean, come on. Oleg Luzhnyi?
 
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mente captus

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i also manage Slovan right now, but i sign only slovak players. 5 championships in a row but failing each year in the championsleague. the quali stages are no problem but the group stage.....i am hopeless, 2 wins ( and three draws) in 30 games. the wins came vs Fiorentina (away, this season) and at home vs Panathinaikos 3 years ago.

on the other side have the under 21 team won the european championship last summer. 1:0 vs Italy in the final. i have 5 senior internationals who are under 19 and a 14 years old under 21 EC. apart from them are Mak, Holosko, Vittek and Filip Kiss
 

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