This is the fifth part of the series from guest author @SegundoVolante1 Be sure to give him a follow if you enjoy his story.
Well I got my scouting done, the first thing I realised was that the squad lacked personality. There were no players with a real aura, no real big personalities that could rile the team up when we were on a losing run. So I went off and I spent days and days ringing up pricks who were called agents who wanted millions in commission fees and just when I was about to give up something special happened. Two players with a combined 217 international caps signed for the club. A Premier League and World Cup Golden ball winner and a Champions League and World Cup winner came to Ferro. Yes, you read that right.
After an excruciating period of negotiations with the greedy bastards that are agents I managed to convince two international players to come to this shithole. Diego Forlan of Manchester United, Atletico Madrid fame and Lucio of Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Brazil fame had signed for Ferro Carril Oeste.
There was also another oldie who signed, not of the same stature of course but a boost to the squad nonetheless. He was going to be our first choice goalkeeper at the tender age of 40. Gaston Losa had signed for the club and apparently he was very good at penalties, I don’t think he will displace Forlan though.
They just walked in with a real swagger when they first came to the club, all the players had gathered in admiration of them and had looks of glee on their faces. They looked like little children who were meeting their heroes as they were queuing up to greet the new players.
Except for one man, Mariano Echeverria the captain was sitting at a corner sulking. It was almost like he knew he was going to be stripped of captaincy. I saw him walking quickly towards me, it was almost like he wanted to ruin this moment the son of a bitch.
“Are you going to remove the captaincy from me?” he asked
“Look I’m sorry but Lucio is a former Brazil national team captain and I can’t waste his leadership skills”
“Well you can fuck off then, I’m not a shit player am I”
“Look sorry but you are not half the player Lucio is”
“Oh so you think that then, I’m going to submit an official transfer request and I expect to be sold before the window ends”
He walked off looking very angry and I had to stop myself from laughing, I wasn’t going to let this cunt ruin this moment for me.
I was also happy with the other signings which were mostly squad players and Cesar Mena who I expected to be a starter, the 28-year-old Colombian defender would be starting alongside Lucio in Central defence. Another very interesting signing was Aruna Dang, the 24-year-old Cameroonian target man came in as back up for Roberto Moreira Aldana, what interested me most was his nationality. How many African players were there in Argentina. My guess was 0, it was going to be interesting to see how this one panned out. I was going to try to help him bed in as I found it hard to believe that he would fit in with the squad.
Pre season was a mixed bag of results but I gained precious experience and I got my first taste of being a manager. Even though they were meaningless games I enjoyed the buzz of it all, that feeling that I was in control was something that I had never experienced before, and I didn’t want to relinquish it quickly. This was going to be a long-term project.
There were a few interesting developments from the friendlies as tinkered around trying to find the perfect balance and the first thing I discovered was asking my team to go with a structured shape was not going to work as in the first friendlies we were under the cosh and struggled to score.
We got absolutely smashed in our first two friendlies were we went with a structured shape and our team was very deep so after a discussion with my assistants I decided I was going to be a bit more lax and let the team play with a more flexible shape. The structured shape gave too much time to the opposition midfielders in the centre of the pitch and that hurt us especially against Independiente because of the quality of the players they possessed.
After watching a few more games I asked the team to play a bit narrower so we could get Lujan (left if) involved more as he was getting very isolated out on the left flank, this worked as you can see from the graphs above the team was setting out in the shape I wanted it too. After hours of training the team was finally perfecting the transitions that I wanted them to do, 4 4 2 when defending and a flexible 4 3 1 2 when attacking.
Something else I noticed when watching our games back was the fact that most of our goals came from crosses either from Vernetti the right winger or Mazur the left wing back who had bombed forward to overlap in behind Lujan. Therefore, I asked my team to put more crosses in, in order to maximise our goal scoring opportunities.
Forlan and Lucio joined us for the last 3 friendlies and my word they gave us a boost, against the two shit teams the opposition were trying to get to our dressing room and get them to sign their shirts and after the game they were all begging them to swap shirts. Even against Fenerbahce the opposition were a bit wowed. They delivered on the pitch too scoring 5 goals between them.
All in all I was very happy with pre season and I was happy that I had decided on my team, I couldn’t wait to get the season started. Before we could do that though I wanted to celebrate.
One day after training I walked up to Forlan and asked him for a word. I wanted to go out and I figured he would be good to have with me seeing as he was a superstar, those sexy blond locks could draw a few chicks in too.
“Hey mate, do you want to join me. I am going to a club, lets celebrate ending pre season”
“Urrrm, I am 38 I don’t think that would be a good idea”
“Come onnn don’t be a fucking buzzkill”
“ Ok then I guess”
“Ill pick you up at 8, dress nice”
I went back to my dingy flat, the chairman couldn’t afford to put me anywhere more expensive and I barely had two pennies to rub together. I went on my football manager save for a while to try to kill sometime and then I went in for a shower. I sprayed on some aftershave and put on my best clothes. I had done some research and apparently The Niceto Club was the best in Buenos Aires.
I WAS READY FOR SOME ACTIOOOOONNNNN!!!!!