We went up, against the odds, we actually went up. I have no time to rest on my laurels though, as it’s straight on the phone to the chairman to get my budgets for the new season. Disappointingly i’m given only £282,000 for transfers, and I have to admit I was hoping for a extra zero or two on the end of that number, to stand any chance of surviving. Undeterred, I push on with recruitment after all my star players from the last season were here on loan, and as such are now back at their parent clubs. With them gone, it has left my squad a little sparse.
The English Premier League is my first port of call; I manage to snap up Liverpool youngster Jerome Sinclair and former Wigan and Everton forward Arouna Kone on free transfers. Oviedo legend Michu is brought back to the club on another free transfer, and I was also able to set up loan moves for youngsters Kalvin Phillips from Leeds and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson & Guillermo Varela from Manchester United. Adding some youth and energy to the squad, I concluded my transfer business with the free agent signings of Fran Sol, Samuel Holman and Junior.
Carlos Pena is the only outgoing player I actually get any transfer funds for, as he moved to FC Steaua for £130,000.
The fixture list is decided, and would you look at that, we’re away at Barcelona on the first day of the season. This is followed by Atletico Madrid two weeks later. I curse the fixture computer. The bookies agree with my assertion that it’s going to be a long season, with odds of 5000-1 to be champions come May.
The season starts badly (as expected) with a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Barca, though we did briefly take a 1-0 lead to raise my hopes, before Luis Suarez crushed my dreams. A run of defeats follows, including a 5-2 home thrashing by Real Sociedad, before a 1-0 win against Deportivo breaks the run and gets us our first points on the board. It’s then another month before we beat Las Palmas, with two draws sandwiched between the victories.
Wins over Rayo and Malaga lift us to 14th position in the table, however things take a turn in a direction that I don’t have the managerial experience, or the players talented enough, to correct; we proceed to lose 12 of the remaining 20 fixtures, with just the solitary win at home to Eibar being the only real high point of the last few months of the season.
And with that we are relegated, the dream is over. With the board announcing my position is precarious, I take the bold step of asking for a new contract and time to rebuild the squad to come back stronger the next season. They (probably correctly) refuse this request. A journalist friend of mine somehow gets hold of this story and I’m asked by Yahoo! Sports if it’s true that I’d requested a new deal and it had been turned down; I have to be honest with him and confirm the story.
I’m very quickly called to an emergency board meeting to discuss my future. I stand my ground and refuse to apologise, stating that i believe I’m the right man to get us back to the promised land. Unfortunately, the board aren’t so sure and decide it’s probably best to fire me.
I’m furious at the decision and vent my rage to any journalist that will listen, before my agent tells me that a former Premier league team down on its luck is after my services.
And with that i’m off to England to attend an interview.