Season 16, Bundesliga, Hamburg.
Media Prediction: 11th
Board Expectations: Safe Mid Table
A massive improvement on last season, I started off by removing the deadwood again, essentially last seasons fringe players that provided cover when needed. This left me with a very thin squad so I needed to strengthen all over the pitch. As it was I never had a great deal of money to play with so trying to get players of any quality proved to be a difficult job. It was fair to say my scouts put in some extra hours and they did manage to find me a handful of decent players.
I also had the chance to blood a couple of youngsters from the U19 squad, with the squad still a bit thin I thought it was going to cause my demise, instead it had the opposite effect. Most of the squad played constantly, as I had very little quality outside the 1st XI there wasn’t much room to rotate, and this seemed to have a massively positive effect on the squad.
Putting in decent performances all season saw me remain in the top half all season. I reached 2nd place by the time the winter break came along and never relinquished it. 2nd, 3rd and 4th were tight all season, but Wolfsburg had ran away with the championship and had the title sewn up with 5 games to go.
It took me the penultimate game to secure 2nd, although mathematically Dortmund in 3rd could still sneak 2nd on the final game, the goal difference was so huge they had no real chance to do it.
2nd P34 W19 D9 L6 F64 A30 Pts66
Quarter Final v Dortmund 0-0 L 8-7 on penalties
6 for £5.25m
25 for £11.75m
2 Scouts for £205k
Come the end of the season I was offered the position of England U21 manager. I sat there for about an hour deliberating on whether I should accept the job or not and whether I would be able to fit it in around my regular day job. In the end I decided to accept it, but if I felt it was interfering with managing HSV then I would relinquish the job.
Season 17, Bundesliga, Hamburg.
Media Prediction: 3rd
Board Expectation: Challenge for title
A poor season as far as the league is concerned. Things started off brightly with me topping the table in early September, however as the saying goes, what goes up must come down and things went from bad to worse. I just couldn’t buy a win in the league and I kept sliding down the table.
In the champions league I was drawn with Porto, Chelsea and Fenerbahce and of the 6 games I only lost 1, to Fenerbahce. In the first knockout round I was drawn against Juventus, and I was hoping this form was going to keep me in a job.
The German cup was also fairly successful, seeing me progress to the Quarter Final where I was knocked out by Koln.
By the end of Feb the chairman had decided he had enough and I was promptly sacked so I never had the chance to play the second leg of the first knockout round of the champions league. On the plus side 8 backroom staff walked when I was sacked, always nice to see.
Season 18, Championship, Middlesbrough.
Media Prediction: 4th
Board Expectations: Win Promotion
Middlesbrough were massively underachieving when they asked me to join them at the end of September. They were languishing in 17th and asked me to help. I helped steady the ship, but looking at the squad we were a little bit weak, mainly in central midfield. I cleared out most of the backroom staff and got my own crew in, once I had some scouts they went straight to work. I managed to get a couple of good strikers on loan, both from Arsenal. I then proceeded to bring in 7 new faces in the January transfer window.
I felt a decent GK was needed as well as a new LB, I found a gem of a youngster who I hoped would become a star in the future. The other 4 players were central midifelders as that was where I thought we were lacking the most.
I gradually managed to move the team upwards, hitting the playoff places by the end of feb. There I would stay for the rest of the season, finally finishing in 5th.
I had Crystal Palace in the playoffs, but this proved to be a bridge too far. I lost my ‘keeper before the last game of the season and he was to miss the playoffs too. Home leg first and I went down to a 1-0 defeat. I hoped I could turn it around in the away leg, but again I lost 1-0.
Despite that though I thought it was a great feat taking them from 17th to 5th. It gives me great optimism for next season.
5th P46 W22 D12 L12 F69 A48 Pts78
Out before I joined
6th Round v Stoke City L2-0
9 for £2.2m, 2 on loan (These were before I arrived)
7 for £2.1m
2 on loan
6 for £3.3m, 1 on loan (These were before I arrived)
9 for £5.2m
1 on loan