I immediately decided I f”cking hated not being able to sign anyone other than random people who didn’t fit how I or the club wanted to play but happened to be born in a certain area, so off I went.
Season 15 – Hertha Berlin, Bundesliga
In I came and did a mid scale remodelling on a squad that finished in the top four last season, for a board that wanted only the top six.
In came a few of the boys I left behind at Leipzig and Frankfurt as well as a young left back I’d began developing all the way back in my Prague days from Sparta, and in the winter window I brought in reinforcements for a beleagured midfield. Couldn’t manage to shift a couple of trouble makers so f*cked them off to the II team.
We started really strongly in the league, not losing until the 9th game against Dortmund. The top four were incredibly tight all season, but we hung in there.
One of my strikers that’s followed me from club to club since Sparta Prague scored a metric f*ck ton of goals for me, winning the golden boot with 22 in the league alone, and we went into the closing weeks in a two way tussle with Schalke.
We beat Bayern leaving three left to go, but a week later Leipzig held us to a draw leaving me thinking we’d shat the bed.
Schalke managed to blow a lead late on to put us back in the frame, and after we despatched Frankfurt in the penultimate game we’d have to beat a Bayer Leverkusen side with nothing to play for and hope Dortmund could do us a favour.
We went 1-0 up inside a minute, followed by a 12th minute equaliser. We retook the lead a minute later and added a third and final goal just after the break, but Schalke held a 1-0 lead at Westfalenstadion going into stoppage time, meaning we’d blown it. Or had we?
I looked back to the pitch after throwing a minor tantrum only to see officials bringing out the trophy. Borussia Dortmund had equalised on 90+4 minutes.
I’d led Berlin to their first ever Bundesliga title and first top flight title since 1931. SCENES.
Bayern dumped us out of the Cup and Real Madrid gave us an almighty shafting home and away in the Champions League first knockout round, the second leg was an absolute shit show.
Season 16, Hertha Berlin, Bundesliga
Refused to give someone a new contract. Cue open dressing room revolt. I managed to ship out some of the trouble makers but the damage was terminal.
We never really got going in the league or in Europe, so I quit in October with the team 8th and bottom of the Champions League group.
Season 16b, Lazio, Serie A
Lazio were seriously struggling, in the relegation zone when I came in and a financial shit show. I won my first match in charge which was a Europa League game against Universitatea Craiova, which meant we topped our group and qualified in 1st (I joined mid December). Wisla Krakow would also join us in the knockouts, which was nice to see.
Took 22 points from a possible 30 in my first ten matches, and after that I’d only lose two more for the rest of the season – one being a surprise 5-1 fucking at the hands of Parma. We also beat Juve on their patch.
Got dumped out of the Coppa Italia by Milan in the quarter finals, but we got our revenge by beating them in the Europa League final!
So even though we only just missed out on Champions League qualification by 2 points to Napoli with a very respectable 6th (who beat us in very frustrating fashion on the run in), we’d earned a group stage place anyway.
I’ve got my eye on a few players I know will transform the team and I already know who I want out the door. New owner came in part way through the season and wiped our debts, so I don’t really need to worry too much on that front now.
I am starting to realise, as I kind of knew already, I’m good at firefighting but sometimes struggle beyond that…
Well, looks like this save is brown bread thanks to a glitch that gives me perma deadline day.
To close things off, I quit Lazio after a poor start, jumped ship to Milan and we were in contention for Champions League football playing really good football with really good players.
The highlight of the save was, for me, the title with Hertha Berlin, but I also really enjoyed making Sparta Prague an all-conquering talent production line selling young stars for huge money. The worst move I made was to Russia.
Would I do anything differently? That would imply that I learn from my mistakes!