Season 1 – Bruk-Bet Termalica Nieciecza, Polish Ekstraklasa
I mainly chose them because I liked the colours. Board wanted the playoffs, and we made proper hard work of everything all season. Multiple players hated me for no apparent reason.
So basically, we got off to a half-decent start, and I thought we’d not really have any trouble finishing in the playoff places. Then mid-season, things fell apart in a big way and we went on a fairly long winless run. I also got dumped out of the cup in the first round we were in. In this spell, I was called into the boardroom twice. I basically ripped up my tactics and started again with the most basic setup imaginable, and it looked like things were turning a corner.
We managed to put a bit of a run together and gatecrash the playoffs on the final day of the season, comfortably winning the semi-final. The final was a much closer affair and it went to penalties, but we came out on top to reach the top flight for only the second time in our history
Season 2 – Bruk-Bet Termalica Nieciecza, Polish Ekstraklasa
Fight for your bastard lives. That was the message from the board to me, and me to the players. I went and signed a few free agents from the relegated sides and put together what looked on paper to be a capable squad, including an experienced Moroccan striker/winger who turned out to be a revelation, scoring 8 times in the first 12.
Dumped out of the cup at the first hurdle again, but didn’t really care. We were doing alright, floating around the midtable not troubling the European spots but not once looking over our shoulders after a couple of early defeats.
Then came the call.
Season 2 – Wisla Krakow, Polish Ekstraklasa
I did a bit of research here as I wasn’t sure, but it turns out they’ve been relatively shite for a while now. So in I lept. I had speculatively applied in the summer as they’d had a poor season previously, but this was a chance I couldn’t miss.
Deep in the relegation mire by December, my job was to survive. While it wasn’t necessarily a stroll, the fact that the clubs around us were absolutely horrendous helped.
We had a large amount of bad apples in the camp, so keeping the team on the same page was difficult, but I managed to lay the foundation for the brand of football I wanted this Wisla team to play. Plus we gave rivals Cracovia a f*cking on their patch.
In the end, we were 10 points clear, and finished one place below my old club. Decent finish to the season, and a good starting point.
Season 3 – Wisla Krakow, Polish Ekstraklasa
Players who hated me were quickly given the broom, and we managed to raise a decent amount of cash to bring in a few players that should have been out of our reach. I also managed to convince the board to sign a highly-rated young gun for me to lead the line.
His signing was absolutely inspired as he scored 22 in 30 in the league, and became a major part of how we played. A healthy dose of key players from Bruk-Bet who already knew what I demanded of them helped, and while I was forced to sell a very good young winger for £3m in January, I managed to replace him with a kid I was tracking at Bruk-Bet but couldn’t afford for half of that. Also managed to shift some deadwood and reshape the squad in my own image – shithouses who could play.
I was only expected to finish midtable, but with my new striker and a few other key additions we found ourselves challenging for the Europa League II places, which is ultimately where we wound up – 3rd place, nowhere near the top two but never in danger of being caught once we put the foot on the gas.
Incidentally, on the last day we played Bruk-Bet’s relegation rivals and while we didn’t lose, they did and they were relegated. Poor bastards, relegated because we beat them the week earlier.
Cups still suck arse.