Season 18 – Villareal, Primera División
Media Prediction: 6th from 20
Board Expectations: Continental qualification
No matter what crazy salary increase and signing fee I offered him, star striker wouldn’t stay. I was listed as a favourite personnel, and Villareal as a favourite club, but still he chose to leave, weirdly.
Still, we got ~3m for him when Udinese offered him an escape. Our squad size shrunk dramatically thanks to a lot of retirements, and a huge cutback from the board meant I had no money to bring anyone in. We are the Spanish equivalent of 2010 Liverpool.
I managed to spend £1m on a backup striker and a new first team striker, as well as taking the exciting striker prospect from River on loan for the season.
For the first half of the season we were inconsistent, and in tyhe second half we were quite simply crap. A board takeover in April didn’t even dent the debt, and my job became insecure.
Position – 12th (20)
P:38, W:12, D:10, L:16, F:49, A:47, Pts:46
European Champions League
In a group containing Arsenal, Celtic and Vitkovice, our inconsistent league form told me that I was better aiming for the Europa League spot rather than actually qualifying. After completing the double over both Arsenal and Vitkovice, we were into the next round.
Despite not beating Celtic in either of the matches against them, we still won the group and Arsenal qualified with us. We couldn’t build on this, though, as Ajax knocked us out 2-0 in the first round.
Copa del Rey
A 7-1 aggregate win against Alcorcon and 12-0 aggregate win against Granada saw us into the quarter finals, despite the ‘reserves’ playing for the most part. Wins against Atletico Madrid and Barcelona meant we had a final to look forward to, but we lost 2-1 to Valencia at the Camp Nou.
I was sacked immediately after the game had finished.
Season 18b – CD America de Cali, Primera A, Colombia
Media Prediction: 4th from 20
Board Expectations: Challenge for the title
I was out of work for about a month when America de Cali, Colombia’s most successful club, offered me a job. I accepted the offer in a heartbeat, with a transfer budget of £17m and a finances status of ‘Rich’ I figured it had to be okay!
When I arrived, the squad was in decent enough shape, although I did add a couple of players to the pool to try and improve on the first phase finish of 10th.
Copa Mustang 2nd Phase
We powered through the league stage, but couldn’t shake Once Caldas from our tails.
Position – 1st (20)
P:38, W:14, D:3, L:1, F:45, A:16, Pts:45
In the Colombian league, the top 8 go into a further competition of 2 groups of 4, and then knock out rounds to determine the champion of that phase. We finished second in our group to rivals Atletico Nacional.
Nervy ties in the Preliminary and 1st rounds saw us edge to wins, before we faced holders, and (of course) my former club, River Plate. A 4-1 defeat in Argentina in the first leg made the home leg almost void, but we managed to win it 1-0 and only lose 4-2 on aggregate. Happy with that!
Season 19 – CD America de Cali, Primera A, Colombia
Media Prediction: 5th from 18
Board Expectations: Qualify for Copa Libertadores
I went on a close season spending spree, shelling out £11m on talent for both the first XI now and the future. After a couple of games in the 1st phase had passed the Villa job became available and I was asked if I’d be interested.
I said yes and the next thing I know I’m waking up tied into a chair with my little fingers being lightly gripped by bolt cutters. The chairman made clear his feelings and I was reprieved and told not to step out of line again.
With a squad average age of just 22 years old, we struggled with consistency, but managed to finish 4th in the 1st phase. I got so frustrated at times that I was on the verge of walking, before I caught myself in time and remembered it’s a long term project.
My darkest hour came with a 12-0 drubbing at rivals Atletico Nacional.
Position – 4th (18)
P:18, W:10, D:4, L:4, F:35, A:30, Pts:34
For the second phase running we finished second in our group.
I finally found a country with a domestic cup in South America! The Copa Postobon is held as a group stage followed by 2 legged knock out rounds. After qualifying from our group in 2nd place, I had no chance to go any further as FC Bayern approached me to manage them.
I leave America de Cali in good shape, with a lot of young talent there which will let the club flourish if they can hold on to them.