Season 3 – Oulun Palloseura, Ykkonen, Finland
Media expectation: Top Half Finish (8th)
Board expectation: Promotion
10 Teams will play each other three times this year, with the bottom two relegating and the winner being directly promoted.
The board made me chose between two objectives, get promoted or win the title, which were exactly the same things in my book. Interestingly three teams went down from the top division, including former Ykkonen winners PS Kemi Kings.
Our pre-season was very much the same as last year, enabling us to spend a little more on wages. 7 Players joined us for 81k in total, including a technical Argentinian/Italian player whose attempts to communicate were simply ignored by the rest of the group.
Still, he became our star player this season, something that almost justified his 8-times-more-than-any-other-player-wages. A massive 16 players left, including the German, who has since become a key player for HJK.
The season started off poorly, meaning that we went out against an amateur team in the cup and would not make our targets there for the first time in 3 years. However, the season itself went far better, where we floated between third and first the entire season.
In the end PS Kemi Kings beat us to the title again, this time with a more acceptable 5 points. Of the three confrontations however, we managed to win two. Unfortunately the third confrontation was lost, sending us in a downwards spiral which turned our 6 points lead into an 8 points trail.
The best moment of the season was a 90th minute own half lob by one of the Brazilian players (aged 35!) which gave is a 1-0 win.
I wonder how next season will go, but I am starting to see a pattern when it comes to the final standings. Also, the end results are a near copy of the first season which makes me wonder if we are making any progress at all. Luckily, the board agreed that the training and youth facilities can be upgraded again! I very much hope we can finance this though, because we have some of the lowest attendances in the league and the board continuously refuses to buy the stadium in order to attract more visitors.
Final position: 2nd
Games: 27 (16|3|8 ) Goals: +17 (56|39) Pts: 51
Word just came through that the upgrading is going to cost a hefty 2,2mil . This will leave us with just over 200k in the bank, if the board decides to pay it all at once.
Also, I forgot to mention my personal honours. I have been named Manager of the Month on 6 occasions (2 times each season) and, unsurprisingly, have been 2nd on 2 occasions in the Manager of the Year award. Weirdly, I was not even mentioned in the third year despite coming 2nd in the competition.
I also realised that my job status is currently insecure.. Something that I sincerely hope I can turn around, since I have had no job offers yet whatsoever…
Season 4 – Oulun Palloseura, Ykkonen, Finland
Media expectation: 2nd
Board expectation: Title Challenge
7 Players, including 5 first 11 players, went out and were replaced by the same amount of players. This pushed our total wage bill towards the very limit of what the board had set us. Like many, I too felt that a final push would surely get us the title.
Well, I’ll say it right away. We won the league. Not only did we win the league, we walked it. The season was one big winning spree, with only 4 matches out of 27 being with some sort of points loss.
We broke a number of records and I personally won 5 out of 6 Manager of the Month awards, leading up to becoming Manager of the Year.
This however, was not the highlight of the season. The definite highlight was a shock run in the Suomen Cup, where we knocked out one Veikkausliiga team after the other, leading us all the way to the final.
The final pitted us against RoPS, the team who had beaten us to the title in season 2. I’d love to write about how exciting and close the final was, but to be fair it was none of that. We beat them and we beat them good. The 4-1 scoreline was not entirely fair on RoPS but we thoroughly deserved our victory.
The best thing of all is that we now get to play in the Europa League, something I did not expect for another 4 years.
The season was great, trophies, records and awards piled up like Christmas presents. The giant striker, bought at the beginning of this season proved to be a star. Yet, the season tasted slightly bittersweet.
Three very important players refused to renew their contracts, our season ended up in a financial loss, the board refused to make any upgrades and worst of all, we have the lowest attendance of the league. Especially this last part made me very hesitant of renewing my contract and a position open at relegated FC Lahti was very tempting.
I really hope our attendance gets an increase from the current 504 average (against 1816 from Lahti) because I want to entertain the crowds more than anything else. However, I did sign a very lucrative contract, worth 8,750 Euros per month over my previous 3,300 one.
Final position: 1st
Games: 27 (23|3|1)
Goals: +61 (81|20)