Season 5 – Oulun Palloseura, Veikkausliiga
Media expectation: 11th from 14
Board expectation: Avoid Relegation
11 Players left the club, and they were replaced by 9 more capable individuals. Our wages however went up once again, but at least we managed to sign a well known (and very greedy) Argentinian goalkeeper. We also signed a new coach and two more scouts who were sent off into the vast unknown.
We entered the Liigacup with only 15 players, giving the opportunity to a number of youth players to prove themselves. Despite only starting with 15 players we quickly grew in numbers and played decent before being kicked out in the semi-final against HJK.
Being the winners last year meant that all teams seemed to be relishing the prospect of taking us down. A tough draw and crowded schedule meant that we could not repeat last year’s masterpiece.
In the quarter finals FC Inter was too strong. Weirdly enough FC Inter 2 won the Soumen cup, which is admirable since in the Suomen cup players whom played for the first team cannot play for the second team.
We entered the second qualifying round against Aalesund from Norway. Despite a 0-1 away loss,we got through to the next round quite easily with a 4-0 win at home. Unfortunately we drew Monaco and were badly hammered on both occasions. Still, we managed to gain some experience and hopefully have attracted the attention of more reputable players.
During 23 matches the season seemed to be going better than planned, with our team moving up and down between the 3rd and 7th spot. Then everything just went from better to best. I managed to pick up a number of Manager of the Month awards and decided the season in one week, where we met Liiga holders FC Inter twice. We managed to steal 6 points and moved right up to the first spot.
Although we briefly exchanged places with FC Inter, we finally managed to wrestle ourselves back on top and we stayed there all the way until the end of the season!! We, last year promotees, managed to beat the three years running champions FC Inter and are now officially the best team in Finland! In the end we were 7 points clear of the number 2.
Final position: 1st
Games: 33 (19|10|4)
Goals: +35 (69|34)
This season was so much more exciting than last years. The competition was a lot closer and I would not have dreamed of winning it.
Success however, definitely comes at a cost. 2,2 million Euros of costs to be precise. This, together with an average attendance of 870 people and only a small town to draw talents and supporters from, made me apply to several teams I am interested in managing.
Surely there should be a job out there for the Finnish Manager of the Year.
As soon as the season closed I applied to Vitesse and Heracles, both teams only recently relegated and were without a manager. I chose for the Netherlands since I am born and raised there, plus their playoff system is one of the most exciting in Europe.
Vitesse however, was placed first in the Eerste Divisie where Heracles was 2nd.. oh wait 2nd to last that is. Needless to say Vitesse turned down my services and Heracles offered me a contract double of that at OPS-jp.
Season 6 – Heracles Alemo, Eerste Divisie, Netherlands
Media expectation: 3rd of 18
Board expectation: Promotion Playoffs
Position at time of joining club: 17th
Joining a new club always takes some time to adjust. I was very surprised with just how mediocre the club was, with their two best players being goalkeepers. The three top earners earned more than my entire squad in Finland and had roughly half the skill.
Luckily, I found out after researching on Google, Heracles shares their youth development with FC Twente, the 2009/2010 Eredivisie champions. This at least gave me some hope for the future.
The bank balance was also pretty healthy, although it was clear to see that promotion has to be achieved within the coming years if we want to keep it that way.
The season itself went decent enough results-wise, but we had a tough time attracting any good players. A whole bunch of players was released or left, as I felt that their negative attitude was bringing down the team.
In the end I managed to take a team that had 9 points and was 1 point away from relegation in October to 41 points at the end of the season, 19 points clear of relegation and good for the 15th spot.
Although not a great start, losing 1,3 million anyone?, I still see perspective for next season. I managed to pick up an amazingly talented dribbler on a 4 year contract whom, at the age of 17, already attracted the attention of numerous Premier League teams.
Going from an attendance of 870 to 7000 also makes me confident that we can make it next year. As long as we can get rid of the negativity…
Final Position: 15th
Games: 34 (11|8|15)
Goals: -5 (32|37)