Season 14 – Levante, Segunda División, Spain.
Board Expectations: Mid-Table
Players In: 0
Players Out: 0
Mid-January Season 14
It took a good few months to find a job that took my fancy and this one looked good, more to the point they actually offered me the job. I had declined the temptation to unsettle under pressure managers; I’m a nice guy after all.
In the last decade Levante had been solid in the same division apart from two seasons in the third tier. They were sitting 12th and their media prediction was 7th and I felt their previous manager could feel hard done by.
I just hope I get a little more leniency.
The transfer Budget was a healthy £2.6m and nicely within the wage budget too, I’d already learned to be prudent so it was a relief to not have to worry about this side of things.
As I had done previously I decided to let the members of the current squad prove their worth so no purchases were made during the January transfer window.
Pretty much straight away it became clear that all was not right at Levante, the results on the pitch were okay, if not outstanding, but the harmony in the squad was really low and a fair few players really disliked each other.
In an away game against Real Jaen two players managed to get themselves sent off for violent conduct (making that four reds in nine games) and in a moment of madness and frustration I fined both players two weeks wages which just made things a whole lot worse.
Three days later while pondering how to deal with the mess that was now surrounding me my name was mentioned in the press linking me to the vacant Udinese job in Serie B. I resigned from Levante without a moment’s hesitation and duly applied.
For the record I left Levante in 9th place after starting in 12th.
They are mid-table in Blue Square North basically where it all began with my old number 2 still at the helm.
They got back into Blue Square South again the season before last, only to drop back down again by finishing rock bottom. I wonder if we’ll see them again? Might get a sweep going.
Now sitting in the upper half of league One after yo-yoing down to League 2 again.
Currently lying 4th and in a play-off spot. Not too far off automatic.
Good for them I say.
Dreadlock ST is still knocking them in for Leicester (and before that Rangers) in the Premier League, although now in his late 20’s and sporting a far more sensible head of hair.
Season 14b – Udinese, Serie B, Italy
27th March Season 14
Udinese were skint, and by skint I mean £8m in the red. Their days as a solid Serie A side now well in the past.
Staright away I noticed though that they had some really high earners nearing retirement age so with them off the books a turnaround might not be impossible.
With the transfer window closed I had no choice but to stick with what was on offer and with 9 games left I could get a good look at who I wanted to keep and who would have to go.
Udinese were sat 7th but were way off the pace and any hopes of promotion at this late stage were long gone.
My first home game confirmed to me that this would be a long slog of a building process as we slugged out a boring draw with Lecce in front of a record low crowd for the club.
After three more games (two wins and a loss) I received a message stating that the club were restructuring their debt, taking them to a level balance, then invested an additional £3m and all of a sudden the finances look quite rosy albeit with a sizeable loan debt of £9m. (by way of comparison Northampton’s was £28.5m)
It was starting to seem to me that wherever I went finances were the major talking point, especially when you go to relatively high profile clubs. I was beginning to think I should have stayed at Boreham Wood!
We finished the season as I had started, in 7th place. One place off the playoffs but a lot of points behind. I think though that promotion would have been a disaster with the current side and there will need to be a huge upheaval in the summer with at least ten players looking likely to be heading for the door marked “do one”.
Overall I was satisfied with my nine games in charge and I have a good feeling about the club. I’m really excited about the coming season and having a bit of transfer/wage budget to play with will be nice so i’ll be sending my scouts out to scour the country for signings.