Season 1 – Edinburgh City, League 2
Board Expectations: Promotion via the play-offs
Started at the bottom in Scotland with an unexceptional team thanks to Paco’s son.
The squad was consistently mediocre across the board; not terrible but definitely not good.
Come November, this bore out with us sitting 5th and fighting to hold that final playoff spot with about three other teams; the board promptly decided this wasn’t good enough and sacked me.
I was incensed, but the side went on to lose only 3 of the next 22 games to soar up the table and win the league, so what the heck do I know?
Season 1.5 – Caernarfon Town, Cymru Premier
Board Expectations: Survive
Luckily my next job came a month later as I wandered to Caernarfon, thinking I was going to find sunny skies and bananas but instead finding the birthplace of Edward II.
Rooted in a relegation mire, after the league split into the Europe and relegation halves we fought bravely but couldn’t prevent being relegated, 3 points from our nearest rivals.
The board however decided to stick with me and see if I could bounce back up.
Season 2 – Caernarfon Town, Cymru North
Board Expectations: Promotion
Players In: 13 + 3 loans @ $0
Players Out: 13 @ $0
The North/South leagues in Wales are brutal – if you want to go up, you need to win them, and if you finish in the bottom three you’re relegated no questions asked.
This was my first full season with the club and thus I tried to leave my stamp on things, with substantial turnover of players who didn’t want to drop down or I felt weren’t up to the task.
Important gets were a Nigerian ST released by Ebbsfleet and a former Liverpool youth GK who never made the cut.
I found a setup which worked for us and for the first 3/4 of the season we were near-unstoppable; then we tried throwing it all away by only winning one of our last eight games!
Somehow we clung on though and got the title by a single point from Gresford. Back up to the Premier, then – and was named Manager of the Year to boot.
JD Cymru North: 1st (17-8-5)
JD Welsh Cup: 4th Round (out 0-2 to The New Saints)
Nathaniel MG Cup: 3rd Round (out 0-1 to Connah’s Quay)
Player of the season: Nigerian ST, 21 goals in 32 games
Season 3 – Caernarfon Town, Cymru Premier
Board Expectations: Survive
Players In: 11 + 3 @ $0
Players Out: 5 + 1 @ $0
Back up in the bigger league and the board gave me a slightly bigger budget to help survive.
I added some depth and let go of some deadwood; the big signing would turn out to be Sureshot, an English striker who arrived from Cardiff Metropolitan University on the winter break.
His injection into the team would send us from an okay side to one that would confidently enter the European half of the league split, not the relegation one.
He smacked in 9 goals from 11 games and we cheekily sailed past his old side to snatch third in the closing weeks of the season; miles off the top two but enough to jag the last Euro Cup II slot.
The board was delighted to say the least. This delight was only compounded by the fact I won a pot, beating Rhyl in the Nathaniel MG Cup Final 3-0, a young loanee from Hull having a day out and bagging a brace.
JD Cymru Premier: 3rd (15-10-7)
JD Welsh Cup: Quarters (out on pens to Cefn Druids)
Nathaniel MG Cup: Winners (3-0 over Rhyl)
Player of the season: Hull loanee, although it was clear by the end who the new star would be