Season 7 – Carmarthen Town, Cymru South
Board Expectations: Escape relegation
Norn Iron was horrible. Let us never go there again.
I went back to Wales and found that ‘Old Gold’ as they’re called were struggling in the lower reaches of the Cymru South.
They wanted to develop their young players and that approach sits well with me, so I elected to take them up on the offer despite the wage cut.
Rhod Gilbert’s from here, so maybe I can get a cheap comedy show or two (apart from the one on the pitch, ho-ho…)
Five games left when I took over, we won our first two games (including an impressive win over second placed Penrhyncoch) and then once relegation was avoided we promptly lost the last three in an abject way.
I’ll need to ensure the defence is solidified next year because the board wants a top four finish.
Season 8 – Carmarthen Town, Cymru South
Board Expectations: Top 4 Finish
Squad was definitely going to need some work to get to where the board wanted, so I brought in a ton of new faces on free transfers, bits and bobs from all over Wales and even a GK on loan from Institute.
Things showed promise early and we went very close to pushing a Premier club out of the cup in the second round; but a mid-season slump hit and never looked like abating.
To their credit the board gave me a chance to improve things – they demanded 9 points from my next 5 games.
They then sacked me after I claimed two points from two. Life’s not fair, I guess?
Off to the next challenge…
Season 8.5 – Knockbreda FC, NIFL Premier Intermediate League
Board Expectations: Avoid Relegation
When life gives you lemons, suck on them to make the pain worse…
The next job I was offered took me back to Northern Ireland, this time into their bottom tier.
Can’t get any worse, right?
I was asked to save Knockbreda from relegation as when I arrived they were perched precariously above the relegation zone by a single win, with Belfast Celtic having a game in hand below.
Things didn’t start so well with a 1-3 loss to second-placed Tobermore United, but there were good signs and with a few tweaks we smashed fellow relegation strugglers PSNI 5-2 and drew with mid-table Coagh United to pull ourselves out of the mire.
In the end things were very tight for the drop, we finished 5 places above it but only ended up being safe by two points – Limavady United losing on the final day saw them go down when Belfast Celtic got an unexpected win.
If I can keep things together long enough, Knockbreda could be an opportunity for me to find a system that works and slowly build my career back up after the recent train wrecks…