Season 30 – SC Kriens – Swiss Super League
Media Prediction: 1st
Board expectation: Qualify for Europe
The ground expanded again, now it’s up to 8437 seats. I hoped that was a prime, but no. An odd choice for a capacity, that’s for sure.
This season would be our debut in European competition. In the past for me that’s been a recipe for a drop in domestic form. And indeed this would be no exception – a season marred by player discord.
All our stars wanted to go to bigger teams to win trophies (Swiss league obviously isn’t big enough). I hoped that doing OK in Europe would tempt them to stay. We didn’t do OK in Europe though …
- CL Q1 Neftci (Azerbaijan) 8-1 (h), 7-0 (a) Hello Champions League!
- CL Q2 Zeljeznicar (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 2-0 (h), 4-1 (a) Straighforward
- CL Q3 Shakhtar (Ukraine) 3-2 (a), 2-2 (h) Tense second leg but deserved overall
- Group A with Liverpool (the holders), Lazio and Porto. My prediction – 0points.
- Lazio (Italy) 2-0 (h), 1-1 (a) Outplayed them in the first half of the first leg, more even from then on. Could and probably should have taken all 6points from them with better luck. Immediate suspicion that this was the ‘Unfit’ bug, but while they had some players who were not match fit, so did we. And they also had players at peak fitness, as did we.
- Porto (Portugal) 0-1 (a), 1-1 (h) Deserved to win home leg, good performances though.
- Liverpool (England) 0-2 (a), 0-1 (h) Beaten by better side but played well.
3rd in group, above Lazio on record against them. Into EURO Cup knockouts.
- EC KO1 Marseille (France) 1-2 (a), 3-0 (h) Lucky in away leg, dominant at home
- EC KO2 Palermo (Italy) 1-2 (h), 0-3 (a) Luck ran out in even games. Hit the post twice when at 0-1 in away leg, pushing for goals and got hit on the break.
Overall a fantastic adventure. The team really raised themselves for these games. French St won the CL Golden Boot, 4 of our side were in the CL ‘Dream Team’!
The league? Not so much.
Started poorly, raised the tempo a little as things went well in Europe, slumped as every player seemingly asked for a transfer towards the end of the season.
Pushing for 3rd (and the final European place), but fell apart with 3losses and a draw in the final 4games to finish 6th. My job was ‘Insecure’ the whole second half of the season, and I thought failing to qualify for Europe would finalise it.
As far as the Board is concerned they provided $60m in funds to make it …
But my luck continued in an amazing way.
The lottery for extra places fell to Switzerland, but that would just mean 4th place would go into the EURO Vase (1 more point would have got us 4th). Apparently though there was an additional place for the team with the best disciplinary record, and that was us! We’re into Europe! Fantastic, and a bit unbelievable.
I also played my 1000th game this season, a typical, frustrating 2-2 draw where we dominated and let in two sloppy goals.
Players in: 3 for $4.8m (not much choice from the scouts, had to overpay for a Brazilian MR)
Players out: 15 for $15m (and more after the end of the season – a couple of disappointing frees in there too, went for less than I’d pay them)
League Position – 6th from 10
P36 W13 D10 L13 +10
Season 31 – SC Kriens – Swiss Super League
Board: Win the league
Another season of player unrest. Constantly they were asking me or in the papers for a transfer to somewhere bigger and better.
No STs to replace the outgoing stars were turning up, the goals and points dried up. More unrest, fewer goals. Churn until curdled.
- EURO Cup Q1 Linfield (N. Ireland) 4-0 (h), 0-1 (a) Shocked we lost away.
- EC Q2 Beroe (Bulgaria) 2-1(a), 0-1 (h) A surprise loss at home but we snuck through on away goals.
- EC R1 Celta (Spain) 1-2 (a), 0-0 (h) Away goal gave us hope but couldn’t score in a quite even home leg.
In another tight league we played well but didn’t score as often as we should, as discussed above. The board were getting slightly unhappy at my performance as we got to the winter break in 9th (of 10).
Then during the break I signed some great Bulgarian prospects and things looked good for a stronger performance in the second half. The board said that they wanted a better game from us in the next game (or I could resign now to save face).
I think we stand a good chance, so I’m not resigning. A week later (still 62days to the next game) I was sacked.
Players in: 4 for $1.2m
Players out: 14 for $25.5m
League Position – 9th from 10 (When Sacked)
P18 W4 D5 L9 -5
I tried to do a good turn for a team in trouble … just got them in more trouble …