Well, it’s been a hell of a journey, but with a season under my belt at the same club, and with some tactical scares along the way, I can finally say I’ve made it – made it to the next division that is! We’re heading up, promoted from the Second Division North Gotland as Champions!
It’s truly unbelievable to me that we’ve made it to this point: it’s not so long ago that i’d have traded one of a multitude of internal organs for a win, and now we’ve topped the league losing just six games all season.
There were a lot of highlights this season, but my standout performer has to be striker Paul Khajo, who netted an impressive 16 goals in 25 matches. Alongside Paul, several other players impressed me this year: Kevin Busuladzic averaged a very respectable 7.12 rating in midfield, starting 17 games across the season. Our third stand-out is goalkeeper Marcus Makinen, who had a pass completion rate of 93% – which was integral to our success building from the back – and kept 11 clean sheets in 26 games, conceding just 26 goals all season.
Now, I’m not going to go into mind-numbing detail about our title win; instead, I’m going to talk a bit about how I plan to spend the 6 months between now and the start of next season. My first priority is going to be trimming the squad back to an acceptable level, since I’ve managed to accumulate a ton of players that we realistically aren’t going to need.
Secondly, once I’ve analysed the squad, I’ll consider whether or not we need to strengthen in any positions throughout the team, and if not I’ll spend some cash improving our coaching setup throughout the club. My biggest issue is that, financially, the club is not in a strong position, so I’m going to have to balance a few different competing interests; I need a strong squad to compete after promotion, but I also am aware that I need to bring in better coaching staff to help our boys realise their potential.
I had at first toyed with the idea of switching club, with my manager Reputation now sitting at 1 star, and the board unwilling to fund another coaching course for me to get my National B Licence. However, I wanted to press on and see what I could achieve in the new season, with a team that is fired up and ready to perform.
In the end, we didn’t need much rebuilding; I brought in a couple of new faces but largely we’ve managed to fill out the squad with players from our youth setup, which means that I’ve got minimal work to do in the coming season. I’ve essentially built three ‘squads’ which I’ll analyse over preseason to see if we need to strengthen in any key areas, but overall they should get us through the season in a respectable position. The key for me is getting our coaching staff up to scratch, because despite masses of cash available in the wage budget, the board aren’t willing to budge on giving me extra coaches. It’s definitely the next step in the club’s development, so i’ll be pushing for improvements over the next few seasons, as well as asking for some affiliate clubs (probably senior) and improvements to our youth and coaching facilities where cash allows.
Overall, i’m feeling pretty confident about the coming season, and while i’m not expecting fireworks, I’m hoping that we can put in a reasonable performance and consolidate in the league, picking up some cash along the way to put the club in a good position to move forwards. From my own personal point of view I also want to pick up my next coaching badge, to open up more opportunities to change club in the future.