Pre-season in Spain. 30 plus degree heat, a time to try out new tactics, a time to spend getting to know your new team on the training field in paradise, topping up that tan and ultimately should be a happy, positive time. Or not. Pre-season went horrifically.
I say horrifically, it started as expected. A new team, new players, no cohesion and as expected time was, and still is needed for the team to bed together and figure things out. 0-1, 0-4, 1-2, 0-1 and 1-5 is not the greatest of starts, a lack of chances, a lack of defensive stability and an all around dismal set of friendlies underlined what I already knew. There was serious work to do. Having a mini keeper crisis did not help matters either, and by crisis I mean both goalkeepers who were both pants were injured for 4 weeks within days of each other. Convenient. A goalkeeping night on the piss more like!
I will say this, signing players for a newly formed, skint, semi-professional club in Spain was, to put it lightly, a nightmare. Players wanted more money than I could pay, available players cost way and above what I could afford and the overall talent pool at my disposal was not very deep at all. Loan signings were going to be key however parent clubs were playing hard ball and would not send me anyone due to wanting their prized assets to play with ‘higher quality’ players. Not good. My team was already pretty poor, I couldn’t sign any loanees because my side was poor, I was stuck in a viscous circle – or so I thought. One loanee changed everything. One signing opened the gates. That player? Moi. Barcelona’s Moi.
Now from the outset you might think he doesn’t look anything special but his impact had far greater impact than simply what his attributes show. Barcelona quite clearly do not play by the usual rules, they don’t adhere to the majority, they were more than happy to let me have Moi and as a result the talent pool available to me increased tenfold. Brilliant stuff. As you can see below I’d signed 8 players on loan and 7 on a free transfer, just about keeping everything under the wage budget. Crackin’ job if I do say so myself.
Now it’d take me until the New Year to go through every player signed in detail but I will show you the two best players in my opinion who’ll really make a difference. As time goes by I will show you more and more of these players and hopefully some of them can become mainstays at the club.
Juan Arcas (loanee from Getafe) & Diego Barrios (Free Transfer)
So there we have it. Signings were sorted. Tactics…not quite. The rest? Well we’ll wing that and so we did, right into the first competitive game of the club’s entire history! The club we’d be facing? R. Jean. Yeah…me either. It resulted in not quite the greatest game of football ever played but ultimately ended 0-0 providing us with our FIRST EVER POINT and a platform to build our future tactics upon. Brilliant! Sure they had 18 shots to our 5, sure they had 8 on target and we had 3, the main thing was we gained a point and were now officially on our way to that illustrious 40 point mark which I’ve earmarked for safety.
END THE SEASON NOW!!
So there we have it. Game one; check. Signings; check. Now all we need to do is survive relegation. Easy right?
Check back next time where I’ll have played several games into the season, gotten to know my team a little better and will have hopefully progressed from 0-0 scrappy wins to victorious overlord mwahahah-… or something.