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"I've never really thought of becoming a football manager."

  1. "I've never really thought of becoming a football manager."


    Welcome to my Nottingham Forest story.

    After trying and failing to set up a business in the Middle-east, I returned back to my roots in Britain for the summer. It was a breezy day on Merseyside, the sinking July sun helped me make a decision, that to take the dog down the beach to clear my mind. I had been away for three years, nothing had changed in this country. Watching the national teams could still be compared to watching paint dry, it's still freezing, even in July, with every single being on this country moaning about changing temperatures, and my childhood team Everton are still a selling club constantly sitting in 8th place.

    I got home, took off my jacket, and found that I had one missed call from a great friend in the Middle East - going by the name of Omar Al-Hasawi. He doesn't usually call me at this time, something must have happened. I decided to ring the man, to which he picked up almost instantly

    Me: Hello there, Omar.
    Al-Hasawi: Hello Joe. I rung you, where were you?
    Me: I was down the beach, funny eh? You don't normally call me, what's up?
    Al-Hasawi: Something big has happened. I have some great news, you'll be glad you flew back to England.
    Me: Why?! What's going on?!
    Al-Hasawi: The family have... taken over Nottingham Forest Football Club! We want you to be involved, perhaps give you a lifeline in the business industry.
    Me: Wow! That's fantastic! Although, I'm not completely sure football is a great idea for business, what have you got planned?
    Al-Hasawi: We're not completely sure yet. We would like you amongst the staff though, any business - even if it's a football club - would be proud to have such a character like you on board. Please, meet me tomorrow morning.
    Me: Of course, where will this meeting take place?
    Al-Hasawi: I shall come over to your house in Formby tomorrow.
    Me: Wait, not at Forest? Infact, sure, at 12?
    Al-Hasawi: Sharp. We have big plans for you.
    Me: See you tomorrow then.


    For the first time in a while my mind actually felt a breath of optimism, a new time for me. Which job would he give me sprang to mind more than anything though, commercial director? I took no time to get into bed and have a think. I couldn't sleep a wink for the majority of the night, until I shut my eyes, and opened them seemingly moments later to hear someone attempting to break my door down. I put my Everton dressing gown on and looked at the time. 12:13! I ran downstairs and opened the door to find Omar.

    Me: Deary me! I'm so sorry, please please, come in Omar.
    Al-Hasawi: Don't need to worry! I see you are very passionate about football. The walls are covered in Everton!
    Me: Yes. I would absolutely love to manage or play for them one day. I had always dreamed of it as a child, however going into football obviously wasn't for me!
    Al-Hasawi: I thought you were a decent player! Your footballing brain was certainly too good for the Kuwait Second Division, however it is more like playing kick-boxing with a large ball over there!
    Me: Business is for me anyway. I'm so glad you've seen me as part of Nottingham Forest's future. May I ask Omar, what are your plans for the club? Like, a blueprint of any sort?
    Al-Hasawi: We have plenty of money to invest, we felt Nottingham Forest were the best suited club to this. We wanted to take an underachieving club back to where it belongs, and one that can sustain on the money we plan to invest. We want to appoint a manager with great character, a fantastic knowledge, with previous experience, motivational skills, a thought for the business side, and more importantly - we want to give the man a chance. No billy big-balls like Sam Allardyce or Mark Hughes - we want someone unproven. It's a huge gamble to take, but you know what they say.
    Me: That's brave, I'll give you that, however, the blueprint
    Al-Hasawi: We would like to give the new man a healthy budget to build a squad of his choice. Within two seasons we would like to be in the Premier League - where the club truly belongs. After that, who knows? Becoming an established Premier League club is important, we would like to be pushing for Europe within 5 seasons. Deluded? I think not. Some fans may question it, I feel this aim can be put into practice.
    Me: That's another brave statement to make! The fans have plenty to look forward to if these go ahead, the question is though, who will this man be to lead the club forward
    Al-Hasawi: This guy, ever so casual, sitting right next to me. That is who I would like to take the club forward.


    I paused for a moment. I looked into his eyes with shock, wondering if this is a joke or not. Then again, Omar is a very professional man who doesn't joke around. The look on his face - as if he was looking at the future right now - I couldn't let him down, could I?

    Me: So that's.... me
    Al-Hasawi: Yes, Joe Prosser. Please accept my proposal. You're a big character - as I said, any business would be proud to have you. You are a true leader and fantastic at motivating and encouraging others. You've proven that great football brain of yours whilst playing, and whilst watching the football with me. Always giving your tactical views and suggestions. I feel, despite your inexperience, you are the man for the Nottingham Forest job.
    Me: I've never really though of becoming a football manager. This has completely taken me by surprise, but a pleasant one at that. I'd love to, it would be an honour to manage such a club. What a fine experience it promises to be - whether good or bad at the end of it. H
    Al-Hasawi: Onto the bigger picture now, we shall negotiate here and now. I plan on offering you a deal worth £3,500 a week, rolling until June 2013. For the first season, we challenge you to mid-table with £5 million. Do you accept this verbal offer?
    Me - Of course I do! And... challenge?! How much would you intend to invest for promotion - at the first time of asking?
    Al-Hasawi: Let's negotiate tomorrow. I must attend a board meeting in a couple of hours. Good luck Joe.
    Me: Thank you ever so much, Omar.


    And within a flash, from being a business reject, I am now a 26-year old scouser in charge of one of England's largest clubs, Nottingham Forest. Having been put under immediate pressure by fans to succeed with the money available, my body was shaking ahead of my opening press conference. Arrogant or down to earth? The question kept whispering in me, and before I know it, I was debating with myself to which impression I give everyone on a national scale. Should I just bottle it and tell Omar I can't do this? I cannot let him down. This is my time. I walked into a room full of seated journalists with notepads, ready to pick me apart and antagonize me, and with flashing cameras at the back. I felt like I was about to fall into mere crumbs right here, and right now. It is time.
    The Ultime FM God likes this.

  2. First Press Conference


    I sat down, with journalists watching eagerly and waiting for me to make a mistake so they can pounce and use this as a story for tomorrow morning's paper. As soon as I sit down, I feel great power. A whole room looking at me in silence, observing my every movement as I look back. All I could hear was the clicking of cameras at the back, almost enough to drown out the noise of a journalist asking something.

    Journalist - So, Joe Prosser, the new manager of Nottingham Forest. Could you give us an insight of your background?
    Prosser - Me name's Joe Prosser. I'm 26 years young, I believe I am now a record breaker of the youngest ever manager in professional English football history, am I correct? I'm originally from Fazakerley, in Liverpool. I grew up there, and I have been a lifelong Everton supporter - until now. Erm, I left education at 16 to try and set up various businesses, inwhich I became an eager businessman, all I wanted was to make money. I have just come back from Kuwait, and before you all jump on me and accuse me of being inexperienced, I have infact played in the second division out there. Anyway yeah I came back after an unsuccessful attempt at becoming a billionaire. Only yesterday I decided I wanted to become a football manager, I'd never thought about it in my life beforehand. I trust Omar, he's a very professional bloke, and we both have each others trust.

    What inspired you to become a football manager then?
    Erm, just the passion that flows through the blood of the game. You watch it on the tele, and always wish you were there in the thick of it all. I'm not a money-grabber before you all jump on that accusation - I have earned more than my weekly wage daily at periods in my life. I was feeling demotivated from the business industry, originally I thought I'd become part of the boardroom at this club, but Omar could see something in me that suggested I can manage a football team, and I must have something to manage a massive club like Nottingham Forest.

    Obviously you're inexperienced, do you think that will add any extra pressure?
    Look at you trying to put me in my place. You can't judge a book by it's cover you know mate, not every successful manager needed a good playing career. Arsene Wenger for example, name a world famous club he played for. Go on. Brian Clough started in his twenties, look where that got him. There's no pressure at all, it infact adds extra incentive that I have possibly 50 years ahead of me. I'll try not to get bored of this.

    Do you have a plan for Nottingham Forest?
    Now do you ever see a manager without a plan? I'm not going to walk into a football club without any intention, am I? Anyway, away from the biting, myself and Omar have constructed a realistic plan, we will both try and take the club forward. It deserves to be back in the Premier League, it's the biggest club down here. Sod Leeds. Sheffield Wednesday, who are they? Wolves have never been anything, and Derby. Well, Derby. I've only been here 24 hours and I've grown a dislike for the club's rivals. We've won European Cups - more than Arsenal. No other teams down here can boast about that.

    In 5 years, where would you like to be?
    European Champions, many awards named after myself, a new stadium named after me, and with international superstars in the team. You didn't say the word realistically, did you?

    What I meant was realistically, so realistically in 5 years, where would you like Nottingham Forest to be?
    We want to put Nottingham back on the map, something Notts County would have to thank us for aswell. Obviously the first aim is promotion, we hope to achieve that by the end of next season - ideally this season. I can hear sniggering and whispering, stop judging a book by it's cover. In 5 years? Well, I'd imagine a well established Premier League club that can compete for European berths. Who knows?

    Do you have any players you'd like to bring in mind?
    Plenty of names. I need to build a team of winners, that's what I will get. Obviously, players will stay, some will not be part of my plans. I have been given a juicy budget to make things happen. Fans will need to be patient, as they all say, Rome wasn't built in one day. I'm going to bring in experience and some with the future in mind.

    Before we pass the conference onto Omar, is there anything you'd like to add?
    There's only two teams in Nottingham - Nottingham Forest and Carlton Town. If I haven't done enough to get the fans behind me then I'm done. Come on you beautiful red men, let's get cracking.



    ​And so my first summer in football began, not knowing how to submit bids... I'd soon get the hang of it.

  3. I reckon you should try and win stuff whilst making a ton of money for the club

    I like the story so far mate. Keep up the good work.

  4. FIRST SUMMER IN FOOTBALL


    After my part of the press conference, you could hear the mumbling of some of the journalists.
    "He thinks he's Brian Clough, doesn't he?" I quote, I've got a feeling people are going to have strong feelings about me. It'll be a first for me, and an experience I highly look forward to.

    After Omar had announced our intentions for the clubs, I could feel the weight of the world on my shoulders here and now (or in this case, the weight of Nottinghamshire). What if this goes wrong? Sod it, I'll just leave football having done damage to some, and satisfied others. You win some and lose some in football.

    Having slept on the thought of failure, success, a new challenge, one thing stumbled across my mind. How the heck will I negotiate?! If this £7,000,000 goes to waste I know plenty of people who won't be happy. A meeting on the first day of training imminent.

    I gave the players a week to impress me, I noticed this club has a fair amount of deadwood that quite simply aren't up to the challenge. First of all, Matt Derbyshire. You only have to look at his surename to find the flip side of him, having already been adopted as Nottinghamshire through and through, I felt strongly about this. To be fair, he was the least impressive striker.

    Players like Radoslaw Majewski - who has done sod all since his exquisite volley at West Brom, Jonathan Greening, a Manchester United reject, Dexter Blackstock, and Robbie Findley, who has his reputation because he once played against England for an average USA side in Rustenburg. Some serious chopping, changing, and letting people down was required. I needed to be ruthless to build a team full of winners.

    A couple of weeks completely evaded me, until an agent contacted me about... Premier League winning left back Asier del Horno. Okay, so his career may have gone downhill for a reason - whether it be that horror tackle on Messi or he just didn't make the cut. He was fairly desperate to join a club, and to get the ball rolling the Spaniard was first on the scouse-mobile.

    I found it extremely difficult to offload these players, nobody just wants them. I can't release them, from a business perspective that would be completely pointless, and a loss. Another difficult part of football is that you can't win over the fans. Forest fans already having a whinge because I don't attend friendlies. I mean, I have better things to do than watch 44 players run around huffing and puffing with no points or reward at the end. The media are starting to question my ability to handle pressure. I just don't like journalists. I'll show how I come under pressure at my first pre-match conference.

    After various meetings with my coaching staff, I decided to go into the foreign market to get a player who sounds good in an attempt to win over the fans. To my delight, I discovered that Adryan has a release clause that even Portsmouth can afford to take advantage of. He came in on trial for a bit, as soon as I saw that he has the ability to hit it with the outside of his foot I had to get in there, I'll grab him with both hands and sign him. We came to an agreement that Nottingham Forest are bigger than a Brazilian club named after a pink bird, and he signed the dotted line.

    Edouard Cisse looks and sounds like a good player. Why not go in for him? After sending a couple of players back to their clubs, I swooped in on another loan deal. Lorient wanting to get rid of Pedrinho, who joined the club on loan at right back. Still though, supporters would not get off my back.

    "We have no 20+ goal strikers!"
    "None of our strikers are up to it, Prosser is a bottler is afraid to splash out on one!"

    So, after two hours on Football Manager they think they can do my job? Fickle fans. I'll give them a taste of their own medicine and smash the club's record transfer on some Colombian spice. Darwin Quintero would be familiar to a lot, however unproven in Europe, is this a gamble? Is it hell. I trust my ability to see ability in players, and Darwin has the package. Using my trust, I beat the whole of the Championship to the signature of Jamie Mackie, again on a loan deal, however £35k for a season? I'll happily bite QPR's hand off for that. I'd bite their hand if they weren't offering anyway, does anyone in football like that club?

    We'll be very disappointed not even to reach the play-offs now, things are coming together nicely ahead of our Capital One Cup trip to Rochdale... and ahead of the next press conference, where I feel I will be upsetting quite a few people.. it's crunch time.
    Jean-Luc likes this.


  5. A month had now passed since that conversation in my own house. The season was nearly here, up first a test of my professionalism - away to Rochdale on a Tuesday night. The media seemingly wanting to heap more pressure on myself by televising it - the whole nation would be watching. This would have an impact on the starting line-up. First up though, I had to face the press conference again.

    So Joe, one month gone in football management - how has it been?
    I tell you what, it's much harder than Football Manager. Players don't just turn up at your door and you offer them what you've got, you've got to persuade them and sell the club to them, the facilities, the team-mates, the plan, and the money involved. At first I thought this would be a nightmare job - but as soon as I got the ball rolling, I was like a kid in a sweet shop.

    Some unproven talent amongst the players you've signed - can you give any background to the likes of Quintero and Adryan?
    I'm getting sick of the media accusing me of signing unproven players. They're proven in their own right. I had once been in Mexico for 6 months and watched plenty of the football up there - Quintero was a stand-out striker for me. He's quick, physical, clever, and has great technical ability. I think he's our prize asset. I can face the fact he may not start firing straight away and I would get questioned for this signing - but once he does start returning the £4 million price tag, I can assure you they'll be building statues of me in the City centre. Same with Adryan, he's a natural talent. A real coup for the club, I'm not going to go into the price, but Flamengo had a cheap sell-out clause for a reason - he wanted a move to Europe. From a business point of view, this lad could create huge profit for the club in future.

    You've managed to make plenty of enemies with fans and other clubs alike with your comments last month. You've even gone on to call Peterborough a 'pub team from Norfolk', and even branded Derby County 'sheep shagging small-timers', will this bother you?
    If anything it will motivate me to bring success to Forest. I'm sure haters motivate most professionals in the game - and I am exactly that. The club grows on you very quickly and you begin to share the same feelings as the fans. The games against Derby County I am especially looking forward to, I've always wanted to know what it's like having anti-Prosser chants aimed at you.

    Rochdale first for you then, but more importantly Bristol City at the weekend. Are you going to take the Capital One Cup seriously? And how are you feeling on Saturday's game?
    Well I am taking the Rochdale game seriously, even if they are a club with less fans than I have. Sky Sports I believe are televising the game, I need to make my impression on a national scale. We will go there and treat it as if we are travelling to Burnley or Crystal Palace. As for Bristol City - of course I am feeling confident. Technology in that part of the world hasn't even advanced past tractors and horses, so what hope do they have in figuring out how to defeat moneybags Forest? Not much if you ask me.

    I left the press conference feeling good about myself, I'm the only manager in football who gets these things off his chest. Inappropriate? Perhaps, but it's always good to have everyone with a strong opinion about you. I don't want to be a nobody person like Paul Lambert, do I? We travelled to Rochdale with great confident, on the back of a 3-0 victory over Villarreal. It's crunch time.

    Capital One Cup - First Round
    Rochdale 0-2 Nottingham Forest
    (Ayala 26', Cox 79')
    Cocky? Nah, just confidence. Rightly so, Rochdale will never threaten the upper embers of English Football. A dominant first half by the Forest boys, creating chance after chance, however unable to convert any of them. The deadlock was eventually broken on 26 minutes, Daniel Ayala, the loanee rising highest to a Simon Cox corner to send the 1,400 Forest fans behind the dugout into rather ironic cheers. We continued to try and drag the Rochdale defence out, keeping possession key, passing to feet at a slow tempo, and if we do lose it to a counter attack, you could always rely on a high line of the two Danny's (Ayala and Collins) to sweep it up. Simon Cox wrapped up an assuring win, slotting under the keepers' legs from Chris Cohen's lovely through ball.

    nPower Championship - Matchday 1
    Bristol City 0-1 Nottingham Forest
    (Cisse pen 80')
    A text book away performance. Exactly how the blueprint put it. Bristol City, you could say dominated the first half, however could not create a clear cut chance, just long shots and weak headers threatening Lee Camp in the Forest goal. Adryan was at the centre of things, running the show with a great variety of passes always finding the man. An edgy second half was decided by a penalty decision given by Howard Webb. Billy Sharp, when turning away from goal, had his heels clipped, and had every right to go down. Edouard Cisse didn't direct the penalty, he located it into the destination of choice, and planted it right into the bottom corner with full power. I went into raptures on the sideline, taking some abuse from Bristol City fans, farmers. The final whistle went on a fine away victory, I took 5 minutes after the whistle to shake Forest hands. A warm welcome.

    nPower Championship - Matchday 2
    Nottingham Forest 2-0 Ipswich Town '
    (Sharp 56', Cox 86')
    I've never felt so appreciated in my life. As I walked onto the City Ground pitch for the first time, the sound of 25,000 fans clapping and cheering my name sent shivers down my spine, it almost brought a tear to my eye - however, professional don't do that rubbish, time to get the job done. It took us a while to get going, for the first 35 minutes our inability to get a foot on the ball had me ripping my hairs out. Aimless hoofing when I specifically told and engraved it into the players minds to pass it patiently. We hit the crossbar on half time through Danny Collins, but to be honest, lucky to be level. My decision to push Simon Cox into a more advanced role and to bring on Guedioura for Cisse paid off, we dominated the second half with the flat 4-3-3, and took the lead when Billy Sharp expertly took down Adryan's long ball, sidestepped the keeper and tapped in from about an inch out. We began to get it down and play the passing game teams like Barcelona and Brazil learned off Forest, and made sure of the points when Simon Cox got on the end of Pedrinho's cross. A fine day, as I threw my tie into the Trent End at the final whistle.

    Jean-Luc likes this.

  6. I brought Quintero with my Newcastle team along with Siqporsson and Vossen. As I got rid of Ben Arfa for 20m and Cisse and Ba got long term injuries, they are impressing a lot. So i would recomend u sign Quintero (his scored the third most goals for us and we're first in the premier league)

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