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The Alfa Romeo Metaphor

  1. Quote Originally Posted by brooksey84 View Post
    I hope you continue this story as it is the best on FM Base by a country mile! Its a shame you do not get as much feedback as other story writers on this forum! But I love this story and long may it continue. Keep up the great work!
    Thank you very much. And I'm blushing again.

  2. Attachment 511136
    Attachment 511141We're up to third with the shut-out of Torquay. Scunthorpe, who were first after last weekend, play tomorrow. Regardless of the result, we'll be 2 points off the top spot.
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  3. Attachment 511160
    Okay, so we're fourth. Whatever. We're tied with Scunthorpe and Southend on points.

    Also ...

    Attachment 511163Enrico Pucci @enrico_pucci - 7 Sep
    Congrats to @michaelsmith11 and @Chris_Dunn in League2 Team
    of the Week #Wimbledon
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  4. "Lil, what do we need to know about Barnet?" I asked to begin the coach's meeting.

    "They're rubbish," he replied. "Utter rubbish. "They won their first match and have lost the next five. They're slow except for the right midfielder, but Fens can handle him fine. Hit them early and they'll fall apart."

    "Anything else?" I asked.

    "No."

    "That might be the shortest report ever. Whitney?"

    "Baldwin will be back in training by the weekend, but he won't be fit," Jon Whitney, team physio, replied. "Have you heard from Cam?"

    "Yeah, he didn't play for the U21s so he'll be back in training Thursday morning," I replied. "I want to focus on our defense this week. Yeah, I know Barnet are rock bottom, but our focus will rotate between D, offense and team cohesion, right?"

    "And you all know we have the Andover Town friendly on Tuesday to give our second stringers a practice match," I added. Everyone nodded.

    "I got one concern," Hanks said rather tentatively. "It's not what you might call a major concern, but shouldn't we be complimenting Smith and Lovers and Dunn and Georgey and all? Boost their confidence and all that?"

    "Good point," I replied. "Smith and Lovey look so good because of the service they get. So, really, I'd need to compliment Danny, Mark, Matteo, George, Fens and Cam, too. And Dunn's job is to save our bacon when our defense lapses. What I mean to say is I'm trying to build up a team spirit that everyone is pulling their weight and doing their tasks and that when we all do our tasks well, we win."

    "The managers I liked best rarely singled players out," I concluded. "Plus, I want to avoid any favoritism or any appearance of any **** like that. And watch them on the pitch and in the room after the match. Andy and Haz and Dunn and Gregory and Midson are all doing that."

    "Right O, boss," Hanks said. "Thanks for explaining that."

    "Not a problem," I replied.

    Then we all got up and started getting everything ready for the upcoming training.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 26/02/2014 at 06:13 AM.

  5. "Hey, Enrico, you got a minute?" Mark Tomlinson said to me as training was ending. Nobody around here called me Enrico. Boss, Gaffer or Guvnah occasionally, The Don sometimes, but not my given name.

    "Mark, what's up?" I asked.

    "Um, I have a problem," he said then paused searching for the right way to say it or something.

    "Hey, I'm here to help," I said. "What's going on?"

    He stood there looking at his feet for a moment. He wasn't searching for the right way to say something, he was obviously trying to build up the courage to say something.

    I waited.

    "C'mon, Mark," I said finally. "Let's walk. Whatever it is, it's okay or if you need an attorney or whatever they call them over here we'll get you one."

    He didn't even smirk, but continued looking at the ground as we started to walk.

    "I'm sorry, I was trying to be funny and what you have to say must be serious," I continued. "I'll shut up now."

    "I'm gay," he blurted out after about fifteen steps of silence.

    "Oh? So what?" I replied.

    He looked up at me.

    "Jumping Jesus ****ing Christ on a pogo stick, Mark," I said. "I thought you were going to say something like I'm quitting football or I've found Jesus and need to go sell bibles at the train stations or I've murdered someone."

    "Really?"

    "Or something like that."

    "Oh," he said and looked back down at his feet. "I just thought ..."

    Silence.

    "I mean, you know that there's the banter in the changing room and all that and I'm really worried that it'll be like in school," he said.

    "Well, first, I'm not sure any of them would give a ****, either," I said. "And if anyone gave you **** or bullied you or whatever and I caught them or found out, well, it'd be pretty bad."

    "You've read AFC Wimbledon's code of conduct, right?" I asked. He nodded. "We're trying to make this the kind of organization that is accepting of anyone. It's kind of visionary in many ways."

    "I was hoping it might really be that way," he said. "And not fancy words that mean nothing."

    "Listen," I said. "I had a friend in High School back in the States come out to me. Back then it nearly killed him. Times have changed since then."

    "I got bullied growing up cuz I was small," I continued. "That's where I developed my psychotic streak. Being psychotic can come in handy in your role. But, seriously, if you decide to come out to more people than me, we'll need a plan. Do you have people, other gay men, who you can count on? If you totally come out, there will be abuse from the stands. You will have to be prepared for that."

    "I know," he said.

    "If you want to keep this a secret, your secret is safe with me," I said. "Whatever you do, I support you 100%."

    "Thanks, Enrico," he said.

  6. Friendly: AFC Wimbledon v. Andover Town

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ID:	512697Tuesday September 9, 2014

    Another run out for my second stringers. I'm hoping Gregory, Johnson, Pepper and Redshaw start looking better. I'll need them playing well at some point.

    GK: Daniel Lincoln
    D: Patrick Reese (U18), Reuben Hazell, Ben Harrison (U18), Kiel Goodwin (U18)
    M: Fabian Rowe (U18), Steven Gregory, Adam Pepper, Simon Johnson
    F: Jack Midson, Jack Redshaw

    It went better against the semi-pros from Andover than against Canvey Island. We pretty much camped outside of their box and tried to find a way to create a chance.

    Midson got chopped down rather clumsily and converted the penalty, Reese smashed a pretty decent shot from 20 yards and Redshaw had a tap in from 3 yards out after a great play by Midson.

    Gregory, Johnson, Midson, Pepper and Redshaw all played decently.

    Harry Pell and Drissa Dabre got some minutes but neither looked they had any ability or any confidence. Again.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 27/02/2014 at 03:53 AM.
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  7. WOMBLEblog.co.uk
    Potential banana peel awaits in the burrough of Harrow

    Thrash
    12 September 2014 17:02

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ID:	512825I'm really dreading this match tomorrow. Barnretch are rock bottom of League 2. The newly promoted side are struggling. Badly. Five straight losses and confidence is completely absent. Burnit have apparently even called in a shaman for help.

    On the other hand, my beloved Wimbledon are flying high under the management of our new Italian manager who is also American at the same time, Enrico Pucci. His strike force of Smith and Loveridge look unstoppable. Our defense looks half decent. The midfield is being bossed by two teenagers. We have wingers on either flank who look dangerous every time they build up a head of steam.

    And I'm ready to fill my pants out of dread.

    No, really.

    You know how this goes. After a pleasant tube ride we stroll into The Hives and catch a nasty rash of overconfidence. The Burnt Armpits with their mouth-breathing, hirsute ankle biters sneak a couple of early goals and everything falls apart. Smith is crying and asking why Loveridge hates him and won't answer his texts. Dunn, Frampton, Fenlon, Hazell and Thackray can't remember who each other are and why they've ventured into this peculiar burrough in which everyone's eyebrows are so prominent and hairy. Our teenagers come down with particularly nasty cases of acne and decide to learn Italian so they can speak with Matteo Nole instead of play football.

    So be careful as you venture forth into the northwestern burroughs of our fair city. Not all parts are so fair. This team says they are from the burrough of Barnet, but they're not. They are liars. And the pies smell like old socks and I swear upon the King James Bible that they water their beer down so badly its virtually indistinguishable from watered down horse urine.

    Regardless, I'll see you all in Harrow. I'll be the immense, sober bloke smelling like excrement and pie and looking like he's ready to weep in despair at the slightest provocation.

  8. League Two: Barnet FC v AFC Wimbledon

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ID:	512989It took our bus driver under an hour to navigate to The Hive stadium where Barnet FC play in the burrough of Harrow.

    The facilities are new. All of us always appreciate.

    I decided to go with the same back four as last match. Hey, we shut out Torquay so why change? Also, Adam Pepper did something to his thigh and is out maybe two weeks.

    GK: Chris Dunn
    D: Reuben Hazell, Kris Thackray, Andy Frampton (C), James Fenlon
    M: George Francomb, Mark Tomlinson, Daniel Barlaser, Matteo Nole
    F: James Loveridge, Michael Smith

    Subs: Daniel Lincoln (GK), Cameron Dummigan (D), Steven Gregory (M), Harry Pell (M), Simon Johnson (M), Jack Midson (F), Jack Redshaw (F)

    "Let's keep on doing all the good things we did last week against Torquay," I said to start my pre-game talk. "Fens, watch their right midfielder. He's probably their best player. I have faith that you guys in the defense can shut them down. Lil says they're going to play a 4411. Let's give their forward and their man-in-the-hole the special sauce."

    "I want you guys to hang back, don't overcommit on offense," I continued. "We'll hit them on the counter. Let them fall apart. Don't give them any chances. The stats say that they're more vulnerable in the second half, we'll hit them hard then. Okay?"

    The game began with Barnet right midfielder George Porter getting Fenlon twisting this way and that before whipping in a dangerous cross. Frampton headed the ball clear but right to their attacking midfielder Tom Hopper. Hopper volleyed just wide of Dunn's left post. I'm pretty sure that Dunn had it covered.

    In the 4th minute, Haz played a pass up the line to Francomb. George played a give-n-go with Barlaser and then passed up to Smith. Smith turned his defender and raced goalwards. The keeper charged out and Smith tried to chip him. The ball landed on top of the netting.

    In the 12th minute, Barlaser played a pass up to Loveridge. Bee's center back Maxime Blanchard scissor-tackled Loveridge taking ball and man.

    "WHAT WAS THAT?" I screamed at the ref. "FOUL! FOUL! FOUL!"

    I then walked over and had a useless conversation with the fourth official about what constitutes illegal tackles.

    Out of the corner of my eye and saw Tomlinson crunch into a Barnet player, get away with it and play a ball back to Haz. Haz passed up the line to Francomb. George played a ball into Smith at the top of the box.

    With his back to goal, Smith spun his defender took a couple of touches and blasted a ball into the side netting.

    0-1

    In the 24th minute, Danny played a ball up to Loveridge. James spun and charged at his defender, beat him and inexplicably then played a ball 20 yards back and to the right to Tomlinson. I realized I was standing there with my palms out asking why he'd done that. Tomlinson played a pass up to Smith who held up the ball and reviewed his options. To the left he had Loveridge moving into a gap between the two central defenders. His defender was tight on his back (which was a mistake last time).

    He decided to roll the ball into Loverboy's path. Lovey got absolutey everything he had behind the shot. While he hit it right at the keeper, the keeper would need to raise his hands to block the shot. He only had time to get a fingertip up but was only able to redirect the shot into the underside of the crossbar.

    0-2

    The crossbar vibrated for quite a while.

    Barnet and their fans were clearly demoralized. The Wimbledon fans behind the net where we just scored for a second time started singing:

    "Loveridge every minute of it" a slight twist on the Loverboy song from the 80s. Apparently, supporters had made runs on Loverboy songs lately.

    Eventually, the Bees got their act together and got the ball up the left flank to Peter Murphy (no, not the singer). Francomb had Haz supporting him yet Murphy beat them both. Thankfully, he couldn't beat Thacks, Andy and Dunn. Dunn made himself large and blocked the shot out for a corner.

    Murphy then hoofed the ball over everyone's heads for a throw in on the far side.

    Within a few minutes, the game was over for all intents and purposes.

    Francomb intercepted a poorly played pass and zipped a pass up to Loveridge. Smith took off running and Loveridge fed a pass to him. Smith took it in stride, saw the keeper advancing and tried another chip.

    The ball floated over the stranded keeper and hung there, slowly dropping earthward. It looked like it was heading right at the keeper's right post. It nicked off the inside of the post just below the crossbar and the match was over.

    0-3

    Our fans began singing "We Got Smithy, You are Sh*tty, let's call the whole thing off." The Barnet fans were silent.

    Barnet eventually regrouped and got the ball into our half. Porter crossed and Andy headed clear yet again. Their left back headed the ball across the top of the box to the right-sided central midfielder. He chipped a pass out wide to Murphy. Murphy headed backward and away from our goal to the other central midfiedler. This midfielder one-timed a pass back to Murphy. Haz was, of course, ball-watching. Murphy one-touched a pass to the left back Martin John who had run into the box unmarked.

    He hit a low near post shot that Dunn should have blocked but failed to.

    1-3

    Barnet players ran in and grabbed the ball like this was their lifeline back into the match. Better ****ing not be, I thought to myself. But that was nice movement of the ball, I also thought to myself. Barnet supporters tried to encourage their side.

    Smith nearly scored again with 5 minutes to go before halftime.

    In the 44th minute, Danny played a ball up to Loveridge. He spun and raced at the defense. Smith was waiting out right for a pass into the right channel. Blanchard stepped up and performed another scissor-tackle. I'm not sure he got any of the ball, but Loveridge lay writhing on the pitch.

    "WHAT WAS THAT! WHAT WAS THAT!" I screamed at the ref. "THAT SHOULD BE A RED CARD! RED CARD! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T PROTECT PLAYERS FROM DIRTY PLAY!"

    "That was a clean tackle," Bees manager Colin Lee yelled at me.

    "Yeah and you're probably think you're going to win League Two, too," I shot back. "That was straight out of the 1980s."

    "Were you even ****ing alive then?" Lee asked.

    The fourth official stepped in front of me and I felt hands grab me from behind. My staff were dragging me back to the bench.

    "BUNCH OF ****ING HACKS!" I screamed at Lee.

    "Shut the **** up before you get tossed," Hanks said to me as Rachhubka and Hanks forcibly sat me down on the bench.

    Hanks had already gotten Midson and Redshaw warming up. When Whitney signaled for the switch, I pointed at Redshaw.

    "Relax, man," I said to him as he got ready to come on. "Just come deep to get the ball and run at their D. They're slow. I have faith you'll be back on your game in no time."

    "Ankle," Whitney said as Loveridge was stretchered past me and straight into the locker room. I could tell from the look on their faces that this was serious.

    Fkn A but this would be a huge loss if this was serious.

    "Great job out there," I said to begin my halftime talk. "Keep it up. They are going to want to keep the ball and pass it around. They're going to be hoping it will give them some confidence. Let them. Let's just park the bus when they want to do that. Let them pass the ball back and fourth 30 yards out. I couldn't give a **** if they wanted to do that all day."

    "When we get the ball, make sure we keep it a while and give the D a chance to catch their breathes," I continued. "You all have done great in the back, but I believe you all can do better in the second half. Keep talking and stay organized and stay compact."

    The second half was dull compared to the first. They put Murphy back in central defense to try and stop Smith. His replacement out left was nowhere near as dangerous. Porter was their only dangerman and they only created one decent chance from one of his crosses that clipped the bar.

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ID:	513052Dunn didn't make a save in the second half.

    It was dull enough that I checked my iPhone periodically for results. Scunthorpe were losing as were York and both were down by two. Southend were tied. If these results stood, we'd be in first.

    "Congrats!" I said walking into the dressing room after talking to the press. "My phone tells me that we're top."

    The players cheer.

    "How's his ankle, Whits?" I asked.

    "We'll see tomorrow morning," Whitney replied.

    "I heard it pop, Don," Loveridge replied. "I'll be fine."

    Whitney just shrugged.

    "Great game management, great commitment, solid concentration, I'm very pleased by how you all played today," I said.

  9. Loving the chants!

  10. Quote Originally Posted by mking1992 View Post
    Loving the chants!
    Thanks! Reading through the Wimbledon chants I can find, I must say they seem pretty creative so it doesn't seem like these would be too far out.

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  12. Name:  Enrico-twitter.png
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Size:  4.8 KBEnric Pucci @enricopucci - 14 Sep
    Don't worry #Wimbledon fans, @JamesLoveridge's ankle injury looked worse
    than it was. #Dontholdbreathe #relax
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  13. "Hello?"

    "Colin?"

    "Yeah."

    "It's Enrico Pucci. I'm calling to apologize for shrieking at you like a schoolgirl yesterday."

    "Oh, thanks mate. It's no problem, really. Heat of the moment and all that."

    "Cool. And Loveridge looks like he's fine. His ankle popped rather than sprained."

    "That's good to hear for you and bad news for the rest of the league. Dons look nasty this year, like league winning nasty. Best of luck, mate."

    "Good luck to you, too. Hope you can pull it out."

    "Here's hoping, cheers."

    "Ciao."

    Click.
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  14. Name:  Enrico-twitter.png
Views: 538
Size:  4.8 KBEnrico Pucci @enricopucci - 16 Sep
    Congrats to @michaelsmith11 for making the League2 team of
    the week again. #Wimbledon
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  15. Friendly: AFC Wimbledon v. Black Country Rangers

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ID:	513254Yet another mid-week friendly for my second stringers.

    GK: Daniel Lincoln
    D: Cameron Dummigan, Pat Baldwin, Ben Harrison (U18), Kiel Goodwin (U18)
    M: Fabian Rowe (U18), Steven Gregory, Harry Pell, Simon Johnson
    F: Jack Midson, Jack Redshaw

    Pell was utterly useless. Redshaw created himself some opportunities but it's hard to kick the ball when you are choking yourself with both hands. Midson and Johnson looked useful, at least.

    It was rather difficult because the Rangers had ten men inside the penalty box and rarely venture out of their half.

    Next week I'll bring in a more competitive team, but judging by the way they're playing, they'll lose like against Canvey Island.
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  16. Thursday, 18 September 2014

    I got a text from Gwen that stalker boy was back at the bakery. Would I come by to rescue her? Of course I would. Her shift ended at 6pm so I showed up at ten to. Just in case this happened again, I'd done some research and installed an app that would force pair with someone else's phone without them noticing. Furthermore, as long as their phone was turned on, I'd have access. Furthermore, range wouldn't matter. I figured I'd give it a try with stalker boy.

    I saw him from a distance and while I approached the bakery I turned on my new app and tried to pair with his phone. Wow. That was easy. I walked a little slower so I could glance over a few recent texts and look through his photos.

    "How's it going, William," I said sitting down across the table from stalker boy. "I see your frequenting your favorite bakery again. How are today's pastries?"

    "I ... urrrr ... ummm," he mumbled.

    "How's your mom, Alice?" I asked.

    "What the fuck are you up to, you psychotic arsehole?" he managed to ask.

    "Remember, William, I'm not psychotic, I'm a high functioning sociopath," I retorted. "And you didn't answer my question."

    "What ****ing question," he said.

    "Language, language, language, William. What would Alice, your Mom, say about your dirty little mouth and the stalking of the pretty girls? Hmmm? But my question was how are the pastries?"

    "How the **** would I know," he replied.

    "Well, you've been sitting here long enough. I figured by now you'd have tried several. And how's your Dad?"

    "Piss off, old man."

    "And what would your Dad, Stephen, say about how you spend your time. What would he find if he searched your phone or the family computer? Would he find any of the pictures you've taken of the pretty girls?"

    "Piss off," he replied. He was getting flustered.

    "Hi," said Gwen. "I'm done. I'm so glad you two have met. Can we leave now?"

    "Now William, don't make me visit your Mom and Dad and have a little talk, okay? Been such a pleasure being able to talk like this. Are we clear on everything?"

    William was utterly flustered and confused by this point he just sat there getting red in the face. Gwen and I walked over to the Alfa.

    "John's got the pictures together and wants to show us," Gwen said as she got in the car.

    "Really? Cool."

    "Once again, thank you thank you for the rescue," she said. "And by the way, how'd you figure out his name?"

    "I hacked his phone," I replied. "Let's go somewhere and have a look at what he's been doing."
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  18. League Two: AFC Wimbledon v. Northampton Town FC

    Here is our first test of the season. We'd lost our captain, how would we respond? In comes Pat Baldwin. His moment to shine.

    I was planning on giving Lincoln a game mainly because Northampton are toward the bottom of the table and look toothless. Then he pulls me aside before practice and asks why I haven't started him. "Funny you should bring this up, but I was planning to start you this Saturday," I said to him.

    GK: Daniel Lincoln
    D: Reuben Hazell, Kris Thackray, Pat Baldwin, James Fenlon
    M: George Frampton, Mark Tomlinson, Daniel Barlaser, Matteo Nole
    F: James Loveridge, Michael Smith

    Subs: Chris Dunn (GK), Cameron Dummigan (D), Ben Harrison (D), Steven Gregory (M), Simon Johnson (M), Jack Midson (F), Jack Redshaw (F)

    "Northampton come roaring out of the gates, so don't let them catch us out in the first fifteen," I said to begin my team talk. "We'll step up the pressure and attack them all out in the second half when, statistically speaking, they give up the majority of their goals."

    "They play a 442 Diamond formation so I think Mark and Daniel will have their opposing midfielders nearer to them throughout the match," I said. "This means we just need to move the ball quicker."

    "Bottom line," I said in conclusion. "Is just relax and play our game, the result will come."

    I was right about them coming on hard to begin the match, Lincoln was called upon the make a diving save inside the first minute from a thunderous header from their striker Chris Beardsley. Fenlon was going to be busy all day with their right midfielder Roy O'Donovan.

    We then brought the ball upfield and Danny Boy sent in Matteo who hit the keeper from a bad angle. The ball went out for a corner.

    Then both teams settle into trench warfare in the middle of the pitch. It was a hard slog because our central pairing were always near their central pairing and tackles were flying. The had decided to talk it out with players rather than wave yellow cards around.

    Smith had his shirt held (no card, but a warning) in the 21st minute about 25 yards out in the middle. Francomb teed up the ball and waited for the whistle. George got his shot over the wall, he even got it to dip. But he hit it right at the keeper. Easy save in the end.

    In the 23rd, Danny played a pass up to Smith again. He spun his defender and ran goalward. Their keeper did a great job parrying the ball wide for a corner.

    George played the corner short and Danny dribbled into the penalty box. Beat one defender and shot, but it was blocked and cleared.

    We were starting to dominate the match.

    In the 29th minute, another ball from Danny to Smith. This time Smith played it out to Francomb who beat his defender and whipped in a near post cross. Smith header whizzed just over the crossbar.

    In the 32nd minute, Danny played a pass out to Nole on the left. Nole played a pass up to Loveridge who saw the three defenders in front of him and the single one marking Smith and chipped it over to Smith who headed it right at the goalkeeper.

    In the 33rd we won a corner and George played another short corner that went nowhere. Danny dribbled into the box just like before but this time slipped a pass out to Matteo who tried a long range shot. A defender charged it down, blocked it and Northampton were away on the counter.

    Fenlon saved the day with a well-timed sliding tackle. We easily dealt with the resulting corner.

    After trying for several minutes to cross the ball in from the right (Francomb was shockingly unsuccessful), Northampton broke on the counter. As Beardsley trotted into our half, Thackray leapt at him with a two-footed tackle that you might even be able to characterize as a kung fu style tackle. It was ludicrous. What the **** was he thinking.

    The ref raced over while trying to find his cards. I hoped it wasn't going to be, but it was. He came to a stop waving a red card over Thack's head. I looked at the clock. 41 minutes gone. I'd have to substitute.

    "Your on, Cam," I said. Cam started stripping off his track suit.

    Thacks walked right past me, I didn't even look at him. What the **** did he think the ref was going to do in this day and age when the two-footed tackle had been outlawed from the game?

    I took Loveridge off. We'd play a 441. Cam would play right back and Haz would slide into the middle.

    We continued to dominate and won a corner in the 43 minute.

    "GEORGE, DANNY, NO SHORT BALL!" I yelled. "NO SHORT BALL. GET IT INTO THE BOX!"

    So what did George do? Played the short ball to Danny who jogged into the box with the ball and had his shot blocked.

    "Studs up tackles will always get you red carded nowadays," I said once everyone was in the locker room. "Even if you get the ball. Point your toe and go in with one foot."

    "We can still dominate," I continued. "Matteo and George, attack your fullbacks. You can beat them and whip in crosses for Smith."

    "Attack from the dribble, Matteo," I said in Italian. "Provide Smith with some crosses."

    "Danny, you have more leeway to get forward in support of Smith," I continued in English. "And no more short corners, got it? Get the ball into the middle on corners."

    Soon after the kickoff, we won a corner. Danny and George tried yet another short corner despite what I'd said. I didn't say anything. I'd deal with them tomorrow.

    Matteo just wasn't running at his defenders. I don't understand why not. He's several degrees faster and is an excellent dribbler. Maybe we need to work with him on booting it past the defenders and outracing him to the ball. Regardless, we attacked through the middle with Danny Boy or down the right.

    Then in the 54th minute, their left back scissored down Francomb. Ref gave the foul, but no card. I yelled at the ref and berated the fourth official for a while. Hanks got Simon Johnson warming up.

    George wasn't moving very well and so I replaced him with Johnson in the 59th minute. I would have preferred to replace Matteo, but now I didn't have a choice. Plus with this ref, I figured I' better save my last sub til late just in case.

    We continued to press the game but had no luck. Northampton continued to break occasionally on the counter, but we dealt with it well every time.

    In the 74th minute, Danny Boy tripp up a Northampton player. The ref warned him and they restarted the play. They worked the ball up the right and O'Donovan beat Fenlon. Fenlon had Baldwin backing him up so I don't understand why he did what he did, but he lunged in with a desperation tackler from behind. He mistimed it and only caught O'Donovan's ankle.

    Surely a yellow card. The first of the match.

    Nope.

    Straight red.

    My palm met my face.

    As the crowd whistled and booed, I pointed at Steven Gregory.

    "Okay, you're going in for Matteo," I told him. "We're going to play a 431. You're going to play left back. We have to hold them off for 15 minutes."

    "Got it,"Click image for larger version

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    We managed to hold them off. Lincoln made several acrobatic saves.

    This had turned into a hideous afternoon. I was quite worried about having three of my starting four defenders out for the next three or four matches. This could suck if the FA decided to add to their suspensions.

    Was my team really this dirty? We led the league in yellow cards coming into the match and I'm sure we'd be leading the league in red cards after today.
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  20. Sunday, 21 September 2014

    "Fkn A," I said. "What a bizarre match, eh?"

    "And what is going on with the short corners?" Matt Woolley asked shaking his head.

    "It was amazing," Hanks added. "Why should our defenders come up if we're never going to play a corner in?"

    "We'll address that," I said. "And I'll talk to Thacks and Fens about the red cards."

    "i'm concerned about our wide play," Wools said. "Suddenly, Matteo and Geo and Simon can't cross a ball for their life. At least in matches. You've all seen 'em in training."

    "And Smith is 6'4" so we should at least lob a couple in his direction," I added. "I don't want to go totally Moyes Mental with our crossing, but a varying our attack would be helpful. We're playing straight through the middle with Danny too much."

    "How much of it is the opposing midfielder dropping back to help and daring us to attack up the gut?" Rachubka asked. "And how much is mental?"

    "Why not work with Matteo on doing an Overmars?" Dave Wilson said. He's our fitness guy. "You know, punt n run?"

    "You've got a point," Wools replied. "But what about Geo? He never beats his man to the end line anymore and whips in a cross. I don't get it."

    "Let's me and you work with them, okay Wools?" I asked. He nodded.

    "I've booked another friendly for Tuesday," I continued. "After yesterday's result, everyone's playing a half."

    "And great job Paul getting Lincoln ready for his big debut."

    "Yeah, he did pretty well, didn't he?" Rachubka said. "But the whole defense played well those last 15, too."

    Everyone nodded.
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  21. Click image for larger version

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ID:	514554Question for my readers:

    Suddenly my wingers and fullbacks won't cross the ball! It's nuts! Why?

    First: is this a bug? I've never seen anything like this in playing FM for all these many years.

    Matteo Nole - Dribbling 13, crossing 16, Acc 16, Pace 14
    George Frampton - Dribbling 12, crossing 10
    Simon Johnson - Dribbling 10, crossing 13

    I setthe left side players aiming for the far post and right side players aiming near post. The reason is 6'4" Smith isClick image for larger version

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    George, for example, will beat his man and instead of crossing wait for the defender to catch up to him and try to bounce it off his shins. In some ways I get it. George isn't that talented, but even when he does cross it's only after everyone is standing around in the box cuz he's been fkn around in the corner rather than crossing when the timing was right.

    Matteo will only pass back to Danny, the left-sided central mid, or to Fenlon who is overlapping. Because he's so fast and so awesome on the ball, when he does get around his man he dribbles into the teeth of the defense. He's rather useless shooting so I'd rather have him cross.

    I'm playing a 442 with the following Team settings:

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  23. Friendly: AFC Wimbledon v. Malden & Tiptree

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ID:	514916This time I need a friendly against a local semi-pro club to break some of my first stringers of some bad habits. Wools and I worked with the Matteo, George, Simon and Fabian Rowe (the kid who thinks he should be a first teamer) on their crossing. Mainly on when and that they really ought to cross the ball.

    Also, I wanted to make sure we'd sorted out our problems with corners.

    GK: Daniel Lincoln
    D: Cameron Dummigan, Reuben Hazell, Pat Baldwin, Ben Harrison
    M: George Francomb, Mark Tomlinson, Daniel Barlaser, Simon Johnson
    F: James Loveridge, Michael Smith

    I also wanted to give Simon a chance to show me what he could do playing with the first team.

    Everyone stood and watched M&T score. Everyone was lined up on the penalty box line for a long ball free kick. They played a low ball in and one of their players got there first and everyone stood there and watched him shoot past Lincoln.

    Daniel Barlaser pulled up clutching his hamstring in the 10th minute. I sent Pell on to replace him.

    Smith couldn't get any of his shots on goal. Lovey should have scored 4 or 5.

    Matteo played great in the second half with the second stringers and Simon didn't do much with the first XI.

    And that third goal was really Fenlon's. Just sayin' ...
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  24. As I walked out the stadium entrance, someone was leaning against the Alfa. I had never thought about it, but the player's parking area was quite dark. Okay, the person was too thin to be Gianluca. You remember Gianluca don't you? He's my ex-cousin-in-law, the Lieutenant in the Camorra.

    No, I think it's a woman.

    Oh, sweet Mary mother of God, it's Gwen. What the **** is she doing here? As I get closer she doesn't wave or anything. She remains leaning against the car. Okay, now I'm curious. WTF is going on?

    "Hi," I say as I walk right up to her. She's still leaning against the Alfa.

    Then she straightens up and leans forward.

    "Happy birthday," she whispers in my ear.

    "UhhhHHHHhhh," I groan. My palm meets my face. I'd completely forgotten my birthday.
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  25. Wednesday, 24 September 2014

    "Boss, can I have a word," Fabian Rowe said.

    The New Malden locker room was nearly clear.

    "Sure, Fabian, what's up?" I replied.

    "I want this to stay between you and me, but I need to say that I should be getting some first team football and I might have to leave unless things improve."

    "Okay," I replied. "We've already discussed this once. You're a back-up. I have you playing each week with the U18s to make sure you develop your game. Mark Robinson has been keeping me posted on how your playing with the U18s when I can't watch myself. You haven't done anything exceptional for the U18s and you haven't played better than the three wingers ahead of you in the friendlies against semi-pro teams."

    "I just feel it's time for me to leave, I can see you don't want to give me playing time," he replied.

    What a steaming pile of ****. What an overblown sense of entitlement. Seen it before, but usually players with some talent which Fabian hasn't demonstrated he has.

    "No, you haven't shown me that I have to play you," I replied. "No coach is going to play you because you moan to them for playing time. You have to earn it and you have shown me that you're quite unprofessional."

    "Maybe I am being unprofessional, but I have to do what's best for my career," I said.

    "I think we should leave this discussion for later, maybe after you've shown my that you deserve to play."

    "Fine, but I'm not happy with how you've dealt with this."

    Whatever kid, I think as I watch him strut out of the locker room. Brentford thought so highly of you that they released you. I bring you here, you complain about how hard I make you train then repeatedly moan about not getting playing time.

    Do I tell him that his **** work ethic and sense of entitlement are going to wash him out of this game?
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 01/03/2014 at 02:43 PM.

  26. Name:  Enrico-twitter.png
Views: 526
Size:  4.8 KBEnrico Pucci @enricopucci - 24 Sep
    Confirmed that @DanielBarlaser will be out a month with a
    strained hamstring. #Wimbledon
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  27. Wednesday, September 24 2014

    Now I have some real problems. Too few defenders and now my midfield playmaker.

    Adam Pepper isn't fit enough to play more than 30 minutes. Harry Pell has shown he's useless. My only choice is to play Steven Gregory. He's a decent enough passer.

    In defense, Cameron Dummigan is best at right fullback, but can play left. Reuben Hazell and Pat Baldwin can play in the center and at right back. Ben Harrison is a 18 year old, but playing him worries me. He can play at center back or left back, but he's really slow. Slow to read the game and slow footed.

    "Enrico," Sean Hankin says. "You've forgotten that Geo can play right back in a pinch."

    "Francomb can play right back?" I said. I'd totally forgotten. "Boy I'm glad I keep you around, Hanks."

    So Simon Johnson starts at right midfield with Matteo out left.
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  28. WOMBLEblog.co.uk
    How will the Dons line up against Exeter?

    Thrash
    26 September 2014 17:47

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ID:	515215When the Excreters arrive at The Fan's Stadium - Kingsmeadow from deepest, darkest Devonshire, who will they line up against? A combination of suspensions and injuries have shorn the Dons of three key defenders and the teenage playmaker who has been pulling strings of the highest scoring club in League Two.

    Let's review the situation and begin up top. Michael Smith and James Loveridge will continue to lead the line. This is the only certain thing. Whether they will continue to receive the same service they've come to expect is another debate entirely.

    Pucci took over from Ardley in June and bought Adam Pepper to be our playmaker. It's ironic that Pucci's only purchase has been a dud. With Pepper floundering, he gambled on Daniel Barlaser. The lad has done no less than feed our strikers a steady diet of slide rule passes as we've climbed to 2nd. But now Barlaser is out a month with a injured hamstring.

    Pepper is just coming back from injury so we can rule him out.

    After playing so well for us last year, Harry Pell is utterly bereft of anything resembling confidence. No chance he'll play. That leaves Steven Gregory who had been dropped after the loss to Scunthorpe for his inability to protect the back four and tackle anyone ever. It couldn't be Drissa Dabre who rarely plays in training friendlies and never even makes the bench so far under Pucci.

    But the defense is where the questions are. Captain Andy Frampton is out with a sports hernia. Both James Fenlon and Kris Thackray are out for 3 matches for a little ultraviolence in last Saturday against North-of-Hope-ton.

    Reuben Hazell has been playing at right back lately. After Scunthorpe, Pucci must be afraid to play him in the middle. Now he has no choice but to play him there. He'll be joined by Pat Baldwin who's only start was the horror show against Wolves in the League Cup.

    That leaves Pucci with Cameron Dummigan, the Northern Irish teenager, at fullback. Despite all the miracles and etc. that occur regularly on the Emerald Isle, no Irishman has yet played both fullback positions in the modern era. So somebody from the youth team is going to have to step up.

    And this is when my bowels start rumbling and my sphincter puckers.

    Now the pelt-wearing troglodytes from deepest, darkest Devonshire are not having a good season so far. 17th place in League Two is nothing to brag about. We know. We were in the same boat last season. But a reasonably decent trog from Devonshire is going to have a field day against some fresh-faced lad with freshly blooming acne that Pucci has ripped from his mother's arms and thrown in at fullback.

    Unless, of course, Pucci can unearth another Barlaser. We'll all find out when we read the match day programme tomorrow. See you then.
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  29. League Two: AFC Wimbledon v. Exeter City FC

    The man thought it wiser this time to risk having a conversation with his ex-wife than getting injured when his son launched himself from the top step. So he rang the bell and waited. He heard her voice and his son's. He heard the footsteps thundering from somewhere.

    She opened the door and before either could say anything, their progeny erupted out the door.

    "Bye, Mum!" he yelled.

    The man turned and saw the boy was wearing his Wimbledon hat and trailing his scarf. He turned to see if his ex-wife had anything to say. She didn't. She just shut the door.

    "C'mon, Dad, leth go get Gwampa! C'mon!"

    As per usual, his son explained his latest computer games and playground politics. The grandfather heard all about it, too.

    Then they were parked and walking or bouncing as the case may be under the Kingsmeadow arch and into the stadium.

    The two adults examined their match day programmes once they were seated.

    "Hmm, that's interesting," the grandfather said.

    "What Francomb at right back?"

    "That and the young lad Lincoln is between the posts again," the grandfather added.

    They repeated the last names of the Wimbledon players when they were announced and booed the opponents.

    "C'mon you Dons!" yelled the grandfather when the first ten minutes of the game were spent in Wimbledon's end.

    "No, not Route One," the father grumbled as a Wimbledon launched yet another long ball forward for the forwards to chase.

    "Well, at least their not giving them any real chances," the grandfather noted after the first twenty minutes passed with Exeter dominating the game.

    "C'mon pass it out of the back!" the grandfather yelled after the left back Cameron Dummigan hoisted a ball clear.

    "We got it!" the grandson squealed as Loveridge ran under the ball and perfectly controlled it.

    "GO! GO! GO!" everyone in the main stand chanted as Loveridge jinked past the Exeter central defender and raced goalward.

    Then there was a sharp intake of breathe as Loveridge tried to chip the keeper.

    "GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLL" the boy squealed as he jumped into his Dad's arms. He high-fived with grandfather.

    They were still serenading Loveridge when they all promptly stopped singing and started booing. An Exeter defender had chopped down Michael Smith.

    "FOUL! YELLOW CARD!" the grandfather yelled.

    "I've got a good feeling about this," the father said as George Francomb placed the ball about 25 yards from goal dead center.

    The crowd went silent in anticipation. Francomb waited for the ref to blow the whistle. Tweet! Francomb ran up, the wall jumped. Francomb sent a low ball underneath the wall that nicked off somebody in the wall and wrong-footed the keeper.

    "TWO NIHW!!" shrieked the son.

    "That was brilliant," the father said to the grandfather. "Under the wall. Don't see that often."

    "We held them really well," the grandfather observed to his son and grandson as they filed out to get their customary half time snack.

    "Yeah, hardly miss all the regulars," the father agreed.

    "Can I have a hot dog?" the son asked his father. The father nodded.

    "We go top if this score and the York score hold," the father said consulting his phone while they were in line at the concession stand. "York are losing one-nil at half time to Dagenham & Redbridge."

    "There is always hope," the grandfather said.

    They were late getting back to their seats. The grandson had to pee. As they walked out of the tunnel, Mark Tomlinson hit a high Route One ball over Smith's head. Smith took off running. He ran under the ball and let it hit him on the back. Miraculously, the ball hit his shoulder blade just right and bounced into his path so he didn't even need to break stride. The entire crowd Ooohed. As he was about to shoot a defender intervened with a desperate, diving tackle and saved a third goal.

    "Wow!" the father exclaimed applauding.

    "I haven't seen anything like that since Gascoigne did that with Lazio!" the grandfather said joining the applause.

    "That wath mental!" shrieked the boy clapping with the wild abandon of a child.

    Then they walked to their seats.

    "Is it me or are Exeter just wasting time with all their possession?" the father remarked near the sixty minute mark in the game.

    "Check the York match," the grandfather requested.

    Click image for larger version

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ID:	515565"Still one-nil," the father replied.

    "Give it to Smith! THOOT! THOOT!" the boy squealed in the 70th minute. Then all three joined the cheering as Smith smashed a 10 yard shot off the keeper and into the net for Wimbledon's third.

    "Have you lost any more teeth?" the grandfather asked after he heard the distinct lisp from this grandson.

    "No."

    They sang, chanted, cheered and booed as appropriate as the Dons ground out the remaining twenty minutes.

    "That wath gweat!" the grandson said as they walked under the Kingsmeadow sign towards the father's car. "We killed them. Smith wath awethum."

    Both men nodded in agreement.
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  31. Continue to read because your writing is so gripping. Interesting how you're mixing up the updates nowadays, I like it!
    AndySams10 and Nurquidi98 like this.

  32. Quote Originally Posted by ZeCarlos View Post
    Continue to read because your writing is so gripping. Interesting how you're mixing up the updates nowadays, I like it!
    Thank you very much. I was inspired by KevinHann's Blasphemy seven clubs lock horns ... story to add a bunch of different media outlets. Also, I wanted to do a multi-generational fan thing and so you've seen my two attempts.
    dainis likes this.

  33. Quote Originally Posted by Enrico Pucci View Post
    Thank you very much. I was inspired by KevinHann's Blasphemy seven clubs lock horns ... story to add a bunch of different media outlets. Also, I wanted to do a multi-generational fan thing and so you've seen my two attempts.

    Excellent. Next to yours, KevinHann's story is the best on the site currently. Keep up the good work, but why have you cast wonathan woss as the gwandson?

  34. Had the same problem for half a season ended up deleting my game

  35. I have returned and spent an hour and a half reading 25 pages
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  36. Quote Originally Posted by kewlwarez View Post
    Excellent. Next to yours, KevinHann's story is the best on the site currently. Keep up the good work, but why have you cast wonathan woss as the gwandson?
    First off, thank you very much.

    Secondly ... LOL! I talks wike dat becuth heeth theven yearth of age an heeth mithing a wot of teef espeshually in fwont.

  37. Quote Originally Posted by Gavinmitch11 View Post
    Had the same problem for half a season ended up deleting my game
    You're referring to my crossing problem? I may have found a solution. I played a mid-week friendly already that I haven't written about yet and I selected "Hit Early Crosses."

  38. Quote Originally Posted by MatthewElphinstone View Post
    I have returned and spent an hour and a half reading 25 pages
    I hope you enjoyed it. I don't even think you're through my season at Cadiz, yet.

    Have you heard of Warren Ellis's FreakAngels? I discovered it about 3/4 of the way through the story back in 2010. Conveniently, I was unemployed and spent all of a Thursday afternoon and night then Friday until about 4pm reading through that. I hope to provide latercomers to this story at least 10% of the entertainment I got from FreakAngels.

  39. Meet the Parents II

    Sunday 28 September 2014 6PM

    "I should explain a few things first," Gwen said. "About my family." She paused. "Um, well first my Dad pretty much demanded to meet you. I told you he's a lifelong Wimbledon fan. Well, he's got season tickets and often travels to away matches. I believe the saying is he bleeds blue and yellow. Wee bit passionate about it all and I will say has been going on and on about how good this year's squad looks long before he found out I was dating you."

    "And then there's my Mum," she continued. "Don't be distracted or fooled by her affectations. It's all just a ****ing act. She wants to pretend she's not what she is. I've never understood this and I'm not sure I ever will."

    "You should just know that it's harder than you might ever believe to be a kid of genius parents," she said. Then she looked down at her hands as if there was something wrong with this.

    I had no idea what to say to this. I was meeting her parents so I guess it's good to get as much advance intel as possible, but she seemed really worried. I just kept my hands on the wheel and paid careful attention to traffic because English traffic and driving on the English side of the road still scared the **** out of me.

    "It'll be fine," I assured her as I parallel parked the Alfa.

    "Well, we'll find out," she said as we got out. She didn't sound confident. Her brother wasn't going to be there so it couldn't go as badly as with meeting Ana Maria's parents and brother. Could it?

    We walked into the Italian restaurant I'd been wanting to check out. She waved to a couple sitting in a booth in the back.

    "She's always early," she muttered under her breathe.

    "Mum, Dad meet Enrico," she said. "Enrico, this is Marilyn and Vic."

    "Pleased to meet you," I said as I shook hands with her Dad and gave her Mom a peck on the cheek. Vic's hands were hard as stone, calloused and there was dirt under his nails. He was balding with close-cropped hair and looked rather happy-go-lucky. Marilyn looked like the cliche of an English housewife.

    "I must say I'm genuinely chuffed to sit down to dinner with Wimbledon's manager," Vic said. "Absolute pleasure on my part."

    "And I can't get Gwen to tell me a thing about you," Marilyn said. "So you'll have to forgive me, I will attempt not to interrogate you. At least not too brutally."

    I just smiled and we all sat down.

    "I gather we should let you order being your the Italian amongst us," Marilyn said. "Would you be so kind?"

    "Sure, though I've gotta say that I've been meaning to eat here, but haven't yet," I replied. I opened my menu.

    "So you played for Bologna then?" Vic asked. "Love that city. Simply gorgeous."

    "You've been there?" I asked.

    "My Dad studied architecture at Cambridge and they've traveled extensively in Italy," Gwen interjected. Vic beamed at me and nodded.

    "Ended up hating the profession," Vic said. "I hate strip malls. Nobody wants beautiful buildings when it comes down to it. I love tinkering with things so I became a mechanic. But getting back to Bologna, simply adore it. Never too crowded. Fab food."

    We talked about Bologna for a while until I ordered for us all.

    "And what do you do, Marilyn?" I asked.

    "I work at the Royal Academy," she replied.

    "You know, of Arts," Gwen interjected. "The big one. In Piccadilly near Buckingham Palace and all that."

    "I'm in acquisitions," Marilyn said somewhat defensively.

    "No, Mum," Gwen said. "You pretty much run the place since the long-time Director quit." Then looking at me said: "She studied Art History at Cambridge. It's where they met."

    "College sweethearts?" I said. They nodded.

    "He knocked me over coming round a corner," Marilyn said. "He helped me pick up my books. It as love at first collision."

    "Nearly gave her a concussion," Vic said.

    "But enough about us," Marilyn said. "Tell us about yourself. Vic says you were born in America, yes?"

    So I answered questions about growing up in Washington DC, soccer in the US, failing out of a full-ride soccer scholarship and how I managed to get a try-out with Bologna.

    "Married before?" Marilyn asked. I nodded. This was really turning into an interrogation. But I was saved from answering that question by the appetizers. At least for the moment.

    "To answer your earlier question," I said once we'd finished the white beans over bruschetta and warmed olives. "Yes, I have."

    I briefly retold my sob story involving lavish spending, my ex-wife's cocaine habit and my bad investments.

    "Ooh, ouch!" Vic cringed as I explained the Spanish housing development crash.

    "So all I have left is that Alfa Romeo you see parked outside," I concluded. "And some IKEA furniture."

    "They've got IKEA in Italy?" Marylin was flabbergasted. "Where aren't they, egad."

    "That's the GTV Spider!" Vic exclaimed. "What year? '04?"

    "2005."

    "That's got the 3.2 V6 then, right?" he asked. "237 brake horse power?"

    "Um, I think so," I replied. "It's the fastest one they made."

    "Then it must be," he said. "That car is nearly a musical instrument."

    "Boys," grumbled Gwen. "Cars."

    "What?" asked Vic. "What?"

    Gwen leaned over and kissed him.

    I think the rest of dinner went quite well. I didn't feel threatened in any way. I answered a lot of questions, but that's to be expected.

    Marilyn is a truly intimidating woman. A published author on art history. Seems to in depth knowledge on nearly any topic you could possibly bring up. A more apt description would be a force of nature disguised as the cliche of an English housewife.

    Gwen's Dad is simpler than her Mom. He's also frighteningly intelligent but decided long ago to do what makes him happy. He's lived the minimalist life. It's pretty apparent that he just simply doesn't do the things he doesn't want to.

    "Must've been a wild household to grow up in," I said as we walked out.

    "Mmm hmmm," was all she replied.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 06/03/2014 at 01:22 AM.

  40. Name:  Enrico-twitter.png
Views: 576
Size:  4.8 KBEnrico Pucci @enricopucci - 1 Oct
    @SimonJohnson91 had 3rd best goal in Sep for free kick score
    v Torquay bbc.in/3JFi94jkj #Wimbledon
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 06/03/2014 at 03:42 AM.
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  41. Name:  Enrico-twitter.png
Views: 572
Size:  4.8 KBEnrico Pucci @enricopucci - 1 Oct
    For Sep @JamesLoveridge wins young player & @MichaelSmith11 wins top
    player. Congrats, boys! #Wimbledon
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 06/03/2014 at 03:38 AM.
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  42. "What you got, guys?" I said as my Assistant Manager Sean Hankins sat down.

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ID:	519601"I'm really pleased with how Dunn is progressing," said my goalkeeper coach Paul Rachhubka. "Lincoln needs matches. These last two should help, but I get it that Dunne is our number one."

    "Haz is getting slower," Hanks said. "I know that doesn't surprise anyone. Dummigan has been improving by leaps and bounds. He's only gotten U18 minutes prior to this season."

    "Tomlinson has improved in every category," Coach Matt Woolley said. "But we all know he's destined for bigger things."

    "On the other hand, the two Jacks aren't doing well," Wools continued. "We expected Redshaw to struggle because of his time out injured, but I'm surprised about Midson."

    "I just want to make sure that Redshaw starts scoring in the friendlies against the semi-pro clubs," I said. "If either Loveridge or Smith go down, he's got the raw skills to fill in, we just need him confident."

    "Hopefully, all goes well tonight," I said.
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  43. Friendly: AFC Wimbledon v. Maidstone United

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ID:	519604It was one of those nice, cool autumn evenings. What shocks me is that over 1,500 Wombles paid a small entrance fee to watch our second stringers and my two suspended starters.

    GK: Daniel Lincoln
    D: Kiel Goodwin (U18), Kris Thackray, Ben Harrison (U18), James Fenlon
    M: Fabian Rowe (U18), Harry Pell, Adam Pepper, Drissa Dabre
    F: Jack Midson, Jack Redshaw

    Fabian Rowe finally started to look useful. I'd told him to hit early crosses and he did. Redshaw's goal was sliding toe poke from one of Fabian's crosses.

    Drissa Dabre played well against the semi-pros so he'll be on the bench for Saturday's visit to Rochdale. Fenlon scored a forward's goal off a give-n-go with Drissa. And Pepper scored from a free kick.

    Overall, a very positive evening.
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  44. ****, **** and double-****. The Northern Ireland U19s called up Cameron Dummigan. I'll encourage him to leave as late as possible but it's more than likely I'll only have two recognized defenders to bring along on our visit to York. ****.

    FROM: [email protected]
    TO: [email protected]
    RE: Cameron Dummigan for U19s

    Mike,

    No issues except if he's not going to be playing for the Dons, I want him playing for you not riding the pine. Ha.

    Enrico

    FROM: [email protected]
    TO: [email protected]
    RE: Cameron Dummigan for U19s

    Enrico,

    Just emailing you to let you know that I've called up your fullback Cameron Dummigan. Any injuries or issues I should know about? Matches are on the 8th, 10th and 12th of October.

    Thank you,

    Mike Whittley
    U19 Manager
    Northern Ireland FA
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  45. October is going to be a real test of the Don's mettle. Check out our October schedule:

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  47. League Two: Rochdale AFC v. AFC Wimbledon

    Today we travel north of Manchester to Rochdale. It's quite a haul. The bus left Kingsmeadow for Euston station at 8:30AM. Then a 4 hour train ride to Manchester. A bus met us at Piccadilly station in Manchester and a half an hour later we were at Spotland Stadium.

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ID:	519807Spotland is a relatively new ground. Okay, newish. But everything works and the changing room is decent enough. We had an hour and a half to get ready to play.

    GK: Chris Dunn
    D: George Francomb, Reuben Hazell, Pat Baldwin, Cameron Dummigan
    M: Simon Johnson, Mark Tomlinson, Steven Gregory, Matteo Nole
    F: James Loveridge, Michael Smith

    Subs: Daniel Lincoln (GK), Ben Harrison (D), Drissa Dabre (M), Adam Pepper (M), Harry Pell (M), Jack Midson (F), Jack Redshaw (F)

    Since Loveridge and Smith were such a hot combination, I decided to play 442 but not take any risks.

    "The bookies say that Rochdale are going to win this," I said to begin my team talk. "Let's go show them that we can do. I want Simon and Matteo hitting early crosses, got it? George and Cam, overlap and get some crosses in when you can, okay?"

    I repeated this instruction in Italian.

    "George and Cam," I said. "Stay tight with their outside midfielders. Their Smith is huge and let's do what we can to stop the delivery in to him."

    "Let's start cautiously, Rochdale often are fast out of the blocks," I continued. "And let's give their Smith a generous slathering of special sauce."

    Baldwin and their Smith collided going for a header in the 4th minute. The ref whistled for a free kick for The Dale. Their left back Michael Rose lined up the free kick. It was dead center about 25 yards out.

    He smashed his shot right into the wall. The ball came right back to him and his second try caromed out to midfield off one of several Wimbledon players charging down the shot.

    Their defender Rhys Bennet coralled the ball and passed it to Michael Lund. Lund played the ball up to Rochdale's Senegalese right midfielder Mohamed Coulibaly. Coulibaly played a one-two with their Smith and caught Cam ball-watching. Thankfully, Coulibaly's shot hit Dunn and Francomb cleared the ball to safety.

    Rochdale then won a series of corners. Francomb cleared off the line on the first. Baldwin let their Smith have a free header at the back post, but we got lucky and he headed it right at Dunn.

    Rochdale's strategy was simple. Hoof it up to Matt Smith and win the race to the knock-downs. At 6'6", he is going to win nearly every header against us. Baldwin is 6'3" but isn't that great in the air. Haz is 5'11".

    In the 7th minute, George got to a knock-down first and played the ball back to Dunn. Dunn kicked it out to Matteo Nole on the left flank. Matteo raced upfield then fed Loverboy.

    Loveridge beat Bennet, Eastham twice as he raced goalward before sneaking a shot past their keeper. That was some pretty slack defending.

    0-1

    Then the field tilted. One way traffic through their Smith to Coulibaly. Nothing Baldwin or Dummigan did stopped them let alone slowed them down. Cam got caught ball-watching three times in quick succession.

    "CAM! CAM!" I yelled. "KEEP HIM IN FRONT OF YOU. NO BALL-WATCHING!"

    He nodded to indicate he'd heard me. It didn't matter.

    Dunn bailed us out repeatedly. Haz, Baldwin and Cam were simply unable to cope with balls in to their Smith which were either passed or flicked out to Coulibaly.

    They won innumerable corners. Their corner kick tactic was simple. Lob it into the meat grinder.

    In the 24th minute after yet another bacon-saver by Dunn, they hoofed yet another ball into the meat grinder. The ball pinballed around for ages. We eventually cleared it, but our castle walls were breached and Dunn could only step into the breach for so many times before they eventually overran us.

    Coulibaly eventually scored. You give any decent player THAT many chances, he's eventually gonna. It says something about Chris Dunn's play that he kept them at bay until the 36th minute.

    1-1

    "CAM! CAM!" I yelled again. "KEEP HIM IN FRONT OF YOU."

    "PAT!" I yelled. "WIN SOME OF THOSE HEADERS. C'MON!"

    Simon Johnson got hauled down just over the half line after the restart. George played in a really low, poor ball but Loveridge got to it first and hammered a ball off the crossbar.

    Our Smith wasn't doing much and was looking frustrated from lack of service so if we were somehow going to keep this game competitive, Loverboy was going to have to be our savior.

    Disaster struck in the 39th minute. Tomlinson raced over to help Francomb and Johnson. Rochdale midfielder Matty Done had just beaten them both. Unfortunately, Tomlinson stepped on Done's heel when Done was running away toward the corner flag.

    The whistle blew. Tomlinson double face palmed. The ref pointed to the spot.

    Lund grabbed the ball, walked over to the spot and placed the ball. The ref blew the whistle and Lund placed a perfect shot into the upper left.

    2-1

    Hanks talked with Baldwin as we walked into the changing room at half time. This was a delicate situation.

    Cam was sitting with his hands on his knees staring at the floor. Baldwin looked like he had PTSD from his inability to cope with their Smith. Dunn was angry. Our Smith was angry because he hadn't gotten the ball once.

    "Where's our passing game?" I asked. "Huh? We just panic and hoof it forward. That's not how we play. Know where you're going to play the pass when you get the ball. Look up to see what your options are before you get the ball."

    "They're winning the race to every 50-50," I continued. "Dunn has saved our bacon too many times so far. Let's help him out, eh?"

    "Go out there and show me something different, for Crissakes!" I said. Cam hadn't looked up during my entire speech. Baldwin was just staring into space.

    "Pat, Cam," I said to get their attention. "I know you guys can sort it out with Smith and Coulibaly. Challenge Smith for everything, Pat. Don't let him have any easy headers or time to turn and pass. Haz will cover the space behind you. And, Cam, just keep Coulibaly in front of you. Got it?"

    Nope. Didn't get it or hear me or whatever.

    The second half was one way traffic through Smith to Coulibaly. When we overcompensated, other players exploited the gaps. I stood with my hands in my pockets and gritted my teeth. This was simply a personnel issue.

    Fens could have coped with Coulibaly. Thackray could have done a better job against Smith. Fenlon's distribution out of the back is better. Matteo might have seen the ball a few times. If I could have played Haz at right back, Francomb could be up at right midfield instead of doing his best at right back. Sadly, George was my second best player behind Dunn today.

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ID:	519908I had to yank Tomlinson in the 50th minute. He'd gotten carded in the first half and the ref was generous not to give him his marching orders for a tackle from behind on Lund. I put Pepper in and told him to be a deep-lying playmaker.

    Now this hadn't been one of Tomlinson's best games. But with him out of the midfield, the goalfest erupted. Inside fifteen minutes, we'd conceded four goals.

    We finally took our first shot since Loverboy hit the crossbar in the first half in the 83rd minute.

    Mother****ing ****biscuits, today was a disaster.

    As the match ground towards it inevitable end and as my mood grew more and more and more foul, Hanks stepped up beside me.

    "Don Pucci, I know we stunk today. I know having those three out is killing us. But we're not the only ones losing. York is losing at home, Cheltenham will move up into second and Southend into third because they'll split the points. Today was a good day to soil our nappies."

    "Thanks, man," I said. "I'm still going to rip 'em new ones after watching this."

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  48. Ouch.

  49. Quote Originally Posted by mking1992 View Post
    Ouch.
    Yup.

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