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The Alfa Romeo Metaphor

  1. Superb read as always. Well done mate.

  2. Quote Originally Posted by Streaky25 View Post
    Superb read as always. Well done mate.
    Once again, thank you!

  3. Back to work

    It was great to have a day away from "the office." I realize footballers don't have long hours, we're usually done by 1pm or 2pm on weekdays, but I'm usually in around 6am to 7am to run on the treadmill or hit the stationary bike. Then I do paperwork or prepare for the day's training. The coaching staff meets at 8:30am for coffee in the cafeteria to talk. The injured, veterans or anyone in need of a massage from the Physio starts arriving about now. Since it's Monday, yoga starts at 9am and training at 10am.

    "Everyone have a nice day off?" I asked to start our meeting.

    "How was Sevilla?" Javi Garcia asked.


    We chatted about day's off for a few moments.

    "We're in 6th place right now after yesterday's results," I said to pull the discussion back to football and Cadiz CF. "A loss and two draws in our last three ain't good. But two comebacks to snatch points is morale building. Let's make sure we're ready to take advantage of playing at home next Sunday."

    "Michele says Airam is ready to return," Paco said. "And this gives us a selection problem."

    "I took a look at the statistics," JVP added passing around a sheet he'd printed off. "We can't drop Villar. Souda and Airam are our ideal starting strikers, Perico is dangerous down the left. That leaves Kike Lopez on the right flank."

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-25-10.46.17-am.png

    "Compare Villar's 5 goals to Kike's 1 goal and 4 assists," he continued. "But we've seen how much bigger of an impact Villar has when he's on his game. I suggest that we drop Kike for Villar."

    We all nodded our agreement.

    "How difficult will the Granada B's be?" I asked Chief Scout Jose Barla.

    "They give up most of their goals from their right side, our left," Jose replied. "Perico should have a fun evening."

    "I think they're most dangerous on their left flank, in other words, Albert Dalmau will need to be on top of it to shut down their left wing Migue," he continued. "It's not that they're bad down the right, but I think they're not as strong and Moises is developing into a pretty solid player."

    "They play a 4-2-3-1 mostly and if we keep their striker Christian Bravo covered, we shut them down," Jose added.

    "One last thing, I wasn't impressed with their keeper," Jose concluded. "He's good on high balls but isn't that great of a shot stopper. In particular he has trouble with really hard dipping, bouncing shots. Or at least he did yesterday."

    "So let's focus on team cohesion this week," I said to conclude the meeting. "As always we'll train attacking set pieces on Saturday."
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  4. 21 November 2013
    Oli questions struggling Cadiz
    Bogdan Laba

    "This next match against Granada "B" is a must win," said Cadiz former fan favorite Oli said. Oliviero Jesus Alvarez Gonzalez played for Cadiz for three seasons from 2003 to 2006 scoring 21 goals in 106 matches. He led the club to La Liga promotion in 2005.

    "It pains me to see the club struggling in the El Segundo," he said. "Los Submarino Amarillos fans deserve better.

    Cadiz lie in sixth place in the league and are winless in three matches. Despite the poor run of form, they are still only a point out of the promotion places.

    "I think Enrico Pucci and his staff can turn things around," Oli added. "But they'd better start picking up some points now rather than later."

    The situation is looking up, though. Strikers Airam and Aymen Souda will be available for Sunday's match. Returning from a groin strain and U21 international duty with Tunisia respectively.

    They are still without ball-winning midfielder Mehdi Nafti and defender Riccardo Chara who are out with long-term injuries.
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  5. "**** that guy!" I exclaimed as I sat down with my second espresso.

    "He's more of a Oviedo man, if anything," said Paco as he re-read today's article in Dario de Cadiz.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-25-12.31.13-pm.png

    "Didn't he manage Cadiz?" asked Llorente.

    "Yeah, for like a day before they fired him," replied Javi Garcia.

    "So he's sort of got a reason for putting down other managers when they struggle," JVP added. "And it's not like anyone has been beating down his door to resume managing. Didn't he get sacked as Betis "B" manager?"

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-25-12.33.54-pm.png

    "We're penniless and three matches without a win," Alejo said. "Why's he got to pile on."

    "I hate that guy," I added.

  6. Round 15: Cadiz CF v. Granada CF "B"

    Oli's comments had a positive effect on the team. They were spitting mad. Training on Thursday, Friday and Saturday seemed extra focused and intense.

    My line-up sheet looked like a pretty strong side:

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Dalmau, Belforti, Josete, Moises
    M: Villar, Bruninho, Luque, Perico
    F: Airam, Souda

    Subs: Ceballos (RB), Tomas (LB/LM), Andres (D/M), Kike Lopez (M/F), Kike Marques (M/F)

    For once we didn't get scored on first.

    From the kick-off, Perico took the ball down the left and crossed. Souda's near post flick header hit the side netting.

    From the goal kick, Josete won the header to Perico who took off once again down the left. Souda met his near post cross with a redirection volley that hit the side netting again.

    Twice within a minute!

    Perico won a corner in the 3rd minute. Jorge Luque's cross is disappointing. The first defender volleys it straight upfield. Josete does something interesting; he volleys the ball right back where it came from. Perico, who'd offered Luque a short option, leapt and headed it toward the penalty spot.

    The Granada B defenders only stood and watched as Aymen Souda took three steps and met the cross with a thunderous volley. Their keeper had no chance.


    Alejo, Paco and I cut our celebrations short and got the players attention as they made their way back for the restart. Our message was simple, 'Don't let your guard down, don't relax. Don't allow them to answer. Keep the pressure on them.'

    They did. Mostly. When they didn't Alejandro stood tall.

    In the 10th minute, the Granada Bs countered with Migue tearing down our right flank. He passed to Christian Bravo who gave it right back. Dalmau was beaten and Migue only had to beat Alejandro. Migue tried to tap it between Alejandro's legs, but he got a heel to it deflected it just wide.

    In the 18th minute, Jorge Luque was pole-axed in the box by the Granada right back.

    "PENALTY! PENALTY!" I screamed along with the six thousand Cadistas. Luque lay slumped in the box holding his ankle.

    The ball continued rolling toward the byline, but Perico got there just in time to cross into the danger area in front of the goal. Souda's point blank shot hit their keeper. Their keeper jumped on top of the rebound. He then stood up and threw the ball out for a throw in so Luque could get medical attention.

    "How was that not a penalty?" I asked the 4th official as politely as I could manage. "He didn't get any ball and my star midfielder is now injured. Please explain?"

    "Watch yourself," the 4th official responded.

    "What? Why? So did he get the ball? I just want an explanation!"

    "Go sit down!"

    Luque got up after the application of the magical sponge and some freeze spray. Michel signaled that he'd be fine. He didn't look fine; he hobbled around trying to 'walk it off.'

    While Luque was still hobbling around, Moises controlled a clearance but was pressured and played the ball back to Alejandro. Alejandro gave it to Belfort who gave it to Villar who took off from the right sideline heading directly at goal. He beat a defender then played a ball across to where Luque would have been if he wasn't still hobbling around in the center circle. Perico had slid inside and one-timed a pass into the path of Villar who'd continued his run.

    Villar unleashed a cannon trying to beat the keeper near post. Unfortunately, the Granada B keeper stood tall and beat the ball away for a corner.

    We kept pressing and Granada B kept trying to catch us out on occasional counter attacks.

    In the 32nd minute, Migue broke down our right flank. He easily beat Dalmau and sent in a near post cross for Bravo. Alejandro stepped out a step and Bravo's point blank redirect hit him. Bruninho cleared.

    For every 4 or 5 chances we got, they got one.

    I was worried about Luque. He wasn't moving very well. So in the 35th minute I replaced him with Kike Lopez. Villar moved into the center with Kike on the right.

    In the 38th minute we gave ourselves some breathing space with a pretty decent version of tiki-taka football.

    Kike Lopez took a throw in on the right and threw it Dalmau. Dalmau tapped it to Bruninho and moved up the line. Kike made an inside channel run clearly space for Dalmau behind him. Bruninho one-timed it back to Dalmau. Dalmau feinted going down the line, but played it back to Bruninho. The result of this activity was Granada, as a team, slid over to this side.

    When Bruninho got the ball for the second time from Dalmau, he spun and quickly passed to Villar in the middle. Villar quickly moved the ball over to Moises on the left touch line who one-touched it up the line to Perico.

    Perico got past the Granada B's right back and from 8 meters out smashed it through the keeper. Well, not literally, but the keeper got a hand on it not that it mattered.


    The Granada Bs created two chances in a row just before the halftime whistle. Some of it was us. First they got a fast break and Alejandro might have made the save look harder than it was. But his mishit punt gave the ball to them in our half and one pass later Bravo was free in the box and teeing up a shot. Thankfully, Alejandro bailed himself out with a fingertip save.

    During the break, I told the players they were doing great and to keep it up. I also told them to play on the counter and make sure we didn't give up a goal at the start of the second half.

    Despite the orders to sit back and hit them on the counter, we gave away a great chance in the 49th minute. Migue beat Dalmau on the dribble again. Migue whipped in another dangerous near post cross. Bravo redirected it forcing Alejandro to make yet another great, point blank save.

    After ten minutes camped in our half, I was sick of parking the bus. We weren't going to hold for 35 more minutes. I told the team to switch to standard approach. Attack, yes, but don't get caught out.

    This had an immediate effect.

    Josete won a tackle in our half and got it forward to Villar. Villar played it up to Souda. Souda spun his defender and his shot whistled past the left post.

    In the 60th minute, Bravo caught Belforti ball-watching. Bravo slipped behind Belforti, the Granada midfielder with the ball spotted this and played the ball between Belforti and Josete. Thankfully, Bravo shot directly at Alejandro.

    I replaced Perico with Andres at 65 minutes. Perico's fitness was nearly there, but I didn't want to risk it.

    I just stood there and let Alejo scream himself purple. Alejo just said the same old things he'd been saying all season, but that did the trick. Their concentration was terrific from that point forward.

    With three minutes to go, Kike Lopez won a corner. Andres spotted Bruninho free at the back post. He delivered a perfect pass and Bruninho's volley hit the defender marking the far post. Bruninho kicked it again. It hit the goalkeepers arm then hip and trickled in.


    I replaced Moises with Tomas and that was it.

    Linense lost and dropped to 6th. Lucena drew so Cadiz leapt to 4th.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-24-05.11.19-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-24-05.09.20-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-24-05.07.38-pm.png

    Happy now, Oli?

  7. Tapas

    One of the things I've really come to like about Spain and Cadiz is tapas. No other country has a tradition like this. In most places, i.e., the non-touristy bars, if you order a beer or a glass of wine, they give you a little snack. Like balsamic vinegar soaked sardine one a tiny piece of toast. Or a slice of choriz or morcilla (blood sausage) on toast. They're endlessly inventive. And as long as I keep ordering, they keep providing me these delicious little snacks.

    But you can do the math. I'm going to be pretty drunk pretty quick if I'm at all hungry.

    Other places, you just step up to the bar and grab for what looks good. Usually, you need to both elbow your way quite aggressively to get near the bar all the while apologizing. The bartender or waiter just puts little scribbles on the your napkin and from this indecipherable chicken scratch, charges you for your drinks and tapas.

    Either way, it's a pleasant way to spend a late afternoon into the early evening before having dinner. Because, like Italy, nobody eats before 9pm.

    I only bring up tapas because nothing out of the ordinary happened this week.

    Knock on wood, but we could be injury free soon; Mehdi Nafti could resume full training early next week. The team did yoga on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. We trained well all week. Next up is Lucena. They're 6th and we're 4th so it's a big away match. I got my shaves and conservations on Tuesday and Friday from Esteban. I met Ana Maria several times for tapas after her workday ended. We went out on Wednesday and Friday.

    I sure as hell hope this isn't the lull before some kind of ****storm hits.
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  8. Round 16: Lucena CF v. Cadiz CF

    Lucena is a mere 250km away and only about a 3 hour ride. It's December 1st so who cares if the bus doesn't have air conditioning. Lucena are on a dip in form: 2 losses and a tie in their last three matches, so we're hoping to kick them while they're down.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-26-11.15.47-pm.png

    I picked the same side as played against the Granada Bs. Ricardo Chara is healthy again, but Jose Maria Belforti and Josete are doing the job in the center of defense.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Dalmau, Belforti, Josete, Moises
    M: Villar, Bruninho, Luque, Perico
    F: Airam, Souda

    Subs: Chara (D), Tomas (LB/LM), Andres (D/M), Kike Lopez (M/F), Kike Marques (M/F)

    Lucena's tiny little stadium was only half full for the visit of the mighty, all-conquering Los Submarinos Amarillos. I guess we're no Real or Barca. Or Sevilla. Or Betis. Or ...

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-blm5cmhccae_6cv.jpg

    Tonight the weather was a factor. The wind picked up and it began raining just before the ref started off the festivities.

    We started well enough considering the bus ride and down time before we could start warming up. But the final pass wasn't there or if it was that critical first touch let us down. We kept possession well and created 3 chances for every 1 they created.

    Finally, we broke through in the 31st minute. Moises took a throw in and threw it to Aymen Souda down the line. Souda passed it in and back to Perico. Perico dribbled into the box. As soon as he got in he shoulder-feinted to freeze the defender which gave him a chance to see what options he had. He dove for the end line, but pulled up about halfway there with another feint to give him a chance to look around. Then he went for the end line and hit a delicate little chip to Jorge Luque who was barreling in for the near post.

    The chip was a bit tall for Luque, but he flicked it to the back post where Airam was making his run. Airam slammed home the header.


    Alejo was immediately on his feet and reminding the players to not let their guard down after the restart. Not only did we not let our guard down, we kept the pressure up.

    Despite our dominance, we went into the break only up by one.

    I told them they were doing well, but were capable of even better. I told them I had faith that they'd score a few more if they kept playing as they were.

    We didn't let up.

    In the 48th minute, we increased our lead. Villar beat the Lucena left back like a rented mule and whipped in a near post cross. Airam controlled it with his back to goal. He had 3 defenders on his back so he played it back out to Villar. Villar lobbed a ball into the danger zone. Souda timed his jump perfectly and thumped his header off the inside of that near post and into the side netting.


    Alejo didn't get up and remind the team to keep their guard up. Unfortunately, Lucena took the ball straight down the field and scored. I looked at Alejo. He had his head in his hands for a moment before leaping up to scream himself purple.

    Here's how it happened: They played a ball into Moises' corner. He got beat to the ball, but since he's quick was able to recover. Unfortunately, he slid right past their right wing. The winger took the opportunity and crossed near post. Josete volleyed the ball but not very high nor very far. The Lucena midfielder intercepted his clearance and returned the ball to the right winger who had jogged into the box.

    Josete, who must have considered his work done as he'd "cleared" the ball switched off for a second. He didn't notice their striker step in front of him nor did he react to the pass to the striker. Javi Gomez slid a pass under Alejandro to make a game of it.


    It's obvious why Alejo sometimes loses his mind during our matches. He's just used to players who concentrate the whole game and can think the game better.

    But fear not dear readers, we promptly restored our two goal cushion.

    Villar beat his man for the umpteenth time down the right. This time the poor sap chopped Villar down with a late, cynical tackle. But the ref kept his cards in his pocket. As you've come to expect, I was screaming at the ref and badgering the fourth official.

    Perico whipped in a far post cross. Airam rose and smashed his header directly into the chest of the defender guarding the far post. It ricocheted into the diving keeper then into the net.


    It's Airam's goal, but they credited it as an own goal to the keeper.

    "This isn't futbol, this is ****ing basketball," I said to Paco. Paco nodded. 3 goals inside 4 minutes.

    Jorge Luque was looking spent and in the 60th minute I replaced him with Kike Lopez. Villar moved into the middle and Kike played on the right side of midfield.

    In the 65th minute, I replaced Bruninho was was carrying a yellow card with Chara. Chara slotted into the center of defense and Josete moved up into the ball-winning midfield role.

    In the 70th, I replaced Perico with the other Kike.

    As the game opened up due to both teams tiring, we really started to take it to them. In the 84th minute, Kike Lopez received a pass from Dalmau out on the right. By this time their poor left back must've been feeling like a schoolboy playing against men. Kike took off down the line and easily avoided his tackle. It's not just that Villar and Kike had been beating him consistently all day, it was more like they would occasionally swat him aside when they even bothered to notice that he was there. He was having that bad of a day.

    A central defender and midfielder sprinted over to cover. As they were converging, Kike whipped in a cross to the sweet spot. You know the one I'm talking about: just behind the retreating defenders; if they try to get a foot on it, chances are it'll be another own goal; yet too far away from the keeper for him to come out.

    Souda slid for it and poked it past the keeper.


    Lucena promptly took the ball down the field, played a pass between Chara and Moises and their right winger was in all alone. He scored. Moises was holding his head and screamed a few expletives we clearly heard on the bench. Chara knew he'd blown it too, but seemed indifferent as usual.


    Before Alejo could leap off the bench, I put a hand on his shoulder and held him down. He looked at me with that baffled look of a coach that I know all too well.

    "Put your head in your hands and your elbows on your knees," I suggested. "They'll wonder why you aren't out their turning purple. Then they'll see you on the bench."

    He took my suggestion. It worked. They all noticed Alejo slumped in despair in his seat. I relayed their reactions to Alejo and we all tried not to laugh.

    Aside from about 6 mental lapses defensively, of which 2 caused goals, we'd played really well against a team who have hope of making the promotion play-offs.

    We remained in fourth, but Albacete lost to Cartagena and Atletico Sevilla drew. We were now only 3 points out of 1st.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-12.26.44-am.pngThe Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-12.27.08-am.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-12.27.42-am.png
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 27/12/2013 at 10:04 PM.
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  9. The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-07.57.00-am.png
    Here are some interesting stats to consider. We're the top-scoring team and, despite my constant moaning about our defense, one of the stingiest, too. All credit to Alejo Indias.

    I make the team train attacking free kicks on the day before matches. The result is that we've scored 3 from indirect free kicks and 5 from corners. We're top scorers because of the pre-match focus.

    Statistics also show that we're one of the dirtiest teams, too: 24 yellow cards. However, I give my players clear instructions so only 1 red card. If they play a 442, I set the tackling for their two strikers to hard. 4231 and their striker and central attacking midfielder get the special sauce. Furthermore, my ball-winning midfielder (Mehdi Nafti or Bruninho) tackle hard as well as both full-backs. If you look back through overviews of each match, my fullbacks pretty much always get a yellow card.

    As soon as a player gets carded, I pause the game, go into the player tactics and set his tackling to "Ease Off Tackles."

    The whole idea is that we tackle their key attacking players really hard. Since my players aren't all that skilled, they make up for it in sheer gusto.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 27/12/2013 at 03:09 PM.
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  10. Tormenta de Mierda

    "Alessandro, good morning," I said answering my phone.

    "Good morning, Enrico."

    "Why do I have a bad feeling about this call?"

    "We have an urgent board meeting this morning," Alessandro said. "Nothing to do with your performance. It's about our finances."

    "It's getting worse?"

    "Essentially, yes," he said. "Before you start swearing, I would like to say you are doing admirable work under these conditions, such as they are."

    "Thanks, Alessandro," I replied. "I'm sorry I always end up swearing at you. Killing the messenger and all that."

    "I know," he replied. "And thanks."

    I called Paco. Informed him that I was headed to the boardroom in the stadium for more bad news about the club's finances. Asked him to start the training without me. Thankfully, the drive from my apartment to the stadium isn't far. In other words, I didn't have all that long to work myself into a lather of fear over what possibly might be about to go wrong.

    I parked underground and took the elevator to the club tier where the boardroom was. I rode the elevator with Florentino Manzano's brother Antonio. We discussed the fine weather and yesterday's result.

    I shook Florentino's hand, Alessandro's and the other board members as well. I winked at Margarita who was filling water glasses.

    "Here's the bad news," Florentino began once we'd sat down. "We need to reduce the player wage bill. It's currently [he glances at the spreadsheet we'd all been handed] ... ah ... EU51,573 per week. We need to reduce it to EU40,000."

    "The transfer window opens up in January and we need to lower salaries," he continued. "There are a number of high salary players that other clubs would want. Would you discuss which players you expect to be able to sell, Alessandro?"

    "Kike Lopez, our top earner as well as Juan Villar, Perico and Airam have the highest salaries," Alessandro said. The second half of my season flashed by my eyes as the Cadiz B team filled the void left we go winless against all but the relegation candidates.

    "Selling these four would reduce our weekly wages below 40,000 euros," he continued. A lump rose in my throat. In addition I was having trouble breathing. I reached for my water glass and with shaking hands took a swig like an alcoholic with the shakes taking his first morning drink.

    "There are also some unwanted players I hope to move," Alessandro added. He wasn't able move them in the summer what had changed this winter?

    "Additionally, there are peripheral players like Josete who makes 2,200 euros and don't deserve their high wage." he said. "This way we wouldn't have to sell all our key players."

    "Let's be honest with each other, okay?" I said. "I drive an Alpha Romeo. They are finicky and break down a lot. Sadly, it's a great metaphor for my lief. What you've told me is you're going to sell my wheels and insist that I put on Renault wheels that you've got laying around the garage. Regardless of whether or not they even fit."

    "We're a decent team offensively, but our defense would be bit part players on any of the other top teams in El Segundo," I continued. "I've built a strong team spirit but any sales will gut that spirit which is the only reason we're competitive."

    "I have a few questions," I said. "Why will 10,000 euros in weekly salary or 40,000 monthly in savings matter when the real problem is the 500,000 plus we pay out each month for the stadium loan?"

    "We want to show financial discipline to our creditors," Florentino replied.

    "Does the ownership group have the ability to survive these astronomic monthly payments that last until the summer of 2015?"


    "I know you understand football after what you achieved at Cartagena, but why are they willing to sacrifice promotion to Liga Adelante for a few spare pesos from the floor of my Alfa?"

    "You don't understand corporate finance," Florentino replied.

    "But I do understand stupid," I interrupted. "The stupid that sacrificing the future will reap future rewards. The stupidity of feigning fiscal discipline when you spent like drunken sailors on shore leave on this stadium. Why even bother? I understand the braindead rationale that minor savings that gut the organization's competitiveness will have a positive impact."

  11. Let me tell you how this news went over with the players. Like a lead balloon. Like a steak at a vegan convention. Like a stripper strutting into church on a Sunday morning.

    And the best part is they'd have this hanging over their heads for a month. How the **** was I going to motivate them.

  12. "Enrico, my friend, how are ... what? Why the long face?" Esteban said as I entered his establishment for my Tuesday shave.

    I just shook my head and sat in a chair while he finished with his current customer. Either Esteban had gotten quite good at reading me or my turmoil was playing across my face.

    "Everybody out, give me a moment alone with Enrico," Esteban said to Roberto (the other barber), German, Rodrigo and Juanma.

    "Be quick about it the fate of Cadiz Club de Futbol may hang in the balance," he exclaimed when they were slow to respond.

    "Spill it, Enrico. What's going on?"

    "Is it that obvious?"

    Esteban just laughed.

    "Here's the deal," I began. I told him about the board meeting yesterday morning. I told him of the team's reaction. I told him I'd tossed and turned all night.

    "How long have you been a manager?" he asked rhetorically. "This hurricane of stupidity you describe is the fate of lower league managers. You do well, gain promotion, they fire you when you the team struggles to adjust. Or they fire you because you're no longer the latest fad. Or look at the top; look at Real Madrid. They've fired managers even though they won the league but they failed to win the Champion's League. Or vice versa."

    "You have a point."

    "Become a stoic monk who is bothered by nothing," he continued. "Let the stupid and the mean-spirited and the good and the bad wash over you. Otherwise, managing will be torture. Be like Gus Hiddink, the zen monk manager. Nothing bothers that guy."

    "Now get in the ****ing chair so I can shave that fuzzy dome of yours."

    And with that Esteban motioned for everyone else to reenter the barbershop.

  13. 4 December 2013
    Cadiz to sell off stars to reduce wages
    Bogdan Laba

    The Italian-Swiss investment group that owns Catania, Perugia and Cadiz CF want the wages at Cadiz slashed. Sources inside the club indicate Chairman Florentino Manzano and Director of Football Alessandro Gaucci will sell sell off of players until the wage bill is EU40,000 per week.

    Wages are currently over EU50,000.

    Cadiz's financial crisis is as a result of rehabilitating the Ramon de Carranza. The club still owes approximately EU10m.

    Top players Airam, Kike Lopez, Perico and Juan Villar are expected to be sold off to reduce wages. Cadiz won't get much in return as nearly all players' contracts end in June.

    The club refused to comment for this story.

  14. Hope the quick fire sale doesn't ruin your promotion push!

  15. spitfire
    Gah! That sucks! Life just got real shit for you...

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Streaky25 View Post
    Hope the quick fire sale doesn't ruin your promotion push!
    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
    Gah! That sucks! Life just got real shit for you...
    This promotion push is a tough one. Whenever we come up against a good striker, I don't have a central defender who's any good, and we give up goals. If I lose my best attacking players, we're screwed. Cadiz's only hope is to outscore opponents.

    One thing is for sure, this is a compelling story of fighting against all odds.

    Thanks for your comments!

  17. The Major League solution

    I rewatched the movie Major League. I needed inspiration on how to motivate my players. While there are some obvious differences:
    • we don't have a smoking hot owner; Cadiz is owned by a holding company
    • the owners don't want to move the team; they want to gut it
    But there is a parallel between the voodoo-obsessed third baseman who couldn't hit a curve ball and us. Our curve ball isshutting down opposition strikers.

    Oh, and the bus. We have the crappy bus like in Major League.

    At training the next day, I told the players that the Italian-Swiss ownership group couldn't care less about our promotion chances. I told them they're more concerned about displaying "fiscal discipline" after spending money on a stadium rebuild like drunken sailors on shore leave.

    "Are you going to let them break us?" I asked.

  18. Round 17: Cadiz CF v. UD Mellila

    The match against Mellila would be on TV and it was fan day. In other words, Margarita had done some advertising to promote the match. I had no idea she had a budget left for such things. Her efforts resulted in the Ramon de Carranza being a third full instead of a quarter full.

    My captain, Mikel Martins, was banned from his red card from last week. Juan Villar seemed to be hot so, Kike Lopez sits. Mehdi Nafti is back training, but needs to build up his fitness.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Jose Maria Belforti, Josete, Moises
    M: Villar, Bruninho, Jorge Luque, Perico
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    Subs: Ricardo Chara, Andres, Nafti, Kike Lopez, Kike Marques

    We started out cautiously and so did Mellila. Both teams worked hard defensively and neither team could string many passes together.

    The first real highlight occurred in the 32nd minute. Perico had been fouled just over the half line on the left. Everyone jogged forward into their box for the free kick. Luque played it short to Dalmau. I have no idea why.

    Dalmau jogged forward with the ball but never had any options. His teammates didn't help by standing in the box and waiting for him to do something. Instead, Mellila stole it off him and hit us on the counter.

    Amau Tobella, their left midfielder, received the outlet pass, crossed the halfline and ran at our panicking defense. Alejandro bailed us out with a fabulous finger tip save and Villar cleared the ball out for a throw.

    In the 34th minute, Dalmau played the ball inside to Luque who switched fields to Perico on the left. Perico spied Souda's run into the left challenge and played a perfect ball into his path. Souda took a second and then a third touch. Maybe he was looking for a late run option or for Airam to get open. By this point, his only option was a bad angle shot. He hit it straight into the opposing goalkeeper's stomach. Easy save.

    In the 40th minute, Bruninho intercepted a pass at the halfline, gave it to Villar on the right wing. He hit a curling early cross into Souda. Souda hit a tame shot right into their keeper's gut.

    At the break, I told the players to keep going. Mellila only had that one chance in the first half. I felt that a goal was coming.

    In the 49th minute, Perico won a corner on the left. Luque's corner was poor, he was obviously tiring. Mellila had been giving him the special sauce all game. The cleared it back out to the left where Perico, who'd offered a short option was waiting. Instead of hoofing a ball back into the danger area, he sent a ball across the top of the box for Bruninho.

    Bruninho shot straight into the keeper's arms from 25 meters.

    Mellila brought the ball straight down the field. We were disorganized and the through ball into the path of their striker Migue Montes caught us out. Alejandro made a brilliant double save to keep the game goalless.

    The game was starting to open up. Both sides were racing up and down the field.

    In the 58th minute, Mellila won a corner. We cleared the danger and Villar grabbed the rebound and thumped a 50 meter punt into the right channel. Airam raced onto it, beat the defender and was in alone. Airam tried to sneak a toe poke between the keeper's legs, but he snared it.

    I swapped Nafti for Bruninho in the 62nd minute. Mellila had been giving Souda the special sauce all game long and he was exhausted and beat up. So in the 65th minute, I replaced him with Kike Lopez, moved Villar up top so that Kike could play out on the right.

    In the 66th minute, Mellila central midfielder David Vasquez unleashed a cruise missile of a shot from 30 meters. It left the crossbar vibrating. The ball rebounded right to the feet of their other forward Guille Roldan.


    Rotten ****ing luck. The defense hadn't been playing half bad.

    We just couldn't mount an attack that resulted in a good chance. Mellial weren't that good. We just couldn't pull it all together at the same time.

    In the 81st minute, I pulled off an exhausted Luque. I brought on Andres. Perico moved up to forward. Villar back into the center of midfield.

    In the 84th minute, we finally created a decent chance. Dalmau and Kike Lopez had a great interchange down the right flank resulting in a wicked cross into the feet of Airam. Sadly, Airam blasted over.

    The entire stadium groaned.

    In the 86th minute, Moises threw in to Villar who played the ball down the left to Andres. Andres had two men on him and played it back up the line to Moises. Moises sent the ball across the field to Nafti. Nafti spun and played a ball into the corner for Dalmau to run on to. Dalmau whipped in a cross which Airam smashed toward the upper right corner. Sadly, their keeper snared it.

    The entire stadium groaned then applauded our effort.

    In the 90th minute, Andres won a corner. While everyone ran forward, the 4th official signaled 2 extra minutes. Perico played the corner short to Andres. Yet again I have no idea why. Andres cross was cleared high but not that far out. Mellila's Vasquez (he of that earlier cruise missile shot) out-jumped Villar and headed the ball further upfield where Roldan headed it to Montes. Montes controlled the ball nicely and played a ball into our right channel. Their right midfielder Javier Modrego beat Moises to the ball.

    Fortunately, Josete blocked the shot and the ball went out for a throw.

    Villar then fouls Roldan when he received the throw in.

    My face met my palm. I peeked through my fingers at the clock. 1 minute left. We would have one last desperation chance.

    Thankfully, Mellila played a ball into the box instead of into the corner to waste time. Nafti headed clear and Josete hoofed the ball forward. Airam challenged for the ball and forced the Mellila defender to head out for a throw.

    Everyone raced upfield.

    Despite the urgency, Dalmau, Kike Lopez and Nafti dinked around with the ball, passing up several opportunities to boot the ball into the box.

    FINALLY, Dalmau whipped in a nice cross, but they headed clear.

    I took my eyes off the ball and watched the ref look at his watch and then put his whistle to his lips.

    Why couldn't we play with this kind of urgency until the 80th minute? I guess it just wasn't our day. I told the players they were unlucky. I asked why they couldn't play the whole match like the last 10. I also told them we'd be running tomorrow to help them get over their poor work ethic and that we'd be playing a mid-week friendly with a local team to remind us what it is like to score.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-29-10.18.02-am.png

    We had double the chances they did, but when we did their keeper was a wall. Watching the results tomorrow wasn't going to be fun.

  19. This story just got a whole lot more tense sir, and I must say, I am continuing to adore it! Fantastic job with the writing, let us hope that things get better on the field and off it though!
    Dean Wilkes and Nurquidi98 like this.

  20. Quote Originally Posted by TheWriter View Post
    This story just got a whole lot more tense sir, and I must say, I am continuing to adore it! Fantastic job with the writing, let us hope that things get better on the field and off it though!
    Dang it, you got me blushing again. Thank you very much, glad you're enjoying it.

  21. Holy sh*t. This thread is amazing. The storytelling, the story itself , the conversations. They're all amazing. They made me create an account just to comment on this thread.Also is there any other threads such as this?
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  22. Quote Originally Posted by pr0nneur View Post
    Holy sh*t. This thread is amazing. The storytelling, the story itself , the conversations. They're all amazing. They made me create an account just to comment on this thread.Also is there any other threads such as this?
    OMG! Now I'm blushing again. I'm glad you're enjoying it.

    Someone started a story, unnamed at the time, about an Englishman who woke up from a blackout in Sweden. He signed a contract to play. I assumed that the next step would be the unhealthy manager kicking the bucket and our hero taking over. I haven't seen a chapter 2. Aside from that'n, I haven't seen anything else.
    alokated and Nurquidi98 like this.

  23. Meet the parents

    Margarita, Esteban and Paco all insist that meeting a woman's parents is really important. I think I'm appropriately nervous. I really have no idea what to expect. Seriously.

    Here's the deal. I had tried to date girls in Junior and High School and was overall unsuccessful. I moved to Italy after six months of college. Or I should say after one season of college soccer (it's a fall season in the States). The soccer was fine. Dating? Well, I had some drunken flings. The grades? Well, I left for Italy before they could suspend me from playing.

    Through family friends, I got a try-out with Bologna. I impressed them and they signed me as a youth player. I lived with a local family for the first year. That made dating difficult and awkward as the family was very strict. Once I got an apartment with some other reserve team players, I had some flings but nothing serious.

    The only time I've Met The Parents was when I met my wife's family. It was easier than you think. She has a gargantuan family. On our fifth date she took me to a party with some 200 people attending. She was related to everyone. I talked with her parents twice for maybe 5 minutes.

    This was going to be different. I'd be at her family's apartment with her parents, two brothers, an aunt and grandmother. Honestly, I think I was maybe more worried about this dinner than I was about the club. Or maybe it just added extra sauce to my cocktail of fear, self-loathing and cluelessness.

    Upon the advice of Esteban, I arrived ten minutes late. The apartment smelled fabulous. Garlic, herbs, wine and fresh bread. My stomach starting grumbling. I kissed Ana Maria, her mother, aunt and Grandma on the cheek and shook the men's hands.

    They all knew more about me than I them. It was pretty clear what information was from Diario de Cadiz, Google or Ana Maria.

    Dad was retired. He had been a banker but had been downsized and after the 2008 crash had quit trying to find a new job. Mom had held low level clerical or administrative jobs and currently worked at the El Corte Ingles department store in the mall next to Cadiz CF's training ground.

    Her older brother worked in IT. Her younger brother occasionally worked in construction, did odd jobs.

    The aunt, like so many in Spain, had given up looking for work. Grandmother was mostly deaf and just smiled sweetly all evening.

    Of course, we discussed football.

    Dad didn't understand why they couldn't just keep a decent team together and wait until the stadium rebuild payments ended. He also told some stories of the glory days of Cadiz's past.

    I didn't mention the food. It was fabulous. Shrimp in garlic butter with fresh bread to mop up the fishy garlic butter. Slow-cooked pork in an almond sauce. Salad. Awesome.

    I stood as the brothers did after we were done eating and helped clear the dishes. The elder brother dropped his load and after the younger brother dropped his he turned to face me.

    "If you hurt my sister, I'll hunt you down," he said.

    "What?" I asked. "Did you just threaten me?"

    I just stood there staring at him. He tried to look tough. Or something.

    "Did the acne-scarred, unemployed and probably unemployable virgin just threaten me?" I snarled as I set my load of dishes down on the counter. "Do you even know your own sister? If you quit sucking from your mother's teat, you'd notice that she's got a ****ing black belt in karate. If I even tried to hit her, she'd kick my ****ing @$$. But that's probably not it at all is it? It's probably that you're frightened I steal her away or something and you'd have to go out into the world and get a ****ing job you worthless little ****."

    At this point we were nose to nose. And I had the old blood lust on which I hadn't had since my playing days.

    "Let's take this outside right now, you ****ing ****** *** ******** *****," I growled from between clenched teeth.

    This is the point at which Ana Maria entered the kitchen with a load of dirty dishes.

    "What's going on?" she asked.

    "Ask him," I snarled and stomped out of the kitchen, out the door, down the stairs instead of the elevator and back toward my apartment.

    Only then did I notice that my hands were shaking and that I felt like someone had ripped a hole out of the pit of my stomach.

    What the fuck had just happened?
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 30/12/2013 at 06:44 AM.

  24. Can we talk? May I come over?
    I needed a drink. So I replied:

    I'll be at La Grua
    This was the bar nearest my apartment.

    Be there soon.

  25. I'd just downed a whiskey sour when she sat down next to me at the bar. I hadn't noticed her come in. We sat there in silence for a few moments.

    "I'm not sure what actually happened," she began. "I couldn't get much out of Dani."


    "Um ... well ..." I began.

    "Can I get you something?" the bartender asked Ana Maria.

    "A local red wine, please," she replied.


    "What did he say?" I asked.

    "All I could get out of him is you insulted him," she replied. "Please tell me what he said to anger you."

    "He threatened me."

    "Huh? Dani? Threatened you? We were having a lovely dinner. I was so happy you were meeting my family and that it was going well and all of a sudden I walk into the kitchen and you're toe to toe with my brother, the veins on your neck were standing out and you looked like you were going to beat the **** out of him."

    I looked up at her. Her eyes were red from crying. The look in her eyes was desperate and pleading. She looked more beautiful than I have words for. I stepped off my bar stool land put my arms around her.

    "He said If you hurt her I'll hunt you down to me out of the blue. He'd just set down his pile of dirty dishes. I was still holding mine. I insulted him in every way I could think of. I challenged him to step outside and settle it like a man. That's when you walked in."

    "I'm so sorry," she said. "I don't know what to say."

    "We need to talk," I said. "Because what if we're serious? I could be fired in a month. A bigger club might approach me in a year. I've been thinking about why he threatened me. What if I want to take you away from them? To elsewhere in Spain. To Italy. I don't know. English teams are hiring Italians and Spanish managers all the time. Your salary is vital to your family's survival."

    "Me, I can just leave," I continued. "Pack up my suitcase and go. All I've got is that ****ing car."

    "I love them," she whispered into my shoulder. "But they stifle me. They are like an anchor holding me down. Drowning me."

    "You'll have a decision to make," I whispered back. "Sooner or later. Florentino or Alessandro could fire me. My situation will always be perilous. I think I'm going to follow this manager path. I want to know if we should continue this thing."

    "I'm in," she said.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 30/12/2013 at 08:56 PM.

  26. Excellent update; utterly superb. I love what you've got going on and your writing style is immaculate. Really looking forward to where you take this in the future - would love you to keep it going long-term.
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  27. Great update mate. Maybe the first FM Base story wedding on the horizon? Haha.
    Dean Wilkes and Nurquidi98 like this.

  28. Quote Originally Posted by ZeCarlos View Post
    Excellent update; utterly superb. I love what you've got going on and your writing style is immaculate. Really looking forward to where you take this in the future - would love you to keep it going long-term.
    Quote Originally Posted by Streaky25 View Post
    Great update mate. Maybe the first FM Base story wedding on the horizon? Haha.
    Once again, thank you.

    At this point, I can't see staying beyond a season at Cadiz. ALL the players except one are signed until the end of the 13/14 season. My contract lasts until June '14. I'd have to rebuild the the team regardless of promotion. Plus, who knows what the player salary budget would be. Enough to be competitive?

    When I started the game, I loaded Spain, England, France, Germany and Italy. So if I get offers from elsewhere, it's an option.

    As for weddings ... we shall see ...

  29. "Esteban, you won't ****ing believe what ****ing happened on Sunday night."

    "Please sit, I'm all ears."

    "Her brother threatened me," I said. Then I told him the story of dinner and the eventful clean-up.

    "No way!" he exclaimed. "That's shocking. That's ... what was he thinking he'd accomplish?"

    "Yeah, I know."

    "So, I'm sure you two talked," he asked. "That night? Next day?"

    "She talked to her brother who didn't say much then came over."

    "Is everything good with her?"

    "Yeah, we're good."

    "What are her parents like?"

    "They're nice. Up until younger brother challenged me to Mortal Combat, we were having a lovely evening. Her Mom is a fabulous cook. Dad's a long-time Cadista. Deaf Grandma seems like a sweety. Older brother seems like a stand up guy."

    "I think the younger brother feels threatened," I continued. "What if I were to steal away his meal ticket, right? Take her along with me to my next position ... whenever that happens, yeah? You follow?"

    "Yeah, what an oceanful of stupid," he replied. "But let's talk about Cadiz erratic form."

    "Yes, let's."

  30. This week in Los Submarino Amarillos: 9-Dec - 15-Dec 2013

    Training on Sunday after the loss involved a 30 minute jog and Killers. Michele and Zo had them do Killers for 22 minutes. Then we watched the video of the match.

    Since we'd completely lost our way offensively, I scheduled a mid-week friendly against a local amateur team. La Palma CF were slaughtered with Aymen Souda (3) and both Kike's (Lopez and Marques) scoring. Lopez played well enough, in addition to the goal, that I decided to drop Juan Villar to the bench against the Cordoba Bs.

    The scouting report on the Cordoba Bs was simple: they suck. They're dead last in the league and they lead the most goals conceded competition by a large margin. They would be easy, the only question would be how many would we score.

    Our training seemed pretty focused and I feel pretty well prepared for slaughtering the Cordoba Bs worse than Las Palmas.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 31/12/2013 at 06:20 AM.
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  31. Wow, I've never seen a better told story.. The way you write, the creativity needed to mention all the details you do.. Simply great!
    Good luck for your journey
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  32. Round 18: Cordoba B v. Cadiz CF

    Cordoba is some 260 km away and it's under a 3 hour drive. That atmosphere during the ride was pretty relaxed. I was honest during the week with them that the Cordoba Bs were going to be easy, but we had to show up and work hard. I emphasized that goal differential might matter at the end of the season and this was an opportunity to pad.

    Attachment 455658

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Dalmau, Martins, Josete, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Bruninho, Luque, Perico
    F: Airam, Souda

    Seriously, this was embarrassing. It was sad, too. But after an initial scare. Our 4th long-range shot was blocked and a Cordoba player hoofed it forward. Their forward Miguelito grabbed it and raced goalward. He raced past Josete, but Moises came flying in with a tackle. The only problem was the ball rolled right into the path of their left winger Mauro.

    Alejandro got a finger to the shot and redirected it against the post.

    And that was their one and only real chance of the half. They got another chance in the second half, but it wasn't as dangerous and their shot wasn't too hard and was right into Alejandro's chest.

    In the 19th minute, nearly everyone touched the ball after Alejandro came out to control a long clearance. It ended up with Bruninho shooting from 20 meters. The problem was he hit Airam square in the back. Airam was off-side. It looked like the ball would have gone in if he could have managed to get out of the way.

    We controlled the long kick from their goalkeeper and brought it back into their end up the left flank. Perico and Moises passed between each other until Moises found himself in the box with the ball. It didn't look like he realy knew what to do. He played it back and into the middle to Bruninho.

    Bruninho played it behind their left back and Kike Lopez beat the defender to the ball and smashed his shot past the keeper. It hit the post and rebounded right to Airam who tapped it into the wide open goal.


    From the restart, we quickly regained the ball. Bruninho (once again) played the ball out to Kike Lopez. Kike beat their left back like a rented mule and whipped in a far post cross. Souda's leapt and headed it back across the goal. It hit off the post and landed at Airam's feet.

    Right man, right place, right time.


    In the 36th minute, it was Airam's turn to pass the ball off the post. Luque worked the ball into Airam and his shot was blocked. Luque was first to the ball and poked it back to Bruninho. Bruninho sent in a nice ball to Airam. Airam spun, shot and beat the keeper but not the post.

    The rebound rolled to Aymen Souda who was 5 meters out and with the goal wide open.


    Unfortunately, in the 42nd minute, Luque got tackled hard and late. He lay screaming on the ground for a minute holding his left ankle. The magic sponge and freeze spray weren't going to do the trick this time. Michel singled for the switch. Juan Villar replaced him.

    The second half began slow and stayed that way. The Cordoba Bs worked really hard to keep us at bay and we didn't.

    At 60 minutes I replaced Bruninho with Medhi Nafti so Nafti could build up his game fitness.

    In the 70th minute, Kike Lopez came in off the right wing with the ball. He played it to Nafti who played it to Villar. Villar saw that Kike had continued his run into space. He gave him the ball. Kike then played a give-n-go with Airam and found himself alone in front of the keeper and about 8 meters out.

    He blasted the ball past the hopeless keeper.


    Josete looked tired so Belforti was my final substitution.

    The Cordoba Bs looked dispirited and tired. We notched two more from Souda for his hat trick.

    We'd accomplished the task I set out for them: padded our stats. I only told them "good work" for my post game talk. Seriously, what was I supposed to say? They'd demolished a team they were supposed to demolish.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-30-11.09.48-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-11.01.14-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-11.00.44-pm.png

    We were now third in the league. Nice.

  33. Quote Originally Posted by Zimbarolas View Post
    Wow, I've never seen a better told story.. The way you write, the creativity needed to mention all the details you do.. Simply great!
    Good luck for your journey
    Thank you very much.

  34. Just signed up to say this story is absolutely fantastic mate! Great stuff

  35. Quote Originally Posted by whufc1966 View Post
    Just signed up to say this story is absolutely fantastic mate! Great stuff
    Thanks! Very much appreciated.

  36. "Alessandro, I've found a decent Italian ristorante," I said in Italian as I walked into Cadiz CF's Director Football's office. It was just about lunch time. "Plus, I want to talk."

    "Yes? You have? Let's go."

    I was feeling hopeful. Cadiz were in third place with one match to go before the midway point of the season. I wanted to see if there was any wiggle room with the lowered salary cap and I had a truly weaselish idea on how to get around the cap and bring in a central defender. Plus, bringing in a player would send a loud and clear message to the players that we weren't having a fire sale.

    Alessandro was the lynchpin.

    "Thanks be to God that my wife is an excellent cook or I'd have lost my mind by now," Alessandro said as he climbed into Alfa. "This place is good, eh?"

    "Margarita told me about three options and this one was the best."

    The car said it was 18 degrees (that's about 65 for you Americans) so we drove with the top down in silence enjoying the breeze and the view of the ocean from the Avenue Via Augusta Julia into Cadiz.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-06.51.06-am.png

    Alessandro is from Udine so we talked about Friuli, homesickness and food. We ordered lunch and then I got to the crux of the matter.

    "I want to run an idea by you," I began. Alessandro raised an eyebrow. "It wouldn't cost the club anything, but I desperately need a central defender who could actually play defense. Jose Barla (Cadiz's Chief Scout) gave me a report of Fluminense players available for loan. As you know, because we're affiliated with them, they'll loan us players for nothing as long as we promise to play him."

    I passed him my iPad with the details of Ighort.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-28-02.33.21-pm.png

    "Yeah, he does look like he'd make a difference," Alessandro said.

    "So what about the fire sale? Is it really going to happen?"

    "I'm not sure. I'm heading home for Christmas to Udine after next Sunday's match against Linense. I'll be able to talk to a few of the investors while I'm there. I can't promise anything, but I'll make the pitch that we could be playing in Liga Adelante but for a decent central defender."

    "I understand and thanks," I replied. Then our lunch arrived.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 31/12/2013 at 02:40 PM.

  37. Michel Roman
    17 Dec 2013 7:46AM
    Enrico, Mikel Martins just called in sick. Flu. Told him to stay home
    17 Dec 2013 7:48AM
    Good idea. Don't want team getting sick.
    AndySams10 and Nurquidi98 like this.

  38. On Thursday, Bruninho pulled up with a groin strain. Michel said he'd be out three weeks. Good thing Nafti is almost back in game shape after his injury.
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  39. My phone jangled. It was Bogdan Laba from Diario de Cadiz.

    "Bogdan, how are you?"

    "Good, Enrico, good. Do you have a few minutes for some questions?"


    "Linense boss Rafa Escobar had some comments about Mehdi Nafti. He said he's the weak link in the team and he plans to exploit that. Would you care to comment?"

    Mind games, eh? Hmmmm ... laugh it off? Get indignant? No comment? Hmmm ...

    "This is completely unprofessional," I replied. "I'm disappointed to hear Escobar trying to play mind games. Nafti's my Assistant Captain and was a rock in my midfield prior to getting injured. I really think managers should hold themselves to higher standards."

    "So you think he's go it wrong?"

    "Yes. I'll just use his blathering to motivate my players. I can't wait to see your article."

    "If Escobar has misjudged Nafti and Los Submarino Amarillos this badly, is this a sign that the match will go our way?"

    "You could say that," I replied. "I think we have a great chance. Especially if Escobar continues to be wrong about things."

    "Cadiz are favorites, do you feel you will live up to your billing?"

    "Yes. Anything else?"

    "No, thanks for your time," Bogdan said. "Talk to you soon."

    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 31/12/2013 at 02:40 PM.

  40. Round 19: Cadz CF v. Real Balmpedica Linense

    Three days before Christmas and no chance of snow. Raining, breezy and mild. I told the players that if they won, they'd have 3 days off. Lose and we'd train tomorrow and they'd only have 2 days off for the holiday.

    They were all talking about the article in Diaro de Cadiz about Escobar insulting Nafti.

    Linense have a 6'5" striker, so I brought in Chara who is 6'3" to deal with the crosses. I instructed the defense to give their big forward the special sauce.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Ricardo Chara, Josete, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Mehdi Nafti (C), Jorge Luque, Perico
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    You'll notice that Luque is playing. I forgot to mention it, but ice and ibuprofen cured his ankle. It happens every once in a while that a guy can roll his ankle and it turns out to not be as bad as the screaming and rolling around on the pitch indicated.

    We started very strong. We kept the ball for a while from the kick-off and from a throw on the right side at midfield, Dalmau threw it to Nafti. Nafti switched fields to Moises. Moises dribbled forward and passes to Perico. Perico saw Souda's run, played a one-touch pass into his path and Souda was running at two defenders in the box.

    He beat both defenders! Unfortunately, his shooting angle was really tight and the goalie just made sure the shot hit him. They cleared it for a throw.

    Moises threw it in to Luque. Luque dribbled across field then played a ball behind their left back that Kike ran onto. Kike shot tamely right at the keeper.

    The Linense keeper threw it out to their right back who played it to their central midfielder Chico. He strolled past Luque and hoofed a long ball forward towards their towering striker Nicolas Raimondi. Josete intercepted and sent a header right back where it came from.

    Luque didn't even bother to challenge Chico for the ball. Literally, he just stood and watched. Chico played a pass along the ground to Raimondi as Josete wasn't marking him closely. Raimondi turned, beat Josete and blasted a shot over Alejandro's shoulder.


    Alejo turned purple, but remained seated on the bench. I got up and told Josete and Chara to switch sides.

    We got lucky in the 13th minute. Linense's other striker, Copi, was clearly 3 meters off-side but the linesman kept his flag down. Alejandro bailed us out with a great save.

    I screamed at the ref and linesman for a few minutes. Like it'd make a difference. Three blind mice and all that...

    Linense were pretty solid defensively, but we created some good chances.

    Chara won a long ball clearance in the 25th minute. Luque got to the ball first, spun and zipped a pass to Airam. Airam beat his defender but shot just past the post.

    In the 32 minute, after passing the ball in and around their box for several minutes, Luque teed up a shot and hammered it goalwards. It hit a defender and spun wide and high of the net. The ref gave a goal kick.

    More useless screaming at the ref. This trio were awful.

    We were having trouble with the gap between midfield and defense. The truth is Luque and Nafti were too slow and Chara and Josete were having a bad game. So I dropped Nafti from a central midfield role into a defensive midfield role.

    This was better. He was better positioned to intercept passes to Raimondi, pick up 2nd balls when they hoofed it forward and stop them running at Chara and Josete.

    Neither team generated much excitement in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

    "Where's your passion?" I asked the team at halftime. "I want to see you playing better in the 2nd half. I know you can. You've got it in you. Go out there and do it!"

    Just like the first half, we started the 2nd well. Souda dribbled down the left flank. When he lost the ball, Perico picked it up, took a step and with his right foot bent a ball toward the far right post. It just missed.

    Thankfully, we didn't immediately give up a goal once they took possession.

    The game fell into a pattern of one team bringing the ball upfield, dinking around with it around the opponent's box losing possession or shooting from long-range then retreating back into a defensive shell.

    Sadly, our next best chance fell to Moises at the top corner of the box in the 53rd minute. The kid is turning into a decent enough defender. He's not much offensively, though. He shot wide.

    We shot high several times, so did they.

    Kike Lopez hadn't done anything all second half so I replaced him with Jose Villar in the 60th minute.

    We were undone and the game became out of reach in the 77th minute. They won a corner and we gave up a stupid goal. Their left winger Salvi stationed himself near post. Moises and Josete were standing there and should have prevented him from getting to the in-swinger first. Or at least hassled him so he couldn't execute a nice volley. They just stood and watched.


    I had a quandary. Chara and Josete both stunk out there and Perico was exhausted. I only had 2 subs left. i put Andres on for Perico and Belforti on for Josete.

    The team gave up and played out the remainder of the match.

    What a depressing way to end the first half. Linense would move up to 5th with this win. My phone indicated that Cartagena were holding onto an early one goal lead against Lucena. They'd move to 4th with that win and Los Submarino Amarillos would drop to 6th.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-08.27.53-am.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-11.55.00-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-27-11.54.33-pm.png

    I yelled at them for a while after the match. I canceled the day off tomorrow. They'd be jogging and doing Killers. That's right, I was angry enough about their performance that the day before Christmas, I'd be punishing them.
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  41. Damn it what a disappointing result. Really loviing this story, so much depth and thought put into it. The personal life really gives it some feeling that I am reading your memoirs! Keep up the fabulous work. Also what Alfa are you driving?
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  42. 23 December 2013
    Cadiz Manager Slams Team
    Bogdan Laba

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.28.28-am.png
    Salvi wheels away in celebration after scoring Linense's second

    Cadiz manager Enrico Pucci kept the players locked in the dressing room after their 2-0 defeat to Linense yesterday. According to young fullback Moises, he was furious with the team's performance and let them know in clear terms just how unhappy he was and what needed to improve.

    Cadiz lie in sixth place, eight points behind leaders Albacete and two points out of the promotion play-off spots.

    Pucci cannot be unhappy with the team's offensive performance overall. Despite Sunday's shut out, the team has put 43 goals past the opposition's defense. They are El Segundo B4's top scoring team.

    Moises says that Pucci has set high standards for Los Submarino Amarillos defense as well. They are tied with Cartagena for the stingiest defense.

    "We're just leaking goals at the worst times," Moises added. He pointed to the come from behind draws in October against La Hoya and La Roda as examples. "They're teams at the bottom that we should be beating."

    Statistics show that when Los Submarino Amarillos lose, the opposition shuts them out. They've been shut out in three of the four losses this season.

    Udinese loanee Ricardo Chara looked lost yesterday against Linense and hasn't looked comfortable the last few times he's played. He's sat out several matches recently.

    "I can only hope that things get better from this point," Pucci responded to questions about Chara's form.

    Despite the strong offensive showing and the stingy defense, Cadiz owners have apparently demanded a fire sale of the team's top players to reduce the wage bill. Sources have cited the loan payments for the redevelopment of the Ramon de Carranza as causing the club's financial crisis.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 01/01/2014 at 04:46 AM.
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  43. Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Baggio View Post
    Damn it what a disappointing result. Really loviing this story, so much depth and thought put into it. The personal life really gives it some feeling that I am reading your memoirs! Keep up the fabulous work. Also what Alfa are you driving?
    Yeah, it's a disapointing result. When the team isn't built on a strong defense, this can happen. We're still in the promotion chase, though. That's what counts. Here's the stats of the 6 I'm willing to play in the back:

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.41.57-am.pngThe Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.42.22-am.pngThe Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.42.52-am.png
    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.43.16-am.pngThe Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.43.44-am.pngThe Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.44.05-am.png

    You can see why we have such a hard time defending. At the lower levels, you need defenders with high determination and decent tackling. For example, Belforti's tackling is 13, but he's weak-willed. Whereas, Moises isn't that great of a tackler, but he's fast and fairly determined. Martins isn't naturally a defender, but because of the weak-willed group I've got, he agreed to become a central defender.

    Thanks, glad you're enjoying the story.

    I drive a 2005 Alfa Romeo GTV Spider. I bought it when I was playing for Bologna. It's only got 86k on it, but damn if it I didn't get an unreliable lemon. As long as I'm employed my mechanics love me as I'm always coming in to get something fixed.
    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.48.50-am.png
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 31/12/2013 at 06:55 PM.

  44. Unlucky with the recent result mate, but your still in touching distance of the play offs and there's still lots of games to play.

    Any news on the Brazilian defender on loan?

  45. Welcome to Cadiz, Mom

    Because of the loss and me yanking the day off for the 23rd, I couldn't meet my Mom at the airport. She flown from Washington, DC to Madrid then on to Cadiz. I told her to wait at her hotel and that I'd be over as soon as training was done. Through friends of Ana Maria's, I'd gotten her an oceanside room for a heck of a deal in a posh hotel in the old part of town.

    I roared up in the Alfa, handed my keys to the valet and strode through the lobby and out to the veranda where my Mom had told me via text that she'd be waiting.

    "Hi, Mom," I exclaimed as I walked up to her table.

    "Oh honey, let me get a look at you," she said as she rose and hugged me. "I do like the shaven look. So very handsome. And your so tanned."

    "Your flight was good? Room is nice?"

    "Of course, Love. And the flowers are so very nice. What a hotel! You've chosen well."

    "I'm glad you like it," I said sitting down. I hadn't seen my Mom since the spring when she'd visited me in Bologna. She seemed a tad more gray, had added another wrinkle or two, but as sprightly as ever.

    "Will I get to meet her soon?" she asked leaning in as if to not embarrass me.

    "She's on her way," I replied laughing. "I texted her as I was leaving. She should be here any minute."

    It was going to be an interesting meeting as Mom didn't speak much of any Spanish and Ana Maria spoke no Italian or English. I'd be translator.

    Mom caught me up on the latest family goings on and gossip while we waited.

    "Ah, here she is, Mom," I said as Ana Maria walked over to the table. "Mom, Ana Maria. Ana Maria, Lissandra."

    They hugged and we sat down. My Mom said in Italian that she was gorgeous. I translated the compliment and Ana Maria blushed.

    The plan was that Mom and I would have Christmas Eve dinner at Ana Maria's. In case you're at all worried, the offensive younger brother had been sent to his grandparents near Malaga "to visit." The fallout from Meet the Parents was bad for him and good for me. Ana Maria had informed me that both her parents liked me and had been quite shocked by their sons behavior. So the pressure would be off aside from the pressure of being translator for my Mom. We'd attend mass afterwards at the Cathedral providing my Mom wasn't too jet lagged.

    Since I had training every morning, Mom and I and sometimes Ana Maria would make day trips. When the three of us traveled, Ana Maria would drive. My Mom would be leaving next Sunday for Italy to visit family there.

  46. Christmas Eve went well. Mom loved the tour of the city from Ana Maria. We went to Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba and the Rock of Gilbraltor. Ana Maria was with us except for The Rock. We took a bus for that as Ana Maria advised that parking is difficult.

    I took my Mom around to meet Esteban. She and Ana Maria watched training one morning and met the coaching staff. The club was shut down for the week of Christmas so none of the other staff were around, but we met Margarita for drinks on the Sunday before Mom flew out for Italy.
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  47. Alessandro Gaucci 02 January 2014 6:59AM
    I have a bad feeling about getting Ighort.
    02 January 2014 7:00AM
    Alessandro Gaucci 02 January 2014 7:03AM
    I should have heard back by now.
    02 January 2014 7:05AM
    Alessandro Gaucci 02 January 2014 7:06AM
    If Ighort doesn't come, here's the backup. What do you think?
    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2013-12-31-11.16.39-pm.png

    02 January 2014 7:11AM
    He looks promising. Get him if Ighort won't come.

  48. 04 January 2014
    Star to miss Sanluqueno match
    Bogdan Laba

    Midfield maestro Jorge Luque is set to miss a month after his ankle gave out in training during the week. Atletico SanLuqueno won't have to worry about his sublime passing, long range shooting and late runs into the box tomorrow when they visit the Ramon de Carranza.

    "Jose Villar will take his spot," said Cadiz Manager Enrico Pucci.

    Villar has six goals and three assists. He has started 10 matches and come off the bench 7 other times.

    Los Submarino Amarillas kick off the second half of the season facing the team they beat 3-1 to back in Round 1 in September. The only other absence will be Bruninho who is still out for about another week with a groin strain.

    Despite rumors and sources inside the club insisting that a fire sale will happen in the January transfer window, Director of Football Alessandro Gaucci said no players will be sold.
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  49. Round 20: Cadiz CF v. Atletico Sanluqueno CF

    Still no news from either Ighort or Fluminense. Alessandro is certain they have a deal brewing in which they'd receive money.

    We beat Sanluqueno in our first match of the season 3-1. This time they were visiting the Ramon de Carranza.

    Would we be ready to play after our winter break? While we hadn't played in two weeks, we had trained on every day but the two days off for Christmas.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Mikel Martins, Jose Maria Belforte, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Mehdi Nafti, Jose Villar, Perico
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    Subs: Ricardo Chara (D), Josete (D/M), Tomas (D/M), Andres (D/M), Kike Marques (M/F)

    The game got off to a hot start.

    In the 2nd minute, Perico was tripped in the box. The ref waved off all our protests. I moaned at the ref and the 4th official for a while about the missed call.

    In the fourth minute, Perico's corner was cleared out to Belforti. He controlled the ball and sent the ball back upfield to Souda. Souda whirled, beat a defender dribbles around the left side of the box and thumps a shot into the side netting.

    All 2 weeks of work by Alejo Indias and me unraveled in the 18th minute. Their midfielder Guerrero played a ball up to their striker Nicolas Amerise. Belforti nipped in just as Amerise was trying to control the pass and poked the ball away. Amerise was quicker and got to the loose ball first. Instead of chasing Amerise, Belforti turned and headed back toward our goal.

    Mikel Martins then stepped up to challenge Amerise leaving Robert open. Robert gratefully received the pass and slotted an easy finish past Alejandro.


    Both Alejo and I facepalmed.

    Sweet Jesus but we need a solid defender.

    We immediately gave the ball back after the restart and the Sanluqueno players and bench were screaming for a penalty seconds later. I didn't see anything obvious. No, seriously. Not like Arsene Wenger. I actually had no idea what they were complaining about.

    We eventually got our act together again and brought the ball down into the opposition's end. Dalmau and Kike Lopez tried several crosses, but they were all headed back out. Mehdi Nafti snagged the third clearance and passed across the top of the box to Villar. Villar shot high from 22 meters.

    I got up off the bench and told the team to push up higher. We were giving them too much space.

    It eventually paid off. We didn't give them time to play balls out of the back. When they did, they didn't have time in the midfield to pick out passes.

    First in the 29th minute, Nafti won a tackle and played the ball back to Belforti. Belforti to Villar to Souda to Airam and Airam is in the box beating his defender. His shot whistled past the post.

    Finally in the 33rd minute, we got our just desserts. Kike Lopez whipped in a cross. Atletico defender Polaco is on the wrong side of Airam and only comes up to Airam's shoulder. So Polaco wraps both arms around Airam to prevent him from jumping.

    The ball sails past them, past everyone and out of the box. But I'm watching the ref. He points to the spot. We'd actually won a ****ing penalty.

    I hadn't seen Airam miss a penalty in training all season including pre-season. He didn't now, either.


    We kept up the pressure for the remainder of the half, but couldn't score thanks to our wayward shooting and the linesman.

    Airam received a pass about 8 meters out directly in front of goal in the 41st minute. He was onside. I swear to you he was. But he was so open that I think the linesman just reflexively raise his flag. Polaco had completely lost his man. Airam had time to chest the ball down, look up and pass the ball by the Sanluqueno keeper. We should have gone into halftime leading. We should be leading 3-1.

    I talked to both the ref and the linesman as they left the field.

    I told the player's we'd been unlucky and to just keep at it and the goals would come.

    They didn't.

    The first 15 minutes of the second half was cagey and played in the middle of the park.

    We created the first chance of the second half in the 60th minute. Dalmau and Kike had a great interchange down the right hand flank. Dalmau eventually plays the ball into the path of Airam. He beats Polaco, but Polaco does enough that Airam has a bad angle from which to shoot. His shot beats the keeper but trickles across the front of the goal. It eventually rolled out for a goal kick on the far side of the net.

    We finally got our breakthroughin the 64th minute. Perico won a corner. He whipped in a ball to the sweet spot. The sweet spot is the closest spot to the goal where the goalkeeper won't come for it, but you have players crashing. Jose Villar started his run from beyond the penalty spot. He timed his jump perfectly. His header wasn't much of a header. It was more of a shoulder. But the ball looped over the keeper's outstretched hands of the top of a defenders head and into the goal.


    The entire bench was hugging and jumping up and down. Eventually, everyone but Alejo took their seats. He was exhorting his defenders to protect that lead.

    Poor Alejo. It wasn't to be.

    They kept the ball in our half after the restart. Our defending was panicked and either Belforti or Martins were leaving their strikers open for chances.

    The fact that they scored from some good fortune on a corner kick doesn't doesn't forgive our panicky and poor defending. It only says that Atletico were wasteful. Pina curled a ball to the back post. Alejandro back-pedaled, leaped but missed it. Martins had his man covered, leapt and headed the ball upfield. The problem was his header wasn't particularly high and it fell to Robert.

    Robert had a nice channel through which to shoot, floating header dropping perfectly toward his favored right boot and a goalie laying on the ground at the far post.


    We couldn't create another chance. They had two but couldn't convert.

    I told them we were unlucky. It should have been 3-1 at halftime. I didn't remind them we were lucky that Sanluqueno wasted many good opportunities to break us but couldn't pull it all together in the final third.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-01-12.37.41-am.png Attachment 456610 Attachment 456613

    Losing a lead always hurts. We remained 6th in the table.

  50. shame about the 2 defenders seems as if you really need one

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