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The Alfa Romeo Metaphor

  1. Quote Originally Posted by Streaky25 View Post
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigwill1xx View Post
    shame about the 2 defenders seems as if you really need one
    I think I might have some news for both of you soon. Thanks for reading.
    ZeCarlos and Nurquidi98 like this.

  2. 6 January 2014
    Fans disappointed with draw against Sanluquenos
    Bogdan Laba

    Cadista spokesman Alfonso Del Le Cerro Grande said that the hardcore fans in the south end are very disappointed with Cadiz CF's 2-2 draw with Atletico Sanluqueno. In particular, Grande pinpointed right back Albert Dalmau as the worst performer yesterday.

    Cadiz were caught out with an 18th minute goal from Atletico captain Robert. Airam won and converted a penalty to even up the match in the 34th minute.

    But it was referee Jose Figueroa Vasquez who played the largest role in the first half. Perico was brought down in the penalty box after just 2 minutes, but Figueroa Vasquez waved away claims. Sanluqueno wanted a penalty that would have given them a chance to go up 2-0 in the 20th minute, but Figueroa Vasquez saw nothing.

    Cadiz manager Enrico Pucci was most aggrieved with the disallowed goal just before half time. Airam controlled a cross and slotted home, but was denied his celebration by the linesman's flag.

    "We should have gone into the break leading 3-1," Pucci said.

    The teams exchanged goals from corners in the second half in an otherwise dull second half. Altetico's Robert was man of the match.
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  3. "**** that ref!" Esteban exclaimed as I strolled into his shop for my Tuesday shave.

    "Yeah, I know."

    "I've seen some **** refs over the years, but that might top it," he continued to nods and agreement from Roberto and the man in his chair.

    "Not much to do about it," I added. "How was your holidays?"

    "They were good, really good," he replied. "It was great to meet your Mom and Ana Maria. Thanks for bringing them by. That Ana Maria, though, wow. You have found yourself a beauty, yes you have."

    Roberto whistled.

    "But once again we must discuss Los Submarino Amarillos defending," Esteban said as he lathered up my skull.

    "Or lack thereof," Roberto added.

    "No kidding," I agreed. "Alessandro and I are trying to bring in a Fluminense defender on loan."

    "Sweet Mary Mother of Jesus we need one," Esteban exclaimed. "I have a good feeling about the upcoming Algeciras match."

    "Oh, good," I said. "But when will I no longer be able to get a shave here?"

    "You forget," he replied. "It's going to be both fortune telling and hair. At the same time if you wish."

  4. spitfire
    Quote Originally Posted by Enrico Pucci View Post
    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.
    That would be my story Christmas got in the way so I haven't updated in a little while but there are 3 or 4 chapters already
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  5. Quote Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
    That would be my story Christmas got in the way so I haven't updated in a little while but there are 3 or 4 chapters already
    And here's a link to spitfire's story:

    As Yet Untitled - A FM story with a bit of difference

    Please write more.
    ZeCarlos likes this.

  6. Alessandro Gaucci 9 January 2014 8:13PM
    9 January 2014 8:13PM
    Alessandro Gaucci 9 January 2014 8:15PM
    Flu will put him on a plane tomorrow afternoon. He'll be here Satruday
    9 January 2014 8:19PM
    Thank you, thank you thank and thank you.

  7. Round 21: Cadiz CF v Algeciras CF

    Wellington Carvalho dos Santos is out of shape and jet-lagged, but I am hugely pleased to have him on the bench. He's tall, broad shouldered and, I pray to God, the answer to my defensive woes. Thanks be to God for affiliated clubs who will loan players for nothing as Cadiz are broker than broke.

    We'd beaten Algeciras in September 4-1 in their ground and now they visit the Ramon de Carranza. Would our indifferent home form continue or would we finally put it together and start performing at home?

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

    Subs: Wellington Carvalho (D), Josete (D/M), Andres (D/M), Tomas (D/M), Kike Marques (M/F)

    What a great start! I sit down on the bench while Kike Lopez streaks down the right flank. He beats his man and hits a far post cross for a wide open Perico. He slammed the volley past their keeper from a fairly tight angle.


    And we kept the pressure up.

    In the 10th minute, their keeper parried an Airam blast behind for a corner. Perico turned provider for Mehdi Nafti. Nafti scored on a near post flick.


    And it only got better.

    Moises threw in to Souda in the left corner. Souda played it directly back to him. Moises hit a high curler. Airam timed his jump perfectly and smashed his header past their hopeless keeper.


    At this point, I got Martins' attention and told them to don't over-commit offensively and to pressure higher up the field.

    We promptly gave up a route one goal. The Algeciras keeper thumped a goal kick well over the half line. Belforti mis-headed and the ball went sideways to their Melchior. He beat Martins on the dribble and thumped a pile driver past Alejandro.


    In the 26th minute, Nafti played a square ball to Villar. Villar to Kike who charge at his defender. He slipped past him like a matador, took one more touch and hesitated just a second before unleashing his shot. The keeper went down early and lucky for us. Kike's shot would have hit the keeper in the chest, but since he'd gone down, he was only able to reach up a hand which was insufficient to keep out Kike's thunderbolt.


    As expected, we gave another goal just before halftime.

    Scottish import Ryan Harper heaved a long throw in to Melchior who was just inside the box. Melchior played the ball back to Harper. Harper whipped a cross back in to Melchior. Despite both Martins and Belforti correctly positioned, they couldn't deal with it.

    You've probably seen a group of U8s all packed around the ball, all kicking frenetically at the ball. Normally, the ball doesn't move much inside of the circle of kids until suddenly it pops out. That's what the scrum between Martins, Belforti and Melchior looked like. Sadly for Martins he booted it against Melchior's shins and it popped past Alejandro and into the goal.


    Alejo and I both facepalmed.

    At halftime I told them they were playing well and to keep it up. Most importantly, I replaced Belforti with Wellington Carvalhos.

    That did the trick. The second half was fairly dull ... at least from my perspective. They only had one decent chance and it was in the 77th minute after we'd iced the match.

    Juan Villar scored in the 60th and Souda scored in the 69th.

    Wellington didn't do all that much, but then again, that's what I want in a defender.

    The Cadistas serenaded our new signing with the following song as the game wore down:
    Wellington you play boring, we like boring, thanks for moving to Spain
    I told them afterwards that I was very happy that they'd pulled it all together and played like we should.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-01-06.56.16-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-01-06.56.42-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-01-06.57.14-pm.png

    We were 4th in the table and back in the promotion play-off chase because Linense and Arroyo both tied.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-01-12.37.41-am.png  
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 02/01/2014 at 05:53 AM.

  8. Enjoying this a lot, still. It's an excellent read; it flows really well and there's a great connection between the characters and readers (me personally, and undoubtedly others...)

    One thing, you've uploaded the match information in your latest update from the game before - just letting you know buddy. Looking forward to more!

  9. Quote Originally Posted by ZeCarlos View Post
    Enjoying this a lot, still. It's an excellent read; it flows really well and there's a great connection between the characters and readers (me personally, and undoubtedly others...)

    One thing, you've uploaded the match information in your latest update from the game before - just letting you know buddy. Looking forward to more!
    Great eye and thank you very much. It has the correct match info now.
    ZeCarlos, alokated and Nurquidi98 like this.

  10. spitfire
    Quote Originally Posted by Enrico Pucci View Post
    Please write more.
    Yes sir!

    Meanwhile, very addicted to your story! Checking back every day at the moment! KUTGW.
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  11. Still loving every single update of this! More and more each day infact! Keep it going, doing well in the league also!

  12. Quote Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
    Meanwhile, very addicted to your story! Checking back every day at the moment! KUTGW.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheWriter View Post
    Still loving every single update of this! More and more each day infact! Keep it going, doing well in the league also!
    Thanks to both of you, very much appreciated.

  13. Gran semana para Los Submarino Amarillos

    Big week. Big big week. Sunday is a top of the table clash at Atletico Sevilla. They rudely beat us on our home opener. We have the opportunity to pull within 2 points of them and maybe even dump them to 3rd in the table. Cartagena, the third place team, visit the Cordoba Bs and are guaranteed to win.

    Jose Barla reported that their best two attacking players are hurt so we're also getting them at the perfect time.

    The coming weeks after Atletico are easier; we play teams toward the bottom of the table. A victory against Sevilla would really get us rolling.
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  14. Round 22: Atletico Sevilla v. Cadiz CF

    I worked with Alejo almost all week on the defense. I trusted Llorente and JVP (Juan Vincente Peinado) to get the offense humming with assistance from my tactics coach Javi Garcia and Assistant Manager Paco (when Paco wasn't working over the goalkeepers.

    Today was just a quick trip up the AP4 to Sevilla. Everyone was focused and excited on the ride up. They had been all week.

    Chief Scout Jose Barla suggests that our best shot is to hold fast for the first half because they have let in more goals during the second half. Throughout the week we Llorente, JVP and Javi Garcia's mission was to hone our counter attack. In the second half the plan is to take the game to them.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Mikel Martins (C), Wellington Carvalho, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Bruninho, Juan Villar, Perico
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    Subs: Jose Maria Belforti (D), Josete (D/M), Andres (D/M), Medhi Nafti (M), Kike Marques (M/F)

    I decided to go with Bruninho over Nafti as Bruninho is more mobile.

    The Sevilla boys, and I mean that literally, took it to us from the kick-off. Initially, we could barely get a counter attack going. We parked the bus and withstood an onslaught.

    In the 21st minute, their right midfielder Modesto beat Moises. He whipped in a cross and their withdrawn striker Joaquin had made a late run and connected solidly on his volley. I figured we were toast and would be down a goal early.

    Alejandro managed to get a fingertip to it and push it wide.

    We cleared the resulting corner back out to our left, but Modesto got it again and whipped a cross back in. Alejandro cam storming out and punched the ball clear.

    The tempest wasn't over though as Modesto once more got hold of the ball, ran for the corner, beat Moises again and curled in a really dangerous ball. Atletico striker Alex Rubio connected with a header which hit Alejandro parried over. Another clear chance and another spectacular save.

    'If we end up pulling this off, Alejandro will be man of the match' I thought to myself.

    In what was becoming a pattern, Modesto jogged past Moises as if he wasn't there and curled in a nasty cross to the sweet spot. Just behind our defense and too far out for Alejandro to come out. Rubio dove feet first, stuck out a toe as Alejandro stepped forward and spread himself as wide as he could.

    I don't know how he did it, but The A Man blocked the shot.

    We cleared the ball over the half line, but were undone with the simplest of moves down the middle. Atletico midfielder Curro picked up the scraps from a scrum and played the ball over the half line for Rubio. Despite working all week on our gap between the defensive line and the midfielders, there was a gap and Rubio was between Villar and Wellington.

    He turned and started running at the defense. This is where it broke down. Wellington stepped up to challenge. Martins didn't move over to cover the gap. Rubio recognized this, played it out to his right to Modesto and took off sprinting in to the empty space. Modesto one-touched it into Rubio's path and we were in trouble.

    As Martins, Moises and Wellingto converged on him, he punished with a nicely placed shot under the onrushing Alejandro.


    The players held on until halftime, but barely.

    It was time to pull a motivational speech out of my ass.

    "That was a pretty good first half," I began. "We withstood an onslaught and, except for one mistake and Rubio punished us, we looked pretty good. Moises, you can stop Modesto. You're getting hypnotized by his dribbling. Watch his belly button. Watch his belly button. His belly button will never lie to you like his dancing shoes and shoulders were."

    "But you need to show me something different in the second half!" I continued. "Where is the team that put six by Algeciras? All of you know that these Atletico kids aren't way better than you. Alejandro has kept us in this one. Let's reward his highlight reel worthy efforts by taking the game to them."

    "We know that their defense is solid so don't panic out there. Just play our game out there. Let's keep the ball, pressure quickly and high up the pitch when we lose it and play in their end this half."

    "I have faith you can pull this one out!" I concluded. "We've come from behind before. WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!"

    From the kick-off to the 52nd minute, we kept the ball in and around their penalty box.

    Souda hit the side netting in the 46th. A corner kick resulted in a scrum in the goalmouth in the 50th, the ball popped to Villar who thumped a shot goalward. But for a desperate lunge, it would have gone in. Nearly and instant replay of the previous scrum in the goalmouth from the corner kick, but this time Kike Lopez slid a shot past the post.

    The took the ball straight down the field, but this time Modesto couldn't get past Moises. He did win the corner, though. Rubio broke free from Wellington but headed just over the bar. The entire bench exhaled a sigh of relief.

    In the 56th, Kike whipped in a cross that was cleared. Bruninho was first to the ball and fed it to Villar who one-touched it to Souda. Souda dropped his shoulder, froze his defender, stepped to the side of him but rifled his shot wide.

    Wellington won the longe goal kick and we moved the ball around nicely resulting in a cross from Perico that Souda headed just over.

    Aymen Souda: Mr. Close-But-No-Cigar-Today. This was starting to become a pattern.

    In the 62nd minute, Alejandro played a goal kick short to Wellington. Wellington played a hospital ball to Dalmau. Dalmau panicked, got there first and managed to thump the ball upfield. What a lucky thump. It was a footrace between Airam and their keeper. Sadly for Los Submarino Amarillos, their keeper slid in and got the ball as Airam leapt over.

    The keeper rolls the ball out to a defender and Atletico Sevilla bring the ball upfield. Bruninho anticipates a pass, intercepts and plays a quick ball up to Souda. Souda just stood their waiting for the ball to arrive while the defender jogged in front of him and intercepted.

    Mr. Close-But-No-Cigar-Today just became Mr. Soon-To-Be-Replaced. I motioned for Andres to get warmed up.

    I turned back to the pitch as Sevilla hit us on the break. The defense had just relaxed and weren't ready. Wellington played another give-n-go, but Martins read it correctly and forced Wellington to shoot high and wide.

    Bruninho should have been booked in the 66th minute for chopping down Curro. Rubio's launched a cruise missile that nearly shattered the crossbar. Andres first touch was to volley the ball out for a throw.

    We kept the ball in their half, but couldn't generate much. I replaced Bruninho when he finally got booked in the 72nd minute with Nafti.

    That trend continued and Atletico began to take advantage of our desperation. They kept diving for fouls when we'd challenge then lay on the ground like they'd been shot by a sniper.

    We won free kicks in the 76th and 89th minutes. This is where I really miss Jorge Luque. Perico is just not dangerous at direct free kicks. Corners and wide one's; he's got an awesome cross. He hit pretty tame efforts right at the keeper.

    What can you do? They played a great game except for one mistake. One ****ing mistake.


    I told them that this loss was one to forget. We'd played our game plan. We just weren't meant to win. We sure as **** had enough chances.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-02-11.19.43-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-02-11.20.08-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-02-11.20.39-pm.png

    We dropped to fifth. We need to go on a winning streak. 6 easy games before we play Albacete who appear to be a juggernaut.
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  15. 20 January 2014
    Los Submarino Amarillos fall flat against Atletico Sevilla
    Bogdan Laba

    Yesterday's match in Sevilla was the tale of two halves. Atletico Sevilla dominated the first half and Cadiz CF the second. The problem for Los Submarino Amarillos is that Altetico scored on a defensive mistake at the back and the Cadiz players left their shooting boots at home.

    Cadiz nearly escaped the first half 0-0. Unfortunately, Alex Rubio exploited confusion between new signing Wellington Carvalho and captain Mikel Martins to slide a shot under keeper Alejandro in the 39th minute.

    Cadiz free-scoring ways were stifled by one of the league's stingiest defenses. Aymen Souda alone wasted a half dozen gilt-edged chances in the second half.

    Both teams seemed more interested in prevented the opposition from playing. Cadiz committing the majority of their fouls in the first half when they'd bunkered in to absorb the Atletico pressure and vice versa in the second half when Cadiz dominated.

    With the win Atletico remained second in El Segundo B4. Linense won dropping Cadiz to fifth and out of the last promotion play-off spot.
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  16. "Let's do the math," I said once everyone had sat down for our Monday morning staff meeting. "Let's figure out how many points we'll need to finish fourth."

    Everyone nodded.

    "Right now, Linense have 38 points from 22 matches. My iPhone tells me they are gaining 1.73 points per match. We all have 16 matches left. 16 X1.73 equals 27.68. Add the 38 points they already have and they're probably going to finish with 66 points after I round up."

    Everyone nodded.

    "Okay. 67 - 37 = 30. We need to win 10 matches out of our remaining 16. That seems pretty likely. Now look at this:

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-03-05.35.46-pm.png

    "This is a list of our remaining fixtures. 8 of them are certain wins," I said and gave them a minute to peruse the fixture list I'd just handed out. "So we need 2 other victories from the rest."

    "We can't count on it, but the second to last game against Linense could be critical," I continued. "Providing they're still in the hunt, it could a six pointer. Right?"

    Everyone nodded.

    "So that's why it's so critical we get on a winning streak starting this coming Sunday when we head to Ecija. They are great at home. But we're great on the road."

    "They've been scoring a lot lately," interjected Chief Scout Jose Barla. "But giving up a lot, too. 12 scored, 12 conceded in the last five."

    "So with our newfound defensive solidity," I continued. "They shouldn't be a problem, right?"

    Everyone nodded.

    "And we spanked Guadalajara like Paco has his wife spank him," I joked. (We beat them 5-2 in their home turf.)

    "That's it!" Paco retorted while trying to get up from across the table to get to me. Javi Garcia and Llorente held him down.

    "So I think we can make some real headway over the coming two months," I continued once the laughter subsided. "I'll post the fixture list in the changing room so everyone sees it every day."
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 04/01/2014 at 01:19 AM.

  17. On Thursday, we played on a semi-pro team from nearby to make sure we got over our inability to score. Perico, Airam and Aymen Souda scored which is good. Ceuta, our opponent, gave it there all and one of their central defender was so pumped up he lost it and chopped down Airam 3 minutes and and the ref red carded him. And this was supposed to be a friendly.

    Unfortunately, Perico twisted his knee just before halftime. Looks like he'll be out around 3 weeks.
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  18. "What ever happened to the fire sale?" Esteban asked as I sat down for my Friday shave.

    I shrugged.

    "Over Christmas, Alessandro, he's the Director of Football, went back to Udine in Italy," I said. "He said he'd run into the people who control the ownership group. He was going to beg, or whatever, that no fire sale actually happen. He was going to explain that we have a real chance for promotion. I never bothered to ask how those conversations went. I was just bracing myself for the sale."

    "What a pleasant Christmas gift to the Cadistas, yes?" Esteban commented as he began to lather up my skull.

    "Well, we'll see," I said. "No offers have come in. I'll reject them, but Alessandro or Florentino can overrule me."

    "We aren't nicknamed Los Submarino Amarillos for no reason," Esteban said. "We always resurface just in time. We always just barely squeak by. Despite having a completely brand new team for this season, the ethos ... the subconscious of the team is such that we'll barely make the play-offs. But when we do ... watch out!"

    "Is that an official pronouncement from the Oracle?" I asked.
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  19. Round 23: Ecija Balompie v. Cadiz CF

    It was an early drive up for the lunchtime kick-off against Ecija. Thankfully, it's a relatively short drive; a mere two hours, some 210 km.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-04-10.57.04-am.png

    Their stadium is fairly nice especially when compared to some we've visited. It's small, could probably seat 4500 to 5000, but is well-maintained and the changing room seemed pretty new and up-to-date.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-ecija020811f.jpg The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-e%25u0025cc%2581cijabpie%25cc%2581.jpg

    Michel pronounced Jorge Luque healthy, but he wasn't fit to play and so I decided to give him a rest.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Mikel Martins (C), Wellington Carvalho, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Bruninho, Jose Villar, Andres
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    Subs: Jose Maria Belforti (D), Josete (D/M), Tomas (LB/LM), Mehdi Nafti (M), Kike Marques (M/F)

    We almost scored within a 30 seconds. As the final pass of the move was reaching Airam, as he was pulling his leg back to rifle the shot, an Ecija midfielder dove back with a desperation tackle and managed to poke the ball back to the goalkeeper and save them some immediate embarrassment.

    On the 5 minute mark, Alejandro gathered a long through ball and tossed it to Wellington. We brought it up the left with Moises, Andres, Villar and Souda all touching the ball. Souda drew three defenders then slipped the ball into th path of the onrushing Villar. Villar's shot was saved and Kike Lopez gathered in the rebound, but the linesman flagged him off-side.

    We got our breathrough in the 10th minute. From inside the center circle, Villar played a ball out to Kike Lopez on the right flank. Kike took off, beat his defender and came running along the goal line toward the goal. He beat another defender and smashed a shot past their keeper from the tight angle.


    Keepers should never allow those sharp angle goals. I realize it happens, but sheesh.

    They didn't generate much offense and we only had 2 more chances during the first half.

    Moises threw down the line to Souda in the 27th minute. Souda beat his defender and like Kike came running along the line toward the goal. Instead of shooting, he fed Andres whose shot trickled all the way across the goalmouth and went out for a goal kick.

    Souda shot wide in the 36th minute after a nice build-up.

    But we nearly gave it away in the dieing seconds of the half. Wellington stepped up to challenge and Ecija exploited the gap, but their forward Javi Lopez blasted right at Alejandro. The rebound fell to Juanfri. With the net gaping, he fluffed a shot over.

    I told them that while they'd played fairly well, we were capable of playing much better. I told them I had faith they that they could pay better.

    We pressured them high and continued passing the ball well. We were rewarded in the 49th minute. Kike had the ball out on the right, but had two defenders on him. So he played the ball back to Bruninho. Bruninho waited for one of those defenders to come over then played it back to Kike.

    Kike played a pass into Airam's feet at the corner of the 5m box. The Ecija defenders let him turn. He thundered his shot off the goalkeeper's ribs and into the net.


    Ecija didn't have much going. It's as if they hadn't gotten off the bus. We took it easy and Josete who'd I'd subbed in for Bruninho scored from a corner to make it 3-0.

    This was a match I wanted to win and we did. This was a really solid performance.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-04-11.35.23-am.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-03-10.38.36-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-03-10.37.21-pm.png
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  20. 27 January 2014
    Cadiz answer questions with win over Cacarenos
    Bogdan Laba

    Cadiz great Armando Ribeiro had expressed his concern over the form of Lob Submarino Amarillos, but expressed his pleasure at the 3-0 away win over Cacarenos Balompie.

    "This certainly shows that Pucci still has the dressing room," Ribeiro said. He emphasized that the club weren't out of the difficult waters, but that Sunday's result was a great start to a run if they could maintain their form.

    Kike Lopez's impressive performance on the right flank earned him man of the match. Airam, Bruninho and Jose Villar also put in good performances. Captain Mikel Martins and newcomer Wellington Carvalho seem to be developing a good understanding at the back.

    Lopez, Airam and late substitute Josete scored the goals.

    Lopez, Airam, striker Aymen Souda Villar, goalkeeper Alejandro and the just back from injury Jorge Luque are expected to leave in the next few days as Cadiz attempts to reduce it's wage bill.
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  21. I'd drawn up the fixture list on a huge sheet of paper and tacked it to the message board in the locker room at our training facility. This should continue to motivate them. 27 points to go.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-cadiz-progress.png
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  22. Alessandro Gaucci 30 January 2014 8:03AM
    Deportivo want Luque, just put in a bid
    30 January 2014 8:05AM
    Tell them to go **** their ******!
    Alessandro Gaucci 30 January 2014 8:08AM
    Or the polite equivalent.
    30 January 2014 8:10AM
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  23. My phone jangled. It was Alessandro. I nearly wet myself. Who was to be sold? Had Florentino gone over my head and sold Luque. Or somebody else? It was a little after six in the evening. Early enough to still be doing business on the day before the deadline day.

    "Ciao," I answered with some trepidation.

    "The media are doing a deadline day live tweet, live chat kind of thing," Alessandro said jumping straight to the point. "I just got an email asking if we wanted to join in."

    "Why?" I replied. "We're broke, last time we talked we weren't selling so I see no reason. Wellington was our only business."

    "Just wanted to check," Alessandro said. "I'll decline."

    "Think we'll get any other bids?"

    "I'm surprised we haven't gotten more considering the media always mentions how broke we are and that we're having a fire sale."

    "I'll be holding my breathe until midnight tomorrow."

    "You aren't joking. Ciao."

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  24. Alessandro Gaucci 1 February 2014
    Jaen submitted bid for Luque. Rejected.
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  25. Mehdi Nafti done?

    Saturday, 1 February, 2014 11:15AM

    It was a horrible sight to behold. I didn't see the tackle, but I heard it. I turned and saw Mehdi Nafti crumpled on the pitch. Llorente, JVP, Paco and Javi Garcia were working with the midfielders and forwards on some tactics using a 5v5 game. Everyone walked, or jogged in my case, over. Team Physio Michel Roman sprinted over with his bag of tricks.

    It became clear that this was serious.

    Nafti just lay there moaning "no, no, no..." over and over.

    I'd been in the same situation and know exactly how it feels. He knew his playing career was over. Yes, it hurt like hell, but what's worse is the feeling of emptiness because you're realizing that this is the last training, you've had your last match, you're done.

    The unfairness of it all overwhelmed me like six years ago when it all ended for me. The unfairness of not retiring on your own terms.

    Michel put is right leg in a splint and wrapped it tight then administered a painkiller. Zo and Paco ran and brought out the stretcher. I called for an ambulance.

    And that, I'm sad to say, is very likely the end of Mehdi Nafti's playing career.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-05-11.45.47-am.png

  26. Round 24: CP Cacareno v. Cadiz CF

    Today we drove up into Extramedura near the Portugal border to Caceres to play Cacareno. It's a 384 km drive will take 4 hours.

    Attachment 460836

    Cacerenos are in the relegation zone in 17th place. The stadium is old and not in the best of shape, but the toilets and showers work which is always a bonus.
    Attachment 460826 Attachment 460829

    The stadium is empty. A festive contingent of Cadistas drove all the way up and make up about half the fans attending.

    With Perico still injured, Jorge Luque is back so Jose Villar plays on the left wing. Promising oungster Javier Valdez gets to sit on the bench.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Mikel Martins (C), Wellington Carvalho, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Bruninho, Jorge Luque, Jose Villar
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    Subs: Jose Maria Belforti (D), Josete (D/M), Tomas (LB/LM), Kike Marquez (M/F), Javier Valdes (F)

    Just like in the previous match, we got off to a great start and kept the pressure up.

    Dalmau brought the ball down the right, had nowhere to go so played it back to Bruninho. Bruninho lasered a pass to Kike Lopez up the right flank. Kike played it back into the middle to Luque who one-touched it into the path of Airam.

    Airam unleashed a low shot destined for the far left post. Their keeper did well to get down and tip it wide.

    Our resulting corner was cleared to our left back Moises. He hoofed a long ball back into the box. Airam blasted his second attempt of the match into a defender.

    Cacarenos' manager Angel Marcos was up screaming at his team to pull it together, defend and hit us on the counter. His onslaught had an effect: they started defending well. They couldn't get out of their half, but we couldn't create any more chances.

    Their hard work was undone in the 25th minute by some lightning quick passing and a sublime finish.

    Wellingto controlled a clearance and played the ball forward to Bruninho. Bruninho one-touched it to Airam who one-touched into the open space in the right channel for Souda. Souda raced onto the ball and zipped a grassburner past their flailing keeper, off the inside of the left post and into the side netting.


    Finally, in the 28th minute, Cacarenos broke out of their half and set up their captain, Toni, for a shot. Wellington stood firm and blocked the shot.

    In the 31st minute, their left winger Aaron walzed past our right back Dalmau and delivered a wicked cross into the path of Toni. Martins and Wellington had lost track of him and he had a free header. His flick header zipped just wide.

    In the 34th minute, we should have doubled our lead. Kike crossed to Airam, but Airam blasted over. He didn't know he had all the time in the world to control the ball and place his shot.

    Llorente, JVP, Paco and I all facepalmed.

    In the 38th minute, Villar took the ball from inside our half, ran down the left sideline. He beat 3 defenders, one of them twice, before racing goalwards along the end line. He was looking for options, but didn't have any. Finally, he beat his 4th and last defender and unleashed a stinging shot. Their keeper got lucky and it hit him. A defender thumped it out of play for a throw in.

    In the 42nd minute, Luque got chopped down. The whole bench and all the Cadistas were all on their feet baying for a red card. The ref signaled that no foul had been committed. The Cadistas started singing Three Blind Mice. I started berating the 4th official.

    When the ball finally went out of play in the 44th minute, Michel raced on to see how Luque was. It was his ankle again. Luque put his arm around Michel's shoulder and hobbled off with assistance.

    With only 10 men, we almost doubled our lead. Kike controlled a throw in and set off down the right flank. He surprised his defender by making a quick inside move and tore towards the goal. His near post shot grazed the outside of the post.

    As the ref was consulting his watch to end the half. Martins chopped down Toni about 25 meters out. I held my breathe and that did the trick: Toni blasted high and wide.

    During the break I told the players they were playing well, but could play better. I told them I had faith they'd increase their lead and finish Cacarenos. We just need to continue playing the way we had been.

    I replaced Luque with Kike Marquez. Villar slid inside to the central playmaker role.

    My subsitution payed off in the 49th minute. Kike Marquez took a long pass from Villar and raced down the left flank. He beat his defender to the inside and stormed into the box. The defender recovered but Kike beat him again. From a tight angle at the 5 meter box, Kike smashed a shot past the keeper to double our lead.


    "That's more like it," I said to Paco.

    "I know," Paco agreed. "Is this the same indecisive, indifferent Kike we've been watching all season?"

    We had a scare soon afterward. In the 59th minute, Martins (Cacarenos withdrawn forward) beat Villar on the dribble. Wellington stepped to to challenge him. Toni made a run into the vacuum, Martins delivered the perfect pass and Toni was storming goalward with Mikel Martins and Moises racing over to close him down.

    Toni tried to chip Alejandro from the top of the box. Did Alejandro get a finger tip to it? Maybe. The ball had the perfect height and distance, but not direction. It hit the post to the relief of the fans (mostly Cadistas) and bench. Moises cleared it for a corner.

    Rivera took their corner and hit a ball to the back post. Alejandro took a step for it then thought better of it. Gonzalo, their center back, out-jumped Bruninho and Dalmau. This isn't hard as neither are all that tall. He didn't make goo contact and the ball headed back toward the penalty spot. Or maybe that was his intention (I doubt it, but I'd claim it if I was him).

    Standing all by himself at the penalty spot was Gaspar, the Cacarenos' left winger. He headed the ball goalwards. For reasons I'll never understand, Alejandro took two steps out when he saw the ball heading toward the penalty spot. He was now out of position as the header looped toward the crossbar. He scrambled back and leapt for it, but to no avail. What should have been an easy save if he'd remained on his line, became a lifeline for Cacarenos.


    Paco (who isn't just the Assistant Manager but also the goalie coach) said some impolite, downright rude and even offensive things to nobody in particular.

    Los Submarino Amarillos responded the best way possible. We set up camp in their half.

    In the 66th minute, Kike Lopez mishit his cross. I heard him curse then look accusingly at the spot where he'd hit the cross. Then he looked up. Everybody stopped and watched. The ball was slicing goalward, looking like it might just drop into the upper corner of the far post.

    It hit the top of the crossbar.

    The Cadistas groaned.

    Cacarenos finally got the ball out of their half and on the fast break. It looked promising, but Wellington timed his tackle perfectly. He tackled so that the ball rolled out to empty space where Moises could start back upfield with it.

    Moises played a quick pass up the left sideline to Kike Marquez. The Other Kike flicked the ball into the path of Villar who played a one-touch pass up to Souda. Souda beat his man and broke into the penalty box. Airam was standing wide open. So open he looked lonely. Souda snuck a pass through to him. Airam doesn't miss with this kind of time and this close.

    He never got the chance to shoot. A retreating midfielder took out his planting leg with a poorly executed desperation tackle.

    The ref pointed to the spot.

    As I've mentioned before, Airam never misses.


    That was enough. We kept the ball, threatened several times, but good goaltending and poor luck prevented us from increasing our lead.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-04-10.34.08-am.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-04-10.33.30-am.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-04-10.33.07-am.png

    24 points to go.

  27. it would be big for the club financially if you could win promotion press on

  28. Quote Originally Posted by bigwill1xx View Post
    it would be big for the club financially if you could win promotion press on
    Man, would it. Since my contract only runs until June, whether I'll be the me or not is a big question. Whomever manages the club next season will have to rebuild from scratch as everyone's contract ends in June. That makes the Liga Adelante challenge even bigger.

    Thanks for reading!
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  29. "What should we talk about first?" I asked once everyone was sitting down in the cafeteria for our Monday morning staff meeting.

    "Luque," said Team Physio Michel Roman. "He gets nearly healthy then gets hurt. I'm worried he's getting more fragile. He's out two weeks now, same ankle."

    "There's two reasons guys quit," Llorente said. "Nobody wants you anymore or your body can't take it any longer."

    "Well, he's a key player," I said. "His passing and his free kicks are essential to our success. You have any ideas, Michel?

    "Yes," he replied. "Acupuncture."

    "I'm guessing we don't have the budget for another consultant, but I'll check with Alessandro," I replied.

    "We need to beat or at least draw against Guadalajara," Javi Garcia said. "Against the top 7 teams, we've only won 2 out of 8 games. Three draws, three losses."

    "I'm worried we're going to get an inferiority complex if we don't perform," he continued. "Those losses against Linense and Atletico Sevilla are really bugging me. It's like we knew we weren't going to win and we just fulfilled the prophesy."

    "He's got a point," added Paco. "We're going to face Albacete in the promotion play-off first round. We have to go into that match with the correct mindset."

    "I can tell you a few things about Guadalajara," Chief Scout Jose Barla interjected. We all nodded for him to continue. "Most of their offensive comes off the left flank. Statistically speaking, that's where the majority of goals we concede come from."

    "Really? I would have guessed that the goals we concede come through the middle if pressed," I said.

    "More recently, that's true," Barla answered. "But Dalmau and Moises have been playing more solidly. We've been leaking goals from down the middle in the new year."

    "They're also missing two key offensive players," he concluded. "We're catching them at a good moment."

    "One more thing to add," Juan Vincente Peinado. "Despite that wonderfully taken cross shot for his goal, I think that Aymen Souda still can't place his shots. It's not from lack of trying, that's for sure."

    "Thanks, JVP," I said.

    "Oh yeah, one more thing" Michel said. "Perico is going to tell you he's ready to play. He's lying. He'll be ready next week. I want to make sure his knee holds up to a week's training before I agree that he can play."
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 06/01/2014 at 03:44 AM.
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  30. iNickStuff's Avatar iNickStuffPremium Member
    • iNickStuff's Avatar
    • Man Utd (2011-2031):

      x14 Barclays Premier League titles
      x13 FA Community Shields
      x12 FA Cups
      x11 UEFA Champions League titles
      x10 League Cups

      England (2018-2022):

      x1 UEFA European Championship
      x1 FIFA World Cup
      x1 FIFA Confederations Cup
    Considering his options
    I've only just come on for a bit, but very nice story. Really well written, good work.

  31. spitfire
    Nafti out for 5 months?!?!? Agggghhhhh

  32. Quote Originally Posted by iNickStuff View Post
    I've only just come on for a bit, but very nice story. Really well written, good work.
    Thank you very much.

    Quote Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
    Nafti out for 5 months?!?!? Agggghhhhh
    And late on deadline day so I had no chance to check with Cadiz's affiliate clubs Fluminense and Udinese.
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  33. Round 25: Cadiz CF v. CD Guadalajara

    Here we go. Round 25. We come into the match on the backs of 2 solid victories against lesser opponents. We're in 4th place and Guadalajara is in 6th. We finally got our act together in our last home match and thumped Algacires 6-2. Which Cadiz team would show up? Would Aymen Souda bring his shooting boots?

    I was nervous. I was feeling paranoid. Such is the life of a manager.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Mikel Martins (C), Wellington Carvalho, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Bruninho, Jose Villar, Kike Marquez
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    Subs: Jose Maria Belforti (D), Juan Ceballos (RB), Josete (D/M), Tomas (LB/LM), Abdoullah Faill (M)

    I told them to relax, stay focused and play our game. Play at our tempo.

    It started cautiously. Neither team took any risks.

    In the 13th minute, Kike Lopez beat his defender one-on-one and whipped in a cross from the by-line. Airam rose and smashed a header just wide.

    In the 21st minute, Dalmau won a tackle and played it up the right side to Kike. Souda came across from his normal left side attacking position drawing his defender. Airam started making a run into the vacuum. Souda spun his defender and played a ball into the open space in front of Airam. Airam is pretty quick and easily got there first.

    He charged goalward. Then bizarrely and before the defenders had closed him down he toe-poked a harmless shot directly into the onrushing goalkeeper's arms.

    I face palmed.

    They didn't create all that many chances and though we didn't create that many, we were creating them.

    In the 34th minute. Bruninho played it up to Souda. He was closely marked and his only option was out to Moises at the left back. Moises played it up the line to Kike Marques. Marques played the ball into Souda's path and Souda trotted into the box with the ball.

    He was about to put a move on the defender in front of him when the left back dove in and tripped him. The ball rolled slowly to the defender who cleared it to safety.

    The entire stadium screamed for a penalty. I joined them. The ref pretended nothing had happened. They began whistling. I asked the 4th official if he'd seen it. He told me to sit down.

    Their best chance of the first half finally arrived in the 41st minute. They played a ball into the right channel behind Moises. Their top scorer and right winger Nacho caught Moises ball watching and was in alone on Alejandro.

    Nacho shot low, near post and Alejandro got a strong hand to it and stopped the ball dead against the ground then rolled over on top of it. Class save.

    At the half, I told them we'd been unlucky. I said that everyone knew it was a penalty and that I had faith that the goal would come.

    In the 48th minute, Kike Lopez played an early cross to Airam. Airam had time, looked up and saw the keeper a bit off his line. So he tried an audacious 40 meter shot that sailed high. Not the best choice as Marquez and Souda were both in promising positions.

    Guadalajara brought the ball up slowly and were playing it around harmlessly, far from our goal but in our half. Bruninho chopped down their midfielder Zazo.

    I held my breathe as the ref talked to Bruninho for quite a while. Bruninho had received an early card for chopping down their striker Philippe Toledo. Thankfully, it was just a lecture. I told Josete to start warming up.

    Zazo played a long ball toward the far post. Nobody picked up Mateo and we were lucky when his volley hit the side netting.

    Two minutes later, I replaced Bruninho with Josete.

    In the 66th minute, Villar played a ball over the half line to Airam. Their central defender Ecki came right through Airam with a clear foul -- all man, no ball. The ref didn't notice though it was right in front of him.

    The stadium erupted in boos and whistles.

    Guadalajara's Mateo grabbed the loose ball and played it forward to Toledo. Toledo ran at Wellington. Wellington slowed him down and he toe-flicked the ball into the path of the onrushing Mateo. Wellingto stepped over to cover and Mikel Martins failed to track the run of the other inside midfielder Prosi into the empty space where Wellington normally was.

    Prosi placed a nice curling shot past the helpless Alejandro.

    I screamed at the ref and 4th official until the 4th official said that if I said one more thing I'd be sent to the stands.

    Had someone paid off the ref? These were two blatant fouls he hadn't called. I know that bribing refs is rampant in the lower leagues in Italy, but Spain?

    What's worse is I didn't have anyone on the bench who could make an impact. The team were clearly very frustrated and this would have been a perfect time to sub in an attacking option just to get the team refocused.

    I paced the sidelines and tried to get players attention. I tried to tell them to calm down and start playing our game.

    Finally, in the 80th minute we started to. Jose Villar decided to take charge. He won a tackle on Josete's side of the midfield in their half. He played a give-n-go with Kike Lopez and charged into the box. His shot was blocked, but the ricochet fell to Kike Lopez. Blocked again, but this time for a corner.

    They cleared Villar's poorly struck corner. This is where we needed Luque or Perico.

    In the 83rd, Villar played a long, curling ball out to Kike Lopez on the right wing. He whipped in a cross toward Airam. Airam timed his jump well, but headed over.

    Then Guadalajara played keep away. The fans, me, the coaching staff and the players became increasingly frustrated as we simply couldn't get the ball away from them. We resorted to fouling which only gave them time to rest while magic sponges and freezy spray were applied.

    The 4th official indicated 3 minutes of extra time would be played.

    In the 91st minute, Dalmau made and excellent tackle and we had an opportunity to break upfield. Josete got their first. Instead of tapping it to Kike Lopez so he could break upfield, he thumped in far up into the stands. The Guadalajar fans applauded his clearance.

    I face palmed.

    In the 92 minute, Moises won a tackle and sent the ball up the left wing for Kike Marquez. His cross was headed clear. They marched down into our half and Josete chopped down Zazo at the top of our box.

    They delayed the kick until into the 93rd minute.

    And that was it.

    The ref had robbed us of 3 points and make Guadalajara a promotion playoff contender.

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    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 08/01/2014 at 02:08 AM.
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  34. On Sunday, I watched the results come through on my iPhone. You saw them. Guadalajara and Linense are a mere point behind us. I stewed. I reviewed my pre-game and halftime team talks. What could I have done better, differently.

    Then I got paranoid.

    I'd like to see the ref's bank statements. I wondered if he'll be receiving a nice sum wired into his accounts from somewhere untraceable.

    Had someone gotten to Josete? He'd ruined things in the last few minutes. He'd hoofed the ball high up into the stands when a simple ball to Kike Lopez would have been easier.

    Airam and Aymen Souda were next to useless in front of the net yesterday. Had somebody gotten to them, too? Some of the choices Airam made were uncharacteristic. Airam's toe poke and his 40 yard shot trying to catch the goalkeeper out?

    It couldn't have been any of our nearby competitors. Guadalajara and Linense weren't nearly as bad off as us, but their their Chairman were covering huge losses, too. I doubt they had the cash flow to bribe anyone.

    What about East Asian syndicates? I'd read about the allegations in England. I'd heard repeatedly about players receiving large sums to throw matches, get carded and red-carded from my days playing in Italy. Many guys had stories about their Chairman entering the changing room before the match and telling the players how many goals to concede.

    Chairman Florentino Manzano kept his distance. He and Alessandro and I talked regularly, but neither he nor Alessandro nor anyone has had any suspicious contact with players that I'm aware of. I can't see Manzano making enough off throwing a match to balance out the EU 10-12M losses the club is going to endure this season.

    It's either the ref or my players.

    I spent the afternoon into the evening pacing my apartment and reviewing the last few losses.

    It couldn't be the defense. Alejandro hadn't given up a soft goals all season. It couldn't be Albert Dalmau; he'd been solid for several months now. Nobody was exploiting the channel between him and Mike Martins. Martins isn't the greatest at reading the game, but he and Wellington only blow it occasionally. Moises is just a kid learning a man's game. Seriously, he turns 17 next August.

    What about the midfield?

    The Kikes always give their all, though I'll admit that Marquez is sometimes rather useless. Bruninho is a young man learning the game who is destined for bigger things. Luque so thoroughly enjoys playing. He's our most dangerous player as good stuff happens when he's playing. Jose Villar is erratic, but he's a forward adapting to a midfield playmaker role. I can't see him doing it. Perico also give his all and all the time.

    But Josete's recent play makes me paranoid and I've already revealed my suspicions of Airam and Souda.

    The phone rang. It was Ana Maria. She was willing to save me from my delusions and go for a walk then dinner.

    "You look haggard and exhausted," she said after giving me a hug. "You didn't sleep last night, did you?"

    "Like a baby," I replied. "I woke up every hour or two screaming. I didn't keep you up?"

    She shook her head. I related my paranoid suspicions.

    "You certainly have grand delusions of master plans, I'll give you that," she said once I'd finished. We'd made it all the way over to the Mediterranean side of Cadiz by this time. "I can see it's killing you."

    "The thing is I know how rampant this **** is in Italy," I said. "I just don't know enough about Spanish football to know if this happens here the same, less or what. Sicily has La Cosa Nostra, Naples has the Camorra. Their evil influence permeates all of Italy. But what about Spain."

    "The Camorra and La Cosa Nostra are active in Spain as are the Russians mafia, but everything always returns to Franco," she said. I raised my eyebrows to indicate I was interested and that she should continue.

    "Under Franco, there was no breathing space for them," she continued as we strolled along the waterfront. "He was the criminal enterprise, if you will. He and his cronies made sure that they got 100% the kick-backs. It was only upon his death that Spain opened up. It wasn't just tourism and food and agricultural exports."

    "You could say that Spain was undiscovered country upon Franco's death," she concluded. "So, we don't have as strong or, maybe that's the wrong word, but entrenched Spanish organized crime like in Italy."

    We continued our discussion. She humored me and explained how she would wire money into a Spanish account so that it was untraceable.

    I was still paranoid, but her company was an elixir that calmed me down somewhat.

  35. "I'm losing it, Paco," I said as we strolled around the track before the other coaches arrived.

    "Howso?" he asked.

    "Paranoia," I replied. I related my insanity from the previous day. It seemed so detached from reality in the bright glare of the Cadiz morning. Like a boy scared to walk past the graveyard at night, but embarrassed of himself when he sees it during the day.

    "Even if any of it was true," Paco replied. "What are you going to do? You can't control the refs. You've already relegated Josete to the bench and who are you going to have replace Airam's 14 and Souda's 12 goals?"

    "You know how it works," Paco continued. "If and I accentuate the IF they'd taken money to throw a match. Players don't take money to throw a season."

    "There certainly is corruption and match-fixing in Spain. But I'm certain you saw more of it in Italy where everyone knows its rampant."

    "You have a point," I replied. "We're still on track. Only 27 points from 13 matches. Thanks, man."
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 11/01/2014 at 02:51 AM.

  36. "That ref is a ******** **** *******!" exclaimed Esteban as I walked in for my Tuesday shave.

    "No, please, tell me how you really feel?" I retorted.

    "Oh, we know him that ****ing ****** ******!" he continued. "Every time he refs a Cadiz match we lose. Sit down."

    "Aren't you a little angry to be wielding a straight edge razor?"

    "Why he hates Cadiz, I don't know," Esteban continued without a breathe. "Maybe his first love, unrequited love mind you, was a Cadista and he's getting us back for breaking his heart."

    "In Spain you don't just have to play your opponents, you have to calculate how the ref will try to ruin everything for you," he went on while lathering up my skull.

    "And if you don't **** his **** before the match, you lose. He's one of the worst refs in all of Spain," he concluded.

    "He really is," added Roberto.

    "You go and look at the last decade of Cadiz matches he's been the ref for," Esteban said. "I would be shocked if we'd even managed a draw with him in the middle."

    Esteban went on like this for the entire shave. He put it all in an entirely new perspective.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 10/01/2014 at 01:52 PM.

  37. The dark shadow descends

    Most nights, I eat at a local restaurant. I can't cook. My fridge is never full and neither are my cupboards. Tonight was no different. As I walked up to the door, something told me something was wrong. I put the key in and turned it, but the door was unlocked.

    "Please come in," said a voice from inside. He spoke in Italian. He spoke with a Napoli accent. He sounded familiar.

    I walked in and turned on the lights. A large man lounged on my couch. After the shock of realizing that he'd broken into my apartment, I realized it was Gianluca. My ex-wife's cousin. He stood up. As always, Gianluca wore a track suit. This one just happened to be in Napoli blue. If he wasn't in a color-coordinated track suit, he was in a dark, pin-striped suit. Regardless of what he wore, he always looked menacing.

    He got up and hugged me and we kissed on the cheeks as was the custom of family members in Italy. Well, in his family anyways.

    "Gianluca?" I asked.

    "Enrico, how are you?" he replied.

    Gianluca was my ex-wife's cousin. I think I said that already. Gianluca was a lieutenant in the Camorra. The Camorra, as I may have mentioned before, is to Napoli what La Cosa Nostra is to Sicily. He wouldn't have traveled all the way to Cadiz just to say 'hi.' My heart started racing as my mind sped through the possible reasons.

    I should explain. This may take a while. I hope you'll pardon the digression.

    Back in 2008, after I lost a vast amount of money when the housing development in Spain collapsed, I moved what I had left into bonds, gold and savings accounts on the advice of my financial advisor. But then the restaurant started having troubles. Then my wife's drug problem became a problem.

    Her drug problem had been going on for a while, but it's easy to overlook when you're pulling in EU25,000 per week as a Serie A player. I was young and naive among other things. I could overlook her blowing 5K or 10K in Milan with her friends in a single weekend. But as the money ran out, she refused to change her lifestyle. She began raiding our accounts for her "lifestyle." I cut her off.

    That's when the Parmesano Reggiano met the noodle.

    She ended up in the hospital on an overdose. She'd found a new dealer, one to whom she didn't owe money, and he'd cut her coke with some PCP. That was scary. Her family intervened. They offered to help me keep the restaurant open. The drug dealer "disappeared." Their intervention just enabled her to continue raiding our accounts, snorting coke and living the high life. They figured I'd straighten her out and kept "helping."

    Back then I was family. But now that "family" had broken into my apartment and was going to demand something.

    After a binge that ended up in a screaming match which included her practicing frisbee with our china using me as the target, she left Bologna for her parent's house in Napoli. They sympathized with me, but made it clear they expected to be repaid. Within a couple of months I'd blown my knee out and then soon after had nothing left but the Alfa.

    They'd made it known on several occasions that when I had gotten myself together I was to repay them.

    The most logical explanation was that Gianluca had been sent to collect on the debt. The debt stood at EU240,000. I'd been able to pay off EU10,000 so far.

    "Let's walk, it's a beautiful evening," Gianluca said. I led him downstairs and headed for the bayside walk. As we descended the stairs, I turned on the phone and turned on the voice recording app I used when I talked to reporters. I had started this habit as a way to make sure they didn't misquote me. I slipped my phone in my shirt pocket. I was scared ****less and didn't want to go anywhere private. We exchanged pleasantries then he told me about the people in the family that he knew I was fond of.

    "As you know, you owe us a lot of euros," Gianluca said finally getting to the point. I nodded. "We also know you aren't making the kind of money you used to make. Father appreciates the ten thousand you've sent us since July. He wants to offer you an opportunity to eliminate a hundred thousand from what you owe us."

    I gulped involuntarily.

    "We want you to throw the match against San Fernando," he said.

    I groaned. Involuntarily, I think.

    "Oh, God, why them?" I said. "That's the equivalent of Napoli losing to a nearby Serie D team. Look over there. See those lights across the bay? That's San Fernando. Why them. ****. I'll be known forever as the manager who lost to the amateurs. They were amateurs just a few years ago, you know. You're killing me."

    "We have placed a considerable sum in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur on Cadiz losing that match," he explained. "It's also good for you personally, as well."

    My brief managerial career flashed before my eyes. I envisioned my picture under a match fixing scandal headline. I envisioned reporters hounding me for quotes. How the **** was I going to afford any legal representation? Cadiz certainly didn't have the money even if they would retained my managerial services after the scandal hit the headlines. I started sweating despite the pleasant breeze. When you're bald, as I am, sweat stands out on your head. A drop slid into my collar.

    My sporting epitaph would read "Cheat" in big bold letters.

    "How could helping your criminal enterprises help me?" I asked.

    "We'd forgive EU100,000 of what you owe us," he replied. I was shocked he hadn't taken issue with me calling him out as a criminal.

    "I don't really have a choice, do I?" I said. Gianluca nodded his agreement. "Make it half. Some how, some way I'm going to find the remainder and pay you off so I have no more ties to you."

    "Sure, Enrico, sure," Gianluca said. "Just make sure that Cadiz lose. Just to make it a little easier, we've taken care of the ref, too."

    "Don't mess this up," he said as he kissed both my cheeks. Then he walked off into the dusk.

    I stopped the app from recording.

  38. I wandered up the island toward the old town in a daze. I was trapped in a hell of circumstances. A small black hole of fear in the pit of my stomach reopened. This was the same pit of despair that had opened when I'd blown my knee out and all of my wealth disappeared so rapidly and with it my wife. As black hole's gravitational field sucks all objects into it, this pit in my stomach sucked all hope from me.

    The stark truths I'd learned about her and people I thought were my friends was devastating. But this could be far, far worse. It's one thing to lose everything in an economic crash. I was largely blameless But I had the hope, what seemed like a faint hope during the darkest times of 2009 and 2010 that I could enter management and build a comfortable enough life. I would not be blameless in my current circumstances. People would not easily forgive me.

    On the one hand I berated myself for not being strong enough to stand up to Gianluca and say 'no, I won't do it.' On the other hand, I realized the futility of resisting the Camorra. They are a gigantic parasite that along with the other mafia organizations in Italy suck any hope for prosperity out of Italy. They are a parallel feudal governmental structure that in many ways leads Italy. There are places, even to this day, the central government doesn't actually control especially in the south. How was I, a cowardly retired footballer and failed businessman going to stand up to the mighty Camorra by myself. They kill with impunity and without a second thought. Cross them, you're dead. Simple as that.

    I found myself in the Placa San Antonio. At one point in Cadiz's history, this was the city's center. The Plaza is lined with mansions and has a number of restaurants with outdoor seating. The church of San Antonio, from which the square gets it's name loomed before me.

    Attachment 464952

    The church is from the 1600s and is a functioning Catholic church unlike the Cadiz Cathedral which you have to pay to get into. I am not sure why, but I wandered inside. I'm a lapsed Catholic of the Italian-American variety. Maybe I wandered in because it was a safe place.

    I sat down in a pew toward the back.

    Waves of self-pity, regret, soul-curdling fear and damp sweats passed over my as I sat there in thought.

    "Are you all right, my son?" a voice asked from behind me. I turned. It was a priest. Bald, squat, old. I stared at him blankly.

    "Um ... uh ... I ... uh," I stuttered.

    "Uh ... no," I replied.

    "You have been here a while and I need to close up the church for the night," the priest said. "Can I help you?"

    "You?" I replied. "Uh ... no offense ... um ... well ... I'd need a miracle."

    "God moves in mysterious ways, my son," he replied. "Come. Talk to me while I close up. You look quite troubled."

    "Yeah, troubled."

    "You are not from here?" he began as he shut off some of the lights in the side apses. "You speak Spanish strangely. It is not your native language, yes?"

    "No, I'm Italian-American. I speak both English and Italian. I've picked up enough Spanish along the way to not sound like an idiot."

    "Ahh, yes," he said. "I hear it now. Mexican and some South American influence, too. What troubles you?"

    **** it. What did I have to lose. I might as well spill it all.

    "I need to confess, father," I replied.

    "Right over here, my son," he replied.

    I spilled my guts. I wept. It was cleansing. When I was done, there was a pause. Had he gone to sleep?

    "You are in a pickle, my son," he said. "A real predicament. I suggest that you are lost. Our Father has not abandoned you, though. He has seen you through some serious troubles so far. He will not abandon you He is there for you if you seek him. I cannot advise you on what path to take, my son. You must find that path. But you do not need to seek the path on your own. You never have been alone and you never will be. Doing a few Hail Marys and Cycles of the Cross might make you feel better, but I think you need to seek the faith you once had as a child. Go with God, my son."

    "Thank you, Father," I replied.

    "I thought I recognized you," he said as we emerged from the confession stall. "I'm a long-time Cadista, if you can believe it. My biggest weakness is the football. I attend the matches when they don't interfere with my duties here."

    I looked at my feet. I didn't know what to say. I was about to let down a fan.

    "I will say prayers for you and for Los Submarino Amarillas," he continued. "I will light some candles. Go now, my son, and go with God."

    "Thank you, Father," I replied and walked out into the night.

  39. How do you face a lover you about to betray? Easy. Wear sunglasses. I was also a bit hung over. I knew I'd need assistance to be able to sleep. My favorite neighborhood bar, La Grua, had what I needed.

    The other coaches thought it was funny that I was hung over and had plenty of fun at my expense.

    The players worked hard. We knew that our upcoming match against La Hoya was going to be easy and that we'd need to be calm and hard-workng to get the result we wanted.

    I think I pretty well hid my desperation and depression behind the usual repartee with the staff and players.
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  40. Round 26: La Hoya Lorca CF v. Cadiz CF

    The busride to Lorca might be our longest yet. We got to trek all the way across the Costa Del Sol. 500km and around 6 hours on the bus with one stop outside of Granada. The players weren't happy but talked of taking it out on La Hoya.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-10-12.45.26-pm.png

    The stadium isn't in bad shape. We had working toilets and showers which is about all we desire. The hills behind the stadium made it more pleasant than other environs.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-39528510.jpg The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-estadio-francisco-artes-carrasco-lorca-rf_395653.jpg

    Jorge Luque is still out. I'm getting short on midfielders. There's not much I can do about it.

    GK: Alejandro
    D: Albert Dalmau, Mikel Martins (C), Wellington Carvalho, Moises
    M: Kike Lopez, Bruninho, Jose Villar, Perico
    F: Airam, Aymen Souda

    Subs: Jose Maria Belforti (D), Josete (D/M), Tomas (LB/LM), Abdullai Fall (M), Kike Marquez (M/F)

    The game started, but we still weren't off the bus. I was only a little worried. This is what happens when you are forced to drive 6 hours then play.

    A nice early cross from the left by their fullback found their withdrawn striker Ruben wide open between Martins and Wellington. The kid coolly slotted home.


    Their lead didn't last too long. We kept the ball in their half and were rewarded in the 11th minute.

    Kike Lopez won a corner. Perico jogged over and swung in a back post cross for Airam. Airam and a defender both went up and I think it hit Airam. It bounced off him toward the penalty spot where it hit Wellington. The ball fell to Souda who only had time to poke it goalwards. Bruninho and a defender both lunged for the ball and it popped free yet again. Souda shot but hit the goalie.

    Airam smashed home the rebound.


    We kept the pressure up. El Brocoli Mecanico couldn't handle the pressure.

    In the 18th minute, Souda received a pass at the top of the box with his back to the goal. He spun and beat his defender to the left. The right fullback tried a desperation tackle but only managed to chop down Souda. The ball slowly rolled over the end line. The right back pointed at it like he'd tackled it away for a corner.

    The ref pointed to the corner as his teammates demanded that the ref show Souda a card for diving.

    I went ballastic. I screamed at the ref then berated the 4th official. The usual result happened. The ref didn't listen and the 4th official eventually told me to sit down.

    As I turned to sit down, their right back chopped down Perico right in front of the bench. They all leapt to their feet and screamed for a yellow card. The ref ignored them.

    Perico dusted himself off and set about finding the perfect blade of grass upon which he should place the ball for the free kick. Once everyone was forward, he whipped in a curler that glanced off of Airam's head and past their flailing keeper.


    The Broccoli Boys changed their tactics and began to try and kick the **** out of my players. As the half progressed, they kept getting more and more violent.

    In the 37th minute, we put the game to bed. Kike Lopez beat the right back, ran to the corner and whipped in a cross that Souda met with a solid header. It was right at the keeper who managed to block it. Unfortunately for the Broccoli Boys the ball went straight up in the air and everyone watched as it dropped under the crossbar and over the goal line.


    As per usual with Los Submarino Amarillas, our opponent got a great chance from the restart. Their other striker, Alfredo Ortuno, also found that gap between Martins and Wellington. The two Cadiz central defenders closed Ortuno down pretty fast, but he managed to get a chip off. It floated over the advancing Alejandro and landed in the netting just over the crossbar.

    Since they were unable to score, they redoubled their efforts at applying the special sauce.

    Perico paid the price in the 42nd minute. Their right back Juan Pedro Pina stamped down on Perico's calf and achilles from behind. It was one of the dirtiest moves I'd seen in a long time. The entire bench leapt to their feet screaming for a red card. Me, too. The ref only produced a yellow.

    As Michel treated Perico, I signaled for Kike Marques to warm up. Michel indicated that Perico was done and we pulled the swap.

    Wellington got some payback just as the 4th official signaled that there would be 2 minutes of extra time in the first half. He clobbered their striker Ortuno from behind. It should have been a red card. Ortuno lay there for a while in obvious pain. The Broccoli Boys and their fans bayed for a red card. Like before, the ref waved his yellow card in the air.

    I told them to be careful and to avoid getting hurt in the second half. I told them I was pleased with their play. I told them to keep up the nice passing.

    Of course, as is typical with our play, we granted them a great chance directly from the kick-off. They worked the ball straight down the middle. Once Villar got beat ball-watching, Wellington stepped up to stop the attack. They exploited the gap he'd left behind him with a pass up to Ortuno. Thankfully, Martins was wise to their ways and blocked the shot.

    Moises came charging in from the left and cleared the ball out to Kike Marquez. I don't know what's gotten into the Other Kike, but he's a playing like a far more determined player than he was in the first half of the season. He beat the hapless Pina and stormed goalward. Pina might have been having an awful game, but he's faster than the Other Kike. He caught up with him and tried a desperation tackle as the Other Kike entered the penalty box.

    Once again, Pina got all man, no ball. The ball rolled over the end line with Pina pointing at the ball as if he'd managed to touch it. His teammates demanded a yellow card for the Other Kike for diving. The Cadiz players demanded a second yellow card.

    The ref spoke to his linesman over the headset for a second. I have no idea how this wasn't a cut and dried penalty and sending off. Teh ref pointed to the spot and ignored our pleas for a second yellow for Pina.

    Have I mentioned before that Airam never misses?


    And that's a hat trick for Airam.

    Kike Marquez got a well-deserved goal in the 61st minute. The players spent the rest of the game attempting to avoid injury. They were successful.

    I subbed in Belforti and Josete to make sure they got some playing time.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-05-02.45.13-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-05-02.44.18-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-05-02.43.51-pm.png

    Albacetes 10 game winning streak finally ended with 1-1 tie. Maybe now they'll come back down to earth? Cartagena and Atletico Sevilla both win, Linense wins to stay close to us, but Guadalajara lose away to La Roda.

  41. I want to give a shout out to Zosimo San Roman, Cadiz's fitness coach. Take a look at our fitness levels compared to La Hoya's at the end of the match.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-05-02.46.54-pm.png

    That's all because Zo ****ing rox!

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-05-02.47.57-pm.png
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  42. I updated the fixture list posted on the message board at El Ramon de Carranza. We needed 24 points from the remaining 12 matches. Well, from the remaining 11 because ... well ... you know why.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-cadiz-progress.png

    Because our next match was against San Fernando, we were training at the stadium all week.
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  43. Really loving this - using it as an inspiration for my narrative. The plots you include are fascinating; looking forward to reading of the future with Ana Maria and how the San Fernando match turns out. Very intriguing!
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  44. "Something's wrong," Ana Maria blurted out. "What's going on? All last week and now tonight, too."


    We'd just finished having dinner and were walking out of the restaurant into a rainy Cadiz night. Apparently, I couldn't fool her that everything was fine.

    "It's just the job," I lied. "It's stressful."

    "No, something's different," she said. "Is it me? Us?"

    "What? No!" I said. At least I wasn't lying about that. "You thought ... no no no ..."

    I stopped, bent over and peered under her umbrella. She was crying.

    "What? Oh, I'm so sorry," I said stepping under her umbrella. "Yes, things are worse with Cadiz but not how you think. In a way it's worse than you could imagine."

    "My past has come back to haunt me," I said. "Remember how you flippantly asked why I hadn't just gone bankrupt? Do you recall how I didn't answer, but laughed it off? Well, you can't write off debt you owe to the Camorra, the mafia."

    "How ever did you get involved with them? And why would you?" she asked.

    "They were family?" I explained. "I married into the ****ing Camorra."

    I told her everything.
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  45. Quote Originally Posted by ZeCarlos View Post
    Really loving this - using it as an inspiration for my narrative. The plots you include are fascinating; looking forward to reading of the future with Ana Maria and how the San Fernando match turns out. Very intriguing!
    Thanks, dude! Really appreciate it. Refresh and you'll see a development w/ AM. The SF match is coming soon to a forum near you!

  46. Here's the problem I faced. I only had 17 healthy players. One was my extra keeper who was only going to play if Alejandro gets hurt. The five subs were Jose Maria Belforti, Juan Ceballos, Tomas, Abdoullai Fall and Kike Marquez. Aside from Kike, they sucked.

    So the obvious move was to play them. So Alejandro, Albert Dalmau, Wellington and Moises would sit. I'd swap Kikes. The Other Kike hadn't played on the right side all season. I'd drop Airam and put Villar up front.

    But what if Souda went on a tear, scoring a hat trick. Or Perico played great. Or Villar?

    That was more simple than you think: laxatives. I spiked the aioli and the pitchers of water we had with our lunch as well as the water bottles with laxatives. A very strong laxative. Our training ended quite early on Saturday. Nearly everyone began complaining of stomach cramps and soon players were in the visiting changing room because there were no available toilets in ours.
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  47. Here's the problem I faced. I only had 17 healthy players. One was my extra keeper who was only going to play if Alejandro gets hurt. The five subs were Jose Maria Belforti, Juan Ceballos, Tomas, Abdoullai Fall and Kike Marquez. Aside from Kike, they sucked.

    So the obvious move was to play them. So Alejandro, Albert Dalmau, Wellington and Moises would sit. I'd swap Kikes. The Other Kike hadn't played on the right side all season. I'd drop Airam and put Villar up front.

    But what if Souda went on a tear, scoring a hat trick. Or Perico played great. Or Villar?

    That was more simple than you think: laxatives. I spiked the aioli and the pitchers of water we had with our lunch as well as the water bottles with laxatives. A very strong laxative. Our training ended quite early on Saturday. Nearly everyone began complaining of stomach cramps and soon players were in the visiting changing room because there were no available toilets in ours.
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  48. Round 27: Cadiz CF v. San Fernando CD

    What a mess.

    Alejandro drinks like a camel so he didn't have the strength to play. Angel Bernable started his first match of the season.

    All of the defense was exhausted. The midfielders weren't much better. Souda and Airam looked like shadows of themselves.

    GK: Bernabe
    D: Juan Ceballos, Mikel Martins (C), Jose Maria Belforti, Tomas
    M: Kike Marquez, Josete, Abdoullai Fall, Perico
    F: Aymen Souda, Juan Villar

    Subs: Alejandro (GK), Wellington (D), Moises (D), Kike Lopez (M/F), Airam (F)

    This was one of the worst moments of my life. Worse than scoring the decisive goal in the Coppa Italia into our own net. Worse than how my life fell apart. Maybe this was just a continuation of that disaster. It was hard to tell.

    They scored in the 18th minute. A typical goal we tend to give up. Interplay straight down the middle of the pitch. Belforti caught ball-watching, Martins too slow covering the gap he left.


    San Fernando aren't very good. We kept the ball fairly well considering our poor energy levels. We just weren't sharp and our final pass or final touch always let us down.

    But our energy dropped in the second half as you would imagine. Wellington replaced Martins at 60 minutes. Perico took at knock at 65 minutes so I replaced him with Kike Lopez just to be safe. I replaced Tomas with Moises at 72 minutes.

    They scored with pretty much the last kick of the game to make my miserable evening even worse.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-10-10.18.30-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-10-10.22.50-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-10-10.23.16-pm.png
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 11/01/2014 at 05:49 AM.
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  49. 24 February 2014
    Food poisoning decimates Cadiz and San Fernando exploits
    Bogdan Laba

    Food poisoning swept through the Cadiz squad prior to the Bay of Cadiz Classico. The exhausted Cadiz side fell to San Fernando 2-0.

    "Incredible timing," complained Cadiz Manager Enrico Pucci.

    Regulars Alejandro, Airam, Moises and Wellington were all too ill to start. Jorge Luque and Andres were still not fit and with Mehdi Nafti lost for the season, Cadiz were also quite short in midfield players available to dress for the match. Outcast Abdoullai Fall even managed a spot on the bench.

    Forward David Hernandez scored in the 18th minute to send the San Ferndando faithful into rapture. Defender German iced the victory with a goal in second half stoppage time.

    "Food poisoning or not, this is a famous victory for us," Juanma Carrillos said. "I should probably thank Enrico for his comments last week that really motivated my squad. I'm so glad to have rewarded our fans with this historic victory."

    "They'll always be in our shadow, one food poisoning tainted result doesn't change that," Pucci replied.

    Cadiz drop to fifth in the table as Linense swapped places as they stomped on the Granada B team 6-2.

  50. spitfire
    Woah! Great stuff

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