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The Alfa Romeo Metaphor

  1. Someone was banging on my door. Oh sweet Mary Mother of God my head aches. I swung my feet over the edge of the bed. Oh **** the room is moving a bit.

    The pounding continues.

    "I'M COMING!" I yell back.

    I'm wearing my pants and one sock. **** it. That's presentable enough to answer the door at this hour. What hour? 10:24AM?

    Then it all hits me. I've been sacked. We got drunk on the bus ride home.

    I fling the door open. It's Javi Garcia. He's wearing dark sunglasses.

    "Is this your phone?" he asks holding out something.

    I grab and look at it. It's a little blurry. I try to focus.

    "Thanks, Javi," I say. After fumbling the password into the phone I realized it was mine. "I'm gonna need this today."

    "My friend, that was wrong what he did," Javi Garcia says. "I've seen some managers sacked in my day, but this tops it. It's not like we were out of contention or anything. What a ****** **** ********* *** *******!"

    "Yeah," I replied. "Thanks."

    "Stay in touch, my friend," he said. "I've got to go in and meet the new manager. Talk about not having the room. This poor **** is going to have a hard time."

    "Thanks, man."

    And with that Javi Garcia turned and walked out of my life. He sure was fun to work with. Gonna miss him. Gonna miss all of them.

  2. Mon, 31 Mar 2014, 11:39AM
    Did we talk last night? Got sacked. Got drunk on bus ride.


    Mon, 31 Mar 2014, 11:44AM
    Yes we did. I called after I read news. You were sad and mumbling.
    Mon, 31 Mar 2014, 11:46AM
    Can I see you tonight?


    Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:50AM
    Meet me at office at 5.

  3. diarodecadiz.es 31 March 2014
    Cadiz hires Jose Aurelio Gay
    Bogdan Laba


    Jose Aurelio Gay takes the helm of Cadiz CF replacing Enrico Pucci. Chairman Florentino Manzano wasn't satisfied with the progress the team was making under Pucci. The away loss to league leaders Albacete yesterday was the last straw.

    Gay inherits a team that is the second top scoring team and boasts one of the stingiest defenses. Gay will be tasked with pulling that all together and finding the consistency needed to win promotion through the Segundo B playoffs.

    Los Submarino Amarillos currently sit in 5th place. Gay's first task is to win back the changing room and win against the Cordoba B team.

    "I will be reevaluating the players available," Gay said. "And move forward and deliver promotion for the Cadistas."

    Gay knows something about winning promotion in El Segundo having achieved it with Pontevedra in 2004. He has also been in charge of the Madrid C, Jaen, Lorca and Zaragoza B.
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  4. As I lay in bed unable to sleep and with Ana Maria snoring softly beside me, I reflected back. I realize that 11:30pm is the wrong time to think this through, but I'd been in a hangover fog until I met up with her after work. I am fully aware that if my next gig is outside of Spain, we're done. We're probably done regardless. Her family means everything to her and like so many other families on the Iberian peninsula, the few are supporting the many. The economy is really that bad. An estimated 50% unemployment amongst the 18-30 demographic.

    The dynamic between us this evening was different. Like we both knew this was going to end and that we'd best enjoy it. Not sad, not yet anyways. Just sort of resigned to it all.

    My lease for this apartment is up at the end of July. Since I was fired, I get paid through the end of June.

    I'll miss Esteban and the twice weekly shaves. The Cadiz sun is really, really nice. I'll definitely miss that.

    I think I've only had 4 days off since I took the job. I can't even believe that I haven't gotten sick or anything. Must be the mild climate. I was guaranteed a cold or two each winter because of the damp of Bologna.

    I was ****ed the minute that Michael as suspended for cocaine. Yeah, that was it. He was a gamer. By gamer I mean the kind of player who grabs the match by the short hairs and makes it do what he wants. He showed that in the pre-season and in his first game. What a cluster**** that was. How the hell do you not tell affiliated club to whom you're loaning that guy that he has a cocaine suspension hanging over his head? Affiliated clubs are supposed to be friendly. Theoretically, we were helping them out by giving a young player the playing time he wouldn't get back home.

    The only other gamers were Alejandro, Jorge Luque, Mehdi Nafti and Jose Villar. Nafti got crocked and missed the second half. That sucked. Luque is a passer at heart. He needs a real poacher to feed. Airam and Aymen Souda and sometimes Villar just weren't true poachers. Souda scored in bunches. 18 goals are great, but he missed so many opportunities for everyone one he scored.

    Villar is like Freddie Kanoute. Remember him? Someone once said that on his day, Kanoute was as good as Thierry Henry. While you may scoff, it's true. It's true because his day didn't come all that often.

    And the reason Cadiz have such a stingy defense is Alejandro. It certainly isn't the myriad players I tried in my effort to stay in close games. Too many soft players in the back. I mean seriously, I was playing a teenager as my left back because at least he had the speed to track back and make recovery tackles.

    The come from behind draws against La Hoya and La Roda in October hurt. Airam and Souda were missing in action. The loss to El Palo was brutal. That win against us was only 1 of 5 wins total.

    That and the game I threw because the Camorra told me to. With those six points in the bag, Cadiz would be battling Sevilla Atletico for 2nd. ****ing Camorra. ****ing El Palo and their tiny one thousand seat stadium with no changing rooms.

    It's midnight now.

    Oh my God! I've completely forgotten about Ricardo Chara. The loanee from Udinese. Boy-oh did he turn out to be far less than advertised. He was supposed to be a strong, dynamic center back. Turns out he's more of a great big fraidy cat frightened of any attacker dribbling at him. Sweet Mary Mother of God did my defense panic when Mikel Martins was out hurt.

    I wonder how Senor Gay gets along with the lot of them ...
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 24/01/2014 at 05:37 AM.

  5. Looking forward to where the next chapter of your managerial journey takes you.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by AndySams10 View Post
    Looking forward to where the next chapter of your managerial journey takes you.
    Me too. Today I call my agent and get him searching.
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  7. "Enrico, my friend, come in come in, sit down," Esteban exclaimed as I walked into his barbershop. "On behalf of all Cadistas I want to apologize for our ******* ***** ****** Chairman."

    "Thanks, my friend," I replied.

    "I now fear that he has no idea what he's doing," he continued. "It's just not fair. Not fair I tell you. What are you going to do now?"

    "I've talked to my agent," I replied. "He'll started looking to find me a new job."

    "Do you think he'll find you one in Spain?"

    I shrugged.

    "What countries is he looking?" Esteban asked.

    "Here, Italy and England," I replied. "Countries in which I speak the language."

    "Of course, of course," he said as he began shaving my skull.

    "What about Ana Maria?" he asked after a moment of silence.

    I sighed.

    "I ... um ... we ... um ... I brought it up," I stammered. "I'm pretty sure she'll be staying here. She and her brother have good paying jobs and are supporting a lot of people. She's the responsible type."

    "I'm so sorry, Enrico," he replied. "Football management is a brutal business. She is a marvelous woman."

    "I know."

    "Hold your head high, Enrico," he continued. "You worked under very difficult circumstances. No transfer budget. That cocaine suspension. Expenses slashed. I remember you telling me that they stopped overnight travel and made you ride on older buses. Then this last month's worth of votes of confidences. What a huge stinking pile of merde."

    "Thank you, Esteban, you've been a great friend."

  8. It's April 1st, 2014. Right now there are only 3 positions open. Ascoli who are getting relegated from C1 to C2 and two Spanish clubs who are getting relegated into semi-professional football. I'm sure that as the season nears it's end, more managers will quit or get fired. I have to remain patient.

    That's going to suck.

    I've been dead broke before so I'm going on austerity measures just in case a job doesn't pop right away. Like I said before, Cadiz are paying me until the end of June. I'm going to make that money last as long as possible.

    First off, no more dining out. I can't cook, but I can boil rice and pasta according to the directions on the box. I can heat up pre-packaged sauces. This is going to suck, but I'd rather make the money last. I'd better buy some cookbooks.

    Secondly, I'll spend some of my time visiting some of the day trip sights. I'll pack a lunch (I can make a sandwich) to save money. Or bring a hunk of chorizo, fresh bread, some cheese, some fruit and a bottle of water.

    Third, less drinking in bars. I know which bars have the cheapest drinks and best/cheapest wine selections. When I do go I'll hit the happy hours.

    Fourth, I will do my best not to freak out or get too depressed about my situation. I need to be in a good frame of mind when I get an interview.
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  9. My phone jangles. It's Wednesday. It's Paco. He must have just left training, it's just after 2pm.

    "Hey Paco," I answer.

    "How are you doing, Enrico?" he asks.

    "Fine," I said. "My agent has begun the process. The jobs will open up. How's Gay?"

    "He shouts all the time," Paco replied. "We'll see how it goes."

    "Cordoba Bs this Sunday," I say.

    "Yeah," he chuckles. "I can't see it going well. Tomas and Josete have been restored to their "rightful" places in the defense."

    "The goals will flow," I quipped. Paco snorted on the other end of the line.

    "Jose keeps talking about setting things right and righting the ship," Paco said. "He's not exactly helping his cause. I can see that the players don't agree with him. They're at least being polite. Most have been through manager changes before."

    "Moises will likely never play again for Cadiz," he continued. "Bruninho is dropped for Martins as the holding mid."

    "I'd have rather played him there," I said. "But who was going to hold the middle in the defense?"

    "Exactly," Paco replied.

    "How's the coaches and staff taking it," I asked.

    "They're fine," he replied. "You know how it goes. The coaches have been through all this before as have the staff. Margarita told me to say hello to you."

    "She's such a sweet and generous person," I said.

    "I'll tell her you said that," he replied.

    "Talk to you soon, Paco," I said.

    "Ola," he said and hung up.
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  10. Sunday, 6 April 2014

    Here's the first result under Jose Aurelio Gay. Oops.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-21-08.40.29-pm.png

    Cordoba B scored early and the players couldn't get going. Only 3 shots on net. So much for our passing ... wait ... their passing game.

    Pathetic.
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  11. Quote Originally Posted by Enrico Pucci View Post
    Sunday, 6 April 2014

    Here's the first result under Jose Aurelio Gay. Oops.

    Attachment 478315

    Cordoba B scored early and the players couldn't get going. Only 3 shots on net. So much for our passing ... wait ... their passing game.

    Pathetic.
    OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH CLAWS OUT!!!

  12. diariodecadiz.es 7 April 20124
    Cadiz stumble against Cordoba Bs under new manager Gay
    Bogdan Laba

    New manager Jose Aurelio Gay failed to deliver the victory Cadiz CF needed to move up into the promotion playoffs. Cadiz fell 2-1 to the Cordoba Bs on a cool, wet evening in Cordoba.

    Captain Mikel Martins was restored to his normal role as midfielder and played well. Unfortunately, forwards Juan Villar and Aymen Souda did not have a good time in Cordoba and only managed a shot apiece.

    Left midfielder Perico tied the game up just before halftime after Antonio Puertas opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Cadiz started the second half flat and Christian Bravo punished them in the 49th minute.

    Gay tried to jumpstart the team with a triple change in the 79th minute, but Kike Marquez, Abdoullai Fall and youngster Mario Diaz failed to make an impression.

    Los Submarino Amarillas fall to 6th in the table after this loss.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 24/01/2014 at 08:11 PM.
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  13. Day in the life ...

    First thing that I do when I get up is check to see if there's a text message from my agent. Next I check my emails. About every other day is a message of one sort or another that he'd heard back from some club that they would not consider me for their open manager position.

    Then I make a cup of coffee. Then I read my online news sources: La Gazelle dello Sport and La Repubblica for Italy; BBC, Daily Mail and The Guardian for the UK and Mundo Deportiva and La Marche for Spain.

    If it's nice and it pretty much always is, I go for a walk for a couple of hours. Sometimes I meet Ana Maria for lunch. Otherwise, I eat some leftovers or make a sandwich.

    I ordered a cookbook I'd heard about called How to Cook Everything online. It's a godsend. It's for fools like me. I try and cook something most nights. Sometimes it even works out.

    Nights are hardest. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights I watch European matches just like usually do. Friday and Saturday nights I'm out with Ana Maria.

    Freaking Out
    I usually only freak out after reading my emails from my agent explaining who has rejected me or late at night when my brain start racing. Although panic attacks can come at any time. Let's face it -- I've got too much free time.

    Thank God for Ana Maria, Esteban and my Mom. My shaves on Tuesday and Fridays and calls with my Mom are always reassuring.

    My time with Ana Maria is getting intense. We both realize the end is approaching. Not because either of us want it, but because of circumstances beyond our control. That's life I guess.
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  14. Cadiz win at home to Arroyo.

    They score early, but the boys even it up before halftime. Juan Villar's second in the 79th give us ... erm ... them the win.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-21-08.41.00-pm.png

    Jorge Luque is hurt during the match. That could be bad. Cadiz are up to 4th as Linense lost. They lead Linense by 2 points for the final playoff spot.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 26/01/2014 at 03:50 AM.

  15. Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    My phone jangles. It's my agent.

    "Luca, some good news for once?" I asked.

    "Ciao, Enrico, yes," he replies. "The English side Gillingham want to fly you to London and interview you."

    "England, huh?"

    "Gillingham is south of London, but not far. The Gills, as they are called, won promotion back into League One. League One is actually the third division in England ..."

    "I'm familiar with their league structure," I interjected.

    "Right, well, they are clinging on to survival in League One by the skin of their teeth and want to talk to you about becoming their manager," he continued. "They heard about how you kept Cadiz in the hunt for promotion despite having no money and want to talk to you. They like that you managed to play attractive, attacking football despite having no money."

    "When?"

    "How about Thursday?" he replied. "They'll pay for a hotel near Heathrow and you'll be back in the morning."

    "Let me check my schedule," I replied and paused for effect. "Yup. I'm free."

    "I'll email with all the details of your itinerary," he replied.

    "Thank you ever so much, Luca," I said. "You're the best!"

    "Just be sure to research the club a bit," he replied. "I'll see if I can uncover some video for you to watch."

    "Ciao."

    "Ciao."

    England, huh? Gillingham, huh?. Martin Allen is the guy they are considering replacing. He has managed a bunch of lower league sides. He is the manager who won promotion to League One for them.

    Attachment 478825 Attachment 478822

    Gillingham are worth EU3.3M (with a loan debt of EU1.9M). Priestfield Stadium looks decent at least from what the internet tells me:

    Attachment 478832 Attachment 478824

    Apparently, they train right next to a graveyard. Google tells me that Beechings Cross is on Yokosuka Way or the A289. West and south of the training area is the Gillingham Cemetery.

    Attachment 478839
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  16. Quote Originally Posted by Enrico Pucci View Post
    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    My phone jangles. It's my agent.

    "Luca, some good news for once?" I asked.

    "Ciao, Enrico, yes," he replies. "The English side Gillingham want to fly you to London and interview you."

    "England, huh?"

    "Gillingham is south of London, but not far. The Gills, as they are called, won promotion back into League One. League One is actually the third division in England ..."

    "I'm familiar with their league structure," I interjected.

    "Right, well, they are clinging on to survival in League One by the skin of their teeth and want to talk to you about becoming their manager," he continued. "They heard about how you kept Cadiz in the hunt for promotion despite having no money and want to talk to you. They like that you managed to play attractive, attacking football despite having no money."

    "When?"

    "How about Thursday?" he replied. "They'll pay for a hotel near Heathrow and you'll be back in the morning."

    "Let me check my schedule," I replied and paused for effect. "Yup. I'm free."

    "I'll email with all the details of your itinerary," he replied.

    "Thank you ever so much, Luca," I said. "You're the best!"

    "Just be sure to research the club a bit," he replied. "I'll see if I can uncover some video for you to watch."

    "Ciao."

    "Ciao."

    England, huh? Gillingham, huh?. Martin Allen is the guy they are considering replacing. He has managed a bunch of lower league sides. He is the manager who won promotion to League One for them.

    Attachment 478825 Attachment 478822

    Gillingham are worth EU3.3M (with a loan debt of EU1.9M). Priestfield Stadium looks decent at least from what the internet tells me:

    Attachment 478832 Attachment 478824

    Apparently, they train right next to a graveyard. Google tells me that Beechings Cross is on Yokosuka Way or the A289. West and south of the training area is the Gillingham Cemetery.

    Attachment 478839
    best of luck my friend

  17. OMG I am a HUGE gills fan PLEASE TAKE THE JOB!!!!!!!!! IM BEGGING YOU!!!!!!

  18. Quote Originally Posted by bigwill1xx View Post
    best of luck my friend
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbi View Post
    OMG I am a HUGE gills fan PLEASE TAKE THE JOB!!!!!!!!! IM BEGGING YOU!!!!!!
    Glad to have your support. We'll see how it goes.
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  19. Road to Gillingham? Planes, trains and automobiles

    I took the train to Sevilla, then a flight to London's Heathrow. After customs, I looked for a driver and there he was, holding a "Pucci" sign. He drove me to a nearby hotel.

    "Enrico Pucci, I have a meeting," I said to the woman at the reception desk.

    "Good morning, Mister Pucci," she replied then typed into her keyboard and examined the results on a screen. "Your party is awaiting you." She activated a key card. "Room 323. Elevators are directly to your left. Enjoy your stay in London."

    "Thanks!"

    I entered Room 323 and was greeted by Chairman Paul Scally and Director of Football Scott Phillips.

    Scally looked the part. He's in his late 50s or so, salt and pepper hair (mostly salt), close cropped, wire-rimmed glasses and a bit of a cleft chin. Phillips is a tall, blond former center back; he certainly looks like he was one.

    We exchanged pleasantries then got to talking about the club.

    "We heard some about what you've done in Cadiz, but please tell us about yourself," Scally said.

    I told them I was an American with Italian roots who got lucky and got a try-out with Bologna. I explained how through dedication and hard work I managed to create a career. I also explained that I'd realized in my last few years of playing that I'd like to become manager and gotten my licenses.

    I told them that I knew going into Cadiz that the finances were bad as a result of the stadium. I told them I had no transfer budget and relied on a few Bosman transfers and loans from our affiliates Udinese and Fluminense. I told the story of how I cobbled together a defense and our defensive woes.

    "But weren't you also the top scoring side?" Scally interjected.

    "Yeah, well second top," I corrected. "League leaders Albacete had us by a couple. In all our losses except two, we were shut out. I was on track to getting us in the promotion places according to the rate our prime opponents were gaining points." I then explained my calculations.

    Scally explained the history of Gillingham. How they try to balance fiscal discipline with providing a competitive team that can get The Gills back into the Championship.

    "What would you think about having a ?150,000 transfer budget?" Scally asked concluding his history lesson.

    "From what videos I've seen of your matches this season, that sounds like about the right number to build the team up to solidy your position in this league, if you retain it of course, then start pushing the team up the table."

    "Okay, what if the budget was ?50,000?"

    "Well, I can make do with whatever I'm given," I replied. "But from my analysis of League Two, League One and Championship transfers in the last year is that ?50,000 wouldn't be sufficient to get Gillingham back into the Championship. It takes money to do that, unfortunately."

    "Tell us more about your philosophy?" Scally asked.

    "First and foremost, I would adapt Gillingham's style of play to best suit the players I have available," I replied. "I prefer to sign young players with potential. This provides the team with two things: first, less expensive talent than the same skillset in a 30 year old; second, if we uncover a gem or two large transfer sums."

    "How else would you want to be judged as a manager if we hire you?" Phillips asked.

    "That's mainly it," I replied. "I would adapt to work with whatever I'm given. If a team has a strong defense, but few attacking options, that's a very different kind of coaching than if you have plenty going forward but are weak on the back end."

    They both thanked me for coming to London to talk to them and I thanked both of them. They urged me to go into the city center and see a bit of the city and suggested their favorite sights.
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  20. Luca Piccioni <[email protected]> 12:37PM Today
    To: Enrico Pucci <[email protected]>
    FW: Gillingham and Pucci

    From: "Paul Scally" <[email protected]>
    To: "Luca Piccioni" <[email protected]>
    Date: Monday, 21 April, 2014 11:49AM
    Subject: Gillingham and Pucci

    Luca,

    Please thank Enrico for taking the time to fly to London to talk about managing Gilliamham Football Club. Unfortunately, we have
    decided to take another direction. We wish you and Enrico all the best in your quest to match him with a club.

    Cheers,

    Paul
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  21. Luca Piccioni <[email protected]> 12:44PM Today
    To: Enrico Pucci <[email protected]>
    Subject: Gills hire Barmby

    Enrico,

    They fired Allen and replaced him with Nick Barmby. Never let your faith drop. The right position will come. Trust me.

    Luca
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  22. "Gillingham?" Esteban asked after I'd told him of the interview and subsequent rejection. "Who and where in the hinterlands of the United Kingdom is that?"

    "Just southeast of London," I replied. "They're in the third division which the English call League One."

    "Hmmph," Esteban grunted. "I'm sure it makes sense to them. So how does that go? How do you approach and interview other managers while keep your current manager in the dark."

    "Meet at a hotel room near a major airport, I guess," I replied.

    "So you never got to see the stadium or the training ground?"

    "No."

    "You weren't here on Friday and judging by your stubble I will guess you extended your stay?"

    "You are correct, my dear detective," I replied. "I moved my flight to first thing Monday morning and moved to a hotel nearer the center."

    "I've never been to that island," Esteban remarked. "What's it like?"

    "Weird," I replied. "On the one hand you've got buildings and streets dating from the 1500s. Yet, you have modern office towers shoved down right in the middle of it all. It can modern and ugly but turn and look a different direction and there's St. Paul's Cathedral or Parliament or something and those are beautiful. It's a vibrant, chaotic, modern city like nothing else. I only scratched the surface."

    "Oh, they drive on the wrong side of the road," I exclaimed. "That would take some getting used to. I nearly got killed stepping out into traffic only a dozen times or two."

    Esteban thought that was funny.

    "And I have a surprise for you," I said. "Knock on the wall. No, not that wall, the other."

    He looked puzzled but knocked on the wall anyway. I'd given his gift to the bodega owner next door and told him to wait for the knock on the wall.

    "Santi Cazorla! Number 19! An Arsenal jersey," he exclaimed as his neighbor entered the barbershop holding up the jersey. "You shouldn't have."
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  23. Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Scaly out! Scaly out!

  24. Quote Originally Posted by Dobbi View Post
    Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Scaly out! Scaly out!
    Heh. Maybe Barmby will make a great manager ... ?

  25. 1 May 2014

    G*d d*mn ****ing hell I hate waiting.

    Every day I get another rejection email. I have panic attacks fairly often. Sometimes I get really down. That can last a few days. But I eventually pull out of it. Sometimes I get drunk. Usually on the nights I know I'm too wound up to sleep or I have a panic attack in the evenings.

    More than anything it's not having enough to do.

    I have been spending my time watching Spanish and English matches. Often on TV but also on the internet. Many smaller clubs broadcast their matches live or the next day. Despite having managed a large portion of a season in Spain, I can't say I really know the Spanish game.

    Also, every time a club fires their manager, I do a little research on the team. It helps pass the time a little bit.

    But even with all that I still have a tremendous amount of free time.
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  26. I'm sorry, but I haven't been keeping you all up to speed on how Cadiz CF is doing. Following them feels like stalking your ex-wife via her Facebook page or something. Last you heard, they'd beaten Arroyo and climbed to 5th. They were two points back of Linense and the final promotion playoff spot.

    The Wednesday when I was packing and psyching myself up for my Gillingham interview, they hosted Lucena. Lucena's midfielder Fito popped in a goal to start the second half after a scoreless (and shockingly boring) first half.

    They piled it on after that, but Lucena's keeper Manu played great and kept them at bay. It was Airam's first game back from his ankle injury and he nabbed a last gasp equalizer.

    Guadalajara won but Linense lost yet again so Cadiz remain 4th and now lead Linense by 3 points.

    Attachment 479890

    The following matchday, Round 36 on Sunday, 27 April, Cadiz traveled to Melilla and lost 2-1. They outshot them, kept control of the ball. Gay played Airam and young sensation Mario Diaz up top. Apparently, they both played like crap.

    Attachment 479897

    Cadiz fall back to 5th as Linense won and they are tied on points but Linense have the better head-to-head record so they move 4th and Cadiz drop to 5th.

    Next up for the Yellow Submarine is Linense. At this point, they need to beat Linense and then need help from Cacarenos on the final matchday to make the playoffs.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 26/01/2014 at 04:02 AM.
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  27. Round 37 is the critical match of Cadiz's season. They drew despite being a man up for an hour after their goal scorer Hugo Diaz got sent off in the 31st minute. I would characterize this as a disastrous draw. Just look at the stats. 8 shots taken and only 3 on target.

    Gay started the youngster Diaz again, but replaced him with Aymen Souda at halftime. Souda scored the equalizer in the 54th minute.

    Attachment 479908

    What's bizarre is the number of fouls Cadiz committed. What's up with that?

    Cadiz are 5th and they need help next weekend in the final round of the season. They need Cacareno to beat or tie Linense. Cadiz play Cordoba B who are already relegated and the Cordoba side are really quite pathetic.
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  28. The final round was a nail biter. Cadiz home to the Cordoba Bs was always going to be a victory for the Yellow Submarine. The match that mattered was Linense's visit to Cacares to play Cacarenos. If Linense wins, they're in the playoffs and Cadiz's season is over. If they tied or lost, Cadiz are in the promotion playoffs.

    I watched the updates on my iPhone as I wandered the wet streets of old Cadiz. Eventually, I ended up in a bar

    Kike Lopez opened the scoring for Cadiz in the 11th minute. Cadiz in playoffs.

    Sergio Ortiz gives Linense a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. Linense in playoffs.

    At halftime, Linense are going to the playoffs. I can only imagine what it was like in the home changing room in the Ramon de Carranza. There's nothing they can do except guarantee they still have a chance by not conceding.

    Cacareno score to start off the second half. Cadiz are in the playoffs. I can imagine the roar going up from the Cadistas as everyone learns the scoring update.

    Linense press and press. They substitute a defender for a forward. They start hoofing balls into the Cacarenos' box. Cacarenos remain stalwart and Linense get no luck.

    Aymen Souda scores in the 90th minute as if it mattered. The match in Cacares ended a few minutes after the Cadiz match.

    Attachment 479909 Attachment 479911

    I realize I'm sweating despite the cool temps and drizzle.
    Nurquidi98 likes this.

  29. Tuesday, 13 May, 2014

    My phone jangles. It's my agent Luca. It's 9:21AM. More bad news probably.

    "Buongiorno, Luca."

    "Good news, Enrico, good news," Luca exclaimed. "Wimbledon want to interview you."

    "Wait, what?" I reply. I'm confused. Hadn't the Wimbledon moved like an American sports team and changed their name.

    "You know, Wimbledon, tennis, London!" Luca replied not understanding my confusion.

    "Do you mean the Crazy Gang?" I replied. "Vinnie Jones, Warren Barton, Dave Beasant and etc.? That club moved and was renamed to something else."

    "How many Wimbledons can there be?" Luca replied. "They might want to give you a job you [italian for stupid, feces eating ratface]."

    "Hold on," I said. "Let me look up Wimbledon and see which team wants to talk to me." A moment passes in silence. "Ahh ... I see. Supporters formed a new club in 2002 after the club moved. It's owned by the fans. They've won 5 promotions in the 9 years they've been in existence. This could be interesting."

    "Well you figure that bit out," Luca said. "I got your bulbous nose in the door."

    "Your the best, Luca," I replied. "Despite all the cruel things I say to you."

    "Oh **** off I know you don't mean it," he shot back. "I'll forward the itinerary. They want to talk to you this Friday. Fly you in, have a look over the stadium, interview with the Chairman. The usual."

    "Love you to pieces you car muffler rapist," replied.

    "**** off, Ciao."

    Click.

    Can you tell that we've been talking far too often?

    I need to learn more about AFC Wimbledon. I've got until Friday.

  30. I like maps. Here's several I used to help me figure out some important geographic details about AFC Wimbledon. They play at Kingsmeadow in Kingston-Upon-Thames in southwest London. They train at King's College London's Sports Ground in nearby Merton.
    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-25-11.07.07-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-25-11.08.13-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-26-08.55.59-am.png

    When the FA allowed the Norwegian owners to move the club 60 miles north to Milton Keynes, Wimbledon supporters formed their own club AFC Wimbledon. They forced the MK Dons to relinquish all rights to the trophies and etc the club Wimbledon FC acquired. They held a public try-outs on the Wimbledon Commons and 230 unattached players showed up. They joined the 9th level of English Football in 2002.

    The club is owned by the Don's Trust which controls 75% of all shares. The Chairman is lifelong fan Erik Samuelson, a retired accountant. The Don's Trust bought the Kingsmeadow stadium from Kingstonian FC to guarantee the safety and stability of both clubs. The Chair and Board are all volunteers. Samuelson accepts 1 Guinea a year for his role.

    The club won promotion 5 times since the club was formed and in the season that just finished managed to stay up in League Two fairly comfortably finishing 16th, 19 points above the relegation zone.

  31. Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Once again I find myself at Heathrow going through customs. Instead of looking for a driver, one of the Board of Directors, Ivor Heller, is going to meet me.

    "I'm Enrico, you must be Ivor," I say to the man holding the Pucci sign.

    "Every so pleased to meet you," Ivor replies. "How was your flight?"

    We exchange pleasantries as we walk to his car. He's taken the day off from his paying job to participate in my interview. Ivor is the commercial director for the club as well as a director. I decide to leave my bag in the trunk of his car instead of dropping them at the hotel. So we head straight for Kingsmeadow.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-dscn6402.jpg

    Chairman Erik Samuelson meets us as we're walking into the stadium. My first impression is he easily could be actor Bill Nighy's long lost twin. Seriously. Now just so you know, I'm definitely a fan of Nighy's. From bad vampire movies to spy shows on the BBC I pretty much love everything he's done. I took an immediate liking to Mr. Samuelson.

    "We ordered up this weather just for you," he said. "We wouldn't want to lie to you about the weather here. This is no Costa Del Sol."

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-afc-wimbledon-kingsmeadow_2422222.jpg The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-afc-wimbledon-fans-stadium-kingsmeadow_2836972.jpg

    Samuelson explained how they purchased the ground from Kingstonian FC through issuing shares and fundraising. He also showed me the terraces that were being converted to seats. They were expecting construction to finish in September.

    They then ushered me into a conference room where two more directors, Dickie Guy and Nigel Higgs, joined us.

    "Let me begin by talking about the club and it's philosophy," Samuelson began. "To guarantee stability, a trust owns the club and Kingsmeadow. Since this [he gestured around him] belongs to the fans, our purpose as Directors is the overall health and welfare of the club. As you know we're all volunteers. Because we're a small organization carefully managing our limited expenses, many things are done by volunteers."

    "This process of interviewing candidates for the open manager position is done by the Directors Trust Board," he explained. "The DTB is elected and reports to the Football Club Board. The FCB agreed with the criteria we are using to evaluate candidates and we will submit our selection, once we make one, to the FCB for approval. The FCB meets next Friday evening and we hope to have selected someone by then."

    "We've asked you to interview because of two things," he continued. "First you're experience at Cadiz running a club in a tough financial position and doing quite well despite it all and second because you played in Serie A as an American. Italian-American, I understand, but nonetheless succeeding as few Americans have in Italy. Odds are you were supposed to fail in Italy. Odds are you were supposed to fail in Spain with Cadiz."

    "Please tell us about yourself," he concluded.

    I gave them the pitch about grasping the opportunity I got with Bologna and working as hard as I could and learning as much as I could. I admitted that I wasn't the most technically gifted players nor the fastest nor the strongest, but I had a strong desire to prove myself.

    "Who do you look up to as a manager and why?" Nigel asked.

    I listed Arrigo Sacchi managing AC Milan because he'd never played in Serie A, but managed some of the most gifted players to be assembled on a single team. I explained how I am in awe of Ajax Amsterdam's overall philosophy of youth and player development. I named two of my managers at Bologna (I won't say who so that nobody gets offended). These two did great jobs of clearly explaining what they wanted from everyone. I especially appreciated openness and fairness.

    "I'm the sort of manager who will be out there with my coaches working with the players," I concluded. "As my favorite managers did, I will try and keep dialogs going with all my players. So everybody knows where they stand with me and with the club."

    "What philosophy or philosophies do you believe in?" Erik asked.

    "Two things," I began. "First I believe in bringing in young players. If they have the same skillset of a 30 year old, they'll be a lot cheaper. If a big club comes in for the player, then the club makes a tidy profit and we have helped a young man on his way to better things."

    "Secondly," I continued,"I believe in spit." I paused for effect and got a chuckle from Ivor. "SPIT stands for speed, personality, intelligence and technique. It's what Ajax use for evaluating players. I can't teach speed. The best I can do is help a player gain a half or sometimes a whole step more speed. I can't teach personality, but I can encourage players to express themselves and give them a framework in which they are comfortable being creative. Some players read the game really, really well. I can teach someone to think the game better. It's how I succeeded at Bologna. I can improve any player's technique if they're willing to work hard and put in the extra hours."

    "Any other philosophies we should evaluate by?" Erik asked.

    "Well, I am in the entertainment business, in the end," I replied. "I want to play attacking football."

    "Talk to us about player acquisition and such on a tight budget," Erik asked. "But let me explain how we generate a transfer budget first. We ask our season ticket holders to give extra when they buy season tickets. We fundraise, too. Last year it was ?100,000. But it could vary. Could you succeed on ?25,000?"

    "I'm comfortable working with whatever budget I'm given," I replied. "I've been watching a lot of English football, especially the lower leagues, since I was sacked, and I think there will be plenty of quality players available for free. Furthermore, I think some players with special skills might be available."

    "Furthermore," I said. "If I'm given an amount and spend less but get the skill set I want in the squad, that money can be reinvested in other areas of the club."

    "We have a philosophy you should be aware of," Erik said. "We don't pay agents. They don't get any percent. There are some agents out there who really do want what's best for their players, but there are far too many who just want to move their players around because they get 5 or 10 percent of whatever transfer fee."

    "Is there a business anywhere else other than sport where someone comes in demands a wage increase for a player, negotiates for it and then gets a percentage?" he asked rhetorically. "Do you see this creating problems for you as you try to sign players?"

    "Heh," I chuckled. "My agent Luca will be quite peeved when you sign me and he doesn't get anything. But seriously, I can work with whatever situation I have. I would hope that being a part of a club with an awesome feel-good story that intends to move up another division or maybe divisions soon is worth joining. Also, I've had friends who listened to the bull**** their agents fed them and let them ruin things for them. Actually, I kind of like your philosophy."

    "Another thing we want you to be aware of," Nigel said. "In my professional career, I'm in communications. When we sign players, we make them aware of our code of conduct and our philosophy at the club. We want them to know that communicating with our fans, the club owners really, is very important. At the start of each season, we give explicit directions and strategies for how they are to conduct themselves. Would you have any problems with that?"

    "Absolutely not," I replied. "Sounds like a great idea."

    "Anything you'd like the club to do or directions you would like the club to go if you became manager?" Erik asked.

    "In Italy and in Spain, lower league clubs get affiliate agreements with larger clubs," I said. "This means they can send us players but most importantly, it is a free way to get talented players for a season. I realize this isn't done often in England, but I'd like you to consider it."

    "As you know, this would have to go through the FTB, but we would consider it," Erik replied. "Anything else you'd like to discuss before we take you to see the training facilities at King's College London?"

    I shook my head.

    I have to say I was impressed with the training facilities. Nice locker room, nice showers, nice pitches. I said so.

    "Just so you know the process," Erik said as Ivor were walking toward his car so he could drive me to my hotel. "We will assess our candidates and make a suggestion to the FTB next Friday. We will notify you as soon as we make our decision whatever that is. If you happen to be the candidate, we would open contract negotiations at that time. These negotiations would need to be completed by next Friday for the FTB meeting."

    I thanked him and the other directors, we all shook hands and then Ivor drove me to my hotel.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 26/01/2014 at 11:18 PM.

  32. "Ciao, Luca."

    "Ciao. How did it go?"

    "Do you want the good news or the bad news first?" I asked.

    "The good."

    "I think it went really well. I don't know, I mean, we'll know if they offer me the position, yes? It was a really great conversation. I learned a lot about the club that I hadn't uncovered in my research. I think I made a good impression."

    "And what's the bad news?"

    "They don't pay any agent fees," I replied. "Zero. Nil. Agents get no percentage, nothing."

    A stream of Italian curses and epithets went into Luca's phone. His phone broadcast them out to the world and a nearby cell tower in Florence received them. This cell tower then sent them via fiber optic trunk line to a centrally located tower where they were directed to an appropriate satellite so that the said satellite would redirect these curses and epithets down to a satellite dish in the vicinity of London which then sent them via more fiber optic cable to the tower nearest my cell so it could broadcast them for my cell to receive these curses and epithets.

    I moved my ear away from my phone on the outside chance that the nearby skin might blister.

    "Relax you payphone sodomizer," I replied once he ran out of breathe. "I'll get you back for finding this for me if they hire me. Don't worry."

    More invective spewed out from the tiny speaker in my cellphone.

    "Relax, your children are not going to starve," I replied. "You will not be forced to sell your pets for medical experimentation."

  33. Unlike my previous time in London, I decided to come back to Cadiz. Maybe I was just being superstitious, I don't know.

    I told Ana Maria about the whole experience over dinner. I could see that my excitement wasn't contagious. As you'd expect she was happy for me that the interview went well. I could tell that she meant it, but I could also see that it made her sad. The end was drawing nearer.

    "I just have a feeling that you're going to get this post," she said. "It sounds like a one-of-a-kind club and you could do great things for them as manager. It would be a perfect place to prove yourself."
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  34. Sunday, 18 May 2014

    Cadiz faced El Segundo B1 side Real Aviles at home to start the playoffs. 18K plus turned up to cheer the Yellow Submarine to victory. Kike Lopez's 34th minute strike was the difference. Aviles didn't offer much threat and it sounds like their keeper was the only reason the victory wasn't lopsided.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-26-09.28.47-pm.png

    Also note that Sevilla Atletico tied away at Oviedo. This is the champion's round. If they win at home, they're in Liga Adelante. All hope is not lost for the losers. The losers then join the 6 winners from the other group and the 8 of them play off for the final 2 promotion slots. I know, it's complex.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-26-09.29.07-pm.png
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  35. Monday, 19 May 2014 9:21AM

    My phone rings. The call is from England. I nearly spray my coffee on my laptop. I manage to set the cup down, swallow and answer.

    "Hello?"

    "Good morning, Enrico, this is Erik Samuelson."

    "Good morning!" I reply. I hold my breathe.

    "We have decided we want you as Wimbledon's next manager," he said. I exhaled. "We need to negotiate your salary and assuming we reach an agreement we will be submitting your name for approval to the Football Club Trust. It's a formality, but it's how we work. If you'd agree, we'd like to hold a press conference that afternoon."

    "Uh, yeah, um, okay, I mean great!" I stammered.

    "Excellent," Erik continued. "We are prepared to offer you 400 pounds per week salary on a one year contract. That is substantially lower than other clubs pay I realize, but we offer the added bonus of we have several supporters who are landlords who are willing to find you a flat that you could live in rent free."

    "Um well ...," I said. I had checked the salaries of other managers in League Two. They generally made between 1K and 2K. I'm guessing they wanted me to work for cheap since they are a noble cause or something like that. "That's substantial pay cut. I was expecting more in the range of 1000 pounds per week. I'm okay with a one year contract. I do appreciate the offer of housing, though."

    "May I try to sweeten the deal somewhat?" Erik asked.

    "Certainly, I'm definitely interesting in the job," I replied.

    "500 per week, free housing and I understand you drive an Alfa Romeo," he said.

    "I do," I replied. What was he getting at?

    "Ivor mentioned you'd talked cars a bit on the way over to Kingsmeadow," he said. "We have several mechanics who are diehard supporters. Everyone knows Alfas break down a lot. We have spoken to these mechanics. They are prepared to only charge you for parts only, the labor would be free."

    "500, free apartment ... er, sorry ... flat and supporters keep my Alfa running? I can agree to that."

    "Fabulous," Erik exclaimed. "I'll email you a formal contract that states your wage and these two stipulations. We'll need an actual inked signature. Please be sure to print it out, take a photo of your signature on the line and email the photo back to me."

    "Um, okay," I said. "Just to be clear, I'd have a selection of flats to choose from?"

    "Yes, you have it exactly," he replied. "Any other questions?"

    "No, not at this time," I replied.

    "Well thank you so much, Enrico, we were all very impressed with you," Erik concluded. "I look forward to seeing you next week and very much look forward to working with you."

    "Thanks," I replied. "I'm very excited, too."
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 27/01/2014 at 05:16 AM.

  36. My next thought after hanging up the phone was Oh ****! The inevitable was about to happen. I had to call Ana Maria. I stared at my phone. I stared at it for a while longer. I called my Mom instead. She was very excited for me.

    "But this means you and Ana Maria are over, doesn't it?" she said.

    "Yeah."

    "I'm so sorry, my darling," she said. "I know this breaks your heart."

    "Yeah."

    "I don't really have anything to say," she continued. "Sometimes it just isn't fair."

    "I know, Mom," I said. "Thanks. I better go. I better call her."

    "Love you."

    "Love you, too, Mom. Ciao."

    I sat there staring at the phone for a while longer.

  37. "Now I'm confused," Esteban said as I walked into the barbershop. "It is not Tuesday. Wait ... I know that look."

    He motioned for me to sit down. Roberto was not in. The shop was empty. He sat in the other barber's chair.

    "So this is it," he said thoughtfully. "Goodbye Cadiz, hello London."

    We sat in silence for a while.

    "You haven't called her, yet have you?" He asked. "Fate is a cruel and heartless mistress, my friend."

    We sat in silence for a while.

    "There is only one solution for this," he said standing up. "First we're going to go have a drink. Then we are going to go and get Ana Maria. Then the three of us are going to get drunk together."

    He stood up, walked to the door and motioned for me to follow him. He flipped the sign over so the shop was closed, locked up and we walked off into the warm afternoon sunshine.

  38. You've got to propose to Ana Maria, get her to move to England with you!!!

  39. Quote Originally Posted by AndySams10 View Post
    You've got to propose to Ana Maria, get her to move to England with you!!!
    The only way I could possible convince her is to make enough to replace her contribution to her family's income. I'm only pulling in 500 pounds or a hair over EU600 per week. I'll be comfortable enough because my flat will be free supporters keep the Alfa running, but it's not like I'll be rolling in pounds sterling or anything.

    I'm doubly heart-broken. Not only do I lose the girl, I didn't get the chance to complete my mission at Cadiz. I'm confident I would have rallied the troops and won through. At least I would have liked to have been given the shot.

    Thanks for the moral support!

  40. This is the end # sadness

  41. Quote Originally Posted by Dobbi View Post
    This is the end # sadness
    Yeah, I know. I figure I'll get over it, or at least start, when I get settled in London and get to work preparing for next season.

  42. Ana Maria called in sick the next day and we did what any couple would do before the world ended. Or a close approximation. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

    The next day, I packed. Packing sucks. Thankfully, I'd kept all of my boxes from last summer's move. I arranged for movers to haul away all my crap and deliver it to London in a week. Hopefully, I'd have picked out a flat by then.

    I called Paco and told him the good news and asked him to tell everyone.

    At 6AM on Thursday, May 22, 2014 I got in my Alfa Romeo with two bags of clothes in the trunk and two bags on the seat next to me and headed out. 2300 miles to Kingston-Upon-Thames. I estimated it would take 24 hours. If I arrived sometime on Friday morning, I'd be happy. This would be an epic drive worthy of Jeremy from Top Gear. I would traverse the length of Spain and France before driving through The Chunnel. Epic.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-28-08.35.13-pm.png
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  43. WOMBLEblog.co.uk
    New Italian manager?

    Thrash
    22 May 2014 16:23

    We know that Chairman Samuelson and cohorts have interviewed several candidates. The BBC has reported several candidates, but I have my doubts as usual that they have a fecking clue.

    I've told you how an unemployed mate of mine lives near Kingsmeadow. For the price of keeping him in ale, vindaloo and pies, he's been watching the comings and goings. He's done his job well enough reporting to us how he saw Bristol Rover's John Ward and Lee Johnson formerly of Oldham Athletic drive through the gate.

    We have reason to believe the new manager isn't going to be either of them. We believe AFC Wimbledon will be announcing an Italian as manager tomorrow.

    Our mate swears he saw DTB member Ivor Heller drive an Italian through the gates. He claims he ran over to get a closer look and swears the bald man in the suit had to be Italian. I threatened him just to be sure and he stuck to his story.

    See you tomorrow at the 4pm press conference that they've scheduled to introduce the new manager.
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 29/01/2014 at 05:28 AM.

  44. Meet the new boss ...

    "Thanks you all for gathering here today at Kingsmeadow," Erik Samuelson began. "After interviewing a number of candidates, I'm pleased to announce that the Don Trust Board have selected and the Football Trust Board have approved the hiring of Enrico Pucci."

    "We believe the Enrico has the character and background to lead Wimbledon forward," he continued. "He best meets the criteria we as a club have agreed our managers should possess and will be an excellent replacement for Neal Ardley. As you all know, we Directors not football men. We will keep the club healthy financially and in all matters off the pitch. We have brought Enrico in to move the club forward on the pitch."

    Erik stepped aside and I stepped in front of Erik, Ivor, Dickie and Nigel. I was exhausted beyond what you can imagine. I'd been up since 6AM the previous day. I'd arrived at Kingsmeadow at 9AM this morning after having serious trouble navigating my way through the London to the stadium. Learning the rules of English driving is probably hard enough but when you add sleep deprivation to the equation, it gets pretty weird. Nearly hallucinatory.

    But here I was facing a dozen reporters.

    "Thanks very much for showing up," I began. I saw brief looks of confusion cross their faces. They had been handed my CV, but it didn't say that I was American. "Would you prefer I spoke Italian instead? My Spanish is pretty good, too."

    There were a couple of chuckles.

    "I'm here to lead the club forward," I said. "Wimbledon have climbed five divisions in nine years and I intend to add a division or two more over the next couple of years. I've watched the videos of last seasons matches and I'm ready to build a team to challenge for promotion."

    "I will stay true to the philosophy of the club which is one of the reasons I'm really excited to be here," I continued. "This team has risen from the ashes and I love that the fans elect the Football Club Board and have a say in the running of the club. I also love that in this age of foreign money buying success, this club's money comes from right here."

    "I have also risen from the ashes," I said. "I lost nearly everything when the economy collapsed. I went from playing in Serie A for Bologna to retired, divorced and dead broke within two years. I promise every fan of Wimbledon that I will work tirelessly to build a strong squad and prepare them for success week in week out.

    "Collin Massey, BBC. Welcome to London, Enrico," a reporter said. "You're American. How did you get to Serie A?"

    "I'm Italian-American," I replied. "My extended family is in both countries. I was raised in Washington, DC. It's soccer mad there. I was young and foolish and was about to fail out of the University that gave me a full ride scholarship. My family in Italy got me a try-out with Bologna. I impressed them enough they signed me. I worked my butt off and proved I deserved to be in their first team."

    "Okay, thanks. Do you feel your ambitions for the club are matched by the Chairman?" Massey continued.

    "Yes, I do," I replied. "Erik and the other Directors are fans first and foremost. They are doing an excellent job running this club and considering the condition of many of the other clubs, we're in very solid financial position. I'll have a transfer budget thanks to the fans. It's my job to bring in the players that will lead this club to the next level."

    "Robbie Williams, Sky Sports. Is managing a club this size a step down after Cadiz?"

    "I don't know if you're insulting me or Wimbledon," I replied. "Cadiz are also a former top team. While they're suffering financially right now, nearly every team in Spain is except for the big two. But a team where the fans own the club is fabulous. I'd rather answer to them than some foreign owner who doesn't know anything about the game or care deep down about the fans and community in which the club exists. I trust these fans to know what's right for this club before I'd trust some holding company that is owned by a consortium of foreign businessmen who you never get to meet."

    "I'm Nathan, I blog as Thrash at Wombleblog dot Koh dot UK," said an immense man looming in the back. "We're a fan blog. How excited are you to be managing in England."

    "Thanks, Nathan ... er ... Thrash," I replied. "I'm super excited. I've watched the Premier League since it was founded when I was a kid. It's so much more dynamic than anywhere else. I grew up in DC where we have a pro hockey team. I grew up watching a bunch of hockey, too. English football is much more like hockey. It's so fast and filled with end-to-end action. Plus, clubs at all levels play passing footie. I just freaking love the combination. When you add the combination of the style with I'm managing the ... um ... I don't know how to say this correctly, but the spiritual successor to The Crazy Gang. What more could a manager ask for?"

    "If we can talk for a moment about your previous job," Williams from Sky said. I was already beginning to not like this little weasel and his tone of voice. "You were of course sacked by Cadiz. Would you comment about getting sacked and was it justified."

    "I was heartbroken to be sacked as the team was competing for a promotion playoff position," I replied. "Our main rival for the final spot was gaining points at 1.8 or thereabouts per match and had stayed at that clip all season. We faced them in four matches when Cadiz traveled to league leaders Albacete. We outplayed Albacete but didn't get the luck. In my plan I was not anticipating getting points from the match. My plan was to set everything up for the match against our rivals for the final playoff spot. I never got the chance."

    "My players told me I'd been sacked," I continued. "They read it online. I was never even given the courtesy of a call or a face-to-face meeting. The boys, all credit to them, went on to win the promotion spot on the last day. I'm not happy that they, my bosses, knew my plan, they knew the results were on track to meet expectations yet they fired me with the lame-ass excuse that I'd lost the room. Absolute crock of smelly bull manure."

    But I wasn't done.

    "Cadiz directors cut laundry service, food service at the training ground, stopped allowing us travel overnight for away matches. And I'll have you know that we sometimes traveled over 500 kilometers for matches. And the worst was they down-graded the bus service to a piece of crap. They'd spent like drunken sailors on shore leave building a new stadium and hadn't monthly payments of millions of euros. So what do they do? They don't pay us and make our lives as difficult as possible."

    "So no I wasn't treated fairly and I'm not happy about it," I concluded. "Which is why I'm so delighted to be managing a club owned by the fans. They'll understand what I'm trying to achieve because they'll see it on the pitch every weekend."

    Maybe that was TMI?

    "I dug up your highlights playing for Bologna," Thrash asked smiling devilishly. "You were a bit of a thug. A bit violent. Care to comment?"

    "My role was defensive midfielder," I replied. "I was the pit bull in the middle. You go after our star striker or playmaker, my job was to take a chunk out of you're star player's calf. I did my job, built my reputation and my friends ankles maybe took a whack or two less per match because of what I might do as payback. By the way, I'd like to see that highlight vid. I had hair back then."

    "You got right back into it, weren't out of the game very long," Massey from the BBC said. "Was that a conscious effort to ensure you stayed active?"

    "Footie is life," I replied. "Even those weeks, what, a month were pure torture. Glad to be back in it."

    "How many of the old staff will be staying? Massey asked.

    "I'll be hiring my own staff mostly over the next week or two," I replied. "I'm perfectly happy with the youth setup. That won't be changing. Continuity is important with the kids."

    "Simon Harrison, Daily Mail. It's widely expected that Jim Fenlon will leave, can you hold on to him?"

    "Jim is exactly the kind of player I want to build the team around," I replied. "Erik and I will do everything in our power to keep him."

    "Do you have your eye on any players, yet?" Williams from Sky asked.

    "No, I just drove all night from the bottom of Spain," I replied. "I'll start after I get some sleep. I still need a laptop and an office. Well, I have an office. I think you know what I mean. I don't. I drove all night."

    "Can we get some pictures of you holding up a scarf?" Massey asked pulling out a camera.

    "Sure," I replied.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-pucci-signs.png
    Last edited by Enrico Pucci; 30/01/2014 at 04:56 AM.

  45. After my whirlwind week, I had the weekend off. No laptop, no nothing. I went to the Royal Academy of Art on Saturday and the British Museum on Sunday.

    On Monday morning I got my laptop. I also got my FA, PFA and LMA credentials. This meant I could start building my lists of people I wanted to interview. Erik had been kind enough to issue the pink slips to the remainder of Ardley's first team staff so that I could hire my own. Here's the positions I needed to fill:

    1. Assistant Manager
    2. First Team Coach
    3. Fitness Guru
    4. Physio
    5. Director of Football
    6. U21 Manager (he can also help with the 1st team squad)
    7. 2 Scouts.

    Either my Assistant Manager or my 1st Team Coach would need to be a goalkeeper specialist. Hiring a U21 manager is a weasely way to get extra help for my 1st team, but hey, you make do with what you have, right?

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-30-08.56.48-am.png

    After some lengthy calls with each association, I understood how to use their systems. I started building lists of potential candidates after lunch.

  46. After several hours of reviewing resumes and building lists, I needed to stop staring at my laptop's screen and get some air. Erik had provided me with a list of flats. The third one looked promising so I wrote down the address and phone number. It was about a half mile from Kingsmeadow and a mile from the training facilities at King's College London. My trusty GPS led me right there.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-26-08.55.59-am.png

    I drove over and it is on a charming dead end lane.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-30-09.16.09-am.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-30-09.14.57-am.png

    The description sounds good to me:

    This wonderful conversion flat is located in a popular location close to Surbiton station and shops. The property includes many period features with double glazed sash windows and stripped wood flooring and there is a modern kitchen, a light and airy reception room, a double bedroom, a modern shower room and has use of communal gardens.
    So I called the number.

    "Zack here."

    "Hi, this is Enrico Pucci, Wimbledon's new ..."

    "Congrats, mate!" he exclaimed. "Lovely to have you on board. You calling about one of the flats?"

    "Yes, I am," I replied. "The Claremont Gardens one."

    "Oh, wise choice, wise choice," he said. "It's a charmer. You'll love it. When you want to see it?"

    "I'm parked out front right now."

    "Oh, right," Zack replied. "My office is only a few minutes away. I can be there in 15. That okay?"

    "That'd be great," I replied.

    "Cheers."

    Click.

  47. OMG, with the sleep deprivation, signing on the line and all the excitement of being in London, I completely forgot that Cadiz played on Sunday.

    The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-30-12.16.09-pm.png The Alfa Romeo Metaphor-2014-01-30-12.15.19-pm.png

    The boys advance to the next playoff round and face Racing Club Santander.
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  48. Some great updates - I'm absorbed. Awaiting the success Enrico achieves in England!
    AndySams10, dainis and Nurquidi98 like this.

  49. Quote Originally Posted by ZeCarlos View Post
    Some great updates - I'm absorbed. Awaiting the success Enrico achieves in England!
    Thanks, dude!

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