The American Dream

  1. The American Dream


    Bob Bradley was the first and most likely the last American manager to take control of a club in the top flight of England. His short tenure at the Welsh club ended in disaster after losing the respect of the playing staff and earning the nickname Ronald Reagan if media reports were correct. News broke across the States to young and hopeful coaches of one day managing in the Premier League. The dream only just got tougher.

    Step up... Jacob Hurley.

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    The 31 year old from Houston, Texas has aspired to be a soccer player all his life. During the early years of his school he suffered peer pressure to follow a sport he didn't love. American football. While his parents watched the Super Bowl and forced him too, he'd stay late up night to watch his beloved Nottingham Forest whenever they were on TV. Years of turmoil finally broke him where he stood up to his family and insisted on following his dream of playing on the soccer team at school. Taking aback and heartbroken that their only son wouldn't follow his dad in having success in the high school football team, they granted him his wish.

    He never looked back. He enjoyed winning the high school leagues and cups with the soccer team playing as a right back. He focused on his studies and got good grades. He won his family around when they saw he was happy. He went to university and married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer. Unfortunately at the time, American football was in a dire state. He was scouted by a few teams but suffered an ACL injury when he was twenty two. This set him back and sent him in a downward spiral where he worked in a car repair factory and still lived with his family. Jennifer got her qualifications to become an accountant and a lucrative contract with a firm in Washington. The distance apart caused the relationship to break and he was alone and struggling to make a living. The dream seemed long dead.

    When he was twenty eight and suffered various drinking problems, he decided to visit a shrink. This helped for a year and settled him down but his dad passed away when he was thirty which triggered the drinking again. This finally led him to be laid off at the factory. When his birthday on the 31st of September came around, he was sleeping on his friends coach after being kicked out by his grieving mum. She didn't like to see her son suffering. He had a few more menial jobs which never lasted up until June 2016.

    June 2016 was a big month for him. He was two months sober and the meetings with his shrink were helping. His mother let him back into the house after seeing the improvements. Even if it was only temporary which he feared, he made it count. He went on the computer everyday and scoured jobs he could do. The TV was next to him one day where an advert speaking about following your dreams. This itself didn't trigger what was about to come.

    The day went on by before he was told by a friend about a high school reunion. It was a good idea to get out the house and test his resolve against the drink. So he went. There he relived his memories. The soccer team winning trophies and the cabinet still on show. He met the old soccer coach and had a deep insightful talk about life, the future and the beautiful game. The coach joked about him taking his job when he retires which triggered something inside Jacob Hurley. Why wait until his old coach retired? Why not find jobs out there now? So he did. The day turned and it was now the 1st July.

    This was before Swansea hired and fired Bob Bradley yet while one American legacy tarnished perhaps another one was just getting started. He went online and investigated every crevice, every country with a potential managerial job where he didn't need any experience. Even if he just got an interview it'd be considered a success.

    Fifty nine openings. Some big clubs like Wolfsburg, Birmingham and Sparta Prague. Why not dream big? Of course he'd get nowhere but it was the motivation to apply. Many of the clubs were none he heard of. If he were to get an interview however, he'd do his research. His future was only just beginning and life for the first time in ten years seemed promising.

    [Hopefully this will be a long-term save and starting unemployed. I went a bit crazy on his back story but hopefully that'll progress with the more success he gets!]

  2. Promising start, fingers crossed the FM save is as interesting!

  3. After a few interviews with clubs ranging from Northern Ireland, Indonesia, Portugal, Belarus and so forth, he opted to go for the team which offered him the most money. It's been desperate times and while he may want to manage his own job security is vital. A few days of skype interviews followed with Board members of around ten clubs. Jacob received four or five concrete offers but finally opted for...

    On the seventh of July he packed his bags, said goodbye to his mum and headed to the airport. He left his Houston life behind him to head into a brave new world. He boarded the flight which took around fifteen hours to complete after various stop off points. At the airport a driver picked him up and drove him to the hotel for some much needed rest. In the morning he was about to become the manager of his first club.

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    FC Orsha

    FC Orsha is a football club in Orsha, a city in Belarus. They play in the Belarusian First League which they narrowly avoided relegation in last season. They play their home games at the 2,652 seater Gorodskoy. They are affectionally known by fans as the Blue-whites and have a fierce rivalry with FC Vitebsk. Their home kit is blue and the away is white.

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    Jacob Hurley arrived at the Gorodskoy Stadium swamped by Russian and American journalists. The driver drove straight through them into the stadium facilities. He got out the car and met with senior officials. They rushed him into the club out of prying eyes to get him to officially sign the contract. A one year deal on five hundred a week. The contract would terminate in December 2017. The media officials took snap shots of the moment before pushing him into the dugout for some photos with the club shirt. He spent the next hour or so with the press liaison officer to prepare his answers for the press conference.

    He took a deep breath before entering the conference hall.

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    He entered through the doors and looked at the tens of journalists coming down to place there recording devices in front of him. He nodded respectfully while he took a seat at the front. His heart fluttered heavily. To say he wasn't petrified would only be lying. He kept a calm exterior to those looking at him. The press officer indicated it was underway and the first questions were asked.

    The Orsha Football Gazette (Dmitry Bazey)

    You have taken this job without being able to speak Russian. Won't it be tough to manage the side until you get to grips with the language?


    What? Could you speak a little more slowly in future? Thank you.

    (Few laughs)


    You don't have much of a reputation to speak of and many people have expressed surprise that you have taken over as Orsha manager. Can a little known manager such as yourself really run a club like this?


    Nobody is more surprised than me! I know I am playing catch up against my more illustrious contemporaries, so let's get to work. I'm not here to garner a reputation. I'm here to coach football. We have very good players at this club and it's my job to bring that talent to the field and get us up the table. If I do well? Great. The reputation may come. If it doesn't? As long as I earn the respect of those players under me, I'm happy.


    Will you be targeting competitions like the Belarusian Cup early in your tenure?


    Not am I only here to coach football but I'm here to win football. I'm happy to give the lads the opportunity to prove themselves in a wide range of competitions. That includes the Cup which like any other team partaking sole and main focus is to win it.


    You must be looking forward to your first match in charge against Baranovichi?


    I'm ready to get stuck in; it's all well and good having training sessions under your belt but it doesn't truly begin until we get out on the pitch and play for real. I'm very excited for the game as I expect you are too! I'll see you there, won't I? No?


    Sorry, I support your rivals, Vitebsk.


    Who let this guy in here?

    (Few laughs)


    You've had very little time to prepare for your first match in charge against Baranovichi; how much - if at all - will that impact upon your performance?


    I might be new here but the players aren't; they know how to play and we'll save the bigger changes for another time. I'm willing to adapt for the team rather than the team adapt for me. We're half-way through the season and the players right now need consistency more than anything.


    Looking at your first three matches in charge, are you confident of getting off to a good start?


    I want to instil a winning mentality here and in order for that to happen we need to put results on the board from day one. Regardless of who we face, I'm always confident we can pick up results if we put one hundred percent into our preparation and get it right.


    The public will want to hear a proper answer from you. You have taken this job without being able to speak Russian. Won't it be tough to manage the side until you get to grips with the language?


    Of course, it won't be easy to get my ideas across with the language barrier. We will just have to see how it goes. I've come here to manage a football team first and foremost. Learning a language is secondary but something I won't shy away from. Until then we'll have translators at the training ground but I'm sure I'll be able to say "shoot" and "track back" in Russian in no time!


    You have taken charge when it is widely expected that Evgeniy Prokopchik will leave the club. Can you hold onto him? Do you want to?


    Anyone else want to ask some questions? Jeez, pal. You're asking them all.

    (More laughter)

    I want to keep Evgeniy here and will be doing everything in my power to ensure that. He's a key player for this team and if it turns out he doesn't want to stay, no player is bigger than this team. So I'll try and try again but if it's not to be, it's not to be and we'll part ways.


    New managers often bring about times of upheaval and some at the club might fear for their jobs. Will there be many changes?


    I don't have much experience in this management business, you'd be surprised to know! There's a good set-up here, with a high quality of players and staff. It is unlikely that I will make major changes. I wouldn't know what changes to make anyway! I'm relying on these guys experience to help me settle into the club. I think myself and the Board do both agree however that the priority first is to get an assistant manager in as long as he's the right man or woman for the club.


    While some managers are known for their hands-on approach, others maintain a more reserved manner with their players. How do you see your management style?


    Well... I've not yet met the players. I think it'll be a case-to-case basis. Moreso than anything, I want every player to know that they can come to me with anything. My door is always open. Yet they're all adults and should respect the institution that is this club. Until they give me reason not to treat them with respect, I'll continue to treat them as I'd treat anyone.


    It is often said that different managers favor different competitions. Will you be concentrating primarily on getting good results in the First League?


    There's a lot more to concentrate on than just the First League. I swear you've already asked a similar question. I'm focusing on winning, not this competition or that, just winning. The game at the weekend? I want to win. The cup game in however many weeks? I want to win. It's not about favouring. Yes, sometimes it may be about prioritising but any team I put out on that field I expect to contribute enormously, 110% percent and pure focus on winning that football game.


    That'll be all. Thank you.


    No worries!

    Jacob got up and the conference came to an end. His next job was to head to the training ground to inspect the playing staff and the coaches, find a new assistant coach and look at there past games and league position and how to improve it.
    Last edited by Mikeos; 24/01/2017 at 03:11 PM.

  4. On the way over to the training ground, he looked over various print outs he requested from the club officials. Jacob studies the last few starting 11s and fixtures, working out what formation may suit the players best. He also asked for a print out of the table to see the task ahead of him. Another thing of interest would be more specific history into the club to know more about it and see why the fans attend every game.

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    The print out of the club's history showed it was formed in 1951. Despite having been established for a long time, they've never won a trophy. Perhaps a cup run would be beneficial to give those Orsha fans something to celebrate further down the line.

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    The club are currently where the Board expects them to be. Mid-table. Jacob having a look at the table has higher aspirations, if he could finish in that top three it'd hopefully show a sign of intent to the fans and board. It'd also give them reason to extend his contract! There's fifteen games left in the league and every one of them would be a cup final to him. The cup itself, they're still in it which is always a bonus.

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    The club have had a respectable start to the season. They've also won the last four games so the fans will be currently happy. Unfortunately this adds more pressure to hit the ground running. Perhaps it's wise to stick with the same team which won the last few games. He'll soon be getting to know them on the training ground.

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    This was the last squad which won their last game. Perhaps it'd be wise to stick with it if injuries and fitness are kind. Although, Jacob will be learning a lot early on in his first managerial appointment... especially the state of the coaching staff at his disposal.

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    ...There isn't any! This could either be a good or a bad thing. It's a clean slate after learning the previous manager took his backroom staff with him. Although, he's no longer got anyone to rely on when things go tough. He's in a country where he doesn't speak the language and is a foreigner to them. An american in an ex-USSR country? What could go wrong? Although the challenge was all the more enticing to him.

    All this just made him realise what lack of research he actually did into the club he signed for. Perhaps he did just think too much about the pay check rather than the state of the club he was getting into. He had a transfer budget of around 100k and a wage budget of about 100 quid. He knew his first focus would have to be getting staff in before any more players.

    A bit more news he learned from these print outs!

    There's no scout report for the next game... and it's tomorrow! What has he got himself into?

    Nor does he have any knowledge on the players at his disposal. Could his inexperience really affect him this early? The car pulled up into the training ground. He got out and followed a club official to where the players were hanging out. The translator followed him luckily otherwise this would of been even more daunting. He entered the chill out area and his coaching truly begun.

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