Where my passion began...

  1. Where my passion began...

    I will never forget being at my first football match. There was an intensity and passion resonating around the stadium that I could physically feel, it was a sensation that can never be matched by any other experience.

    It was my eleventh birthday and my grandfather took me to watch my local club, East Stirlingshire. It was a scorching July day which ended in a well fought 2-2 draw against local rivals Stenhousemuir.

    From that season on I've always been a season ticket holder, going to every match I could.
    We are now twelve years down the line and I have never lost that passion for my club.
    I knew from day one I wanted my career to be football orientated. Being a player was never going to be an option as although I was pretty good at football, I suffer from patellar tracking disorder and spent most of my time plagued with injury. I invested my time in coaching instead, I'd always been successful in the Football Manager franchise after all.
    Last month I finally completed my first major coaching course and now have my National C License.

    I went through the heartache at the end of last season of watching my beloved club being relegated from the Scottish Football League and into the fifth tier, the Scottish Lowland League.

    Craig Tully had tried his best for the last two years but, the club was in a downward spiral and after our relegation Craig handed in his resignation.
    This got me thinking, you could maybe even call it fantasising. My father grew up with Alan Archibald. They had not conversed more than passing small talk at games for as many years but, maybe my father could talk to Alan.
    That weekend, I had my usual Sunday dinner at my parents’ house and breached the topic with my father. He said he would do his best.

    Thanks to some kind words from my father I had a meeting with Alan the following weekend. This was my chance. I’d spend the last decade preparing for this moment. I explained to Alan my plans for our club, that I believe our club can become a National and International powerhouse with the pure commitment of everyone involved. I probably sounded slightly naive in my ambitions but, I knew he could feel my passion.

    Today is the fourth of June 2016 and my first day as Manager of East Stirlingshire Football Club.

  2. Where my passion began...

    I just realised I’d introduced myself but, never actually given you my name. Trust me, I was not being mysterious on purpose. My name is Saul.
    My travel to The Shire is pretty easy going as I currently reside in a flat in Grangemouth, so the journey every morning to Stenhousemuir is not very time consuming… at least it is not when the love of my life is working… the love of my life being my beloved Nissan Pulsar GTI-R, which is broken more than not!
    Maybe if I am successful I can finally get her the way I want.

    My three best mates, Callum, Lewis and Andrew, came to see my first training session. They were buzzing and loved it as The Shire is their local club too. It was a great laugh but, I did take it serious, as I do with all aspects of my managerial position. I was giving my mates a forewarning that I’d be coming for their clubs in the future, Hibs, Aberdeen and Falkirk, respectively. They responded by taking the piss out of my other club, Rangers. I’m pretty sure they think I am talking a load of pish but, I am deadly serious. I have a vision for this club and a vision for the footballing community and I know I will succeed. After all, this is the club that kick started the one and only, Sir Alex Fergusons' career!

    On a more club related note, Alan has signed me up on a twelve month part time contract as a trial to see if my vision can take flight. The club is in a poor financial situation so I was pretty reasonable with my wage. £400.00 per week is all I will cost the club, so I will walk away with around £300.00 per week after I pay my dues. I hope I am worth it… actually I know I am.
    I have a compact yet dedicated staff force to help me with the club.
    Martin McIntyre is my Assistant Manager, Alex Faulds is my Head of Youth Development, Anna Murray is my Head Physio and Michael Lennon is my Chief Scout.
    I am currently filling in as Coach and Manager.
    This is a team I am very happy with at this stage in my career.

    I will be spending this transfer market doing a complete evaluation of our squad. To be fair it was not that hard as I know the club inside out, being a diehard supporter.
    It will be interesting to see how the summer pans out.
    Last edited by Orangeade; 23/02/2017 at 12:05 AM.

  3. Where my passion began...

    Today is the fourteenth of June 2016 and the first day of pre-season.

    With Michael by my side, using local knowledge and spending many hours at training sessions I have make quite a few transfer dealings.
    My first task as manager was to identify and remove the deadwood. Martin, Alex and Michael were paramount in this process.
    I have released Paul Sludden, Myles Gray, Cameron Stirling, Darren Stirling, Paul Thomson and Sean McGrandles for a combined compensation fee of £100.00, £20.00 apiece.

    Darren Dolan left us for pastures new down south, to join Sutton United FC in the Vanarama National League for a total fee of £1,100.00. With a value of £1,300.00 and being considered surplus, circa 85% of his value as an upfront fee was more than acceptable.

    I brought in Ryan Kenneth, Ben Priest, Jon Ackroyd, David Banjo and Kieran Ainslie on a free transfer after their previous clubs let them go. Their loss I would say.
    Ronnie Wilson came to us from Hawick Royal Albert on a free, Jamie Ferguson was brought in from Deveronvale for £500.00, costing us £1,000.00 each was Michael Andrews from Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic and Scott Norman from Annan Athletic FC. Our most expensive buy of the transfer market so far is Martin Laing who set us back £1,500.00 from Inverurie Loco Works.
    A total spending of £4,000.00, with a budget of £20,000.00 we still have plenty to play with.

    I feel I have covered most positions, and the only area we are still lacking is Striker. Only Andy Rogers is comfortable playing upfront and at age thirty-two he is getting on. So I have sent Michael out on his first solo scouting assignment to find me a suitable back up.

    I have also put Darren Comrie, Jimmy Donaldson, Scott Hilson and David Grant up for sale. Hopefully they generate some funds and I can bring in a decent Striker.

    The way I work my club is having three different line-ups. I have a First Team, Back Up squad and my Youths.
    Having settled for a 4-2-3-1 Wide, my roster is as follows:

    First Team:
    GK: Michael Andrews
    RB: Scott Norman
    RCB: Kieran Ainslie
    LCB: Scott Buist
    LB: Ryan Kenneth
    RCM: Ronnie Wilson
    LCM: Jamie Ferguson
    AMR: Jon Ackroyd
    AMC: Kris Faulds
    AML: Kyle McLean
    ST: Andy Rodgers

    Back Up:
    GK: Jamie Barclay
    RB: Graeme MacGregor
    RCB: Ross Fisher
    LCB: Ben Priest
    LB: Darren Donaldson
    RCM: Adam Murray
    LCM: Martin Laing
    AMR: Gavin McMillan
    AMC: David Banjo
    AML: James Comrie
    ST: Andy Rodgers

    GK: Dean Shaw
    RB: Ronan Wilson
    RCB: Connor Greene
    LCB: Stuart McLean
    LB: Sean Duncan
    RCM: Kyle Wilson
    LCM: Craig Comrie
    AMR: David Adams
    AMC: David Banjo
    AML: Derek Burns
    ST: Andy Rodgers

    I cannot wait for my first game in charge against Queen of the South FC!

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