By the end of my last post, PSV were muddling along in midtable, we’d just ended the January transfer window by signing a few transfer listed players which I hoped would kickstart our season. Our league position was floating between 5th and 10th, and I was starting to feel the pressure.
Immediately after the window closed, there was a player revolt. The whole squad wanted to know why we were underachieving, why we had to keep playing possession football, etc. etc. Instead of placating them all by soothing them and changing formation, I may have gone a bit mad. I told them to shape up and get on with playing football, resulting in a run of defeats, winning 1 game in 10. Losing 4-0 away to Lille in the Europa League was bad enough, but when FC Dordrecht rocked up at the Philips Stadion and walk away with a 1-0 win against my first 11, I was fuming. Fined the whole 11 a week’s wages in a fit of hatred, and walked away from the computer in order to save my TV from a premature end.
10 minutes later, I returned to find an interesting offer on the table. Completely out of the blue, Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion were offering me an interview. In the interview, I was promised a transfer budget of 20m if I could save them from relegation. Now, I do love a challenge, and a Brighton side rooted to the bottom of the league 12 points from safety is certainly a challenge. I’d lost the dressing room at PSV a la Jose Mourinho, so I felt that I may as well go for the fresh atmosphere!
Looking at my new Brighton squad, there’s nothing much to suggest we can stay up. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Oriel Romeu are the two key midfielders, while Florin Andone and Veton Berisha are the underperforming strikers.
My first 4 games are defeats, but there’s certainly improvements. Looking back at their results, no wins since Christmas, several big defeats and only 2 points in 2 months, I couldn’t do much worse. After our first 4 games, things start looking up. I get my first point at the AMEX stadium against West Ham, and follow it up with 3 wins in the next 4 games against Leicester, Swansea and Palace.
Inevitably, the battle goes against us though. Other results don’t go our way, and we end our season rock bottom of the Premier League. The board, desperate to come straight back up, don’t hold it against me and hand over 28m for me to spend. Transfer requests galore come in, and I let the two underperforming strikers leave, as there’s a decent youngster on the bench who has done OK for me since I arrived, England U20 international Gary Mullineux, who already has 18 finishing, 17 pace and acceleration, and scored 6 Premier League goals last season, all of them since I arrived. To compliment him, I buy in transfer listed Ayoze Perez from Chelsea, who demands 70k a week to play Championship football. My hope is that I can get straight back up, then sell him once we’re up. Otherwise, I’ll be looking at signing some good players to get us straight back into the promised land, as I doubt Kazenga LuaLua and Saidy Janko will do the job.
As soon as pre-season starts, more players want to leave. Oriel Romeu, who had a sneaky 3.7m relegation release clause in his contract, sails off to Bournemouth, who did manage to stay up in 17th. I bring in Lazio’s Mamadou Tounkara on a Bosman for £15,250 a week, while our captain 33 year old Uwe Hunemaier goes off to Derby County for a mere 45k. Tyler Blackett bursts into my office in tears demanding to know why I let his best friend Uwe go, I give him a lollipop and usher him back to training.
Man Utd aren’t happy being under the temporary stewardship of Ryan Giggs, and bring back my replacement at Aston Villa, the great David Moyes.
I’m looking at a few players to bring in, my scouts are working overtime and Andre Ayew arrives on a month long trial. Ambitious contact is made with free agents Chris Smalling, Carlos Tevez, and World Cup winners Andres Iniesta and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who all refuse to play Championship football.
I’ll keep everybody posted on who comes in, and how the start of my first Championship season goes! Remember you can follow the blog on WordPress, or follow me on Twitter @JDdwerryhouse to keep updated!