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Coventry City FC
At the end of the last update, you read that I had taken over the Colombian U20s and was sitting top of the Vanrama National League South.
As for myself, before the previous update, I started undertaking the next coaching badge, the National B Licence. In February the news came that I had successfully completed the course and would be the proud holder of the National B Licence.
With the club being top of the league and getting to the third round of the FA Trophy and the second round of the FA Cup respectively, the clubs finances improved a great deal. With this in mind, I spoke to the board about improving the youth facilities which would, in the long run, allow the club to move up the youth levels. The board accepted the proposals and the construction work will begin at the end of the season with an expected to finish early October next season. The total cost to the club £85,000
Now, I’m spoken about the finances improving in the club. But, the next improvement and financial layout, I did not expect.
At the end of next season, the club will be playing in a new stadium. The decision to build a new stadium I am undecided as to whether I agree with.
From a positive viewpoint, this new stadium will be owned by the club. At the moment the club is renting the current stadium, The Hive. Owning the new stadium will help the club financially in the future as there will be less worry about making rental payments. A minor negative but an understandable decision is the fact that the new stadium will see the capacity decrease from 6,135 to 4,373. Whilst decreasing the capacity is annoying, the decision is understandable as The Hive was on average throughout filled with only 26% of its capacity. The big talking point for the new stadium is the total cost of £3.5m. Granted nearly £2m has been offset by the stadium sponsorship and a grant from the authorities. But a loan of £1.9m incurring interest is going to take a long time for a club of Wellstone’s stature to payback.
In terms of the football, the most important aspect of my job as a manager. As previously stated, Wealdstone was sitting atop of the Vanrama National League South at the start of January. I’m pleased to say that the form continued into the new year.
Over the course of a long season, the team only lost a total of two competitive games. The first a loss against Rochdale in the FA Cup 2nd Round and a loss against Welling in the FA Trophy 3rd Round.
As for the league, well, you can see for yourself, Wealdstone remained undefeated. Winning 32 out of 42 games in the league.
Compared to last season where the figures for wins, losses and draws read 13 wins, 16 draws and 13 losses. Very average figures and shows that the team was in need of a good shakeup.
The seasonal awards were given out for the Fan’s Player of the Season, Goal of the Season, Signing of the Season, Young Player of the Season and the Team of the Season.
The first award, potentially the most important as it’s award of recognition by the fans.
The Fan’s Player of the Season was award to Goalkeeper, Jonathan North. North only let in a total of 17 in the league and was a standout player in the team and very much deserving of this away. Hats of to centreback, Ciaron Brown and centre midfielder, Jordan Linley for were voted 2nd and 3rd for this award. The second award was awarded to Jordan Linley for a sensational strike against Morecambe well worthy of the Goal of the Season. Abdulai Bell-Baggie was awarded the Signing of the Season after some great performances following his arrival in January. Finally, the Young Player of the Season was awarded to Attacking Midfielder, Alistair Smith who rocked the Shadow Striker role. Joining on loan from Mansfield Town, Smith really controlled the centre of the field in the games that he played and deserves this award.
The league table shows how Wealdstone won the league. Finishing top of the league with a total of 106 points after, as previously stated, 32 wins and 10 draws show some form of domination. However, one thing that is not shown in the image is the number of goals scored by the team in the league. If I was to change the league table by the goals scored Wealdstone would have finished 8th. The team scored a total of 73 goals this season, the leaders for goals scored were 2nd placed Concord. It was the matter of only conceding 17 goals and going undefeated that made sure that Wealdstone won the league.
For all the success, I have been award with my first individual season award by being awarded the Vanarama National League South Manager of the Year Award.
Next season is going to be a challenge. The Vanarama National League one league away from the Football League. The board have set the target of avoiding relegation which reflects how difficult next season is going to be. Over the upcoming pre-season, I’m going to have to assess the squad and see if I have a squad capable of avoiding relegation. Counter-attacking football is probably going to be the way to play, but I’ll have to assess that over the pre-season.
Now, in the previous update, I said that I would discuss the progress I have made with Colombia.
In terms of the team’s tactic, I went for something very similar to what I’m currently using with Wealdstone but moved a few players around and used some different roles. The asymmetrical 4-2-3-1 as can be seen from last season has been very successful. The few changes that I have made are switching the SS and the DLF around by having the DLF on the right and the SS on the right side of the attack. For the role change, I have added an Inside Forward on the right side of the pitch to add more of an attacking threat and provide more options to the players looking to make threatening passes. The team instructions for the tactic were changed slightly. With more talented players, I set the defensive line to push higher up forcing the opposition back into their own half.
I joined the Colombian U20s as their manager on the 14th October 2018. On that very day, I organised a friendly for the next day and numerous friendlies leading to the upcoming Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-20. In games where I needed more defensive mentality, I changed the tactic to a 4-3-3 with a DM assisting with defensive duties. See below for how the team got on in the seven friendlies organised against a mixture of teams.
Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-20
This competition provided great preparation for the upcoming U20s FIFA World Cup. Being in the group with the like of Uruguay and Brazil with potential opponents Argentina amongst other in the latter stages of the competition. Being in the group with the holders Uruguay is going to be tough. However, some confidence was taken in knowing that Colombia has won this competition before, the last time in 2013 and 2005.
The way that this competition works is that the top three teams in both groups go through to the final stages. My Colombian team stormed through the group stages finishing top of the group winning all four games. Brazil and Ecuador followed my team through to the final stages. In Group B, Argentina topped the group with Chile and Paraguay following all the other teams through to the final stages. See below for my Colombian team’s results in the group stage
The final stages saw some great team qualify from the group stages. It was this stage of the competition were my team needed to push on but failed to do so. In some sense, one could probably blame my tactical vulnerability. The teams that qualified from Group A had already played my in the competition so had an idea how I would line the team up tactically. This much as shown in the draw against Brazil and the well fought out level-headed against Argentina. On a positive note, my Colombian team did end the competition unbeaten but, that wasn’t enough to win the competition.
It was Brazil that stepped up in the Final Stage winning four and drawing one game compared to Colombia’s three wins and two draws. It was a close run competition and a competition that has shown me a lot as the team prepare for the U20 FIFA World Cup.
In terms of awards, one player, Andrés Villarraga made the Dream Team starting XI with an additional five player from the Colombian team making the Dream Team substitutes. GK Carlos Niño was award with the competition’s Best Goalkeeper.
U20s FIFA World Cup 2019
After a rather successful Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-20, my Colombian team got ready in full preparation for the upcoming U20s FIFA World Cup in Poland. Before the competition started, there was enough time for one friendly match against England. Sticking with the asymmetrical 4-2-3-1 the team showed how well prepared they are with an emphatic 2-0 victory over a very good U20s English side.
Funnily enough, England was a good choice for preparation as that very English side would join my Colombian side in Group B alongside, Australia and Honduras.
The group didn’t start off too well and makes me eat my word regarding the preparation for this competition. The first game against England ended in defeat with England scraping a 1-0 victory.
It is game like that, that show the difference between a friendly in preparation and a competitive game in a big competition. The next to games against Honduras and Australia were more successful with my Colombian team winning 3-0 and 2-0 respectively. The loss to England was critical though as it saw Colombia finish second in the group. It was England, Colombia and Australia that qualified for the next stage of the competition.
The second round saw a mighty clash of a local rival for Colombia as they faced Brazil. As Brazil had only recently won the Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-20, this game was of vital importance. With that in mind, I ensured that the defensive shape was solid and that the counter-attacking play was effective. It was a counter attack that won the game and the solid defensive shape that ensured a passage through to the quarter-final of the U20s FIFA World Cup. It wasn’t pretty and synonymous with the football that one would see in South America. But, when a job has to be done, you find a way to do it and winning 1-0 against a close rival is good enough for me.
In the quarter-final, Colombia faced Ghana. Ghana came through a great spectacle in the second round. A game which included eight games, Ghana coming out on top by winning 5-3.
Ghana’s run in the competition came to an end in this round though as my Colombian team played with an attacking intent straight from kick off. That attacking intent ensured that my Colombian team kept a clean sheet and scored three great goals securing the passage through to the next round.
The semi-final saw Colombia drawn against the team that I used to prepare my team for this competition and the team that topped Group B, England. Having got my team this far into the competition, I did not want another repeat of the Brazil game. That game to watch was a borefest so I wanted to make this game more exciting with consistent attacking football.
Consistent attacking football is exactly what I got with one of the best game of football I have seen from a set of youth players. A total of nine goals scored, seven of them by my Colombian side.
The average positions demonstrate how much work the team put in. Below is an image with the team’s average positions both with and without the ball. With the ball, the team push up high in an attempt to keep the ball in the danger area. This much is evident with the average position change by the forwards.
The solid shape of both positions both with and without the ball saw the team through to the final of the U20s FIFA World Cup.
The final of the U20s FIFA World Cup saw rivals lock horn as Colombia and Argentina fought for the trophy. A huge crowd of 16,050 turn out for this battle. It was a battle of will that went right down to the wire. If I was able to record the game on YouTube the my reaction during this game would have been memorable. The game got off to a flying start with Jesus Ferreira scoring inside the first minute of the game. It took Argentina until ten minutes into the second half to equalise through Paul Charpentier. Fifteen minutes later, Colombia fired back in front making it 2-1. The game got interesting when Charpentier scored his second goal of the game for Argentina making it 2-2. With extra time looming, in the 93rd minute, Juergen Eltim scored making it 3-2 to Colombia thus securing the win making Colombia the 2019 U20 FIFA World Cup Champions!
In term of individual awards for the competition. Henry Giovannetty picked up the Golden Ball with some amazing performance, amassing a total of four goals and three assists in six games with an average rating of 7.70. Carlos Niño picked up the Golden Glove with some amazing goalkeeping performance. He only conceded five goal in seven appearances keeping a total of four clean sheets throughout the competition.