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Having been promoted from the Vanarama National League South, my Wealdstone team were naturally, one of the favourites for relegation. In the team meeting at the end of last season, I told that players that I would look to improve the squad to prepare ourselves for playing in a higher division. Last season in the Vanarama National League South I said exactly the same to the player but was not aiming to avoid relegation. This season a total of 28 players joined Wealdstone on free transfers. I called up a few of the U18s to the first team as some of them I envisage to have a great future playing in higher divisions.
Early on in pre-season, I completed the final coaching course at the National level. I finally, gained the National A Licence meaning that in the future, I can look to gain the coaching qualification at the Continental level.
Having undertaken these coaching qualifications, my coaching attributes have improved a great deal since the start of the save. See the image below to see how my attributes have changed over the years.
To finish this short update, you be able to see that I invited the French reserve teams to play some friendly matches in preparation for the upcoming season. You might be thinking, why have I done this again?
At the end of last season, the board decided that the club needed a new stadium and would be taking out a loan to do so. By playing these teams at home, a small amount of money is being awarded which can only help. As the Tesco slogan says, every little helps. Pre-season, as you can see wasn’t about winning. In my opinion, it’s never about winning, it’s about preparation, hence the ‘pre’ in the word. My Wealdstone team aren’t expected to win against the opposition that I select. I just want the team to be fit and ready for the upcoming season, a season in which we will be competing, one division away from Sky Bet League Two, where all the team have, unlike Wealdstone at this current time, Professional status.
2019/2020 Mid-Season Review
A short update for the midway point in the 2019/2020 season.
My Wealdstone team started the season like I predicted, a conservative approach settling into the league. With three draws on the bounce at the start of the season, I decided that the conservative approach was too defensive. More of an attacking style of play was needed, I wanted to prove the odds of Wealdstone being one of the favourites for relegation, wrong.
After changing the approach the team have only lost a total of two games and drawn seven. That positive run of results has seen Wealdstone most definitely defying the odds, sitting atop of the league. Having played 26 games, the team have won 13, drew 11 and lost 2 games thus far. I find it bemusing that with the number of draws, the most out of any team in the division, that the team are top of the league. Alas, you have to be lucky in football and with the other teams losing more games than drawing it has meant that we can sit atop of the league.
After being quite successful and eventually persuaded the club’s chairman, the club has agreed for me to begin the higher grade coaching qualification. Starting with the Continental C Licence which has set the club back a total of £960.
During the run-up to towards the mid-season review, I started getting approached by numerous clubs in higher leagues. The opportunity to manage in the higher league is something that I want to do in the future. Some of the clubs have approached me are quite reputable. I will have to take the January transfer to think about my future…
After leading the U20s Colombian national team to glory in the U20s FIFA World Cup, I knew that I want to test myself with another international team. After Algeria’s miserable African Cup of Nations, along with other managers from the African nations, the Algeria manager stepped down and I applied for the role.
Not long after taking the role, I could see how difficult it was going to be. The national pool was very depleted, the main squad full of ageing players. Having built a tactical approach with Wealdstone, I’m rather stubborn when it comes to changing a successful tactical approach. I am of the mantra that if something is not broke, then why should I need to fix it. This mantra, in international football, might be something that I have to change.
The first set of friendly fixtures against various African nations and Paraguay from South Africa. In the four fixture, the Algerian national team were only able to win a total of one game. The game against Paraguay ended in defeat and after changing the tactical approach the games against Angola and Guinea-Bissau ended in borefest 0-0 draws. After the friendlies, the next two games were important. The qualification round of the CAF World Cup Qualifiers. Two games against Egypt, the two games that determined my fate as the Algeria manager. It wasn’t to be and both games ended in defeat which meant that Algeria would not be going to the FIFA World Cup.
For me, it meant that I was sacked as the manager of Algeria. It wasn’t to be, but I will look for another international team to manage.
2019/2020 End of Season Review
I have to admit, when my Wealdstone team got promoted to the Vanarama National League, I was worried. But, after near enough changing the whole squad both seasons, building a team good enough to play in the two divisions that I have managed this team in, I feel that the team are worthy of being where they are.
The good run of results continued after the great start to the season. If you take a look at the position that the team were in during the mid-season review, it doesn’t take a lot to figure out where we finished at the end of this season
Being top of the league at the halfway stage of the season gives me the motivation to keep the team playing at the high standard that the team continuously displayed up to that period. That motivation comes from the failure that took place at Coventry. After a successful start, results got very poor and that ultimately resulted in me being sacked. Now I pride myself on keeping the team’s that I manage, consistent. This season was another season where towards the end I was trying to finish on more than 100 points. It wasn’t to be, but nevertheless, Wealdstone has been promoted to the Football League and next season will play in the Sky Bet League 2.
Taking an even closer look at the results from this season, you be able to see a quite successful cup run in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. This season, Wealdstone managed to get to the 3rd Round of the FA Cup after beating Billericay, Newport and St Albans in a lucky run of FA Cup draws. In the end, it came down to Championship opposition Leeds to knock us out of the FA Cup by narrowly beating Wealdstone by a single goal.
The FA Trophy, on the other hand, was another picture. Being the team at the top of the league for most of the season and, like most teams, having the motivation to win the trophy at the massive Wembley stadium.
Again, like last season, this season has been successful. But, this season has added more success with Wealdstone winning both the league title and the FA Trophy. In terms of the player’s awards. It was Jonathan North with another fantastic season and took 37% of the fan’s votes who as awarded with the Fans’ Player of the Year award. Daniel Wright took 26% and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall took 23% of the votes and those two players finished 2nd and 3rd in the Fans’ Player of the Season award. Those players coming up second and third in that award was okay for them as Daniel Wright scored the Goal of the Season and Kiernan Dwesbury-Hall was the Signing of the Season.
Finally, Ryan DE Havilland was awarded the Young Player of the Season.
After being promoted to the Sky Bet League Two, the club had to change a few things. One of the things that had to change, I had already requested to the board.
In order to play in the Football League, the club had to turn professional.
And finally, with the team getting promoted, I wanted to improve the facilities so I requested for the board to improve the youth facilities. The board agreed and would pay a total of £80,000 to improve the youth facilities with construction taking around 8 months to complete.
That’s the end of this season’s review in terms of Wealdstone. Now for myself, I’m in a state of pondering my future. I have already been approached by numerous club in the higher divisions, clubs even higher than the Sky Bet League Two. I have a goal to eventually be managing Manchester United. To do that, I need to prove that I can manage at the higher levels. The next few months for me are going be interesting. Teams usually end up sacking managers at the end of the season, managers move to new teams which open the door for me to move to another team in the higher divisions. If I am honest, although I have managed to guide Wealdstone to back-to-back promotions. I am worried, will the team be able to cope being a Professional team, will they be able to cope in the Football League? These are questions that, at the moment, I am unable to answer.