My Story #6 – Look What We’ve Dunn!

 

Dear Diary,

Now it’s October and I have found comfort. We are finding our feet and the boys like me, not in that way.

I have another month and another 6 games under my belt and I feel at home. I have earned a solid £2.3k at the moment, enough to let an apartment not too far from the ground. I had to leave the cat back with my mum even though it clawed at my jeans and wouldn’t let me leave, nonetheless I have my own gaff.

Enough about me, more about our form and whats been happening.

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Sutton Common 0-0 Hounslow United 

I can’t even begin to describe how boring this game was. We should’ve won however the lads probably wouldn’t have been motivated by my constant yawning on the side lines. What do they expect when they produce that trash? I was hopeful however,the opposition had no shots on target and we controlled the game but PUT THE GOD DAMN BALL IN THE NET. Side note – Our star Central Midfielder Olukanmi had his foot broken in this game. I am fuming in so many ways.

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Sutton Common 0-2 Spelthorne

If the last game was trash this was just outrageous. Honestly, I yawned a lot in the last game but this one was a swear-fest. The lads told me at half time to start a swear jar and by full time my weeks wages was poured in. Disappointed is an understatement but fair play to Spelthorne, they took advantage of us being totally shite.

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Knaphill 0-4 Sutton Common 

Up and down like the proverbial yo-yo yet again. Stuart Richardson has received a letter from the Queen, he’s been awarded a knighthood. Taser Hassan bags a goal too and we look like the team we all have wet dreams about, oh yeah, Sutton Common.

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Sutton Common 6-3 Colliers Wood 

4-2 up at 52 minutes and then for some reason the game blew up in the last few minutes. BUT we scored SIX. Amazing. Both strikers, Dunn and Richardson bagging braces and making sure their trousers remained at a respectable level. 10 goals in two games is not shabby. Not even fussed by the 3 goals conceded, we can live with that as long as we are scoring 6 every game.

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Sutton Common 3-0 Bedfont Sports 

RIP ROARING, FREE SCORING COMMONERS. Was the chant from the 158 home fans who turned up for this fixture. Bloody hell. I am starting to think we are on to something here. Barely any chances fell for Bedfont and Billy bloody Dunn scores again.

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East Preston 2-5 Sutton Common (FA Vase 2nd Qual. Rnd) 

Will we ever stop scoring? 18 goals in 4 games is just getting a bit outrageous now… September has been a month for goals and specifically Billy Dunn, who once again bags not only 1, not 2, not 3, BUT FOUR GOALS. I have sent him an invite to go out for dinner, I love the man. He respectfully rejected my invite, sadly.

So in hindsight, September has been outrageous. So many goals. I want us to be free scoring, fuck defending just score and outscore them. But where does this leave us?

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Goodness me. Dizzy heights of 3rd come the end of September. We are challengers, if we hadn’t lost on the opening day to Farnham we would be right up there. Plenty of games to play but, Diary, I am confident. I may not be a tactical genius but I know how to swear and yawn.

Successful September. Up the Commoners.

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My Story #5 – A Mixed Bag

Dear Diary,

It is September 1st and we are 4 league games deep into my managerial career. I sit here on a summer evening in my room bloated from my dinner and I think I am ready to review how we have done so far.

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Farnham 2-1 Sutton Common 

My first game, an away fixture, at Farnham. And a poor, poor performance. 2-1 loss. Urgh. I could picture the headlines already “Reeve sacked in record time”. Nevertheless, we can look at the positives right? Billy Dunn scored our goal and when we switched from a 4-5-1 to a classic 4-4-2 we looked dangerous. However a defeat is a defeat and we needed an improvement.

I noticed the potential for using 2 up top and settled the boys and told them to “Make the 4-4-2 Great Again” and they look at me with a glint in their eye that says “he’s crazy” but also “you’re on to something here mate”. Stuart Richardson and Billy Dunn will be our Yorke and Cole and into our next game we go.

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Sutton Common 4-0 Guildford

In the words of Jurgen Klopp, BOOM! What a brilliant well rounded performance. The 4-4-2 is officially great again. I can retire happy now, knowing we have beaten Guildford 4-0. Billy Dunn bags a brace and has a statue carved and ready to be unveiled outside Ganders Green Lane. GET IN! Hopefully we can build a bit of momentum now and fly up the table!

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Chertsey 4-0 Sutton Common 

Flipping hell. Cancel everything I just said. Burn the statue. Burn everything. Tactical plan burned. I am going home to cry to my mum about how rude Chertsey are. I am hurt. We are embarrassing today and must sort this out. Our 4-4-2 needs bags of tweaks and well hopefully this doesn’t hit us too long. I shed too many tears that night for it to take more of a toll on us.

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Horley 0-1 Sutton Common 

YESSS. I LOVE LATE GOALS. We are the footballing equivalent of a yo-yo. Get in. We survived a barrage for the entire game in the dying seconds Stuart Richardson our big old target man found himself in bags of space in the box and SMASHED THE BASTARD HOME. COME ON.

So where does all this drama leave us in the league standings.

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Slap bang in Mid-table. If we can have a good solid season and maybe in and around the top 6 I will be pleased and I am sure the board won’t be too displeased.

The boys are growing and hopefully we can get some consistency. Our next month will be crucial in finding out where we will finish and hopefully I won’t be banging my head against a brick wall like I did after that bloody Chertsey game.

One down side from this run of games was the loss to a 4 week injury for Greg Ngoyi, a pacey striker who’s physical presence will be a miss. The guy can’t stop getting injured. But we have a pretty stacked squad for now and I am glad the depth is there.

UP THE COMMONERS.

 

My Story #4 Managerial Debut Nerves

Dear Diary,

It’s the 6th August and time has seemingly flown by. I have been so busy building Sutton Common a legitimate team who can actually challenge and my anxiety has reached new found levels as it is the day of my debut.

We play Bracknell away from home in an FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round. However before we get into that drama, I think we have some introductions to make.

First thing I did when Darryl the DoF  arrived through the door was give him the responsibility to make offers for players as well as offer contracts to staff. So our lack of scouts was soon sorted out and targets could be spotted.

Weirdly, the first signing I made was a 16 year old Brandon Heffernan. Who is  a goalkeeper for the future but has bags of potential that for some reason I found irresistible.

I realise now that going through all the signings one by one will take eternity and we don’t have that time around here so here is the list of transfers. I am sure as time continues we will get to know everyone.

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At this stage, definitely not enough men through the door but there’s still players on our radar to help fill the numbers out.

This is how the team shapes up. And instantly I knew Taser Hasan was going to be one of our key men and being an attacking player I am sure he will be involved a lot in our tactics.

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Plenty of depth required but definitely a good starting point for us Commoners.

The main attraction though and my mind is completely fixated upon it. My debut.

The first chance I get to either be a complete fuck up or an absolute godsend. If I mess up, I reckon Waitrose are still looking for a sales assistant.

Bracknell are around the same level as us however have been made favourites probably due to them being the home side. We had a relatively drab pre-season with a lot of defeats, however I don’t care we didn’t have a team for any of the games. This is the game that actually matters. FA Cup for a non-league side like us is an absolute gold mine, let’s investigate this mine.

It was an hour before kick off and the line ups were announced. Here is how we shaped up…

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This is the best we can do at the moment. We only know 2 of our subs, the rest just got dragged on to the team coach before it pulled away from Ganders Green Lane.

Anyways, we got into the game and gave the boys the greatest team talk I had ever delivered. Well, the only team talk I had ever delivered.

Ngoyi (our big fast striker) went into the game with a touch of a knock but he’s a battler so should be just fine.

I almost screamed on the sideline after just 26 seconds when Richardson delivered a delicious ball across the 6 yard box and the ball was just hooked away. Imagine that start. Up the Commoners.

15 minutes passed and the game was a drab one. I could picture every game at this level could be this boring. God I won’t make it out of this alive, I will die of boredom.

Well, as if by magic… It is half time. No highlights, just low-lights. How bloody boring.

I get stuck into them at half time and have a go at Jack Barnett, for some reason. He just should be making chances and he’s having a shitter. The changing room is silent, the boys don’t even know each other yet and they don’t know me, so it is all just very awkward.

Nonetheless, can we get an FA Cup win?

Our keeper bails us out when their lanky striker breaks through our back four. Goodness me, this is tougher than I expected.

Bloody hell. Okay 1-0 Bracknell. No one want to track back and defend our far post? No? I’ll go! For god sake. Rees puts them a goal up. We have to react now!

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We begin to up the ante and the tempo is raised. I tell the boys to get the ball on the move and they look at me like I am some sort of moron, they aren’t wrong.

AND IT ALWAYS BACKFIRES. 2-0 Bracknell. I think we can wave goodbye to the FA Cup gold. King bags a goal and with 25 minutes to go it looks bleak.

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OR MAYBE NOT!! I throw right winger Frenchman Ehui (That’s not his official name) and he pays me back! Bangs in a quality volley and WE ARE BACK IN IT!! Come on. There is a glimmer in my eyes, yet I still have no clue what I am doing.

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The ante has officially been upped and now Ngoyi is firing on all cylinders and realised he needs to shoot to make the keeper work.

18 minutes remain, can we salvage it?

WHAT A SAVE HARRISON. He’s has single-handedly (literally) kept us in it here, great one handed save to deny King a brace. It is end to end now and so bloody open. I can’t take it.

FOR GOD SAKE. Nope. It is definitely over now. 3-1 Rees bags another and it is almost identical to his first. The dream of a scalp is done. Harrison should’ve saved that.

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We are rallying towards the end, however the game is long gone. I am not too disappointed but not the perfect way to start. But what can you expect with a team that hasn’t “gelled”.

I tell the boys they are unlucky and we move on, brushing it under the carpet.

Players are needed before the new season fully kicks off in a few days.

Up The Commoners!

My Story #3 Early Days

Dear Diary,

I made it. The big time.

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Well, the 9th tier of English Football is my big time. I have been given a chance and today I officially meet the chairman for the first time as the proper boss. What will he be like? I hope he’s generous, all I have read about him is that he “loves the club” but anyone could say that.

As I walked towards the Gander Green Lane, it hits me that the dream is real. Would I take Sutton Common Rovers to the top? Or would this just be the beginning of a long journey. Either way, only time will tell.

I walk in the reception to be greeted by Mr Reed, the chairman, my boss. I am already scared of the man. He introduces me and my first press conference is arranged. I didn’t realise press conferences were a thing at this level, who even turns up?

I am then guided back to the reception where a peculiar ginger man is waiting. “Hi Alex, I’m John Abbott. Your Assistant. And before you say anything, I am strawberry blonde, not ginger.”  Don’t 1get me wrong I have nothing against gingers, but that phrase ‘I am strawberry blonde’ grinds my gears. I am not sure we will get along. I simply told him to get on with the friendlies because their a waste of my time.

That was a strange meeting, nonetheless he bought me along to the training ground and I bet the lads. Or well, the lack of lads. There was nobody here.

Where are they?

For fuck sakes. This may be a lot harder than I thought. Well at least I can build the team I want right? Right?! Bloody hell.

I decided today I will sort out the staff we need because I will go senile with just that self-proclaiming strawberry blonde. I instantly search for versatile staff who will cover all the bases and ex-Arsenal youth product Lee Canoville takes my fancy. He is in. I also look for a relatively good Head of Youth Development so Andy Ward comes in, a 48 year old from Leicester with ’20’ working with youngsters, hopefully he will help us grow some products.

I need scouts, because I actually need some players. Funnily enough. Our only scout is bald and completely blind to seeing any talent. When I met him he just wasn’t sure where he was. The Stevie Wonder of scouting.

I figured bringing in a Director of Football would be a wise move to bring in the volume of players which is required for this summer. So 63 year old Darryl (that’s how he was introduced to me over the phone so that is how he shall be named) will join us and hopefully help build me this amazing squad.

Well, I can’t afford the wages of any scouts. Pissing bollocks.

Anyway, I took a gander at the league and it consists of 22 teams. The media reckons we will finish 11th, well if we can get some players through the door then sure thing. But I am not expecting much.

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I am a little bit scared for what I have got myself in for. Am I even cut out for this life?

I waltz into the press conference the next day and tell them young managers can do what ever the feck they want and they should watch this space. Sutton is about to become a Common name in English football (See what I did there?). They seem to all chuckle… Oh well. I also tell the media that I ‘value players as people’ well I simply lied through my teeth there. I would value players if I bloody had any… Which reminds me, I MUST BUILD THE SQUAD FFS.

Before the end of my second day in charge I decided it may be a good idea to organise some friendlies against bigger teams to boost the finances, so I offer Sheffield Wednesday out. It could be hugely embarrassing.

Anyway, that’ll do. Hopefully tomorrow we will have bags of transfer news and can actually put together a team.

Up the Commoners!

My Story #2 – Getting On The Map

Dear Diary,

I am currently staying at my friends University accommodation in lovely Cardiff and noticed an advert in the local paper that read “Cardiff Met Uni needs a new boss!” so of course, being in the current financial situation I am, I thought I would stick my nose in.

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My goodness they gave me an interview!

So before the interview I thought I would do my research about the Uni, so what courses they did and the lark before realising they had a minuscule £250 wage budget…

Bloody hell. Okay, is that all for me?

Either way, the club had just been promoted to the Welsh Premier League so they must be worth their salt.

Nevertheless I stuck my game face on (to cover up my hangover face from a crazy student night in Cardiff) and headed down to The Cyncoed Campus ground (I know, what a great stadium name).

We spoke briefly before they hacked into me about how I had applied for other jobs! How did they know I had also applied to work at Waitrose?! I have been leaked. I also told them I have no philosophies apart from ‘work hard, party harder’. I thought this would grab me brownie points, with it being a Uni and all. And they went and hit me with the expectation of avoiding relegation which is expected with a wage of that magnitude.

And I left feeling quietly confident it had gone well, but I wasn’t sure that Cardiff Met Uni was the job for me. I mean it on the financial front I would be able to stay at my Uni mate’s accommodation but I would be earning literally nothing and the team is toss!

For the time being I also stick throw my CV at Sligo Rovers and Galway United, who both instantly laugh it off. This could be one long job hunt.

I also found myself sifting through the depths of non-league jobs, the jobs based around London take my fancy most as I won’t have to travel far meaning I won’t have to move out just yet and pack all my belongings away. Not just yet anyway.

I have spoken with Croydon, Sutton Common Rovers, Erith & Belvedere and London Colney about being their potential manager. Only time will tell whether my natural charm has won them over or not…

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Croydon are offering me £220 a week with near to no wage budget and simply expecting to avoid relegation from the Southern Counties East League.

London Colney are an Amateur side offering no (!) money a week but £1.7k a week wages for players in the Spartan South Division.

And possibly the best of the lot Sutton Common are offering me £220 a week to get a top half finish in the Cherry Red Premier with £1.6k wages. I think that is the best option for me at this present moment. Sutton is a small journey for me, but with that kind of money a week I can live.

It is off to Sutton we go!

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My Story #1 – New Beginning

Dear Diary,

This is my first entry and definitely not my last. My name is Alex Reeve, I am 25 years old and this is my story.

1My suitcase is packed and I am ready. I mean, I don’t have a job and I have just hugged my Mum goodbye, not sure whereabouts I am heading to.

All I have is this grey suit, my hair and some very shitty ideas of how to lead a football team to glory. It only felt right that I put myself out there. I am on the market, a little bit like tinder except I don’t have that great of a bio and my targets are more likely to swipe left that swipe right.

My aims? Well, get a job not far from home (preferably) so I can still live with my parents. I am still young and well working in Sainsbury’s doesn’t quite cut the biscuit anymore. Even the cat is starting to hate my presence around the house. If I can do okay at that job, progress and eventually get some kind of silverware but that’s in some distant future.

I don’t have any badges and well grass roots football experience will have to do, I suppose. I am not a genius and well a 4-5-1 usually does the trick, well it did in the Bromley and Croydon Leagues when I played there. I was a good defensive midfielder, and as a captain I suppose the natural development is becoming a gaffer. Right?

Well I don’t know.

Your guess is as good as mine.

2My mum wants me out and I don’t even have a job yet! If I can sweet talk my way through
some interviews with my natural charm then we have done ourselves proud. It did the job in that Sainsbury’s interview a few years back so it’s surely not that different. That’s the first aim.

 

I will give an update when I have found a job. But for now I best get on Indeed.com….

AFC Charlton – Welcome to Charlton Park

AFC Charlton, a team in the Kent County Football League, have appointed young manager Alex Reeve to take the helm and guide the club to glory and above their fierce rivals Charlton Athletic.

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The club is funded by the Campaign Against Roland Duchâtelet (CARD) protest fund. The club’s budget is definitely the largest in the league and Reeve is fully expected to get the club out of this league immediately.

The club was founded by the fans after the mismanagement that has occurred at original club Charlton Athletic.

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The club is, most importantly for the fans, owned by the fans.

Here is the club’s information as we get going into the season and see whether glory is something AFC Charlton want to have.

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Charlton Park is situated exactly 1 mile away from the Charlton Athletic ground. So rivalries will be intense and when AFC Charlton start climbing the league ladder then it will be far more interesting.

AFC Charlton are in Level 11 of the English pyramid so they have a long way to go yet, but they have the determination to become the very best.

I hope you enjoy the idea behind this blog, the next update is bound to be at the end of this season just to get the save really rolling along. So I will see you at the end of this campaign!

Follow me on Twitter @FMVillasBoas