Welcome back to another Mega Project – and this time its the start of the 17/18 season – something that Mason is looking forward to!
How Ards started the season:
In this short piece, I’ll be talking about how Ards have played in their first few games of the season, including some memorable moments and moments fans may want to forget.
On the opening day of the season, Bradshaw and Co lost 1-0 to Ballymena Utd away, conceding a dubious penalty which resulted in the only goal of the game and a red card for Patrick McGinn. The following week, they suffered similar misfortune after conceding a late goal and a penalty to lose 2-1 to Glentoran.
However in the next two games the Ards picked up 4 points, with a 1-0 win over Carrick thanks to a David McAllister goal and then a 1-1 draw with Linfield, who are current title holders.
Unfortunately the form didn’t continue as the club lost their following two games with a 2-1 loss to Cliftonville and a 1-0 loss to Glenavon. Both games were very close and Mason Bradshaw will be disappointed not to have picked up any points in those.
Their most recent game was a County Shield first round against Larne, who they managed to overcome in extra time with a 2-1 win thanks to a late Jake Richardson goal.
The club currently sit 9th in the league and are level with Ballinamallard United. Notable fixtures that are coming up include a crucial home match against relegation rivals Portadown and an away match against Coleraine within two weeks. Also the League Cup 2nd Round Draw puts Ards against Larne again, but this time away.
With only two days left of the transfer window we can recap their summer so far:
Liam Flatley, the 20 year old winger joined from Ballinamallard United. The Irishman has lots of potential and will be looking to join the club and make an immediate impact.
Jake Richardson joined from Annagh United this summer, with the 21 year old right back making 4 appearances so far this season.
Finally Ryan Arthur joined from Larne, and the Centre Back has made two substitute appearances so far but the 21 year old will be looking to make more of a first team impact.
Regarding departures; Jordan Hughes, Gareth Tommons, Ross Arthurs, Stuart McMullan, Guilaume Keke, Liam McAuley and Fra Brennan have left the club after their contracts expired. Only Fra has signed a deal with a new club (Brantwood) and the rest are still free agents at this time.
Well that was an very informative piece of writing, but why don’t we hear from the man himself?
Doesn’t time fly? It seems just 5 minutes ago I jetted off to New York, but now is time to begin a brand new season, which is only my second season in management, and my first full season as the Ards boss.
I’m looking for a vast improvement on the 7th place finish last season, and I have told my players that I expect us to be in or around the play off spots come the end of the year.
I have managed to do a bit of business, all free Transfers, as we welcome Liam Flatley, Jake Richardson and Ryan Arthur to the Ards’ family. I shall be Hopi to bring a few more players in before the deadline.
The start we’ve had with a record of 1-1-4 is far from ideal, and in all honesty, I expected more wins, however, we must remember it is very early on in the season.
Once again, I thank you for your amazing support, and hopefully we can start putting in some better performances, and getting a few points on the board!
We’ve heard from Mason so why don’t we hear from his family about the upcoming season…
We caught up with Robert Bradshaw and Tom Bradshaw, his twin brother and father respectively. We wanted to find out a little bit more about how they are coping with their relative being in a different country. Tom was first to answer “It’s quite strange, I have always seen my brother as a coach, but never thought it would actually come true. After the experience in Stirling I thought it was all over. But him, being in Ireland is a bit of a shock. I have only visited twice because of my work commitments. He has a nice two bedroom apartment which is perfect, he has even renovated the second bedroom in to a study room.” Robert then answered after “It’s always hard seeing your son go off to further his career, however this felt different. We were used to Mason being away for long periods of time, especially with his university studies and living in Liverpool. This was in fact a quicker journey – if we took the plane, so it was great. Obviously we wish he got a job closer to home, but you have to make these decisions yourself, it’s what you want at the end of the day. Myself and my wife (Angela) have been over, once with Tom and another for ourselves. We enjoyed the tour around Ards, especially watching training – It was quite fascinating how the squad bonded.”
Angela (Mason’s mother) shortly arrived after Tom and Robert so we asked her, do you think Mason will stay here for a long period of time or use the club as a stepping stone? Angela responded quite puzzled “It’s a bit of a weird question to ask me, I’m his mother but I don’t make his decisions for him. He has a mind of his own, he will let you think that you know what he wants and then at the final hurdle the will change his mind. He’s quite the character. I honestly have no idea how long he will stay here, he has a big season ahead of him and I’m sure that’s on the top of his mind.”
Finally, we asked the three of them how big a task is it to get Ards competing against the bigger teams? Robert was first to answer “It’s a massive task, he needs to sort the cash-flow first at the club, create a revenue and invest. That’s partly down to the fans, they need to get right behind the team and help the team push.” Tom was next “We seen what Mason was capable of last year, but we never really seen what he can do in a full season. This will be his first season in charge, hopefully he lasts (laughs) and does well.” Angela was the last to respond “I can’t deal with another sacking, it was heartbreaking listening to the media attempt to analyse his performances. He will do well.”
We thank the Bradshaw family for coming in to the studio tonight.
Mega Project is a unique Football Manager experience. Mega Project features Mason Bradshaw, a rookie manager who never played professionally, who attempts to climb the football leader from the first job to becoming a world class manager. Mega Project is something that’s never been done before as we look from all angles, from Mason himself, the clubs, his family and friends, colleagues, the world of football and more. Mega Project is released weekly here at DictateTheGame.com.
Incase you have missed any previous Mega Projects, you can read them all here:
- Mega Project #1 -Where it all Begins
- Mega Project #2 – Recruitment Process
- Mega Project #3 – Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.
- Mega Project #4 – Up North We Go!
- Mega Project #5 – Wow! I have an office!
- Mega Project #6
- Mega Project #7 – The League Begins…
- Mega Project #8 – Time to turn it around
- Mega Project #9 – Points, Points and more Points
- Mega Project #10 – It begins with S!
- Mega Project #11 – Drama!
- Mega Project #12 – A New Start
- Mega Project #13 – Survial?
- Mega Project #14 – Mason’s Off-Season Adventures
Want to keep up to date on every movement of Mason Bradshaw? Mason has a Twitter account where he tweets about jobs, training, his personal life and more. You can follow Mason on Twitter – @MasonBradshawFM