VIII – It’s a process
Things here are progressing incredibly fast. Plans have been submitted & accepted to develop and build an 4,500 all-seated stadium on the Hackney Marshes. The community are of course anxious, but the promise of redevelopment for the area has been shown. Shirt sponsors Atea are taking naming rights on a 4 year deal, leaving the name of the stadium as Atea Sporting Complex, perfect eh?
IX – Expectations
Many are wondering how we’ll fare in the Vanarama National League South, some people are saying we will walk the league, others have been saying the complete opposite. For me, the only expectation is to build up a competitive team & if we somehow manage to push for, or infact are even around with a chance of promotion, I’ll consider that a bonus. I’m not interested in a promotion right from the off, of course it would be nice but some things happen to fast & the last thing we want to do is lose everything we’ve built up.
Things are slowly progressing, plans for the stadium have been finalised & building has started, our training complex in Bergen is virtually complete & our backroom staff are starting to take shape. The squad is complete and training is set to begin on July 1st, just a short few days away.
I – Changes….. already?!
Getting called to a board meeting is never exactly ideal, I mean who wants to be in an office full of old men, who think they know better than people who’ve spent years in the game….. Didn’t think you’d like the sound of that!
But, this board meeting was actually positive. I’d pulled up concerns about the clubs logo before and after much talk, the board had come to a conclusion….. the logo would change. People had compared us to an American Footballing team with the logo, it doesn’t shout out football, does it?
You can see from the image taken from our twitter page that the club has moved towards a ‘proper’ looking logo. The standard shield with a rather fetching looking Viking, slap bang in the centre. This does give us one big problem though, the kits need to be redesigned, the adverts need to be taken down and the huge bloody logo that sitting outside the stadium needs to be changed. Better late than never, Right?
XI – Pre-Season begins
July the 1st, the training ground is looking beautiful. The pitch looks immaculate, the staff are refreshed and cars are slowly starting to pull into the complex. I sat in my office for a while, gathering my thoughts while I work on my team meeting notes. This will be the first time I’ve met the squad & I am incredibly anxious, how do I approach my first meeting.
11AM. Saturday July 1st 2017
“Welcome to the club lads, this is the first time I’ve met all of you. I want you all to know that my door is always open, any issues about anything, come and see me & I am sure we will come to some resolution. I want to take this time to introduce our assistant and 2 coaches. I’m sure many of you will recognize the name Shang Lei, ex-Mariehamn and Canada striker & a very good friend of mine will be our assistant coach, meanwhile 2 other Mariehamn legends Al Clarke and Seb Button will be our attacking and defending coaches.”
Well, I hope that went okay. We have a proper meeting in the next few days where we will discuss much more in detail about goals and club expectations. But for now, that is all you need to know!
So, it’s official. We’re a real, competitive football club…. Well, real for now. The board have pushed for some friendlies against some higher rated teams such as Southend and Charlton, good tests for our relatively young squad. We’ve been made favourites to gain promotion this year which has its negatives, for example….. If we don’t get promoted, I lose my job and go into a spiral and just spend everyday in a corner crying, either that or head back to Mariehamn.
Training game v Under 23’s
With a huge attendance of 0, our senior side put in a very convincing performance against the younger side. It was a very surreal experience for me, from sitting on the bench watching as a coach to now shouting as many expletives as I want, not that I do that, I’m a gentleman on the sidelines.
Both sides worked to the same kind of gameplan, flowing attacking football, although those plans were scuppered because the ref was ever so slightly whistle happy, but that didn’t take too much away from the overall performance. Our first goal came in the 10th minute through 16 year old, Halvor Janshuag who some have already nicknamed ‘Shagger’. It was a great finish for the young lad, must have been 15 yards out from goal and put it into the bottom corner, he better do that again this year.
Left Winger Thomas Paulsen scored our second, a very, very scrappy goal. Reminded me of playing pinball in the box, it appears that some players don’t know what to do when the ball falls right at them. Goal three came from a penalty, that was never a penalty, but the referee wanted to be centre of attention so he gave it anyway. It was an apparent push on the back of the our strikers back, it was a dive that Ronaldo would’ve been proud of. Someones getting a bollocking tomorrow!
Lastly, our final goal of the game came from Glenn Oyvind Vedlog, or as I like to call him, the log. Literally because he looks like a log, got some timber on him & looks like he’s eaten a baby rhinos but he’s built like a brick shithouse so I won’t bother mentioning it too him. Typical Centre backs goal from a corner, ball whipped in and he uses his head to put it in the far corner. A good 4-0 win overall.
XII – The tactical approach
We’re working hard to establish a solid tactic for this year & this is the approach both Shang Lei & myself have decided to use, we are both very familiar with this tactic as it was the approach that our old boss, Jukki Aittokallio was using when we were at Mariehamn. Now, some players will need retraining but with a fairly young squad, we should be able to achieve that with minimal fuss.
The instructions we’ve given the squad to be successful in this setup are;
- Pass into space – Something we were taught at Mariehamn, well, not me because I was a keeper…. But you know what I mean.
- Play our of defense – Working the ball out from the back is something most teams do these day, building an attack from the back can be effective but can also leave us short.
- Close down more – Close them down quickly and effectively. Stop any attack before its even began.
- Get stuck in – One we’ve been cautious with. The players know that they can’t be reckless.
- Use the Offside Trap – A good thing to use IF the defensive line stay as one. If one drops back even a foot back, it could ruin the whole thing.
- Be more expressive – Now, I’m all for this but that doesn’t mean acting like Ronaldo all game.
- Low Crosses – Self explanatory really.
- Prevent short GK Distribution – This makes our forwards press so the opposing keeper is left playing riskier balls.
- Play Narrower – Although we have wingmen, a huge majority of our play will come through the centre of the pitch.
This was the way we were taught to play, I was managed by a single manager throughout my senior career, I recognise a solid and effective formation & this is exactly what we aim to replicate.
Next time, we will round up the FULL pre-season review with possible signings, news and other little bits added in! Plus, the first game of the season!!