I – Pre-Season Fixtures
Gainsborough Trinity – Away
A nice way to kick off pre-season & overall, a very positive performance. Several players have stood out throughout training & they’ve left a mark with standout performances, for example Setterberg. The 27 year old striker is the most experienced out of everyone, but believe it or not, this is his FIRST professional club. He spent several seasons floating around grassroots before being spotted by our owner, Per Trondheim, who asked him to come for a trial and he impressed both Shang and myself.
His tireless performance against Gainsborough and his superb backheel finish left us with our mouths wide open. We did substitute him at half time however, but that was due to us wanting to see everyone. The rest of the side had taken on board everything we said during the first week or two of pre-season and this is something that we look to build on over the coming weeks.
Bromley – Away
I think you may be able to see who the standout player was here. 21 year old Eirik Hoiland scoring 4 superb goals, leaving us questioning our attacking options. Setterberg again scored twice capping off another good performance. Our Under 18’s captain Anders Solli made his first team debut, assisting twice. His through balls were the decider for his 2 assists, they absolutely split the Bromley defense in half and left 2 simple finishes with only the keeper to beat.
The overall performance was the opposite of the Gainsborough game. We went 2-0 down before really stepping up a gear and managing to make it 2-2 at the break. We had an amazing 63% possession in the first have, but it was scrappy. We need to work on our creativity as we lacked a final ball. That was mentioned during the break and the team came out on the front foot and scored 4 fantastic goals, finishing an amazing game & sealing a superb 6-2 win.
Hendon – Away
You see 1-4 and think, they won with ease. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. Today, we well and truly struggled, with literally everything that came at us, we just couldn’t deal with. Credit to Hendon, they showed grit and determination and I tell you what, they did not deserve to lose at all. We did start off bright, for around 6 minutes until Hendon scored, then we just went to in an absolute meltdown and just couldn’t cope kicking a ball around. Setterberg scored on the run of play in the 43rd minute but we really needed changes at half time.
The thing that pissed me off the most was the fact that it took us until Engebråten got sent off to actually perform. We showed a little bit more grit and team spirit. The goals were well taken, Setterberg could’ve had a hat-trick if he wouldn’t have ballooned his penalty about 400 miles into space, some say its still going.
Charlton – Home
So, we lost to a League One team. No big deal expect for when they scored. The Log played a poor back pass to the keeps who just couldn’t get to the ball in time, leaving the simplest of goals. Apart from that, we actually played well. Some times we were playing like Barcelona other times we were playing like a Sunday league team but I was pleased with the determination the players showed. Some of the lads truly stood out and looked like they could play a few leagues higher, but for now they’re stuck with us.
We actually ended up with 54% possession, but it’s about what you do with it, not how much you have. We were exceptionally wasteful at times, we had 6 clear cut chances that I counted anyway & we fucked them all up. Some of the lads need to learn, its not about the glory. We’ve stolen Leeds Uniteds phrase of ‘Side before self, every time’.
Southend – Home
Southend are worse than Charlton, alot worse. They pissed all over us. 2 of our goals weren’t even penalties, they were simply slips. I’m not one to criticize referees but jesus, he was shite. I know they were higher class opposition, but we made way to many simple errors that could easily have been cut out, yet they weren’t and that causes me real problems. We were to busy trying to push an attack which left us with 2 players back, against 3-4 on a counter attack…. It’s simply not good enough.
Overall, we did well enough to score but that’s as far as it goes. Way to much was put into the attack & too much was taken from our breaks but it’s a lesson we need to learn if we’re to be a success. We still push ourselves to get better, but this performance was a kick in the teeth, especially considering the way we played against Charlton.
II – Build up to the opening game
The training ground
“Right lads, we need to make the most of this weeks training. We open up our campaign against Whitehawk & it’s away from home. We’re expected to piss this league, but don’t take anything for granted. No games are ours unless we make them ours, understood?”
“The gaffer is right, we’ve been hyped up too much. We need to ignore it all, get our heads down and work hard this week. The game is on Saturday, we need to be fully prepared to work hard and push for a result.”
“Be prepared for a good old scrap. The weather is meant to be shite so we need to stick to our gameplan. Keep it narrow, keep it simple. Be imaginative if needed but don’t take the piss with it. Okay? Let’s go and get to work.”
The players worked hard to pick up all the little techniques that Al and Seb were showing them, it’s been a strange period of time. We’ve worked incredibly hard this pre-season and now we need to put on a show. We need to make the league aware of who we are and what our intentions are. We won’t settle for anything less than a win.
The excitement is real, its opening day. We’ve worked bloody hard for this, we want this more than anything else in the world. We are prepared to do what it takes to get this win. The lads went out to warm up, I sat inside the changing rooms flicking through notes about Whitehawk, how they’re expected to line up and to see what changes we need, if any. I had to do a live feed with Sky Sports News earlier which was weird.
“Dario, it’s opening day. Tell me how you’re feeling.”
“Well, it’s a nerve wracking day for everyone involved. We’ve worked hard this pre-season to get everything right. My backroom staff and myself have put in some late nights getting things ready for this first game.”
“What type of game are you expecting today? The conditions aren’t the best outside, what are you expecting from Whitehawk?”
“It’s going to be tough but the weather is the same for both teams, isn’t it? Not much can be done about that but we just have to play our game. We have a gameplan and if we stick to it, there is no reason why we can’t win. Whitehawk will want this just as much as us, if not more. We’re the ones everyone want to beat.”
“From The Enclosed Ground, Andy Burton, Sky Sports News”
5 minutes before kick off
I never took the pre-match team talk, Shang wanted to do it. He spoke about passion for the shirt, pride and a presence on the pitch, we can’t be afraid today. It’s vital we start strong, push for an early goal and make sure that Whitehawk know who we are and why we’re here. WE CAN DO THIS!
The players waiting in the tunnel, the subs walking down to the bench. My big day, wait….. the clubs big day was here. The first ever league game in Nordic Vikings history. We lined up in our familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, the players knew what they had to do, they knew what we all expected…. The whistle blew for kick off. It had began.
“What a performance lads. You’re 4-0 up at half time but don’t let heads drop and think we’ve won this game. These fuckers are starting to play nasty, look for off the ball runs, play it simple and be smart with the ball. I don’t want to see you giving it away in stupid areas. We got away with a few sloppy mistakes in the first 20 minutes, we could’ve been 2-0 down.
Shagger, great finishing for your 2 goals. Set, you’ve carried on your pre-season form, go out and get yourself a 3rd. I’ll be making changes around 65/70 minutes so expect some fresh legs to come on.
One last thing lads, keep your shape and don’t lose focus. We’ve got this in the bag as it stands.”
What a start to the season. 4 goals in a crazy 10 minutes! We started off very, very nervous & struggled to get a foothold of the game. we were lucky not to be 2 down by the 18th minute but on the run of play, Thomas Paulsen played a smart, well timed dink over the top and Set used his pace, broke the line and slid it past the keeper. Shagger got the second, an absolute thunderbolt from 25 yards nearly broke the net!
25 minutes played, 2-0 up soon to be 3 with another little ball over the top from Paulsen and Set finished this one off with a little chip over the keeper. Cheekay! The final goal came from Shagger, a header off a corner this time. A neat ball in from Paulie & Shagger rose above everyone else to get the slightest of touches and divert it into the net. A fantastic 4-0 win.
III – Lets have a chat
Hearing some strange rumors that John Arne Riise is set to sign as a coach…. Where the f**k have the press pulled this from. Properly pissed up Barry who sits in the corner of the pub writing football rumors on his paper napkins. Twat.
Right, so Barry didn’t make this up but I’m still not happy! The board have gone behind my back to appoint an academy manager, which by the way I was eventually getting round too. Aslong as he doesn’t take my job, then its fine……