Prior to moving to New Zealand at the tender age of 9, I spent my life in the ‘seaside resort’ known as Great Yarmouth, the gateway from the Norfolk Broads to the North Sea.
I resided in Yarmouth, I went to school in Yarmouth, but in terms of my football, things were different. I played for over-the-river-yare rivals Gorleston FC. Now the reason I played for them up to the U10’s level? My dad was the coach. No other reason.
Now I don’t really remember much from my football career before moving to New Zealand, apart from the fact that I was hopeless and probably wouldn’t have been in the team if it wasn’t for my dad. And like you can see in the upcoming photo, I probably spent most of my playing time sitting on my backside.
Okay, so I might not have been an ‘up and coming wonder-kid’ like previously mentioned, but I sure did think that one day, Gorleston FC would be competing for the trophies at the top of world football. I’m talking Premier Leagues, Champions Leagues, and for some reason, I always thought we’d win the World Cup. Not that I know how that is possible but we’ll run with it.
I’ve decided to move back to the United Kingdom and upon arrival in Gorleston, I have commenced talks with the chairman and I have put pen to paper on a new contract on a managerial position at Gorleston FC.
I’ve been talking to Chairman Alan and we’ve been discussing goals for the club. He’s not worried about the future for now, but he has some important short term goals.
-Finish towards the top of the Eastern Counties League Premier Division
-Reach the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup
-Reach the second round of the FA Vase
-Reach the third round of the Eastern Counties League Cup
We’ve shook hands on this and I’ve promised to do everything in my power to achieve these goals.
But what I’m going to need to do to achieve these goals, is build a driven, attacking-minded core of both young and experienced players with the passion and determination needed to take a team like Gorleston global.
And here it is…
Okay, well that didn’t go to plan. Chris Sandford and Jack Marsden hold not only the title of ‘In their correct playing position’ but also the only players that are actually contracted to the club. I will be spending the pre-season signing players to contracts to get a regular 11 man line-up together and hopefully a few of their mates will come along to fill our bench.
My first task at Gorleston FC was to sign the majority of my current team to contracts. Yes, real contracts! Although only two of them actually get paid to play and it only costs me a total of £55 a week. The rest of the team were signed to amateur contracts which now meant they actually belonged to us. This would be our squad for my first season in charge. I wasnt looking to ruffle any feathers. No new signings would be brought in, even though I still had £64 a week to spend on wages.
The second thing on my to-do list as I started my new job in Norfolk was to congratulate our 19 year old centre back Keelan Conrad on his announcement that he was gay. Takes a lot mate, we’re proud of you.
Now that we were a team, we started putting in the hard yards. We met every Monday and Wednesday night for training sessions at Emerald Park in preparation for our pre-season tour of… England.
We would open up our campaign against our u23s side, which could also be used as a chance to see how our youth team could push into our senior squad. Next up would be a visit from Reading U23’s. We would then travel 37 miles west to the Norfolk town of Mattishall, followed by a trip to Suffolk to face Team Bury, a feeder team of Bury Town. We would then return home for a local derby against Lowestoft Town to finish off our pre-season tour.
Gorleston 0 – 2 Gorleston U23’s, Emerald Park
It was a game completely dominated by our U23’s side. By the 60th minute, our boys were puffed and you could tell they hadn’t played a game of football for a long long time. But it was a good test and we managed to stay positive to the end. Both of their goals were scored by a 19 year old named Jon Street, who I have also now signed to an amateur contract. Welcome to the seniors Jon.
Gorleston 1-2 Reading U23’s, Emerald Park
Our second match was fantastic! Although we went down 2-1, I saw some great things from our lads. To only lose by 1 goal against a Championship sides u23’s was very impressive to me. We also managed to pick up our first goal under the new management, which was scored by 18 year old central midfielder Fraser Cook.
Mattishall 1 – 1 Gorleston, Mattishall Playing Field
A 1-1 draw against Mattishall followed and it was a 2nd goal under my regime. Chris Sandford scored in the 72nd minute with a well placed finish in the bottom corner. We did pick up an injury in this match though. Young centre-back Bobby Hazelwood twisted his ankle and is believed to be out for the next 4-5 weeks. Next up we travelled to Suffolk to face Team Bury
Team Bury 3 – 1 Gorleston, Ram Meadow
Not the game we wanted against Team Bury but they were the better team on the day. Fraser cook received a red card early on in the first half meaning we played out the rest of the game with 10 unfit men on the pitch. I think a 3-1 loss was quite lucky to be fair. Hopefully we could pick up a win in our final pre-season match against local rivals Lowestoft Town
Gorleston 4 – 2 Lowestoft Town, Emerald Park
The dream end for our pre-season tour. My first win as the manager of Gorleston. And what a win it was! Goals from Keelan Conrad, Ryan Sharpin and a brace from Ollie Hickey gave us a well-earned 4-2 win over Lowestoft Town to bring our pre-season to a close.
So thats the end of the first pre-season under my management.
This is the beginning of a journey! I am going to attempt to take Gorleston to the top of not only English, but world football. And I want you to be here to experience the journey with me.
Come back for fortnightly updates on how we’re getting on. Have yours say on everything from tactics, player signings, and everything Gorleston!
Other articles you may enjoy at Dictate The Game:
- Welcome to #Hawaii
- Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho – A Football Manager Simulation!
- The importance of a Youth Development Structure – Football Manager Guide
- FM14 Wonderkids: Where are they now?
- Interview with FoxInTheBox
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