Livin’ the Dream is the third and final installment following the journey of Mason Bradshaw’s football manager career. His most recent role was with Braintree Town FC, in the Vanarama South, where he managed to keep them up. He’s now down under managing Sydney FC, living on the harbour with his wife Sophie, and young daughter, April.
The start of the season is upon Mason – will he lead the club to the title – or will his perfect dream begin to crumble….?
FFA Cup Quarter Final
It was a mild September evening in Melbourne when Bradshaw’s men travelled to Docklands Stadium to play Melbourne Victory in the quarter final of the FFA Cup. bet365 were predicting a close match with neither team being the clear favourites. As the game got underway at 19:30 local time, its safe to say the match wasn’t an enjoyable one. The game only had 13 shots combined in 90 minutes of football, however it was Mason’s men who came away with the three points thanks to a superb solo effort from veteran striker, Adam LeFondre in the tenth minute.
Former England international, Frank Lampard, said “Even though Bradshaw will be happy with the victory, it was a lucky win and perhaps a team with a bit more quality would have beat them.”
Ex-Socceroo, Tim Cahill, added “It may not have been the perfect performance but I bet you none of the Sydney fans mind too much at the moment!”
Buying a House on the Harbour
After spending his first few months living in a hotel in Sydney, Mason and Sophie decided now was the perfect time to buy their own house in the city. They set off to look for their own place. They had a shortlist in place for what they required:
- Must have at least two bedrooms
- Ideally have a garden space for April
- Must have ideal transport links (eg metro)
- The price should be more than $900,000
Mason & Sophie jumped on the metro to look at a property…and fell in love with it, it was a 2 bed apartment, perfect for their requirements and also had a community garden. Just for $850,000. Not a bad view either…..
Start of the Season
The start of the league campaign began with a trip to Adelaide United. bet365 made Sydney FC the clear favourites at 8-1, and they stepped up by securing a two-nil win on a brisky late October evening at the Hindmarsh Stadium. The goals came from Adam LeFondre on the 5th minute and Siem de Jong on the 50th minute, which secured the win and gave Bradshaw the perfect start to the season. So far, 4 games 4 wins. Could he finally win a trophy?
Ex Ipswich Town midfielder, John Wark, said “Clear and cut victory for Bradshaw’s men, couldn’t ask for anything better.”
First League Loss
Up next for Sydney was a home game against Western Sydney Wanderers, the match began at 19:45 in a dry evening in the Sydney sun, with a temperature of 18 degrees. The estimated crowd was just over 40,000. Bradshaw’s team selection was boosted by the return of marquee summer signing, Harry Anderson, to the starting 11, following an injury hit pre season.
Bradshaw named a full strength XI, and bet365 had them as favourites for the tie at 2/3 compared to Wanderers’ odds of 8/2. However the curse of the bookies favourite struck again as Bradshaw fell to his first defeat as Sydney boss, with Alexander Baumjohan scoring the winner for the away side on the 22nd minute. Not the perfect prepartion for a cup semi final…
Steve Corica, Sydney FC legend, was not happy with the defeat saying “At least have some passion boys!”
However, Joey Barton, disagreed, adding “I thought Sydney FC were a tad unlucky today, on another day, they’d scored two or three. You win some, you lose some.”
INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE BRADSHAW | SYDNEY TIMES
by Andy Hart
Six months has passed since Mason, Sophie and young daughter April landed down in Sydney for a new start, with Mason being apppointd the Sydney FC boss, we talk to his wife about her new life down under, their daughter April and much more…
Sitting in my office in a skyscraper in the city centre, drinking a latte, Mrs Bradshaw tells me about how she met Mason. She explained it was not longer after his move to Ards, “we just happened to be on the train at the same time, and as soon as we laid eyes on each other, it was the beginning of the most wonderful relationship in the world.”
Of course it was the pregnancy of Sophie [with April] that lead to Bradshaw’s shock retirement from football management in 2016, hanging up the suit after just two short spells at Stirling and Ards. Sophie tells me how she felt at the time, “it was mixed emotions really, obviously I was over the moon to be pregnant but at the same time I knew Mason was giving up his dream for the baby, and that did hit me.”
Just over a year later though, following the birth of April, Mason returned to football returning to manage Vanarama Conference South side, Braintree Town FC. They were a team in free fall needing to stay in the league to survive, which Mason achieved with 3 games to spare. Sophie says Mason always knew he couldn’t do it for the long term. “Mason was fully aware the Braintree gig was only ever gonna be a temporary thing, the commuting from London to Braintree three times a week was torture for him plus he missed out on a lot with me and April”
Sophie told me about how she felt when Mason told her they’d be moving to Sydney saying, “I was over the moon, it was a new start for me, Mason and April in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. April will have a great childhood here. Even if Mason’s job at Sydney doesn’t work out, this is definitely our home now [having recently bought their own apartment.]
Kind thanks to Sophie Bradshaw for agreeing to the interview.
Bradshaw’s back…. and he’s livin’ the dream…
Mega Project was a unique Football Manager experience. Mega Project featured Mason Bradshaw, a rookie manager who never played professionally, who attempted to climb the football ladder from the first job to becoming a world-class manager. Mega Project was something that was never been done before as we looked from all angles, from Mason himself, the clubs, his family and friends, colleagues, the world of football and more. Mason retired after two short spells at Stirling and Ards respectively due to personal reasons but came out of retirement last season to save Braintree from relegation, and has now moved down under to become the manager of A-League outfit, Sydney FC. He’s back – and you know, what? He’s livin’ the dream
You can read previous installments of Mason’s journey below:
- 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
- Mega Project #15 – The End?
- Mason’s Comeback – #1
- Mason’s Comeback – #2
- Mason’s Comeback – #3
- Mason’s Comeback #4
- Livin’ the Dream #1
- Livin’ the Dream #2
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