Mason Bradshaw shocked the world last year when he announced at just the tender age of 24, he was to start managing – and he proved the critics wrong by managing in Scottish Ladbrokes League 2 as Stirling boss (although he did only last 10 games) before finishing his career at Ards, before retiring from management due to personal circumstances, since being revealed due to his fiancee being pregnant with twins… now Mason is back!
So last time out we we’re knocked out of the cup by Chelsea, but things were on the up! Ever since I’ve been doing really well, some fantastic results against Everton and Man City! The Man City game was actually incredible, I jumped out of my seat and did a victory lap around my room. Obviously some other results which didn’t quite go my way, notably the West Brom and Leicester games which I feel we could have picked up points in. Also the inclusion of TV Revenue is really helping the clubs finances and I’m hoping that it will give me a nice transfer budget for the summer.
I’m the boss now.
Some players don’t like meeting new faces whether it be players, manager or coaches. That was the welcome I received when I strolled up to training the day after being officially appointed to take charge. The players didn’t take too me, they had a very positive relationship with the previous Head Coach so naturally, when I was appointed things looked very different. I’m unproven, untested and untried, but somehow I’m the new Head Coach.
I’d been tasked with the challenge of taking the team through the playoff system to win the Copa Tracki, not just that competition though, we also had the Copa Venezuela Final to deal with on top of that. The players, although unhappy, gave it everything in the final stretch of training sessions. They knew how important it was to win the league for the first time since 1985 & so did I.
- Top Goalscorer – Over Garcia (47)
- Highest Average Rating – Yeferson Velazco (7.72)
- Most Assists – Yeferson Velazco (23)
- Best Pass Completion – Richard Ruiz (94%)
- Most player of the match awards – Over Garcia (15)
- Most Yellows – Juan Paez (19)
- Most Reds – Danilo Ferreria (2)
- Fans player of the season – Yeferson Velazco (42%)
- Goal of the season – Jose Yeguez
- Signing of the season – Over Garcia (Free Transfer)
- Young player of the season – Andris Herrera
Over Garcia signed for us at the beginning of the year & he has been simply fantastic, his contract expires at the end of the month & we’re yet to offer him a new deal although his agent has signalled that he isn’t prepared to start negotiations as he chases a big move to Brazil. Yeferson Velazco has been another good signing, his influence off the ball was superb and to top it off with 23 assists is fantastic, Yeferson is a key player for my plan next year as we enter the 2018 Copa Libertadores & test ourselves against some of the biggest clubs in south america.
We have 23 players off contract from next month & not many of them are prepared to sign a new deal which worries me. I’ve had some reports from our Under 20’s coach who’s gave me some advice and options to add to the squad by dipping into our youth academy. Several players are ready to make the jump to the first team, but I’ll be making sure they fit into my plans during pre-season.
Pre Season Planning
While we work had during our training session, our Scouting Network are working hard to add quality to our already talented side. Lots of quality is available without a fee, however need atleast 12 new signings to compete in the Copa Libertadores, the biggest competition in South America. The board are expecting us to reach the Group Stage so we have to work incredibly hard to make it through the qualifiers, I believe we can cause some big upsets during this competition.
Copa Libertadores Group!
The draw for the Libertadores was slightly unkind on us. We’ve been drawn against Millionarios of Colombia, Nacional of Uruguay & lastly, Palmeiras of Brazil so it’s a tough task but I believe in my squad to get the job done. I honestly believe we can beat all of the teams we’ve been drawn against, I know it won’t be easy but we’re assembling quite the squad.
- Salomao – Sao Raimundo (RR) – £14.5K
- Renatinho Silva – America (MG) – £1.7K
- Ganso – Cliper – £6.75K
- Andres Arboleda – Jaguares FC – £7K
- Francisco Vega – Juan Aurich – £41.5K
- Claudio Pombo – Free Transfer
- Samuel Cacares – Free Transfer
- Isael – Free Transfer
- Emanuel Bilbao – Free Transfer
The clubs ambition
- Copa Tracki – Finish in the top 3
- Copa Venezuela – Win the Cup
- Copa Libertadores – Don’t get outclassed in the group
We open our Copa Tracki Open Stage campaign against Atletico El Vigia FC who’re expected to finish 15th, the newly promoted side are currently 1000-1 to finish top & they look more likely to struggle. We’ve been listed as an expected 8th placed finish, although we’ll be looking for a much higher placed finish than that.
We open our campaign in three days time, the squad are ready & they’ve been working very, very hard during pre-season. Over Garcia came to me during pre-season and asked for a move away, I’ve told him to use this Libertadores campaign to put himself in the window & if a suitable offer comes in, then we’ll consider it. The problem with that is in Venezuela, no one scores goals like he does, he’s a player that would be incredibly hard to replace.
As for the Libertadores, the board have asked for us not to be out classed, I’ve told the lads to go on and win in, we’re a small team in comparison to most others in the competition but we have the passion and pride, our fans deserve it more than anything else.
Atletico El Vigia – Estudiantes De Merida
Ramon “Gato” Hernandez Stadium
Our stating XI
- GK – Emanuel Bilbao
- RB – Ismael Paez
- CB – Samuel Caceres
- CB – Andres Arboleda
- LB – Jose Yeguez
- CM – Yeferson Velazco
- CM – Juan Paez
- AMR – Rodrigo Castro
- AMC – Francisco Vega
- AML – Jesus Vargas
- ST – Over Garcia
Pre Match Build Up
“Merida are looking like favourites to everyone in the stadium, newly promoted Atletico will struggle to keep pace with Over Garcia. We see 5 debutants for Merida & it’ll be interesting to see how they fare. Looking over to Atletico, they struggled for signings during the off season so manager Dario Martinez uses the same line up from the last game that secured them promotion to the top flight. We’ve got hold of Merida manager in the tunnel, lets see what he has to say.”
“Dario, you are looking to carry on where you left off last season, how do you think you’ll do?”
“Obviously I’m confident that we will win, we are using a similar system to last year and you saw how effective that was under the previous manager.”
“What have you said to the guys in the changing rooms?”
“I’ve told them to go out and play our game. We’ve got to start on the front foot, make ourselves known & show Atletico that they are in for a real game here today.”
“Thanks, Dario. Good luck today.”
Before the game, you would never have thought that Atletico would’ve had 70% possession would you? But they did & they still came away with no points. It was a rather strange day game with the 70% of the game being played in the Merida half, however both of Meridas goals came from classic counter attacks, new signing Francisco Vega scoring a classy shot from the edge of the box, looking up and putting it right into the top corner. His second came from a shot from 7 yards which curled past the Atletico keeper.
Atletico 1 – 2 Merida
Do I have time?
Taking charge of a club that is already two thirds through the season is always a challenge, it’s even worse when said club are bottom of the table. I never had that worry though, with manager José Nabor Gavidia heading to Fortaleza, he left the side in an incredibly promising position.
I’ve taken over Estudiantes De Merida while they sit top of the Venezualan Copa Tracki, after winning the opening stage of the season, with only one game left of the closing stage, it puts us in good stead to finish top once more. Securing a 3rd place finish has meant we qualified for the 2018 Copa Libertadores.
I don’t officially take charge until the start of the 2018 season but I’m working with the players and the club to establish a relationship with the squad ready for next year. We lose several players during the off season but due to the clubs continental qualification, options should come flying at us.
I – What happened next?
We’ve spent the past few days analyzing the past 6 games and trying to determine the successes and the negatives, the defensive coach, Seb Button, has spent a long time strategically working plans for each defensive player but not all of them seem to be paying to much attention. The opening game was a huge success, but the players need to understand that this is a very tough, very strong league & we won’t win every game, but we will throw everything we can at our opponents to try.
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.
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?