Good evening everyone and welcome to my latest article on the Alphabet Challenge.
Last time out I was on France with Lyon and managed to dethrone PSG in my first season in charge. This meant moving to the next “F” country which is Finland. It took until November to get a job. The Finnish Season had just finished and SJK (or Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho as they are known) came calling. They had a pretty poor season ending 7th in the League (Predicted 3rd)
It was going to be a huge culture shock. Massive budgets would be a thing of the past here and I would have to make do with frees and loan players if I was to challenge the dominance of HJK.I decided to accept the challenge. The squad although small looked good for title challenge, HJK are by far the best team in the league and had won the previous 7 league title. The last winner before them was SJK so I knew we had history and with that a good chance of winning the league.
I needed to expand my squad for starters. We had to improve in all areas, we only had a budget of £40k and spare wages of £2k so I really had to make use of the free transfer market and get players on pre-contract deals. Here are my dealings
Dramstad and Mortensen are fullbacks, Dalen and Laltinen are both Central Midfielders. Halme is a LW who can also play in CM. Kleemola and Lindstrom are strikers. As you can see I only paid for 1 player. I literally had no midfielders to my squad at the start and had to get a high quality player to help me out. After all these deals this is how my squad looked
I have some really decent players so I’m happy with my squad.
In the league we did really well. Somehow we kept up with HJK all the way, we were top for most of the season, this was mainly down to HJK always being 2 games behind us. We always kept a gap but as the season came to a close and HJK played their games in hand we lost the lead. With 2 games left HJK were 3 points clear of us. In the penultimate game HJK drew and we beat FC Lahti 4-0. This closed the gap to 1 point. It was too close to call. Soemhwo HJK played their final game the day before us.. they drew! We can do this! Our final game would be at home to FC Inter so I was confident we could beat them and we did, a great 4-1 win won us the league.
Absolutely sensational, what a way to win the league, HJK had capitulated when the league was in their grasp. I don’t think ive been this happy to win a league in ages, was totally unexpected!
The end of season awards proved that we maybe didn’t deserve to win it. HJK swept the board in all awards, all we got was the Manager of the Year award and 2 players in the team of the year
So there you have it! Another letter down, rather quickly in my eyes! We now move on to “G” where we have Germany or Greece to choose from. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading