Matt Wills wants to blog for YOU. However, he can’t decide which story would be best. Have a read of the below and vote vote vote!
After Return of the King and One Season in Turin I took a break from blogging and dived into a straightforward career, taking over Barcelona and winning almost everything in sight over 14 star-studded seasons, building 3 teams and then jumping to Man Utd, saving them from relegation and building a new dynasty.
Sitting at the top for so many seasons, it’s always interesting to see the stories that play out – Gerry Francis making Middlesbrough the dominant force in England then becoming Italy manager, Leicester City dropping out of Division 3, Spurs nearly joining them. Vicenza, then Genoa rising to the top of Serie A – Juventus and Milan being relegated and then regenerated. John Aldridge spending 22 seasons as Tranmere Manager with no promotions or relegations or cup success to speak of.
I was too family with glory to jump at the vacant managers position at Leicester, but it did give me the idea I needed for a new blog – sim the game into the future and see what stories had unfolded and what might make a good blog.
So, I’ve been on a manager holiday for 8 seasons – I chose 8 as I reasoned there would be enough change to make it interesting, but also enough real players still around to know what I was in for. I had started out as Brazil manager – a little fiddling with the editor but found out I was sacked after only getting to the Quarter Finals of the World Cup in 1998. I’d hoped 8 seasons would be enough for the football world as we know it to be a little shaken up and give some good stories for a potential blog post, so what do we find ourselves with? (I have the English, Spanish and Italian leagues running btw)
International – France beat Norway in the final of 98, whilst Italy were champions against Argentina 4 years later. In between, Germany beat Holland at Euro 2000 and Italy beat England to become World and European champions 4 years later. Marcello Lippi is England manager it seems and Noel Whelan is the star striker for England and Man Utd.
Europe – In the Champions League, it’s been mainly a resign in Spain, with Real Madid (2) and Barcelona (2) with Milan, Paris SG, Monaco and Juventus the other winners. Man Utd losing finalists twice. In the CW Cup, Tottenham triumphed in 99, but its been a mix of Spain, Italy Holland and France in other years, whilst in the UEFA Cup, Watford are the current holders, beating off Inter to end years of Italian and Spanish domination.
England – Man Utd, unsurprisingly have won 5 of the last 8 league titles, punctuated by Leeds, Middlesbrough and Man City. In the FA Cup, Utd have won 4 of the last 8, with Sunderland also claiming back to back wins, with Blackburn and Aston Villa also getting in on the act. In the Pointless Cup, it’s not all been about Utd (2 wins) but also Everton (2 wins), Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool and Wolves.
Italy – In Serie A, its all been about Juventus (2), Milan (4) and Inter (2) whilst in the Coppa Italia, only Roma and Vicenza have broken their stranglehold.
Spain – as expected, Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate, but plucky Espanyol took the title in 2001 and Betis and Atletico Madrid have won the last 2 titles. In the Copa Del Rey, Espanyol follow up their title triumph with a cup win, but it’s been mostly Barcelona and Betis running the show.
So, that leaves me with some decisions to make – who to take over?
Having been dominate in my Barca/Man U career, I feel like I need an underdog whose punching above their wait or a giant fallen from grace.
In England, there haven’t been too many shocks, although Liverpool and Chelsea are in Division 1. Nottingham Forest are back in the Prem, holding their head above water with Stuart Pearce in charge – could they be an option? Make Forest, and English teams, a force in Europe again?
In Italy, Lazio are languishing in Serie B, but curiously they are the current holders of the Cup Winners Cup – could I get them back at the top table while defending their crown in Europe?
In Spain, could I make Espanyol the dominate side from the Barcelona region and build on recent successes, or do I take over Valencia in the Segunda and bring them back to life?
There’s too many choices to be had, and I’m only really looking at a 3-season max challenge, so what will it be?
Take Nottingham Forest to domestic and European glory – can that be done in 3 seasons?
Break the triopoly (is that a word?) in Italy with Lazio whilst defending the defunct CWC and breaking out of Serie B?
Or head to Spain to revive Valencia or build on Espanyol’s Leicester City-esque success?
I think I’m going to have to put it to Dave’s good followers on Twitter and kindly ask him to run a poll, with the most votes confirming my next challenge and blog post, so will it be:
Run Nottingham Forest (Run) – take on the Cloughie tradition and go for a European Trophy within 3 seasons, starring Frank Lampard, Aussie Craig Moore, Andy Griffin and Stig Johansen?
Mersey Boys – Take a Liverpool team that has seriously slipped from their perch and get them back on top with a little help from my friends, Patrick Berger, John Curtis, Mickael Landreau and Simon Donnelly?
The Good Ship S.S. Lazio – Sailing the Roman club back to Serie A whilst defending the Cup Winners Cup crown with Stefano Fiore and Raffaele Longo?
Viva Espanyol – Gun for the title and maybe European glory with William Gallas, Constatin Galca and Juan Eduardo Esnaider?
Hopefully this will be a good idea and I won’t blame the voters when it goes wrong!