The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
I’m on a two-year, €600-per-week contract. Here I am, incidentally:
The first move I’d like to make is to fire my entire staff and replace them with candidates of my choosing. However, with our entire season budget standing at around €70,000, I can’t afford to terminate many contracts. Which means I’m going to have to spend at least a couple of seasons tolerating the help of men like my assistant manager, Walter Colombo, whom I have already grown to loathe.
Fantastic. How do you get to be an assistant manager at a top club like Pro Vercelli when your man management skills, your determination, and your motivational abilities are so inadequate that they register at the lowest possible point on the numeric scale? When it comes to judging player ability, the difference between Walter Colombo and a six-month-old baby is that Walter is under contract through 2013. Fine, I guess he can get my coffee. It’s no better anywhere else around the offices, of course.
I haven’t taken a hard look at the squad yet, but my first impression is that they’re really young—more than half our players are teenagers. My second is that we’re never going to live up to expectations (the media have Pro Vercelli picked to win promotion from the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione Girone A, which for sanity’s sake I will henceforth call Serie C2/A) if we don’t do something about our goalkeeper problem. Our current pair look like they’ve just escaped from a glue factory, and one of my first objectives as manager will be to send them back.
Well, first things first. I have to see what I can do about our scouting system, devise a set of tactics, and cut whatever dead weight I can to help free some room in our wage budget. (We’re currently only €175 in the clear, and our average weekly salary is €180.) Oh, and I’m giving my inaugural press conference at our stadium—the Silvio Piola, named for our legendary striker from the 1930s who became the highest goalscorer in Serie A history—in just a few hours. There’s a lot to think about.
A couple of notes about the game:
I’ll try to post frequent updates during my flurried early days with the club, so check back soon for history in the making.
by Brian Phillips · December 3, 2008