I’d made a home in west London and was slowly carving out a niche with my first club buying aging stars and hitting teams on the counter and it was all starting to go rather well, indeed myself and Mr Dyer began the 3rd season recruitment in earnest with a couple of end of season signings arriving. Then it all changed, the phone rang, it was my late great agent Eric Hall on the other end telling me a number of vacancies had come up and encouraging me to apply. I gave it a seconds thought and said Eric my old chum I think I will, he replied “monster” and we began filling in the forms.
A few days later I received positive news from the HR gods that following discussions with the exec committee I was required in Paris to finalise my contract to take over at PSG.
An emotional evening downing pints of Nelson acted as my farewell to the boys at West Ham the next morning I was on the first available EasyJet into the latest city I could call home, Paris. It was time to enrol on a French for dummies course as quickly as possible.
PSG had just been relegated from D1 and had a squad mixed with aging stars and youthful potential, a read through players recently transferred out did make me wince but it wasn’t something we could dwell on they were long gone now so it was time to say bonjour to my new recruits and also figure out who was going to be sacrificed as part of the restructure to increase the first 11 rating.
My first day in charge saw my PMs go mental, managers who didn’t know my name in London had obviously read the papers about the move and I was now best mates to one and all. I was the homme du moment. My basic french classes were also helping my use of pointless phrases come on massively.
In the first few days 6 players rated 89 or below left and in came the destroyer Gueye 92 the flighty technician Mahrez 92 the often mercurial Suso 90, this gave us a new look front 3 and a spine through the team including my new Dads Army of Vardy 92, Godin 92, Neuer 94 who were certainly an upgrade on my previous clubs old guard. I made a call to pretty much sacrifice the cups and get after the league as I was pretty sure the new look 11 could do some damage in the coming weeks.
Pre season was a little erratic to say the least as the new boys struggled to gel and my well documented goalkeeping troubles began. Neuer it seems had a new advertising campaign in conjunction with Dove soap and had it infused directly into the palms of his gloves, while this had made his gloves smell lovely it had of course had the knock on effect of him no longer being able to hold single fracking thing. In the following weeks we saw every shot on target fly straight into le sac d’oignon.
Having begun convinced 433 was the way forwards we dabbled with 442 and of course the SM classic 4321B, things remained inconsistent.
In early December we were already as expected out of both cups as Jake Livermore made his debut but couldn’t keep us going in either.
The youth cup which Beddows talked me into joining was also going as well as expected, despite an opening 0-0 draw we were getting royally pumped off everyone and my joy at competing in that one was quickly becoming a routine of just making sure I didn’t field over age players and hoping opposition did so I’d win – alas so far all fixtures have been fine and that tactic has failed. Still its about the taking part not the winning right?
Onwards we went and through December and we reverted back to 433, Neuer was on the increase he reverted back to wearing gloves made by adidas minus the soap and we were finding some sort of form, well I say form, not losing to often which was nice, there were still too many draws but a lovely article on the blog suggests around 76 points gives you a chance at the D2 title so it was expected as long as we’re dropping some points so will the teams nearby.
By Xmas the Parisian faithful were bringing me baked goods every morning at training as we had steadied the ship and were well in and amongst the automatic places having briefly flirted with 1st for a full 4 days. The goals were being shared about as well between the main 3 forwards which was useful should one get injured as Deueueuefloueo dropped to 88 in the Italian review.
So where do we stand… currently 20 games in we are top, although only just from a very well drilled Milan having taken top spot last match, the everchanging Liege squad are currently 3rd, but the whole top 5 will be looking nervously at 6th placed Anderlect who could easily go the remaining 18 games unbeaten with that first 11.
The big positives have been the keeper now playing like a 95 rated player and the number of goals we are scoring, the negatives Godin dropped to 90 and has since moved to pastures new, while IRL Gueye managed to lose his place and saw his rating drop to 91.
Can we cope in the second half the season having seen our outfield rating drop by 4 points recently or will the increase from Neuer keep us in it?
The run in is sure to be fun.
Merci d’être prêt.