With season 9 flying by, and only an ill-fated spell in charge of Italy to speak of, I had to get back in the game. I enjoyed the media work but it’s nothing compared to the day-to-day running of a football team. I also wanted a challenge. I was offered jobs at West Ham and Liverpool but I’ve done the Premiership and conquered it. I also wanted a club where I had work to do. Build up the coaching and scouting staff and earn money to improve the facilities. So here I am. In the German 2nd division. With Union Berlin.
The press were aghast and my drop from winning the Champions League with Arsenal to a team that are expected to finish in the top half of 2. Bundesliga but I’m looking forward to the task at hand. First issue is pretty much everyone in my squad wants to leave or is wanted by another club. It’s a fairly big first team squad with not a lot of potential talent so I’ve trimmed it down and allowed 14 players to leave. That also raked in £2.9m so I’ve a wee bit to spend and I’ve also got a bit of leeway with the wage budget now.
Next task was the backroom staff. I tried to tempt Marius Stankevicius, my number 2 at Arsenal, to join me but he clearly didn’t have my sense of adventure so I’ve filled all available slots in the backroom team but only on one year contracts so I can improve them if we get any success.
As for transfers in I’ve reverted to my old Siena days and relied primarily on loans and frees. Aniello Capuano (RB Salzburg, winger), Ian Boisson (Juventus, DMC), Cedric Gorgelin (Lyon, MC) and Ellis Keen (Southampton, AML) all came in on loan and Heimo Schicker arrived on a free from Kaiserslautern. My main striker, Felix Weber (who had scored 6 in 6 at the start of the season), was then targeted on transfer deadline day and although I rejected an initial offer from Admira Wacker he went in a right huff and I had to sell him. Therfore I splashed out on 21-year-old Cesare Pellegrino, a striker from Juventus. He looks the business and has a potential rating of 5 stars, not bad for £600k
So, onto the games. My board expect us to finish in the top half of the league and reach the second round of the German Cup, seems reasonable. The first thing I notice is we don’t have a lot of games to play. It’s an 18 team division so only 34 league matches (compared to 38 at Siena, Lazio and Arsenal) and only one cup competition. We start the league season in fine form and have so far won our opening 5 matches. We also dispatched a lower league team, the delightfully named Sprockhovel, in the 1st round of the German Cup so we’ve already reached our target for that competition. So far, so good.
You always hear people go on about attendances in Germany and rightly so. We have averaged a little over 20,000 (although we’ve only played 2 home games) so far and that only ranks 10th in the division. For context that would rank
- 14th in Serie A
- 3rd in Serie B
- 16th in Ligue 1
- 3rd in Ligue 2
- 18th in La Liga
- 6th in La Liga 2
Our city neighbours Hertha currently average around 62,000. As a wise man once said ‘we’re going to knock them off their fucking perch’. However, given Union have won pretty much fuck all in their history that’s going to be easier said than done. Still it’s my job to get the Stadion An der Alten Försterei rocking. We are definitely gonna need a catchier name than that. Our nicknames are (according to Wikipedia):
The nicknames of the club are Eiserne (The Iron Ones) or Eisern Union (Iron Union), both of which are used to refer to the club from Berlin. Their nicknames evolved from the earlier sobriquet Schlosserjungs (metalworker boys), which was in reference to the blue kit the Union played in, as it was reminiscent of the overalls worn by local workers.
I think I like Schlosserjungs best. It’s such a beautiful language.
Now the challenge has been completed with both of us winning the big ones I’ll probably just update at the end of each season from now on. Having said that I really like this save so if I get caught up in any good moments I may record them for posterity.