True Identity – A Journeyman Adventure – The Hills are Alive

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Welcome back to the next excerpt of True Identity – A Journeyman Adventure. Following the last post we see what happens next following the Maltese double with Sirens FC.

A happy Mark Borg Hedley was bouncing along with Michael Mifsud and Jean Pierre White Blanc, the team were celebrating an unprecedented season where Sirens FC won the Maltese double. The party was long into the night, and a bald looking Carlos Ancelotti approached Blanc. Blanc was very drunk due to the vast amounts of champagne he had consumed. Bald Ancelotti passed a message over to Blanc, Blanc immediately looked down and read the message. It read,

‘Mr Blanc,

We understand that your time in Malta is to end soon and we urge you to bring your brand of football to Zurich. Our club needs fresh ideas to help us return to the Raiffeisen Super League. We believe you are the man who can provide us with the necessary potency to start this lift.

Christian will show you your terms and will escort you to Zurich if you are willing to accept.

Yours Sincerely

Sky Sun

(Club President)’

No sooner had Blanc read the message than Christian passed Blanc a glass of Scotch. He raised his glass and swallowed the entire contents. Blanc swiftly copied.

Christian Gross

Where are we?

The hum noise was constant like the sound of a jet engine. Jean Pierre Blanc started to notice more sounds and immediately saw in front of him, Christian Gross, who was sat opposite with a black laptop.

‘How is the head, Jean? I will get you some refreshments. Please watch this to understand the task ahead of you.’

Gross spun the laptop around and a video began. The opening scenes were of some classic highlights of Grasshoppers FC. Then the current squad began to introduce themselves, all said who they were and their position they preferred to play.

Blanc looked pail and sweat ran from his brow. He needed water or air to breath. A moment to take in where he was and how he got there. The last name that Blanc heard was ‘Hi I’m Randy Schneider’…’I’m Randy…I’m Ran…’ Blanc had blanked out again. The alcoholic mess he had got himself in along with his state of confusion had knocked him down.

Christian Gross, quickly called two henchmen over to lift blanc on the neighbouring chair.

Blanc woke again, this time he was sitting in a car next to Gross in the back seats.

‘Where are you taking me? And who the fuck is Randy?’ Said Jean Pierre.

‘With us again Mr Blanc? You’re in Zurich. You are going to be the key to change for Grasshoppers FC. You’ve committed yourself to 12 Months. In these 12 months we expect you to get the club back in to the Super League. Once there, we will offer you the chance to stay in your current surroundings or simply move on without a fuss.’ Said Christian Gross, he had finally laid the true terms to the agreement.

 The club’s ultimate goal was to gain promotion by winning the league. They stipulated they wanted it done by playing attacking pressing football, and to sign Portuguese players. Jean Pierre had jumped at the chance to manage such a prestige club. But did he really understand the challenge that the lay ahead.

Who are Grasshoppers?

Grasshoppers Club Zurich, commonly known as GC, GCZ or simply Grasshoppers are a multisports club based in Zurich, Switzerland. Grasshoppers are in the Swiss record books for holding the most national league and cup titles, 27 and 19, respectively. The club is the oldest in Zurich and holds a big rivalry with FC Zurich.

Kits for the season

The squad

No sooner had Jean Pierre arrived, Petar Pusic, the club’s big hope, was out the door and on his bike to Strasbourg. Elias Mesonero was soon out of the door to Marseille too. What Blanc hadn’t realised was that the Swiss watch on his wrist was not ticking correctly and that he found himself at a club in need to sell its assets in order to balance the books rather than the promised land of being at a bigger club with money to spend.

Elias Mesonaro on his way out to join Marseille.
At this early stage I had the option to cut my losses and run from the job.
Squad overview
A snapshot of the players at my disposal for Grasshoppers FC (Look at the note at the bottom of the image it tells you the true story behind the conflict between the club vision and the league rules).

With a few key players gone, Blanc made loan offers for players in key roles to help steer the club to the top of the league. He also looked to promote from within the vast youth treasure chest. Randy Schneider and Elmin Radstoder were promoted with trust to not only shine but to grab this opportunity by both hands.

Randy would be deployed as the playmaker in central midfield. Whilst Elmin was given the opportunity to make the left wing his own. They both went on to excel.

No depth

This update is not really going to fill some of you die hard Football Manager story readers with a great deal of insight. That may come if I ever make more time to write and analyse. Anyhoo, the team had an amazing league campaign. We won with out losing. So, to claim an ‘invincibles’ title was very satisfying. However, the club dealt very little in my favour when it came to keeping the players that I wanted at the club. Randy Schneider would leave for Cagliari in the January sales which left me upset, but then the club could not strike a deal with Elmin Radstodor, which in turn meant he was able to join Young Boys in June 2021 for free.

I was heart broken. Jean Pierre was gutted to have put so much effort into guiding the talent from the youth team into the first team, he felt betrayed.

I felt empty and heartbroken.

Blanc made it his mission to finish the season on a high. Yet the lack of support left him wanting.

El-min my bike to Young Boys
Cagliari get Randy
Season 2020/21 summary in a nutshell

The club did offer me a new deal for my efforts in meeting their targets. I duly declined. I was offered a way out, first through Esteghlal (Iran) and then Marseille (France). The Iranian call came too soon, as I want the story to build further before heading to Asia/The Middle East to conquer/explore Asia. And the call from Marseille was too good to turn down, the chance to manage a ‘bucket list’ team early in the save.

So, until the next update, I’ll be getting my Marseille shirt on ala Macron and getting a pep talk from Payet.

How do I look?
Gun show
Au revoir pour le moment...

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Coffee drinker, mug hoarder, Italian Football lover, Football shirt collector.

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