A Dream Realised :|: Oscar Hayes :|: Burton Albion

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JoGR02
80 posts Park Captain
A Dream Realised
The Rise of Oscar Hayes


My mobile phone ringtone was always a regular noise before the weekend. Thursday, Friday-Hell even early Saturday mornings welcomed the sound of my ringtone. Being a player-manager of a non league side is probably a lot more hassle than most would think and it’s certainly closer to Sunday league than professional football. That’s my humble opinion, anyway. Some managers will tell you they take it very seriously and would almost be offended by the Sunday league comparison. These managers are usually t**ts.

A glance at my phone screen revealed it was my good friend Billy Fathers. He was a very well off man, having inherited a large sum of money from the passing of his father and also inherited the family business. I hadn’t spoken with Billy for quite some time, as business had the capacity to remain rather busy for extended periods of time. The last time we spoke, which would probably have been a few months ago, Billy had mentioned that he had something ‘f****ng massive’ coming up and he couldn’t tell me much more than that. He sounded very excited and very stressed all at once.

“You gonna answer that?” Eleanor, my girlfriend, asked. I shook myself from my daydream and picked up my mobile, sinking back into the sofa as I did so.

“Hello, Bill.”

“Oscar my son,” Billy said with real enthusiasm. Something had perked him up, “I’ve bloody done it.” I waited, frowning slightly, expecting him to continue. He didn’t.

“What’s that then, Bill?” I asked,

“I have done the unthinkable,” he laughed loudly down the phone, prompting a quizzical look from Eleanor. I shrugged, mouthing ‘Bill being Bill’. She scoffed, “I have expanded the business somewhat, Oscar, and I’m now an owner of something else. The Fathers empire has grown!” Bill let out a long sigh after his brief proclamation of power and then deeply inhaled. He was absolutely giddy with excitement.

“Oh yeah? How have you done that then?” I replied. I almost regretted asking, but there must have been a proper good reason why Billy was so excited,

“I’ve only gone and bought a football club.” My jaw dropped open slightly and my brow furrowed. He’d bought a football club?

“You’ve bought a football team? You mad b****rd, who’s that, then? Some non league outfit? They better not play in my divis-”

“League 1,” Bill stopped me dead with that reply. He’d bought a League 1 football club? A professional football club? How had he managed to do that? What on earth had made him do that? “You there, Oscar?”

“Yeah sorry, mate. I just can’t believe my ears.” Bill laughed loudly again,

“Ah I can barely believe it either. I’m on the second bottle of champagne-I’d save you a glass but, to be honest, I’m gonna be an alcoholic tonight.” I chuckled at the response but the news still hadn’t sunk in.

Bill was always a bit of a daring businessman. He’d taken several risks that hadn’t paid off (at least not to the profit margins he’d have liked) but this took the absolute biscuit. Maybe Bill’s finally cracked and gone mad. He had always been an investor since the sad passing of his dad, finally having the cash to make big leaps into the business world. This was about a decade ago and clearly it paid off. Big time.

“What’s the team, then?” I finally asked,

“Burton Albion, they’re a nice little midtable outfit, flirt with the playoffs every year-got promoted to the Championship back in uh-” Bill sounded like he was rustling something about, “-2016. Got to the semi’s of the League Cup last year-Man City battered ‘em 10-0 on aggregate, but what can ya do?”

“What can ya do?” I sighed in response, “Right, well, next time I see you Bill you’re taking me for a pint, not often I get to do social engagements with the owner of a football club.” I chuckled at my own half joke, but Bill didn’t grace me with his booming laughter.

“Owner of a football club?” Eleanor gasped, suddenly taking an interest in the conversation. I nodded to her before Bill’s voice finally crackled over the phone’s speaker.

“Oscar my pal there’s more to it than that. I didn’t just call you to break the news-very good news, really.” My heart sank a little. He wasn’t about to tell me his wife was dying, was he?

“Nothing’s wrong with Caitlin, is there? I know she had that scare-”

“Eh?” Bill sounded shocked, “Oh, that-no, no Caitlin’s good. Just excess tissue, or something. No, what I wanted to say to you...well, ask you, I suppose, would you come in for an interview for the head coach’s position sometime this week?” My mind went totally blank. Butterflies suddenly started swirling round my stomach. I could hear my heart beating through my chest.

“Is it Caitlin, babe?” My girlfriend asked. I think that’s what she asked anyway. My ears had started to ring slightly,

“Yeah, just excess tissue, or something.” My reply was barely more than a murmur,

“What’s that, Oscar? You need a tissue?” Bill half laughed down the phone,

“You’re having a laugh, aren’t you? Is this a wind up?” I became a bit suspicious of Bill. I bet he hadn’t even bought the bloody club,

“Why would it be a wind up? Oscar you’re the manager I know who has the best record, credentials and all that jazz. Well, the manager I know personally, anyway, but I don’t think I can lure Pep or Klopp to the Pirelli Stadium at this moment in time. Say, if you can get us on the map, mate, I’ll sack you for one of them.” Billy laughed and I found myself nervously giggling. S**t, what if he was being serious? And why was I giggling?

“Swear on your life you’re being serious, Bill.” I noticed the telly had been muted and Eleanor had reached out her hand to me. She didn’t have a clue what was going on. I put my hand in hers to comfort her and to try and calm myself down. Poor girl was holding the sweatiest hand in existance.

“I swear on Caitlin’s life-” I heard a loud ‘oi!’ in the background, “-I want you to be interviewed for the position of manager. Mate, you’ve won how many leagues?”

“Seven, but they’re all non league-”

“How many of those undefeated?”

“Three, but Bill-”

“Oi, don’t undermine yourself because it’s ‘only non league’ or whatever. I don’t care. When we played together, I saw how good you were and I think I was one of about three people who understood how good a manager you were. There’s a reason why we flew up the footballing pyramid. And even after all the boys left, you kept going. What level of the pyramid are you at currently?” The praise from Bill was very welcomed. It calmed my nerves slightly. The situation was still surreal,

“The seventh tier.” I answered. There was a brief silence, which was also very welcomed, as Bill racked his brain,

“That’s two below the National League and three below League 2. You’re three levels away from professional football...blimey,” Bill sounded surprised as he realised how close my side was to professional football, “Well then, even more reason for you to come along to the interview. How does Wednesday sound? We can sort a time in the next few days.”

“Absolutely fine.” I had spoken before I had even thought about what I was doing Wednesday. Auditioning to be manager of a professional club, it seemed. A League 1 club,

“Smashing. Great, brilliant. Right then, Oscar, I shall leave you to your evening. I’ll make sure I’m free to meet you Wednesday.”

“Sounds good to me, Bill. I’ll see you then, mate.”

“See you then, pal. Go and have a beer.” We both laughed as we hung up the phone. I could really do with a beer all of a sudden.

“What was that all about, then?” Eleanor asked. I looked at her, a dumb grin on my face,

“You’ll never guess what.”


Comments

  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    edited August 6
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  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    edited August 6
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  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    edited August 6
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  • Virtual_K
    1944 posts Play-Off Hero
    I hope Oscar gets the job, otherwise this will make for a very short story. :D
    Glad you decided to do a story. Good luck with the long climb to the top.
  • LAboog4
    832 posts Semi-Pro
    I agree with @Virtual_K , if Oscar doesn't get the job this story will be short-lived! Good idea with the takeover, an owner knowing the manager could make for an interesting twist to the story and hopefully more backing for the club.

    Right away I'd say you have a big problem with filling a squad next season. A lot of contracts up along with a few loans ending. Nearly half the squad will be new players if you can't extend contracts.
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    Virtual_K wrote: »
    I hope Oscar gets the job, otherwise this will make for a very short story. :D
    Glad you decided to do a story. Good luck with the long climb to the top.
    LAboog4 wrote: »
    I agree with @Virtual_K , if Oscar doesn't get the job this story will be short-lived! Good idea with the takeover, an owner knowing the manager could make for an interesting twist to the story and hopefully more backing for the club.

    Right away I'd say you have a big problem with filling a squad next season. A lot of contracts up along with a few loans ending. Nearly half the squad will be new players if you can't extend contracts.

    :sweat_smile: I'm hoping he's very well prepared for his interview and everyone else sucks.

    Yeah the contract situation is pretty shocking, I don't think I've ever seen a team with THAT many contracts all expiring in the same year. Quite a few of those are first team players too, three of my four starting defenders are included in that and all of them are over 30 (!!!). I'd be quite happy to let some of those contracts run down, because I want to lower the average age significantly (I think it's currently just over 27), but I'll need to make smart investments.
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    Chapter 2

    I still couldn’t believe it. Even with the contract in front of me, seeing myself sign my name on the dotted line and being congratulated by Bill. It wasn’t real. It can’t be real. How the hell was this real?!

    “Here you go, Osc. Have a beer,” Bill handed me a bottle of some foreign sounding beer. Everything sounded foreign, at that point. “It’s Thai.”

    “Cheers, Bill.”

    “Cheers. To us.” We clinked our beers together and took a very welcomed sip. This Thai beer would probably be the most memorable beer I ever have. It was official. I was the new manager of Burton Albion Football Club. I was managing a professional bloody side. Little ol’ me.

    “Lovely beer, that. Right, Oscar. I’ve compiled a folder with an overview of the club for your end of things. Transfer budget, players’ wages, contract situations etcetera. I’d recommend looking at the contracts, they’re a bit concerning.” Bill pushed over a folder across the desk and sat back in his seat. I flipped open the folder, scanned the contents page and then flicked to the relevant page. Player Contracts & Wages.

    The names were arranged from shortest contract to longest contract.

    “Jesus Christ, Bill,” I mumbled as I saw far too many contracts ending next year. “There’s twelve players with contracts expiring next year, how has this happened?” Bill nodded solemnly and sipped at his beer. I did too.

    “Yep. Pretty s**t. But hey, you know what you’re dealing with and you get to decide who gets a renewal,” Bill clapped his hands together and grinned at me, “Welcome to professional management!”

    “Yeah thanks, you knob. How am I gonna work out who deserves a contract extension when I won’t even have more than a season-and there’s three loan players in this. There’s a lot of older players as well.” This was worse than I could’ve imagined and the reality of management had brought me back to Earth. I shook my head unconsciously and tutted. There were far too many players who were older than thirty and many of them were rapidly approaching the end of their contracts. They were already at a disadvantage as I wouldn’t feel comfortable offering them a deal longer than a year. This situation was just a little tiny bit f****d.

    Bill drummed his fingers on the desk and stood up, “You’ll have about £1,500,000 to play with. They had a really good business model here, very sustainable, I don’t want to flip the table on that.” I frowned slightly as I shut the folder.

    “One and a half mil?” I asked, trying to keep the worry out of my voice. That didn’t seem like enough for what I wanted to do here, “I don’t want to sound ungrateful or whatever Bill, but I don’t think that’ll be enough.” Bill looked at me blankly and shrugged.

    “Prize money. Sell some of the players. This club has stayed afloat without needing huge investment, I don’t want to put the club in a difficult position down the line.”

    “But half of this team will need replacing soon anyway and that’s without selling anyone. I put my plan forward in the interview, Bill, and I highlighted how much we need to do on the playing side of things. How can I make my vision for this club happen when-”

    “Oscar, that’s not how I want to do things,” Bill’s stern voice came as a surprise to me and stopped me in my tracks, “Listen, this club has survived comfortably without major investment and without selling their star players every year. Nigel had them competing just outside the play offs and finishing in the top half of the table on a shoestring budget. £1,500,000 is plenty, Osc. Alright?” I felt a little bit angry looking at Bill, but I nodded, “I’ve got to go and sort things for the inevitable media storm we’re gonna have once your appointment becomes public,” Bill walked around the desk and patted me on the shoulder, “Trust me, Oscar. You’ll be fine.” And with that, Bill left the office.

    I knew £1,500,000 wouldn’t be enough. I’d have to think carefully about who to sell and I’d have to temper my ambitions for signings. There was a reason Burton sort of stagnated and it was largely, in my humble opinion, due to a lack of money put into it. Sure, finishing in the top half of the table without significant investment was impressive and respectable, but come on. Have some ambition.

    I hope my working relationship with Bill wouldn't negatively affect our friendship. I still felt tense and quite annoyed with how he spoke to me. Today was a good day, officially becoming Burton's manager and signing an actual contract, but I couldn't help but feel concerned over the budget I was being given. I had drawn up tenative plans for players I was thinking about selling, but I still didn't feel convinced that would be enough.

    I took a few more sips of my beer and let my mind wander. I had a real project to start work on. That was exciting. I mean I was s*****ng myself as well, but the good kind of s*****ng myself. I would be involved with the day to day running, I'd see my tactics and my style of football being played out in front of thousands of fans. S**t, thousands of people would be watching. And half of them would probably spend a good amount of time calling me a w****r.

    I was buzzing. This was really bloody exciting. I leaned forward and picked up the folder. It was time to take up reading again.
  • Virtual_K
    1944 posts Play-Off Hero
    Congratulations Oscar on the job. The budget and contract situations will require some careful planning and possibly some scouting luck, but that's why he gets paid the little bucks. :D
    Should be fun, Chester had a similar situation when taking over the Crew. ;)
  • Danimal5981
    2508 posts Fans' Favourite
    I'd say it's very dapper (never knew it was an English word as well; meaning brave) to start a story at the tail end of the FIFA 20 which has died down a long time ago due to the miserable CM mode and thanks to COVID never came back alive. You might've just given me some inspiration to start something in the run-up to FIFA 21. Good luck.
  • Richoman
    130 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    ah man i love burton albion! i remember they were my first ever road to glory on fifa, think it was fifa 12 or 13. those were the days

    i still remember garatt ! i think he is the only one left from back then haha

    good work man keep it up!
  • LAboog4
    832 posts Semi-Pro
    Small budget but maybe you can find some young, cheap players that develop into stars to help the team gain promotion in a few years.
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    edited August 13
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    Paul Merson questions Oscar Hayes appointment: "It's a kind of nepotism"


    Paul Merson has today raised concerns about the managerial appointment of 'unproven' Oscar Hayes by Burton Albion. Hayes has a wealth of experience in non-league and semi-professional football and has taken over from recently sacked Nigel Clough. Clough, 53, achieved a consistently high finish with Burton on one of the smallest budgets in League 1, a feat that Merson is uncertain Hayes, 38, will be able to achieve:

    "I mean, there are positives with Burton getting [Hayes] in - you know, we always harp on about wanting to see young, English managers getting involved with the game and it's great Burton have scouted down the footballing pyramid to get their guy, it's a great success story.

    "But League 1 is hard-pretty damn hard to get out of now, the gap between the top teams and the mid table sides increasing year on year. It's much, much, much harder to stay in the Championship these days too, there's plenty of examples of yo-yo clubs who can't for the life of them stay up.

    "What Cloughie [Nigel Clough] did at Burton was great, got promotion, beat teams in the League Cup they had no business beating and he did it while barely spending a penny. Hayes is an unproven entity and at this level in particular, you need those proven managers through the doors."

    When later asked about the nature of the hire, Merson against raised questions as to how Hayes got the job.

    "It just smells funny, to me. You know the new owner [William Fathers] and the manager go way back, they've been pals for years. It's a kind of nepotism to me, has the owner looked through his contacts list on his phone and gone 'oh he's a manager, great', brought him in for an interview and given him the job there and then? I am worried about why he's hired Hayes, I'm worried the job might be too big for him at this moment in time."
    Post edited by JoGR02 on
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    Virtual_K wrote: »
    Congratulations Oscar on the job. The budget and contract situations will require some careful planning and possibly some scouting luck, but that's why he gets paid the little bucks. :D
    Should be fun, Chester had a similar situation when taking over the Crew. ;)
    LAboog4 wrote: »
    Small budget but maybe you can find some young, cheap players that develop into stars to help the team gain promotion in a few years.

    Yep, the budget is a bit concerning, I've listed about ~10 players I'm going to be scouting and about 3-4 of them are quite essential. Gonna be difficult selling players with soon to be expiring contracts for what they're actually worth, too.
    I'd say it's very dapper (never knew it was an English word as well; meaning brave) to start a story at the tail end of the FIFA 20 which has died down a long time ago due to the miserable CM mode and thanks to COVID never came back alive. You might've just given me some inspiration to start something in the run-up to FIFA 21. Good luck.

    Thank you very much. Dapper doesn't mean brave over here in England, or at least it's not the most popular definition. Dapper means smart :D which apparently isn't to start a 20 career mode now.
    Richoman wrote: »
    ah man i love burton albion! i remember they were my first ever road to glory on fifa, think it was fifa 12 or 13. those were the days

    i still remember garatt ! i think he is the only one left from back then haha

    good work man keep it up!

    Those were the days. He's gonna be my starter so you'll be seeing plenty more of him. Thank you muchly.
  • LAboog4
    832 posts Semi-Pro
    While I rarely agree with anything Merson has to say, he does bring up good points that I'm sure others will be thinking. Unproven manager, a friend of the owner, handed the job with no top-level experience. But, a manager has to start somewhere so it is up to Oscar to prove them wrong.
  • Virtual_K
    1944 posts Play-Off Hero
    Sometimes a club just has to role the dice with a new manager. What's the worse that could happen...relegation?...insolvency? :p
    Oscar! Oscar!
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
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  • Richoman
    130 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    JoGR02 wrote: »
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    Lets hope Garratt does well for you! i think i sold him in my first season :smiley: haha

    Hope you do well in the friendlies, those funds are bloody vital
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    Group Stage - Matchday 1 - vs. A.C. Pisa
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    Group Stage - Matchday 2 - vs. Cosenza Calcio
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    Group Stage - Matchday 3 - vs. Port Vale
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    The Gaffer's Diary
    We faced three different teams in our group stage matches and I am overjoyed we managed to secure a perfect 9 points, scoring 9 times and conceding twice. I'm very happy with how the boys adapted to differently styles of football. Pisa, despite the scoreline, made it hard to break down their lines centrally, so we sought to capitalise on weaker fullbacks. It was there we found joy in the match, with Scott Fraser and Lucas Akins being able to benefit. Defensively, we looked comfortable for large parts.

    The game against Cosenza was a much lower scoring affair, but again we scored 2 quick goals (Fraser and Akins involved, again!) and were very comfortable defending our lead. Cosenza never threatenend, though they did try to get into the game. The red card given to Reece Hutchinson is a disgrace, there appeared to be minimal contact between Reece and their player, yet the referee did not hesitate to send off Reece. I'm glad I didn't give my true thoughts at the press conference. That ref was a useless f****r.

    Our final game against Port Vale was a classic English lower league game of football. Port Vale gave us our most physical test, our centrebacks Jake Buxton and John Brayford had a good old fashioned battle with Tom Pope. The scoreline perhaps flatters us, while we managed to convert our clear chances, Port Vale struggled to consistently create until Tom Conlon's goal, which was a result of nice play after a sloppy mistake by us on the halfway line. We dominated possession, nearly having 60%, but we didn't look as good as the stats did, I don't think. Still, we're onto the semi-final against Trapani. One more win and we're in the final. And Merson can go f**k himself!


    -Oscar
  • LAboog4
    832 posts Semi-Pro
    Great start to the season. Winning the tournament should give a nice bonus of cash to spend as well.
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    Semi-Final - Matchday 4 - vs. Trapani Calcio
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    Final - Matchday 5 - vs. A.C. Pisa
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    The Gaffer's Diary
    Jesus Christ, football ain't half stressful when you're playing for something real.

    I've got real mixed emotions and thoughts about the semi and the final. Trapani, specifically that Pettinari fella, caused us some real headaches in that first half. Our defence looked bizarrely off the pace and seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our goalkeeper, Ben Garratt, had a fantastic game against Pisa in the group stage and made a couple of crucial saves. Against Trapani though, he was beaten at his near post for both goals. Very poor. I have to say, I was impressed with Akins and Fraser...again. I'm almost bored of mentioning those two, but they've come up with some very important goals throughout the tournament.

    It was a confidence boost to meet Pisa in the final, having dispatched them a week or so earlier. I admired them, though, suffering a 4-1 thumping in the first group stage game and going on to make it to the final. Much like the semi-final, the opposition dominated the first half and also got the first goal on top of that, right until Ryan Edwards scored our opener. It was a scrappy game and I don't think we played at our best. Our midfielders, namely Fraser and Edwards, make some brilliant attacking runs, so it was pleasing to see Edwards grab a brace in the final. He hadn't scored since we played Pisa (coincidence?) in the opening game of the tournament.

    Overall, the group stage games gave me confidence in this team, but the semi and final showed me that it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Defensively, we looked shaky and unorganised when dealing with crosses (Pettinari's second and Moscardelli's goal came from crosses to the back post) and I'm worried about Charlie Daniel's awareness especially. Admittedly, he's an experienced left back playing at right back, but I was hoping the transition would be smoother for him.

    Akins scored 5 goals throughout the tournament, contributing 2 assists as well. Fraser also popped up with 3 goals from midfield and grabbed 2 assists, both coming in the final. Those two were my stand out performers and have shown me they're very ready for the real work to begin.

    Bill texted me earlier, too. The prize money totalled just over £1,000,000, which leaves me with just under £3,000,000 to play with. I've got a list of signings I'm interested in and our scouts have been watching them since I took over. It's time for Burton to make a move in the transfer market, baby!


    -Oscar
  • Richoman
    130 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    great effort dominating the tournament! those funds are gonna come in handy

    Will you be looking at some regular transfers or some free agent signings too
  • Virtual_K
    1944 posts Play-Off Hero
    Despite a few issues (according to the diary), Burton Albion blew through group stage and managed a tough win in the semifinals. Bottom line, Oscar now has an extra mil to bolster his squad. Get to work son! :D
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
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  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    Chapter 3
    F**k me, I’d just spent over £300,000. On a footballer. I looked over at Eleanor, who was just positioning one of her five small cactus plants on the window sill of the kitchen,

    “I’ve never spent that kind of money in my whole life and I’ve just overseen it over a few days.” I couldn’t help but laugh with nerves and excitement. Eleanor humoured me with a smile and shook her head,

    “Bill spent £300,000. And he’s probably gonna send you the bill for it, too.” We shared a laugh and I raised a finger to correct her,

    “I’d just won us another million winning that tournament. Well, the club and Bill. He’s right to actually let me see some of it.”

    “How was Italy, anyway?” I smiled at the memory. We were only there for a week and a half, maybe two. But it felt lovely to be away and staying in Milan was an experience. I had to pick up an Inter and Milan jersey, much to the displeasure of the bloke selling them to me. You like Inter? You’re a figlio di puttana! He started laughing so I joined in, quickly handed him my Euros and hastily left.

    The squad and I found (or made) time to go and explore the city. A little old side like Burton doesn’t ever get to see Europe for football related reasons. It was a good bit of bonding walking around as a team, passing the San Siro and overpaying for ice cream being sold a street away.

    “Yeah, fantastic. The back of my legs are still sunburned-”

    “You forgot to put your sun cream on, didn’t you?” Eleanor folded her arms and prevented herself from smiling,

    “Christ, it’s like I’m back with my mother,” I decided now was a good time to bring out the impersonation of my mum, “You’re aaaalways forgetting things-oh you stupid boy, look how red your arms are! I warned you! I told you it was bloody hot out there! Go have a lolly, or something.” I may have exaggerated my mother’s voice, somewhat. She wasn’t nearly as screechy or old sounding as I suggested. Eleanor was giggling, so I’d accomplished my task for the day.

    We’d spent all day finally moving the last of our essentials from our home down in Hastings. It was a four hour trip to Burton, to our new rented place, and four hours back home. For the s**t I got about forgetting things, you’d never guess which half of the relationship forgot the most - the half with t*ts!

    My phone vibrated in my pocket and I quickly pulled my mobile out. It was Bill. I hope the deal for Bowden hasn't fallen through. I thought we had agreed personal terms. I answered,

    “Afternoon, Bill.”

    “Yeah, afternoon, Osc. How are ya? Got everything in order at your lovely new pad?” The pad definitely wasn’t new,

    “Yep, just about. Everything’s just being repositioned, moved into a different room, moved back again-you know the missus, everything’s in the wrong place.” Eleanor playfully slapped me on the arm and then parked her behind on the sofa. Bill laughed, albeit slightly forced laughter. Never a good sign,

    “Ah I’m glad to hear it, mate. I’d pop over but there’s a lot of tedious crap to do. Who knew being the owner of a football club would be so stressful?” Bill laughed again, properly this time, and I joined in.

    “How are you doing, Bill?” I asked,

    “Yeah nah, I’m not bad at all, cheers. I did have something to talk to you about, though.” His voice was slowly becoming less upbeat as he spoke. Something was on his mind. I headed into the kitchen, just to gain a little bit of privacy,

    “What’s that then, Bill? Jamie’s still signing with us, isn’t he? His agent isn’t being a t-”

    “Oh no, no no no. Jamie’s golden, mate, can’t wait to start with us. I’ve been watching these highlights and compilations these Twitter weirdos make in their spare time of him...yeah, looks a tidy player. I like the look of him, Osc.” I chuckled and nodded. It was thanks to the ‘Twitter weirdos’ I’d seen him, researched him thoroughly and then had a word with the scouting department.

    “Ah great, I was worried he’d had a sudden change of heart.” I leant against the kitchen counter and let the silence hang in the air for a bit, hoping it would prompt Bill to tell me what was up.

    “So, Oscar,” and so it did, “We’ve had an offer come in, a very handsome offer, I reckon,” I nodded and quickly processed the information. Not the end of the world, I had put a handful of players on the transfer list, “Three offers, actually. Now, we agreed on the two we discussed yesterday...” I heard a grunt as Bill typed on a computer, “Callum Hawkins, the goalkeeper, he’s gone on loan for a year to Derry City... Chris Beardsley, that ancient striker, he’s off to Crewe for £60,000--amazed we got that much for him,” Bill couldn’t stifle a quick belt of laughter, “And then the third one, came in some hours after you left...” It was Bill’s turn to let silence take hold. I decided to bite,

    “Who’s it for? Šarkić? One of the other lads I don’t mind selling?” Bill sighed down the receiver and I heard him shuffle about in his seat,

    “Nah, it’s for Akins, the skipper.” I blinked a couple of times before I began to frown. I never requested Akins be sold.

    “Well, I’m not wanting him sold, Bill.”

    “The offer is for £700,000,” S**t, nearly a million for him. My frown remained, though. He was superb for us in Italy, a real leader for the rest of the team. Scored plenty, was always involved in the game from the off, “The man’s 30 years old, Osc. That’s why I’m leaning towards selling him-”

    “Hang on, Bill. That’s not your call to make, he’s my player-”

    “He plays for my club, Osc. I’m the one who finalises things round here,” It was that stern voice that really bugged me on the same day he hired me, “Listen, I want us to consider this. He’s not getting any younger and that worth-that price, is only gonna go down as the months tick by.” No, b****cks, it wasn’t as simple as that.

    “Bill he’s the only bloody competent striker we have at the club. He was a large reason why we won a million quid in prize money. How much more is promotion worth with him leading the line than selling him now for less than a mil?” I wasn’t going to sit idly by. Akins was a proper fans favourite, he’d been at the club going on 7 years. He was my captain and he was a great bloke to have around,

    “What’s got into you?” Bill inquired sharply,

    “What?”

    “What happened to your ageist crusade? You wanted all the over 30 f****rs gone, didn’t ya?” I opened my mouth to respond but Bill decided he wasn’t finished, “Oscar, mate, this is 700 grand for a 30 year old striker. You’ve got money in the bank, this will make that money grow over 50%. I want to accept this bid. I can’t see any faults. Can you? Really?” Bill was being patronising, now. I was gradually getting fed up and struggling to keep my temper down. Why was he being such a d**k? I was managing the bloody fella, not him,

    “Bill you don’t have to talk to me like that, for one. Two, I’m managing Lucas, I really like what I see and I think he’s great for the dressing room-”

    “Oh, Oscar, don’t be naive. You’ve got Sunderland, Pompey, Peterborough, Rotherham--hell, even Fleetwood, all in the league with you. What are the genuine chances that Akins takes you all the way to promotion in our first year?” I bit my tongue to prevent a petulant outburst. What I wanted to tell Bill started with F, contained three letters and was followed by ‘off’. But at this level, you couldn’t make such emotional choices. I couldn’t spoil the relationship with Bill. I had to listen, “I really, really f****ng liked the dream you sold me in the interview, who gives a rat’s arse about what Merse said on the telly-”

    “I’m not bothered about what he said.”
    “Okay, great, me bloody too. I love the idea of having young and hungry players, playing good attacking f****ng football. I relish that idea. You said it yourself, there’s a tonne of old and aging players in the squad. I believe everything you say about Akins, I do. But, like you, I believe this team is better off starting now. Taking action to fix these problems, now. The t**ts who were here before us, they caused the stagnation. We have a chance to right it, now. Do you get what I’m saying?” And I did. I fully understood where Bill was coming from. I let out a long sigh,

    “Yeah, I do, Bill. F**k me,” I sighed again, rubbing at the bridge of my nose with my hand, “Okay. I think we should haggle the price,” I could barely believe my own words, “See what we can squeeze out of them. I don’t want him going for less than his worth.” I could almost hear Bill smiling at the other end of the phone,

    “I’ll ring them up in a couple of hours. I’ll draw up a pricing plan. With any luck, that tournament boosted the price a bit. I’ll catch you later, Oscar. I’ll come over the day after tomorrow. Bye, mate.”

    “See you.” We hung up. I let my head fall to my chest. I felt guilty. I really liked Lucas, thought he’d been a terrific servant for the club. £700,000...that was a lot, though. And if Bill could squeeze out more...

    It was time to go shopping for strikers.
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    edited August 16
    Richoman wrote: »
    great effort dominating the tournament! those funds are gonna come in handy

    Will you be looking at some regular transfers or some free agent signings too

    Thank you! Yep, the funds will be vital, gonna put them straight to use. I'll definitely look at the free agents towards the end of the window, I wanna save what I can for players I know I want.
    Virtual_K wrote: »
    Despite a few issues (according to the diary), Burton Albion blew through group stage and managed a tough win in the semifinals. Bottom line, Oscar now has an extra mil to bolster his squad. Get to work son! :D

    Yeah the scorelines in a few games were defo kind to us. The team seems naturally attacking, so the amount goals we scored was very rewarding and I'm glad we capitalised whenever we got into good positions. Our defence came under the microscope, especially Daniel and the keeper Garratt. Whenever the opposition had a shot, 75% of the time it went in, which is concerning because there's some v good attackers in League 1. Didn't think I'd need a keeper :s Aye aye cap'n!
  • Richoman
    130 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    massive signing from an EPL club! massive that you pulled it off because they keep telling me I DONT WANT TO GO TO YOUR ❤️❤️❤️❤️ LEAGUE 2 CLUB :(

    Hope he goes well for you ! judging from his age he is here for the long haul!
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    Richoman wrote: »
    massive signing from an EPL club! massive that you pulled it off because they keep telling me I DONT WANT TO GO TO YOUR ❤️❤️❤️❤️ LEAGUE 2 CLUB :(

    Hope he goes well for you ! judging from his age he is here for the long haul!

    I know, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy going Mourinho was in the negotiations and then the player himself was even more surprising with what he wanted. Oscar clearly has quite a charm and can sell his vision to anyone...or so, that's what he'd tell you ;)
  • Richoman
    130 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    JoGR02 wrote: »
    Richoman wrote: »
    massive signing from an EPL club! massive that you pulled it off because they keep telling me I DONT WANT TO GO TO YOUR ❤️❤️❤️❤️ LEAGUE 2 CLUB :(

    Hope he goes well for you ! judging from his age he is here for the long haul!

    I know, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy going Mourinho was in the negotiations and then the player himself was even more surprising with what he wanted. Oscar clearly has quite a charm and can sell his vision to anyone...or so, that's what he'd tell you ;)

    You even got to talk to Mourinho! i couldnt even get to that screen they just say they dont wanna relocate :( Hopefully that signing comes to haunt him soon ;)
  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
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  • JoGR02
    80 posts Park Captain
    oWNPOmy.png
    Q: Colin Sexton, Derbyshire Live. Morning Oscar, as I’m sure you’re aware there’s been a lot of questions being asked by fans about why exactly Lucas Akins was sold after being one of the stars at the pre-season tournament in Italy. You stuck with him as captain, he was loved by the fans, what exactly was the motivation for selling a club stalwart like that?

    A: Morning, Colin. Look, selling Lucas wasn’t an easy decision for me, for exactly the reasons you said. I thought he was a great bloke, I thought he was great for us in Italy and had been great for Burton before I joined. We had what we [Oscar and the board] considered to be a very good offer for Lucas and we were able to secure more money in negotiations. It’s money that has been invested straight back into the squad and in Lucas’ long term replacement.


    Q: Hi, Oscar, Mark Addlestone with Staffordshire Live. You briefly mentioned the long term successor to Akins in the form of Joseph Gelhardt, he’s a 17 year old and only played 44 minutes in the Championship last season. What exactly do you see in him to justify selling a well established League 1 player and bringing in Gelhardt as his replacement?

    A: Morning, Mark. Well, I obviously saw enough of him through other means to justify that. My philosophy revolves around young players and establishing a young core for the squad. Sadly, Lucas wasn’t getting any younger but Joseph has all the time in the world to grow and develop into a great player. He’s been capped for England since U16 level, he’s been capped through until U18, he’s scored in every game he’s played in the FA Youth Cup...there’s a lot more to look at when judging a player, Mark. You have to look beyond what league they play in.


    Q: Good morning, Oscar, hope you’re well. Tracey Atley with the Burton Mail. You head into the game against Ipswich Town with two new signings, who are to put it lightly, very inexperienced at this level of football. Can we expect a baptism of fire for both Jamie Bowden and Joseph Gelhardt?

    A: Hi, Tracey. Of course they’re inexperienced at this level, a lot of players who fit their mould [young, yet to break through to the first team] simply haven’t had the opportunity to play at this level. I believe in Jamie and Joseph 100%, I think they’ve got the talent, the belief and the work ethic to succeed at this level and to really get to grips with League 1 football quickly. I haven’t signed them out of ignorance just to fit the description of who I want to bring to the club. I have full faith in the boys.

    Q: Sorry, just to add on to that, after selling both Akins and Chris Beardsley, Burton are now without a recognised striker. Is the plan to give Gelhardt his full debut straight away?

    A: Yep, that’s the plan. We’ve [Oscar and Gelhardt] had that conversation and Joseph didn’t shy away from the opportunity, he’s eager to start and get going right away. I want him to become the main man and to lead the line, so the fact he’s hungry for that chance right away is very encouraging to me. He’ll give a good account of himself. Right, that’ll do for now, guys. I’ve got to go and run a training session. Thank you, goodbye.
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