My Kingdom


Youth Team
As the two truck pulled through the gates and set my car down in the car park I stepped out and examined my new kingdom. Why I had been offered this chance I did not know. Neither did I know what the fans would think either. But I didn't care. They had given me the chance and I was planning to exploit it.

The rain swept through the car park pushed by the howling wind. A soggy newspaper hit me square in the face. Wiping it away I recognised the smell. The same smell that met me on that fateful night in the public toilets.

A side door opened and a rather portly man stuck his head out and motioned me over. I skiupped across the car park trying to avoid the vomit and broken glass. As I stepped inside a wiped my hair back into its side part and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness.

I think I was standing in the ticket office. But I couldn't be sure. A large black sofa stretched along the fair wall while the two sides were partioned off my 3" thick bullet proof glass.

"If you take a seat, someone will be with you in a minute" the fat controller barked as he put up his umbrella and went back out through the door. I watched as he waddled off and wondered whether I should use the Batphone.

I sat down and looked at the photos on the wall.

Some of the greatest players to come from this part of the world had stood in this room. And judging by the state of the sofa, probably sat in this chair too. The sense of nostalgia rose as I looked down the line of photos. I tried to recall where I was when I heard about those events. After the first three I gave up and twiddled my thumbs.

Twenty minutes later I had just perfected rubbing my stomach and patting my head when a small face appeared behind one of the screens. I stood up and walked over and placed the letter up against the screens.

The face went down quicker than Monica Lewinski and a small door in the screen opened and I stepped through.

Talk about going through the looking glass. The room on the other side was filled with large tables and casino girls. I knew I was going to like it here.

An elderly man who had stopped growing vertically and now horizontally came forward and stuck his hand out.

"Welcome to the Park, man. Canne get ye sum geordie juice?"

I nodded my head and settled in...

A week after I had had my first taste of genuine geordie juice I was introduced to my playing staff and told what the club expected of me in my first season.

They wanted the club to attain a respectable league position. Okay. That didnt sound too hard, after all this was Newcastle United.

As I walked onto the training pitch to meet the players for the first time I knew that this was going to be hard work.

As I ran back onto the pitch for the second time a minute later keeping ahead of the security guard I ran toward the squad waving.

Whether they thought I had escaped from my a mental home or something I don't know but I felt a bond develop between us. These were players I could identify myself with. Well almost.

As each player introduced themselves I let them ask me one question. It was sort of like Guess Who? but I had left the glasses and beard back in the car. The first question came from the new £5million pound signing Titus Bramble;

"Where's Bobby gone?"

Feeling uneasy I searched my mind for an answer. What would I tell them? I couldnt tell them that he was locked in my cellar at home alongside Christian Gross and Ibrahima Bakayoko so I decided upon a believeble answer.

"He's decided to stay with ITV and help them in the run up to the conclusion of the World Cup qualifiers and through to the world cup." There that sounded okay. But why was I sweating? Maybe it was the security guard attached to my leg.

As the squad went through their paces I could see that it needed only a few alterations. And with most of this summers money being spent before I arrived I knew it would only be few alterations.

Starting from the back the team was solid enough. Robbie Elliot, Titus Bramble and Andy O'Brien could be truseted to form three quarters of my preferred back four. But there was no one who could play at right back. That would have to be my first point of call. I already had an idea for that one.

Gary Speed (was his mother having a laugh when she chrisened him? I had seen Ian Dowie move faster) would have to play as my holding midfielder. There was nobody else.

Laurent Robert, Kieron Dyer and new wonderkid Hugo Viana would form the cutting edge of the midfield.

And Craig Bellamy would partner Alan Shearer up front.

That left me with just the squadplayers to deal with. I wondered why Bobby Robson had so many South Americans in his squad, Bassedas, Solano, Gavilian, Acuna the list went on longer than my piece of paper would allow. Either he saw something in these players or he was using them as the key to a drug cartel. By the way Acuna was shaking and having a cold sweat I think I knew the answer.

They could all be sold on to help raise some funds. And I wasnt too happy with the presence of Carl Cort, Shola Ameobi and Lua Lua either. They didnt add anything to the squad excpet the wage bill. They could go too...

... as the squad settled into pre season training I took myself into my office and unpacked my things. The picture of my wife on the desk. The picture of my mistress in the draw. My little black book of contacts next to the phone. In about ten minutes I had the place looking like I wanted it.

I sat down at the desk and booted the PC up. I needed a right back and there would only be one place that I would get him from. I had no real contacts and no one knew me so I would have to start from the bottom of the pile.

Ten minutes later I was sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee and Championship Manager running on the PC.

Right I need a right back.

As I looked through the pages of players non caught my eye. Then as I was about to adjust my filtering options a name lept out at me.

I got out the phone book and made a few phone calls, three days later I had made my first signing as manager of Newcastle United. Republic of Ireland fullback Steve Finnan had handed back his Harrods Gold Card and had boarded the train to Geordie land. With a bit of luck I had managed to ofload Danny Griffin in part exchange all for the cost of £2.5 million.

It seemed like a good deal. I just hoped he settled in.

The day later I fulfilled a promise I had made to a Portuguese waiter I had met on holiday that summer. My second signing was unveiled. At a cost of £20k, To Madiera.

I had met him whilst on holiday with my wife in July and after a few drinks I promised him that if I ever became a football manager I would bring him to play for me. Well I am a man of my word and so he quit his job and caught a flight over to join my band of merry men.

As the big kick of approached ever nearer my squad began to take shape. In came Everton wonderkid Wayne Rooney for £250k and a promise that he could serve his community service at a local homeless shelter. I suppose that was ironic considering what he did to the last one.

Out went Marcelino to Real Zaragoza, Clarenec Acuna was going cold turkey and was shipped of to Birmingham. Diego Gavilian had found a better trafficking route and signed for Racing Santander. And Christian Bassedas joined his lover Clarence in Birmingham and signed for Aston Villa.

As the opener against Ipswich at Portman Road inched closer the team looked about ready and had just about come around to my way of thinking. Now if I could only get that girl from Thursday night to keep quiet I might just be the next messiah to visit Geordie land.

Two first half goals from Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy gave us a two nil victory and started the season off on a flyer.

That was followed up two draws and three wins from our next five games. Things were looking good and the hate mail had halved at least. There was only one problem left now. The smell from my cellar wasnt going away and the neighbours had made a complaint.

As the season pushed on our luck turned and we only picked up seven points from our next thirteen games.

People began asking questions about me and I found it hard to answer some of them. The squad needed a boost to get the confidence going again. As I sat down to my dinner on Christmas day the past six months seemed to have flown by. The team was mid table with only the FA Cup looking like a chance of silverware.

The signing of new players had been difficult aswell. With only £8million pound in the bank I hit more than a few brick walls.

Bids for Matt Holland, Juninho, Emile Heskey and Tassos Venetis were none starters. The team desparetly needed some new faces and this Xmas dinner needed more time in the oven.

I knew that the New Year would make or brake me as the manager of Newcastle United. And if anyone else complained about the smell, that might not matter anyway. With the council due out on Thursday to look at the drains to see if there was a problem I had to act fast. I needed somewhere to put Bobby, Christian and Ibrahima. There was no where at St James to do it and the boot of my car wasnt big enough. That left only one option. The mother in laws.

Luckily she had gone into hospital this week to have her third hip operation. If I could get the bodies there then I would be safe. The stench of her house would hide the smell for years.

I planned it for Monday morning, when the players were at training and my wife at her 'tennis' lesson with Lars. Luckily Craig Bellamy had lended me his Transit van so I could get the job done in one go.

By the time Diagnosis Murder was on in the afternoon I was back tucked safely behind my desk trawling through the free transfer list of Championship Manager. I really was getting desparate when I began to wonder how Stan Collymore was getting on in the loony bin.

Still my job was on the line so something had to be done. With no one looking to sell any players who were worth a taxi ride upto the place to have a look around I turned to the lower leagues.

Surely there would be someone down there who would be able to do the job for me.

But as the days turned into a week I began to wonder whether those rumours of my late night 'stay behind' with the youth team had reached further afield then the Toon.

Finally I found someone who might be half decent. But I should have known that any player from Brentford was probably a reject from some other club anyway but I was getting desparate; Carl Cort was more interested in his hair styles than to play football and Lomano Tresor Lua Lua was becoming more involved with the loca gymnastics society. So I had to make a move.

Unfortunately the club called a large press conference. The rumours spread that Newcastle were about to bring in an international striker. Reports in the papers varied from Rivaldo to Robbie Fowler to Nicolas Anelka. But they were all wrong.

At 11am the side door of St James Park Conference suite opened and through it came me and my latest signing.

:kader: :crazyboy:


Youth Team
Lloyd Owusu.

I had gotten him for £1.5million and an extra million after 10 international caps. But I was safe in the knowledge that he would never make it as an international striker. But I hoped he might do it in the Premiership.

The reaction from the fans and the press had been seen at St James before. It had happened six months earlier when I had been presented as the new manager. There was only one question to be asked:

Who's he?

I couldn't answer it but I hoped that Llyod could when he made his debut the following Saturday.

Sadly he couldnt. His performance was reminicent of Tony Thomas' denut for Everton after he signed from Tranmere. Exactly. Tony who?

Instead of being the new saddle, Lloyd Owusu had turned into another straw on this donkeys back and it was beginning to break under the weight.

I only had enough money for one more signing. And it would have to work.

Looking for a fall guy to take the blame for the teams inconsistency I looked upon Gary Speed. After all he was Welsh and he had left Everton under a cloud after an incident with Tony Grant's wife. So why shouldn't he take the blame? The rest of the team were too good to have a go at; and in any case doing so may have made them want to leave.

It was whilst watching a programme on the forthcoming world cup in Japan and Korea that I was made aware of the Senegal national team. I knew nothing about them personally except for their manager who looked like he had escaped from the Hair Bear Bunch and the couple of players who were playing in the Premiership with Liverpool.

El-hadji Diouf was establishing himself at Liverpool and had been keeping Emile Heskey out of the team recently, but at £8million he was far too expensive.

But on the other hand, Salif Diao had found the transition to the Premiership much more difficult. Whilst there was no doubting his ability he was unable to get past Didi Hamann and Steven Gerrard in the Liverpool starting XI.

Rumour had it that he may have been available for around the £2million pound mark.

And it seemed for once that the rumours had been true. On the 2nd February I unveiled my fifth signing as Newcastle manager for the price of £2million.

The impact made by Diao was immediate. He provided a screen in the midfield that was harder to get past than Britney Spears' knickers.

Finally the team seemed to be getting some consistency and belief and they started to move up the table.

It finally seemed that luck was on our side. Not only did the team start winning but West Brom showed an interest in Vidal Sassoon wannabe Carl Cort. And a bid in the region of £2million was enough to prize him away from the Park.

The sale was not only met with approval from the board but also a personal cash injection of £5million from the Chairman after I caught him with the club mascot in the changing room showers. Things were looking up. For both the Chairman when I caught him and me as the manager.

£2.5million was enough to tempt journeyman and yard dog John Hartson to come back south of the border and £2.5million in March saw Lua Lua receive some competition for the highest number of backflips in the form of Julius Aghahowa.

With Owusu and To Madiera firing blanks not only my wife but also the club was happy to welcome Julius to the club. And his creativity brought some flair to the attack if nothing else.

After defeat in the third round of the FA Cup the team settled into 9th position in the Premiership and stayed there until the end of the season.

Arsenal managed to pip Liverpool to the title in the last game of the season. But Liverpool hit back by retaining their domestic cup double. Man Utd thankfully were nowhere to be seen.

So my first season in charge was over almost before it had even begun. It seemed like only this morning that I was sitting down at my desk unpacking my stuff.

But still good things had come out of it. Alan Shearer had roared back into form with 30 goals for the season and Craig Bellamy had started off with a respectable 14. Kieron Dyer and Hugo Vian had settled into an excellent understanding in midfield and showed real promise for the forthcoming season. And Laurent Robert had cemented his place in the French World Cup squad with a consistent and above average season.

Steve Finnan proved to be my greatest signing so far. His average rating of 7.14 not doing him justice. But I knew that there would be more to come from him next season.

I knew that there would be more to come from the whole team next season. And I still had that bet with Alan Shearer that he couldn't score 400 goals in less than 700 appearances. And with him only on 234 I felt pretty confident that the £10k would be coming home with me for a night out at Angels.

The prospects for next season looked good. Providing I was still in the job of course...