The big decision

After seeking opinions on whether I should stay with Vibonese or go to TNS, the decision has been made! I can announce that I have accepted the job offer from TNS and will become their manager at the end of the season – the lure of potential Champions League football is impossible to resist. It is clear that the demands at TNS will be higher than at Vibonese; the board expected a safe, mid-table position, whilst the TNS manager has been fired with the team in 3rd place (9 points off the top with 5 games to go) and a quarter final exit on penalties in the Cup. It will certainly be a change as I’m normally a small fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond; at TNS, I will be the big fish.

Accepting the job at the end of the season gives me 7 games to go with Vibonese. I must confess to be disappointed that there were no player reactions after I accepted the TNS job – surely they were upset at me leaving? I’ve since decided that they are merely being professional and recognise that there is still a job to be done (play-offs for promotion are not completely out of the question, although it’s probably going to require 7 wins as I’m about 8 points off) and they will all allow their emotions to overwhelm them at the end of the season. I’ve still yet to have the local press inform me of the fans starting a petition to get me to change my mind or promise to block me from reaching the airport, but they’re either an understanding lot or just don’t care as I’ve only been there for a year.

The first of my final 7 games with Vibonese is against Neapolis Mugnano; they are 15th in the table (we’re 9th) and I have a good record against them – played 2, won 2, scored 7, conceded 1. My first game in charge of Vibonese was against Neapolis Mugnano and a Luca Camilliuzi hat-trick inspired us to a 5-1 victory (following results soon brought me down to earth!), so it seems fitting that the first of my final games in charge of Vibonese is against them. The match starts slow, but in the 21st minute, Neapolis Mugnano only clear a corner back to Emanuele Morini; he delivered a cross to the back post and found an unmarked Mattia Donati who fired us into a lead. Donati is not a regular starter, but is climbing up our leading goalscorers table as he seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time – perhaps I should have started him more often!! Three minutes later, we double our lead; Mornini delivers a deep corner and Ricardo Altieri powers home a header (his goal and performance earn him a spot in ‘Team of the Week’. The rest of the game is instantly forgettable and fizzles out as we record a 2-0 victory that our fans can only enjoy because we won. Onwards and upwards, although the next game is against the team top of the table, who have scored 50 and only conceded 14; on the plus side, when we played them earlier in the season, we did record a 2-0 victory…

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