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"What's the opposite of a superlative?" A Scotland story


Jambo_4eva

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Here goes, sorry about the last attempt people, it was my mistake. Should control my CM games time, but it just proves how addictive the game is, and why I started playing it in the first place! icon_wink.gif

***

“ What a failure,†I said to David on my right-hand side. I took a sip of my chilled can of Guinness, before continuing. “ I mean, England, a crap nation, let’s be honest, can get through, and we can’t even get qualify the whole competition?â€

We were watching the Euro 2004 finals, with England in action against Switzerland.

What we watched before the conversation was one of the flukiest goals ever; Wayne Rooneys “wonder-strike†(off-target as David pointed out), cannoned off the post, and struck the Swiss goalkeeper on the ball, and it fired into the back of the net.

The oldest ‘keeper in the competition looked dejected, Wayne Rooney the “wonder kid†(fat *******, as David correctly added) zoomed off in celebration “the fastest he had ever run in his life,†according to David. He doesn’t know, however, despite his size, that Rooney is infact very speedy! Shows how much he watches the game, really...

But, while watching the ninety minutes drag away, with the continuing comments from Dave, who I met during my schooling days almost twenty years ago (It’s sad to think, isn’t it? Twenty years is a really long time, I’m getting older, aren’t I?)

In the final few minutes, as England had almost certainly sealed their place in the next round, I thought more about Scotland. We’re a failure, I told myself continually and I also reminded myself there’s nothing I could do about it....

Oh how wrong was I!

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Here goes, sorry about the last attempt people, it was my mistake. Should control my CM games time, but it just proves how addictive the game is, and why I started playing it in the first place! icon_wink.gif

***

“ What a failure,†I said to David on my right-hand side. I took a sip of my chilled can of Guinness, before continuing. “ I mean, England, a crap nation, let’s be honest, can get through, and we can’t even get qualify the whole competition?â€

We were watching the Euro 2004 finals, with England in action against Switzerland.

What we watched before the conversation was one of the flukiest goals ever; Wayne Rooneys “wonder-strike†(off-target as David pointed out), cannoned off the post, and struck the Swiss goalkeeper on the ball, and it fired into the back of the net.

The oldest ‘keeper in the competition looked dejected, Wayne Rooney the “wonder kid†(fat *******, as David correctly added) zoomed off in celebration “the fastest he had ever run in his life,†according to David. He doesn’t know, however, despite his size, that Rooney is infact very speedy! Shows how much he watches the game, really...

But, while watching the ninety minutes drag away, with the continuing comments from Dave, who I met during my schooling days almost twenty years ago (It’s sad to think, isn’t it? Twenty years is a really long time, I’m getting older, aren’t I?)

In the final few minutes, as England had almost certainly sealed their place in the next round, I thought more about Scotland. We’re a failure, I told myself continually and I also reminded myself there’s nothing I could do about it....

Oh how wrong was I!

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How did you guess icon_frown.gif Cheers for the reply

***

“ There’s nothing we can do about it though, is there?†David asked me, as England celebrated unsportingly while inbetween the celebrations shaking hands with the understandably upset Swiss players.

I thought for a second, it’s all it needed. “Nah, Davey your right... there isn’t!†The only thing was, when I said this, my head gave a funny jolt. Not a “sare yin†as a Scot would say, but more like my head was trying to tell me something. It was funny.

I kept on thinking about it... Maybe there was something I could do. Have children to someone who regularly has twins and triplets, leave my job, and train them all day long? Nah, waste of time, they’ll be too small....

I could maybe help a few “wee yins†with the coaching or something? You know, get my SFA Coaching Badges then take up a young team or something.

Sounds like a good plan, I told myself.

“ Do you know about all the Badges and things coaches have to get?†I asked Davey, wondering if his knowledge of the beautiful game extended that far.

“ Can’t say I have?†Davey replied honestly.

“ Oh well, I suppose it’s just training for becoming a coach. I’ve always wanted to do that†(when, in truth, I had never thought of being a coach because I had never been a leader at school), “ Just seeing Scotland not in the Championships as made me angry... I’m going to do it as soon as possible.â€

“ Good plan,†Davey answered, “ could I come, by any chance?â€

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I couldn’t refuse, could I?

A few days after our conversation, I had already scanned most Scottish related websites, but not found any dates / “how-to-starts†on the Internet. I did, however, find a contact number, and the very next day, I gave them a ring.

“ Good afternoon, the Scottish football association here, may I ask who’s speaking?†An attractive voice answered after about twenty to thirty rings.... and to think, Scotland needs more coaches!

“ My name is Rick Thomson. I’m calling to try and set-up a course in which I can earn my badges?†I replied.

“ Of course. Well, I would say you’re in luck... there’s a course next month!†When she said I was in luck, I expected it would start in a few days... not that bloody long!

“ That would be great thanks, could you book two places please?†I asked the young woman.

“ Unfortunately, there’s only one place left in the course. You could leave it, and start sometime next year, or one of you could go in for it...†My heart sank.

I had to make a decision, I couldn’t wait, this is something I simply had to do. For my country. “ Well, then, put Rick Thomson down for that place please.â€

“ That’s fine, you can pay by direct debit, or send a cheque....â€

And so, that’s how I booked my place into a course.... My “dream†had finally been accomplished.

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Since I haven't posted in a couple of days, I will reward you (probably bore you is closer), with another post. Thanks for reading. icon_smile.gif

***

“ YOU DIDN’T BOOK ME A PLACE?†Dave shouted down the phone line, “ARE YOU STUPID? THIS WAS SOMETHING WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO TOGETHER!â€

I hung up. I couldn’t cope. Tears were almost in my eyes. Me and David had never falling out before. Not since, well, never basically.

I sat on my seat, and since it was a Saturday morning, put on Soccer AM. It’s a funny program, and managed to capture my attention at times, but still, the thing about David was always in my mind.

I hadn’t spoke to David for a while, due to the fact he had moved house and not yet given me his number. There were only three days into the course, and there seemed there was no way back into the course.

Then the phone rang.

“ Hello,†I said, picking up the phone.

“ Allright mate it’s Derek!†It wasn’t the answer I wanted.

“ Allright,†I said, but it wasn't a happy tone...

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I arrived home a day before the course, and the phone had a message. I clicked on it, and listened to it.

“ Good morning, Mr. Thomson. If you and your friend are interested, there’s an extra place avalaible in the SFA course due to the death of one of trainees. It’s not a good start. Give me a phone call if you still want him to join.â€

I phoned immiediatly, and booked Davey a place in the course. Afterwards, I phoned him up, and after twenty or thirty rings (maybe he could be an assistant for the SFA), he picked up.

“ Hello?â€

“ Hello Dave.†I answered.

“ Oh it’s you.†He replied in a poor tone. “ And what the hell do you want?â€

“ Well, I was having a laugh with you earlier. You were always in the SFA Course! Meet me tomorrow morning, my place, at half eight. It’s an early start, better be there!â€

And that was that. Me and Davey, as planned, were going to the SFA course. The manager and his assistant, by any chance?

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Can't bloody wait for this game, well this story won't properly start until (fingers crossed) November 5th.

***

We woke up “bright and early†as they say, and as planned, David came to my house early. Since I was unemployed, I wasn’t used to getting up as early as this, but for some reason, like when I’m always excited, or nervous, I woke up earlier than planned. Five o’clock earlier than planned!

Tired, and unable to go to sleep for the remianing three and a bit hours, I trotted out to Daveys’ car. We were going to the SFA headquarters nearby the national stadium, which is just outside Glasgow.

“ Hope there isn’t too many weegies there like!†Davey commented half-an-hour into the journey. The rest was spent in silence.

Eventually, after what seemed hours, we arrived at the National Stadium. “Pretty,†David said, breaking the silence, and I answered back, “ It’s a murder pitch though.â€

We checked in, and after half-an-hour of chatting, the real fun started. “ Hello, and welcome to the SFA Training Pitch. This course will take us around eight weeks and I have to say, it’s a tough one. It’ll help you guys in the long term, however!â€

We started off with some basic drills - running (and surprisingly, we had to do it. David, when he had space to breath, said “I thought being a manager was when you stood there and watched everyone else do the running!â€)

After about an hour of work, we finally got on to the real stuff - how to teach other people to do the hard, dirty work. We were shown several exercises, all of which opened me up to how hard it is to being a coach.

And, so, the story begins....

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Sounds like this could be fun.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>“ Hope there isn’t too many weegies there like!†<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

icon_eek.gif Looking forward to more of these pearls of controversy icon_biggrin.gif

All the best

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Cheers Simon and Dave. Nice to know I have a couple of readers icon_smile.gif. Don't think they'll be too many anti-glasgow prejudice, but I might just play no Old Firm players.. Maybe icon_wink.gif!

***

Eight-weeks later, David sat in my living room, talking about the fun times he had during the course. “ It really was good, wasn’t it?†David said - I was half-listening.

“ Yeah,†I muttered, while passing. I was cooking lunch. It was our “partyâ€, so to speak. We had passed the coaching license, now looked alot fitter and leaner, and were piling the pounds on again on this lunch - a fry-up.

Since we earned the grades, we were eligable to become footballing managers. Obviously, we weren’t going anywhere fast, so David got on the phone, and applied for a few jobs which we wouldn’t expect to get. Manchester Utd (Alex Ferguson kicks a boot.... this time hitting the chairman), Arsenal (Wenger heads off to Madrid) and Scotland . Well, I suppose, judging by Scotland’s record recently, we wouldn’t be out of that list.

With the Utd and Arsenal jobs out of the question; a brief phone-call from Dein and the Utd board told us that “they were looking at experienced managersâ€, we concentrated solely on the Scotland job.

Berti Vogts was sacked last month, after the Scotland officials finally realised that getting into the Euro Championships wasn’t good enough. Finally!

Articles, such as the one on Football365.com, told us that we might be in with a fighting chance.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>

Nobody in for Scottish job

David Taylor and the rest of the Scotland officials today annnounced to Football365 that there have been no real applicants for the Scotland job.

They were expecting a decent amount of applications, but bar the usual “no-hopersâ€, there have been none.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hope, but they did call us “no-hopers....â€

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I have a major gripe with this.

Whilst, as usual, Jambo has written a great start to a story, I was informed upon my appointment to the SOTW panel that the whole point of SOTW was to give new writers a chance to get their stories read.

Jambo has been around here as long as I can remember, and his stories have always been popular.

But, well done Jambo anyway, it is a good read.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Simon F:

SoS, if you have a gripe with something regarding SOTW then take it up with the SOTW panel and the mods through e-mail or msn or whatever, but do it privately.[/endofstoryhijack] <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

er is your email on the SOTW Panel list?? if it is i dont recognise it icon_wink.gif

other than that i agree with what you say but i didn't want to say it in here i used the SOTW Panel mailing list instead

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Three days after the phone call from Taylor, I walked into Hampden Park, and all of a sudden the facilities hit me as being “fantasticâ€. I muttered, under my breath, that this was a dream... to be honest, it was a dream... when Scotland were any good!

But, even leadering Andy Webster and the new group of Scotland youngsters will be a bonus. Already, after my appointment was announced to the media, several of the old and aged Scotland players retired from duty. Not the kind of start I wanted.

But, I’m going to be what Berti Vogts promised... a manager (obviously), who will give youngsters their chance. And bloody stick by them, not change my mind half way through and follow the path of the last manager, with all the Old Firm crap.

I was angry just thinking about the terrible football played under Vogts. Then, I made a brave but bold decision... I wasn’t going to play any Old Firm players*. That’s it, none, zilch, gone forever. Rangers and Celtic players will be unhappy right enough, but if they want to play for Scotland, move .

I shook hands with David Taylor for the final time, before the deal was finally lashed out and the loose ends were agreed on, and I was, officially at least, the new Scotland manager. What a feeling... what a boost, but to see that our first training session will be taking at Scotland’s worst club, East Stirlingshires’ ground, didn’t boost my confidence.

“ For footballing reasons†said Taylor, “ we’d like to go somewhere where the media won’t be watching, for a day at least. It’ll be a good experience, get to know how to play against teams like Moldova at their own park.†He laughed. Somehow, I wasn’t laughing, and my stomach was churning slightly...

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>

WHO?

The Daily Record

A few weeks after the sacking of former-Scotland manager Berti Vogts, the Scottish FA revealed the new manager of Scotland, to the tune of “who’s?†from across the country, writes Gavin White.

When Vogts was initially sacked, everyone appeared extremely happy and upbeat after a couple of years living in hell under the boss. Now, the fans are even unhappier , if humanely possible, about the SFA’s choice to appoint Rick Thomson as the new Scotland manager.

The rookie manager only qualified to be a football manager under a month ago and has had no experience at any level of leadership and he himself appeared surprised.

“ I can’t honestly believe it,†the twenty-nine year old told the Daily Record. It was hard to hear the man speak over the mumble, and shyness, which he evidently posesses.

Many people are already saying “it’s a step forward sacking Berti Vogts and it’s a hundred-metre backward race appointing Alexander.†It’s not filling the new manager with confidence, but he knows he will face it, and his aim is to prove people like that wrong.

“ I’ve got a tough job on my hands. Scotland, in the past, have been known for bringing up players of some quality, but that has dried up recently. I’ve got to start producing the new talent and by this, I’ve got to look to the future... take risks and hopefully, a few will shine.â€

At least the man knows about football. The man he appointed as his assistant manager minutes after taking over, David Redpath, appeared to have no knowledge of the game whatsoever.

“ My wifes proud of me, so I’m happy on that level. She was angry at me taking the course on, but at least it’s got rewards to it, and now she can shut up for a while... Euan says Scotland are rubbish, but I’ll see to that.†Clueless.

Whether or not the duo can cut it is questionable, but one thing they’ve got on their hands is a hard job....

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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  • 4 weeks later...

Three weeks after being appointed Scotland manager, Rick Thomson felt he was experienced enough to take hold of a group of players and train them for the day.

As David Taylor mentioned, it was to be played at the “worst club in Scotlands†training pitch. Unfortunately, they lived up to their reputation as the worst club, as the training pitch, quite frankly, was a field. The media were there in their bundles, taking pictures and jotting on papers.

“ Still better than the Hampden surface,†a Daily Telegraph reporter laughed to his photographer.

It didn’t take the ‘papers long to notice the absence of several Old Firm players. “ Oi! ‘Mon Rangers!†one boy screamed in Ricks’ ear.

The training session was nothing special - Rick tried to keep Davey out of the action, as he knew the media would have yet another field day over Davey, and it wasn’t doing his confidence any good.

After the training session, Rick ‘squared up’ to the media, telling them straight that there won’t be any Old Firm players in the squad.

“ I don’t like to favour certain teams, but I feel that there is better talent elsewhere, outside the Old Firm and at the moment I am trying to find that talent.†Printed the Daily Mail.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This will look messed up. Please bare with me, the one above is irrelevent.

***

Now, let me introduce a new character into the story...

Iain Anderson remembers everything about the national side; ask him where he was when Archie Gemill scored ‘that’ goal against Holland and he’ll know. At the time, only eight years old, he sat glued to his new TV which his parents had bought him especially for the World Cup.

Growing up on the dark streets of Edinburgh, the parts which tourists never quite see on their visits during trips to the capital, Anderson never supported a football club. Instead, he spent all of his hard earned cash on Scotland games. He didn’t really know why he had never devoted himself to a club, but he enjoyed being a neutral as he sat down on Saturday evenings watching Match of the Day and then on Monday watching the shoddy Scottish highlights show, Scotsport SPL.

At school, people couldn’t quite understand why he said “Scotland†when asked what team he supported. The only bias he had in him was for the non Old Firm teams in Scotland. He hated the fact that in school, there were the same number of Rangers and Celtic fans as Hearts and Hibs supporters, even though many lived within walking distance of the Hibs ground and a mere bus trip away from Tynecastle Park.

Now Iain was a man known for giving people chances. He backed Berti Vogts to the hilt, despite the pressure from a large percentage of the nation, most of whom took no interest in the game but still knew the much hated Germans name. But Iain’s trust in the Scottish FA didn’t stretch as far as the decision to make virtual unknown Rick Thomson the manager. And then there’s that stupid assistant manager, who basically puts down the nation as a whole.

Despite his anger in the decision, he had already booked the two away trips of the year. Both trips weren’t to inspiring countries. He would be flying into Moldova, a minnow country even to Scotland the morning before the match and would be escaping the country as quickly as he could, leaving at three in the morning. Then there was the African country of Cameroon, who Scotland will play in a friendly in November. The only bonus of the trip, Iain supposed, was the hot weather.

Also on this year, Iain noticed as he checked up on the Internet was the prospect of a friendly against Albania. It’s not all small nations, however, as before all three games, the Scottish national side will be taking on Norway and Slovenia, which will be the new managerial teams’ first game in charge.

When the Scottish FA accepted a friendly against South Korea, which included a match-up between the two under-19 squads, Iain was already on the internet searching for the cheapest flights to the Asian country.

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Just a quick note. Instead of friendlies against South Korea, Cameroon and whoever the other team was, I’ll be playing Iceland, U.A.E and Slovakia.

***

Scotland vs Slovenia, Hampden Park.

Wednesday 8th September, 2004

Usually, Iain had a sense of anticipation ahead of a Scotland match. But, there was none this time, the man evidently not impressed by Rick Thomson’s young Scotland squad. Calum Elliot, who hasn’t yet earned his debut at Hearts, was one of the names in the squad list. The country was stunned.

The trip to Hampden was the usual. Michael, the pal who Iain had gone to Scotland games with since he was ten years old, always made the trip extremely easily with his great sense of humour. The same can’t be said for the man two rows behind, who tried to pull a crack at every opportunity, though a large percentage of the jokes weren’t at all funny.

The highlight of the day isn’t the bus journey for Iain, but the moment you first step into the stadium. The nerves suddenly tingle up and down your body, you claim your seats and take in your surroundings.

Michael and Iain didn’t have much time to dilly over the surroundings due to the poor calculations of the bus journey. They were five minutes late and Scotland were already on the attack.

James McFadden’s effort was well saved by the Slovenian goalkeeper and the pair noticed a surprise choice on the right wing. “Kevin Thomson!†They screamed together. The Hibs winger, who was due to play in the under-19 squad, had been picked last minute due to Darren Fletcher’s injury.

It was an open match until the forty-second minute when McFadden opened up the goal scoring. Slovenia’s midfielders took too long on the ball and Nigel Quashie was on to them in a flash. A good ball from the Portsmouth player found McFadden and the former Motherwell star slammed the ball into the back of the Slovenians net. The stadium erupted.

The Tartan Army’s hearts were in their mouths as Slovenia crafted two great opportunities which were both narrow misses. Ceh, the Slovenian right-winger hit a long range drive and the effort crashed off Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordons crossbar. A close range effort was flashed wide two minutes later.

Slovenia’s warning weren’t answered and the country equalised with twenty minutes left on the clock. A great ball, one of those undefendable crosses was headed into the back of the net.

Fortunately the Scots reacted well to the goal, with McFadden grabbing what proved to be the winner. Nigel Quashie again opened up the away sides defence, sending a through ball onto the run of McFadden and a cute lob left the goalkeeper with no chance.

Ceh once again troubled the Scots but Gordons crossbar was once again on hand to give Scotland all three points in the opening qualifier. Ceh’s great strike looked to have dipped into the back of the net, but it smacked off the crossbar and cleared the penalty area.

The match was sealed thanks to Plymouth striker Stevie Crawford. Crawford’s run was matched by the pass of Jackie McNamara, now of Aston Villa after a move from Scotland and he finished with aplomb.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bartley_m:

Likeing this, KUTGW <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks.

Will reward readers with a couple of posts near christmas just to keep the story alive. God I wish playing International games were more exciting.

Keep reading icon_smile.gif

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Rick Thomson sat nervously, shuffling his teamsheet infront of him, as the press created their questions to ask the Scotland manager. He had become used to the role after over four months in charge, but did not understand the distinct lack of faith which the media had shown.

His latest squad selection was more impressive than the first, according to a Daily Record writer. Calum Elliot, the 17-year old who had never even represented his club, Hearts, never mind his country was out of the squad and in came talented players such as Joe Hamill and Neil Janczyk, though the latter only had a handful of appearences for the Gorgie Boys.

It became apparent to all quarters that Thomson was a Hearts fan. “ I thought you would have guessed sooner. Yes I am a Hearts fan, but it doesn’t affect my team-sheet when it comes to the big games, such as the two which are only a couple of weeks away.â€

Rick had answered that question well, but there was plenty more to come. They still hadn’t fully realised why there was a lack of Old Firm players.

“ Why isn’t Stephen Pearson in your latest squad? To me, he’s been the best Scottish player this season.†A writer, pen at the ready, asked.

Rick breathed. Would he say “Oh, it’s because I hate Glasgow†or would he make another excuse? He decided to go with the latter. “ I feel there are better options avalaible. Colin Cameron has been playing well at Wolves, James McFadden has been earning plaudits at Everton and players like Hamill have impressed here in Scotland. I, for one, believe that we won’t miss Pearson. He’ll perhaps get a chance soon enough.â€

Thomson finally wrapped up the conference, stating: “ They are too difficult teams to face, for different reasons. Teams like Moldova always surprise, while everyone knows that Norway have a touch of class in them. We’ve got to take the matches one at a time, as there will be two totally different styles played in each.â€

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Cheers Bartley! I heard you voted for me for writer of the year so cheersicon14.gif though it didn't get counted. As they say, it's the thought that counts icon_razz.gif

***

“Five minutes were into the match and already it appeared as the team, playing in red, were on top. The ginger haired lad at left back certainly appeared to have talent, as did the striker up front… lanky, I dunno, 6’5 would you say?â€

Dave realised where he was – in front of a bumper Hampden crowd – and breathed in deeply. Scotland were playing Norway and like his thoughts, they were well in control of the game.

If truth be told, Rick and Dave’s relationship over the few months he had been Scotland manager had deteriorated. The plan for Dave to be assistant manager wasn’t the best decision in the world, due to his lack of knowledge of the game.

They ploughed on and Rick trusted him enough to turn to him during games. “ Well, Norway are well in control… what do you think I should change?â€

A smile arose across David’s face – he couldn’t quite believe Rick finally trusted him – and he answered confidently. “ Well, you see Paul there… he should move up the park! Look at him, he doesn’t know where he is at the moment.â€

Rick turned to the action and one shout later, Paul Dickov, the Blackburn striker, moved up towards the central defence. Thomson’s reasoning for the move forward was because Norway would expect Dickov to be playing on the last-line of the defence.

It hadn’t worked, just like many other of Thomson’s moves, but finally this change seemed to be paying off. Dickov wriggled free of two defenders but Bergdolmo read the game perfectly, though couldn’t prevent a corner.

From the resulting order, Steven Caldwell headed the ball into the back of the net and just like last time, there was a huge roar from the Hampden crowd. Dave ran onto the pitch and faced an hour of the games in the stand… not that he minded too much.

The match dragged on and the duo went through all the emotions a football match can offer (though this may differ to what you think, as Dave went through the emotion of love with the “posh bird row F, seat 13†as he later described her to Rick. He wasn’t best amused.)

For those involved in the Scotland camps (or for those who cares i.e not David) it was a great achievement and everyone believed it could only get better against Moldova in three days time (though Dave pointed out it was unlikely that the Moldovan ‘birds’ will be up to much)

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