Godfather Of Champions Chapter 130: Merry Christmas, Tony Part 1

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Godfather Of Champions is a Webnovel created by Lin Hai Ting Tao, 林海听涛.
This lightnovel is currently Ongoing.

Chapter 130: Merry Christmas, Tony Part 1Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

To the great disappointment of the eager media, Millwall did not respond the way they wanted. The Millwall chairman and manager had remained quiet about this matter. Perhaps they knew they were in the wrong… But the media were upset. They had spent so much effort, and what did they get in the end? They only managed to hype up an obscure and unknown manager and nothing more!

Sometimes when the media calmed down and thought about it, they felt that they had been used by Tony Twain.

Because who was the only person who had benefited from this matter? It was that big mouth, Twain. Not only he had led the team to a sweeping victory of 7:1 over Millwall at The Den Stadium and advanced to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup, he also successfully raised his profile. Pierce Brosnan’s story on the subway incident also helped Twain gain a lot of popularity among the football fans. Now almost all of Britain knew that Nottingham Forest had a manager who dared to confront the football hooligans to protect his team. And those dangerous football hooligans were surprisingly well-behaved in front of Twain.

His only punishment was to receive a bill asking him to pay for the plastic barrier board next to the visitors’ seats at The Den.

After the investigation, the Football a.s.sociation concluded that Manager Twain did not have any excessive behavior. As for the war of words between the Forest Team and Millwall, it was a personal feud between the two clubs which the Football a.s.sociation would not intervene or meddle in. Otherwise… Tottenham Hotspur and a.r.s.enal, Manchester United and Bolton, Manchester City and Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton, West Ham and Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Notts County, Manchester United and a.r.s.enal… If the Football a.s.sociation were to manage all the grudges between these clubs, then they would not be able to take care of anything else during the year.

The investigation report was quite unfavorable for Millwall’s home fans. They believed that the Millwall club had not stopped the fans’ extreme conduct in time, which led to the fan riots in the stands. At the same time, after the incident had occurred, the Millwall club chairman’s method of s.h.i.+rking his responsibility had disappointed the Football a.s.sociation. Given that the history of the Millwall fans repeatedly causing trouble in their stadium, the Football a.s.sociation levied the Millwall Club a fine of £15,000, ordered the Millwall club to improve the atmosphere of the stadium, and to strengthen the supervision of the fans to strictly prohibit such similar fan riots again.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities in this riot. If people were killed, the punishment would definitely not be something that could just be settled by a fine. London was preparing to bid for the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Any small amount of negative impact could have incalculable consequences. From the looks of it, the Football a.s.sociation was still considered lenient.

Due to the EFL Cup schedule and Christmas, the 24th round of the English Football League Champions.h.i.+p was postponed to February 27th, 2004. Therefore, the Forest team had nine days to prepare for the next round of the League Champions.h.i.+p after the EFL Cup which gave Tang En precious time. Just like the first time he took over the Forest First Team, he had 14 days of training time after they had finished playing for the FA Cup.

Maybe it was a coincidence or maybe it was the arrangement of fate. These two longer periods of preparation gave Tang En the time to familiarize with the team and also gave the team time to breathe.

The media hype did not affect the team’s training because Tang En had organized a sealed training to disallow any media from approaching the training ground.

Rebrov was basically fixed in a midfield position by Tang En and it looked like Tang En was using the 4-5-1 formation with a single striker. But it was not really that simple in reality. When Tang En was watching the games, he already held the view that the formations had long ceased to be the most important part of football. The era of discussing formations first when it was time to talk about tactics had pa.s.sed. The age of depending on unchanging formations, which had swept the football world, had long pa.s.sed. It did not make any sense for the team to submit the formation layout to the television broadcasters before the game and then play according to the formation layout on the screen. A real manager should be able to make appropriate adjustments at any time based on the situation of the match, and formations were just for references only.

It looked like Nottingham Forest had abandoned the 4-4-2 formation they had played last season and changed to 4-5-1 formation. However, during the actual game, the formation was sometimes still 4-4-2, but with some changes in certain portions. For example, Rebrov was still a striker, but his position was moved backwards. He was a coverted second striker. In this way, not only could Rebrov avoid being besieged by the opponents, he could also effectively unleash his skills. His special characteristic was he was good at dribble-and-pa.s.s, and then inserting himself from the back to create a bigger threat.

A seemingly simple positional adjustment had let Rebrov score in two consecutive games. This was sometimes the case with excellent managers. An ordinary change could produce a great result. It was best not to think of football tactics as complex. If it were too complex, the manager himself would be dizzy with confusion first. So, the wise man’s approach was often to simplify what looked to be very complicated.

Brian Clough, for example, was proficient at doing this. He once said to Roy Keane, who was at his debut on the Forest team, “Don’t think so much about it, lad. You just go up and pa.s.s the ball to someone in the red jersey, and then you run forward. It’s that simple.”

Roy Keane had kept that in mind throughout his career, and faithfully executed the old man’s tactical instructions given to him. Just like that, he played his way from a new star player in Nottingham Forest to the Republic of Ireland National Football Team, kicked his way into the Red Devils Manchester United, became the captain of Ireland National Team, and also became Manchester United’s captain.

Keane’s football was so simple, and he succeeded.

Tang En also wanted his players’ understanding of the tactics to be simpler, because it was counterproductive to think too much on the field. For example, his instruction to Taylor was to seize possession of the ball first, and then to either shoot or pa.s.s, and not think too much about it.

And his instruction to Rebrov was to follow Taylor and pay attention to the second point. Once he received the ball, he could use his own judgment whether to pa.s.s, shoot, or break through.

The manager could not take the place of the players on the field, so it was impossible to lay out every step of the players, and therefore, it was even more necessary for the players to comprehend for themselves.

That was why it was said: a first-rate player used his brains to play, a second-rate player used his body to play, and a third-rate player… could not play football.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær was known as a “super-sub” because he always played the most important role for the team within a limited playing time. Ferguson had praised him as a player who was “able to read the game on the field and have a very high level of comprehension.” One must know that the subst.i.tutes often had more difficult jobs to do than the starting players because they were usually not given much time. It was impossible for them to spend dozens of minutes to get into the rhythm of the game. When they were required to play on the field and must quickly be effective, they were expected to enter the condition of the game at the fastest speed and immediately understand the situation on the field… All these requirements were basically impossible tasks to complete if the player did not use his brain to play. That was the reason why there were so many subst.i.tutes, but few and far between were known as “super-subs.”

In addition to the team’s tactical drills and adaptation of the players’ new positions, Tang En had another task.

When the League Champions.h.i.+p was set to reopen, it would be after Christmas. From then on, he had to start thinking about candidates to replace Dawson and Reid. No one on the Forest team could play left midfield except for Reid. Tang En realized he was really fortunate that Reid did not suffer any injuries during the year, and he took part in every game. In that case, he had to search around for a left midfielder. His value could not be too high and, in addition, his ability must absolutely not be so poor that Tang En could not consider him. He was not going to purchase a player at a high price for their promotion to the Premier League. He had more ambitious goals waiting for him before that.

There was a piece of good news for Tang En. Leeds United’s performance continued to decline, the share price had fallen again, and the team was now in a panic. Around the Elland Road stadium (Leeds United’s home ground), a rumor was spreading that “once the team is eventually relegated to League One, the club will declare bankruptcy and all the players will be listed for sale.”

Tang En knew clearly that this was no rumor. His chance had arrived. Therefore, he once again, “in his personal capacity,” asked the old scout Mr. Ian Storey-Moore to make a trip to Leeds. The focus of this lobbying was for Aaron Lennon on the youth team, who had not yet signed a career contract with Leeds United. He hoped he would transfer to Nottingham Forest. The suggestion that Tang En gave to Moore was he must convince Lennon. If he couldn’t be won over, then sway his parents and family. If necessary, bribe with money. In short, don’t let him sign with Leeds United. Tell him about Leeds United’s current situation and let him seriously consider his career prospects and promise him that the Forest team will advance to the Premier League this season. If the final promise is not fulfilled, the Forest team will voluntarily relinquish the owners.h.i.+p of him, and he can go to any team he wishes to go. This condition can be written into the contract. If the Forest team does not comply, Lennon can bring the club and Twain to court.

Of course, if Lennon’s entire family were staunch Leeds fans who were loyal to the club, and the team also greatly valued Lennon and had prepared a generous contract for him, resulting in an unsuccessful purchase, Tang En also had a back-up plan. He just needed to spend a little more money. He believed that in the midst of a financial crisis, there was no player he could not afford to buy from the near-bankrupt Leeds United. The sale of Dawson and Reid earned the club £8,000,000, so Tang En was qualified to seek out players that he had yearned for in the past, those who he previously could only look at and not touch.

In fact, in terms of attacking players, there was a long list of names on Tang En’s shortlist. There were far more attacking talents in football now than defensive talents. Even with Reid gone, the impact on the team was not that big. The greatest impact was actually the departure of the team captain, Michael Dawson.

Tang En had always believed the fact that Tottenham Hotspur was willing to pay £8,000,000, it was mainly to buy Dawson, and Reid was just a “gift with purchase”, or it was half sale half giveaway. Because there were so few good defenders now.

With the departure of Dawson, the current Forest team’s center back combination, it might not be a problem for their promotion to the Premier League, but what would happen after the promotion?


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