Journeyman – 8 – Lillestrøm SK – Clipped wings

This is one episode of a wider series. To instead start at episode one, please click here.

I call my former chairman in tears, and he sends me some cigarettes in the post, all the way from Varberg. The canaries are not flying.

#InViktorWeTrust. But sometimes trust just isn’t enough.

Gordo and I (my assistant manager, keep up!) head to the restaurant across from my apartment for an early lunch and a serious chat. Passionate Lillestrøm restaurateurs Jakob and Sofia don’t hug me this time (figuratively or otherwise), their faces instead torn with anguish and disappointment as they bring us our coffee.

Sofia and Jakob. No longer fans.

Gordo thinks I’ve called this meeting to discuss a skiing trip for us all. It’s not that. It’s not that at all.

It’s not happening, Gordon.

It’s the 11th of October 2021, and I should start with the good news, because there is so little of it.

We are financially very, very secure. The £3m sale of Philip Slørdahl ensured that we will finish the 2021 season with over £5million in the bank, £4.5m of which is available to spend on new recruits, alongside £30,000 a week in available wages.

In other good news…

Now that the good news is out of the way, let’s address the elephant in the room.

My issues here at Lillestrøm are the complete polar opposite of those I had at Varbergs. A club with a great reputation, facilities and cash to burn, but just, cannot, win football matches. (writer’s note – it’s your tactics, mate.)

The difference was that towards the end at Varbergs BoIS, the players all very strongly supported me. The team were happy and everyone was pulling in the same direction, leading to much improved results on the pitch. That’s not quite the case here in Norway. Things are so bad I have a feeling that God himself does not want us to stay up in the Eliteserien.

Lillestrøm chairman Christian Johansen (I’ve stopped calling him ‘ChriJo’) thinking about my football management ability.

Lillestrøm have played 23 league games, winning only 3. We currently sit in 15th of 16 teams on 19 points, 7 points from safety. This relegation is looking likely.

My contract has another year to run after this season, and the squad is now tailored to tick most of the boxes we need it to. We are financially solid, and maybe a season in the tier below to stabilise us, in a footballing sense, might not be the worst thing to happen.

On that note, I don’t actually think it’s the league performance that is putting me in this precarious employment position, it’s my how I’ve apparently “lost” the dressing room, despite my constant care and encouragement for the boys, both publicly and privately.

Could we pull a rabbit out of the hat and survive with a memorable turnaround in the last 7 games?

Will the board sack me if I can’t, in spite of all of the positives and my existing contract?

What’s the next role for a journeyman who’s big step up hasn’t worked out like it should?

Will I even get the chance to properly charge the e-Golf for the first time?

So many questions, the answers to which will all come in the next blog post.

#InViktorWeTru….oh forget it. I don’t even think Eva can save us now, let alone Viktor.

Thanks for reading.

FM Stag

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