Journeyman – 10 – Lillestrøm SK – Starting all over as friends

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

“So for once in my life let me get what I want. Lord knows it would be the first time.” – Morrissey.

We are heading towards the 2022 campaign. Yes, we had a disasterous season. Yes, we’ve been relegated to the second tier in Norway. Yes, my e-Golf has had “c*ck p*ss Lockhart” sprayed on the side of it, outside of my apartment in Oslo.

My e-Golf was charging at the time. Now it almost looks like this!

But life is not all bad at the Åråsen Stadion. In fact, it’s not bad at all…

In a curious piece of news, we outearn every other team in the top division in terms of sponshorship revenue. I’ll consider this like a “parachute payment” for our ONE season down in the Obos Ligaen. I am THAT confident we’ll come straight back up, because we HAVE to.

On top of the sponsorship revenue, my diligence in the transfer market ahead of this season has ensured the retention of our strong financial status, at least until we bounce back (writer’s note – these Partridge references are getting a bit much, I thought you were better than that).

‘Down-up’ graphs are always better than ‘up-down’ graphs, the club accountant has told me. If only I could have afforded an accountant back at Varbergs, oh how different life could be.
My stature in the game is also improving, after careful consideration of how I go about my business. My media handling rating has risen to 70%, and crucially, the managing finances characteristic has risen from 16% to 40%. My reputation is also at 40%, so I don’t think the relegation has done me too much damage.

Now this will mainly be a transfer episode, because to be frank (writer’s note – Lampard? De Boer? Butcher? You’re getting worse at this), there are quite a number of new faces joining here at the club, even if the core players remain largely the same.

(writer’s note – What about Frank Ocean? No? It must be ONE of the Franks I’ve mentioned.)

Firstly, the exits…

Ex Almería defender Antonio Marín leaves for Häcken in Sweden for £250,000. This wasn’t an easy decision, as Tony was our first choice right back. He joined the club on a free the year before I arrived and played moderately well. Taking up one of those precious non-homegrown slots, not being of our top stars, and offering up that £250k in pure profit, however, I couldn’t say no to letting him go.

Benjamin Källman followed Tony out the door at the Åråsen (I’ve just come up with a brilliant joke I should’ve thought of much, much sooner. You will love it, I guarantee it (writer’s note – No, you won’t, it’s dire)). Benji K heads to Kalmar (also in Sweden) for £115,000. I’ve mentioned this before, but he was by far our highest paid player, is an attacker, and bagged 1 goal and 0 assists in 18 league games. Was I right to let him go? I think I was.

An expensive disappointment. Luckily it was the previous manager’s mistake though.

Here it comes. Undoubtedly the blog’s finest moment so far…

Are you ready for this? It’s a belter!

I shouldn’t have hired a Volkswagen e-Golf…I should have got an Åråsen Ford!

I’m going to give you the time it takes to read this block of text to stop laughing, because that was so good.

In fact, I stop looking at the transfers altogether momentarily as I grab my mobile and call Gordo, he’s got to hear this one. Gordo answers and I text him the photo. He doesn’t get the joke. Forget it. Just forget it.

Spaniard Edu Ramos leaves for Silkeborg in Denmark (a country I have my eye on potentially managing in after Norway) for £100,000. Edu was another decent all-round midfielder who played 15 times in total for the club and had originally arrived on a free transfer before my time here. It made good business sense for him to go for a profit, especially as much like his countryman Marín, he was taking up one of those non-homegrown slots in our 25 man squad.

First choice goalkeeper Tom Mickel joins Mordovia for £45,000. I have an ideal planned replacement to come, don’t you panic. Today I learned that Mordovia is in Russia, and is not, in fact, a fictional town from the He-Man universe.

Presumably one of Mickel’s new teammates.

Long term exit strategist Mathias Hebo moved to Örgryte for £34,000, and Filip Brattbakk joined him there on loan. Petter Olsen went to Sandejford on loan too. The third tier Norwegian football team, not the health clinic of a particular specialism in Glasgow.

That takes care of the exits, now for the exciting bit, starting from our least expensive signing and working our way up.

Here we go. All images are clickable to have a closer look. All thoughts or predictions for these players are very much welcome in the comments or on Twitter.

Frederik Spruyt, 26, signed from RWDM in Belgium for a measly £13,500. An great all rounder for the money, who can dictate the tempo in midfield, as well as tackle accurately, mark well and pass tidily. His leadership, workrate and natural fitness are also nice bonuses. Despite being my least expensive signing, he might become a key man this year. Not home grown.
Chris Sleveland, 24, the first of THREE players signed from recently relegated Egersunds, £20,000. Another bargain midfield purchase, Chris has terrific marking and is fairly decent in most other areas. A no frills signing who will provide sufficient backup. Home grown.
Leonardo Rocha, 24, signed from Eupen in Belgium for £49,000. A man mountain my scouts had been badgering me about for months before I finally coughed up less than £50k to capture the targetman. Rocha is 6′ 7″, but looks like more than just a static frontman. His balance and strength will help him holds the ball up well, and his first touch and dribbling aren’t bad either. I think Rocha could be a real powerhouse at this level. Not home grown.
Johnny Per Buduson, 30, signed from another recently relegated team, Skeid. £63,000. This is the last of my captures that cost us less than £100k. I needed another rotational option up front for this coming season, and on top of Johnny’s all round decent ability, I couldn’t help but imagine that his 19 natural fitness and 19 determination may prove crucial if we are chasing 1 point or 3, late in a game. Home grown.
Viljar Birkeland, 23, signed from Degerfords for £100,000. A versatile full back is always a welcome addition. Viljar is solid but unspectacular, but I have a feeling he may prove important as a backup option when the inevitable injuries occur in the second half of the campaign. Home grown.
Perry Ng, 25, signed from Crewe for £100,000. Wow. Arguably my best signing so far in this journeyman (outside of my beloved Albert Ejupi of course), as the Englishman lands at Oslo Airport. There’s not much to say other than he will be head and shoulders above the next best right-back in the division this year, and potentially one of my most important players. Strong in all areas, but particularly mentally, Perry is an absolute coup for the club. Not home grown.
Magnus Knudsen, 20, another signing from Egersunds (the third signing from them is a youth prospect who I won’t introduce here). Signed for £155,000. Moving to our new system with a number 10, I needed to recruit in that area. Magnus is young with great technique and off the ball movement, and can only get better. It was also a nice touch that I was bringing him back to Lillestrøm, a year after my predecessor had sold him, meaning that he filled a slot for ‘trained at the club’ as well as being home grown. I also got a small kick back from the fee I’d just paid Egersunds.
An unexpected bonus.
Will Jääskeläinen, 23, signed from Crewe for £200,000. Joining me in Norway alongside former Crewe teammate Perry Ng, is the son of one of the finest Finnish goalkeepers of all time. Still young and developing, but arguably better than Skeletor’s new teammate who has just left the club, Jääskeläinen has an opportunity to make that number 1 jersey his own for years to come. Not home grown.

My most expensive signing being just £200k, and considering the exits from the club, means that I only actually spent £300,000 overall from the available transfer budget. We also now pay £2,000 a week less in wages than we did last year. I think it’s been a great window, do you?

Incredibly, having met Oaken from the kids movie Frozen in an earlier episode, a pre season friendly sees us come up against (and demolish) Arendal. Which is definitely only spelled differently to Anna and Elsa’s homeland from the popular movie, due to licencing issues. Arendelle (sorry Arendal) must be just like ‘Zebre’ this year. That must be it.

Our players display their pre-season dynamism. They certainly weren’t frozen.
The Arendal co-owners.

Can you tell I have a three-year old daughter yet with some of these references? And no, I don’t mean the Alan Partridge or Morrissey ones.

We are half way through our pre-season unbeaten, our carefully assembled squad are starting to improve in morale after the disappointment of relegation, and the mood is lifting around the town.

Things are looking up.
Johnny Buduson, making a mockery of his ’10’ finishing with 4 goals in one game! The third for the hat trick was absolutely outrageous!

But then something even more surprising than some of Buduson’s finishing in that video happened…

Something I did not think would be possible.

BREAKING NEWS

InViktorWeTrust !

Yes, it’s true. The £9million+ rated forward Viktor Gyökeres, who spawned the absolutely ubiquitous, viral hashtag #InViktorWeTrust (writer’s note – calm down) has agreed to join us at the Åråsen (Ford, LOL) on a bosman transfer.

The trouble is he cannot join until the season in England is finished, which is in August. Our season will be in the final stages by then, and what if Brighton let him rot in the reserves for the next six months? Will he be the same player we had on loan last season when he finally gets here?

InViktorWeTrust, in all his glory. His value has only dropped from the previous £9.25m, as his contract is fast expiring.

But wait, what’s this?

Oh hello!

I geunuinely haven’t taken up this option yet, I want to put it out to you guys. Should I be making my most expensive purchase to date (by a large margin), especially when I’ve been relegated and finances aren’t guaranteed to stay secure unless I bounce straight back up? I’ve worked hard to get that ‘managing finances’ characteristic to 40%. I’ve also already got my four striking options set up for the year, in Thomas Olsen, Leonardo Rocha, Johnny Buduson and Lasse Nordås. One of those will have to be disappointed.

But we have the money! There’s stil £2.8million and £37k a week left in the transfer budget (£8.2m cash at the club overall), so it’s hardly reckless.

WHAT WILL I DO?!

Viktor aside, remember that this season starts with the board demanding 8 points from the first 5 games in order me to remain at the club. So all of this could be academic if we don’t make a flying start!

Thanks for reading.

FM Stag

6 thoughts on “Journeyman – 10 – Lillestrøm SK – Starting all over as friends

    1. He definitely would be first choice! I’ve got one free slot available in the 25, and it can be someone who isn’t home grown. It’s like it’s destined for me to sign him up after his successful loan spell. The only challenge is figuring out who would lose out on playing time!

      Liked by 1 person

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