It seems like an age since I left the Angrense training ground, and it feels good to tie up the laces on my boots and get my feet back on soft grass. Today, as I watch my new club’s first training session alongside my newly appointed assistant Dennis Lawrence, the excitement and optimism that comes with a new challenge is steadily building.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to GKS Katowice.
Górnicky Klub Sportowy (Miners Sporting Club) Katowice are a 54 year old club also known as GieKSa. We’re based unsurprisingly in Katowice, a city in the South West of Poland. We’ve not won a trophy since 2006, a record that would be nice to break, but the more pressing matter this season will be survival. After scraping promotion thanks to a goal difference 2 higher than 3rd place Wisła Puławy, we’re now comfortable favourites to drop straight back down.
As I did when I arrived in Hero Creek, I’ve chosen a preliminary starting XI so that I can see what we have and where we need to improve. Here’s our team as it stands:
Goalkeeper – No. 82 – Sebastian Nowak
Sebastian is currently our best option in net, but it remains to be seen how long that perception lasts. He’s 36 years old and could decline pretty quickly. He might already be declining, I’m not too sure, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on him. Still, he’s 6’6″, solid, determined, and a good leader. He is predictably quite slow though.
Right Back – No. 2 – Tom Scheffel
Tom is seen by many as one of the best players in my new side. He’s German, he’s incredibly rounded and determined, difficult to get past at 6’2″ and he’s got plenty of time to develop at 23 years old. I have high hopes.
Centre Back – No. 5 – Damian Garbacik
Damian is probably our best centre back currently, and that’s not so much a compliment on his ability as it is an inditement on our lack of natural centre backs. I intend to play him as he’s a very good player, but I’d rather play him as a defensive left full back. Anyway, he’s strong, good in the air, another sizeable defender at 6’1″, and another with plenty of development to do at just 22 years old.
Centre Back – No. 3 – Dawid Abramowicz
As I said, we’re short on natural centre backs. Dawid looks like he will provide very solid cover at both full back positions. He’s in his prime at 27, another tall drink of water at 6’1″, and he’s a long throw specialist which is interesting. Oh yes, and he’s well rounded. Have I ever mentioned that I like that in a player?
Left Back – No. 12 – Stjepan Geng
Stjepan is most likely going to play second fiddle to Tom Scheffel at right back, but he’s another versatile player and can play at either full back spot or in the centre of midfield. He’s Croatian, a good age at 25, by far the shortest player I’ve mentioned so far at 5’9″, but mentally he’s pretty good. His decision making and leadership are particularly impressive.
Central Midfield – No. 6 – Bartlomiej Kalinkowski
There is no doubt in my mind that Bartlomiej will be the beating heart of my Katowice side. He has absolutely everything that I look for in a central midfielder. He’s a great age at 23, a great height at 6’0″, extremely rounded and mentally excellent. In particular he’s a determined, hard working team player that reads the game well and positions himself brilliantly. My hopes are very high for this lad and I’m excited to work with him. To be perfectly honest though, I’m not exactly pumped at the prospect of writing the name Bartlomiej Kalinkowski over and over again, so say hello to Bart.
Central Midfield – No. 13 – Mario Gregurina
In Mario, we have another Croatian player and another very well rounded midfielder. He’s got experience at 30 years old which will help with our fairly young team, he’s 5’11”, and another hard working and athletic team player. He’s maybe a little bit too similar to Bart though, so he may end up providing backup to him.
Right Wing – No. 16 – Pawel Mandrysz
No offence to Pawel or either of the next 2 players, but this is where we come a bit unstuck. Pawel’s certainly versatile and young enough to improve, but I just don’t think he’s ready for this league. He’s shorter than a lot of the lads at 5’9″, which is fine for a winger, and what he lacks in technical skill he makes up for in his mental and and athletic prowess. He’s pretty aggressive, determined, hard working and quick, so he may still play a part.
Attacking Midfield – No. 8 – Tomasz Foszmanczyk
Tomasz is a decent playmaker, and probably my current first choice for the number 10 position, but we also have a couple of promising young players who might push for his place. The thing that will work in Tomasz’s favour is his brilliant versatility. He’s able to play off either wing, behind the striker, in central midfield or even in front of the back 4, so I’ve no doubt he’ll get a fair bit of game time. He also has plenty of experience at 31, and is pretty short at 5’7″. Similarly to Bart, I don’t want to commit myself to writing his name too often, so I’ve taken the liberty of naming him Fossy.
Left Wing – No. 17 – Andreja Prokic
Prokic is another that I think may be a couple of levels behind the kind of quality we need. He’s a 5’10”, 29 year old Serbian and he could be a decent option on either wing. At least he’s built in the right mould: His determination, speed and stamina might be handy, as well as his flair.
Striker – No. 7 – Grzegorz Goncerz
If we’re to make any kind of push for safety this season, Goncerz will be crucial. He’s very, very similar to Cristiano Magina. A pretty good age at 31, can take care of himself at 6’1″, and he’s extremely rounded with great all round mental attributes and good balance and finishing.
So I think we’ll all be pretty much on the same page now. We need 2 new centre backs and 2 new wingers. We absolutely need them. A good back up Goalie would be nice too in case Nowak shows signs of being past it. We’re well stocked in terms of full backs and battling central midfielders but we could also do with a good backup striker. If I’m still rolling in cash after buying that lot, I may also go in for a better attacking mid, but as I say, we’ve got a couple of young players that could break through in that position. We have up to £1.1 Million to sort out our team, which compared to the sort of budget I’m used to makes us Multi-Billionaires.
I think I’ve got some work to do.
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