Bartbeat (Franjo: A Journeyman Story – Ep56)

Today we take on Legia Warszawa. This should go swimmingly.

Start from the start with episode 1

< Episode 55

Some might say “Franjo, could you leave SC Angrense alone now please?”

To those people I say that technically, Angrense released Amonike in the Summer and we’ve signed him on a free transfer, so I’m not exactly raiding them. Any more. They didn’t want him for some reason, and I do. Welcome back, my friend.

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56 1 amonike

I’ve been vocally unhappy with my options on the wings since I joined Katowice, hence the signing of Kevin and the loan signings of Kwarko and Janga, but I see Kevin as a left inside forward, Kwarko as more of a late game destroyer substitute, and Janga as a utility squad player. I needed a first choice right winger, and hopefully, once he’s back to full fitness, Amonike will be just that for me once again.

Anyway, Amonike will get a place on the bench today as we take on Legia Warszawa. Our previous opponents Lech Poznań finished 2nd last season and are predicted to do the same again this year, but 3 guesses where Legia finished last season and where they’re predicted to finish again? Top of the bloody pile. This should go swimmingly.

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Having done my homework on Legia, I’m seeing that they usually play quite narrow in a 4-2-3-1 with 3 central attacking midfielders. I’m quite pleased with this if I’m honest, because if we can just deny them space in the centre we might be able to nullify them entirely.

We’ll be going for our Project: Burnie MK II system again, which has become a standard flexible system in the past few weeks as oppose to the counter attacking system we tried to play against Jagiellonia Białystok. We’ll also be playing the same line up we played against Lech. I will be making a couple of crucial tweaks for this match though, considering Legia’s play style. We’ll be fairly narrow, restricting space in the middle, and we’ll exploit the flanks where they’re weakest.

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The game starts with lightning pace. First Chukwu plays a good ball through for Costinha, whose low, central shot is saved by Nowak, then at the other end Goncerz plays a similar ball through for Hurley, and his considerably better shot has to be tipped behind by Majecki.

Then in the 6th minute, Jedrzejczyk’s cross into our box is headed clear by Alan Hutton. Janga gets to the ball on the right and plays it down the line for Goncerz, who surges forward as reinforcements arrive to his left. He dribbles forward and skips over a dangerous and malicious challenge from Hlousek, before swinging a cross to the far post. The ball hurtles towards Kevin, who decides not to go for goal, and instead uses his head to cushion the ball down for Bart, who lashes it on the half volley – Into the back of the fucking net.

I keep my poker face once again, as I don’t want to celebrate now and look daft in 10 minutes when we’re 1-4 down, but inside my heart is hammering and I’m fighting a losing battle trying to hold back the massive grin that’s appearing on my face.

A couple of minutes later, Scheffel swings a cross in from deep on the right and it falls perfectly for Hurley at the far post. He pokes a volley at goal, but it doesn’t have much power and Majecki keeps the ball out.

It all goes pleasingly quiet after that and we are indeed nullifying Legia, until 10 minutes before half time when Szymanski’s drilled cross is turned towards goal by Chukwu, but he hits the near post.

Before half time, Goncerz, who I’m beginning to think likes setting up chances way, way more than he likes scoring goals, plays the ball to Hurley, who drives forward to the edge of the area and shoots, but Majecki catches it with a degree of comfort.

Half time comes and goes, and as we pass the hour mark, not much else has happened. I stand up and catch Amonike’s eye. “Warm up mate”, I smile. We’ll bring him on for young Janga on the right. Except we won’t. Because before the ball goes out of play, before our substitution can occur, our goal scorer Bart, the beating heart of GKS Katowice, or Katowice’s Bartbeat if you will, trips Hämäläinen from behind. He was already booked in the first half and receives his second yellow for the trip. We’re down to 10 men.

I scramble, telling Amonike to sit back down and gesturing instead to Fossy and Machalski. Our central midfield duo come on replacing Janga and Kevin, the 2 wingers, and we’ll change to a flat 4-1-3-1 to make us as solid as possible. I also get the message out to go even narrower.

With quarter of an hour to go, we’re more than holding on. We’re pushing for a second! Goncerz again plays hurley through, but the midfielder’s shot is just wide. There’s a real partnership developing between these 2, I just wish Hurley would put a couple of these chances away.

We enter the final 10 minutes still relatively untroubled by Legia. With 8 minutes to go, Hurley plays a lofted ball forward and Goncerz takes it down and turns well. He tries to chip the ball towards the far top corner, but it goes just over the bar.

I don’t think I’ll forget today in a hurry. I love a good giant killing. The exhilaration when the ball hits the back of the net, the relief of the full time whistle. We’re really onto something now. This is starting to feel a little less Höllviken and a little more Angrense. Today was a very good day. The final score: Predicted title winners Legia Warszawa – 0, The 10 men of predicted cannon fodder GKS Katowice – 1.

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And do you know what? I won’t forget Bart’s contribution today, nor will I begrudge him that second yellow. A journalist asks me immediately after the match if he’ll need to sit out of a couple of matches to learn his lesson, and I want to tell them not to be so fucking stupid.

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It’s not him that makes the team of the week though, it’s Olivier! Aside from his off day against Lech, he’s adapted really well to his new league. He’s mainly been very solid, and of course, he played a big part in completely nullifying the champions.

56 2 olivier totw

So all we need is to keep spirits high, keep the players happy and try to build on this platfo… Oh bollocks, Baran wants to leave. So basically we’ve just received 2 bids: Up to £40k from Verona for our 16 year old left winger Kamil Karwot, which I reject, and up to £165k from Genoa for Ryszard Baran, our young and incredibly talented playmaker, which I also reject.

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Instantly, Baran is banging on my office door, demanding he be allowed to move to Genoa. I tell him, very reasonably, that he can go if someone comes in with more money. In the next few days a bidding war erupts between Saint Etienne, Bologna, Cagliari and Bordeaux, and I allow Bologna to enter contract discussions as they bid the most: £400k and 50% of his next transfer fee. I’m not happy with this situation at all, Baran’s been a little brat about it, but we’ll just have to wait and see how that develops.

56 2 preview.png

For now, Cracovia are my sole focus. They’re an upper mid-table side and call me crazy, but I reckon if we can turn Legia over then we turn these over too. As the home side we’ll return to our incredibly standard 4-2-3-1 and bring Fossy in for the suspended Bart.

56 2 formations.png

Nearly a quarter of an hour in, Gregurina runs forward and sprays the ball out to Kevin on the left wing, and he crosses low to Goncerz on the edge of the box. Our selfless striker touches the ball straight on for Gregurina, who rifles the ball into the bottom corner for 1-0. What a start.

The rest of the half is cagey, not that I’m complaining. The second half begins tentatively too, and our first chance comes when Kevin chips the ball over the Cracovia defence and into the path of Goncerz. Goncerz dribbles out to the left hand side of the area before skimming a low cross into the centre, which Fossy converts from close range.

We’re 2 to the good! Against a pretty good team! I’m over the fucking moon! I consider belly bouncing Dennis, but think better of it.

10 minutes later, Kwarko and Amonike are on for Janga and Kevin, and we’re still playing the best football I’ve seen us play. An excellent passing move on the right hand side culminates with Fossy sending in a low cross from the right. A quick game of pinball begins as Osyra deflects the ball with his outstretched foot, sending it towards Goncerz, who’s only a few feet away from goal. Before it can reach him though, Kotula slides in with a perfect tackle but only succeeds in knocking the ball away as far as big Aaron Kwarko, who stabs in his first Katowice goal just minutes after coming on.

3-0! Bloody 3-0! We’re cruising! This is absolutely not what I expected from Cracovia. I expected them to take 1 point at the very least, but they’re rudderless. They’re helplessly throwing sandbags in front of their doors as the tidal wave of our fantastic football crashes into them. The gentlemanly thing to do would be to kill the game and take our 3 points without trying to humiliate Cracovia, but as far as I know gentlemanly conduct has never saved anyone from relegation, so we press on.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Fossy hits a hopeful ball forward from deep in our half. It falls to one of Cracovia’s centre backs, Kornel Osyra, but it falls awkwardly and he miscontrols it, knocking it backwards towards his own net. Goncerz runs through and collects the loose ball, takes aim, and smashes it against the bar. It bounces back and into the grateful arms of Sandomierski.

I decide to bring Goncerz off and replace him with Michel Tarnowski. Tarnowski hasn’t scored in 15 matches and today seems like the day to end that run, given Cracovia’s capitulation.

A couple of minutes later, Scheffel’s cross is cleared as far as Garbacik on the half way line. The left back thumps the ball straight back into the box, and as the defence snoozes Tarnowski acts quickly, losing his marker and nodding the ball over the onrushing keeper and into the net.

With a couple of minutes of the match to play, Cracovia’s Ferraresso attempts to justify his side’s decimation by getting himself sent off. “10 man Cracovia hammered 4-0” makes for a slightly less embarassing headline I suppose.

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I don’t think that I’ve had a more satisfying victory in my short career. We were immense. Everything we did came off for us. Fossy, Tarnowski and Gregurina all got off the mark for the season and Kwarko got off the mark for Katowice full stop. What a bloody day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to tilt my head back and pinch my nose to prepare for the inevitable nosebleed. We’re sat in 4th place in the Lotto Ekstraklasa.

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Mini-sode 56.5 >

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Author: wtfranjo

My name is Franjo. And I will be a Football Manager.

2 thoughts on “Bartbeat (Franjo: A Journeyman Story – Ep56)”

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