A former Premier League manager approached us here at GSITM and asked that we publish his diaries, so he could show the public what life is like out of the game. His only request was that he remained anonymous. Below is this week’s entry:
This week I journeyed to Munich. I had been contacted by the new Bayern Munich boss, Niko Kovac, to help with their preparation for their friendly with Manchester United. Finally, all my hard work from last season had paid off. My name was drifting across Europe, like a managerial miasma.
I arrived on Saturday, ready to meet with the squad. Several managers would be daunted by the prospect of having to talk to a bunch of multinationals at once. Not me though. As a manager in the Premier League, you have to be an adept multi-linguist. Finnish, Bulgarian, Jamaican; I can speak them all.
But there was an immediate problem.
‘We can’t find Manuel Neuer,’ said Niko, looking more annoyed than worried.
It turns out that Neuer didn’t just like roaming forward when he was playing in goal. He regularly wanders away from the training ground to venture out into the Bavarian suburbs.
‘I’ll handle this,’ I said, moving Niko aside. I had encountered a similar problem when managing Claus Jensen. He had grown up with a lumberjack father, so used to move towards the nearest forest and attack the trees. It taught me how to get a player back to you no matter how far away they go.
I grabbed the nearest football and lumped it into the air.
‘LAUNCH IT IN THE AIRRRRRRRR!’ I bellowed.
Suddenly, the brush at the edge of the training ground began to quiver and shake. Then, Neuer burst out, bounding towards us but with his eyes wide, transfixed on the ball in the air.
Jerome Boateng had also been caught up in the excitement, although he tripped over on his way to the ball. Another goalkeeper had also emerged from well outside the complex. We were later informed that this was Marco Hiller, the 1860 Munich goalkeeper. It seemed my kick had been so powerful, I was summoning players I didn’t even know.
Neuer caught the ball, brought it to his chest and was ready to return to the group. Niko had invited me over to help him with his pre-season training regime (he might have even read my previous diary entry on the subject). They had already started the previous day on the Limbo stage, so by rights, they should have been moving onto the Lust stage. However, I didn’t want to partake in that with a group of unfamiliar men.
Instead, I decided that we would have a fight.
Now hear me out. Every man knows that there is not much difference between lust and aggression. Rather than the players getting all wound up with sexual imagery, forcing us to taser them, I decided that they could get wound up through violence. Then, we wouldn’t need to tase them, as their opponent would nullify them instead.
Niko was sceptical at first, but I assured him this would work. We paired the squad up, told them to strip down to just their shorts and let battle commence. The noise of 30+ shirtless men battling is immense. It sounds like fleshy lorries colliding at rapid-fire intervals from all sides, like a violent musical.
There were some gruesome bouts. Niklas Sule completely decimated James Rodriguez with a DDT, Sandro Wagner felled Thiago with a powerful dropkick and Juan Bernat caused Rafinha some unspeakable damage with a strong karate chop. By the end of it all, I half considered recommending a few of them should join the WWE.
After everyone else had been eliminated, the remaining fighters were Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski. Covered in cuts and bruises, they circled each other waiting for one of them to make the first strike. Strangely, I got the feeling they had done this many times before.
Neuer was the first to finally make his move, lunging with both arms outstretched. But the Pole, famed for his off the ball movement, had drifted into space to the side of Neuer. The German’s eyes widened helplessly. He knew what was coming.
In a movement so quick it was almost impossible to see, Lewandowski struck the keeper on the back of the neck. He dropped in a heap in the dirt. A wave of silence blew across the training ground.
Kovac had finally had enough. He rushed out to Neuer, screaming at me in fury.
‘GET OFF MY TRAINING PITCH! YOU’LL NEVER BE WELCOME IN BAVARIA AGAIN!’
I was taken aback but thought better of starting a fight against a clearly violent squad. I took my leave. Had I blown my first consultancy job on the continent? Just as Lewandowski’s arm had crushed Neuer’s neck, had I crushed my chances of future work abroad?
My fears disappeared in an instant on Sunday night. Bayern Munich wiped the floor with Manchester United. The regime had worked.
‘Julie, get on the phone. We have work to do.’