Jumping in to the world of a journeyman was a new experience and one that at times didn’t sit easily with me. Much as the annoying player who is too big for his boots, I planned on treating Lokomotiva Kosice as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. As a result I didn’t feel the need to invest in youth or put anything in place for the longer term (sounds like the Mourinho approach!) and instead focused on the short term.
I started with a low rep and low stats and not surprisingly the collection of Slovak cloggers at my disposal were none too impressed. They spent much of their time playing on their mobile phones and much less of their time listening to their new gaffer. Team talks often fell on deaf ears, although the shallow bunch were always willing to receive some praise when it was forthcoming.
The plan for season one was to consolidate. The bookies had us down as a middle of the road team with only an outside chance of promotion, and as I got used to the new game, my new surroundings and then my new laptop, I was more inclined to agree with them.
The pre season form was certainly nothing to get too excited about. The plus side of conceding twice in six games was tempered by the fact we only scored three times in the same six games.
The fans were already showing signs of discontent with yours truly coming in for some stick on social media. Not to be deterred we ploughed. I would like to say things improved but I am not here to lie to you. After a truly awful start I was pleading with the board not to send me back to England with my tail between my legs.
Things did pick up as the season progressed and we ended up in mid table after an eight game unbeaten streak. This coincided with a change in approach on the pitch. I had two quick strikers at my disposal and not a lot of creativity in the middle. I decided to adopt some percentage football and started launching it long and the more simplistic approach seemed to pay off.
I brought in two players on loan from the Slovak top flight in the January window and this added quality saw a much better second half of the season.
We had a couple of horror shows including a 1-6 reverse at Poprad but overall were playing better. The players started to hate me a little less after a consistent spell of blowing smoke up their rear ends.
We were predicted seventh place so exceeding expectations by one spot, whilst not amazing, was steady enough.
I had at this point acquired a new laptop and once I had moved everything over was in the position to play much quicker. I ploughed straight in to season two with largely the same squad aided by the permanent signing on one of my loanees and a couple of useful regens from my first cohort.
This time we sat in third place at the winter break but very much in contention for promotion. First place secures automatic promotion and second place get to play off against second bottom from the top tier.
Somehow we managed to go unbeaten for the second half of the season, securing top spot with a game to spare.
I was delighted at this as although it was on the cards I did have my doubts with the lack of a play off safety net.
I must confess that I didn’t feel any affinity to Lokomotiva Kosice and yet again channelled the grumpy Portuguese as I looked to new horizons even as the celebrations were going on around me.
With that in mind, it was not even with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation. I knew that we wouldn’t compete in the top flight and wanted to broaden my horizons.
So here I am, out of my comfort zone on the dole looking for a new club. A few months went by but then the phone rang. I didn’t recognise the number nor the international dialling prefix +48…
EDIT – this was an intentionally brief post to bring things up to date. The plan is for more depth as the game develops. For anyone who is tech savvy I am also posting updates on FM Slack on the #journeymen channel. If you need any assistance give @FM_Samo a shout over on twitter.