Stomach in knots, palms are sweaty, heart and breathing rate start to increase. Time out of the game was supposed to be good for me, it was supposed to clear my head, reflect on what had gone wrong and how I could avoid those same mistakes in the future. Which was fine for the first few weeks, talking it over with friends and other Football Managers; peer support can go a long way in this game. Except the weeks went by and I needed to get back on the horse; my problem was, it was unknown territory for me.
The whole thought of having to take the walk of shame to the job centre, filled me with anxiety; let alone what it would actually be like inside. Questions were going round in my head, is this to soon, will people see through my mistakes and will I get another opportunity or is that it for me, haunted by Torino?
Arriving through the doors of the job centre, I had no idea what I was doing or where to go. The smell or fags, piss and booze was unbearable, but that’s just Swindon in general.
Then eventually, jobs started to become available as the wheels on the managerial merry-go-round were in motion. I applied for them all, Chelsea, Chievo, Nantes, and Schalke. Unsuccessful with Chelsea, then I was offered the Chievo job; my bank account was screaming “take it you twat”, but my heart and head wasn’t in it, it felt like a big step down as they were bottom of the Serie B.
Then on the same day, interviews at Nantes and Schalke; both clubs looked appealing and was willing to take a punt on either of them, but I wasn’t confident. Then, against all odds, again on the same day, both clubs offered me a job. After looking at the stature, facilities and squad of each club, I decided to go with…
I was in constant discussion with the options with my peers in my Slack channel and @FromElevenOne very quickly said, “Chelsea, Chievo, Nantes and Schalke 04th times a charm”, witty.
So, off to the Bundesliga, I’m very happy about this, many people know my passion and enjoyment of German football, especially over recent years.
We all know Schalke and their history is rich in success. Founded in 1904 in the region of Gelsenkirchen, they have won the German Championship 7 times, mainly around the second world war, 5 DFB Pokal and the UEFA cup in 1997. They were last Bundesliga champions in 1958 but have been runners up 5 times since the turn of the millennium. The last trophy lifted was the Pokal in 2011.
In recent years, things haven’t gone so well for Schalke, for a number of years the best the club could hope for was 5th and 6th positions; then in 2016, Schalke to a chance on young manager Markus Weinzierl who struggled with personnel and egos at the club and finished in a disappointing 10th place, enough for Weinzierl to lose his job. So where do Schalke turn next, to young unknown manager Domenico Tedesco, who against expectations fired Schalke to a 2nd place finish. However, the good time certainly did not last; Schalke were abysmal and Tedesco was given his marching orders in March; Schalke finished 14th. In the real world, David Wagner will take the reigns for the up and coming season.
In FM19 terms, Tedesco was gone by December and Schalke opted for Norwich manager Daniel Farke who lead Schalke to an 8th placed finish. Farke didn’t complete the next season and by March he was gone; Schalke opted for one of the most unusual managerial appointments I’ve seen so far, Alberto Zaccheroni. The Italian lead Schalke to a 10th place finish, but was then sacked in December 2020 with Schalke sitting in 15th place. That’s where I step in, aiming to save Schalke from relegation and regain their rightful place up with the big boys, challenging for cups, titles and European football.
The club have got quite an unbalanced squad, with lots of big signings made and lots of wages being spent. the wage budget is just under £2m/week. Not only this, but due to some of the ridiculous transfers previous managers or sporting directors had made, the club have agreed to be spending £15m a year for the next 3 years in player transfer instalments, crazy. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had agreed to a payday loan, the way this club is haemorrhaging money.
So that’s where we will leave things for now, but join me in this journey as we start the Schalke Story.
You can follow me on Twitter @
I’m also on slack and you can join my channel – #bowen-fm