Dave Gardner

Managing My Expectations. The Real Fantasy of coaching teams like Madrid

Aug 21, 2014 8:12 PM EST

I can't be alone in daydreaming that I could do as good a job as the likes of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti.
With all that talent and the bottomless pockets of the world's richest owners, how hard really can it be?
Just give me a nice Armani suit and a blunt-edged razor and I'd be off and running. I've even argued as much with friends.
Well it appears I was wrong.
It was one thing blaming my shortcomings as an AYSO coach on the 11-year-olds in my charge. They never listened to a word I was saying when they were playing let alone when we'd finished and the pizza was being served up.
But my recently registered Premier League fantasy team, The Spanners, should have been a dream given the fact that I had (pounds) 100 million to spend and some of the world's best players to choose from. Given that EPL newcomers Burnley's playing staff has a combined worth of (pounds) 5 million I should be laughing my way to the top of the league.
Except I'm not. I'm bottom. And I have made the classic mistakes of the worst kind of managers, buying injured or soon-to-be injured players, Frenchmen I've never seen play before because they had the right price tag and old guys way past their prime that I have some strange sentimental draw towards.
Although quite how anybody could be sentimental towards John Terry I'm not sure.
I started out okay, I guess. Tim Howard and Hugo Lloris should be reasonable enough between the sticks (although both have a propensity for howlers).
Kompany and Terry as center backs are strong if not inspired and Debussy, Arsenal's new full back was good for Newcastle, maybe because he spoke the same language as the rest of the team.
The first cracks started to show with my choice of Luke Shaw, having conveniently forgotten that his new Manchester United manager had already blasted him for being out of shape and, oh yes, he's injured.
Yaya Toure and Eden Hazard were good choices in midfield but why on earth, I wonder now, did I choose Noble and Nolan to partner them. In my defense, I do support West Ham, for whom both play, but I spend almost every breathing moment criticizing them and complaining about Big Sam Allardice.
Wait, it gets worse.
I also selected Andy Carroll, another Hammers failure, somehow forgetting that he, too, is injured which I cannot excuse because he's always injured.
Partnering him up front is Didier Drogba - presumably sentiment sneaking in again because he's plainly going to be used sparingly by Chelsea - and Hernandez from Manchester United, who can't be expected to score too often when he never makes the starting line-up.
And who was the Frenchman I've never seen play before? I can't remember his name right now but he cost me (pounds) 7 million and plays for, you guessed it, Newcastle French Connection.
I picked Michael Carrick too because he wasn't too expensive. He's injured in case you didn't notice.
So I basically picked a bunch of players because of how much they cost and not how well they play and did it in such a hurry I'm left with a mess that I'll probably spend the rest of the season trying to sell.
Sounds a bit like Liverpool!