THE LEAGUE – DUTCH TWEEDE DIVISIE
Just like last year, the league is as confusing. 4 periods instead of 3 with the winner at each stage guaranteeing a play-off spot. Originally predicted rock bottom in the preview was cause for concern, however after transfers were made, we sit in a relatively good spot for a newly promoted team. The teams that were promoted with us (OFC) were significantly worse than us also, so there’s plenty of hope for a successful season! Another promotion perhaps? Special mention to Jong Ajax for the most ridiculous odds for a top team I have ever seen.
After nailing down key players to semi-professional contracts, my attentions turned to areas of improvement within the starting 11 whilst maintaining the same style and tactics that had proved so successful in our first season.
There were 2 area’s that needed addressing for me, our DLP in front of the defence, and the CB options
Whilst Baten was a great performer in that role, at 32 it was time to faze him out of the squad to become a player used off the bench and for mentoring, the CB partnership used last year was Wijsman and Van Nijnanten, at 17 and 20 they have plenty of room to improve potential wise, but while we’ve changed from amateur to semi-professional the only improvement likely to happen is by playing at this higher level. They both offer great balance as Wijsman is left footed and Van Nijnanten right, with that in mind we looked to bring in just one CB. The first 2 CB’s we looked to bring in decided, even after our significant stature increase, to move to clubs back in the division we had just gained promotion from.
Finally, we got our CB, Van Den Avert comes in on a free, potential captain this coming year with 20 leadership, he’s also a CB with 15 free kick taking.
Finding a DM in any role proved tough, with loans very limited and free agents again during the transfer window proving tough to get, we eventually signed a CM to add some cover and replace a 31-year-old from the bench. 19-year-old Turkish CM Mert Tokul joins, on a breakthrough contract meaning it’s a pay per play deal, Tokul comes in with some exceptional mental attributes for someone so young. High composure, determination and work-rate were key factors when signing Tokul, with the addition of being a natural Carrilero offering something different to the midfield.
After struggling for natural DM’s, I looked to improve and reshuffle our midfield by bringing in Dean Guezen, the 22-year-old joins to bolster and add some quality in the middle of the park. This move will see BWM Fischer who chipped in with 6 goals and 9 assists last season from CM, move back into the DM role as a BWM, while using him on the support role I’m hoping his athleticism and energy will still be utilised.
We got a sizeable wage budget in our first year as a semi-pro team, given £5,400 p/w to spend, after giving key players contracts and bringing in who was needed, we hit £2,160 committed spending. This is around the mark I wanted to hit as we approached the first game of the season. Having brought in some quality and bolstered the squad, the most important thing we did was keep hold of everyone from last season. A 14th place finish (if you believe the season preview) would see us one place above the relegation play-off, this bodes well as our season objective is to fight bravely against relegation. Looking around the league it seems, on paper at least, teams predicted around us have similar squads in terms of quality, which gives me hope that providing we don’t suffer from major injuries to key players and we play the way we did last season, that we can’t push for an unprecedented back to back promotion. But it might all be too quick for that?
Special mention to Quick Boys in our new division, I’m looking forward to bringing you the fastest derby on the planet soon!
Up next – The start to our new division!