Starting my managerial career in Iceland, and giving myself the task of climbing up the ladder by winning league titles, I liked the idea of charging through Scandinavia like some kind of reverse Scottish Viking warrior King.
With Sweden ticked off the list, I had my sights set of making Denmark my next stop. Finland was ranked on the same level as Iceland, so there was no way we were stepping back down. Norway too was on the list (but we have our eye on that being a long-term FM save at some point).
I was hoping to avoid the likes of FC Copenhagen, FC Midtjylland and FC Nordsjælland. Brøndby were top of my list, having not won the title since 2005, Aalbork BK too. Sadly, Drengene fra Vestegnen ruined it by going on to win the 2026 league title, taking them off my list.
Weeks passed and no jobs in the Danish Superliga looked to be coming available, until the 5th of December. After 228 days in charge, former player and Assistant Manager, Allan K. Jepsen, was sacked by Aalborg. We had our application in before the door had smacked his arse on the way out.
Success in Sweden put us front of the queue and it wasn’t long until the cameras were flashing, holding the red and white Aalborg shirt aloft in the middle of Aalborg Portland Park.
Timing was perfect. Joining during the mid-season break, we had six friendlies lined up to get the time used to the Djurgarden 4-3-3. It was good enough to win the Swedish top division at a canter, we were going to sweep our way through the Danes. Easy.
Nope. That brought us back down to earth.
You may recognise the names of Aguayo and Krantz, both arriving from Djurgarden for a combined total fee of £5million. I possibly paid too much, but they were my guys and I needed players I could trust – and the really good players wouldn’t come.
February was a strange month. Two defeats in the league put us in our place, but a 4-2 DBU Pokalen win over Nordsjælland saw us reach the semi-final. Two wins and a draw to see out March wasn’t enough to stop us from finishing in the bottom half of the table and the Relegation Stage is where we’d play the rest of the season.
In Denmark, the league splits for the last 10 games. The bottom six fighting for survival. We would win seven games, scoring 22 times and only conceding 10.
Nothing felt like it was clicking though. Using the games as an audition process, analyse the squad and see who would stay, who would go. Strikerless came and went, then we tried 4-2-2-2, 4-3-3, and 4-2-3-1. Buying more fire power was at the top of the list, especially a centre forward. Tim Prica was the club’s top scorer, finding the net every other game, but it didn’t feel like enough.
Avenging the 5-1 defeat in our first game, we beat AGF 4-1 over two legs to reach the cup final. Herman Krantz’s excellent double, breaking in from the right in the Inside Forward role to send the home fans happy, a professional 2-1 away win sealed the deal.
Ditching strikerless, this is when we tried something a bit different. A 4-2-2-2 with high wing-backs and a midfield box, using Krantz as a CF. A quick first half double put us in a strong position and two goals from set-pieces sealed the win and added the Danish cup to the portfolio.
Something still didn’t feel right.
Is this the biggest downside to this type of career. You build something special at one team, you have to move on and no matter what you try, the team just doesn’t feel like yours. Pining for your former love. Perhaps Aalborg were my rebound, recovering from the Djurgarden break up.
Limping our way over the finish line, it should have been time to increase the scouting, decide who stays and who goes, but I couldn’t help myself. Opening the job market, there it was, the Anderlecht job.
Belgium was definitely on the list of countries to go to down the line, and they hadn’t won the title in 10 years. It was appealing.
We’ll put in a cheeky application, just to put some feelers out, still mostly committed to making Aalborg champions. Definitely. No thoughts of leaving. Nope…
Guess I need a new job…