The Pentagon V: You’re Gonna Hear Me (Brisbane) Roar!
At the end of the last Pentagon write-up I left on a cliff-hanger. My time at Terengganu had come to an end. I had won two Malaysian titles, 4 domestic cups and got to a quarter final in the Asian Champions League. However, I felt I’d hit the ceiling of what I could do with the club. It was time to move on. I did hint at moving to Slovakia, and I did have a job interview, but the first offer came from….
Hello, welcome to Brisbane! They’re not the most ambitious of lads. Their aim is to “avoid finishing bottom of the A League”. Flicking through the players, I can see we’ve levelled up a bit here. Goalie Alessandro Livieri would have had me salivating at Terengganu. We’ve also got Dennis Adeniran, who used to play for Everton. I misread his name as “Adrenaline” the first time I saw it and he’s forever Dennis Adrenaline to me.
NOTE: It’s fascinating to look back at this line up at the end of the season. Folami and Waddingham played the first game and got dropped. Chapman, player of the season, isn’t even in here and I tried to sell Ablade a bunch of times – Ed.
After perusing the squad, this is probably the starting XI. Farrugia and Konuwah have big upside but are both really young. Left midfield and the second striker are both in need of replacing.
This seems to be the main issue, as it was in the early days at Terengganu. The players all have higher reputations, so they don’t like me. I knew it was a step up from Malaysia to Australia, but it didn’t feel like the chasm that the players are making it. I don’t really improve matters with my first team meeting as I suggest we can finish mid-table. Had I looked at the table before making this suggestion? Yes. Had I looked at the number of points we had? No. We have one point. One. From eight games. Part of the appeal of the A League is that you can’t get relegated so you can take on a team that’s struggling and only think about moving up the league.
Seeing as I can see the shirt on my home screen, I looked at the club shop and I’m not really inclined to spend a shit load of money on postage but can someone in Australia just go and buy me everything here. I want the lot. Great shirts. Great hats.
How’s our form? Well, it’s fucking shit mate. Opening game is home to Western Sydney Wanderers. In spite of some poor touches from the front players and a horrendous pass from Adam Reynolds that almost leads to a goal and gets him hooked, it’s a decent performance. We win 2-0 with a penalty and a goal in injury time that looked offside. I will take it.
I love how you can literally see where I took over. They hadn’t won shit this season and then I turn up and it’s two wins on the bounce. You love to see it. This is with players on U23 duty and injuries. I have every confidence we can turn Brissie Roar into a contender. Fair dinkum. We win our first three, including away to Melbourne City, who were top at the time, then lose due to a fluke deflected goal against Central Coast and draw 0-0 in a game we completely boss. We’ve got five players injured and the board’s reaction to this (considering the club had ONE point when I got there)…
Fuck these guys. First month is a rollercoaster ride and ends with yet another win over Melbourne City. It’s becoming apparent that we need a proper goal scorer so I grab one on loan; Santino Primante. A young Argentine who needs game time. He’s in just before deadline day and in his first training session he rolls his ankle and will miss 7 weeks. What did I do to you FM?
Hey, I’ve done that thing by the way! I discovered Papa Diakite, the sensational Terengganu centre back who scored a tonne of goals from corners and then retired for no reason, is available as a scout. So, we’re reunited, and it feels so good! I may drag him around with me for my entire career.
In the league, we’re terrible. We routinely outplay teams and just can’t score. March is a cavalcade of frustration. Goals just won’t come. We have a game against Western Sydney Wanderers where every highlight is us missing a good chance and them hitting us on the counter. They win 2-0 with half the xG we had. I have the bright idea to go and look at the xG table.
Oh, I wish I’d not done that. It does make me happy, in a way, that we’re clearly one of the better performing teams in the league but our finishing is diabolical. My other issue is the sheer number of injuries we seem to be incurring. It’s one after another. Left back Jack Iredale got injured, came back for one game and went off injured after 20 minutes.
This is something that was freaking me out and there’s no way to check if you’re currently doing a coaching badge. I felt underprepared by not having a Continental badge. Terengganu approved this one and I left the club, so I assumed it had been cancelled but I had no way of checking. Turns out I’d just been studying for it the whole time.
Anyway, five games left. We’ve got two games against Adelaide. We are seven points adrift of the play off places. This is not helped by a draw with Western Sydney where Primante, the Argentine prick, misses a sitter at 1-1 that would have won the game. I also have beef with Simone Mazzocchi who always scores against us from an improbable angle. Also, the injuries continue to pile up. I swear we get a player taken off injured in every game now. I now have so many injuries there’s a 16-year-old playing in central midfield. At least we’re top of the injury league table. Eh? Eh? Fucks sake.
Adelaide at home and Santino Primante finally, fucking finally, scores but also gets carried off on a stretcher.
And that’s him done. Ankles made of glass.
After back-to-back wins over Adelaide, we move onto 28 points. Just two points off the play off mark. We could still sneak in! Four play off spots are already gone; Newcastle, Melbourne City, Welly Phoenix and Western United are all qualified. Macarthur need one point to join them. That leaves one spot with Central Coast Mariners in there and Sydney, Melbourne Victory, Western Sydney and ourselves chasing them. We are, by far, the least likely team to qualify. First up, we need to win away at Melbourne Victory to get to 31 points. Even then, we need favours. Seeing as we play Central Coast in our final game, this is actually doable. Just.
I’m hoping for some big dramatic conclusion to the season but instead we just draw with Melbourne Victory and that’s the season over.
At least there’s this; the fans are happy that we’re moving in the right direction.
Here’s the last day of the season. Look how exciting this would have been if we were still in the race? A win over Central Coast could have taken us above them and into that last qualification spot. Western Sydney vs. Melbourne Victory would have been exciting too. Sydney having to beat Melbourne City to get in with a shot of qualification. Shame we fucked it up. Sorry about that.
I forgot to mention VAR. This is my first season having VAR and it’s been utilised quite well in game. Mostly for offside and disputed goals but here for a red card check that comes back negative as the player won the ball.
As you can see it was a fun final day. Our win over Central Coast Mariners knocks them out of the play offs. Melbourne Victory just about edge them. I’m shocked to learn that Sydney FC were in a later kick off, winning 1-0 and scraping into the play offs. What bullshit is that? Imagine how mad I would have been if we’d won our two games and missed the play offs because Sydney won the late kick off. Absolute horseshit.
Erm, eh? I thought the season was over but apparently, we’ve qualified for…something? So, the bottom four teams have the chance to play into the play offs. Holy shit, you could finish dead last and still get into the play offs. What a bizarre league system. Up first is Adelaide United, who finished dead last in the league.
Some players who are actually good now. Connor Chapman has anchored the defence and brought experience to a youthful back line. Alongside him Konuwah has been outstanding but only when he’s played with Chapman. He’s only 19. James Murphy has been terrific in central midfield. Broderick on the right wing has been inconsistent but mostly good and he’s got a decent partnership now with right back Trewin.
Here’s the team now, compared to start of season. Obviously, there have been injuries. The back five picks itself. Midfield is missing Dennis Adrenaline and young Jason Garton is only 17. We’ve got some forward players out so Ablade is getting a run. He’s even scored a couple. Gislason is the only one of my signings in the team. Left midfield was a problem area and he’s done well filling that hole. He’s from Iceland!
Back to league structure. The play offs are mightily confusing. Everyone is involved. The top two gets byes to the semi-finals. The next four get byes to the “Elimination Final”, which is the quarters. The rest of the league plays into that. Or does it? I don’t know. I’m waiting to see if there are any more fixtures but apparently not. I guess we played Adelaide for reasons? At least we won. I have a C+ from the board and the players support has crept up to “average”. I’ll take it! So, yeah, that’s all folks! Season is over. We finish in P9, which is not very good but better than the board was hoping for. We’ll call it a win. Next season we must finish top half but that means only adding another 3 points over the course of 26 games. 6 points if we want to be completely sure of it. Our main problem was up top so in the transfer window I’ll be looking at forwards. We’re also going to try and snag some Australian prospects as the league only allows us 5 foreign players. If you can’t register a player, they get released!
NEXT: It’s season 2 with Brisbane Roar. How many strikers will we sign in the summer break? (at time of writing I have bids in for three). Can Brisbane make the play offs? Will I know if they do? Will we finally get a positive managerial support rating? Will Brisbane let me do a coaching course? Can I prove to be a superior manager to Robbie Fowler? All this, and more, in the Pentagon Part 6*
*Guaranteed to be better than Leonard Part 6, starring Bill Cosby
Asian Champions League: Quarter Finals
African Champions League: N/A
UEFA Champions League: N/A
North American Champions League: N/A
Copa Libertadores: N/A