It happened. We got relegated.
Sacked and relegated: what a CV I’m carving out for myself in this FM17 career.
The players showed the sheer lack of respect you’d expect them to show for a manager who only ever played Sunday League drivel.
But you could argue that Queen’s Park don’t play at a much higher level – and I could make a genuinely strong case to say I actually earned more money playing Sunday League football in Grimsby than managing this confused bunch of shysters.
As the home of the Scottish national team, Hampden is used to seeing some inept performances. But none stooped so low that they reached the gutter and slipped away into the sewerage system under Glasgow.
The strike force of every team in League 1 went through us like piss through snow. It was embarrassing to watch, let alone manage.
After conceding five at Ayr, the players wanted to make doubly sure that I didn’t like that sort of thing by conceding another five at Dundee Utd in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
I let them know, in no uncertain terms, that it repulsed me. So they stopped conceding five and simply lost the next seven games by smaller margins instead.
That made it 11 defeats in 12 (or 10 in 11 in the league). We hit rock bottom.
Perversely, during this run, St Mirren came in for Ryan Porteous, a distinctly average 19-year old centre back I picked up on a free in the summer after he’d been released by Hibs.
Then East Fife stole a centre back that hadn’t even made his debut for us. John Tennent – an ex-Morton player – couldn’t turn down £80 a week in the charming town of Leven.
A 1-0 win at home to Ayr kept us in touch with Albion, who had jumped above us into the relegation play-off spot, but three draws and two defeats in our last five games sent us down.
We won two of our last 26 games. That we went into the last game, at home to Montrose, with a chance of surviving remains one of life’s biggest mysteries.
But old habits die hard. We couldn’t score. One goal would have given us three points – and a stay of execution – as Albion were losing at home to Peterhead. In fact, a 0-0 draw would’ve been good enough for us if Albion lost by three goals.
They were two down at one point, but pulled a goal back – and it ended 2-1, so the final table looked like this:
24 goals scored in 36 matches. It was an abomination of a season for us.
For those who are interested, Albion beat Brechin in the play-off semi-final but lost to Cowdenbeath in the two-legged final, so they’ll join us in League 2 next season.
And I say ‘us’ because, incredibly, I haven’t been sacked. I’m not sure how I’ve dodged the bullet… but the atmosphere is sour. The board aren’t angry with my mismanagement of the team; they’re just disappointed.
Well, I’m beyond disappointed with this shower of shite – just look at the goals column:
That’s right. My top scorers ended up with seven goals each. Connor Murray, who went off the boil in January, didn’t score in his final 10 appearances, while Carlo Monti isn’t even a striker. I think four of his seven were direct free kicks.
But the two players who really boiled my piss are Andy O’Connell and John Carter. Here’s Mr O’Connell’s incredible statistics for the season (and please bear in mind he’s a striker):
I hope you’ve got a thing for high numbers because John Carter’s ‘goals scored’ column is an absolute whopper:
So, as you can see, I was always going to have a bitch of a season if two of my strikers couldn’t manage to score ONE measly goal between them.
Both complained, at various points of the season, about not being given a chance in the first team. I gave them chances, alright. I started O’Connell 14 times with a strike partner in Murray. Did he repay me?
“Andy O’Connell says his lack of goals is concerning him,” reads the headline. Then he comes knocking on my door asking to start more games.
You can imagine my response.
Right now the players are all on holiday. Well I hope they booked a really expensive trip to the Maldives that fell through – and they can’t claim the money back because it wasn’t ATOL protected.
That would be sweet justice.