FC Sion legend Patrick Hodler has retired from football and has taken over as Barry Town United manager in Wales with immediate effect. 30 year old Swiss International Striker Hodler had an fantastic career at FC Sion scoring 140 goals in 233 games before a terrible training ground injury, a shocking two footed tackle by jealous fellow Striker Thomas Breitenmoser broke both his legs in 4 places. During his 18 months injury lay-off he fell into depression and alcohol and in the 3 years since returning only played 2 games.
Patrick decided he had no choice but to retire, with ex-Manager Stephen Robbins being from the United Kingdom he knew where he wanted to go to get away from Switzerland, where he had lived since birth, so he decided to emigrate to the UK where he can be as depressed and unhappy as he wanted whilst fulfilling his destiny of sharing his footballing knowledge and wisdom, this time as a football manager.
He comes to Wales with no coaching badges, Barry Town United state the reason for his appointment was his standing in the game, being a full international for Switzerland where he scored 11 goals in 22 appearances.
So far we have heard very little from Patrick Hodler, he has only made one quote in the Barry news and that was:
“I’ve always admired British TV Comedies and Gavin and Stacey is one of favourites, Nessa is my type of girl as well, once I heard Barry Town United wanted me all I could think was “that sounds lush”, so I jumped at the chance”
So welcome to Barry Town United Patrick, enjoy the beach and the funfair and watch out for Uncle Bryn.
Although he has said he is excited to be here he still doesn’t look very happy! Good luck Patrick!!
Now let’s take a little look at Barry Town United a little more closely
#1 – The Club
Barry Town United Football Club is an association football team based in Barry. They are known for representing Wales in Europe as winners of the Welsh Premier League and Welsh Cup during the 1990s and early 2000s, and have also competed in England’s Southern League and FA Cup. The team, which has contained more than 50 full internationals, is now run by supporters. They play at their traditional home of Jenner Park, Barry, which holds 2,000 spectators.
Thank you Wikipedia for that fantastic introduction. If you had read my last post I mentioned that Barry Town United during the mid-late 90’s and early 00’s were one of the most successful teams in Wales, they won 7 league titles between 1996 and 2003 and have also won the Welsh Cup 6 times, 4 of these in that golden era I mentioned.
One of their biggest feats came in 2001 when they became the first League of Wales team to win a Champions League match, beating Azerbaijani side FC Shamkir
Their final League title in 2003 came amidst a severe decline, a new owner and John Fashanu becoming Chairman were all attempts to stop the rot but it was to no avail. In the Summer of 2003 the club went into administration and lost nearly all their first team squad. The club was bought in December 2003 but it got worse as at the end of that season they were relegated.
They were promoted back to the Premier League in 2008 but there were still financial issues behind the scenes. There were numerous issues over the next 5 years, fan led fightbacks, attempts to withdraw the club from the Welsh Football league and court rulings. The court ruled in favour of the Fans association but they had to re-enter the in the 3rd Division, 3 promotions in 4 years got them back into the the Premier League where they ended 7th, narrowly missing out on a European spot after a play-off semi final defeat to Cardiff Met.
This was a very short description of what has happened, and I’ve shrunk it down after reading and attempting to write it in my own words. I may have missed things but check Wikipedia for the whole story!
So as you can see above they have fallen sharply but are now back where they belong, it’s now Patrick Hodler’s job to bring back the good old days!
Above are the club facilities, etc. We have a decent sized ground, probably middle sized for this league. The facilities are pretty poor with Junior Coaching being the highest at Adequate.
The playing squad in comparison to the rest of the league isn’t too bad, above is the average for the whole squad and this does translate to the other areas. We are pretty much in the middle. The highest average is TNS in nearly every department, we average between 7 and 9 in most areas. It’s a good base to build on but we have a long way to go to catch TNS.
#2 – The League
The Welsh Premier League consists of 12 teams, who play each other twice before the league splits into 2, the top 6 entering the “Championship Group” and the bottom 6 entering the “Playoff Conference” where they play each other twice more. As you can see below Barry are forecast to end 5th, TNS are as expected massive favourites but below that it is quite tight between 2nd and 5th.
So the league splits to decide the winners and also the 1 team that gets relegated but that’s not the full story. The teams that end between 3rd and 7th at the end of the season enter the “European Places Playoff”
The 4 teams play semi finals and then a final to decide who gets that last European Spot.
#3 – The Players
So we have looked at the club and the league structure, now let’s take a look at the playing squad and I have to admit when I looked I was shocked at how small the squad was!
So there are 17 players in the first team but when I loaded the game there were only 12! I have moved 5 players from the reserves to bolster the squad but it still looks very thin. Goalkeeper wise we are very poor and we are short in defence, we have some great option in central and attacking midfield and also a couple of decent strikers, we do however really need to try and bring a few players in, something I am very reluctant to do in the first season, I really don’t like de-stabilising things straight the way.
So who are the best players?
Well first up is Striker Momodou Touray who is on loan from Newport County, Touray is a massive prospect and has recently received a Welsh U21’s call up. He has some great physical attributes and most attributes are above average for this league.
Next up is right-sided player Macauley Southam-Hales, he can play anywhere down the right, his versatility will really help a very small squad. He has good natural fitness, work rate and teamwork, I will probably look at playing him as an attacking RB to start with.
Attacking Midfielder Tom Fry is next up and this boy also looks very good for this level, his mentals are very good and can also take a decent freekick.
By far my best defender is Curtis Watkins, his defensive attributes are really good all round and at 22 could be a good player for the future with a bit of nurturing.
And finally is Striker Kayne McLaggon, hopefully alongside Touray these two could become a deadly partnership, McLaggon has good pace and also decent composure and finishing, I have to say I’m really excited by my Striking options.
So overall we have some decent players but we do need to strengthen, we can only do that however if we have the funds to do it, so let’s take a look at the finances
#5 – The Finances
Well clearly I’m not expecting millions, or hundreds of thousands to spend but we have £0 in the transfer kitty, not unexpected for this level, the good news is we do have a bit of wage budget to play with, around £1.5k per week spare to spend. This should mean we can bring in a few players, even if they are on free’s or cheap loans.
We also have a healthy starting bank balance but the projections are for us to lose around £100k this season, European football is massively needed to just help bring in a little bit extra cash to help the balance become a bit more stable.
#4 – The Staff
A very quick word on the staff and it really isn’t good! We have no scouting or medical team so need to go out and get a few in. We have 2 coaches (1 general coach and 1 GK Player/coach) and then the 2 other staff below.
Michael Cosslett is my “Ass Man” and to be honest he looks poor, I will definitely be looking to replace him as soon as I can.
Doctor Ceri Bowley is my Head of Youth Development and looks pretty good, 10 for judging PA is not bad and there is also some other decent attributes. I will definitely be keeping the good Doctor around.
#6 – My thoughts on Tactics
Everyone who reads my posts will know I am not good when it comes to tactics so I’ll keep this short. Clearly we have a thin squad, we have a lot of good midfielders and 2 good Strikers and with no real option on the wings bar 1 player so this is the tactic I’m swaying towards at the moment.
This will clearly change if I get some players in but it looks OK, it makes the most of our decent central players, and in this league there’s no point in gegenpressing or tiki-taka so I’ve just gone for sit back, soak it up and hit them on the break through the middle. Will it work? Probably not!
#7 – Aims/Objectives
So what are my aims for my time here? Well I guess it’s best to tell you which achievements I hope to get whilst here. I won’t go into details but here are the ones I think that are doable:
- Record purchase for club
- Record sale for club
- Top a Nations hall of fame
- Win Domestic Double
- Win 3 Consecutive League Titles
- 5 Season at Club
- Club Legend
These are a few of the ones I hope I can achieve.
So I really want to spend at least 5 seasons here which for me is usually about the maximum I do at one club!
For my first season I want to :
- Improve the quality of the squad
- Replace my Assistant Manager
- Qualify for Europe
- Try and give some of the younger first team players a shot
Hopefully by getting European football we can bring some extra revenue which i hope after a couple of seasons will mean I can start improving facilities to bring players through the youth intake.
I fully expect it to take us 2 to 3 seasons to be challenging TNS but I would expect by season 3 to be challenging for the league title. Here’s hoping anyway!
#8 And Finally
Now Patrick Hodler has taken over for this save I have decided to tweak a few of the Achievements to suit the main man.
So 3 of the Achievements have changed:
- Get Leicester Job is now Get FC Sion Job
- Get England Job is now Get Switzerland Job
- Top English Nationality Hall of Fame is now Top Swiss Nationality Hall of Fame
This makes the save a lot more personal to Patrick where we hope he can eventually return to Switzerland at some point in the future and take FC Sion and Switzerland to glory!
So anyway I think I’ve gone on enough, I hope you liked the little different post, I wanted to add something fun to it and I hope it’s come across that way! My next post will be at the end of the first season.
Thanks for reading!