Part 1 set the scene of the football world in 2024. Joining the job hunt, there were several roles available and I appeared to be in with a chance of getting them – despite having been on holiday for 5 years.
Interestingly, the Chelsea job was free but also wasn’t available when I returned from holiday. But that was because they re-appointed Antonio Conte on 2 June, paying European champs PSG £9.5 million in compensation.
Of course, I’ve rejoined around the time of Euro 2024, so there could well be an international job merry-go-round to get involved in. But I quickly put my name in the hat for the Athletic, Motherwell and VfL Wolfsburg jobs. And, upon surveying the job centre, it appears I am favourite for the Wolves job – so they’ve received my application too.
Liverpool have just blown £75 million on Lewis Cook from Bournemouth, Chelsea have spent £60 million on Isco and Jadon Sancho, who’s surprisingly still at Dortmund, is in talks with United.
I’ve got one eye on the Euros, where Belgium lost 3-2 to Bosnia and France drew with Croatia in the first round of matches.
However, I just received job interviews with Wolfsburg, who apparently have a tasty transfer budget of £84 million, and Bilbao, who worryingly didn’t mention budgets but did stress the importance of youth development, which I love. I then got offered an interview with Wolves and accidentally declined it, then Motherwell, which doesn’t seem overly appealing.
England just lost 3-2 to Bulgaria having drawn their opener with Holland, so they need to beat Austria to have any chance of qualifying from their group.
Now Wolfsburg have come forward with an offer for me to dictate changes to the staff at the club – so I reckon I could be in there… but do I want it? And on the day Wolfsburg offered me the job, Bilbao came in with a request for staff changes. So I delayed Wolfsburg to give myself time to choose the best option.
Both have had similar fortunes during the save, with Wolfsburg finishing 12th in the first season then 4 consecutive top 6 finishes. While Bilbao have been in the top 6 every year in Spain. But then there are huge restrictions on transfers with the latter that are a hinderance but also intrigue me and I’ve never managed them on any version of Champ Man or FM…
And I made up my mind – I was heading to Athletic Bilbao!
Of course, we are not allowed to sign non-Basque players and there’s heavy priority on promoting youth. But I didn’t realise just how successful Bilbao had been in the past, with 8 La Liga titles to their name.
In Blog 3 we’ll begin life in Bilbao, meet the squad and assess our options of how we take the team forwards given the huge limitations on transfers.