The Journeyman | Saving Sporting: Part 24 – A New Beginning

As I mentioned in the previous post and as you may have been able to tell from the brevity of it, I was getting a little tired of life in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon. We’d had a great time of it, winning six successive titles and becoming the second most successful manager in the history of Portuguese football.

However, I felt I’d taken the club as far as possible and was bored of playing the same teams over and over. Usually when I grow tired of a save or a team I simply quit it and start a new one. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever simply left a team to continue the save elsewhere.

But that’s exactly what I am now going to do with this save. I want to take over teams that, like Sporting when we took charge, have great potential but haven’t tasted success in a while. So, I’m going to try and turn this into a sort of Journeyman save.

To initiate that process, Robí Sebastian Jesús di Lathamé walked away from his post at Sporting in search of pastures new elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I then realised I only had the Spanish league turned on in addition to Portugal, so my options were limited when I started looking around the job market. But I turned on the English, French, German and Italian leagues for the next summer and waited for an opportunity to come up.

None of Real, Atletico or Barcelona were on the lookout but one job that did become available was Valencia, who’d just parted ways with Neil Lennon (yeah, Neil Lennon at Valencia!)

Valencia has always been a team that I’ve had a soft spot for, ever since the days when they were winning La Liga and reaching the Champions League final back in 2000 and 2001. The likes of Vicente, Miguel Angel Angulo, Pablo Aimar, Gaizka Mendieta, Ruben Baraja and David Villa were players I loved watching. And I’ve done a stadium tour of La Mestalla, which is a stunning stadium.

So I promptly applied and waited for any potential job interview. And, a couple of weeks later, it arrived. I told them what I thought they wanted it to hear and waited again.

This time they were much quicker in coming back to me, asking me for the staff changes I wanted to make. I raided Sporting for head of youth development Guillermo Amor, director of football Frank Arnesen and coaches Fredrik Ljungberg and Edorta Murúa.

And a few days later, Valencia came back with an offer of a three-year contract worth £50k-a-week. I accepted and Valencia had a new manager… and we had a new challenge on our hands!

Join us at 12pm BST tomorrow to discover the task we have on our hands and any signings we make to put our mark on the Valencia squad. Vamos Valencia!

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