One task remains before I bring an amazingly industrious and productive first day as manager of Hapoel Ashkelon FC to a close: I need a defence coach.
In principle, this is pretty straightforward.
I hear that there’s one very good defence coach available. But he prefers a direct playing style, which I’m not sure I’ll want to commit to, and a closing-down style of pressing, which I’m also not sold on. I decide against him: players would be receiving too many mixed messages.
Then I hear of Diego Placente, a part-Argentinian who is more open-minded on tactics.
He turns out to be a tough negotiator. Only after we’ve agreed terms do I realise that from the small print that he’s changed my one-year offer to a two-year one, which I’m not at all sure he deserves. I must be tired at the end of the day.
Still, he would prefer to be an assistant manager somewhere, rather than a coach here, and has been one before – and I’ve agreed to waive compensation in the event of a club offering him a managerial position: so perhaps events will take care of themselves.
So what have I achieved? I’ve got lots of dead wood out. I’ve agreed terms with all the backroom staff I need, at least for now, for the first team. Each of them with the offer of a bonus, payable on avoidance of relegation, of at least 10% of their annual wage.
I’ve blown a lot of money on mutually terminated contracts, but we need to think of that as a long-term investment.
I guess I’ve done what I can on the staff front.