Was I, Jocky Wilson, ready to manage a team in the first ever season of FASISAC? Most people thought no but I’d been involved from the very start, I’d helped recruit the players to be part of this experiment, I’d coached or watched all the trial matches. If I ignored my Championship Manager successes my football CV was sparse at best but I knew this format of the game better than anyone else. That is why I was given the chance to manage one of the four inaugural teams: The Mighty Goats. So to all those haters who think I got the job because I was a close personal friend of Benjamin Underhouse, the creator and owner of FASISAC, I say to you ‘I do my talking on the pitch’… well, in the changing room. Then the players do the talking on the pitch, but theirs is metaphorical and it’s as a result of my actual talking, in the changing room.
The season began with the player draft, which took place in the Peter Ndlovu conference room of the Best Western in Coventry. On the way in I was surprised to be greeted by a Mighty Goats fan. I was surprised because the teams hadn’t played any games or drafted any players so all there was until now was the name and a colour scheme. The man’s name was Vincent and I mean this in the nicest possible way, I think he’d been looking to be a fan of something for a while. He was wearing a t-shirt he’d printed himself with a picture of a goat and ‘Mighty Goats’ written on it, a yellow scarf and a yellow and black baseball cap. I liked Vincent immediately and was delighted to know that if I accidentally gave a clichéd team-talk saying ‘do it for the fans’, there would at least be one of them to ‘do it’ for.
The draft was my first face-to-face meeting with the other three managers and some of the press so I wanted to make a good first impression. I’d gone full suit and tie, except I forgot to put a belt on and the trousers were loose so I kept having to hoist them up. I felt nervous, I needed a belt or I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the biggest decisions of the season. Vincent! I waddled to the corner of the room where Vincent was sat ‘have you got a belt on?’ I asked, ‘no, jogging bottoms, elasticated’ he replied. Damn, I should have noticed. ‘But I have a belt in my backpack, I got changed after work if you need one’ said Vincent. ‘Vincent I could kiss you!’ I stopped short of kissing Vincent but the debt of gratitude I owed Vincent turned into a series of polite replies to whatsapp messages which continue to this day that I can only describe as ‘not worth the belt’.
Wardrobe fixed it was time to get down to business. I had second draft pick and to my delight I was able to get Ali Kattan, the Omani Piranha, arguably the best striker in the draft and I followed that with Kuuku Akua, an outstanding defender. Two great individuals but not tactically on the same wavelength so my next picks had to give me some well rounded midfielders who could help complement these two stars. Unfortunately, my heart and the thought of just scoring more goals than the opposition overruled my head and with my third pick I chose Chika Babatunde whose skill makes him a pleasure to watch but he is frustrating to manage. There were better all rounders who I thought I could get later on but they were all soon snapped up. I selected my goalkeeper next, Rui Roberto, the Angoalie (because he’s from Angola) who is arguably better with his feet than his hands but his tactical flexibility was necessary given the disjointed trio I’d selected so far. Next, still neglecting any midfield bite I added two more good attacking players; Igor and Dante Franco. Finally, probably too little too late, a couple of lads who could tackle in Mickey McKenzie and the youth player Haji Gamal. I think Haji saw me shrug and may even have lip-read me saying ‘they’re both shit’ before I selected him from the last two players available; it was certainly a frosty first hand shake and our relationship never really improved thereafter.
After the photos with the players holding up their yellow and black Mighty Goats shirts I slipped away to the bar next door to reflect on the squad of 8 players I had selected. It was attacker heavy, very attacker heavy. I had 4 strikers, 2 defenders, a goalkeeper and a young lad who could play anywhere or nowhere that thought I was a dick. I had zero recognised midfielders. Luckily, with this being the first season of FASISAC I probably had a couple of matches before anyone noticed how unbalanced my team was. My strategy had not been planned but it was now set. I would go out and score goals. More than I conceded hopefully. We would be The Mighty Entertainers, The Mighty Goats.