Unemployed (Episode 1 – Shep: Managerial Globetrotter)

But I expected it to be easier to get at least a bloody interview.

1 day since mutual termination – 20/07/2017

This is exciting. I haven’t had so much free time since, forever. Now was the right time. A few jobs are about but nothing that really gets me going. A few emails here and there won’t hurt but there’s no rush yet. Time is on my side.

14 days since mutual termination – 02/08/2017

No replies yet. My CV hasn’t exactly done the rounds but I would have expected at least a rejection email by now. Yes, it may be a bit bare with just the two clubs on there but if they do the research, surely I’m worth a shot. I’d obviously be a risk but in the world of football management, who isn’t?

26 days since mutual termination – 14/08/2017

Finally! A response. An offer for an interview with Aldershot. Is the train easier than the car? It’s over 250 miles away so setting off the day before and staying the night is probably best. But the train is probably cheaper than a hotel and petrol. Right, get the calculator ou… hang on. Why do I care, I need to prep! Practice questions, background research, a 5 year plan. I’ve got work to do.

31 days since mutual termination – 19/08/2017

Well that was disappointing. I thought it went well, my views aligned with the board. But lone behold, a phone call today stating “I wasn’t quite what the club was looking for at this point in time.” What the fuck does that even mean? You need a manager, I’m a manager. You wanted a young, relatable leader? You just interviewed him. Never mind, there’s plenty more jobs around and I’m positive the emails and calls will come in soon. The floodgates have opened.

2 months, 17 days since mutual termination – 06/10/2017

Fuck me, I’m bored. You can only click refresh and copy and paste the same cover paragraph so many times before you want to rip your hair out of your skull to clone your own football team to manage. Considering my general football ability, we’d be a pretty shit team to manage so the quicker that idea is scrapped, the better. All the jobs in England have basically filled so maybe a venture overseas is needed to kick-start my career.

Even then, all the leagues are well underway and if any manager gets sacked due to poor form, what are the chances they’d pick me over a safe gaffer with a wealth of experience. I don’t know what the last 80 days have been but now is when the true waiting game begins.

3 months since mutual termination – 19/10/2017

A quarter of a year has passed since I shook hands with the chairman before walking out of the Stockport job with my head held high and my expectations held higher. Since then? One interview. A few questions over the phone don’t count as an interview, it almost felt like they were testing if I was seriously applying.

I’ve applied abroad. Not just Europe, I mean abroad. J1 League and K League over in Asia, the Saudi Pro League in the Middle East. I’m really desperate now, literally scouring the world for any vacant positions. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect to waltz into a League 2 club, win the league and get nabbed by a Championship club the following season. But I expected it to be easier to get at least a bloody interview.

4 months, 19 days since mutual termination – 08/12/2017

A breakthrough! A Colombian club by the name of Atletico Bucaramanga got in touch for a phone interview. Try saying that name after a few pints. Speaking of beer, the main attraction for this club however is they are in the top division of Colombian football. The very elite 20 that make up the Liga Aguila, named after Colombia’s most popular alcoholic beverage, the league deemed the 11th strongest league in the world according to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. None of that fifth tier business I’d put up with at Aldershot.

Doing a bit of research into this club is difficult on English search engines as there’s little material that isn’t in Spanish but I’m interested. And so are they. That’s all that matters.

4 months, 21 days since mutual termination – 10/12/2017

That went really well. They’re eager to meet me in person. There’s just the small stumbling block of the Atlantic Ocean but I need this job. I’ve forked out £500 for a flight to Medellin from Heathrow and another £80 for a flight from there to Bucaramanga. I may be putting all my eggs in one basket but this is the only basket available. And I’m running out of eggs.

4 months, 26 days since mutual termination – 15/12/2017

Trust me to leaving my fucking laptop at home. Brought my charger but not my laptop. Regardless, it went well. Even better than the tele-interview. Is that what they’re called? Phone interview maybe? Anyways, the language barrier may have masked the negatives from my point of view but the translator present, who turned out to be the first team coach, seemed to be positive about the meeting. Ricardo I think his name was. Or was it Richard and I’m just being an assumptive casual racist?

I’ve had offers for an interview over in Asia but after visiting Colombia, I think this is the one. Also, I have no money left. So this has to be the one.

5 months, 4 days since mutual termination – 24/12/2017

I’m not in the merry mood at all. It’s been almost 2 weeks since my interview with Bucaramanga and not a word since. There’s no news of an appointment as far as I and Google Translate can interpret from Colombian media so I’m really left scratching my head. I’ve been working part-time at a local Chinese as a delivery driver, which is a far cry from where I expected to be by Christmas. Spending all your money on flights to Columbia may seem stupid in hindsight but at the time, it seemed like the ultimate show of dedication. However, you do get free food so swings and roundabouts. Hopefully Santa brings me a football club to oversee.

5 months, 6 days since mutual termination – 26/12/2017

Travelling home, likely with a dangerous amount of alcohol still in my system, I felt my lowest. Nursing the hangover from hell (probably a normal hangover for normal people who get them regularly) and wallowing in post-festive self pity, I truly reflect on the last 5 months for the first time. As I’m debating other career paths to tide me over to the summer, I open my email to see a number 1 sandwiched between parentheses next to the inbox tab.

My heart races as I note the email address: oscar.alvarez@atl_bucaramanga

Subject: Bucaramanga Manager Position – Welcome Aboard.

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