Straight from the dugout

Australian Four Four Two - - WELCOME - You can fol­low me or send me a tweet on @Kev­inAirs442

Once upon a time there was a sea­son of foot­ball with a fairy­tale at ev­ery turn. There is not enough room in this magazine, even a year of this magazine, to de­tail ev­ery un­be­liev­able or un­likely nar­ra­tive that played out this year.

Le­ices­ter City is the tale that every­one knows of course – and within that in­cred­i­ble story lies layer upon layer of re­demp­tion and im­prob­a­ble achieve­ment. Clau­dio Rainieri's val­i­da­tion as a coach, ul­ti­mately ac­knowl­edged against the side whose owner once told him he would never win the ti­tle. Jamie Vardy's in­cred­i­ble rise from ob­scu­rity to the na­tion's elite. Riyad Mahrez's res­ur­rec­tion from the re­serves at Le Havre (along­side Mel­bourne City's Harry Novillo) to the top level of Euro­pean foot­ball next sea­son. And Harry Red­knapp's de­mand for skip­per Wes Mor­gan to be called up to the Eng­land side – de­spite hav­ing rep­re­sented Ja­maica 29 times! At home we had Ade­laide United play­ing out their own against-all-odds movie script. Af­ter eight games they were dead­set last in the A-League, the worst team in Aus­tralia, and most had tipped new boss Guillermo Amor for the chop by Christ­mas. Fast for­ward to May 1 and Ade­laide are Pre­miers and Cham­pi­ons af­ter an as­ton­ish­ing mid sea­son un­beaten run that saw them clinch the Pre­mier­ship on the fi­nal week­end of the sea­son. John Aloisi over­came ini­tial doubts about his ap­point­ment at Bris­bane Roar to take his side within a whisker of the grand fi­nal. Af­ter the calami­tous start to his coach­ing ca­reer at Mel­bourne Heart – with a side con­tin­u­ally blighted by in­jury – the chance to see him shine was an ab­sorb­ing feel good story. But he still needed to play De­vante Clut more... Syd­ney's Ali Ab­bas came back from se­ri­ous in­jury to score within min­utes of his return to the field (sim­i­lar to Danny Wel­beck's tri­umphant return to Arse­nal af­ter his knee in­jury) while Mel­bourne Vic­tory's Jai Ing­ham scored on de­but in the Cham­pi­ons League. Around the world, Celtic saw 16 year old Jack Aitchi­son, their youngest ever player, score with his first touch, while Pep Guardi­ola con­tin­ued his epic ca­reer to take Bay­ern Mu­nich to a record fourth con­sec­u­tive Bun­desliga ti­tle, while Ju­ven­tus took 73 points from 75 in the last half of the sea­son to claim their ti­tle af­ter be­ing in 11th spot in Novem­ber. In Spain, the fairy­tales were queu­ing up for three-times Europa cham­pi­ons Sevilla, Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal­ists Atletico and Zine­dine Zi­dane's in­cred­i­ble run as a rookie coach at Real Madrid. And look, what did I tell you - we've run out of room! But will we all now live hap­pily ever af­ter?? Roll on next sea­son to find out...

Kevin Airs


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