After my return from the Solomon Island with a stopover in Bangladesh where I signed the contract to be their under 19 managers. The chairman of the Bangladesh Football Federation also gave me a schedule for the upcoming matches and tournaments that we had to play. Four days after I signed we had friendly planned against East Timor Under 19s and four days after that against Bhutan Under 19s. Two months later in September, we played three friendlies against Cambodia Under 19s, Guam Under 19s and Afghanistan Under 19s as preparation for the South Asian Football Federation U-19 Championship which lasts about three weeks. Two weeks after this we two friendlies planned against Sri Lanka Under 19s and Brunei Under 19s as preparation for the Asian Under 19 Championship Qualifying and two weeks after this we played two friendlies against Qatar Under 19s and India Under 19s.
Being promoted also meant change for the club, for the staff and the players. The club became semi-professional as were most other clubs in the 1e Klasse, the division we were going to play the upcoming season so that was no surprise. This also meant that we were able to give them semi-pro contracts. The previous season we made 130k profit after taxes and having our 1st team on semi-professional contracts would cost us about 300k a year. It was kinda a gamble because we were not sure how much our income would increase but we decided to give our 1st team and our staff a semi-professional contract. After signing all first-team players and a couple of talents in our reserves who would join the first team this year and staff we had a wage budget of 6.823 euros a week or almost 355k euros in wages a year.
The club also offered me a new contract, the first offer they made was for 250 euros a week and a 1.8k bonus if I won the KNVB beker for amateurs. The initial offer was less than I expected, I had expected at least a wage offer to start with 300 euros a week. I made a counteroffer for 550 a week, I did not expect them to go that far. The second offer was for 325 euros a week and no bonuses, better but not good enough. I did not yield and eventually, they caved in and gave me a contract for 550 euros a week which is 28.600 euros a year before taxes.
The first to games in our preseason was against our under 19 team and against our reserves to build up some condition and match sharpness. As to be expected we won both games although the game against our reserves could have gone better. We won against our under 19 with 10-3 and against our reserves 4-3. The first real game in our preseason was against Dover who play in the Vanarama National League and we won the game easily with 4-1. The next game we played against the reserves of Lille Olympique Sporting Club who play in the French CFA – B the 4th tier in France. Although they were the stronger team we did play well and we were able to keep them on a 2-2 draw.
HVV has an affiliate with Ado Den Haag, an Eredivisie club from the same town as us and the club we eventually want to beat. Because of us only being a 7th tier club we had to do our friendly that are obligated to do against their second team who play in the Derde Divisie, the 4th tier in Dutch football. We did impress and we won the game surprisingly with 3-1. The next games are money grabs, playing against bigger teams for the money we lost a couple of the games. Liege we smashed but mainly because they played reserves, Seraing beat us by 0-3 and against the second team of the club I used to work for Ajax we narrowly lost 0-1. Many of my players are former Ajax players who were released on free so they were very motivated. The game against Scheveningen is basically also a derby, they also play in the Derde Divisie and we won 2-0. We had a draw against Katwijk who play a division above Scheveningen in the Tweede Divisie Our final game in the preseason was against Alemannia Aachen who plays in the fourth tier in Germany in the Oberliga and they beat us 2-4.
Shortly after this, I had to leave again, I had to fly to Bangladesh three friendlies against Cambodia under 19, Guam under 19 and Afganistan under 19. The South Asian Football Federation U-19 Championship is held in Bangladesh so we do not have to do any traveling which is an advantage as is us playing at home before our own crowd. Let’s hope we can give them something to cheer about.