After the events of last season, Ragnar went home to relax and regroup for his next project. Preferably something stable. It didn’t quite work out that way, though.
We start the season with me misunderstanding the affiliate agreement between two clubs, putting Ragnar in a tricky situation.
I realised that both Ragnar and myself enjoyed the project of building Greuther from relative obscurity into a massive force more than we did the task of taking over a club that was already around the top of the league. So, when I saw a Vitoria in La Liga 2 were looking for a manager I was interested.
Then I made my mistake. I thought their affiliate deal with Eibar was a partnership deal rather like Arsenal have with Boreham Wood. I was wrong. Vitoria are literally Eibar’s B team – their version of Jong Ajax. This meant that at any point, Eibar could take my key players and decide to not let me have them. Which they did.
This lead to a string of truly abominable results leading into the January transfer window due to me not being able to have any sort of cohesion or tactical stability thanks to Eibar constantly switching players around, even going so far as to poach five of my starting eleven only to replace them with players that I was unable to register at one point.
For the first time in his career, Ragnar was fired. No complaints on this one from either of us. We were abysmal.
At which point, and I’ll not even try to hide this one, absolute vindictive pettiness came into play. Diego Simeone, the man who tanked Ragnar’s Greuther side and led them from back to back Bundesliga winners with Champions Leagues thrown in as garnish to barely qualifying for the Europa League, was fired by Arsenal after a terrible run of results that saw them sitting 13th in the Premiership.
As you can see, his results leading up to the termination of his contract we’re exactly stellar and in my completely balanced and unbiased opinion as an Arsenal fan in real life and as Ragnar’s controller in the game he totally deserved it. The absolute cajones-grabbing muppet.
Seeing this as an opportunity to get a measure of not at all petty revenge, recently unemployed Ragnar threw his name into the hat for the Arsenal job. Which he was then offered, and he accepted.
Now, as you can see from the dates on those results, there was about a month between Simeone being fired and Ragnar being hired.
In that month, Arsenal as a club basically fell apart on an administrative level. Also please ignore the Chelsea result I’m still not over it and it’s my personal Vietnam moment.
Basically, what happened was that Arsenal have been financially mismanaged for the last decade while Ragnar’s been running around racking up trophies for fun. This has led to a massively inflated wage bill, no youth players to speak of and a team that’s almost entirely on the wrong side of 30.
In a case of art imitating life, there were far too many players leaving on frees at the end of the season who had already agreed deals with other clubs, players that had decided to retire at the end of the season and in one case, a player that Simeone had told was surplus to requirements that refused to sign a new contract with Ragnar because he had his heart set on leaving.
Diego Simeone, finding new and interesting ways to screw Ragnar far into the future. The blood feud is now official.
Anyway. The season went pretty well, with Ragnar dragging the team from 13th to 6th and qualifying for the Europa League while also winning the FA Cup. And then Ragnar resigned because hoooooooly hell they had no players left the minute it hit June. They also had no money to spend, no transfer budget and no wage budget.
And, on top of this, because we apparently had the hardest Brexit possible in the game the players we needed we were either priced out of or wouldn’t sign and the ones we could afford would never, ever, get work permits. And, quite frankly, to hell with that. So yeah. Bye bye Arsenal.
Which meant! Time to look for yet another project.
It was a frustrating season, all in all, marred with inconsistency and mired in annoyance and administrative malfeasance. But then, on the other hand, it makes sense. Not everything is ever always going to go to plan, even for a successful manager like Ragnar. And besides, having the wheels fall off of everything makes for a better story sometimes. And given that that’s kinda the point of this save, I can’t really complain too much.
Ragnar’s got his name in the hat for a couple of other jobs, all of which seem interesting projects to take on, so we’ll see how it goes going forwards. Hopefully his next job will last longer than six months.