Image by Hojris of MS Odense – many thanks!
Since the founding of Renaissance FC on 13th October 2011 he has been a man obsessed with a mission. The dissolution of his former club The Flaming Wodkas had left a scar, or more precisely two gaping wounds in the psyche of the chairman. The Wodkas had, under the charge of then Chairman Aldopaldo Peroni, won two trophies in their short and blustery history. No wonder then that losing any chance to continue that history as Wodkas found themselves closing in on a third title has left its impact on the club owner.
With the Raszków Arena reopened under a new name (The Jules Michelet Arena) and the team rebranded as Renaissance FC, the Chairman would sanction the purchase of new squad members, some of them to go on to be some of the biggest names in Golden League history. However, his reputation for ending contracts or cashing in on club superstars would continue unabated. From the first transfer purchase of Sami Arsal for 4000 zlotys on that inaugural day, the Chairman has authorised no less than 360 sales and acquisitions in a period of only 22 months. How many players have come and gone though is a sign of the obsession the chairman feels in searching for that elusive first trophy for his new club. 65.5 million zlotys spent on new players during that time whilst 69.1 million zlotys recouped from sales. A marginal profit, but finally this past weekend the search for gold came to an end as Raszków Revival won the eighth division league title.
It seemed to the fans that the combination of Peroni as club President and Elco ‘Showboat’ Temmink as trainer had proven its worth, and that the club had finally found the right combination of players to bring home more success next season. What then was the Chairman’s response, the Chairman who had himself waited so long for this day and who should have been happiest of all with the prize his team had secured? He immediately placed half the squad on the transfer list.
Perhaps most shocking of all to the fans, known as The Noblemen, was the club record 4.5 million zlotys sale of home grown defensive talent Andrzej ‘Zen’ Sieniawski. Along with him nine other key Championship winning squad members were sold and the attacking trainees told they would no longer be needed up front next season. Instead, a new training plan had been devised for them to strengthen significant weaknesses in their attacking play. What was the plan then for the funds that had been raised? 10 players out before the celebrations were even over, and last night the chilling scythe of the Chairman gave way to the welcoming handshake to three new club signings, two of which smashed the club previous record of 2.2 million for Oceanian midfielder Rhett Hartigan.
First in was 28 year old Romanian quick man Vasile Baciu for 3,999,999 zlotys – a new transfer record for the club. Only a few hours would pass before this new club record was beaten by a single zlotowka in the purchase of veteran Croatian Dražen Šutrin for 4 million precisely. Both will debut in the Golden League against Bellevue Barrage midweek. Finally, the club paid around 200,000 zlotys for French inner midfielder Corentin Vaucelle.
So on the one hand the Chairman taketh away, but on the other he giveth. So is he a man to be feared or revered? How many of the current squad will still be there 16 weeks from now? With the sale of Zen Sieniawski, what optimism remains for newly promoted homegrowns like Jacek ‘The Viper’ Kirpsza, and long term squad member Ryszard ‘The Fox’s Szymkiewicz? We decided to ask the only man who can truthfully answer these questions, the Chairman himself. Martin Bros Nielsen conducted the interview, and here is the result:
MB: Thank you for agreeing to this question and answer session for our blog Mr Chairman, let me get straight down to business. What is your reasoning for selling the majority of the title winning team just days after they had secured the first trophy in the club’s history?
C: Hello Martin. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank the fans and all those reading this article for their tremendous support since the founding of this club, which has enabled us to get to where we are today. I’d like to thank the coaching and playing staff equally. In answering your question though, I think it fair to say that the title winning squad, as good as it was, wouldn’t rise to the next challenge without changes.
MB: Could you explain in a bit more detail what you mean?
C: As you’ve noticed no doubt, this club has steered away from controversy for some time now. As a result we have let our results get our club noticed. Being in the top 5 of the Golden League is very pleasing also, as is the improvement and promotion of our youth academy to division 2 of the HTUM Youth League. It isn’t though a true reflection of where this club is at.
MB: An example, perhaps?
C: Look at the result against the Pig Hunters last week. Sector-wise we were only just outplayed, but scorelines are all the history books show and we were hammered. Having beaten some very big names in GL4 so far, that result hurt. We just aren’t strong enough. New players were needed, older players had to go. A plant can’t hope to thrive and flourish unless the old leaves are cut back and removed. This is what you are seeing in Raszków right now.
MB: True, the midfield has been weaker of late. The 3-0 league defeat to MUD was a blemish on a 100% league record up unto that point. However, you have provided funds for two strikers, and only brought in one midfielder. What are the reasons behind this?
C: The manager told me what he needed, and I have complete faith in his abilities.
MB: So the club’s transfer policy, some would say ruthless others would say reckless, is down to the manager or the Chairman?
C: I’d say both of those words are inaccurate. Our transfer policy is reactionary. We react when we feel it will benefit the club, and for no other reason. This has meant a lot of playing staff on very short contracts, but this will stabilize now as we know that the next two seasons will see this club grow from a strong base, to a formidable unit. People may question the board’s decisions regarding transfers, but in the past few days we have doubled our squad TSI and I believe retained a core group of key players for the upcoming season. Indeed, our squad TSI has never been higher.
MB: Fans are surely going to be pleased to hear that, as they are partying non-stop all over Lower Silesia and in Raszków in particular, as well as in newly-formed fan branches internationally. It must have been a very difficult period when your former club, one at which I myself had just been transferred from, had to inform its playing staff that they could no longer represent the club as their contracts had been annulled.
C: This is why, together with Aldopaldo, we endeavoured to give in-club roles to everyone involved in The Wodkas, and the sister club Crazy Horses. Despite what happened between Peroni and Giachello, relations have now calmed and we enjoy good partnerships with my other club The Lost Saxons.
MB: How difficult is it to be Chairman of both teams?
C: It’s a lot easier having Peroni and Demeure based in Raszków to monitor the day to day running of the club, while I am now permanently based in the UK. It’s the ideal middle point for me between Poland and the Faroe Islands to the north. The Saxons are a club in a very early and formative process.
MB: They are also only one win away from a league title, and are in their second successive final of the Upstarters Cup. They lost the first one, but do you think they can beat Nordszild?
C: I am just looking forward to a great game of football. They are the two top platinum teams in the Faroese Islands, what a derby game, what a match it will be! Hjørleif has done an amazing job there. I know Valentino is extremely pleased with the work he and David Rhade are doing. Naturally I hope they finish the game as victors.
MB: Thank you for your time in answering these questions for our blog. Hopefully it has provided a behind the scenes explanation for the recent changes at the club, and provided hope for the fight for survival in division 7. I wish you and the club all the very best as you prepare for the new campaign.
C: Yes, we will have maybe a few days rest and celebrate the trophy parade in two weeks time, but club business never really comes to a halt. Thank you Martin. Onwards and upwards, as ever.
If you have a question for the Chairman or any of the club board or playing staff, simply send it in a comment to Martin Bros Nielsen below, and we may do a follow-up article in the near future.
UPDATE – TRANSFER SPECULATION
Chairman leebebbs has begun contract negotiations with two midfielders from two of the legendary GL clubs in the HTUM federation: MS Odense and Kroscienko Karpaty Krosno. One is said to be a significant addition to the Raszków midfield and was difficult for his club to part with. The other will be a key squad player who has Golden League experience with two Polish teams, meaning Revival will be his third should negotiations prove successful during the weekend.