So we left things off last time with 10 games left and Rupel in contention for the top six places. The first 4 games go pretty well:
Then comes a visit to playoff rivals Ciney, it’s a nervous affair with few real chances and ends 0-0. Leaving the table with 5 games left looking like this. Mental.
Next comes top of the table Liege. 10 minutes in and Rupel Boom are playing their best football this season, unfortunately they’re still unable to finish and two golden opportunities go begging. However on 39 minutes there’s a mix up between Liege’s right back and keeper and a Koen Gommers cross ends up in the back of the net, 1-0 Boom! Rupel remain in control and central midfielder Bjorn Cornelissens scores the second goal, his first of the season, to make it 2-0 and send the fans home happy. The Liege manager proceeds to blame our pitch, Sylvan’s makes no attempt to build bridges with his fellow managers and accuses Wegria of sour grapes, although in fairness the pitch is awful.
A goalless draw with mid table Walhain and a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of preseason favourites Beerschot-Wilrijk leaves Rupel Boom in 7th, level with Oosterzonen in 6th, who also happen to be our next opponents. So this is a pretty bloody huge game, a win here would mean Rupel Boom only require a point on the final day to make the playoffs. Boom make a strong start and at 30 minutes lead after Seppe Kil heads home from close range. Approaching half time Boom seem to be in control, until Oosterzonen are given a penalty after some clumsiness from Mertens following a free kick. Wim Mennes steps up for the visitors… SAVED! Jasper Otte goes the right way and parries it wide, half time 1-0 Boom. The game continues nervously until the 57th minute when centre back Yannick Lodders nods home from a free kick to make it 2-0 Boom. Oosterzonen claw one back on 82 minutes to add a bit of tension but substitute Nick Van Der Westlaken adds a third for Rupel Boom just 3 minutes later to tie up all 3 points.
To final day vs Kapellen. Rupel need a point, Oosterzonen need to beat Walhain to stand a chance. 21 minutes in and Oosterzonen are already 1-0 down and Rupel are awarded a penalty. Duly converted by Jeroen Mertens and things are looking good! However before half time both Kapellen and Oosterzonen equalise setting up a tense second half. Oosterzonen go behind again immediately following the break but almost simultaneously on 62 minutes Kappen take the lead and Oosterzonen equalise. Things are looking bleak until Nathan Stranart pulls Boom level on 82 minutes. As it stands, Oosterzonen are still drawing (and need a win) and Rupel Boom are getting a point, which would be enough to see them into the playoffs. Then the bad things happen. Kapellen score 3 goals in 5 minutes (!?!) and Rupel Boom are relying solely on Walhain’s ability to hold on. Then as the final whistle blows in the Boom game news spreads that Oosterzonen have won it in the 93rd minute. Heart break. Boom down to 7th, relegated.
Sylvan is sacked immediately following the game for not meeting expectations, despite 7th definitely being in the top half of 19, which were the expectations. Dejected, Sylvan returns to England to wallow in self pity. He holds a couple of Skype interviews with Johannes Persson and Robert Kiely (could you really have not sent someone else?), both from Eurosport, who must be really into the Sylvan Paulsson story. During both interviews he is quick to thank the fans and players for their ongoing support whilst also throwing a little shade towards his former employers.
But whats done is done, where to now boys?
After a number of unsuccessful applications to manage Olympic squads and failing to get a response from a number of club level applications rumours start swirling that Sylvan is starting to fear his career in management could be over. But then a bastion of light appears on the horizon, Kozarmisleny SE of the Hungarian second tier offer Sylvan an interview and subsequently the job. £825 per week! SCREW BELGIUM, I’m sure cost of living in Hungary will be cheaper too, Sylvan is bloody rich!
So bags are packed and he arrives in Hungary after missing the first game of preseason, to find the club has zero staff members and a senior squad of 12 players (two of whom are goalkeepers). On the plus side though, the club currently is only spending £2,000 of a £14,000 wage budget so we’ve got some room to bring people in. So it’s time to get down to business, a new start for Sylvan. We’ll review the squad he manages to put together in the next post.
Goodbye sweet Boom. Hello, Kozarmisleny (I really hope they have a nickname).