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Thread: Journeyman

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    Journeyman

    I've been back playing CM01/02 for almost a year now and have toyed with the idea of creating a 'story'. I'm not one to write in the third person, so this will be a bit more prescriptive than some people are used to. If you've read anything Dafuge has written over at the SI forums, then you'll know what I'm aiming for.

    I've been playing this career for a little while and I'm now into my tenth season. I originally started out as Newcastle and won pretty much everything going in my 4 or 5 seasons at St James' Park. I then moved on to Ajax for a bit of a challenge - they hadn't won the league consistently for a fair while and I thought that perhaps I could bring both league and European success back to the club. I achieved everything I hoped I would and subsequently left once the champions league was secured, taking over the Colombian national team for a brief period before I found my next job (more on that in a second). I will post updates on this part of my career when I'm at home and in front of my laptop. I ought to caveat this relatively successful 8 years by saying I have been using iodine as my tactic - less of an achievement than it first seemed I'm sure!

    So, that brings me to where I am now. Having found things relatively easy up to now (I should have given the tactic I'm using), I decided that my third job in football management should be a little more challenging. I took over at Crystal Palace who at the start of the 23/24 season were languishing somewhere near the bottom of the championship having been relegated the season before. The team and the clubs finances were in reasonable shape, with a few decent youngsters kicking about so the job wasn't quite as challenging as it first seemed. I achieved promotion to the premier league at the first try, pipping Leeds United to the line - to me this was far too easy. It was at this point that I wondered whether I should (a) knock the use of iodine on the head; or (b) set myself another small challenge. I think option (a) is inevitable in a few seasons time but for now I'm going to try and do something I saw Dafuge do a few years ago.

    This leads me on to the story/challenge. My aim is to achieve success at CP using only English players. This may extend to youth players only at some point however as I do not yet have a youth academy, this would be tricky. Once home, I will post some history of the preceding 9 years as well as fill you in on what has been a busy summer transfer period trying to get the squad into shape.

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    Newcastle United - 2015-2020



    The first job I took on was at Newcastle United. I have no particular affinity to the club but being a child of the 90’s, felt it would be nice to return the club to its former Keegan/Robson glory. I wasn’t expecting a great deal in my first season although the squad was reasonably good. Whilst club finances weren’t an issue, I seem to remember not being given a huge amount of money with which to make my own mark on the squad. I managed to sign Jose Enrique, Michael Bradley, Yann Sommer, Joe Allen and Terrence Kongolo, using proceeds from the sales of Gabby Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux and Siem de Jong to top up the modest ‘war chest’ given to me by Ashley and co. The 2015/16 season at St James’ Park ended in more success than I could have imagined and we narrowly pipped Manchester United to the league title.

    With league success came champions league football and the riches of UEFA money. 2016/17 signings included Aaron Ramsey, Kenneth Omeruo, Christian Atsu and Baba Rahman to cover some of the gaps in the squad I’d inherited and my objectives had switched from mid-table mediocrity to further league success and some dominance in the domestic cups. It was nice to be in Europe for the first time in years, however I didn’t feel that we had the squad to mount a serious champions league push – the experience would be worthwhile nonetheless. At the seasons end the league had been retained and we managed to reach the semi-finals of the champions league – another over achievement. Season two also provided me with my first taste of cup success and we defeated Chelsea to lift the league cup.

    With two league titles under our belt it was now time to build for a proper tilt at the champions league. By the 2017/18 season I’d become a bit Sir Alex Ferguson about lifting the Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens trophy and spent a sizeable £47.5 million on Richeldy Bazoer, Harry Kane and Youri Tielmans. Whilst we were still a little short in some areas I felt we now had a squad good enough to taste success on the biggest stage. Again, our domestic dominance continued and we achieved another league and cup double however we fell short in Europe, reaching the quarter finals of the champions league before being knocked out by Barcelona.

    Now into my fourth season on Tyneside, I spent the 2018/19 pre-season applying what I felt were the finishing touches to my squad. The signings of Adnan Januzaj, Max Meyer and Neven Subtic added further firepower and I was also beginning to build a decent collection of youth players to complement the first team. The league was once again won at a canter and the team also secured me my one and only FA cup winners medal, defeating Charlton 4-0 at Wembley. More importantly the 2018/19 season would be the culmination of four seasons of hard work for the club with the team securing its first champions league success. In what was a surprisingly one-sided game, we defeated Inter Milan, 2-1.

    At this point I was beginning to wonder what would be next. I’d built a great squad comprising youth and experience, we had tasted success both domestically and in Europe and the club was shortly to complete on its expansion of St. James’ Park. Before leaving I wanted to have a tilt at leading the club to glory in the various inter-cup tournaments and promised the board one more season at the helm. In order to consolidate the clubs dominance I spent a further £60 million on transfers, including the £37 million capture of Eden Hazard. The league was secured for a fifth consecutive season and although we fell short in the domestic cups, we secured a plethora of trophies away from home. We won the trio of the intercontinental cup, European Super cup and World Championships without too much trouble. My five year reign in the north east was capped off with a second consecutive Champions League title – a tight game, but we eventually ran out as 2-1 winners over Manchester United. Eden Hazard and Max Meyer securing my 13th trophy in five years.

    After what had been a long hard season with well over 70 games played, I tendered my resignation to the board. I didn’t really have a clue about the next job, other than it had to be abroad, so I sat tight and waited for something interesting to pop up at the job centre.

    Last edited by #4; 04-09-16 at 11:24 PM.

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    Ajax 2020-2022



    It wasn't long until my next opportunity arose. Maurice Steijn had just been relieved from his position as Ajax manager following a less than spectacular 3 year tenure. Having looked at the team I knew domestic success wouldn't be too hard to achieve however my real desire was to emulate the great era of Louis van Gaal. European success would be my mission. As you'd probably expect, finances were good and the club had been well run from the top and I was afforded a decent transfer kitty in 2020/21. In came Rueben Loftus-Cheek to fill the vacant defensive midfield role and Ryan Ledson to help provide an attacking threat from midfield. In total I brought in 8 players at a cost of £28 million, including a now past his best Wayne Rooney on a free - he didn't last long. The season ended in success at home, with Dutch cup and league wins, as well as abroad as we lifted the Uefa Cup. The later was the one trophy I'd been missing to complete my European medal collection.

    On to my second season in Holland and true to what was fast becoming a reputation, I spent big again in order to provide a team capable of winning Europe's biggest prize. In came another £35 million worth of players. Three bright young things were recruited from clubs across Europe, all of whom went straight into the first team. Domestically we dominated picking up a second consecutive league and cup double as well as the Dutch super cup. On our travels we achieved instant success winning the European super cup, world championships and my third champions league trophy. In what was the tightest final of my career a solitary goal from Michael Benneitier was enough to seal a 1-0 win over PSG.

    With a collection of my brightest talents now wanting to move to bigger clubs I decided to move on to pastures new, ending what had been an enjoyable two years in Holland.


    Champions league final


    Last edited by #4; 04-09-16 at 11:25 PM.

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  7. #4
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    Nice career so far.

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    Incredible stuff indeed mate, that must have been some team you assembled at Newcastle with the likes of Hazard, Kane and Jose Enrique

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    Really enjoyed reading the start. I'm thinking of starting a game with Newcastle. Was Mitrovic any use?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    Incredible stuff indeed mate, that must have been some team you assembled at Newcastle with the likes of Hazard, Kane and Jose Enrique
    Haha. A rose between two thorns. He did a job for a couple of years but once he hit 32/33 he went downhill rapidly. He was certainly better than Dummett though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shambalane View Post
    Really enjoyed reading the start. I'm thinking of starting a game with Newcastle. Was Mitrovic any use?
    I sold him but only because Perez was immense and I bought a couple of young strikers so there wasn't really a space for him. Went to Tottenham, did well for a bit then fell out of favour. Will post his career stats up when I get home.

    Edit: Here you go - Mitrovic
    Last edited by #4; 04-09-16 at 07:38 PM.

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    Mitro never really hits the heights.
    But Perez always does!!

    Can't believe he ended up at Sunderland though.

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    Crystal Palace 2022-present



    So, this brings me to my current job, that of Crystal Palace, who had just been relegated to the championship. The Chairman, Steve Parish, had been a bit trigger happy with his managers and had even hired and fired the great Carlo Ancelotti so I knew i'd have my work cut out to keep him happy. The club had been consistently rubbish in the Premier League prior to my appointment, finishing somewhere between 14th and 16th before their dismal showing in the 21/22 saw them relegated to the championship. Despite that, the club had won the FA cup in 2019/20.

    To my surprise, the AI had managed to retain a reasonably decent team so the task of getting the club back into the big time at the first attempt wouldn't be too difficult. With only a handful of my own signings I was able to field a very competitive team with the super tactic doing the rest. We achieved promotion as champions, catching and overtaking a stuttering Leeds United, who'd been top for most of the season.

    It was at this point that I decided to set myself the challenge of achieving sustained success with a squad made up entirely of English players. I would have liked to have extended this to youth players, but given the lack of an academy (something the club have promised me they're working on) I've had to shelve this dream for the moment. The spine of the team is English so I don't think I'll have to make too many drastic changes to the playing staff.

    Last edited by #4; 05-09-16 at 08:16 AM.

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    Crystal Palace 2023/24

    After winning promotion last season I would have been happy with a mid table finish and a good run in both cups.

    League Table part 1
    / part 2

    League Positions Graph

    We were crowned champions on the last day of the season. We had led the table for a good chunk of the season but the steam started to run out as we fought on several fronts. With four games to go we lost to Tottenham and then Preston, handing Spurs the initiative going into the last game of the season. We needed to win and then hope Southampton could do the business at home to our title rivals. We delivered on our end of the bargain, beating Swansea 2-1 at home. I was delighted when I heard that the Saints had handed us a massive favour and had beaten Tottenham 4-2. We were champions. In truth, it was a poor season all round. Both Man Utd and Man City flirted with a relegation battle whilst Arsenal and Chelsea also fell short.

    League Cup - I rotated the team for this but we reached the final without too much difficulty, where we lost on penalties to Norwich City.

    FA Cup
    - A relatively easy route to the final where we were comprehensively beaten by our title rivals, Spurs.

    Squad
    - Despite winning the league, I am under no illusions that this was down to a very poor league and not my team. We were particularly poor going forward and i'll need to strengthen my attack. With Joe Hart, Fabian Delph and Wilfried Zaha all entering the twilight of their careers I will also need to think about replacing them.

    Transfers - I lost Jordan Rossiter (Arsenal) in the summer as well as Callum Cook (Arsenal) and Ryan McLaughlin (Southampton) in January. All three were first team players but i managed to replace them with either new signings or younger players. I signed a lot of players over the season both to improve the squad and to fill it out. The key player in was England captain John Stones who was a rock all season. 7

    Finances - player sales helped to balance the books and the league win has boosted our account significantly. With a small ground this will continue to be an area to keep an eye on, at least until we expand.

    Key player profiles

    Fabien Delph - a solid season from the veteran midfield general earned him an England recall

    Matthew Shelvin - not english so will be off soon. a steady but unspectacular season

    John Stones - club captain and my best player. was a rock all season and we were struggled whenever he was suspended

    Wilfried Zaha - a good contribution of goals and assists.

    Career overview



    Next Season

    We will be looking to defend our title more convincingly and I hope to get a good run in Europe. I am excited about some of my emerging talent and I have this player joining in July. I will once again be bugging the board about a facilities upgrade and should funds allow, a stadium expansion.
    Last edited by #4; 05-09-16 at 11:50 AM.

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    Just had the news that my training facilities have been upgraded (top facilities with youth academy) and some work has been done on the ground. Rather disappointingly, this was under soil heating rather than an increase in capacity, which is frustrating.

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    Great career! And Crystal Palace too! Are you keeping a balanced net spend ratio or do you find you have to spend more for greater success?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zdr.nifty View Post
    Great career! And Crystal Palace too! Are you keeping a balanced net spend ratio or do you find you have to spend more for greater success?
    Cheers man!

    With Newcastle and Ajax I could achieve short term domestic success without making too many changes. Where I struggle without opening the cheque book is in Europe. I really had to spend quite big in order to get anywhere. That said, net spend was always reasonable.

    With CP, the fact I'm using only English players is making it a whole lot harder. A lot of the players I need to make my squad stronger are costing me quite a lot. For example I'm currently negotiating with Everton for a very promising centre back. He's worth about £2.5m, but they wouldn't accept anything below £11m. Unfortunately I have to wait until January to see whether the board will veto it.

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    That's some average tackles per game for Stones, and Cooper looks a prospect, shame you lost a few English players during the season though.

    Best of luck with the recruitment for the new season

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    That's some average tackles per game for Stones, and Cooper looks a prospect, shame you lost a few English players during the season though.

    Best of luck with the recruitment for the new season
    Cooper is looking good. Despite being predominantly used as a sub/league cup player, he's chipped in with some solid performances. Managed to bag the centre half I so desperately needed and a few of my youngsters have made the big step up, so it's been a promising first half of the season. Just into January now and hoping to have the season all tied up by the end of the week. Looking forward to posting the next full update.

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    Crystal Palace 2024/25

    A unexpectedly good season in 23/24 meant a first ever appearance in the Champions League for the Eagles. I was looking for a successful defence of our league title and a reasonable run in Europe’s premier competition. I was also looking for the board to improve the clubs infrastructure. Our training facilities were duly updated and we now have a youth academy however I am still awaiting an extension to the 26,000 capacity Selhurst Park.

    League table part 1/part 2

    League position graph

    We steam-rollered the competition, securing the league with 4 games to spare. We hit our stride from the off, going on a 13 game winning streak – it took until December to taste our first defeat. Again, the league was poorly contested with Chelsea the only team able to get anywhere near us. Man City continue to flounder at the lower end of mid table whilst their red neighbours could only manage a 7th place finish, having finally sacked the underachieving Pep. Tottenham, who pushed us right to the wire last season, were equally as inconsistent finishing 12th.

    League cup – As ever, I rotated the team for this competition, reaching the final for the second season in a row. We dispatched of Swansea with ease, running out 5-0 winners.

    FA Cup – As per last season, we reached the final fairly easily. Unlike last season, we man ran out winners of what turned out to be a fairly one-sided affair.

    Champions League – We started off well but got worse as the first group stage wore on. We were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition following defeats to Bayern Munich (x2) and Roma, highlighting how far away we are from the top clubs in Europe.

    UEFA Cup – As we fell at the first hurdle in the Champions League we were put into the third round of the UEFA cup. We dominated the competition, beating, Dortmund, Tolouse, Newcastle and Norwich on route to the final where we beat Sevilla 3-2.

    Squad – The squad is young and continues to improve. The key signing for us was Will Hughes who had a storming season, capping his medal haul off by winning the premier league players player of the season. I filled the obvious gap in central defence with Jody Wilson , an £11 million signing from Everton in January. He had a reasonable second half of the season although I expect more as he settles into the team. There are still areas I feel we can improve in, namely central midfield, right wing and up front and I’ll be looking to sign one or two top quality players to fill these gaps.

    Transfers – I spent large again (to the detriment of a stadium expansion). I have stopped hemorrhaging good players, although there was a lot of interest in Jordan Beckford, John Stones and Billy Gill. I am running out of players to sell, so expect net transfer spend to increase.

    Finances – we’re definitely balancing the books well but I am in desperate need of a stadium expansion to move us on to the next level. We continue to smash our gate receipt records and our marketing income has increased from £6 million in 2023/24 to £7 milliom this season.

    Key player profiles

    Will Hughes – a great season from the midfielder. Continues to be chronically underused by England manager Eddie Howe.

    Billy Gill – having spent my money on midfield and defence, I perhaps put a bit too much pressure on the young striker. He delivered but isn’t quite ready yet in my view.

    Robbie Pemberton – signed from Southampton in the summer. He is some talent.

    Jordan Beckford – youth academy product. Typically inconsistent young winger but he’s only going to improve, which is good news for us.

    Career overview



    Next Season

    We’ve won everything domestically and the ineptitude of other teams in the league means we’ll probably continue to dominate. I now have two goals before moving on to the next challenge. First I want champions league success. I think this might take another couple of seasons but you never know. Second, I want to leave the club in great shape financially and in order to do this I need a significant stadium expansion. I will continue to press the board on this, although I already have my eye on a very expensive transfer target.
    Last edited by #4; 13-09-16 at 11:23 PM.

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    Then this just happened

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    You are absolutely smashing this! Good luck with the CL

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuy View Post
    You are absolutely smashing this! Good luck with the CL
    Thank you! I'm not sure we're ready for it yet, but I've said that before and won it the next season so you never know. I've made some good signings in preseason so far and my young squad are beginning to mature so I'm hopeful of at least getting to the knock out stages.

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    Glad to see you finally got that stadium expansion mate, and good work on retaining the league title as well as the FA, UEFA and League cup wins.

    Time to land that CL this season now mate

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    Glad to see you finally got that stadium expansion mate, and good work on retaining the league title as well as the FA, UEFA and League cup wins.

    Time to land that CL this season now mate
    Cheers dude. Surprisingly we're struggling to fill it. I guess that'll correct itself if we keep winning!

    Champions League has gone well so far - through to phase 2 after 4 games. Struggled for playing time this last week and won't get much in over the weekend but hoping to pick it back up next week.

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    After life unceremoniously got in the way, I had to ditch this story for little while. I've still got the save and now I have a little more free time, I will pick things up again. I've got a score to settle at Selhurst Park and I also fancy a bit of international management.

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    So whilst i'm going to keep any major updates for the end of the current season (2025/26) I thought i'd fill people in on where I am. As a reminder, at Palace i'm trying to achieve dominance using only English players.

    I'm currently just coming up to January and after a relatively successful summer transfer window, I now feel that I have a team capable of challenging domestically and in Europe. Although I'm still short in some areas I've got a nice balance of youth and experience and I have a couple of very important players at their peak. That being said, if I don't continue to build I think it will be easy to fall behind again as I have a small squad and very few youth prospects coming through (I expect the later to change now I have a youth academy). Added to that, recent domestic success and a stadium expansion means I don't have to worry too much about balancing the books in the short term and I expect this position will only get better.

    Right now I sit atop of the Premier League table after 15 games. In Europe we've cruised through to the second group stage of the Champions League and the signs there look good. In all honesty i'm not sure what i'll do if we win big this season. I've never felt particularly attached to Palace but I think I need to leave them in a better state before I let the AI loose. The club could probably do with a couple more titles, another stadium expansion (if that's possible) and a solid foundation of young players. I'm interested to see what the youth team might produce too.

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    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the academy to produce anything.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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