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Kenny Dalglish's Smile
10-07-17, 02:14 PM
Haven't played for a while but just started up a game I have often thought of playing but never really got round to it.

3.9.68 (my own heavily edited DB with many modern players and no super Greeks), build a team based on a bunch of the really low reputation freebies and lower division stars and see how they go. Non-wibwob.

I selected UD Salamanca for this game, for a number of reasons. They have an OK starting rep (10) which gives me a good chance to sign quite a few of the players I want to use. They are in Spain (second division) so no work permit issues and plenty of good teams you need to beat to get promoted. Probably best of all they have only 15 players in their squad, and 0 players in their B team, so there is plenty of room for signings and they genuinely need to be built up on a budget.

I like a back 4 so I'll be playing a mix of 442 and 4231 (2 MC's, AML/C/R) or 4141 (DMC, 2MC's, AML/R).

So, who are these freebies and cheapies who will hopefully lead UDS to somewhere glorious?

First Team Squad (300k)

Bogdan Stelea GK - he starts with UDS and we'll keep him for now. I might inevitably buy Steve Philips from Bristol City when they don't use him for next to nothing.

Espin SW/D L/C - free: he usually turns into a wonderful DC
Luca Salvalaggio DC - 250k from Pro Patria, should be a solid partner for Espin
Martin Kaczmarek D/AM R/L - free: we'll use him at left back mainly
Sergio Lara D/DM R- free: a tidy Spanish D/DM R

Alex M L/C- free: little playmaker, probably will struggle in La Liga, let's see (if we get there)
Pablo Zegarra M/S C - he also starts with Salamanca and will be a regular in centre mid

Tomas AML - he is one from Salamanca's academy and will get plenty of games in the first season
Marajo AM/F C - 50k from Venus in Brazil. Genius.
Alex AM/F R - free: a more mature freebie who should be a top performer

Robert SC - another one from UDS's academy who hasn't yet had a start for the first team.

Assorted B-teamers & substitutes who will play their part:

Luiz Gustavo D/DM C - 4k from somewhere in the Portuguese nether leagues. Not that Luiz Gustavo.
Chupri DR - from UDS's academy.
Arriki Afriye F L/C - free. striker, amc, left winger package
Graham Marchant F R/L/C - 12k from Garforth, can play anywhere across the front 4 but first season will mostly backup Alex on the right
Kevin Franck AMC - free: if you have never signed him, sign him. Don't worry about his strength 1 - he will get stronger :)
Tom Arild Frederiksen MC - free: can become a top playmaker MC
Ole Anders Christensen DMC - free: the other part of the freebie Norwegian midfield
David Avila SC - free: somewhat random striker with a fearsome reputation as a lower leagues destroyer. He got injured for 3 months instantly so Robert will start the season.

I was able to sign pretty much all of the players I set out to, with just a couple attracted to other clubs (Dian Kirilov, Bamuza Sono, Suleiman Mohammed) so it looks like a promising starting position.

There is some strong competition in La Liga 2 so it will be interesting to see how the budget superstars and academy graduates can do in the first couple of years. Real Zaragoza, for example, signed both Almeyda and Redondo during the transfer window... so that is a fearsome midfield, and there are many other good players shared around.

10-07-17, 02:30 PM
Best of luck mate, good to see a few names I'm not familiar with.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
10-07-17, 03:05 PM
Cheers AMC, anyone in particular catch your eye?

10-07-17, 03:13 PM
I remember having Tom Arild Frederiksen in a Reims save years ago, Ravneng and Alexandersson were also signed and they were the two who got the hype at the time on the site (may have been The Dugout not here), but I found him to be just as good.

22-07-17, 11:36 AM
Demolishing the Portuguese league with Braga currently. First season ended with only one defeat (Benfica away...), however after 13 games of the second season we've already lost twice. The last one was true CM style, we battered them for 90 minutes and couldn't score, they scored with their only shot of the game. Yay.

Crashed out of the Champions League in a similar fashion, it came down to the sixth game in the first group stage, Gent away. Total domination for 90 minutes, but they scored and we didn't. Gutted.

Still fun though. Can't win them all!

Alex Ferguson
23-07-17, 09:41 AM
Managing Strasbourg under the name "Arsene Wenger". You may have heard of him.

First season since promotion, we finished 9th. Inconsistent but we survived. 11 games into our second season, brought in a glut of new players, currently 10th. On a 3 match losing streak so I have some work to do.

23-07-17, 10:31 AM
Didn't you start a story on that before, or was that someone else?

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
24-07-17, 06:45 PM
I finished the first season of my UD Salamanca 'freebies and lower league heroes' save with a very pleasing second place finish in La Liga 2, which means automatic promotion to the big boys league.

Many of the bargains were instrumental to that success, although the picks of the bunch were:

Kaczmarek, who had 5 goals and c.15 assists from left back, and rated top 5 in the league overall
Marajo, 15 goals and 12 assists from AMC/FC
Alex, the right winger, with c.15 assists and c.10 goals from AMR, including the 2 goals on the last day of the season which won us promotion (we needed to win to be sure).

Most of the others played their part, although Kevin Franck is still a bit young and only made a couple of sub appearances. Alex, the ML/C and David Avila were slightly disappointing, but will get their chances again in La Liga.

During the season we became a PLC and received a boost of €20M for transfers! I didn't spend any, but that will allow us to splash out on some of the slightly more pricey lower league heroes to bolster the squad for the first season in La Liga. Furthermore, we can now exploit the many triggered 'non-promotion' release clauses that many of those lower league heroes can be acquired by. I'll detail the ins in the next update.

28-07-17, 10:41 AM
Started a Man U game - I know hardly pushing the envelope, but I wanted a strong platform to try with my own tactics.

Even with a lot of tinkering and getting rid of a few big names (Depay, Mata, Rojo, Rooney, Fellaini), won the 1st season. Not managed it again mind you!

I'm happy enough with my asymmetric 41221 (think upside down 7). It performs well at home, but is utter gash away! At best it grinds out draws but never mind nails to the quick, more like fingers to the bone. In response I thought pulling the AMC/F back into midfield, giving a birdfoot formation, would help. But even though I still have fullbacks, the opposition wingers are tearing me to shreds. I've since found I've basically copied Halogen, but given that it was a tactic league contender, I'm obviously rather shit at wibwobbing. Understandably, this has given me cold feet about trying 3 at the back in a Juve/Chelsea stylee.

There are a couple of things that are bugging me though. I got shot of Rooney as he wasn't performing, no matter what position or role I tried. Since going to Juve he's a new man - banging them in for club and country! Similarly, I brought in Ziyech, who was 17/17 in 30 games for Ajax, and he's only managed 9/7 in 37 last season. Another one would be the left wing. After getting rid of Depay (well, you have to don't you) I snapped up Nolito as Junzaj was out on loan. For having fairly similar attacking atts, Januzaj will at least cut inside and chip in with goals & assists, while Nolito seems hug the touchline. I can only assume that even though Nolito is classed as an AM/F, the AMRLC of Januzaj helps make the decision to come inside.

Anyway, it looks Man City's year again. There are only 11 points between 1st and 7th at the halfway stage, but they've only lost once and conceded 9 goals so far. I need to find something that gives me some confidence in away games, maybe I should try running Halogen for a bit.

Oh, forgot to mention that I'm fairly certain I'm running with Info0's NWW Harder AI, which would account for such a marked contrast between home & away form. At least, I hope that's what it is...

30-07-17, 04:18 PM
Ah well, turned out to be Chelsea's year. An 83rd minute winner at West Brom took them two points above me for the title.
Got my revenge in the CL final though. A bench full of forwards isn't much use when Chiellini gets red-carded.

Offside Trap
30-07-17, 04:36 PM
Taken abit of time out for the time being, as playing on my Amiga Emulator alot recently.

Haven't had a proper solo game for a while now, just cant get any consistency with any test games, using Saturn patch, and the double values etc.. (as I love that work) but.. not working :(

01-08-17, 10:10 PM
Man City ODB - End of September in season 1 so early days but currently second in Div 1. Highlight so far a 4-1 thumping of West Spam in the 2nd Round of the League Cup.

Eyal Berkovic seems to think he is more important than the club so demanded a move to a 'bigger' club so I've granted his request and he is currently rotting in the reserves until he signs a contract with Leeds who seem to want the troublemaker!

Darren Huckerby tried the same thing for a new contract so he went to play with Berkovic until he saw sense and signed his new deal! I think the squad should be string enough to get promotion but I sure as heck will need to sort the back 4 & GK out before I get to the prem!

03-08-17, 01:58 AM
Hello I have some questions. I play the most basic version 3.9.60 completely untouched from any kind of patch, i love starting as liverpool with fowler, gerrard, murphy great fun! Always need another left back though. Anyway 1) Has anyone ever managed an unbeaten season in the league? I have never done it in all my years won 36 1 draw 1 lose on a barcelona save. 2) What are the views on the world/european player awards etc? They are so dodgy, I can win completely everything; champions cup, league, fa cup with for instance a defender who has 7.83 avg rating, and then some random will win defender of tbe year who is in a side I defeat in cl semis who dont win their domestic league with an unimpressive avg rating...and then another year I lose quarter final and sweep the european awards. Then my second string players can come in the top 3 for the positions. Then I have a batistuta regen who was underperforming, he has 16(14) apps 12 goals 6 assts and he wins world footballer AND fifa world player of the year whilst I had the striker who keeps him out of the side scoring 40. Then there is a case of a player winning Fifa world player three years on bounce, I go and sign him, he has the best season of his life and doesnt even come top 3 for Fifa world player...these awards really irritate me anyone have any clue how it works...3) Clearly you guys are hardcore with all your tactic testing and tinkering but myself I found "furyofthebeast" on youtube and have stuck with it the overwhelming majority of the time. Is it considered an overpowered tactic or even cheat tactic to you? Obviously I have enjoyed a lot of success with it but I am capapble of losing plenty too. The real fun comes for me when the original players are retiring off so your squad is totally made up players because you have to do the work and find them, I do enjoy that. Anyway those are questions I can think of that I would love some thoughts on. Please go easy on me if I sound like a total scrub to you I am sorry...

So....how am I doing? Well like I said I start with Liverpool most of the time and this time was no different. I try to avoid the obvious bargains like Tsigalko and To madeira because that is definitely no fun. I try to sign different players each time I reboot to keep it fresh but I always like getting Joe Cole as he tends to have a reasonable release clause. Some good players I had never used before though; Sergi barjuan and Max Tonetto. Well fast forward a bit and Diego Ribas had turned out absolutely fantastic on this save, he ended up at Schalke where I noticed he scored and assisted over 20 in each so I signed him up for 20 odd mill but he scored 50 for me as the central AMC which I had never seen before. This was an historic year...as I understand the max total trophies you can win in a year is 8: world clup champ, charity shield, super cup, intercontinental cup, league cup, fa cup, domestic league, and champions cup. This is only doable in England and France for the leagues I selected as they are the only ones with those two domestic cup equivs (fa cup, league cup). Also to gain entry to fifa world clup champs you must win uefa cup or champions cup in an even number year and then the following season you must win cl and cup or league for entry into intercontinental, charity shield and super cup. So basically to even set up the chance to win 8 trophies in a season is hard enough and in all my years of playing I have only set up the chance 5 times. Well this is going somewhere because in the season 15/16 I managed to achieve the 8 trophies...winning CL 3 years in a row beating Ajax in the final all 3 times. Diego was the force along with Fernando Torres leading the line for the season. Lizarazu, Mendieta, kahn and roy keane regens were also instrumental in the season along with a top english CDM, always tends to appear one quite early my guess is Paul Ince. But this represented quite a triumph for me and basically its what I play the game for; making Liverpool a force and trying to win 8 trophies. I played 9 champs cup finals in a row but 3 wins is the most I have been allowed ever. Fast forward many seasons and I have seen some great players and bizzare occurunces. The aformentioned batistuta regen was sold the following season after his awards and he ended up at Milan. Not long later we meet in the champs cup quarters and milans first keeper injured then the sub gets sent off giving away a pen. Milans make shift keeper batistuta v2 o ly goes and saves the penalty and I end up losing the tie very tight affair, Antonio cassano the mastermind manager behind it. Set up two more 8 trophy chances for liverpool in my but was unsuccesful in both...

By the year 2038 for the first time since 2007 and only 3rd season in total, I fail to deliver the premiership...largely a poor season with goals seeming to dry up, I ran out of ideas who to sign to improve us so I decided to seek a brand new challenge. Resigning from Liverpool with £1.2bn in the bank and 72500 all seater anfield, I take a job at newly promoted french national side Garde Saint-ivy Pontivy. Stadium 3260, awful facilities and 6 players on the books. Little did I know the game does not provide the grey players so I got to first match which left me unable to progress the game, so I had to reset and find myself some free transfers. In a previous save file I was manager of Bilbao which did allow me to use grey players so I didn't know why I couldn't this time. Anyway, using advanced search I was able to find enough players on a free to be able to play. After settling the first 2 seasons in the national, in the third season promotion was achieved. A little bit of prize money and tv money allowed me to add some decent players and this resulted in a 2nd place finish in the french second division much much sooner than I expected, wee pontivy are now in the top flight! By searching the word Ukraine I found a timyshcukskdks regen the guy who played for bayern in the real world. He had just been produced without a club a solid utility defender/dm rlc. I was looking of course for Shevchenko but he hasn't been around for a while so I don't know how that works...I also found myself a good left back by looking at african nations...100k for celestine babayaro regen with tremendous stats. Of course I had scouts all over the place finding me bargains from all around scandinavia a good center back and a winger from sweden both very useful. Ended up winning the league first time trying so I thought that the quality was just that poor that far into the game in the French league...but the next year I reached the CL Final at first go and played Cannes but they bested me...a few more years pass and the quality is ridiculous I have a real fight on every year for the league title usually 6 points max separating 1st and 4th. Currently in middle of 2058/59 season with the chance of setting up another 8 trophy attempt for next season. First CL final win for Pontivy was over Chelsea, which they had won the previous 3 years in a row themselevs which was quite remarkable, the game did not allow their 4th...Already have had one 8 trophy attempt with Pontivy, losing at the first hurdle; the world club finals vs...you guessed it Ajax. They went on to beat me again in the super cup as they had won the uefa cup the previous two years...Then I played them again in phase 1 group and won 1-0 both times. Players are getting worse and worse...closer to the start of the game most teams have players getting double figures goals and assists...now even the best stat strikers at top clubs are managing less than 10 goals and assists. Also the match scheduling in france is horrendous...4 games in 7 days then 14 days off...played the fifa club final then french champs trophy(charity shield equiv) the very next day. Anyway really would love to achieve the 8 with this little team who I have taken from obscurity. Have top facilities now and 20k capacity stadium slowly growing and I have earned in transfer fees a hell of a lot more than the spending and my academy has been producing some cracking players.

Just a few more interesting happenings...5 years after leaving; Pool offered me my job back, with 1.48bn available to spend. After 19 years without me they are now in there second season in the english first division. Notts County are the current prem champs. Luton have played 5 champions league finals in this save and won it on there most recent attempt. Finally sami hyypia regen refuses to retire, enjoying life at at mirren the 45 year old is still a feature for finland national side.

I enjoyed documenting my current cm0102 file, if you read all of that then you are awesome. If not please at least go back and read my questions, would like to know your views on them.

04-08-17, 09:42 AM
2) What are the views on the world/european player awards etc?

It's a mystery. Pavon just won the FIFA player of the year award in my save.. He played some games for Argentina (who were knocked out of Copa America in the semis) and ten league games for Atletico Madrid (who finished second in the league, were knocked out of the domestic cup in the semis and didn't make it past the second group stage in UCL)

07-08-17, 08:04 AM
Demolishing the Portuguese league with Braga currently. First season ended with only one defeat (Benfica away...), however after 13 games of the second season we've already lost twice. The last one was true CM style, we battered them for 90 minutes and couldn't score, they scored with their only shot of the game. Yay.

Crashed out of the Champions League in a similar fashion, it came down to the sixth game in the first group stage, Gent away. Total domination for 90 minutes, but they scored and we didn't. Gutted.

Still fun though. Can't win them all!
After destroying Portugal for four years I got a bit bored and moved to West Ham. Holy macaroni these updates have made the English league competitive! I've been with West Ham for two full seasons now, I have won the FA Cup and the Champions League during this time, but the Premiership? Nope! (finished 3rd in my first attempt, then 2nd)

Midway in season 2 I had enough of Simon Mignolet's uninspired playing and forked out 23 million for Jack Butland. And I still had 30 million in the bank! :lol:

I feel I am splashing cash and buying wonderboys all over the place, but so are everybody else so I still can't win! Giving it a third attempt tonight.. I feel I should improve the squad, but I don't know where to start because they are all great with lots of 17-20 atts all over! Maybe DC ...

08-08-17, 07:00 AM
Man City 01/02 season (ODB) promoted from Div 1 as champions!! Millwall pushed us all the way in the last few weeks and despite being down to one keeper because of injuries we somehow survived!

Starting to put together the squad for the first season in the Prem and trying to be a bit 'realistic' about who I sign. So far I've arranged deals for Isaac Okrorwonko (300k), Tonton Zola Moukoko (200k) and Hamilton Ricard on a freebie. Tim Howard turned down a move to England but both my keepers (Nash & Weaver) would solid this season so I'm going to give them another year.

Heading for the exits are Alfe Haaland who got stroppy when I turned down a mid season move to Newcastle, Paul Dickov & Ali Benarbia. Pyscho looks to be leaving on a free despite me offering him a new deal so i'll be shopping for a new coach this summer too!

Plan for season 2? Survive!

21-08-17, 07:41 PM
************************************************** **********************************************
French First Division - Saturday 19th May 2018
************************************************** **********************************************

================================================== ==============================================
2017/8 Table
================================================== ==============================================

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag Won Drn Lst For Ag Pts
1st C Monaco 38 16 0 3 40 14 10 5 4 42 24 83
2nd PSG 38 15 3 1 44 15 10 3 6 34 34 81
3rd Le Havre 38 11 5 3 37 16 12 6 1 31 9 80
4th Montpellier 38 11 3 5 38 28 9 5 5 30 21 68
5th Rennes 38 13 2 4 33 18 7 4 8 35 37 66

Close race at Le Havre.. Next year!

09-09-17, 05:08 AM
In my first season as the manager for Liverpool i got second place behind Man Utd, despite a really bad start(after 9 games i had lost 5 and drawn 3!). But we had better form in Europe and in the League Cup, bot of whom we won. Arsenal came third and Leeds 4th. I am currently in my second season as Liverpool manager and after 21/22 games played the top seven looks like this:

1st Arsenal 21 16 2 3 46 17 50 (Wenger not happy about his defence last season bought Roberto Carlos and Cafu! Also sold Bergkamp)
2nd Liverpool 21 15 2 4 44 15 47 (two of my three loses came in my two first games!)
3rd Leeds 22 12 5 5 31 20 41 (Despite adding Van Bommel for £15M to their midfield they cant keep up with the top two)
4th Man Utd 22 10 10 2 36 20 40 (i actually edited it so Ferguson would not retire, but they got knocked down to the UEFA Cup! :lol:
5th Fulham 22 12 4 6 39 25 40 (Luis Saha is banging in goals and they have a solid defence with Goma and Coleman)
6th Chelsea 22 12 4 6 31 25 40 (They actually got Conte on bosman transfer but they struggle to be consistent)
7th Everton 21 12 2 7 34 31 39 (I... i... i can not understand why they arent down in 18th...)

Also i have done a fair bit on the transfer market..

================================================== ==============================================
2002/3 Transfers
================================================== ==============================================

Date Player In From Fee
1.7.02 Tommy Smith Watford £3.5M - 23 goals in 29 games total!
1.7.02 Gareth Barry Aston Villa £1.9M - Villa got relegated, he had a clause, i payed.
30.8.02 Barry Ferguson Rangers £15M - needed another CM after i switched to my own tactic
1.1.03 Stephen Hughes Watford £7.5M - Jamie Redknapp replacement
1.1.03 Ashley Cole Arsenal £13M
1.1.03 Marcelo Gallardo Monaco £9.5M
1.1.03 Damien Johnson Blackburn £500K
2.1.03 Andy Oakes Derby Loan - needed a third goalkeeper
Total £51M
Date Player Out To Fee
1.7.02 Emile Heskey Dortmund £8M - did not perform
1.7.02 John Arne Riise Newcastle £7.75M - did perform but sold him due to contract dispute
1.1.03 Jorgen Nielsen Fulham £475K - wanted first team footy, now backup for Van der Sar!
1.1.03 Nick Barmby Chelsea £7M - Chelski has gone mad!
1.1.03 Patrik Berger Dortmund £5M - Not performing, did not fit new style, always injured
1.1.03 Jamie Redknapp Chelsea £7.75M - Chelski really went mad!!
1.1.03 Markus Babbel FC Bayern £9.5M - decent amount for a 30 year old
Total £45.5M

All in all it has been a fun, frustrating first one and a half season due to poor starts, players wage demands, supporter fury.... :mad: while ups like winning the League Cup and the European Cup have gotten everyone onside!
Pssst... Real or Barca, you can have Owen if you want!

29-09-17, 03:45 PM
Paris FC

Started a game as Paris FC in the French National League (3rd tier). Thought it would be fun to get another PAris based team into Ligue 1.

Midway through the first season in the National league we were truly running away with it, top by 13-points. We had zero transfer funds at the start of the season, and with attendances in the region of 4k-7k, we weren't making any money; only losing it due to player wages. We weren't going to remain solvent until the end of the season, so we had to sell two of our starting 11 (and 2 of the 3 'star players') to stay afloat. This had a negative effect on our results, and after peaking with an 18-point league, we won the league by 5-points.

We had a budget of about £5m at the start of the second season, spent wisely and got a lot of freebies and made a blistering start to the season. We bounced from 1st to 2nd all season, swapping position with Tours, who ended up winning the league by 3-points.

We have just started season3, now in Ligue 1 with some of the big boys. 4 games in, we have won 1, drawn 2 and lost 1. The loss being an away 1-0 defeat to none other than PSG - and i have to say we were the better side.

Can't wait to see how well we do this year. Board predicted we would battle bravely against relegation but I see a mid table finish before heading to the Europa League next season.

Onwards and upwards!

29-09-17, 03:51 PM
Best of luck getting the beating of PSG, hopefully you won't have to wait too long!

12-10-17, 04:16 PM
I fell off the Alphabet Game wagon after a few weeks of holiday and then a few weeks of not playing at all and decided to play some old saves instead. I've been playing on my 16 manager Danish-start save this week, and I am now well into the third season.
A short recap since i guess most people don't remember this: I started out controlling every team (16 in all) in the Danish 2nd division in the 2001/2 season. Managers can move on when they've won the top division (or when they're sacked, as 4 managers were bound to be at the end of the 1st season), I can only sign players my scouts recommend, and I have to sign/attempt to sign every player that gets a five star rating. There's also some rules regarding team selection and promotion/demotion between reserves and 1st team. All in all a pretty entertaining and enjoyable experiment.

Anyways, one of the sacked managers took over the Austrian national team and has had great success during his stay there, while another one took over newly promoted Kalix in the Swedish 2nd division and I can't really complain about the result there either. The club had no players nor staff, and no staff have been willing to join except for one player/coach who is quite possibly the worst player I have ever seen (statwise at least) in CM. It is now November 2003 and these two have finished their European Championship qualifiers and first season in the 2nd division respectively:




Among the Danish teams the degree of success is varying, Birkerød (still in 2nd division) won the Danish Cup last year but went out in the qualification stage of the Uefa Cup. Fremad Amager have won back to back promotions and are currently 2nd in the top division behind Brøndby, and it looks like two more of my teams will be promoted to the top flight next year (based on the table at half-season at least).

18-10-17, 02:22 PM
Have been home from work for a week and thought I'd dust off the game. Haven't played for a while. Thought I'd start off with Torquay (My local side) and see what I could do. Never imagined it would be this addictive or fun. 4 years later and 4 promotions later we're just about to embark on our first season in the Premier League.

Used a cheat tactic just too see the difference and I'm thinking of playing the same team/players with a normal tactic and see if I can replicate the success.



Few stand out things along the way....

I sold Giancarlo Gallifuoco to Watford for £1,000,000 in the first season, he didn't really do a lot for Wolves and he requested to be sold, So I re-signed him for £475,000 and got 20% of that because of the clause I put in the transfer. Since then he's won the player of the season twice for my team and has been outstanding.


Here's the tactic I've been using, no outstanding players in there (Britt Assombalonga, Fraizer Campbelll and Jayden Stockley have been immense though


and here's a screenie of the team


Onwards to the premier league!

23-10-17, 07:56 PM
I may have fell off the forum alphabet game this time, but I still have my own that I play on occasionally. Ticked off another letter now with Frickley, and with an exciting end to the season at that! We've been top of the table since just after Christmas when we passed Man Utd, and we were a few points ahead of them, Leeds and Arsenal until we lost our form somewhat towards the end and Leeds caught up with us again. With one game left we were three points behind, but Leeds faced Arsenal at Highbury in their last game so we still had a decent chance, we just needed to win our game and if Arsenal did their part the title was ours.



I've had some good players in this team, and more overachieving (some players have been with the team since they were in Conference!). This guy is probably the most impressive of the overachievers, I signed him on a free in 3rd division hoping he could do a decent job for a season or two. He was awarded the young player of the year award, deservedly so.

Now to find a G club and bring it to the top of the league!

03-11-17, 08:19 PM
Played some more on my 16 team save, and finished season #3 in Denmark (as well as season #2 in Germany for the one manager who ended up there after the first summer). One team was in the top division and did decent if not outstanding, whereas in the two lower divisions my teams dominated and took all the promotion spots (and no relegation spots). Still enjoying this, even enjoying the challenges of having too many players in some clubs (some teams have 10-12 strikers for two slots) while lacking players in other clubs (still several clubs with only one goalkeeper, and one without a left back), and having way too many foreign players (a couple of teams have more tha ten non-EU players, and can use max 3 per game).
Anyhooooo, here are some tables!


20-11-17, 07:57 PM
2 seasons into my first proper save with the new update, and this seems like a save I'll play for a while, possibly for many seasons. I'm managing York, who at the start of the game were newly relegated into Conference North. A wonderful city like York deserves to have a team much higher up in the league system than that, so I took it upon my self to fix the situation.
The squad looked decent so I only signed a couple of defenders before the season started, one of them Justin Hoyte who some may remember as a wonderkid in one of the early 2000s CM versions (I think it was 0304 but I'm not certain). He hasn't lived up to that hype in real life, and he was pretty useless in my save as well even though he looked good for that level. Sold him on for £80k after a season so at least I made some profit.
Anyways, the first season went really well until the last couple of months when the team collapsed and we rapidly lost points compared to the other top teams. Even so, we were extremely close to being promoted, Harrogate beat us with pretty much the smallest possible margin.


Positives after the first season:
- We scored most goals of all the teams
- The squad has plenty of talent even if some positions need strengthening and all positions need better coverage
- My nonwibwobbed 4-4-2 attacking formation works well and appears to be quite realistic resultwise in this version of the game too (not a surprise as I don't think there's been any tactic-affecting changes in the latest patch)

Negatives after the first season:
- We concede way too many goals
- My top goal scorer is leaving on a bosman transfer
- Finances are bad

15 players came in on free transfers in the summer, improving the team in every area, and replacing my departed top scorer. Some deadweight left, and the squad ended up being bigger, stronger and far more expensive in wages. Finances are red and getting redder by the minute. Big thanks to the chairman who threw £750k at the club at some point, that helped a lot for a little while.

Anyways, new season! After having a good look at the squad I decided on a new starting eleven, and they repaid the confidence with winning the 5 first games and not conceding any goals at all until the 2nd half of the fifth. Barring injuries/bans and a little changing of full backs and central midfielers the lineup has been pretty stable all season, and a look at the final table shows why.


Quite happy with most of the first team players, I haven't got any transfers lined up as of yet (only a couple of youngsters), though I expect I'll sign a couple of players in the summer as some areas could do with an increase in quality, especially as we're going up a division next season. I'll see what I find, the trouble is that there isn't any money at all.


Positives after the season:
- My striker pair each score ~30 goals. Michael Smith turned out to be a good choice as replacement for my top scorer (even if he almost stopped scoring after January), and Louis Almond played a lot better than last season.
- Left winger Connor Smith scores plenty and creates even more, and he's only 22 yeras old.
- The defence is a lot tighter than last year and if the team hadn't mentally gone on holiday before the last game we'd have kept it at one conceded goal per game.
- The squad is better, there's decent coverage in most positions and a couple of promising youngsters are knocking on the 1st team door.
- Got to the 2nd round of the FA Cup after beating two teams from the division above us.

Negatives after the season:
- The club is 1.6M in debt and that's just increasing
- Little coverage in defence, I only have one full back that I think is good enough to take the step up a division, and there's no proper cover for my goalkeeper (who thankfully has been uninjured throughout the season and only got one red card).

I'm struggling to find players that I think will improve the team and who are free/bosmans and willing to join the club. Hopefully it'll get easier once we're promoted.
Cautiously optimistic for next season, the goal is to stay clear of relegation. I'm hoping this will be a slow and steady rise from the bottom league to the top, and I want it to be realistic, so if we're progressing too fast I'll probably adjust the tactic to do worse. The tactic is one I've used a lot and it is probably the most realictis tactic I've played with (you can win CL with it, but then you need to have a world class team and some luck), but I haven't tested it much at low levels. 2 seasons to get promoted for a team that was promotion favourites before the first season is a good sign, though.

29-11-17, 12:50 AM
Currently about to begin my 10th season in charge of Italian minnows Monterosi, who when I took over were in the bottom tier, Serie C2/B.

I'm playing the game as realistically as possible, with a strict wage structure, no cheat tactics, no short cuts, or editing. It has been very enjoyable, but very time consuming trying to transform this club from part timers to an established Serie A side, and even pushing for European glory.

I began with rapid promotions as champions up through the divisions, culminating in a surprise (and ahead of schedule) 4th place promotion in our first season in Serie B (https://i.imgur.com/915pelK.png). Due to extremely difficult financial circumstances (our stadium at this time held a capacity of around 3,500) with just a few weeks to go until our debut season in Serie A kicked off, I had just 10 contracted players on the books, and many of them veterans of the days in Serie C, and not up to the task of getting us the wins needed for survival. Cue lots of shrewd loan signings (no limit on the amount of players that can be loaned at once - I love managing in Italy for this), a fella from AC Milan being the pick of the bunch:


Despite a promising start, we fell apart catastrophically mid-season, and escaped relegation on the very last game of the season:



It is worth noting that our wage bill during this season was just £27k p/w, miles short of the next lowest budget in the division.


In the years that followed, Serie A survival was secured with ease, our training facilities, and the quality of coaches who came in improved year on year, and once we could afford to bring in good players, many of the most successful ones were sold at huge profit – playmaker Giovani Lo Celso bringing in £10m after Roma activated his release clause, but not before taking us into Europe (the UEFA Cup) for the first time in our history.

Another one of my aims for this save is to develop youth products from the academy, which is why I put such a priority on improving the training facilities. In year four, I began to bear the fruits of my labours, and by year seven I had 4 or 5 Monterosi graduates all playing regularly in the first team, including a young goalkeeper who I instantly knew would become a club legend.


Sure enough, 5 years after his debut, and at the time of writing, he is Montesori's captain, record appearance maker at 21 years of age, and has won the Italian Goalkeeper Of The Year award for the 3rd year on the bounce. He is also very close to usurping Gianluigi Donnarumma as Number One for the national team.


In season 8, at long last, I won my first major piece of silverware, the Coppa Italia, with a 6-1 aggregate win over relegation threatened Juventus. We also qualified for the Champions League for the first time, where in the following season astoundingly we beat Barcelona, and Tottenham among others to reach the Quarter Finals, eventually losing 2-0 to Dortmund. But during this season we also won another Coppa Italia, and, for the first time, became Serie A champions in style, and still with one of the lowest wage bills in the division.


Sadly, and frustratingly, planning permission for a ground expansion has regularly been denied, meaning after a few modest improvements, our stadium can still only hold 7,300 (4,000 seated), leading me to believe I have taken this club as far as I can. After the coming season (my 10th), and one last shot at European glory, I will be applying for jobs at bigger clubs. But I have really loved my journey with this little club.


29-11-17, 09:20 AM
Outstanding stuff mate, shame about that the stadium, not thought about editing the expansion capacity in the editor?

If not hopefully you can go out with a bang this year!

29-11-17, 11:30 AM
I'm currently managing 16 teams in Northern Ireland. Yes, one more NI save. I felt the AI here wasn't ambitious enough, and wanted to see how far I could go by aggressively signing any good/not too bad player my scouts spotted. To be fair, I modded the game so I and the AI are playing the same formation, a good old flat no WIB-WOBed 4-4-2. This way, only the players (and the mentality of the manager) make the difference (I'm always on the offensive). And to be unfair, and to speed up thing a little, I'm using the exploit to bring non-EU players in my teams (not the high wage exploit, NI sides just don't have the means to). I keep one scout only (I don't want to have too many reports to read), one physio (they are hard enough to attract here) and the best coaches I can find (usually by signing veterans with good traning skills). No holiday mode of course.

So, what happens so far ? The 2027/2028 season just ended (in NI). After 10 years, I lost 2 teams to relegation and got sacked once (freshly, with Bangor). And so I'm in charge of 16 clubs. And the tables look like this :


Without much surprises, I'm doing much better than the AI. Only Carrick are still struggling, and H&W are still full of the recruits I planned to sign before being relegated (and I don't think they'll stay any longer with H&W). In Premiership, because most of the squads are of the same quality and play the same way, performances are smoothen. Any team can beat any other. S&L lose all their games against Newry for example. Pronostics and board expectations are much harder to keep...


... and the standing fluctuates every saturday. Greatly. Add the fact that some teams are involved in NI League cup, some other (or the same) in european competitions... It can happen that a club which should be topping the table (from chairmen point of view) are 6-8 matchs late, and you can imagine the tensions in the locker room (and when unhappiness occurs, you're often screwed).

Domination of the domestic league : done.

And Europe ? When I started this game, NI UEFA rank was 44th (coeff 5,5). This year, rank is 14 (coeff 27,58). Which is much better !

Well, Europe is not NI friendly. Intertoto starts too early, UEFA and CL end too late, for our condition to be OK. In fact, if I want to win the CL without editing the fitness of my squads, I need to bring 4 clubs in semi. Highly unrealisable !

We waited until last year before sending a team to the CL groups. It was Distillery (the best name to attract attention), which scored 0 pts (another way to attract attention). Strangely, it was enough to grant us a second slot in CL (sure the UEFA board had a good laugh wathcing Barcelona vs. Distillery... OK, we were routed any week). So this time, while Ballyclare failed to qualify (they made it to UEFA round of 16 after), Loughgall tasted the CL groups...


OK, we won against Dortmund "C" . A third place, allowing us go on in UEFA Cup.

This is were the BIG LOL started. Because...


Think a moment. Loughgall quality is unknown (they are glued with the other teams in domestic league). The opponent currently stands 3rd in England, they align a mixed team, with some first team players and good substitues. One of my guys got a red card and we have to play extra time despite the poor condition of the squad. Filip Lozo is MoM and Sam Yates the club best striker. He rules. His value is 200,000. Fear his skills.

Really ?

Now I'm waiting the reputation boost. At least finances are secured. But I doubt the "most important" members of the squad will want to stay in NI. I wonder if the league reputation can evolve like the UEFA ranking ? And I'm curious how my ghanain/NI who's been called in NI B team will be regenerated. And all those with a double nationality.

Anyway : lol !

29-11-17, 05:17 PM
I managed to advance until the 2028/2029 seasons start. Here are some more thoughts.

- The irony
Arsenal GK, who's NI and let 5 shoots find his net during UEFA final against my Loughgall side, was elected "NI international player of the year". Thank you pal, it woulnd't have been possible without your participation.

- The improvement
Loughgall chairman assured me he was upgrading the training facilities. I don't know what kind of society he paid for this, but we spent 100,000 bucks to improve the facilities from the lowest state possible... to the lowest state possible. But the boss seems happy with all those holes in the ground.

- The notorious
Loughgall gained 1132 reputation after winning the UEFA trophy. Their rep is now 3351, almost 500 points ahead of Sports & Leisure. And Loughgall manager world ranking is now 100 !

- The abashment
Sports & Leisure and Ballyclare will compete in CL. H&W Welders (led by the AI), NI Cup runner up which lose to Sports & Leisure, are granted a seat in UEFA. I thought Donegal will take the other seat, and hoped our good results in european competitions could grant us a third team in UEFA to send Loughgall one more. I was wrong : H&W and Loughgall (4th) go in UEFA, while Donegal (3rd) and Limavady (5th) will compete in UEFA qualifier. That Damn AI team !

- The status quo
NI UEFA rank is still 14th, with a coefficient of 26,88 (-0,7 since last season). Don't know what UEFA Cup rep is, but winning it had no impact.

- The inflated
Hervé Kasongo (no need to look in the database, he's a regen) was Ballyclare top scorer. He was paid 550 pounds/month. When it was time to renew his contract, he asked 750/month. The board, knowing his merits, were ready to offer him up to 825/month... OK, in fact, they were ready to give him just as much as his squadmates as 825/month is the standard, so it's hard to say if the directors really thought about Hervé being "invaluable". But why not. Because of his work permit, we had to release him. Of course, we recalled him immediately after he left to offer him a new contract. And Hervé, the so nice Hervé, who wasn't looking after money when he was part of Ballyclare, is now asking 14000/month to play again with us (almost 19 time what he wanted first). This is what we call inflation isn't ?

- The salesmen
NI clubs gained a total of 4,691,000 bucks just by selling players last season. Only Loughgall and Distillery have more than 1,000,000 as war chest. It's still to early to initiate a real internal market.

04-12-17, 10:03 AM
Playing as Portsmouth, so far so good...


30-12-17, 02:11 PM
The NI 2028/2029 season is now finished !


Loughgall won the title by a large margin. A fairly easy victory for the team, but they were the favourites this year, after their unexpected success in UEFA League (and all the money which came with). After a boring game in Super Cup (0-1 vs Bayern Munich) and an UEFA campaign which proved much less exciting than it was last year (agg. 2-2 vs Moreirense, R of 32), Loughgall grabbed the top of the league and steadily built their final win. Sam Yates (https://i.imgur.com/wXQ65aE.jpg) was elected 2nd best NIPL player while his teammate Emile Friar (https://i.imgur.com/E5vHHHr.jpg) won an award for being the second best youngster this season. Loughgall manager is ranked 54th in the world.

Sports & Leisure were involved in CL, gaining access to the groups where they managed to qualify for the second round...
... and a very successful european involvement (for a NI club). The club performed well domestically, but they are lacking the bench Loughgall have. This will change now that S&L has a tremendous transfert budget to spend (for a NI club too) : 2,700,000 £ ! Their NIPL awarded players were Brian Maynard (https://i.imgur.com/l2WWghC.jpg) (3rd best player) and Douglas Fiuka (https://i.imgur.com/rqgDka0.jpg) (3rd best scorer).

Ballyclare had a very rough time at the start. The recruits never adapted to the style of play and discontentement was important and crippling until january. Hopefully, the club possess a real backbone, three decisive players that never gived up and pushed the squad toward the top of the league. They failed to qualify to the CL groups during this bad period (agg 3-3 vs Herta BSC) and didn't go further than the 3rd round in UEFA (agg. 2-2 vs Ajax). They won the Irish Cup but they are loosing their key players one by one nonetheless.

Crusaders were in the lead until the new year and the injuries (no, there is no particular link between them). They were lucky to sign Christopher Carter (https://i.imgur.com/ilbGgCO.jpg) (2nd NIPL best scorer) who proved to be an excellent affair and someone his teammates can rely (heavily) on. But the rest of the squad is a little thin and Carter can't do anything by himself.

Armagh did what they do usually in league : a poor start, then a brillant conclusion. The whole defense had been revamped since the ancient players were unhappy, and after some adaptation the new and much younger ones did a good job. The middle is hold by a not really wanted and another listed guys. Only the strikers already made their proofs before. The young Morten Borup (https://i.imgur.com/2aJp6jY.jpg) was the NIPL best player and best scorer during this season. His surprising mate Thijs Alberts (https://i.imgur.com/uLxGLlm.jpg) was elected 3rd best youngster.

Donegal did not go far in UEFA Qualifying, losing their first round (agg. 3-4 vs serbian side of Metalac GM). They did average in league, happy to seat in the middle of the table, which was their objective. Davor Tokic (https://i.imgur.com/4FvCKoO.jpg) was elected best youngster of the year.

Distillery were deceiving (as usual). They never really entered the competition and spent almost all the money they still had for absolutely nothing. They are better than this... on the paper. They won the League Cup, which is more an honorific competiton (no UEFA access granted by this one).

Limavady are suffering. The squad depth was enough the seasons before, but it's inadequate now that bigger teams are emerging. They struggled the whole year to avoid the relegation zone. Their UEFA Qualifying campaign was the shortest possible (agg 1-4 vs the estonian side of Narva Trans).

Warrenpoint manager (so me) was close to be sacked. One short victory and the Irish Cup final (a board objective) finally decided the boss not to fire me. The last three games were problematic, as Warrenpoint had to play the barrages and the Cup final match in a short succession and without resting time (and beyond the date where players are regaining stamina between games). Looks like their C team is still better than Carrick Rangers B team then... (agg 6-3). Poor play from the recruits and much higher requirements than in NIFL made this year a really poor one.

Institute lost their path right from the start, but the board stayed delighted by their frustrating style of play all along the season. Uncertain recruitment, lack of emerging young talents, 20,670,000 £ in the red... It will be difficult, even in NIFL. Not to mention the possible departures.

While this time, in NIFL...


... Lurgan was promoted and broke the scored goals record. Carrick missed the promotion and Newry sacked their manager.

18-01-18, 04:55 PM
Guess this is a good place for a newcomer to contribute something. I recently returned to the game after years of hiatus, installed the newest update and tried a few adventures in various parts of Europe. Not many screenshots though.

Zagłębie Lubin is normally a Polish top division team, but I waited a season and they got relegated. Took them back into the Ekstraklasa, then scored the title immediately after promotion, surprising even myself. I even reached the Champions League group phase. I was runner-up in the league for the next two seasons, but then come the winter break, the chairman fired me for "poor league position" without any forewarning. Damn it, I was 4th and you told me to attain a respectable position this season! Is 4th not respectable enough? I can't remember many names anymore, but Jakub Arak was a top goalscorer and a player to always keep an eye on.

Maidenhead United was a brief intermission. After getting tragically fired from Zagłębie, I took them over at last place in Conference, to see if I could save them from relegation. Missed the mark by two points.

Annan Athletic are in Scottish League Two. Other than defender Ryan Sinnamon, their squad proved highly unremarkable and had to be almost entirely replaced over time. My short career with them was supposed to be my first real attempt at making and testing a wib-wobbed tactic. The results were... mixed. I must have messed something up, because while my team won the promotion easily enough, my opponents had plenty of easy goalscoring opportunities every match. 3-4 shots on goal often meant 2-3 goals conceded. Because of this, I found my team unable to compete properly in the higher tier, so I shamefully gave up mid-season. Offensively, key players were Callum Robertson, Sammy Steward and Lawrence Shankland... very good players for this level.

My current misadventure is the beautifully named Union Sportive de Boulogne-sur-Mer Côte d'Opale. You might have seen me asking for tactical advice for them elsewhere. An old but otherwise relatively unremarkable club currently placed in French National, they nevertheless have workable players like Koro Kone or Abdoul Aziz Kabore in their squad. With no transfer funds at my disposal but a high wage budget available, I went on to grab plenty of free transfers. Notably, experienced midfielders Roy Contout (good all around skills) and Julien Fernandes (20 Creativity and Technique, 16 Passing? not bad) were key players during first two seasons, scoring and assisting all the time. Sebastien Renouard (SC) was another beneficial signing, although only short term. Then there's this guy:


20 Dribbling, 19 Acceleration, 18 Pace and Technique, 15 Jumping, he just can't stop scoring! Been a first team striker since day one. With these pivotal players supported by many others, the club achieved promotion first season, then placed 10th in Ligue 2. But Fernandes and Contout were getting too old for their pivotal roles and our defending was consistently terrible, so I continued to look for defenders and goalkeepers, all the while bringing in new midfielders (often doubling as forwards) to ensure our offensive advantage. Paweł Dawidowicz (D/DM RC, Benfica), Marcos Alvarez (FC, Osnabruck), Renaud Ripart (MR, Nimes), Michał Mak (FRL, Lechia Gdańsk), Cristian Penilla (F RLC, Pachuca, capped in Ecuador), and Ludovic Ajorque (AMC, Clermont) all contributed greatly as we challenged the promotion and failed, thanks to a run of poor form late in the season (and three key matches played within six days - thanks, FA!). Granted, Penilla's contribution mostly amounted to disrupting morale and complaining about my decisions, but it was a contribution still!

Come next season, I got rid of pesky Penilla, lost Ajorque because of minimum fee clause. Finally found a well performing left defender in Julien Benhaim (Bastia) and brought in the following: Joel Valencia (AM RLC, Piast Gliwice), Radosław Dzierbicki (AMC, Piast Gliwice) Dario Lezcano (FC, Ingolstadt, regular of Paraguayan national team). Alongside Missi Mezu, Dzierbicki, Lezcano and Valencia were absolutely crucial to our effort of chasing down the top and eventually winning the league with 100 goals scored (and 70 conceded, heh). To help me avoid relegation, I now have modified tactics (thanks GFRay!), splurged on defenders Harry Souttar (Stoke) and Andoni Fernandez, Paul Delecroix (GK, Niort - a keeper hopefully capable of holding his own in Ligue 1), Julien Leca (F RLC, Toulouse) and stole oldboy Falcao from Monaco. There goes all my money, this better be worth it...

Our domestic record. Not much to look at currently, but it's a start:

More to come.

19-01-18, 09:49 AM
Currently on my third season with Waterford and my first foray into Europe. I've beaten three teams in the CL qualifying stages including Bruges & Monaco. The first leg v Monaco was resoundingly won 3-0 so I disrespected them further by fielding my second string XI in the second leg - and won that too. I've never really understood how easy it is to take a tinpot outfit from countries like Wales and Ireland and win easily against bigger clubs in the CL. In reality they should be getting mullered lol.

19-01-18, 10:50 AM
iodine, not just protecting people from radiation poisoning, also destroys every team in CM0102

19-01-18, 02:28 PM
I'm approaching the new season slowly, savoring the experience. Just as expected, we're struggling... While our defensive game is much improved, my team now has a hard time scoring goals. My entire midfield (except for invaluable Valencia) simply lacks quality to succeed at this level and my star striker forgot how to score (he's still an insane dribbler though). Fortunately old Falcao is putting in a lot of great work compensating for these deficiencies... But I can tell a long, painful reconstruction of the first team is coming up.

Our performances are inconsistent. We were able to get crucial away wins with Marseille or Lille, draw with Nantes, fight like equals with Monaco, only to get wrecked by our most direct competitors, Caen (stupid Kitambala). Still, halfway through the season we're six points clear of the relegation zone with one match played less. If we can win the upcoming away game with Caen, thing will be looking up.

Our proudest moment:

Goalkeeper doing goalkeeper things, right after Falcao gave me hope too...

Edit: forgot to mention I have a striker who excels at Passing and Creativity, but lacks actual striker skills. I wonder if I should attempt to retrain him as a midfielder? Or just play him in the midfield and hope he adapts? Tough decision to make mid-season.

20-01-18, 12:51 PM
In the winter I signed unemployed Ben Arfa for half a year for some badly needed squad depth. Two years ago, my board was kind enough to build top training facilities and a youth academy, so I neglected looking for young talents elsewhere, hoping our own resources will be enough. But the academy failed to produce the goods and I ended up with a rather thin squad. That said, the few youngsters that did get promoted from the reserves all had the opportunity to play in first squad and fared decently. Ben Arfa was useful too, relieving my overburdened midfielders and scoring a couple important goals and assists. Together with solid defensive performances, Falcao's experience and a late resurgence of Missi Mezu's form, it was enough to produce some unexpectedly good results. Long story short, we're safe! Heck, we were fifth for a long time and only slumped down to the bottom half after an underwhelming season finale. A lot of this is thanks to our unexpectedly high away form:


Squad improvement is absolute first priority now. I could go for a decent DR, but other than that I'm rather happy with our back ranks, some solid players there (Souttar and Fernandez are now established as my DCs with youngster Guyonett as backup; Dawidowicz is great as DMC) and finally a reliable, trustworthy goalkeeper in Delecroix. What we suddenly struggle with is creating chances and scoring goals. Dzierbicki is a bit in over his head now and Leca had an underwhelming season, but I'm willing to give him another chance as he's still young. Out of our few youngsters, Chevalier is promising to be an useful midfielder, but Bouziane will forever be held back by his poor pace. Dario Lezcano is 32 now and no longer the monster he was in Ligue 2, so I'll be selling him if an opportunity arises. Falcao was good this season, but likewise he's just a temporary measure. Missi Mezu struggled with converting his chances into goals and our backup strikers proved far too weak to achieve anything. Pretty much the only man I was truly happy with was Valencia. So much to improve.

The money we got for 11th place should be enough for some bargain buys, but I will have to look very hard. So far Theo Archibald from Celtic is coming in for free, but I doubt he's good enough for first squad. Big transfers will have to wait until we get the TV rights cash. I really want Andrea Pinamonti from Dijon, who scored 48 goals in 41 Ligue 2 matches for an 8.83 season average, then remained a great goalscorer even has his side proceeded to be relegated from Ligue 1. Sadly the price tag is really high for our financial capabilities. Another juicy target I'm looking at is Gregory Ettori from Caen, a 19 years old AMC who's got 20 Passing, Creativity and Off the Ball.

Other amusing screenshots:

We got fined for poor discipline. Up yours, FA!

Mbappe was... pretty good this season

And here's the terrifying new champion of Northern Ireland. It's the police! They secured the title only two years after promotion. Tough guys, this bunch.


20-01-18, 01:35 PM
Only a few points away from the European spots. Not that bad a season for you, I reckon!

20-01-18, 02:20 PM
Only a few points away from the European spots. Not that bad a season for you, I reckon!

It exceeded my expectations, honestly. With this squad and non-wibwobbed tactics, coming close to European qualification is excellent. All in all I'm sort of glad I didn't qualify for Europe: I don't have the squad for so many games! Finishing in the top five is a possibility next season... yet gut feeling tells me I'll be lucky if I repeat this season's results. Especially if Missi Mezu doesn't start scoring again. His low Finishing was never a problem in lower tiers, but now it's hampering him a lot.

20-01-18, 07:10 PM
iodine, not just protecting people from radiation poisoning, also destroys every team in CM0102

I don't think I've ever used this tactic.

20-01-18, 10:43 PM
Finally have won the CL as Southampton, been there four years after dominating Scotland with Celtic. Won the PL and CL in the same year.

21-01-18, 03:15 PM
The summer break at Boulogne brought about some changes. Dario Lezcano's contract became unprotected and I wasn't about to offer him a new one. Paweł Dawidowicz, our reliable DMC, has unfortunately decided to look for a new challenge. Both are leaving in the winter transfer window, making our troubles with squad depth and midfield quality all the greater. My attempts to rectify the problem have been mixed. In addition to the aforementioned Theo Archibald, I was able to bring in a few cheap youngsters from Benelux countries, but none of them are yet fit for the first team. Out of my big transfer targets, securing the talented midfielder Gregory Ettori was fairly easy, but other deals ultimately collapsed one way or another. Rosink snubbed me and went for Ajax Amsterdam. Michele Sego (a striker running wild in Croatia) and John Kerr (starlet from the MLS) outright refused to leave their clubs. Pinamonti was willing to join, but Dijon simply wouldn't sell him at any price. I offered them my entire transfer budget + Julien Leca out of desperation, and they still refused! Faced with all this rotten luck, I was eventually forced to admit defeat and make a late emergency signing in David Hanan, a forward transfer listed by Genk.

Needless to say, I was awaiting the new season with pessimism and opening games did little to dispel my bad premonitions. Against newly promoted Montpellier, I noticed most of my first squad has very low condition, despite (or maybe because of?) having only played two pre-season friendlies. To avoid injuries, I selected a mostly reserve squad that miraculously struggled towards a 1-0 win. Away at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, we were in comfortable 2-0 lead when misfortune struck and I was forced to watch Andoni Fernandez, our top DC, hobble off the pitch. Torn groin muscle! And five minutes later, his replacement got himself a deserved straight red card (the moron has 2 Determination and is a consistent underperformer, why do I even bother keeping him around?). The team proceeded to lose the game 2-3, pushing me into a rather bitter mood.

And then we cleaned house.

The loss to Marseille was the only one so far. At winter break, with 13 wins and 5 draws we're all the way up there with PSG and Monaco. The results include a few rather impressive 4- or 5-goal hammerings, a clean away win with Lyon or a highly unlucky away draw with PSG. And the funny thing is, my midfield still isn't doing all that great. Ettori is good, but not as brilliant as I expected him to be. Thus our results can mostly be ascribed to solid defensive performances and my forwards putting a ton of work in. Missi Mezu is once again in top form and David Henen is proving impossible to contain for most Ligue 1 defenders, scoring or assisting almost every game. Still, everyone is doing at least OK. It's very much a team effort.

The table so far. Guess we're not getting relegated this time either!

Never thought I'd see this so early into Ligue 1:

My main man. Skilled, tough, determined, efficient.

All my team needs right now is a replacement DMC, so this is going to be a calm winter. Hopefully our midfielders finally take their game up another notch and we can maintain the good run.

23-01-18, 04:40 PM
Playing as Dulwich Hamlet. Used the editor to put them into the Conference South. I'm playing with one rule - the only players I am allowed to hire are Youth Players that my scouts find, or what comes through the youth academy into my reserves.

In my first season I managed to get promoted in 3rd W24 D9 L9 GF70 GA30.
I was very solid defensively, for a team full of fairly dud youth players, but couldn't score enough to finish higher. My striker, Harry Ottaway scored me 36 goals in 44 games, winning 16 MotMs. He was at Dulwich already and his main stats were Acceleration 16, Agility 14, Jumping 18, Pace 13, Strength and Tech both 17. Everything is was poor. He wasn't as prolific and his AvR dropped 0.7 in the Conference, but was still our top scorer with 30 in 51, as we finished 5th and missed out on promotion by 5 points. W24 D10 L12 GF77 GA58 Pts 82.

Going into my third season and second in the conference.

23-01-18, 10:42 PM
I have finished the season in France. While other clubs were splashing around more cash than Boulogne has ever owned, I decided to be a cheapskate, unwilling to add new elements to a well functioning machine mid-season. Yet any machine can break down on its own, and mine did after I fielded reserve squads in two cup matches against Marseille. We lost both and the losses presumably led to a morale drop, resulting in five out of our six defeats this season. At this point I was sure a resurgent Lyon would eventually overtake us in our bid for third place. Fortunately, we recovered and finished the season with another impressive undefeated streak, which included holding the newly crowned Monaco to an exciting draw and easily beating PSG 2-0.

Third place means we get to try for the Champions League!

Experience tells me European cups are a major challenge and generally lead to worse league performance, so I must look for more squad depth. At least one classy DMC and another forward are priorities. Fortunately, I can afford to pick and choose. The 3rd place money, TV right money, the sale of Amine Bassi (a midfielder who was useful back in National, but is my last choice now) and Julien Leca (failed to impress again, I see no future for him), and hopefully Champions League cash, should all combine to provide unprecedented financial stability. And this time around I won't be trying to spend everything on Pinamonti... Dude's been causing trouble ever since he moved to Toulouse, claiming he's too good for them and generally stinking the place up.

* * *

Meanwhile in an alternate reality, my alter ego is slowly building the might of Police Service of Northern Ireland. Despite the fearsome name, this second tier Northern Irish side starts with no playing personnel and a significant debt. To add insult to injury, pretty much all free transfer players had ridiculously high financial expectations, generally 20-30 times more than I could offer. My scout did unearth some youngsters willing to play for pennies, but they generally lacked the skills necessary to play professional football, or to kick the ball straight for that matter. Thus my playing squad in the first six months consisted solely of loaned players, later reinforced by numerous Bosmans as I proceeded to sign anyone and everyone with both legs still attached to their butt.

And apparently two legs is all you need to be a successful player in Northern Ireland, as my side swept the Championship with 20 points ahead of second Portadown and is currently topping the Premiership table. If all goes well, I could get the letter 'P' this season... But in all honesty I doubt it. Linfield are an incredibly dominant side, standing head and shoulders above all other teams and will no doubt punish our inevitable mistakes.

For reference, this guy was an absolute star player in the Championship and still easily a top forward in the Premiership. Notice how the Form field is blank in the screenshot? That's because all the 10s wouldn't fit in.

24-01-18, 06:54 PM
That's because all the 10s wouldn't fit in.

I approve this catchphrase. That's not a catchphrase ? It should be. And I approve the rest of the story by the way.

Err... hum... just passing then. :sorry:

26-01-18, 08:10 PM
I approve this catchphrase. That's not a catchphrase ? It should be. And I approve the rest of the story by the way.

Err... hum... just passing then. :sorry:

Thanks. Yes, it should be a catchphrase. Perfect for agents advertising their players.

Virtual agent: Sir, are you interested in signing To Madeira? He's so good, all the 10s won't even fit in!
Actual manager: What the hell are you talking about?

OK, so maybe it wouldn't work so well...

* * *

Now, to quote Wikipedia:

The official capacity of the stadium is 478 but matches rarely attract attendances above a few dozen spectators.

My French adventure is temporarily on hold as I descend further and further down the treacherous depths of the Alphabet Game. The above quote no longer stands true as I have turned the Police Service of Northern Ireland into a local sensation, regularly enjoying attendances of 1400+ (out of 1500) as the club fought tooth and nail for the national championship. Assist master Paul Corry, outstanding forward Gary Shaw, and later also the brilliant but unpredictable Mark Griffin were instrumental in this unlikely challenge. It was only us and Linfield from the beginning to the very end. Our direct battles were indecisive, as we demolished Linfield 4-0 at home, only for them to return the favor in a sound 6-2 trashing on their own ground. I honestly though the Linfield colossus would never stumble, but when it did, it crashed quite spectacularly in a shock 1-5 defeat to Crusaders in the season's penultimate game. Then a very nervous 1-0 with Glentoran was just enough to clinch the title! As the crowd triumphed and cheered, I quietly left the stadium to move on.

There were no job openings in Northern Ireland (an easy league all in all), so I took the first one available: Ullensaker/Kisa IL in Norwegian second tier. Boy, what a mistake. The debt was somehow 4x greater than at PSNI. The squad barely had enough players to field a full bench. Two useless keepers, asbolutely no quality in defense, no backup DL, no DMC at all. A single midfielder good at dribbling and two acceptable strikers, everyone else was actually worse than back in Northern Irish Championship. As the transfer window was already closed, I could not sign or even loan anyone. I nevertheless enjoyed surprising success with the few resources available, knocking out later champions Haugesund in the Cup (but then Rosenborg came along...) and staying near the top of table all season, but eventually the team threw away direct promotion in a shameful last game, then basically gave up from the word go in playoffs. Disgusted, I immediately resigned and moved to my homeland - Poland.

WKS Śląsk Wrocław is a respectable Ekstraklasa side, champions of 1977 and 2012, currently mid-table with constant ambitions for something more. Despite a decent financial situation (finally money! yay!) and some quality players, their former manager somehow left them in dead last place. Apparently resigned to looming relegation, the board simply asked me to "improve the club's squad". And there sure was room for improvement...

Goalkeepers: due to gross mishandling of transfers, all the club had was Łukasz Skorupski on loan from Italy and two backup keepers too weak for second tier, never mind the Ekstraklasa. Skorupski's loan finished before I even realized what's going on, leaving me empty handed. I quickly loaned then signed Kais Al-Ani from Wisła Kraków, but he was far from solid. I eventually filled the hole with former Ipswich keeper Bartosz Białkowski, but even he was prone to spectacular failures:


Defenders: some accomplished players here, but... Jakub Rzeźniczak (experienced DRC capped in Poland) - old and way overpaid. Bartosz Salamon (former Milan DC) - selfish and way overpaid. Piotr Żemło - brought from Wisła by the former manager, absolutely not worth the money. Got rid of them as soon as possible. The remaining guys were too weak and too few. Key reinforcements included Maciej Wilusz (another experienced DC capped in Poland, but 3 years less and 2x smaller wage made all the difference), Sebastian Kopeć and Michał Koj from lower league teams, and Mees Siers, decent DR from the Netherlands.


DMC: already an excellent player here in Michał Chrapek, but he wouldn't stop complaining about life, the universe and everything, as if trying to force his way out of the club. I assigned him the duties of eternal bench warmer. Instead I brought in Francis Kembolo Luyeye from France and youngster Tomasz Kowalczyk, who both played very well when called upon.


Midfield: relatively the best formation. Patryk Serafin, Rafał Wolski, Robert Pich and Jonathan Gigard all stayed and contributed to some extent, the first two retaining their important roles. On the other hand, constantly unhappy primadonnas Marcin Rybicki and Jakub Kosecki left the club during winter break. No other players were fit for first team, so I had a long, hard look at the lower leagues and signed several bargains. Patryk Gondek, Marek Gładkowski and Dawid Pozak brought me 22 goals and 28 assists over the season, for a total of <150K. Well worth it.


Attack: the club got rid of all their serious strikers over time and failed to bring real replacements. Although Wolski, Serafin and Rybicki were all capable of playing as forwards, they were honestly far more suited for the midfield. Looking for capable goalscorers, I limited myself to two new signings: Alen Ploj and an absolute freak, Connor Krempicki. They alternated as strikers over the second season, scoring a combined 34 goals.


Crucially, tired of inconsistent results, during my spell at Śląsk I finally made the switch to lone striker tactics, changing the trusty 4-1-3-2 into 4-1-3-1-1. It was beautiful. First we convincingly (though not without a hitch) evaded relegation...


...then proceeded to smash the competition on our road towards the title (note the result vs Cracovia though!)


As you can see, our major competitors were Legia Warszawa and Lech Poznań. Lech came in third, but kept up with us for a very long time. Ultimately they were too reliant on Nicki Bille Nielsen, who scored 29 goals in 28 league games, but one guy can't win everything for you! Legia had another excellent striker, but even more importantly, the amazing Youssouf Mulumbu. 4.2 tackles/game, 2.4 dribbles/game, 17 goals, 15 assists, all as a 34 year old DMC! Fortunately that wasn't enough to beat us and Legia underperformed for half of the season, only grabbing their second place thanks to a strong finish. Not sure what comes now... I'd like the Legia job as it's the only Polish club financially capable of quickly assembling a stellar team, but I don't think they're firing Jozak any time soon...

Geez, I'm getting long winded lately.

31-01-18, 06:59 PM
https://s26.postimg.org/nds7e14bt/unbeaten.png (https://postimages.org/)

First time I've ever gone a full season unbeaten. Got to finals on Champions League (lost 3-2 to a 85' Rashford goal) and FA Cup (lost 5-4 to Arsenal, having had keeper sent off at 0-0 in first half).

31-01-18, 10:04 PM
^ Fitting how your last game of an "Invincibles" season was against Arsenal.

* * *

Now a small question to whoever reads my posts in this thread... I have played four more seasons of my Alphabet Game save. Perhaps I was making progress too rapidly and in an overly achievement-focused manner, and so this relentless pursuit of league titles has left me struggling to collect my thoughts and put together a coherent narrative in my head. There's a lot of new stuff to process. As a starting point, I'd like to ask any readers of this thread: would you rather read 3-4 posts similar to my previous posts, or a separate thread in the Stories forum where I would attempt a slightly fabularized post-factum description of some (or all) seasons of my Alphabet Game?

01-02-18, 12:04 PM

A story starting from your next job!

01-02-18, 12:25 PM
Perhaps make your updates in The Alphabet Game thread more 'informative'.

A separate story is always nice!

01-02-18, 03:11 PM
I humbly think that Alphabet Game stuff would fit well in The Alphabet Game thread too.

And I have the feeling that your prose could be appreciated in various ways. But whichever you will make your future posts (The Alphabet Game, How are you doing, or a whole new story)... don't forget to stop writing sometimes and eat before collapsing :) It's time consuming !

01-02-18, 05:18 PM
I tend to forget about stories (and when I do check that forums there's so many posts that I don't know where to start and so leave again...), but I always read stuff in here, so in the alphabet thread or this thread would be most likely to see them read by me (and I do enjoy reading long progress post, especially "flavoured" ones for lack of a better word).
That said, if there's plenty of elaborate updates on a save that's story material in my eyes.

01-02-18, 09:08 PM
Thanks for your answers, they are appreciated and will be carefully considered. Guess for now it's best if I indeed make some more elaborate posts in the Alphabet Game thread and talk about anything else (like a new, quite exciting season with Boulogne finished just now) in here. A separate story is tempting and remains a possibility, but I'm worried I wouldn't be able to keep it entertaining enough and regularly updated. We'll see...

03-02-18, 11:09 PM

New transfers at Boulogne weren't perhaps the most impressive haul ever, but were nevertheless important reinforcements for my small club. Roser and Robail are youth players, a striker and DMC with good prospects for the future. Janvier, Sanson and Bua, on the other hand, were signed with the first team in mind. Janvier was meant to plug the DMC hole left by the departure of Dawidowicz, while Bua and Sanson would provide more guns in the offensive department. As for Sego, his contract was running out and I decided to bring him in on the fly... At worst, I could always sell him for a massive profit.

We were off to a slightly shaky start in the league: three wins, three draws and two losses put us smack in the middle of the table, not bad, but perhaps a bit below expectations. Soon enough, Europe came calling! Our first and only obstacle on the way to Champions League was Braga. At home we merely drew 1-1 and I was worried our slow start would cost us dearly, but a superb away performance decided the tie in our favour. We were in the Champions League!


Our league form was ever so slowly improving. Fortunately other clubs had their own problems and in fact only Monaco was consistently picking up wins, staying ahead, but still within reach. We would soon find ourselves leading the chase. Meanwhile, the Champions League draw was relatively favourable: Chelsea was of course a notch beyond what we could reach, and so we lost 0-2 away and held them to a goalless draw at home. Our home fixture with Sporting Lisbon ended in the same result, but we defeated them away and soundly thrashed Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 and 2-0 to comfortably qualify for the next phase, just behind Chelsea!


Sadly, the draw was terrible: Feyenoord, Roma and Barcelona. We could kiss Europe goodbye, or so I thought. Meanwhile winter was approaching soon. Our only purchase in the transfer window was Nick Taitague, a dynamic midfielder who would hopefully score many a goal for us. In the league, Monaco was clearly running away with the title, while we maintained a rather comfortable lead over third Montpellier. PSG, surprisingly, was in full meltdown mode, spending a long while in the nether regions of the table. I didn't mind. What I did mind was the away 0-0 with Feyenoord... If we can't beat them, then where are we supposed to gain points?

From Roma and Barcelona, that's where! A splendid 3-0 with Roma was an excellent prelude to our battles vs Barcelona where we should honestly have won both games, but couldn't capitalize on our many chances and had a couple goals disallowed. Honestly, their defence was a swiss cheese. A much more low-key draw with Feyenoord followed, but 1-0 away with Roma was just enough to overtake the Italians in the table. Another success!


Things were getting tense. All the games in the league, cup and Europe meant many players were exhausted and constantly required rest. I just barely had enough squad depth to keep up. League was going OK, nothing brilliant, but we usually had just enough of an edge to keep getting more points. We drew quite a lot, but rarely lost. As for the French cup, we lucked out massively, mostly playing weak sides from lower divisions, except for Guingamp who were dispatched in a fine 2-1 away win. Then we smacked Lorient (a National team - see what I mean about luck?) and qualified for the final...

But first we played Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-final! The home fixture saw us rapidly taking the lead, but then two sending offs reduced us to a struggle for survival; sadly unsuccessful, as Borussia equalized soon after the second red card. As for the away game, let the screenshot speak for itself.


Our next opponent was Bayern and I'll be honest, we never stood a chance, barely managing a 0-0 at home and easily losing 0-2 away. Still the semi-final on our first try was a massive success, far beyond my initial expectations. In between Champions League we faced another colossus, PSG, in the French Cup final. Our boys produced the finest performance of their lives and the astonished Stade de France crowd had the pleasure of watching PSG get demolished 0-4, fittingly summarizing a disastrous season for our rich opponents and netting us our first silverware!


Then it was just a matter of winning the final two league games to hold off a charging Montpellier. Securing the second place nicely topped off the most successful season in our club's history, by far.


And that's it. Frankly, while the season was exciting and no doubt a success, not everything is looking rosy. I can't seem to get my midfielders to perform well. Not sure if it's a matter of tactics or personnel, but six assists for a player like Gregory Ettori (20 Passing and Creativity) just isn't good enough. Other midfielders underperform similarly, getting 6s and 7s all the time. Some players like Valencia or Archibald will have to go, as they have been completely unproductive all season. Heck, I might even have to sell Missi Mezu as his constant injuries hamper us significantly.

13-02-18, 07:59 PM
I've started a YouTube channel where I'm going to post all sorts of CM 01-02 related content like playthroughs, tutorials, tactic video's and whatever is interesting.

I made a new save game on Saturn's latest v4 patch where I'm going to try and bring glory to Crystal Palace. I'm not using any wibwobs in this game as I fancy myself a challenge.

Here's the first part and I hope you enjoy it! (And please leave a like and/or subscribe if you want to :))


14-02-18, 06:09 PM
Watched the first two parts GFRAY...enjoyed it. I've never used wingers in more central positions myself. Hopefully Zaha can do a job for you. Schneiderlein should do the business aswell.

14-02-18, 06:18 PM
Watched the first two parts GFRAY...enjoyed it. I've never used wingers in more central positions myself. Hopefully Zaha can do a job for you. Schneiderlein should do the business aswell.

I've just put up part 3 mate! :)

Edit: Here is part 2 of my Crystal Palace playthrough:


And part 3 that I've posted today:


15-02-18, 07:37 PM
Part 4 is now up:


16-02-18, 05:54 AM
And here's part 5:


16-02-18, 08:16 AM
I listened to the first part and I have to say it was interesting. You have a lovely speaking voice. Very fascinating to hear how other people play the game (you are far more forensic than I am), and grateful to have picked up some excellent knowledge I seem to have bypassed from 16 years of playing this game (I like the idea of selecting a first 11 based on determination, work rate etc - I never thought to sort through that, but it makes good sense). I wish you a lot of success with the Eagles and thank you.

16-02-18, 08:23 AM
I listened to the first part and I have to say it was interesting. You have a lovely speaking voice. Very fascinating to hear how other people play the game (you are far more forensic than I am), and grateful to have picked up some excellent knowledge I seem to have bypassed from 16 years of playing this game (I like the idea of selecting a first 11 based on determination, work rate etc - I never thought to sort through that, but it makes good sense). I wish you a lot of success with the Eagles and thank you.

Cheers mate and thanks for watching! :ok:

I never used to be this forensic and only go with 'household names' until I started reading through the official game manual about all these attributes and what they do. Then I've added some logic to that myself and starting selecting on it. My results immidiately changed and I've never strayed from it again.

16-02-18, 01:59 PM
After 5 promotions in 7 seasons, I finally got one of my local teams Dulwich Hamlet into the Premier League.

I've only been signing Youth Players recommended in scout searches. As anyone who knows much about Youth Players and Academy players on CM, it isn't great and seems to have little relevance to your coaches or facilities! More pot luck.

I've just finished my first season in the PL. I'm going to stick with it for a few seasons, but my best player has started handing in transfer requests and as I cant buy replacements I may start to fall apart if others want out!

https://s26.postimg.org/d7cck1xll/prem.png (https://postimages.org/)

https://s26.postimg.org/6gvvampvd/prem1.png (https://postimg.org/image/t5l2a7791/)

01-03-18, 03:12 PM
After months of clicking... the NI 2029-2030 season ended ! Remember, it's a strange virtual world where every manager adopts the same formation. I won't bother you with players screenies this time, rather focus on general performances. And NI fame improvement at the european level.


Our teams managed to score 40 less goals this season, for an average of 1,8 goals/match. Particularly, the number of success on free kicks dropped : -19 goals on corners, -7 penalties, -7 direct free kicks and -7 indirect free kicks. A reason could be the general improvement of defenses and the continuous race for taller DC. Goalies are much better too, the worst of them being rated 6,97... so I'm somewhat superkeep'ing myself those days. Yellow and red cards were less common as well. More irritating, the best player only got a 7.76 rate. All in all, it was a rather peaceful season.

And the winner is...


... Sports & Leisure, and by a comfortable margin ! They were favorites after their good CL run last year.

Take a look at Loughgall, the other strong side in NIFL... or what should be a strong side. When they stayed 3 points behind the second spot, with 3 games to play against some of the weakest clubs, and knowing Distillery and Ballyclare only had 1 match to play, I thought they could do it. But they failed the atrocious way, losing the 3 times, allowing their opposition to "secure" their standings.

In fact, NIFL had several periods, and it's always a little embarrassing to remark that manager of the month awards remember you that the best runs came mostly from bottom league sides (https://i.imgur.com/R3AsR36.jpg). For all the good it brought to Warrenpoint (https://i.imgur.com/3RWL1o3.jpg), he he he... Well, first Lurgan carried on with their good streak (https://i.imgur.com/ROPDrcj.jpg), and started topping the table. It's rather insurprising to see a promoted team achieving this before falling hard, and that's what happened to them. Distillery took the lead after this, while S&L became irresistible after the winter mercato. Those two teams shared the first place for the rest of the season (https://i.imgur.com/8unfC1Q.jpg).

Ballyclare did their come back as they usually do. Only goal average decided between them and Distillery, which hadn't been so good since their final victory during 2025-2026. They are the real surprise of the year without any doubt. Armagh, Limavady and Donegal didn't do incredible things and are very happy to stay at this level for the next season. Note that exect for Warrenpoint which had their manager sacked, every board in NI is at least pleased by the performances.



Glenavon exploded last year fresh most scored goals record, thanks to the AI which is not doing much more than training dummies. Ballinamallard won their playoff by a thin marging versus a strangely deceptive Crusaders (H 1-0, A 2-3). They'll mak their return to NIFL after a 3 years hyatus (4 years for Glenavon). Amusing to see that some of the players here were already playing for those teams during their NIFL era.

The European Competitions

It was a good year as our results improved once again.

Europa League Qualifying (the cursed competition)
- Donegal : win vs Sumqayit (Azerbaijan) agg 2-1 / loss vs Espanyol (Spain) agg 1-2. The spaniards won 2-0 at Belfast, and Donegal couldn't make it even with 13 SoG in Spain.
- Armagh : win vs Shirak (Armenia) agg 4-2 / win vs ADO Den Haag (Netherlands) agg 3-0 / loss vs Djurgarden (Sweden) agg 5-4. After an away victory 3-1, Armagh defense just sank while hosting the second leg.

- Cusaders : win vs Cherno More (Bulgaria) agg 3-2 / win vs Guingamp (France) agg 4-3 / loss vs Gil Vicente (Portugal) agg 3-4. They lost 0-3 home, and pummeled their opponents until they conceded a last goal in Portugal.
- Ballyclare : win vs Sparak Travna (Slovakia) agg 5-1 / win vs Mechelen (Belgium) agg 2-1 / loss vs Arsenal (England) agg 2-3.

CL (where it begins to be interresting)
- Loughgall : win vs IFK Goteborg (Sweden) agg 3-2. A short victory, but it oppened the gates to the groups... where it ended rather quickly :
So they were send to UEFA : win vs Bursaspor (Turkey) agg 3-2 / win vs Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine) agg 6-1 / win vs AC Milan (Italy) agg 5-3 / loss vs Bologna (Italy) agg 1-4.
This season had Loughgall another excellent run in UEFA, reaching ths semi final before being surpassed by Bologna. Still wonder how they failed so miserabily to attain the 2nd position in NIFL... Damn.

- Sports & Leisure : win vs Dundalk (Ireland) agg 5-0 (guess who play real football on the island now ? :) ) / win vs Tottenham (England) agg 4-3. And we had two NI clubs which made it to the groups !
OK,groups weren't exactly a cakewalk. Still S&L worked their way to the final rounds : win vs Chelsea (England) agg 3-1 / loss vs PSG (France) agg 7-4
A truly exceptional performance as they made it up to the CL semi final ! A limit due to players condition being decreasing at this period of the year. Now I'm fairly sure NI UEFA ranking will improve next year. Next challenge, a third team in CL groups ?

04-03-18, 11:32 AM
I just won the Copa Libertadores with the brazilian club of Comercial (MS), which has literally zéro player at the begining of the game (only grey players) and also 0 budget and negative accounts and awful facilities. I think that's my biggest achievement in this game ever so I had to share.

Now, en route to the club world cup title!

The Porridge Flo
18-03-18, 11:25 AM
It's been a wild ride - 11 seasons with Halfix Town FC. From National League to Premier League to Cup Finals... even a Lionel Messi in the twilight of his career popped up for a year at the club. A roller-coaster decade.


Within five years we made it out of the National League nearly taking the direct route, bar from a first season of acclimatization to my training regime, all the way to the top of the game - the Premier League. Arriving in the big times was a shock to the system for the small town and club of Halifax. The first €20 million signing... reported soon late for training. Five years later a prolific striker from Italy was signed for a record fee of €55 million...

But the breakthrough never really came. Ups- and downs, solid years and a Cup Final.... the final season for me at the club, 2027/28, we're on our way to a solid top 3 finish.... then the heartbreaking loss of the League Cup final in penalties derails our season. Five defeats later we barely hang on for a finish inside the eight. Some of the old stars looking for new challenges. Time for change is hanging of Halfiax like a big fat grey cloud.

The manager himself feels his time has come.... time to leave. The energy isn't there any more to initiate the painful rebuild that's needed now. Tired of the cut-throat world of top flight football... he craves for the pure game, again.

So I resign with heavy heart. But at Halifax they dream big these days. Andrea Pirlo, poached from AS Roma is presented only days later. No time for sentimentality.

I move on too. A small club from the Finish Aland Islands approaches me: IFK Mariehamn. The season is nearly. The club is playing catch-up with their own expectations. For a solid decade they were used to being one of the better teams in the Finish Veikkausliiga. The last years have seen IFK slide down to insignificance, though. The passion has to be reignited. They found their man for it.... here is hoping! More to come....

18-03-18, 01:11 PM
Sorry, wrong thread ! I wanted to post this in the screenshots one :ohwell:

It took them only 5 minutes to remember what they have to do when they get a free kick near the area...


Special mention to Van Der Heyden, who ran away from the goal during some long minutes, and Bardhi, the technically impaired DC, who managed to won 4 challenges in a row with the same opponent winger before scoring. Truly something to remember.

20-03-18, 12:05 PM
So, Van der Heyden is inside the penalty area, advances forward, then turns left and ...what? That commentary makes absolutely no sense :lol:

23-03-18, 12:29 PM
Just recently come back to this game which I used to play years ago. Playing with the latest October 17 update.

Started out with my own team Inter, will probably try with a more difficult challenge once I've become re-accustomed to the game (though I'm a bit of a gloryhunter when it comes to computer games and lose interest quickly if I'm not challenging for trophies). To try and challenge myself just a little bit, I've started to try and bleed in youngsters from my reserve team.

Just completed my fourth season.

First season - won Serie A, Coppa Italia and Europa League (called UEFA Cup in the game).
Second season - won Serie A, Coppa Italia, Champions League, European Supercup, Supercoppa Italiana and runners-up in the World Club Championship.
Third Season - won Serie A, Coppa Italia, Champions League, European Supercup, Intercontinental Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana. Went whole Serie A season unbeaten (would have gone entire domestic season unbeaten except Milan - of all teams - beat me in one leg of the Coppa)
Fourth Season - won Serie A, Coppa Italia, Champions League, European Supercup, Intercontinental Cup, Supercoppa Italiana and the World Club Championship. Went whole Serie A season unbeaten (would have gone entire domestic season unbeaten except Milan again beat me in one leg of the Coppa (Final this time which was even more annoying).

Also in fourth season I got the Senegal job and won the African Cup of Nations and World Cup.

23-03-18, 07:46 PM
No way . You post on boards aswell. Saw your cm0102 pic there.

23-03-18, 08:55 PM
No way . You post on boards aswell. Saw your cm0102 pic there.

Lol, small world. Who are you on Boards?

23-03-18, 09:08 PM
winny the poo

The Porridge Flo
26-03-18, 08:47 PM
Three years in the making, all the sweeter once completed: after taking over IFK Mariehamn in the middle of the 2028 season - it was the first half-decent job I was offered after leaving Hallfax (https://champman0102.co.uk/showthread.php?t=385&p=381008#post381008) - and leading them to secure top flight status, the rebuild began. A roller coaster season in 2029 saw us finish strongly to finish 3rd eventually, though a lot to find with the leading pair. Heartbreak a year later, when we throw it away on the last day of the season, finishing a single point short of HJK.

But finally: 3031 - we were not to stop! The league was wrapped up with two games to go. The cup followed. Winning also two rounds of European Football over Slavia Prague and Partizan Belgrade, only going out against French top side Strasbourg, fighting till the final minute of game two, despite suffering early red cards in home- and away leg.



A team of 22 foreign players - many who find it hard to adapt to live in Finnland.... but perform day in day out, regardless. Playing a rather simple 4-4-2 (no wib-wob).


It was not plain sailing, though. When I arrived at IFK, there were more than 40 players in the squad. Half of them talentless youngsters or rotten seniors in the reserve. Money to invest? Nope. It took good two years to become healthy and build a competitive squad on a shoe string that could take on big spending HJK Helsinki.

Now the future looks bright at Mariehamn.... however, I shall move on, to a place unknown, at this point of writing.

31-03-18, 09:17 PM
About 10 years ago I had one of my most memorable saves on the ODB (3.60) where I took Doncaster Rovers from Conference to winning the Champions League with a non wibwobbed 4-4-2 formation. I decided to redo that challenge and I've just finished the first season.

We romped the league losing only once and a lot of the 7 draws should have been wins, but we got superkeepered. We scored 2.64 goals on average per game and only conceded a ridiculously low 0.5 goals on average per game.

https://s26.postimg.org/9x5cvb8eh/Donnie-_Conference.png (https://postimages.org/)

In the FA Cup we got lucky with some very good draws. The first rounds were against lower league teams, but from the 3rd round until the QF we only played Division 1 and 2 teams. We got Leeds in the semi's who underestimated us and we thrased their B team. In the final though Man Utd brought their A team and we lost deservedly. But since they also won the Premier League, I'm going to be in the UEFA Cup next season whilst in Division 3! We did manage to win the FA Trophy although we needed a replay in the final (weird right?).

https://s26.postimg.org/3w7ny8ti1/Donnie-_FA_Cup.png (https://postimages.org/)

https://s26.postimg.org/48z24eomh/Donnie-_FA_Trophy.png (https://postimages.org/)

I managed to offload some of the older and poorer players and with some great wheeling and dealing I managed to get quite some cash for them. We also managed to get quite some decent players and below are the ones that perfomed well.

https://s26.postimg.org/rzyfmi9e1/Donnie-_Dunwell.png (https://postimages.org/) https://s26.postimg.org/4yhugrhg9/Donnie-_Barnes.png (https://postimages.org/)
https://s26.postimg.org/vjkdcb4e1/Donnie-_Brightwell.png (https://postimages.org/) https://s26.postimg.org/jugdobxzt/Donnie-_Tierney.png (https://postimages.org/)
https://s26.postimg.org/a9wr1ggdl/Donnie-_Housham.png (https://postimages.org/)

Last but not least the stats. We played 59 games of which we lost only 2. We scored 147 goals and only conceded 31 which is ridiculously low. Here's also a screenie of the tactic and a download link for whoever wants to try it. :)

https://s26.postimg.org/ifeszn77d/Donnie-_Stats.png (https://postimages.org/)

https://s26.postimg.org/trrehdxvt/Donnie-_Tactic.png (https://postimages.org/)

Tactic: https://www.sendspace.com/pro/pmhd8n

The Porridge Flo
01-04-18, 04:11 PM
Last but not least the stats. We played 59 games of which we lost only 2. We scored 147 goals and only conceded 31 which is ridiculously low.

Well done - that's some achievement! To go a full season in any league with only a single defeat is massive. Doing that in the long grind that is the English lower leagues - and all of that without wib/wob - Loving it!

The Porridge Flo
02-04-18, 11:56 AM
Inspired by the Alphabet Game Challenge (https://champman0102.co.uk/showthread.php?t=10172) (start unemployed, top tier league title with every letter of the alphabet), as I was looking to start a new save after realising success in the previous one came to some extend using a wib/wob tactic while not being aware of that (until thankfully pointed out in different thread here - intending to play the game non wib/wob only), this was a great starting point to begin this new chapter. Already reported in the Alphabet Game thread on progress, however a bit more detailed here. So, here it goes....


Well, it certainly took a while to land this first stint at a Football Club. Those initial months of waiting patiently seemed endless - any club would do at this point! Finally, as the leaves in the trees turn yellow, the calender's shows September: a small Finish club, solid 80 miles east of Helskini, tumbling toward relegation in the second Division Ykkönen; takes a punt on the unknown quantity that's me!

KTP Kotka; with four games to go, fallen to 8th spot right into the relegation play-off zone, only a single point to spare to the two spots that would send you straight into nonexistence. It's a scenario as good as I can probably hope for, given nobody knows my name so far. Here I can make a name for myself... either in a good or a bad way!


The squad is solid, though, overblown with a lot of useless bodies in the reserves.The axe needs to wield in the off-season, should I be around, come that time.

The "new manager effect" has been questioned and scientifically debunked - at least in the long (https://www.pinnacle.com/en/betting-articles/Soccer/the-myth-of-the-new-manager-effect/BAZ2FQLS2QCBJ795). Nonetheless, short-term gains is what matters now, and indeed, the new broom has the desired impact - we draw one and win the final three games of the season for a finish that leaves Kotka a mere five points outside the promotion play-offs eventually!

What a tight little leagues this Finish Ykkönen is! The rebuild can begin... or not?


At this point I have already set my eyes firmly on the job that's becoming available at Haka Valkeakoski. Without a manager, after finishing third last in the Ykkönen North, the club saved themselves from relegation through the Play-Offs - that's when I sense moment to make the dream come true: manager the one Finnish football club I hold dearly to my heart. Albeit only a small sample size, my positive Kotka record is enough to convince Haka to put me on the payroll.

Haka, once a big gun in Finland, playing memorable nights of European football under the legendary floodlights of Tehtaan kenttä, has fallen badly over the years. No money the main reason, the football club that made the town of Valkeakoski so proud for so long feeds at the edge of meaninglessness these days.

Clearly this move is decided by the heart not the head. Circumstances at Haka are dire. The best players on the move, little to no money available, and those players with the lit bit of quality that could enhance this small but talentless squad aren't mad keen to sign on for my project "Make Haka Great Again!".

It doesn't matter. We can keep star striker Antto Hilska at the club. A real goal machine, he alone ensures we win the Ykkönnen South by a wide margin in 2018... yet, with horror I have to see how we throw everything we fought for so hard in the regular season away in the first leg of the promotion play-off against Ykkönnen South runner-up Oulu... it's a bitter pill to swallow.


I'm close enough to throw in the towel during the agonizingly long seasonal break. But where to go? There's nowhere to go! The club debt approaches the €1.2m mark, we lose some of our better talent and find it still tough to attract anyone with two legs and a bit of class in same. Starting the 2019 season we're actually weaker and the only way to bolster the squad is through bringing in some very mediocre players on loan.

No surprise the regular season turns into a real grind. We finish 2nd with 13pts less than the year before - however, as seen twelve months earlier, that doesn't always count for anything, if you make sure you win when it matters. And all that matters are the play-offs. Thankfully we peak at the right time this time! We beat JJK and Turku respectively - promotion! That we also make it into the Cup final, which we lose against a top flight side, is a pity but certainly no big deal. Our time will come....


Rising debt - although the board regularly pumps some money into the club - and attracting talent remains a massive issue. We can't pay our goal machine Anton Hilska. He scored nearly 50 goals these last two years for us - he's gone, doesn't want to sign a new contract. Nonetheless, particularly from non-league- & relegated Ykkönnen sides we are able to pick up some fair pieces for free.

The idea is to finish somewhere around the European spots - I reckon we're good enough for that - consolidate, put some quality deals in place for next season already, picking up players as their contracts expire, and then challenge for the title in 2021.

Well, halfway through the season we're way ahead of the schedule. Despite an injury crisis, we continue to pick up points left, right and center. Ugly points, so to speak. Scrappy affairs, 90th minute winning goals become a habit. Everything points toward a neck and neck fight with HJK Helskini, the champ of the last two years.

Ten games out, we're a point ahead, have to play HJK in our backyard - in front of a Haka home record crowd we slaughter HJK - 4-0! It seems the breaking point for either side - our long-term injuries return bit by bit, HJK's confidence, on the other hand, is shattered - they are going to lose five of their remaining games, including the third last of the season, the final battle with us - at the end of a 2-0 success in Helskini, the 16 year long wait is over: Haka Valkeakoski wins the Finish Veikkausliiga!!

A few weeks later we also take the the Suomen Cup! It's the near perfect year - contribution from a lot of different sources. Haka is certainly great again!


It's been a wild ride over those last three seasons at Haka. Never would I have dreamed we'd be good enough of winning the title the first year back in top flight football. There were few really outstanding players this year, though there was contribution from nearly anyone in the squad and that is what got us over the line, even when injury crisis struck halfway through the year.

Positive side-effect: I have become the highest rated manager in Finnland - although, worldwide nobody really seems to care. And why would they? So, still a long way to go.... somewhere else - as with heavy heart I resign from my role at Haka, knowing full well a new challenge lies ahead.


Ad for tactics: I'm happy to see my 4-4-2, now non wib/wob, has brought this success. Remains to be seen if it can be replicated in a better league.



KTP Kotka: 10th September 2017 - 9th December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski: 9th December 2017 - 1st December 2017

03-04-18, 12:56 AM
So I just finished the second season and again we absolutely destroyed the league. We lost one game more than in the Conference, but drawed much less in return. We scored 2.67 goals on average per game and conceded only 0.46 goals on average per game.

https://s26.postimg.org/qcwv5n7mh/Donnie-_D3.png (https://postimages.org/)

Since we reached the FA Cup final in our first season and our opponent Man Utd won the league, we were directly qualified for the UEFA Cup. We beat Hungarian side Ujpest with two wins in the first round, but found our Waterloo in the second round against Greek AEK. We lost 1-0 away in an equal game and actually outplayed them at home where we beat them 2-1, but we were eliminated on aggregate.

https://s26.postimg.org/hhw0v8t5l/S2-_Uefa_Cup.png (https://postimages.org/)

In the FA Cup we did well again, but met our match in Chelsea in the fifth round where they beat us deservedly with their first team.

https://s26.postimg.org/g2ug6muo9/S2-_FA_Cup.png (https://postimages.org/)

But in the League Cup we had an amazing run, much like our FA Cup run last year. We got lucky with drawing a lot of non Premier League teams and home games so we advanced all the way to the Final! There we met with Arsenal who didn't take the game seriously and fielded a B team with only two first team players (Campbell and Figo). We fell behind quickly, but managed to get back in it and even took the lead which we held until the final whistle. Winning the League Cup as a Division 3 side is a major accomplishment and it also means we'll be in Europe again next season.

https://s26.postimg.org/vplpjhsvd/S2-_League_Cup.png (https://postimages.org/)

We also played the Vans Trophy in which we got to the final as well where we thrashed Cambridge Utd to claim another Cup for our prize cabinet.

https://s26.postimg.org/jnqbpdei1/S2-_Vans_Trophy.png (https://postimages.org/)

We did some major wheeling and dealing again where we sold for 4.6m and bought back the same amount of players for 3m making a nice profit along the way. Below are the players that stood out the most during this season.

https://s26.postimg.org/42905g54p/S2-_Richardson.png (https://postimages.org/)https://s26.postimg.org/gtn6bz221/S2-_Dunwell.png (https://postimages.org/)
https://s26.postimg.org/lsaoqhy55/S2-_Mackenzie.png (https://postimages.org/)https://s26.postimg.org/k0hpvkjx5/S2-_Barnes.png (https://postimages.org/)
https://s26.postimg.org/l2rwe4ag9/S2-_Housham.png (https://postimages.org/)https://s26.postimg.org/vplpjjy15/S2-_Gueret.png (https://postimages.org/)

And last but not least: the stats! We played 68 games of which we won 60, drawed 4 and lost 4. We scored 174 goals and only conceded 31 goals like last year, but we played more games.

https://s26.postimg.org/pbwmgbvq1/S2-_Stats.png (https://postimages.org/)

https://s26.postimg.org/s5zrts5m1/S2-_Tactic.png (https://postimages.org/)

Tactic: https://www.sendspace.com/pro/pmhd8n

The Porridge Flo
03-04-18, 11:02 AM
Below are the players that stood out the most during this season.
https://s26.postimg.org/42905g54p/S2-_Richardson.png (https://postimages.org/)https://s26.postimg.org/gtn6bz221/S2-_Dunwell.png (https://postimages.org/)
https://s26.postimg.org/lsaoqhy55/S2-_Mackenzie.png (https://postimages.org/)https://s26.postimg.org/k0hpvkjx5/S2-_Barnes.png (https://postimages.org/)

Well done - another massive season!

Question: watched your youtube tutorial a while ago and remember you where were keen on showing players without high determination/work rate attributes the door. So, surprised to see some players with rather lowish values in that department featured so prominently in your team. Just wondering, has your approach changed in that regard, or is that simply because you're more pragmatic if it comes to those things if managing in lower leagues?

03-04-18, 11:34 AM
Well done - another massive season!

Question: watched your youtube tutorial a while ago and remember you where were keen on showing players without high determination/work rate attributes the door. So, surprised to see some players with rather lowish values in that department featured so prominently in your team. Just wondering, has your approach changed in that regard, or is that simply because you're more pragmatic if it comes to those things if managing in lower leagues?

My approach hasn't changed, but the value for Determination and Work Rate change depending on the level I'm at. As you might know there are only few players interested in joining you when you're in the bottom of the leagues. So in that case I'm more than willing to settle for lower determination (Although my min value is always 10 for this one) and Work Rate and look for specific high value in other attributes.

Take for example Marcus Richardson. He's got only 11 Determination and 12 Work Rate which will be not enough for me in the higher leagues. But since he's got high Pace (17) and Off The Ball (19) combined with good Balance (16) and Strength (15), he will do very well in the lower leagues. He proved my point by scoring 43 goals with Finishing 11.

Same goes for Dunwell (Determination 13, but Finishing 20 and Strength 20 ), Mackenzie (Determination 11, but Off The Ball 20) and Barnes (Determination 13, but Pace/Acceleration 18 and Dribbiling 20).

So basicly this is what I look for per position in the lower leagues:

GK: Handling
Fullbacks: Pace/Acceleration
Centerbacks: Positioning + Tackling and/or Marking
Wingers: Pace/Acceleration + Dribbling and/or Crossing
Midfielders: Passing and/or Off The Ball
Strikers: Pace/Acceleration + Finishing and/or Off The Ball

I want to add that I also look for decent Balance in all cases as this determines how well a player can handle themselves when being challenged which will happen to all players.

03-04-18, 11:44 AM
Interesting you've gone with off the ball for midfielders, I tend to go with creativity, I remember a game I had in Scotland where I took a team from Div 3 all the way to top and I had a Swedish midfielder who probably had 3 or 4 double digit stats but one was creativity and he bossed it right up to the Prem, I may still have a screenshot of him at home actually.

Another great season anyway, although I still haven't forgive you for beating Southport in your first season :D

03-04-18, 11:55 AM
Haha well they were one of my biggest rivals back in the day and I was delighted to beat them in the FA Trophy Final. They lost the same final again this season against Stevenage and missed promotion on 2 points so they're very unlucky again. :lol:

On Creativity: I agree with you there, but personally I care for Off The Ball more as all my midfielders have the 'Forward Runs' instruction turned on. I do feel that one midfielder with high Creativity can do wonders, but if I have to settle for one attribute, I'll go with Off The Ball. :)

The Porridge Flo
03-04-18, 01:12 PM
So basicly this is what I look for per position in the lower leagues:

GK: Handling
Fullbacks: Pace/Acceleration
Centerbacks: Positioning + Tackling and/or Marking
Wingers: Pace/Acceleration + Dribbling and/or Crossing
Midfielders: Passing and/or Off The Ball
Strikers: Pace/Acceleration + Finishing and/or Off The Ball

Absolutely makes sense, thanks for explaining your views - always valuable to get insights in how others go about their business.

Guess I do look for pretty similar attributes in general; though, never gave "Determination" too much attention until watching your video (also the one on attributes is very good) which offered an interesting approach - that's why I thought you might be following religiously determination & work rate values. Makes, of course, a lot of sense to be pragmatic in lower leagues and go as the situation permits - and success proves you more than right. :ok:

20-04-18, 01:51 AM
Started as Blyth Spartans in the National League North on the March 2018 database. I have six of Europe's main leagues loaded, and I want to try to win the top division in all of them, fairly and squarely, starting from the bottom, and without cheating. Might take some time, or I might get bored, but anyway, here's a brief summary of what's happened so far:

Blyth had no money, but a relatively well stocked squad, so I made just the one signing on loan, Charlie Clough from Barnet. Having been expected to battle relegation, I found myself top of the division after 20 games, and it was at this point that I received my first job offer, courtesy of Notts County, a team two divisions higher. Of course, with ambition burning within me, I jumped at the chance to join the famous old club!


County had made an average start, lying in 14th place after 19 games. Could I be their salvation? Yes. Bringing in 7 players on loan, we went on a sensational run of form to set up a highly tense final few months in which we flitted in and out of the automatic promotion places. With one game left, we faced a straight out fight with a direct promotion rival in Newport County.


With everything resting on it, the match could hardly have been more dramatic, and I was pulling my hair out when after just 25 minutes, my goalkeeper was shown a red card for bringing a man down in the area. Newport missed the resulting penalty, and on 60 minutes we took the lead. Then heartbreak, as in stoppage time Newport equalised. As things stood, we'd have only the play-offs to fall back on. And then, with the final kick of the game, midfielder Ryan Milsom, added his second of the game, the winning goal, and the goal to clinch promotion to League One!


I was on the look out for jobs in the closed season, but no one was having me, so I stayed and battled to improve Notts County's miniscule squad on a pretty much non-existent budget. And then, to my surprise, in early August MK Dons (also of League One) accepted my application, and I signed on the dotted line – my third club in a little over 12 months!


More to follow...

20-04-18, 06:39 PM
After a new season in NI (and despite relatively dull results in Europe), we jumped from 11th to 5th.


As a result, 8 teams of the 10 which are competing in NI premier league will play in Europe, in a way or another. Cool. The top four countries are still way ahead, and even passing Spain wouldn't add anything to our status. But at least there is still room for improvement.

:horn: It's a long way to the top :horn:

21-04-18, 10:10 AM
Started as Blyth Spartans in the National League North on the March 2018 database. I have six of Europe's main leagues loaded, and I want to try to win the top division in all of them, fairly and squarely, starting from the bottom, and without cheating. Might take some time, or I might get bored, but anyway, here's a brief summary of what's happened so far:

Blyth had no money, but a relatively well stocked squad, so I made just the one signing on loan, Charlie Clough from Barnet. Having been expected to battle relegation, I found myself top of the division after 20 games, and it was at this point that I received my first job offer, courtesy of Notts County, a team two divisions higher. Of course, with ambition burning within me, I jumped at the chance to join the famous old club!


County had made an average start, lying in 14th place after 19 games. Could I be their salvation? Yes. Bringing in 7 players on loan, we went on a sensational run of form to set up a highly tense final few months in which we flitted in and out of the automatic promotion places. With one game left, we faced a straight out fight with a direct promotion rival in Newport County.


With everything resting on it, the match could hardly have been more dramatic, and I was pulling my hair out when after just 25 minutes, my goalkeeper was shown a red card for bringing a man down in the area. Newport missed the resulting penalty, and on 60 minutes we took the lead. Then heartbreak, as in stoppage time Newport equalised. As things stood, we'd have only the play-offs to fall back on. And then, with the final kick of the game, midfielder Ryan Milsom, added his second of the game, the winning goal, and the goal to clinch promotion to League One!


I was on the look out for jobs in the closed season, but no one was having me, so I stayed and battled to improve Notts County's miniscule squad on a pretty much non-existent budget. And then, to my surprise, in early August MK Dons (also of League One) accepted my application, and I signed on the dotted line – my third club in a little over 12 months!


More to follow...

In 2018/19 I managed to get a full season under my belt with MK Dons, and gained promotion from League One, largely thanks to the goals of Jerome Sinclair (https://i.imgur.com/JC8RHPg.png), a loan signing from my home town club Watford, (and clinched my first piece of silverware in the shape of the EFL Trophy), but annoyingly missed out on taking the title.


The team that beat us were Wigan Athletic, and at the end of the season, with their manager being poached Premier League Nottingham Forest, I seized upon my opportunity and successfully applied to be his replacement. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

They had a bigger stadium, and better squad than MK Dons, and it showed as we powered through the 2019/20 season, spending the majority of it in and around the automatic promotion places. A high point came when we demolished a strong Liverpool side 4-2 in the FA Cup Fifth Round, going on to reach the semi final.


I would not have the chance to see whether I could bring home the prestigious trophy however, as with just 8 league games left to play, Wolverhampton Wanderers (1 place below us and also pushing for promotion) came calling. With money to burn, and a good looking squad, it was an offer I couldn't turn down, and so I reluctantly left Wigan and gambled on essentially leapfrogging myself to get the promotion to the Premier League that my season's efforts had deserved.


As has become common with my teams in this brief career, it came down to the wire again, and as with Notts County, the deciding match took a turn for the worse as my goalkeeper was red carded early on. It ended 2-2, which would have been costly had results elsewhere not gone our way, and thus we sealed promotion (no league title again), an immediate return to the Premier League for Wolves, and the first time for me. All the more satisfying this time, as the team who beat us to the title were, yes, you guessed it, Wigan!


In just 3 years, and 5 different teams along the way, I had jumped 6 divisions. What would be next in store? And would bigger teams come calling...?


25-04-18, 03:24 PM
In the summer of 2020/21, in preparation for my first season in the Premier League I blew the entire transfer budget on essentially an entire new team (https://i.imgur.com/hmNm6Ic.png), with just a few exceptions all at bargain prices. Only Demarai Gray remained from the first 11 that won us promotion, and we lined up like this for our first match:


On the whole, the season was was a bit of a let down. I had hoped for a top 4 finish, but with my risky formation, success is dependant on scoring tons of goals, and we just weren't able to. This, coupled with the fact that we were beset by defensive issues, and an inability to convert draws into wins, meant that we trudged to a mediocre 7th place finish.


Not bad, and strong form in the latter quarter of the season left me confident that the basis for a good team was there, but it would require major work to strengthen, and that is what I did in the summer transfer window, emptying the bank once again to bring in some big hitters, particularly in the wingers position.


My prize purchase however, was this guy, an absolute monster from West Ham where, for reasons unknown, he was barely getting game time, and had seemingly forgotten how to score goals:


At £58m, it could have been a risk, but I had faith, and we flew out of the traps with a run of 19 wins in 25 games in all competitions. Wingers Levin Ozuntali (https://i.imgur.com/J5XLUvK.png) and Gustavo Scarpa (https://i.imgur.com/Wqs46Im.png) hitting the ground running with much needed assists from wide, youngsters Fede San Emetario (https://i.imgur.com/CGPkxul.png) and Sahverdi Cetin (https://i.imgur.com/WdBKB7w.png) rotating in the defensive midfield role to great effect, and Jan Boller (https://i.imgur.com/niHp4mL.png), £38m worth of centre back providing a solidity that was sorely lacking last season. Needless to say, Boadu was proving to be the goal machine I had shelled out all that money for, and in mid December we were sitting pretty at the top of the table and I was a happy boss.


Sadly, our Europa League campaign wasn't to go beyond the 3rd round. After comfortably dispatching Shamrock Rovers, and AaB of Denmark, we were kicked out by Liverpool 3-1 on aggregate, despite having won the home leg 1-0. Better news in the EFL Cup however, as we safely made it through to the semi-final, with our opponents tbc.

The priority is the league, though, and with the form we are showing, I'll be disappointed if this isn't the year I finally get my hands on a first league title.

04-05-18, 03:56 PM
And so, having been comfortable leaders at Christmas time, we conspired to throw our advantage away. With 7 games remaining it was neck-and-neck...


...and with just one game to go, it could barely have been tighter...


We faced Everton away in the season showstopper. Manchester City headed to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace. The title was out of our hands, but we knew what we had to do, and then just pray that City choked.

It's become a theme of this career that every season goes down to the wire, and this one was no different. I was anxious and frustrated that I'd once again perhaps blown the chance to win my first long-awaited league title. However, in all my years playing CM I don't think I've ever experienced a more dramatic finish...

City rolled into an early two goal lead at Palace with just 11 minutes gone, and my optimism vanished.

We were also doing what we had to do. Goals from Myron Boadu on 3 minutes and 17 minutes meant that the status quo remained. The title looked to be heading to Manchester.

But then... late first half goals from Crystal Palace levelled it up at the break! 2-2! As things stood, the title was ours. Everton had pulled a goal back in our game but we were still dominant, and then...

...on 58 minutes, Gyfli Sigurdsson grabbed an equaliser for the Toffees. Heartbreak. I went all out attack for the winning goal we desperately needed, all the while anxiously checking the other game, just waiting for City to snatch a late winner that would kill our hopes.

And then, in the 81st minute, the unmarked Khama Billiat fired us into the lead! One minute later, at Selhurst Park, to my astonishment, Palace had gone in front! A complete turnaround! Now we just had to hold on, and hold on we did. City had capitulated, and we had stolen victory from them at the death. I'd never seen anything like it!


Just a week earlier, we had beaten Manchester United to win the FA Cup with another late goal


This was after already having won the League Cup with an extra time victory over Everton. The trophies, at long last, were rolling in. What a breathtaking season!

I thought long and hard about whether to stay and try to crack the Champions League with Wolves, but I felt that I'd been there too long, and would never be able to top this season, so I applied for countless jobs in the summer. With no one taking me on, however, I stayed as a kind of caretaker (and to build my reputation) until late October when Sassuolo of Italy took a chance on me.


They were stuck down in 12th place in Serie A with 8 games played, and their squad consisted of mediocre players on extravagant wages, with the one exception being forward Domenico Berardi.

My time at Sassuolo was, quite frankly, the stuff of nightmares. It had started well enough, scrapping the odd victory here and there, but in the new year things started to go badly wrong. My January purchases failed to hit the ground running, the defence was a shambles, and nothing I did could arrest the poorest run of results I'd suffered so far in my career


In my short and unhappy time there, I'd taken the club backwards, and it was a minor miracle the chairman hadn't decided to fire me. I was running out of ideas, and desperate for the season to end so I could get my hands on some money for the transfer window when all of a sudden, my salvation came in the form of a miracle...


I had landed my dream job, and now had hope that this could be my platform to attempt to conquer Italy. I have not played a game yet, but the aim in the short term is simple for me: finish above Sassuolo and try not to repeat that disaster.


06-05-18, 04:29 AM
2009 European Super Cup: (my) Leyton Orient vs Rangers! :D

06-05-18, 09:02 PM
I was doing great starting with Tranmere in the conference, but then 01/08-2005 the game crashes :(

07-05-18, 06:24 PM
Do you have the Argentinian league selected? The Second Division's Average Points bug occurs on the first of August, could be that.

08-05-18, 11:41 AM
It was set as a background league.

09-05-18, 11:17 AM
4 goals in 11 minutes...tough luck Motherwell fans

https://s7.postimg.cc/t0e8kxuor/image.png (https://postimages.org/)

10-05-18, 07:27 PM
It was set as a background league.

If you still have the save and exe I could take a look at it if you upload them.

10-05-18, 07:54 PM
If you still have the save and exe I could take a look at it if you upload them.

Thanks, that would have been great, but I deleted the save after it crashed and it seems like I've emptied the recycle bin since then.

11-05-18, 03:25 PM
My prize purchase however, was this guy, an absolute monster from West Ham where, for reasons unknown, he was barely getting game time, and had seemingly forgotten how to score goals:


What font are you using Pickpocket? I like it.

11-05-18, 09:49 PM
I won the CL with Bayern who were 17th in the BL in 2028 when I joined, I left for Coventry in 2029 EFL 2. I'm trying to restore them to the PL but they are in debt and have no money to spend, I'm doing well though


13-05-18, 02:05 PM
Been wanting to get my head back in to a game recently, but struggling a bit.

Can't decide whether to bat on with original DB, or download the modern day update, or do a custom league DB which I've been wanting to do for ages.

I had a brief stab at a Barry Town save yesterday, went out in the Champions League qualifiers 2-1 on aggregate. Made a few signings, played a few games but struggling to get in to the swing of things.

13-05-18, 03:38 PM
What font are you using Pickpocket? I like it.

Glad you like it. It's called Louis George Cafe Bold.

13-05-18, 08:32 PM
I won the CL with Bayern who were 17th in the BL in 2028 when I joined, I left for Coventry in 2029 EFL 2. I'm trying to restore them to the PL but they are in debt and have no money to spend, I'm doing well though


Love to see the O's doing well in someone else's game, too! :D

15-05-18, 10:44 PM
wow I got to the League Cup Final, got a man sent off after 10 mins and the boys did me proud


22-06-18, 03:34 PM
Been a while since the last post here. Inspired by the World Cup, I decided to play a CM season after months of hiatus: an ODB adventure in Polish Ekstraklasa. My Choice, KSZO Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, are pretty much a local team, or as close as I could find back then. As newcomers to 2001/2002 Ekstraklasa, the KSZO squad was characterized by an absolute lack of talent and quality. The Polish ODB also seems to feature many, many players with very odd attribute distribution (some of them may be entirely random, but there are usually so many, I can't help but raise my brow). As an example, take Rafał Lasocki, a wing back with freakishly high Passing and absolutely nothing else:


Since almost no one in the starting squad was fit for top flight football, and almost all Ekstraklasa players were out of my reach financially, I decided to assemble an unlikely team of lower league players plus a couple cheap foreigners and two former Polish internationals in the mix. All this working with wib-wobbed tactics of my design. Let's get the defence out of the way, as it was by far our weakest formation. This guy was a notch above everyone else:


Lazaridi here was promising too, but ended up injured all season:


Our key defensive midfielder. Note the average rating and the stats. He would usually get at least 7 every game by virtue of >50 passes alone.


Seriously, just look at these passes:


Now our killer offensive midfielders. No irony here; considering they're <90 CA weaklings picked up from the lower tiers, these guys performed admirably.


And our best forward, Jacek Kosmalski. This guy is actually incredibly good; I think his PA is -2, which means he often has world class potential. This time he was actually disappointingly inconsistent, but still contributed massively:


Inconsistency was actually our greatest enemy all season. Excellent performances were followed by stupid draws and losses. Here's a look at some example results:


In the final few games, because of injuries, I was barely able to field four healthy defenders. I was forced to field this dude among others. Look at him: 5 Positioning :mmph:


And yet we still clinched the title with three points to spare!


* * *

I have no idea where I will be taking this playthrough at this point. The rewards for domestic success are ridiculously low in Poland, and with a tiny stadium I will never be able to compete financially. At the same time, this squad is clearly not good enough for Champions League success.

The Porridge Flo
27-06-18, 11:55 PM
After leaving Haka Valkeakoski (https://champman0102.co.uk/showthread.php?t=385&p=382746#post382746) with heavy heart, the hunt for a new job is on. Turns out, though, as much as I personally value the successes up there in the north, the rest of the football world certainly doesn't hold them quite in the same high regard. Job applications are usually returned unanswered. It's football's way of "ghosting". These bloody clubs don't even tell you you're not good enough. It's agonizing ignorance instead.

The year turns, January becomes February…. pretty much out of nowhere Scottish Premier Division side Hearts of Midleothian offers a contract! Premier League status in danger with six games to go…. However, a League Cup Semi-Final date with Celtic looming large on the horizon. I see this as a chance to get my name out there! Bring the season to a hopefully successful end, that should coincide with the start of the Scandinavian leagues I have an eye on to get my next long-term job.


Forget Cup glory. Celtic trounces us. Bread and butter Relegation scrap is on the menu now - thankfully no opposition as strong as the Hoops in sight, we remain unbeaten until the end of the regular season, finishing in seventh eventually! The highlight a 2-1 derby victory over Hibs on the final day. It's going really well. Making a name for myself....

Injury crisis strikes as we approach the final five games that have to be played as part of the "Relegation Group" in the Scottish Premier Division. With a decimated team, certainly decimated in terms of quality, we can't buy goals. We lose three of those five games, drew two what amounts to a 9th place season finish. I'm out of this place….


Not quite as swift as hoped, but as successful as hoped, one of the Scandinavian leagues offers the chance out of unemployment - finally! The beauty of football is that is brings you to places you never thought you'd ever go, least you ever heard of!

Grimstad. A small town of 22.692 in the south of Norway: after a brief spell in the Eliteserien three years ago, local club Jerv FK tried to get back into the big leagues, yet failed to get out of second tier of Norwegian football, falling agonizingly short of the play-off sports, finishing fifth and fourth respectively the last seasons. A similar fate beckons this season - time for the board to take drastic measures! So, here I am - the titles in the neighbouring Finland were good for something, after all.


First day at the club, I recognize why drastic measures have been taken: Jerv desperately needs to get this promotion. A solid red number of nearly €2 million burdens the club. The small 4.000 seating Levermyr stadion brings in barely, even if filled to the brim, enough cash to pay for the cleaners.

The squad is small in numbers, yet there are some pretty fair and mainly young pieces tying their laces here in Grimstad - though, not even enough players to consider good enough to fill the bench on the other hand.

With the transfer window opening and no cash in hand I bring in a handful or solid loan players. It lifts the quality right away. A solid bunch, that takes well to their new boss - the new managers effect is well and truly alive. We go on a tremendous run, putting a string of strong performances together. In the end, the near impossibly becomes reality:

after winning 11 of the last 12 games and a dramatic late winner in injury time in the final game of season, Jerv FK secures 1. Divisjon title and with that the direct promotion to top flight football!


First year back in the big leagues, I bring in some familiar faces. Players that have fallen out of favour at Haka under the new regime there, join me now a solid 1.200km to the east of Valkeakoski. We land a small coup when we bring in talented Portugese playmaker Filipe Pereira from Porto's B team. A solid signing for the goalkeeper position is the other piece that really makes the difference at the end. Pereira and keeper Stefan Kupic drag us over the line in a relegation scrap that sees us halfway through the season already adrift.

A second-half surge helps to gather enough points in the end to even have a bit to spare ultimatly. However, one of the main themes of the season. Scoring goals isn't easy. A narrative that would not leaves us too soon over the next few years.

Staying in the league offers a whole new world. Jerv is suddenly a much more attractive place to play football at. I am able to bring an exciting bunch of players, offering the hope for big improvement next season. Particularly two players become difference makers and driving forces in years to come: defensive midfielder Kevin McHugh, who is an expensive €160k signing by out standards, though worth every cent. And defensive allrounder Success Chimankpa Nwosu - both turn out to be absolute tackling machines!

Scoring goals remains an issue, however we're defensively superbly organised. The ability to stay in games means a single goal is often enough to land all three points. While Rosenborg is gone midway through the season, we're fighting for a little sensation.

It's going to be the most successful year in Jerv football: a runner-up finish, albeit 12 points adrift behind Rosenborg couldn't have imagined by the boldest optimist.

The cherry on the cake is as we celebrate the victory in the Norwegian Cupen final over Valerenga Oslo, in a manner so arch-typical for our season: 1-0!


Of course we want more - I want more. Craving for titles. Even though, in truth, only the league title is what really matters! What follows are years of despair in that regard. Knowing you're so close yet so far away.

The club's bank account fills up with money, I bring in new talent, the worldwide scouting network digs out some bargains that turn out to become Jerv superstars. Argentinian Juan Chavez goes on to score a bumper 97 goals in 130 games over the years. His goals catapult us to new stratospheres. We break the €1 million transfer sum barrier. We win another Cup final. Jerv FK beats top team from France, Germany and Belgium to progress into the 1/4 finals of the Europa League. There are two memorable nights, where the small Jerv FK is a few minutes way from breaking into the Champions League Group stage.

High drama: Cupen Final 2027 - a Second Cupen win for Jerv

And still, so close.... yet so far.

It's the end of 2028 now. Another four times that our season ended as the runner-up. Behind a near unbeatable Rosenborg. There were years, particularly those in 2024- and 25 where the league was at its most even, and only a meager three points were missing to get us over the line. Ever since, though, ever since Rosenborg made it back into the Champions League group stages, they have become a near unbeatable monstrum. Until the final game of this most recent season Rosenborg was unbeaten for nearly 2 years in the league!

The constancy of RBK is incredibly, the pace they set impossible for us to follow. We also have been unbeaten for stretches of up to 24 consecutive games. However, we also have every season a crisis phase, where we lose ground. Being the clear second best team in the country is an achievement, but I won't give up until we get there, until we're on top!


07-07-18, 11:03 AM
Now that the 31/32 season ended in Northern Ireland, it's time for a short evaluation. Still managing 16 NI clubs in a world where every teams are playing the same ol' 4-4-2.

For the first time (and maybe the last), we were able to send 3 teams in CL groups. Infortunately, Distillery and Loughgall ended 4th in their respective pools and were eliminated. Sports & Leisure qualified for the next round after inflincting a severe beating to future french champions Lille (victory 4-1). The next level was much harder of course, and S&L finished 3rd with honors, only missing 1 point to reach the quarters.

None of my teams did particularly well in UEFA. All of them were eliminated after the second round.


UEFA coeff. for the next year indicates we lost 1 point, 3 positions and 1 CL spot. Still 8 NI teams will compete in Europe, and the 9th country is behind enough to say we secured this silly number for some time (remember NI Premiership counts 10 teams only, so every club above relegation zone is now automatically granted an european access).

Domestically, I summarised the season using the « amazing » Pointometer (date is wrong, it's 31/32 season):


S&L lost only once in Premiership, and a second time in NI Cup semi versus Armagh. They were mostly untouchable for the entire year. Promoted Newry were surprising until the mercato where they were stripped of their most promising players by our « Big 3 », S&L, Loughgall and Distillery. The rest of the league is more or less of the same level, far behind our « inspiring » Big 3.

S&L has nearly 20,000,000£ in bank, and a transfert budget of 2,800,000£. Highest wage is 97,500£, most valuable player is evaluated 350,000£ worth.
For Distillery, we had almost 4,000,000£ in bank and 400,000£ for transferts. Highest wage is 75,000£ and the most valuated player is now estimated 170,000£ .
Loughgall : more than 10,000,000£ in bank, 2,600,000£ for transferts. Highest wage possible « limited » to 29,000£ and highest value for a player is 275,000£ now. Note that CM explorer indicates that max attendance for Loughgall is limited to their average attendance (10 times less than S&L and Distillery). It could block the board to allow more funds.

We can see something is changing by looking at NI 'B' team...


… cause some of my players, now granted a second nationality, are climbing their way up to the international level. And no AI team are bothering me to buy them.

Some numbers : My 16 managers rejected 34 contract propositions last year, coming from Northern Premier to EPL sides. Sometimes the same team can offer the job to 10 of my fake managers. No proposition came from Ireland or Scotland, only from England. Loughgall worldwide manager rep' is 55th and S&L rep' is 75th. S&L has a youth academy and an extended stadium of 7750 places, none seated, so it seems they just mowed more grass around the field to make room. Players were praised 17 times by medias when only 1 was criticised (poor of him, he took all the bashing).

We bought for 2,475,000£ worth and sold for 7,882,000£ worth players. A real economy took place now that some teams have a lot of money and can have specific target, including in NI where my other teams need to give release fees and cannot pay their squad the same way the Big 3 does. In return, some of those little clubs have now a little cash and it's easier to adjust squad quality through transferts when needed.

Can we (I) do better next season ? Well, we'll know, in some times...

The Porridge Flo
22-07-18, 06:47 PM
As the agony grows with every passing season the question of whether we can finally beat Rosenborg over the lengths of a full season seems to be impossible to answer with a definitive "yes".

Eight years at Jerv have flown by (see last update (https://champman0102.co.uk/showthread.php?t=385&p=394321#post394321)) but I remain determined to not leave the small Norwegian town of Grimstad before holding the only trophy that matters in my hands.

It's time to invest: over the years the bank account has grown dramatically. What used to be a chronically underfunded football club Jerv FK is bathing in the money right now. I struggled to make use of this in the last few years, though. Finding and attracting players that really can make the difference in a dog fight with Champions League regular Rosenborg is not so much a question of money but more of who wants to come and play for a little known Football club in the south of Norway?

But being a 5-times runner-up now, with regular stints in Europe, knocking on the Champions League group stage as well, we become a more attractive destination, as it turns out.

Over the five months long season break our scouts work long hours all over the globe. We invest nearly €8 million during this time - an absolute record for small Jerv FK! Days are over where I was looking for the young talents that could be nurtured and developed. I want players who're ready to step in and perform! A sign of the time is clearly when we land Lille's playmaker Florian Sissoko for €2.3 million. A nobody in the Ligue 1 but he's going to be star in Norway!


The transfers are noted by football experts in country: the media calls it as I see it as well: 2029 - it's Jerv's time to shine! Also expectations around the club are outspokenly heightened. No less than a serious challenge for the title is expected - and I'm fully on board with that.

After years of tinkering with the tactics I want us to utelise the available fire power up front this season more than ever before: not conceding used to be our strengths; not enough scoring, on the other hand, the difference in winning the title... or rather not winning. So three strikers it's going to be!


With fire in the belly we head into the 2029 season..... but the fire deflagrates as rapid as it has been lit up: two scoreless draws and a meagre 1-0 win after three league games - did we lose the title race this early again because of our slow start as happened so often in years before?

No! The team needed some time to adjust to the new tactics and the new signings who made it into the starting XI. From here on we go on a run that sees us unbeaten until the 21st round. Missed in the past but not this time: the team finds the right balance between attack and keeping the defensive shape. We're hard to score against, major plaudits go to tackling machine Henry Lara (TCK 6.1).

We outscore our opponents too, with our strikers leading the race for league's top scorer. We beat Rosenborg home and away comfortably and profit from the fact that the RBK stars seem to have aged beyond their sell-by date: they're cocked!

So, we feel it for a few weeks that it's coming, but with four games to go a 3-1 over Molde finally secures the title that seemed so elusive for so long: Jerv FK wins the Norwegian Eliteserien!!!

https://image.ibb.co/ddrfpJ/fans_sing.jpg (https://ibb.co/bxX9id)

In the end this is our best season ever - obviously. Two unlucky defeats aside, it's a year where defeat seemed out of question soon after we got through the first few shaky games. 10pts more on the board than in our previous best. Scored more goals than ever. Conceded less than a goal per game in contrast. Goal machine Ian Murphy heads the league with 18 goals as well as finishing the season as player of the year with an average rating of 8.15. We were also lucky with injuries. Our key players didn't miss a lot of football.

https://preview.ibb.co/k9bzGy/jerv_champ.jpg (https://ibb.co/i59apJ)

We end the year in the best possible way: winning a third Norwegian Cupen since I have taken charge of Jerv:


After nearly nine years or 3024 days in Grimstad it's time to say takk og farvel. Taking over this small club in the second division, leading them to promotion, to win a Cup final (or three of them, for that matter), to five Eliteserien runner-up finishes to eventually bring the title home - it's been a hell of a journey. I've grown fond of this little football club. I've grown fond of Norwegian football as well. It's a wonderful little league. As much as I would like to continue and see us defending the crown and breaking through to the Champions League group stage as much I'm craving for a new challenge. Where that'll be? We shall see.

With an average reputation in 256th place in the world I hope to be able to through my name in the ring for something exciting...



KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029

22-07-18, 10:28 PM
Great write-up Flo! Yeah playing in Norway can be quite hard with little money and no way to attract big names. And also I find that many players want to leave so it's hard to keep a squad together over several seasons. But once you get the ball rolling and start getting some results in Europe the tide suddenly changes and you can really build a squad that can go places, that can even compete for trophies in Europe as well!

24-07-18, 01:21 PM
Fabulous stuff, Porridge!

The Porridge Flo
25-07-18, 09:41 PM
Thank you Pickpocket & AtomicAnt! Been probably the most enjoyable title I've ever won. In saying that, I simply love playing the Scandinavian leagues.


It all goes so incredibly fast. Only a fortnight ago I resigned in Grimstad, now Portuguese giant Sporting Club de Portugal comes calling - it's an offer too good to refuse. Giant, though, might be a misleading description. Sporting's name will always be surrounded by an aura of "Giantism" but the sad reality is these days that Sporting is far from a giant where it matters most: on the pitch.

Sporting haven't won the league for more than a decade. Ever since the last championship eleven years ago they never finished worse than fourth but never made it quiet back to the top either. It's been Porto with a subscription to the Portuguese Liga NOS title over the last decade instead.

The 2029/30 season is still relatively fresh. Ten games played and Sporting is fading into insignificance. A mere 2 points ahead of the relegation zone; the last three games all lost, no win in five games, goals are hard to come by. Manager Felice Mazzu sacked - he survived less than 6 months in the hot seat. So, here I am, in Portugal's beautiful capital, tasked with breathing fresh life into a lifeless football club.


I feel privileged but at the same time proud of the fact that my work in Norway has found international recognition. Yes, Sporting isn't quite the household name it used to be, nonetheless this is a massive step up and chance for pushing my career further ahead.

Sporting is swimming in money - there is every opportunity for me to put my stamp on this team. Probably not this season. Securing the league first and then finishing as high as possible has to be the goal. Next season I aim for the big push.

A clear-out is required at the same time, though. 42 players on the book - way too many! Half of them reside in Sporting's B team and are hopeless youngsters. The other half is either miserable or approaching the end of their respective careers. In fact the majority of Sporting's key players are 32 years of age (and older!). It's quite a sad situation, actually.

The situation is so desperate there isn't even a half decent right back in the squad, so I got make 33 year old Joao Gambo responsible for the job. Usually home in the defensive midfield, at least he knows how to utelise these funny things called legs and can use them also to tackle. A rare combination here at Sporting at the moment!

I promote youngster Francisco Afonso from Sporting's B-Team to the senior squad. He's going to be the key forward. Didn't get a look into the team in four years at the club but I feel he's got more to offer than most of the other strikers at my disposal right now.


When the hope was that these type of drastic moves would shake things up a little bit then it failed dramatically in game one of me on the touchline. A meager 1 all draw against the last Gil Vicente…. desperate stuff!

Home debut, only 20.000 come to see green and white play CD Piedade. A last minute goal secures at least the first three points in a chaotic 3-2 win. It looks like this is the confidence booster that was so badly needed. Another four games until new year's eve, four wins, scoring in any of these games at least three goals. Conceding nearly as many too! Some wild rides, but points on the board and we climb the table.

Time to sign some players. Our defence is rotten. Thankfully the transfer window opens. But first it's time to say good bye. 11 lads depart Sporting for a healthy return of €13 million.

I splash the money that is so loosely available, on the other hand. Like a kid in a candy shop I'll put nine players in the basket for the expense of nearly €50 Million at the checkout: a 35 year old keeper from league rival Porto is the discount option as even a €15 Million offer is not enough to soften PSV Eindhoven's stance to sell their highly sought after number one!

Three defenders, three midfielders and two strikers join Sporting also. I may overpay for Sergiy Koval, a 19 year old play maker. Valued at €1.5 million, Nantes doesn't want to sell the kid despite him not getting any minutes in the French Ligue 1 - I can understand why he is absent from training without any excuse there. Why keep such a rowdy kid? Anyway, €20 Million later he's ready for first lesson in Portuguese: Bom dia! Como está?


There isn't really a winter break in Portugal. The third round of the Taça de Portugal is awaiting instead. All new guys in the line-up.... we crash out against Belenenses. A rare hickup, moving forward - the newly assembled forward line crushes everything that comes in its way from here on.

Week after week we make progress, the top three clearly in sight by the end of February. It's early March when a real test looms large: putting our title credentials - by now we need to talk about this! - on the line against the hated local rival Benfica.

A sold out Estádio José Alvalade, Benfica in suicide mode concedes two red cards within the first 20 minutes - we take full advantage - 2-0 - and closing in on Porto and Benfica, now only five points behind these two.

Still ten games to go, a slight form slump sees us win only one of the next four; thankfully Porto and Benfica aren't having their best times either! It's getting desperately close now. By the end of April, only three games left on the clock, it's three points between the three of us. We're in third, trailing the leaders from Porto, with the chance to get up there hosting Porto on this warm Portuguese spring night.

Kind of do or die. A loss and that's that for us. Conceding early means we're done, all hopes shredded to pieces, indeed. Not so quick.... though! A fantastic effort by Roberto Rolando, a €2.5 million signing from Genoa in winter, gets us back into the game. The young Italian soon turns the game on its head completely - bags a pair of goals - probably the most important ones of his still relatively young career: Sporting tops the table!!

A 3-0 over Guimaraes later it's D-day - we're on top, 2pts ahead of Benfica. All that's needed is to win our game - it's in our hands. A draw on the other hand may not be enough, given Benfica has the chance with an easy game to swing things to their advantage with a decisive success thanks to goal difference.

Hosting Boavista Porto for the title decider, it's disappointing that only 19.500 find their way to the magnificent Estádio José Alvalade. But we got a job to finish. Sergiy Koval - who turned out to be a brilliant €20 million spent - heads us in front early in the game. A second one before the break pretty much seals the deal. Benfica can do whatever they want.... they can't catch Sporting!!

This is the sheer unbelievable end to a season that saw Sporting confronted with thoughts of a relegation battle before we turned things around in the most dramatic way possible: no league defeat since I took over the reigns. That accounts for an unbeaten run of 24 games - 19 wins, 5 draws! Surely the main reason for this has been the incredibly inconsistency of Porto and Benfica. We had no right to win this title. But we did. And I grab it with both hands!

Of course, having €50 million to spend in the winter was a massive help. The squad was hardly fit for purpose beforehand. Having the financial freedom like never experienced before made it possible to bring in exactly the right type of players for what is required for my aggressive 4-1-2-3 system.


The Title winning team and tactic (non wib/wob):

https://image.ibb.co/c7aRKT/sportingtct.jpg (https://ibb.co/jZ7HR8)

Shall I stay or shall I go? That is the question now. The job is done. The league title won. Surely a bigger job needs to be the aim now?!

KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 -

25-07-18, 10:32 PM
Wonderful stuff!!!

Alex Ferguson
30-07-18, 09:34 PM
Fantastic work. As a recent Sporting fan, that's wonderful to see.

The Porridge Flo
02-08-18, 12:20 AM
Turns out you can't pick and chose your next employer even if you do win two championships in different countries within the space of half a year. Have I been a bit too high up the nose given the jobs I applied to after resigning at Sporting?

Man United emphatically rejects my application, anyways. Their loss, I guess. But even second division club Metz isn't all that keen on availing of my services. Neither are Strassbourg, Heracles Almeo from the Netherlands, not even 2. Bundesliga club Victoria Köln!

So it is a relief when someone finally is happy to talk: third tier team Lecce from Italy and League 2 side Notts County having me over for interviews. Actually I feel this is surely beneath me at this point in my career, but what can you do?

I seriously consider having a go at English football, when another job lands on the table - though from a slightly obscure league in the l world of football, one I clearly did not see myself ending up. But it's top-flight football, a club with tradition, fiery supporters and appears to be - on the surface at least - an ideal opportunity to win more silverware.

Why MKS Pogoń Szczecin decided a mere three days before the start of the new Ekstraklasa season to change manager remains unclear to me but I figure it might have something to with the fact that the previous man in the saddle didn't deliver the goods in recent years and an unsatisfactory pre-season campaign meant change was needed before it's too late.


Given Pogon's lofty ambitions ("Win the title!") this is understandable, as Pitr Stokowiec was clearly walking a thin line after last season's 6th place finish. It's been a third consecutive year without a title… here I come to change that! There is a lot of money at the club, though I'm only given a fraction of it to invest. Still €4.5 million at my disposal should be plenty - though, given the season is about to start right now, there are some logistical challenges and I may wait until the end of the first half of the season to put my stamp on this squad.

Pogon has bled a loss of significant talent over the summer though. A comparatively small squad, with some of the key players heading toward the twilight of their career.

Trying to force my aggressive 4-1-2-3 system on a squad largely consisting of more or less talented Poles works to some extend in the first phase of the season. We start strongly, though a form slump toward the end of the first half of the season (group phase) sees us barely scrambling over the line to qualify for the "Champion Round".

The signing of eight journeymen from all over the globe during the agonisingly long winter break does look good in theory: strengthening the squad in the hope for a serious push in the second half of the season. In practice this backfires dramatically. Instead of improvement things get only worse. A non-cohesive unit stumbles over the pitch while Pogon tumbles toward a crisis that sees the board having a firm word with me in a quiet minute after yet another disappointing loss in early April. Somehow er can stop the free-fall and finish an unconvincing 5th in the end. Our point total would actually see us finish much closer to the relegation zone, if not for the obscure Polish league system.

At Pogon nobody is happy with the way things panned out. While the main bulk of players seems to have lost confidence in the manager, the club bosses remain faithful and don't show me the door... for now.

As a complete rebuild is required the summer turns into a dramatic coming and going but it doesn't stop there. At the end of the season 2 under my reign Pogon will have turned over a little more than fifty odd players. There'll be barely anyone left from day one.

These drastic changes deliver some success, though. There's clear progress here and that is most evident during a hugely exciting European campaign. On our way to make it into the round of the last 16 we beat Young Boys Bern and causing a minor upset killing off Danish top club FC Copenhagen. Ajax Amsterdam is too much for us, despite an honourable 1-3 on aggregate.

https://image.ibb.co/gNWB0e/fck.jpg (https://ibb.co/kE04Le)

We play exciting football in the league as well: scoring plenty, conceding plenty. Fun football and a fine 3rd place finish at the end of the second season. The positives clearly outweigh the negatives, giving me the impression we're not far off having a proper go at winning the Ekstraklasa.

Less turnover and a few quality signings to bolster an already fairly decent squad - we win our Group in the first half of the season in impressive style. 34 points, undefeated. Are we sailing toward an easy Extraklasa title? In the meantime there's another fair European campaign unfolding, after beating Russian top side UFA a date with Belgian league runner-up Patro Eisden awaits in the round of the 32. Unlike last year this is unfortunately the end of it.

We continue to march on in the second half of the season travelling like a superior racehorse hard on the bridle entering the final furlong.... until an injuries crisis hits home in an untimely manner. A bunch of key players out coincides with a remarkable slump of form of our #1 goal keeper.... the replacement isn't doing any better and his replacement.... oh dear.... instead of cruising home it's now neck and neck with Slack Wrocklaw... in the ultimate deciding clash a win is required in order to keep our hopes alive... leading until the 92nd minute when another goalie error lead to the last grasp equaliser for Slack.

A blow to the neck we do not recover from. Two defeats later the dream has died - Pogon finishes runner-up to Slack. Progress to last season, but one of those endings that make you feel physically sick, given we looked like having this wrapped up after three quarters of the season. At least we bag the consolation price that is the Polish Cup - a fifth National Cup career success for me and something that keeps fans, players and board happy.


That's not gone unnoticed. Premier League side Swansea City just secured another season in top flight football offers me a job adding as a bait the chance of investing nearly €400 million in new legs! But I can't leave now, it's unfinished business here at Pogon.

An eventful 2033/34 season sees us having difficulties to juggle many balls at once. League, Polish Cup and Champions League football. As we qualify for the first Group stage phase after beating last seasons Portuguese Liga NOS runner-up Rio Arve in the Qualifying Play-Off. A huge success financially but also as we produce the finest hours of football Pogoń Szczecin has ever seen. We beat German champions Leverkusen and Italian Serie A champ Sampdoria Genua, drawing with PSG and advance to the next round!

At the same time we struggle to have a real impact in the league; while qualifying for the champions round, we do so finishing nine points behind group winner Kielce. Thankfully point totals from this initial group stage are halved before the season continues in the league format, which means we're closer than we should be as the league resumes in the new year - though what does that matter if you don't win games?

We continue to set the world alight on European stage. In the second Group phase wins over French champion Le Havre as well as Premier League top team Manchester United sees us getting close to make it into the 1/4 finals of Europe's most prestigious competition - but remarkably with 7 points we finish bottom of the group in fact!


As we're leaking goals galore in the league (strangely not so much in Europe) a slight tactical adjustment sees us putting full faith now in a lone striker again. Thankfully French goal machine Laurent Diakite remains largely injury free throughout the season and continues to bang in the goals when it matters most.


That's badly needed because as we're on the home stretch with a slim point advantage suddenly our keeper - or keepers I should say as #1 also gets injured with two games to go - struggle to catch a ball. The opponents could shoot with beach balls and would still score... or so it feels.

So it goes down to the wire. Only the better goal difference keeps us up before the final game. Not having won the last two games, confidence isn't at its highest. As we go down by a goal before half-time it seems once more the title we already could smell is gonna be ripped off our hands.

Unlike last season though, this time we have a few more potent attacking threats and it's fitting that Diakite is the man who heads home for the league winning goal close before the end to relief this football club and its manager of all the agony endured over the last four years!!!


The title winning XI:


While I was unsure whether to leave Sporting after less than a full season in charge, there is no doubt in my mind that I'll pack the bags as soon as the party is over and move on from Poland. The fact that neither last year nor this time my humble self finishes in the top 3 of the Polish Manager of the year award shows they still don't fancy the Germans all that much over here (and who can blame them?!). With a world reputation equal to #150 there must be a good football club in a good league that needs my services?


KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034

02-08-18, 02:20 PM
Currently doing a save with Italian team Vicenza (2018 March update). I've won back to back promotions to Serie A and finished 5th in my first season in the top flight. Currently at 3rd midway in my second attempt at the trophy.

I've gone for an all Italian approach (no foreigners in the squad or staff), it's bit of a challenge attracting the biggest names. I had a striker Lorenzo Insigne for two years, he was -insane- but he demanded a min release clause in his contract. Inter came along and poached him before this season, gutted. I haven't really found a suitable replacement, money is scarce and my club reputation isn't all that. I'm currently relying on a loanee from Sassuolo. He's alright but doesn't set the world on fire. For next season I have agreed a transfer for a 21 year old striker from Inter though, he looks very promising.

07-08-18, 07:16 AM
Had a good season with Udinese


Изпратено от моят G3121 с помощта на Tapatalk

The Porridge Flo
09-08-18, 10:25 PM

Having led Pogon to Champions League football has done the world of good for my reputation. I have some interesting offers on the table, though the desired move to one of the big leagues remains an elusive dream. However a tier below it's 2nd Bundesliga sides Mainz and newly promoted Waldhof Mannheim that try to lure me to back to the Vaterland.

But, nope, instead I'll head further north again, not too far off a place I have known so well for so long….

Randers, a small city on the Jutland Peninsula of Danmark is a 330km - inclusive scenic ferry ride - away from Grimstad, where the almighty Jerv FK is home (they just won their third Elitserien title since I left!). Jutland, that is also the place where the world's biggest water pump manufacturer Grundfos is home but what I envision when hearing the word Jutland: of course, the Olsen Banden (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGVAfqsIRZ8)!

Randers is home to a tropical zoo - one could say the Randers squad is nearly as colourful as all the different species from all over the globe you can find there. This squad is full to the brim, nearly 50 players from all parts of the world alright - not the first time I'm tasked with a massive clear-out. I feel like this one will be a special challenge, though.

Randers is your typical middle of the road club. Rarely good enough to challenge, sometimes in danger of going down. A 10th place finish, the worst in nearly a decade, however, meant Morton Wieghorst had to go after five years in charge. Too much for the poor man - he retires with immediate effect!


Over the course of the next weeks and months the smell of change hangs over the place. 34 Players leave the club, bringing in a whopping €31.5 million which is only partially reinvested as the acquisition of 54 new legs (or 27 players, given they all have two legs) comes at a cost of €9.75 million.

All this change makes for a roller-coaster maiden season with me at the helm of the football team. I struggle to settle on a starting XI and trial many different tactical systems. An ultra aggressive 4-1-2-3 yields early rewards but that may have been down to the new managers effect as the weeks go by toward the end of the year Randers only look downward, I'm afraid.

The only constant is Magnus Mikkelson who nets 21 goals throughout the season. The second half is much more stable as I concede that attractive attacking football isn't on the menu with this squad yet. During the agonizingly long winter break I'm able to bring in my previous Pogon captain Marco Grbic for the role of the defensive midfielder. We hit some form in spring 2035 to win eight and only lose only three plus a few draws, which sees us climbing to a 6th place finish eventually.

An excellent Cup run drives us through to the Danish Cup Final, where a data with the overwhelming favourite and newly crowned champion FC Copenhagen awaits - FCK is too strong on this night, unfortunately. A narrative that may not be heard for the last time....



Expectations are low the following year. Staying clear of relegation is the minimum ask. With an improved squad, being able to bring in "my guys" I'm confident we can do better than that.

As good as leading the Superliga by a handful of points as the year turns 2036? Certainly not! But that's reality.

A serious shot at the title, head to head with FC Copenhagen…. As injury crisis strikes in early spring the party is over, our advantage gone. The rest of the season feels like a grind. Will this season ever end? Nothing fluid, nothing sexy, just grinding it out somehow…. As we approach the last game of the season a 2 point gap to the league leaders from the capital.

Neither FCK nor Randers seem to have the ultimate class to get this over the line. Copenhagen draws 1-1, the chance for us.... the chance we leave unused. Another home defeat on this last night of Danish league football in the 2035/36 season means we're not good enough in the end. Plain and simple.

The annoying thing is: we are a clear winner in the away table, but at home it's always been a struggle. We enjoyed sitting back and go on the counter when playing away. But if we had to make the game? There was a clear lack of creativity. Ultimately we would have not deserved to win the title, I feel. We would have been lucky more than anything else.



Does this turn into a second "Jerv"? Stuck in a Nordics for ages until we get over the line? If ever?! Third season in charge at Randers, a clearly improved squad means we're we want to be: at the top! The year turns with Randers leading the Superliga yet again, albeit a slender lead it is. FCK always chasing. The champions struggled early on with too many games in league and Europe but as they crash out of the Champions League group stages Copenhagen's focus will be solely to hunt us in the second half of the season.

Approaching April, it's only between the two of us…. Again. No other clubs are able to keep up with the pace. A two-horse race if it's about the Danish Superliga.

Familiar story to twelve months ago: injury crisis strikes at the wrong time once more. With key players out and the squad simply not deep enough to cope with those on the sidline we can not keep up the tremendously overwhelming pace that's now set by an emphatic Copenhagen. We remain winless in the crucial month of April and that's that. Runner-up behind FCK - again.



Year four in charge in Randers. The magic number? At Pogon it was the year when things finally clicked. There is no doubt that it's all about the title this season. Nine signings for €7 million are a clear indication of our ambition.

I'm reunited with Ilias Maas - the wonderful playmaker who was so influential at Pogon - one I brought in as a 16 year old youngster out of nowhere, who developed into a class player. Can he also make the difference in the Danish Superliga now?

A new and more balanced 4-1-2-2-1 system stands the early test in the Champions League qualification rounds. Clear victories over Swedish neighbour Malmo and French top club Marseille paves the way to a historic first Champions League group stage participation for Randers FC!

Domestically our start is unsettled. A defeat on day one of the new league campaign, followed by a few excellent performances as autumn ends with a brutal crash in the Danish Cup as we lose against third division side Hobro!

Days later a clear cut success over the champions FC Copenhagen erases those bad memories quickly. A win that comes at the right time and finally provides - or so it seems - the confidence that Randers can go one better this time. At the same time we progress through the first group phase of the Champions League: not only was it a major achievement to even be here, but now progress to the second group stage!

We're clear on top as the year turns - a massive winning run sees us shooting 11 points clear of Copenhagen! Unfortunately the sensational performances of striker Magnus Mikkelson finally find appreciation in the wider football world. He's called up to the national team for the first time and it's only days later that AS Monaco triggers the €6.75 million release clause.

As he was already actively forcing his way on the transfer list eyeing the move to a bigger club there was nothing I could do about it.... only hoping to find a replacement with the money we got in return. Not an easy task, though, to replace a man who scored a whopping 67 goals in the last three and a half seasons for your club!

We manage it, though! There is nobody on the market who for the money we have or the salary we can offer. Instead other guys simply step up their game. Max Sahlin, a €2.2 million signing before the season was a major flop up to this point. Now that I'm forced to play him he suddenly finds some form and bangs in some goals. The burden, though, is shared. Ilian Maas finally seems happy in Denmark. And the other expensive signing, Christian Hansen, finds the net regularly too!

The bench also contributes. Important as we still dance the dance in the Champions League. Famous nights at the Randers Stadium that sees us beating West Ham, Levante and Anderlecht results in us topping our group and advancing to the Quarter-Finals!

Dutch back-to-back champ Twente Entschede stands between us and the semis. Two hard fought games, Twente ultimately the smarter side, maybe the slightly luckier side... it's a bridge too far and we're out, leaving Europe with some wonderful memories and the head high - Twente went on to win the whole damn thing a few weeks later, beating Manchester United in an extra-time thriller.


All focus on the Superliga now - let's bring this over the line! Injury crisis strikes once more in spring.... unlike the years before we're able to cope with it. This squad is so incredibly deep by now, nothing can faze us. As we keep the scoreboard ticking over, nobody else in the league is able to keep up with it. Not even Copenhagen. With four games to go Randers FC is officially crowned the new Superliga champion!

In the end a 14pt gap to FCK. To be honest, it never really felt in doubt. As all the contenders were stumbling through most of the season, we were the only team able to play consistent- and successful football. Not always as attractive and goal rich as I would have liked. There were plenty of ugly, scrappy affairs that required adversity. Ultimately what stands out is: only one defeat the whole season - the one that came on the very first day!

Without a shadow of a doubt we were a much superior team to anything else in the league. We were hard to score against but put pretty much two goals per game into the net of our opponents.


It was a team effort. Nearly everyone contributed when called upon. The burden was shared. The wingers contributed as much as the attacking mids or who ever was playing as the lone striker.

Nonetheless the one standout by a country mile was defensive midfielder Abdoulaye Diarra. A bargain at €550k three years ago, ever since he's been the rock in the XI. This season was his finest, though. An average rating of 8.30 and 10 assists - supreme class! A real warrior. A tackling machine. Thankfully the number 2 for that position did also an excellent job which meant we could "safe" Diarra for all the important games.


The winning XI and tactic:


With my reputation now at its highest - a 132nd place world wide - will the way finally lead to a top league? Germany, France, Spain or Italy preferably. If not, well, then another stint in Scandinavia wouldn't be too shabby either. As winner medals from Finland, Norway and Denmark have already been collected, it would be Sweden's turn now, clearly?

KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038

10-08-18, 03:23 PM
Way to go!!!

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
13-08-18, 09:21 PM
\o/ Rather Randers than FCK any time. Kutgw!!

The Porridge Flo
19-08-18, 08:53 PM
Felt a bit like leaving unfinished business behind at Randers. The league title as the only domestic title, no Danish Cup winners medal collected, though, but most importantly our incredible run in the Champions League has whetted the appetite for more. I feel we've got a bunch of players there that worked so well together as a group in the 4-1-2-2-1 system that an even deeper run for international glory wouldn't be unrealistic.

But I have to move on. On the hunt for another domestic league title, somewhere else. That somewhere else doesn't wait long to emerge. Having won titles in largely "second-tier" leagues around the European continent so far, the chance to get a shot in one of the major leagues will have to wait.... as the opportunity to manage Celtic Glasgow is quite clearly one too good to turn down when it emerges only days after resigning at Randers.

Celtic, though, isn't quite the force of old. No title in the last two seasons, and a 7th place finish in the most recent season means no European football for the first time in nearly a decade as well. So Fraser Foster's four-year long reign comes to an end at the club and I step in in a bid to bring back the "good old times".

https://image.ibb.co/bBf0Fz/celtic_history.jpg (https://ibb.co/dzgU8K)

That certainly isn't going to be an easy job. The previous manager has done a tremendously poor job in the transfer market. A squad of soon to be pensioners this is, and the last actions of Foster were to burn millions on players that may be average at best. Instantly I have the overarching urge to get rid of half the team! But that isn't that easy, of course.

While the transfer budget is opulent, the difficulty is to attract the right talent as the Scottish Premier League isn't all that sexy for the really good players, less so to play for a fallen giant who's to offer no European football either.

What do in a situation like this? Well, you got to trust proven quality. That means I bring in a few of those players that I've already celebrated titles with: Jean-Luc Bompard comes from Randers - he was the #2 on the defensive midfield position for me the last number of years there. A exquisite ptalent who's now approaching his prime. Laurent Diakite, the striker who was such a massive cornerstone in the Pogon title winning side with his 20 odd goals that season. Play maker Anthony Mombris, also a former Pogon protégé, is the final piece to be added to the squad.

Unfortunately the trip can't prevent a start to the new season that resembles a car crash against a tree at 160 kilometers an hour. Before the year turns 2039 we have lost already eight games and are miles off the top three. It's more than just a bad start at this point. It's a new managers nightmare who soon to be under the pump!

Diakite scores for fun but that isn't enough as we're leaking goals like a super tasteful Swiss cheese. In fifth place on new years eve it's abundantly clear that this squad is as average as way too expensive coffee on the go sold in grocery stores.

Radical change is needed. A new system is introduced. Moving away from a traditional 4-4-2 - it seems impossible to bring in competent full-backs, however, having a surplus of fairly decent wingers and attacking midfielders in the team - we're deploying three at the back with some defensively strong wingers in front of them, instead. Whether this works or not doesn't really matter at this point anyways. This season is done and dusted. Adding a few minor additions in the transfer window to add some youth and depth to the largely out of depth squad should ensure there's at least a solid foundation in place to be build on next year.

With each passing week the atmosphere in the otherwise fairly unhappy team gets a little better, though. We're on a roll by February. Having scored 16 goals and a perfect five out of five record in the new year there's suddenly a bit of believe that at least Europe is now well and truly within reach.

Soon after, though, a draw with Hibs and a poor loss at Aberdeen puts hopes for a strong finish to rest.... or does it?

As the regular season comes to an end we aren't losing any more game, in fact win them all which means a top-two finish isn't unlikely now. It's tight between us, Hearts and Queen Of The South... only Hibs - with a seven point lead at the top before the final five-game Championship round starts - seem already home.

Or are they? We beat Hibernian in the first game of the Championship round. Turning point? A subsequent draw with Hamilton isn't too bad as all the rivals around us struggle to pick up points as well. Two more dominant performances later, while Hibs, which seemed to have secured the title a long time ago, leaves the decision of the SPL up for grabs on the final day!

Hearts, Hibs and ourselves all but divided by 2pts at most. As we meet Hearts on match day 38, we have it now in our own hands, in fact. At the same time, if we lose and Hibs win then they have what they seemed to have for such a long time of the season; but if they draw then local rival Hearts could have something massive to celebrate as long as they beat us at Celtic Park....

As bad luck strikes, our top scorer Diakite has pulled up from the last game with damaged cruciate ligaments... a shock injury that'll see him miss 9 months of football! What a tragedy.

Young Italian Jacopo Grossi has big shoes to fill.... and he does! 2-0 ahead after 20 minutes, the big chance to put it all to bed soon after... missed. Hearts aren't for nothing up there in the table, though. Two bad defensive mistakes later and it's all square before half-time -2-2 would you believe it?!!

Hibs do their business early as well: a 3-0 lead means the title will go to Edinburgh for the first time since the 34/35 season again.

All or nothing now, roared on by 50.000 in Celtic Park, attacking all out in the second half, as we desperately need goals. They aren't coming.... until the 65th minute when 35 year-old winger Ryan Morrison fires one past the excellent Hearts keeper from 20 meters out! Grossi adds the sealer hundred-twenty seconds later.... it's all out and over - we gonna win the title!!

It couldn't have been much more dramatic. On the final day, in the final 45 minutes of the season, getting the job done. A job that for most of the season didn't look like one as we were never even in contention for the title whatsoever.

Still, only a single defeat in all of 2039 meant we were closing in on the leading trio bit by bit as they were taking points of each other and lost games they probably shouldn't have.

It's been the most improbable title given how far behind we were at the year turned. Celtic wasn't the best team over the full season. Hibs were.... but then, football isn't fair. It never was. Hibs are the champs of the hearts. But we're holding the title in our hands when it matters.


A season that gets even sweeter as we also land the League Cup in a final against hated Glasgow rival Rangers! Making it a triple with the final game of the Scottish football season 38/39: the ultimate downer for Hibs, as they lose out not only on the league title but also on Cup glory against us.

It's by far the most successful season of my now 21 year-long managerial career. One that didn't look likely for most parts of the season. How we turned it around in an unprecedented second half of the season..... I'm still not quite sure. Suddenly things clicked. Out of form players found a bit of form. We found momentum. Often the one with the momentum on its side becomes unstoppable. We were unstoppable in the end.


Ultimately what was a big help - and I readily admit that - was the fact that we did not have to struggle with the extra burden of European football. This meant having the luxury of a largely fresh and healthy squad throughout the season. That says I'm not envying the next manager here at Celtic. A rebuild is required. And all that while trying to dance many different dances next season. What I've done here was merely filling a few holes here and there but that's not for the long-term.

The Triple winning team:


KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038
Celtic (SCO): July 2038 - June 2039

21-08-18, 08:52 AM
Great season at Celtic. Love a close finish in the league...

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
22-08-18, 09:37 AM
AS St-Etienne

I have been modding my DB for years so I play on a weird custom mash-up of 3.9.68 with some modern players, mostly inserted at the current age rather than as youth, but not always. This reflects changes in the way I have thought about customisation over the years, and so you can find a 30 year old Messi at Barcelona, while Fernando Torres is a hot up-and-coming talent at Atletico *shrug*. I also have quite a few random good potential youngsters around various lesser leagues although truth be told I can’t really remember which ones so there is no in -game exploiting possible. Finally I have played around with positions a lot, so there are less SCs in my DB and more multi-role forwards and less wingers who can only play one side, which to me seems to better reflect the way that players are used in modern football.

I also use John Locke’s tool https://www.champman0102.co.uk/downloads.php?do=file&id=18 for creating PCTs from TCT files to vary the tactical challenge of games, and at any given time I have around 15-20 custom NWW formations on the opponent roster. Quite a few use one or three forwards so computer controlled forwards can sometimes score at a prodigious rate like the best forwards these days.

Here are a few examples of my current AI tactics.

https://preview.ibb.co/eZmUDK/ai_352def.jpg (https://ibb.co/gze5ne)
https://preview.ibb.co/e28LLz/ai_433v1.jpg (https://ibb.co/idBJ7e)
https://preview.ibb.co/nnehYK/ai_451.jpg (https://ibb.co/k6LBSe)
https://preview.ibb.co/ckZufz/ai_4141.jpg (https://ibb.co/h2vNYK)
https://preview.ibb.co/fsNEfz/ai_4222.jpg (https://ibb.co/gYgkne)
https://preview.ibb.co/coxQne/ai_4231.jpg (https://ibb.co/nxWUDK)

AS St-Etienne are actually still the team with the most Ligue 1 titles, but most of their success came in the 1960’s and 70’s under three legendary managers; Jean Snella, Albert Batteux and Robert Herbin. They reached their peak in the mid-70’s, losing the 1976 European Cup Final in Glasgow to a Bayern Munich team completing a hat-trick of wins, although legend has it that they perhaps should have won, and the game will forever be known to their supporters as the game with the square posts (“les poteaux carrés”) after both Bathenay and Jacques Santini had efforts come back from the post and bar that ‘would have gone in’ had the posts been round.

https://preview.ibb.co/i12gce/les_poteaux_carr_s.jpg (https://ibb.co/e9YnHe)

After this they would play one of the all-time great knockout ties against Liverpool in 1977 but further success would desert them. A number of financial scandals occurred during the 1980s, and the club was relegated 3 times between 1984 and 1999. At the beginning of the 01-02 season St-Etienne are languishing in Ligue 2 with a squad of journeymen, expensive Brazilian imports and a few promising youngsters. It’s a good challenge to bring them back to the top and win them the European Cup they should have won 40 years before. As an added bonus, they have a lovely green kit.

Obviously the first season is all about promotion, and with €8m to play with it should be pretty straightforward. There are four promotion spots to aim for as Ligue 1 expands after the first season, and St-Etienne has one of the better squads. The main issue is that the squad is quite big so there are not many places for new signings, and I don’t want to randomly cut reserve teamers until I get a better look at them. Based on the current squad I decide to play a 442 with one withdrawn forward, although I want to bolster the midfield, especially in wide areas. These are the signings:


Bill McKinlay (DMC -- loan from Leicester)
Ryan Williams (AMRLC - 750k from Hull)
Kevin Franck (AMC - free)
Angel Luis (AMFLC - free)
Magne Hoseth (AMFLC - 4m from Molde)
Raffaele Morni (AMRLC - 425k from San Marino)
Samir Duro (DMC - 1.9m from Maribor)

Almost all of them are ready for first team football (not Franck), and we play a lopsided system with a more advanced left midfielder and the right midfielder tucked in and expected to do more grafting. It is something like Liverpool in the late 1980s with Barnes playing as almost a third forward off the left, Beardsley dropping in to create, and Houghton tucked in on the right side (except we have Alex, Angel Luis and Ryan Williams).

Our formation:
https://preview.ibb.co/govZfz/typical_st_etienne_lineup_4411.jpg (https://ibb.co/i7pufz)

We take a little while to click into gear but by the winter we hit the top spot and never really look back, although Caen in particular keep us honest to the end. Caen’s 4-3-3 systems really gets the best out of their forwards and it is only the fact that their defensive structure is not as robust as ours that prevents them finishing as champions.

https://preview.ibb.co/kadhiK/s01league.jpg (https://ibb.co/hksWce)

Several of the new signings have an instant impact, and young midfielder Julien Sablé looks to be a fixture for years to come. Sylvain Meslien emerges from the youth team to solve the LB position, while Loic Chaveriat does pretty well as the central striker. Nevertheless, by far the best player in the League is Tony Vairelles, a multi-role forward at Strasbourg. Strasbourg have a terrible season, yet he averages 8,06 in 32 games and scores 26 times. Signing Vareilles will be the main focus of the summer.

https://preview.ibb.co/jV59DK/s01topplayers.jpg (https://ibb.co/n4PQne)

With a return to Ligue 1 in the bag there are major surprises in both cups where St-Etienne win a League and FA Cup double! Both competitions are notable for the success of lower league sides, and we don’t play Ligue 1 opposition in either final. The FA Cup final is played versus Angoulême from the Championnat National, and they really make us work for it!

https://preview.ibb.co/idXWce/s01FAC.jpg (https://ibb.co/kMajxe)
https://preview.ibb.co/hV3F3K/s01LC.jpg (https://ibb.co/iP4zVz)

Beanpole striker Nikola Zigic the man for the finals, there. He scores 19 goals in 10 appearances in both cups.

On the back of this surprisingly successful first season struggling Marseille make me a tempting offer…

https://preview.ibb.co/ewCmAz/marseille.jpg (https://ibb.co/jCYF3K)

… but it is of course rejected. There is still quite some way to go to bring Les Verts back to the pinnacle of European football.

22-08-18, 09:46 AM
Awesome stuff mate, I particularly liked the explanation of your tactic and it's similarity to Liverpool's of the late 80s, I was a massive Barnes fan when I was younger and that would have been after he was in his pomp.

Tony Vareilles is a name I remember, do you not have any hesitations he might not be able to cut it in the top league though?

That's some offer from Marseille too, but like you say even with both domestic cups to go with the Ligue 2 title you've still a Ligue 1 title to go for as well as establish them back in Europe.

Best of luck for next season mate :ok:

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
22-08-18, 10:22 AM
Cheers, AMC. Yeah, Barnes was still quality as a kind of regista-type player in the 90's, but in that Dalglish team he was just incredible, playing as a sort of free role wide forward. He was very much a modern player both in style and physical fitness playing in the 1980's. although he still liked his ale... :D That goal against QPR ("Barnes won it... he won it from Brock... still Barnes... that's a fabulous individual goal!") was a real playground favourite as a kid! He also has one of the great sports photographs, where he backheels the banana off the pitch during a Goodison derby.

https://image.ibb.co/cTuN0z/barnes.jpg (https://imgbb.com/)

Vairelles will be OK for Ligue 1, not so sure about Europe, but one step at a time!

The Porridge Flo
22-08-18, 07:48 PM
Nice one, well done!

Have soft spot for ASSE and Ligue 1 in general, particularly those early 2000 years.... ASSE back then with the wonderfully eccentric Antonetti on the side line and some fine names like Feindouno, a young Gomis, Sable who I'm happy to see has found a spot in your team.... where is David Hellebuyck? Did you sell him? He was still young back then, probably not good enough for your ambitions? I loved how this rather limited guy carved out a pretty decent career at the highest level for himself in real life.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
23-08-18, 08:10 AM
Hellebuyck had a chance to claim a place but never really delivered, even in Ligue 2. I tried him at left midfield, and the two forward positions for 14 games but too many 6/10 performances saw him lose out to Alex and Chaveriat in particular. To his credit he didn't kick up a fuss despite wanting to be more involved, and in the end he will sign for Beauvais on a free transfer and be a regular there.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
24-08-18, 09:42 AM
AS Saint-Etienne season 2

With promotion to Ligue 1 secured the summer is spent strengthening the squad while taking in the European Championship in Ireland. Italy take the trophy 2-1 over Germany in the final with goals from Del Piero and Cassano.

As mentioned our main focus is to sign Vairelles from Strasbourg before one of the bigger sides makes an offer. They won't let their main man go cheap, though, and he is signed for a club record €10,5m, and nice profit for Strasbourg on the €4m it cost them to acquire him from Lyon last year. The other main addition to the first 11 is Italian keeper Marco Storari, a very good keeper for the €1,6m it takes to sign him from Napoli, where he was only the backup to Francesco Mancini. To be fair, Napoli start the game with two great keepers, but I think Storari is the better of the two, and he is significantly younger as well. His wages are pretty high, though, at €1m per season, which puts him up there with Emerson, Alex and Vairelles as one of our top earners.

https://preview.ibb.co/cZO08U/storari.jpg (https://ibb.co/hgJp2p)
https://preview.ibb.co/cANhNp/vairelles.jpg (https://ibb.co/hSiBF9)

The other signings are young prospects who will get some first team action during the season where possible.


Tony Vairelles (FRLC - 10,5m from Strasbourg)
Marco Storari (GK - 1,6m from Napoli)
Aurélien Mazel (DR - 1,5m from Toulouse)
Koly Kante (DMC - 1,4m from Angoulême)
José Elpys Espinal Marte (AMFRLC - 130k from Albinoleffe)
Joris Gnagnon (DC - 19yo talent on loan from Stade Rennais)

Let’s take a look at the competition. Lyon won Ligue 1 last season and we will play them in the Champions Trophy, losing 2-1 to goals from Wiltord, Lyon’s big summer signing. Paul le Guen has them playing a narrow 442 formation, and their forward Pegguy Luyindala was last season’s player of the year. Runners-up Lille maybe look the strongest overall, Claude Puel is a canny tactician playing mainly a 4141 and they don’t concede many. Stade Rennais were perhaps a surprising 3rd place finish, but they have signed well, including two dangerous attacking midfielders in Sănmărtean and Igor Chumachenko, although their star player Anthony Réveillère is destined for Real Madrid at the end of the season. Other big Ligue 1 stars include Ariza Makukula at Nantes, Djibril Cissé at Auxerre, Ronaldinho at PSG and James Rodriguez at Monaco (see part 1 for the reason my DB is a mishmash of old and new stuff).

We start off with a win, 1-0 away versus Sedan, Vairelles scoring the only goal on his debut and we look fairly comfortable at this level although we end August with two defeats against Stade Rennais and Bastia. Bastia don’t have many stars but their 343 means they score a lot of goals and are hard to play against for many sides

Bastia’s tricky 343 will see them achieve good success
https://preview.ibb.co/cwYE2p/343.jpg (https://ibb.co/mgFiv9)

As cup winners we are entered into the UEFA Cup and will get the chance to see how well set we are to make an impact in continental football. We draw Iraklis who finished 3rd in the Greek Superliga last season. A 0-0 draw in Salonika sees Les Verts much the better team and we are confident of going through at Stade Geoffrey Guichard but it is not to be. Iraklis’s Polish target man Marcin Mieciel scores from their first foray forwards, and despite goals from Hoseth and Vairelles they quickly equalise again through left back Giorgos Simos. With the score 2-2 after 26 minutes the game surprisingly peters out and we exit Europe on away goals at the first hurdle without ever really showing our best. Disappointing!

It seems our confidence takes a knock, and our league form stutters; defeat against champions Lyon is followed by disappointing home draws with Le Havre and Caen, both of whom were promoted last year. But we turn it around with an excellent home win against Lille (1-0, Vairelles with a late penalty) and maybe the real moment our fortunes change, coming back from 3-1 down away at Bordeaux to win 4-3!

https://preview.ibb.co/cbLK2p/turning_point.jpg (https://ibb.co/h0Qmhp)

That result completely changes our form and we won’t lose again for the rest of the season in Ligue 1! Our worst form in fact will be two consecutive draws in January… unsurprisingly the rest of the division cannot live with that pace and when Lille draw at home against Caen in April we are Ligue 1 champions at the first attempt! We will be in the Champions League next season, another major milestone on the way achieved.

To be honest, this is quite a bit more than I expected from our first season back in Ligue 1. Success has been built on the defence, with only 19 goals conceded, and a fair proportion of those through set pieces where you just have to accept that the opposition will sometimes score. Storari has a very good season in goal, while the back four of Meslien - Emerson - Diawara/Gnagnon - rotating cast of right backs is pretty dominant. We score 61 goals in the season, so less than 2 per game, with Vairelles justifying the large investment with 17 league goals in 31 games and an average rating of 7,65. Alex weighs in with 11 goals from the AMC position.

Lille are runners-up in the league, for the second consecutive year, with Stade Rennais also winning a qualifying round for the CL. Last year's champions Lyon are disappointing in 4th. That finish will cost Paul le Guen his job, and he is replaced by Italian boss Edoardo Reja from Union Berlin, a somewhat left-field signing!

It is easy to forget about the cups given the shock league win, but we defend the League Cup with a solid 2-0 victory over Bordeaux in the final. Troyes beat us in the 9th round of the FA Cup, though, and that trophy will be taken home by Bastia, a nice win for them.

https://preview.ibb.co/ciWyv9/s02LC.jpg (https://ibb.co/mrML8U)

A Ligue 1 and League Cup double, then! Onwards and upwards to Europe’s premier competition next year.

24-08-18, 09:50 AM
A great debut season in Ligue 1, good to see Vairelles perform well after spending big on him, shame about going out early in Europe though.

I take it with averaging less than two goals a game you're looking to strengthen your attacking midfielders and strikers, or are you debating a change of formation as well?

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
24-08-18, 10:38 AM
I think it is safe to say that I will be looking to enhance the forwards next season, although I still see Vairelles as the go-to guy. A winger, AMC and back-up striker are on the list. I don't have plans o change the formation though, afterall, it is working rather well overall :D

The Porridge Flo
26-08-18, 11:51 AM
Winning the triple with Celtic in Scotland must open the door for bigger engagements now... a date in the big leagues, surely, finally, yes? No! Football is a fickle business and achievements in Scotland aren't rated that highly, I'm afraid. I'm not prepared to sit around for half a year hoping for some top-flight club desperate enough to make a managerial change in the middle of the season which would see me potentially taking over a club that has hit rock-bottom, either.

Nonetheless, I feel ready for the challenge as never before - if they don't give me the job I'm after then I have to walk the walk myself, in first place.

It's not like my services aren't sought after. They are. Not at the highest level but still there are two serious offers on the table regardless: from Union Berlin - 2nd Bundesliga, a club I personally love as parts of my family still live in the German capital and of course as a man from the east there's only one club in the Hauptstadt: Eisern Union (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhiCPB8PP5w)!

It feels too early to head home, though. Retirement isn't beckoning yet.

There is no hesitation, though, when the call from West London side Fulham comes. Where can I sign, please? Fulham, freshly relegated from the Premier League after an abysmal season is in urgent need of a proper rebuild.The last years of chasing the big money promotion, finally getting there and then trying to assemble a competitive Premier League team, meant the club has now an overblown squad, paying foolish wages to mediocre players while heading into an uncertain future.

Stepping into this type of toxic environment of a relegated Premier League side that - rightly or wrongly - has the clear ambition of getting back right away, has seen many managerial careers become derailed over the years. It's a gamble I'm prepared to take. It's the chance to finally make it into the big leagues. Not quite the direct way as I had previously hoped. But how many more Danish, Norwegian or Scottish leagues would need to be won to come to the realisation these titles aren't as highly rated by Premier League, Seria or La Liga clubs?

So I sign, fully knowing the Fulham board isn't the most patient one, and their expectation is a serious charge for promotion.


With the transfer window soon to be open, this is a good time for a new manager to step in. There is plenty of money to play around with, I can have a proper look at the squad and put my stamp on the team right from the beginning. What's clear - and no surprise - this is an incredibly unhappy bunch of players. Half the teams wants out. The other half has transfers already arranged.

The turnover of players is dramatic over the next few weeks. Nothing new, given I tend to prefer a fresh start and like to dispense old baggage when taking over a club.

Over the course of this maiden season in charge of Fulham 39 players leave the club, the majority during the summer window, bringing in the a whopping €119 million! On the other side I spend €92 million on 36 players to join us. This turns out to be quite a wild ride!

Adding familiar faces to the team helps to get us off the ground in the early part of the season. With Rasmus Bengtson, Ilian Maas and Kjetil Saebö are three players in the starting eleven on match day one that I used to celebrate titles at four different clubs already! Maas, who was a 16 year old when he joined me at Pogon, played key roles during the title winning campaigns in Poland and also last year at Celtic.

Saebö, a defender I signed also as a teenager at Jerv, is a testament of how times fly. Now in his early 30s, he leave Grimstad for the first time in his football career - and what makes me proud, during this Championship season should become finally an international for Norway.

Opting to deploy the 3-1-3-2-1 system that proved to successful at Celtic, sees us become more competitive as the season advances. The frantic pace of the incredibly long Championship season has its unique challenges. There is little time to rest between the games and my aggressive playing style takes its toll on the players. Wear and tear and fatigue sets in and we're developing an inconsistency that means we're hovering in and around the play-off spots without ever going on a real run of successive wins. The constant need for personal change makes things difficult.

As the January transfer window opens I'm able to bring in a few more familiar names to bolster the depth of the squad. Jean-Luc Bompard comes from Celtic. He was staring at Randers and in Glasgow in the defensive midfield in years before during my times there. Jacobo Grossi and Laurent Diakite also join from Celtic.

These additions, and a slight adjustment of my tactical system to 3-1-4-1-1 helps to eradicate the enormous inconsistencies of the first half of the season. With Maas finding finally is feet in the Championship, now deployed in a free role behind the lone striker, he makes life incredibly difficult for the opposition. Not only does he score goals and becomes our assist king, but also opens up space for lone striker Bader Al-Sudairy.

The Malaysian bangs in the goals for fun. A €3 Million signing from Danish club Odense, he turns out to become a revelation this season.


It's a grind, but one we continue to excel in with every passing week. as I now get a better handle on the tight schedule of two games per week, adjusting the workload in training and also finding the right balance of playing our best XI vs. adding "second tier" players to the mix when required.

A handful of games to go by end of April and we're closing in on the long standing inhabitants of the two promotion spots, Leeds and Cardiff. With two more games to go, a heart fought 1-0 win over Fleetwood catapults us from outside the promotion spots suddenly to the top of the table! We have it in our own hands - all that's needed now is another three points to secure the Championship title. It's incredibly close, though and anything less then a win could mean we drop right down into the play-offs.

An agonizingly tight game at Barnsley drags on on and on without a breakthrough. Still, so fitting for this season, one more time the magic of Ilian Maas saves the day - a 20 metre wonder strike is required, but hey, who cares?! The goal of the day, three points in the bag and Fulham Football Club's heading back to the Premier League!

24 goals and 11 assists for superb Ilian Maas, were only topped by Al-Sudairy's 28 goals and 9 assists. It's these two alone who pretty much made the difference between going up or not. It's abundantly clear life will be tougher in the Premier League and that means investment is needed.

Particularly defensively we're low on real quality. That's the area to focus on most if we want to avoid the drop. Money shouldn't be a problem. Just making it to the Premier Leagues pays handsomely and we finished the season with a tidy profit anyways.

But can we attract the right type of player? Fact is, I'm not prepared to gamble the future of the club away and overpay, as Fulham did in the past. Rather step by step I intend so see us improve. First aim, though, will be to stay in the league and avoid the fate this club suffered only twelve months ago.


KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038
Celtic (SCO): July 2038 - June 2039
Fulham (UK): June 2039 -

26-08-18, 06:12 PM
That's some overhaul of the squad, got some screenshots of Maas and Al-Sudairy please? They sure did the business for you in getting that league title after a late surge.

26-08-18, 08:04 PM
Now the nights are drawing in I've decided to go back to ODB and try and win everything possible. We'll see how long it lasts with work, family etc but Started at Calais in French National and finished runners up to Toulouse, currently sitting 7th in L2 after 2 games so I'll certainly be coming back to France after I've taken Calais as far as possible.

The Porridge Flo
27-08-18, 09:38 AM
That's some overhaul of the squad, got some screenshots of Maas and Al-Sudairy please? They sure did the business for you in getting that league title after a late surge.

It was. Felt in the past to overdone it a bit at a few clubs, however at Fulham it was pure necessity made out of the situation. Thankfully it worked rather well, as often - only a feeling and anectotal evidence - it takes quite a while for a completely new squad to gel.

Here is Maas - found by a scout through the youth search as a 16 year old back in the days at Pogoń Szczecin. He followed me to Randers and now to Fulham; if we count the Championship, it's been a third national league title we have been celebrating together. Now the question is: can he cut it in the big league as well?


Here is Al-Sudairy - was really surprised how well he found the net. Was brought in as a backup initially, given his low price tag coming in from Denmark. Here's hoping he continues to bang in the goals in the Premier League as well:


Kenny Dalglish's Smile
27-08-18, 10:08 AM
Awesome job as ever, Flo! And great to see another campaigner in France with Diz. Maybe you can pick up a few player signing tips from my game?

AS Saint-Etienne season 3

Before reflecting on a Ligue 1 and League Cup double and preparing for our maiden Champions League campaign, let’s take a look around the other leagues and get a sense of what the competition looks like.

In Europe, Roma will be defending the Big Cup having beaten Barcelona 2-1 in the final at Wembley. They are also reigning Serie A champions too. The UEFA Cup also went to Italy, with Lazio defeating Atalanta, also by a score of 2-1 in Parken. They will likewise defend their trophy, having only finished 5th in Serie A last season.

In Germany, FC Bayern reclaimed the title from Borussia Dortmund, with Bayer Leverkusen quite a long way back in second. England sees Manchester United beating Arsenal to the title for the second season in a row, while in Spain a similar situation arises, Barcelona winning La Liga ahead of Real Madrid, also a repeat of last season’s one-two. Congratulations are also in order to fans of Anderlecht, Århus, AEK, Ajax (good years for the ‘A’s!) and Porto, with their second successive title.

Having secured Champions League qualification and as title winners we are building up a little bit of financial muscle, although we are not as yet an attractive destination for the top bracket of players, and quite a few of those who would consider to join ASSE will ask for excessive wages, where we are capped at €1,4M per season.

The beginning of my third season will also be the first where there are significant changes to the squad. Quite a few ASSE stalwarts of Ligue 2 are coming to the end of their contracts and in many cases age is not on their side. The likes of David Hellebuyck, Patrice Carteron, Allan Olesen, Patrick Guillou, Anthony Garcia and Vincent Hognon have all played their role in bringing us back into the top division and several of them will leave with a Ligue 1 winners medal to show for their efforts, but it is time for some new blood to come in with the hope of kicking us on to the next level.


Bertin Tokéné (SWDDMC - 525k from Grenoble. The outstanding defender from Le Championnat will be a useful squad player)
Lynch Pule (DDMRLC - 750k from Ajax CT. One for the future)
Joris Gnagnon (DC - 3,6m from Stade Rennais. We make his loan a permanent move)
Benjamin Wingerter (AMRL - free from Schalke. A really promising winger out of contract and in dispute with Schalke. Very high hopes for this one)
Philippe Mexès (SWDC - free from Auxerre. Not realising his potential at Auxerre, there is reason to believe he can kick on at ASSE)
David Suarez (SC - 3,1m from AS Cannes. The terror of Le Championnat, with 30+ goals in each of his last two seasons, he should be the perfect backup to Vairelles in the lone forward position)
Sylvain Armand (DDMRL - 9m from Nantes. A big outlay on a full back but hopefully this will cure our right back conundrum)
Malcolm Ironside (AMFC - 11,75m from Aberdeen. An emerging Scottish star who commands a big fee. We hope he can quickly provide an upgrade on Alex at AMC, despite his young age of 20)

Promising winger Benjamin Wingerter
https://preview.ibb.co/gOxtiU/s03wingerter.jpg (https://ibb.co/ckADiU)

Big Scottish talent Malcolm Ironside. Could he be the new Dalglish? The position certainly fits...
https://preview.ibb.co/fRnnA9/s03ironside.jpg (https://ibb.co/gLnXcp)

There is not much to comment about Ligue 1. We win the first 14 games of the season until we draw 3-3 away at Marseille on December 9th. Having built such a commanding lead nobody even comes close, finishing with stats W30 D5 L3 GF75 GA16 and 95 points. Lille are runners-up for the third season in a row 20 points behind, while Bastia take the third Champions League qualifying place a further 10 points behind them. Coach Gérard Gili is doing really impressive things with Bastia. Monaco come in a solid fourth place while Lyon slip back again to fifth and will once again shake up the manager’s position, ditching Edoardo Roja and trying a more conservative approach recruiting Len’s Henri Michel who has quite some experience having managed both France and Cameroon at World Cups.

Once again our defence is dominant, which makes it a bit strange that I keep buying so many centre backs, but I can’t seem to find a really stand-out partner for Emerson, and Foussemi Diawara who has been with us since the Ligue 2 days is still seeing a lot of playing time back there. Phillippe Mexès looks miles away from being a solution, and his form is so disappointing (average 6,23) that he finds himself playing for the reserves for half of the season. Bertin Tokéné has a bright enough start but can’t sustain his form beyond the first couple of months, and more defensive reinforcement will be on the cards in the next summer. Armand is OK at right back, but his form is much less impressive than his previous two seasons at Nantes.

On the attacking front the new faces are generally contributing, but only Wingerter makes a real impression, scoring twice but creating 10 goals from the wide positions, average rating of 7,5. Suarez proves that he can be an effective backup, scoring 9 goals from 8(17) appearances, including the first in a 3-1 League Cup victory, our third successive win in the competition…

https://preview.ibb.co/j91m3U/s03LC.jpg (https://ibb.co/bZmxA9)

...but it is Tony Vareilles who really carries the workload; 45 starts, 27 goals and average rating of 7,86 making him the runner-up in the player of the year awards, behind Pauleta, whose move from Bordeaux to Lille last summer has been a huge success, netting 40 times in 44 games for Les Dogues.

Alright, but what about Europe? After all, winning the Champions League with Saint-Etienne is the main focus here, and this is our first chance to achieve the goal. We get off to an absolute flyer, beating Barcelona at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with a single goal from Tony Vareilles and a staunch defensive effort. 0-0 away vs Anderlecht seems OK, especially when we follow that up with a 1-0 away win over GNK Dinamo Zagreb. With 7 points on the board after three games, no goals conceded and two home fixtures to come we look to be favourites to qualify, even more-so with another 1-0 over Zagreb at home. Next up we travel to Barcelona and only fall to very late goals from Neymar and Xavi, 3-1 overall. Heading into the final round of games we top the group with 10 points, Anderlecht are second with 8 point and Barcelona need to beat Zagreb and hope we lose at home to Anderlecht to have any chance of progression. Anderlecht meanwhile MUST beat us to have any realistic chance to progress, and it is not looking good for them with 80 minutes played. Alex has scored the only goal of the game, and Anderlecht keeper Zvonko Milojevic is rated 10 when suddenly BANG! Seol scores two crackers from nowhere with Anderlecht’s only shots of the whole match and we are OUT.

It is a rough one to take, but there is little time for feeling sorry for ourselves as we have a UEFA Cup third round tie to play against Swedish Cup winners Helsingborg (3-0 to ASSE on aggregate). In the fourth round we draw Jupp Heynckes’ Athletic Bilbao, a very dangerous opponent. We have to grind for this one, with a strong 3-1 home win (Gnagnon, Wingerter and an Emerson penalty) giving us just enough cushion to survive the Athletic Club onslaught in front of a capacity 52000 crowd at San Mamés. Tiko scores early to give Bilbao reason to believe but we are marginally the stronger side despite not managing to score ourselves.

The quarter final sees us draw Russians CSKA. We draw 0-0 at home before turning on the class with a dominant 3-1 win in Moscow (Vareilles, Angel Luis and Ironside). Then it is another Swedish opponent, this time Allsvenskan champions AIK. AIK have already beaten Bastia in the competition, and in Czech Dusan Uhrin they have a very wiley head coach. Furthermore, their squad is packed with experienced Swedish internationals, and emerging wonderkid Alexander Farnerud is a real threat from his central midfield position. We will need to be careful that we don’t underestimate this opponent and I field our best 11 in both fixtures, taking the tie 3-0 on aggregate. We will play a European final again after 41 years!

The match will played at Estádio Nacional in the Lisbon suburbs and the opposition are to be Club Atlético de Madrid, a very strong opponent and the favourites to win the cup. Madrid hired Turkish coach Mustafa Denizli from Bordeaux at the start of the season, and like us they came through the Champions League groups into the UEFA, then beating Newcastle, holders Lazio and Juventus along the way, before defeating surprising semi-finalists Preston North-End to reach the final.

Atléti play a defensive 4231 formation and have international quality all over the pitch. The man to watch, however, is homegrown superstar Fernando Torres who has had a huge breakout season, scoring 39 goals already!

https://preview.ibb.co/hd6stU/s03atleti.jpg (https://ibb.co/f5VJYU)

That quality Atléti has all over will be the deciding factor here. We play pretty well, creating 9 good chances and making Oblak save 6 of them, but the defensive organisation of Madrid and Fernando Torres’ lethal finishing mean that they will be taking the UEFA Cup home with them this year, and we will have to wait for our chance to achieve European glory

https://preview.ibb.co/gXahSp/s03uefa.jpg (https://ibb.co/fzz97p)

And that just about wraps up 2017/2018. There is a World Cup in Mexico to look forward to, and watching that Torres performance in the final has really highlighted the value of a clinical World-class centre forward. We might have to try to do something about that...

27-08-18, 11:24 AM
Hard luck in the final there mate, looking at their side though Oblak and Godin at the back and Koke, Makaay and Torres in attack that was always going to be some task, can't believe PNE made the Semis too :D Unbelievable stuff in the CL too, to have 10 points after 4 games and not go through is quite remarkable!

You smashed Ligue 1 though and retained your League Cup trophy, how did the French Cup go though? £11.75m on Ironside seems a hell of a lot too, how did he get on? Vareilles still banging them in and good backup in Suarez too, hopefully you can find one or two quality centre backs in the summer, your rep must have improved a fair bit with that run to the UEFA Cup Final and another season of CL football to look forward to so that should help with any recruitment.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
27-08-18, 11:48 AM
I only really noticed that PNE had made it to the semis when I came to do the write up. They qualified as FA Cup runners-up, but they beat some decent sides on the way to the semi, including VfB Stuttgart, Feyenoord and Rangers so fair play!

French FA Cup we drew 1-1 with AS Cannes (Suarez scored against his old club) but then screwed up the penalty shoot out (9th round).

Ironside is only a € price but yeah, he is a bit of a gamble in the assumption that he has a lot of room to develop. He was a bit in-and-out first season. 14(14) games played, 6 goals, average 7,1. To be honest I got a bit giddy seeing a possible Kenny Dalglish 2 in the making there and couldn't resist.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
27-08-18, 11:52 AM
Thankfully it worked rather well, as often - only a feeling and anectotal evidence - it takes quite a while for a completely new squad to gel.

Well, for the story at least, we can say that is the benefit of bringing in the players who know how you like to work :)

The Porridge Flo
28-08-18, 12:48 PM
Some season Kenny! Still the same simple 4-4-2 system? Remarkable that it works so well. CL triumph's only a matter of time.... hope that German kid continues to develop. Looks really promising indeed and sounds like he played well enough for a winger too.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
02-09-18, 09:00 PM
AS Saint-Etienne season 4

Right, let’s get something obvious out of the way before looking at the season in earnest. Obviously, we win the League Cup. That is what we always do.
https://preview.ibb.co/iqF52p/s04LC.jpg (https://ibb.co/cZub8U)

With a dominant domestic season behind us, as well as an unsuccessful UEFA Cup final appearance, hopes were high that we could do some serious damage in Europe’s premier competition in the coming season, hopefully built on a foundation of relatively straightforward progression in Ligue 1 and squad stability. As mentioned in the previous update, our main focus for recruitment was the seemingly never-ending search for a defensive partner for Emerson, as well as the intriguing options that a world-class centre forward might offer us, in particular in the Champions League. Tony Vairelles was coming off the back of two highly impressive seasons, but at the business end of the UEFA Cup there was the suspicion that he is maybe just a shade below the top bracket - not quite able to turn a tight game against the best opposition with a moment of magic. Age is also not on his side, 31 years old going into the season and with a lot of football miles in the tank, he won’t go on forever.

Our financial situation is strong, but maybe not as strong as one might think, given our recent success and relatively well-controlled contract situation: there are €36m available for transfers. The bulk of this is set aside for the forward signing, and we strengthen the spine through free transfers.

-- Summer
Florian Marange (DL --- free transfer from Dijon Football Côte d'Or, a promising youngster not expected to feature this season)
Mathieu Berson (DMC -- free transfer from Nantes)
Traianos Dellas (DC -- free transfer from Roma)
-- October
Eric Abidal (DDMLC -- 7,75m from Monaco)

So, where’s the forward? Nowhere, is the answer. I knew who I wanted to sign - Ariza Makukula from Nantes, but even at €35M we couldn’t reach agreement and lacking other top class options I decided to be patient and keep the money for January before trying again.

Ariza Makukula - the forward we believe can be a world-class star at ASSE
https://preview.ibb.co/jqhgA9/makukula.jpg (https://ibb.co/eg3A3U)

Dellas is an interesting one. Out-of-favour at Roma his contract was running down and his stats suggest he has got everything it takes to be a top centre half. I scouted him around Christmas time last year and the scouting team suggested that I swerve signing him. I wasn’t convinced and scouted him every month for a couple of months but every time the report came back the same: we recommend that you do not sign this player. In the end that fact that he was free and would allow us to maximise the money for spending on a forward made it a risk worth taking in my opinion, and as the man with the final say I trusted my own judgment over the scouts. My optimism seemed to be justified when he played a fine World Cup, leading Greece to third place with only 4 goals conceded during the entire tournament.

Abidal, meanwhile, was on the verge of signing for Lyon when we hijacked the deal. Having failed to secure Makukula we had plenty of money for reinforcement, and the French transfer system allows you to sign one player between August and January. With persistent injuries at left back and a very versatile player, signing Abidal makes a lot of sense, and he will go on to have a good season for us. Indeed, he will be the best of the signings made this summer.

Tactically we have consistently been playing the lopsided 442 I described in the first part, but I wasn’t 100% convinced this system was the right one for Europe so I experimented with a 433 during pre-season, with less than impressive results, including our annual loss in the Champions Trophy, this year to Paris St Germain. That, and the fact that some of our best players, like Ryan WIlliams, Ben Wingerter and Alex didn’t fit the system well, led to the formation being dropped. I also considered a 41221 system, with a DMC and inside forwards, but again we had invested heavily in the AMC position and it didn’t make sense to abandon that. For the league and Europe, at least, the 442 would stay.

On the verge of the season kick-off there are reports that Dortmund are preparing a €15M offer for Benjamin Wingerter. The press enquire about it and I state that the talented winger will not be leaving us at any price, but the board throw their dummy out of the pram and tell me they no longer believe that he should be a member of our squad. I can’t believe their reaction, to be honest. The player himself has not expressed a desire to leave and I tell the board I’m backing the player. He’s a 21 year old lad living in a new country for the first time, he’s training well and doing the business on the pitch. I tell him to relax and concentrate on his football, and he seems fine with that.

Very much mixed results for the summer, then, with the failure to secure a forward of the right quality, some needle with the owners, and a tactical system which has been extremely tight defensively but on occasion struggled to create chances meaning that risks are being taken. A small part of me is seeing this as a season of consolidation and that most likely it would be at least one more season before we might be a serious tilt at the European Cup.

Concerns about goal scoring soon come home to roost, and we struggle to score more than one goal in a match for the early months of the season. The defense is as parsimonious as ever, however, and one goal is often enough to win the game. Before Christmas we are 11-4-1 with only 5 goals conceded, but this year the league is not the procession we saw last year. Lille have been flying since the start of the campaign, and they occupy top spot going into the short winter break. In Pauleta they have the world-class forward we lack, and 4 of the 12 games they have won so far have been because of a Pauleta goal in the 90th minute. We sit in third place, level with Nantes on points, but with inferior goal difference to both of the teams above us. Third place means that there is some unhappiness in the squad, and the board are only pleased with my performance. Not drastic, but surely an overreaction to our situation?

Meanwhile, our European campaign sees us pitted against Chelsea, Standard Liege and Levski Sofia in the first group stage. Liege are swatted aside 3-0 at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, and we follow that up with a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, despite having to play AML Hoseth and DMC Koly Kante at fullback due to injuries to Meslien, Armand and Mazel. Sylvain Meslien has become a rock at left back since he was promoted from the reserves in the Ligue 2 days, and this is a really frustrating season for him. He constantly picks up niggling one or two week injuries and every time I try to get him back in the team he picks up something else. His injury situation is the major reason behind the signing of Abidal in October, as I try to rest him until later in the campaign in the hope that he can overcome his fitness trouble.

Sylvain Meslien, one of the success stories from ASSE’s youth system
https://preview.ibb.co/iuTD7p/meslien.jpg (https://ibb.co/ie2HYU)

You may remember that we also started our CL campaign well last year, and I know we still have plenty to do despite this promising start, and we get a timely reminder by losing 1-0 in Sofia :)

Qualification as group winners is achieved with three more wins to nil, however, including Vairelles’s 50th goal for the club. We reach the second group stage for the first time, where we are drawn against Ajax, Barcelona and Inter. Once again, our start will be fantastic, surviving an early goal and intense first half at the Giuseppe Meazza in Milan to take the three points thanks to second half goals from Sablé and Vairelles, and then Barca are defeated by the same scoreline in Saint-Étienne, goals from Armand and Vairelles before a late consolation effort from Neymar.

Going into the new year there is some concern that the recent signings are on the whole not really contributing, and with the French cups starting up in January rotating the squad is going to be crucial. Abidal has been playing well but cannot play in Europe due to having already played for Monaco. Neither Dellas nor Berson have offered anything more than average performances. Looking at last season’s transfers, Mexès is showing nothing even at reserve level to suggest he warrants a start in the first team, Armand and Ironside are reliable enough but neither are ripping up any trees. Suarez is proving to be an able deputy to Vairelles in the league, and his form is allowing us to save Vairelles for the Champions League games. The squad is a bit thin and I decide to revisit some of the players we signed in Ligue 2 and give them another chance, as well as promoting some academy products in a search for more consistency. In the end Raffaele Moroni (AMRLC), Kevin Franck (AMC), José Elpys Espinal Marte (AMFRLC), Lynch Pule (DDMRLC), and Christophe Alidor (SC - a lanky regen) are promoted to the first team and will see starts and subs action.

Going into the second half of the season, the business end, the fixture schedule throws up some ridiculous quandaries. We repeatedly see runs of games where there is only one day rest between fixtures, and this means that we have to operate basically two separate first 11s, and rotation on the substitutes bench. To support this we also add another formation into the mix: a 4-1-2-2-1. This allows us to play Berson a little deeper as the DMC, with typically Franck and Kante in front of him. Casagrande plays the cup games to allow Storari to stay fresh for goalkeeping duties in the League and Europe, and bit-part players like Carmigiani and Marange fill holes at fullback.

Examples of fixture congestion which mean that for players to reach 100% they sometimes need to rest for two consecutive games. Seven games in 14 days is the worst period
https://preview.ibb.co/fmtDFK/7gamesin14days.jpg (https://ibb.co/ej9W2z)

https://preview.ibb.co/mXWN9e/6_games_in_17_days.jpg (https://ibb.co/g8SvUe)

https://preview.ibb.co/btsjNz/6_games_in_12_days.jpg (https://ibb.co/mvir2z)

Meanwhile, Lille keep up their relentless winning at the top of Ligue 1, and we just barely keep pace. Pauleta continues to smash the goals and we are constantly in a position where if we win our games in hand we would be level with them at best. The only reason we are in touching distance is that we beat them 1-0 at home, their first league defeat of the season.

Lille’s first league defeat comes on January 7th.
https://preview.ibb.co/kLrm2z/s04_crucialwin.jpg (https://ibb.co/dkbx9e)

February sees up stay in both domestic cup competitions and negotiate the remainder of the Champions League second group stage. The middle groups are away and home against Ajax, and two more wins (2-0, 4-0) means we have 12 points, and are almost assured of qualification. It will be tight, however. We are really unlucky at home against Inter, a 1-0 defeat in a game we dominate until the last five minutes without being able to beat Toldo, and a 2-0 reverse at Camp Nou is anyway enough to see as squeak through as group winners.

Top on goal difference in a difficult group
https://preview.ibb.co/cMi8ze/s04_cl2stage.jpg (https://ibb.co/fnKRkK)

Going into March there is a slight slowing in the pace of Lille at the top of the table. Can we capitalise? No! The fixture congestion just never ends, and tiredness is partly to blame of our defeat at Lyon in one of the league’s biggest derbies. The board are unhappy, both for the match and the fact that we aren’t topping the league. Apparently the European campaign matters little to them, and they still want Wingerter gone. I continue to stand by him as his performances warrant, and the board even manage to find this a reason for more displeasure.

https://preview.ibb.co/cP9j5K/wingerter.jpg (https://ibb.co/nR0rkK)

But Lille have started to draw a few games. Is tiredness and the pressure of leading from the front also getting to them?

We are drawn with Chelsea in the quarters of the Champions League. This is a tough draw. We played them in the first group round, but since then their form has improved a lot. They are title contenders in England, and Daniel Passarella has added Marco di Vaio to his squad during January. The home leg is a tense affair, low on real quality. Wingerter gives us the lead but Chelsea secure the away goal through a late freekick by veteran Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Between the legs we secure appearances in both domestic cup finals, before making the last four of the Champions League with a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge - a brace from Angel Luis with a man-of-the-match effort from left wing.

Daniel Passarella’s Chelsea
https://preview.ibb.co/etraCz/s04cl43.jpg (https://ibb.co/gCjvCz)

https://preview.ibb.co/eEgaCz/s04cl41.jpg (https://ibb.co/guz6Ke)

https://preview.ibb.co/geKTXz/s04cl42.jpg (https://ibb.co/iintze)

April comes around and things getting really tight. Lille suffer their first mini-slump of the season, drawing three games and losing their second of their seasons at third placed Nantes, before their form picks up again with three straight wins. We lose 2-0 away at PSG, but slowly, inch-by-inch we are eroding Lille’s lead, but there is almost no room for error now, and we still have a huge focus on the Champions League where we draw Bayern in the semis. Bayern Munich, the team who prevented us from winning the European Cup back in our 1970’s heyday. We are drawn at home first, and once again the first leg is a tense and bitty contest. Vairelles has to be withdrawn at half-time with a suspected groin injury. It is a somewhat precautionary change - we simply cannot afford to lose Vairelles at this point of the season for any period of time - but we don’t have another dedicated forward on the bench, and I ask Hoseth to fill-in as a false nine. It doesn’t really work, and the game finishes 0-0.

Bayern match us up tactically in the home leg
https://preview.ibb.co/e86vee/s04cl21.jpg (https://ibb.co/mLCqCz)

Before the second leg we play the French Cup Final against Bordeaux. I simply have to save players for the semi, and our opponents have plenty of experience and quality in their line-up. Bordeaux are having their best season for several years, and they almost - almost - do enough for a famous win.

A last second equaliser and a penalty shoot-out are required, but the FA Cup is ours.
https://preview.ibb.co/dtixsz/s04facup.jpg (https://ibb.co/iHnOXz)

Our domestic cup second team lineup
https://preview.ibb.co/cikJXz/s04facup2.jpg (https://ibb.co/c6uCsz)

The visit to Olympiastadion in Munich is full on incident. Bayern line-up in their 433, looking to dominate play but it is ASSE that start the better. Wingerter opens the scoring on 5 minutes - but no! It’s called back for an offside earlier in the build-up. Bayern build the pressure but Duro and Sablé are tackling everything in midfield, and the defensive unit is resolute. Attacking-wise we are mainly just looking to counter and Vairelles finds himself clear right on half-time, but Kahn is equal to the challenge. Finally, our resistance is broken after 80 minutes, a loose ball in the penalty area and it is that dangerous poacher Thomas Müller who is there to sweep home. But again, no! Seb Deissler was stood offside and is judged to be interfering with play. A very very close call! The game will go into extra time, and our forwards have run themselves into the ground in the cause. Alex and Vairelles are removed, and youngster Franck and David Suarez replace them. Players on both sides are really tiring now, and the yellow card starts to come out on a regular basis. Markus Babbel goes off injured and having used all of their subs Bayern will play on with 10 men. With 118 minutes played we finally find a chance, Ryan Williams gets a second of space in the inside right position. Kahn is off his line.... Williams tries the chip… and it bounces back off the crossbar! Apparently even when the posts are round they can spoil our party!

The Champions League finalist will be determined on penalties, and it will be the most dramatic shoot-out I have ever experienced in CM…
https://preview.ibb.co/niC1Ke/penos_all.jpg (https://ibb.co/kBbTze)

While we gain a measure of revenge for the 1976 final, Lille draw away at Niort! We have two games in hand, and we are four points behind. Win both and we will go into the final round of Ligue 1 fixtures two points clear at the top of the table, but the first team are exhausted from their Champions League efforts. Moroni and Suarez are magnificent as Marseille are swatted aside 4-0 at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, then the first team return to action and dominate Football Club Istres Ouest Provence in a comfortable 2-0 win. For the first time in seven months Lille find themselves looking up, with only a single fixture to play.

For the final round of fixtures we will travel to Bastia, while Lille will play Stade Malherbe Caen at home. A draw will probably be enough for us as we have a positive six goal difference advantage over Lille, but defeat will surely see us throw the title away?

https://preview.ibb.co/ddXU5K/s04_bastia.jpg (https://ibb.co/k64LCz)

So, we need Caen to pull off a major shock.

https://preview.ibb.co/dsfz5K/s04_caen.jpg (https://ibb.co/i81Tze)

https://preview.ibb.co/cNy2QK/s04_ligue1.jpg (https://ibb.co/d8Gp5K)

The Ligue 1 win the season after promotion to the top flight was a major surprise, but I think this win is the most satisfying of them all. Chasing Lille down despite their relentless form and the superhuman efforts of Pauleta has been a huge effort with so little room for mistakes, and they have now been runners-up four times in a row. You have to feel a little for them, because they almost deserved it this season, but they should have beaten us in January, and in the end that is the difference between first and second this season.

The Champions League Final 2019
AS St-Etienne -vs- Real Madrid C.F.
Stadio Olimpico, Roma

Our first European Cup Final in 43 years will see us go head-to-head with Arsène Wenger’s Real Madrid, in one of Europe’s most romantic venues - the Olimpico in Rome. Madrid have a star-studded squad as you might expect, with over €250m invested over the last three seasons to bring in world-class stars such as Patrick Vieira, Antoine Griezmann, Joaquin, Alessandro Nesta and Jens Nowotny. Their progress to the final has been efficient, with Valencia defeated 3-0 on aggregate in the quarter finals and holders Dortmund seen off 1-0, Vieira with the winning goal in the second leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

There is a major surprise when the team sheets are released. Vieira is not only fit and available, but he has been the standout player in the Champions League this season. Nevertheless, he will not feature in the final, and instead the experienced Iván Helguera Bujía will anchor the midfield in their 4141 formation. We are able to field something close to our ‘first 11’, if such a thing exists. Dellas and Armand are selected for their greater experience, while Wingerter will start at left midfield. His form has been excellent and he has already proven capable of scoring important goals in Europe, while having Angel Luis on the bench means we can introduce a proven game winner if we need to win the game late.

The teams
https://preview.ibb.co/gXO0Ee/s04clf1.jpg (https://ibb.co/f0nSue)

https://preview.ibb.co/cBoYZe/s04clf2.jpg (https://ibb.co/gQRLEe)

Madrid’s midfield is ridiculous, so we task Alex with man-marking their DMC to try to cut off the supply of the ball to the prodigious talent available there.

The game begins with an early foul from Dellas. Bale sends in the freekick but club captain Sablé heads clear. We have a nice period of possession, with the ball cycling from left to right and back again. Wingerter darts into the area before playing in Duro on the overlap. He cuts the ball back to the penalty spot and there is Ryan Williams to smash the ball home into the roof of the net! What a start, and what a lovely goal!

Real have been here before, though, and their players aren’t flustered by falling behind early. The game settles down into a pattern of Madrid possession and resolute defending in our own half, giving up very few chances, Madrid are winning freekicks but not in really dangerous positions, although Griezmann forces Storari to tip over on half an hour, and then forces another good save from our Italian stopper just at the end of the half, after he had wriggled free from Emerson’s attention. The first period is over, and we maintain a slender 1-0 lead.

Griezmann starts the second half in similar busy fashion and this time the freekick is in a dangerous position when Duro brings him down on the edge of the box. Up steps Roberto Carlos… and you have to say that is quality! An avoidable equaliser, but sometimes world-class players will do things that are basically unstoppable. 1-1.

We respond well, Meslien with several forays down the left, and Wenger makes his first change to stiffen up Madrid’s right flank in response to the danger, Joaquin replacing Gareth Bale who has been quiet outside of his set piece delivery. Immediately Joaquin is into the action, he fires in a shot which is half-blocked by Duro. Kroos picks up the loose ball and chips over our backline to the onrushing Roberto Carlos. He crashes a rocket off the crossbar! It’s impossible not to think back to that 1976 final and the woodwork. This time it has come to our rescue!

By 70 minutes we make our first change, with Alex having run himself into the ground. Angel Luis replaces him, and tucks in behind Vairelles rather than his usual left wing berth. 90 minutes comes around with a balanced game, but no more clear cut chances for either side. These two sides are very evenly matched and it is going to take a moment of brilliance to separate them.

The first period of extra time continues to be a tight affair, but as half time approaches Dutch midfielder Youssouf Hersi snaps a dangerous shot just wide from 20 metres out. Storari re-starts with a short goal kick to Dellas who strides forward, driving into the centre of midfield before finding Durro with a probing pass forward. Duro has his head up and switches play to the left side where Angel Luis has pulled wide while Wingerter comes inside, dragging Helguera with him. Angel Luis is really a winger, and his instinct is to drive at the full back Geremi, beating him for pace before putting in a teasing cross… Casillas shapes to come, but realises he isn’t going to make it… and there is Julien Sablé to head down into the corner of the net. 2-1 to ASSE! What a journey for Sablé, graduating from ASSE’s academy, I made him captain of his hometown club at the age of 20 immediately on taking over, and here he is, scoring what could be the winning goal in a European Cup final. There is no time for the restart and we are 15 minutes away from an historic victory.

The second and final period gets underway, and we are immediately on the attack again. Duro has been magnificent facilitating attacks from central midfield, and he combines with Angel Luis with a lovely one-two on the edge of the Madrid box. Luis takes the return ball and hits a half-volley which Casillas just tips over the top. Corner. Duro swings it in, and the referee blows the play dead. Nowotny and Griezmann have suffered a nasty clash of heads in their desperation to clear the ball, and neither will be able to continue. With only one substitution remaining Madrid will finish the final with 10 players. The Brazilian Ronaldo comes on, and Madrid switch to a 3-4-2 formation to try to retrieve the game, but it won’t be enough, and we see the game out without incident. 43 years after Bayern Munich broke St-Etienne hearts, Les Verts are the champions of Europe!

https://preview.ibb.co/dbmb4e/s04clffinal.jpg (https://ibb.co/k3HSAK)

The Porridge Flo
02-09-18, 10:28 PM

As Fulham bounces back from relegation at the first attempt, this new Premier League season is one that's possibly even more significant for myself: finally, after 22 years standing in the dugout I made it to the big league too! No time to get emotional, though. Avoiding relegation is the number one job in the following weeks and months.

With a much changed squad we attempt to do this: 14 players are out, 12 new faces in: particularly strengthening the defence has been the focus as we bring in seasoned defender Bert Maatsen for €16.75 million, Erik ten Voorde for €11 million, defensive midfielder David Diakite for €16 millione and keeper Nick Howell for €7 million are the key signings. Most intriguing: new to Fulham is veteran striker Carlos Suarez on a free transfer from league rival Stoke.

Despite scoring 17 goals in the Stoke's Premier League title winning season, the 32 year old, who joined The Potters only two years ago for €50 million, has fallen out with the club. He's obviously a tremendous name for us, but does he still has the appetite moving to a freshly promoted side?

The fixture list has appropriately dealt us the champions Stoke for the opening round of the new season. What a story it would be should Suarez score on his Fulham debut against his old club.... but he doesn't and we lose by the tightest of margins 0-1. The first three points are bagged in the following week.... two more wins and a draw means we've started much better than most would have anticipated. One could even feel this is easy.....

Except it isn't. Reality sinks in rapidly after four losses on the bounce, three without scoring a single goal ourselves! Two more tight 0-1 defeats follow in the next three weeks, with a brief success sandwiched in between. But fact is the Suarez thing certainly doesn't work out as we slide down the table at a dramatic pace.

As we also crash out of the league cup, a change in tactics, reverting to a system with two defensive midfielders, has us finally finding more stability. It's badly needed and while scoring goals wasn't one of our strong points up until now, I figure we rather stay in games and get some ugly points on the board then having the wall against back rather sooner than later. It helps that there are a few clubs even worse than we are. Ultimately, there is light at the end of the tunnel: A 2-1 home win over Man United is quite clearly the highlight of the first half of the season.

Another highlight is Ilian Maas who continues to show his class, now also in English Premier League and who's is key to our survival. Bader Al-Sudairy on the contrary isn't. last season's 28 goal man finds life difficult at the top level. Only 3 leagues goals shall stand beside his name at the end of a rather disappointing season - at least he scores some vital goals during our rather incredible FA Cup run.

Carlos Suarez doesn't do a lot better. 4 goals for him - as Chelsea offers a way out I'll grab the €7.75 million euro bid with both hands. It'll save us a €350k/month for an ageing striker who doesn't do much better than some younger team mates on a quarter of his salary.

We stabilize in the second half of the season with the changed formation, are more difficult to break down and also find the net more regularly. Nonetheless, the Premier League isn't known for nothing to be the best in the world - every team makes life difficult for you hence most games are tight. Our effort is top notch, the results not always but that's okay as the trend is positive and we are never in any serious relegation trouble throughout.

A 13th place finish in the end, a positive record, less games lost than won and a positive goal difference - we have certainly something to build on.


The highlight of the season is our superb run in the FA Cup. We have to dispose Arsenal, Leicester and the Stoke on our journey to Wembley - not an easy one. We had to go through replays against The Gunners and also Stoke. In the end we're here for the big day - possibly the biggest in Fulham's history!

Here at at a sold out Wembley Stadium - even though it's hard to call this stadium Wembley as it has very little in common with the original and most beautiful Wembley Stadium; this is just another big, modern entertainment venue - nonetheless, the name alone, the date in the calendar, the history of this cup final is what makes it such a special day.

It's a date with top-four side Derby County that stands between a place in history and becoming just another losing side that's forgotten soon. A historic first FA Cup success for Fulham awaits if victorious.... we ain't gonna let this chance slip! Ilian Maas - who else?! - brings us early on to the winning streak. A second before half-time and the deal's done - Fulham FC FA Cup champion 2041!!



Standing still is certain death... in the Premier League surely that's the case. Clubs left, right and center going crazy in the transfer market. And we're right in the thick of it. Another 15 players leave us over the summer - bringing in €129 million.

Thankfully English teams continue to overpay for (over-)hyped English talent - Joel Nicholson, surely a talented winger, only 21 years of age, is sold for €30 million to Southampton. He just didn't show enough in these two years under me. Inconsistent, lacking an end product - what's all the talent in the world if it produces nothing tangible on the pitch.

On the other hand we are able to attract some fantastic players..... in exchange of fantastic transfer fees: €35 million for defensive midfielder Yassine Spaenhoven, €29 million for defensive all-rounder Jose Robles who comes from fallen giant Real Madrid - fallen as low as Segunda Division - and play maker Bertino Vasconcelos for €23 million. Also joining is a familiar face: striker Christian Hansen, pivotal in the Randers title winning season a few years back now, is one I trust to be able to show it at this level also.

As I set the team up to play a more conventional 4-5-1 system this year, we struggle early on getting it all to gel. We trash the new champions Man United in the Community Shields, but if that created a false sense of security then it's clear after an eventful start to the league campaign that money alone doesn't make a top team.

With five wins but also four losses out of the first ten games we're far off where we wanted to see ourselves but also the media expected us to be.

Only slowly things kick into gear. Better slowly than not at all, on the other hand. An unbeaten Decembers has us climbing up the ladder. And then there is winter transfer window....

If there is a chance to improve your team you have to do it. Yes, it might be sad to see some of your old warriors getting replaced by money grabbing journeymen.... but if you can have those guys committed to your cause you could be on to something special.

I see these signings more in anticipation of next season, when I hope we could become a serious title contender with this years experience under our belt but the instant benefit isn't too shabby either: as German defender Hendrik Jacob joins for €35 million from Hertha Berlin, it's only the beginning of Fulham's open intent to go big; €25.5 million for young Swedish play maker Mads Larsen and €17 million for fellow midfielder Michal Krol brings this seasons spending to an eye popping €214 million!

With that naturally expectations rise, and we are fine with that. On the other hand there is a controversial transfer out of Fulham: David Diakite, who was a big money signing last year, leaves for €24.5 million, heading to league rival Derby. He's one I'd liked to keep. An excellent defensive midfielder. But as we have enough cover for this position, and Diakite already in his early 30's, I feel this is a solid deal for us, as we good one and a half year of fine service and a tidy profit on the transfer fee.

The impact the three new signings have is obvious from day one. Or two of them, I shall say. Larsen hits an unlucky stretch of injuries and makes only 7 appearances. Nevertheless we're now tighter at the back and create a lot more high danger chances up front. I'm equally delighted to see my old buddy Christian Hansen having won the internal battle for the lone striker position - he's scoring 10 and assisting 6 more goals by the end of the season. Those goals are of significante in the second half of the season where we only lose three more games eventually!

A commanding 2-0 success at Blackppol on the final day is enough to lift Fulham into the top 4 for the first time!



We finished so strongly last season that there is a lot of belief in our core group to deliver even better results this year. Hence it's no surprise that this is a much quieter summer off the pitch than in years before.

It's been a World Cup summer and Hendrik Jacob returns as crowned world champion, leading the German defence throughout the tournament. A bid to sign his fellow landsman forward Joel Gotthardt fails - while our €60 million bid is accepted by Bayern Munich, the World Cup final hat-trick hero has many suitors and decides to stay in the fatherland, moving not too far away from Munich, to FC Augsburg.

If I'm talking about a transfer that didn't happen then that says a lot about those that did happen. The aim was to strengthen the defensive side of the team because I feel we have enough combined fire power attacking wise, even without having a world class striker in the team - so the majority of the summer transfer activity is about our defensive unit. Eight new players overall - the majority on free transfers and also more depth players than anything else. But that is what you need if you have to juggle the international and domestic game at the same time. Good players that come in and replace your core whenever the situation requires it.

The only major signing is Spanish right back Omar Ouzal who arrives from Segunda Division side Numancia - an expensive €35.5 signing, who's expected to do great things, though. It'll free up captain Jose Robles to move into the defensive midfield as well.... so is the idea.

As we start with a defeat in the league opener and a draw a week later, all those high hopes voiced before the first ball was kicked do quickly evaporate now that a ball was kicked. Things just don't seem to click.

After eight games, only three wins on the board. Yes, we started badly last season as well, but this time it's even worse and we have invested millions in new legs in the meantime. At least we do dispose Shakthar Donezk in the Champions League Play-Off to play for the big pot. The overarching feeling is, regardless: not good enough. And that certainly isn't good enough for a club that's been spending in excess of €250 million on players over the past 14 months.

Change is on the agenda: The conventional 4-5-1 is abolished and instead I introduce a 3-5-1-1 that's build on three centre backs, with captain Robles in the middle being allowed as a "free man", a bit like Matthias Sammer or Lothar Matthäus in the good old days of the early 90's, to venture forward. Deploying attacking minded Wing Backs I hope will help us find a better balance between defending and attacking as the situation requires. Not since the good old days at Haka in Finnland have I played without a defensive midfielder.... this better gonna work soon, or our season's over.

It does work. A hard fought 1-0 win at Anfield is the start to a significant series of positive results. We get through our Champions League group easily and appear so much better organised, balanced and defensively secure but at the same creating more quality chances going forward - it helps that forward Florian Autret, a cheap €2.4 million signing from Marseille, proves to be a quality goal getter when provided with a few decent crosses.

But one more time it is the evergreen Ilian Maas who dominates our game with his goals when we really need them. Add to that an unlikely source of goals in Yassine Spaenhoven - a defensive midfielder in his first life, he has blossomed to new heights since moved slightly up to act as a proper number 10!

As the year turns we've taken over the Premier League to lead a tight title race looking down from the top! Unbeaten for two months now, this looks to become a 2-horse race Fulham vs. Stoke. Other clubs are already losing touch, most surprisingly reigning champ Man United!

if there is one thing to critical of: our strikers. Autret has done well, but he is clearly no superstar and goals have dried up recently. Hansen hasn't hit the heights of last season yet while the rest hasn't made any impact whatsoever. Most of goals come from midfield. That is fine. However, as we also have been lucky with injuries, I dread the day one of the big guns gets badly injured. I feel: if we want to win the Premier League and do well in the Champions League we need to acquire a star striker right now!

It can be risky to pay the big bucks for strikers. What if it turns out the man is simply not a fit? Can happen. Happened often enough in the past. You'll never be able to recoup your initial investment. Nonetheless I'm prepared to pay big for the right man. I believe to have found him: 27 year old Kevin Koopman.

A Dutch striker who's been prolific in the French Ligue 1 for Brest, Lille and more recently Monaco. A real beast - tall & strong, the type key forward that should suit our system. Acquiring Koopman's services doesn't come cheap. A €40.5 million transfer fee, plus an opulent singing-on bonus and of course big wages. Hopefully a gamble that pays off.

We move through Europe with ease, winning both our Groups in the first and second phase. In the league is business as usual. We're nearly unbeatable at this stage, despite Koopman having a hard time finding the net. Still unbeaten since October as the calendar turns February, and even more impressively we've conceded only 2 goals in the last 15 competitive games!

Stoke responds to all our calls, though. Even as we dispose a Liverpool on a magical winters night at the end of February - 7-2, Koopmann now on the score sheet more regularly - The Potters aren't going away.

As we meet them in early April, a two all draw isn't any help. But this story isn't getting any less intense when we make it through to the Champions League semi-final, after sending Sevilla FC battered and bruised home from Craven Cottage at the end of the 1/4 finals, it must be fate that Fulham and Stoke shall meet on their way to European glory.

As we let a two goal lead slip in the league game, Stoke does the same in the first leg of the CL semi. And we let a one goal lead go in the second leg.... a costly one; Stoke wins 2-1 and goes on play for the big one; the final against Napoli, the eternal runner-up.... coming close so many times to win the Serie A for a first time since 1990, they'll never quite managed to get it over the line, even 53 years later!

On home soil a gap has been opening now. Even a defeat at Man City - the first after 22 games - doesn't derail us. Normal service resumes five days later: 2-0 over Chelsea; The Dutch connection Maas and Koopman on the score sheet.

We can only beat ourselves now. One hand on the trophy, third last game of the season at home against West Ham: Spaenhoven bags two goals and only a quarter of an hour gone in the game! It's party time at Craven cottage, there isn't anyone or anything denying Fulham FC to win this very first Premier League title in its long standing history!

A phenomenal season! The big signings all delivered. Most importantly Koopmann was the man who pushed us over the edge.... to be a near unbeatable force! After a quiet start to his Fulham career he managed to net 13 goals in 18 games in the end.

His partner in crime, fellow Dutchman Ilian Maas with another stellar season, scoring 19 goals. If one wants to be nit picking: no Cup success. Out in the League Cup and FA Cup way too early and unable to get an advantage over the line against Stoke in the Champions League semi-final. But you can't have it all. Those Cup competitions sometimes comes down to luck, and the Champions League isn't for nothing such an incredibly tough competition to win.

To finally win a "big" title, though, is what had eluded me for so long of this 25 now year long managerial career. Arguably the sweetest title won? Possibly the most impressive one and the one I never thought to see coming. So long in the business but never been given the chance to manage in one of the big leagues.... I had to make my own luck, bringing up Fulham and then quietly, without any external pressure having the opportunity to build something special.


The architects of Fulham's success:


The premier League winning tactic:


KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038
Celtic (SCO): July 2038 - June 2039
Fulham (UK): June 2039 -

The Porridge Flo
03-09-18, 06:31 PM
43 years after Bayern Munich broke St-Etienne hearts, Les Verts are the champions of Europe!


You had the football gods with you in both the semi and the big final! Crazy penalty shootout against Bayern.... wonderful to see Ballack missing the decisive one, though!
Still can't quite get my head around at seeing Bale and Kroos playing in the same team as 'lumberjack' Jens Nowotny!

03-09-18, 07:57 PM
And so, having been comfortable leaders at Christmas time, we conspired to throw our advantage away. With 7 games remaining it was neck-and-neck...


...and with just one game to go, it could barely have been tighter...


We faced Everton away in the season showstopper. Manchester City headed to Selhurst Park to play Crystal Palace. The title was out of our hands, but we knew what we had to do, and then just pray that City choked.

It's become a theme of this career that every season goes down to the wire, and this one was no different. I was anxious and frustrated that I'd once again perhaps blown the chance to win my first long-awaited league title. However, in all my years playing CM I don't think I've ever experienced a more dramatic finish...

City rolled into an early two goal lead at Palace with just 11 minutes gone, and my optimism vanished.

We were also doing what we had to do. Goals from Myron Boadu on 3 minutes and 17 minutes meant that the status quo remained. The title looked to be heading to Manchester.

But then... late first half goals from Crystal Palace levelled it up at the break! 2-2! As things stood, the title was ours. Everton had pulled a goal back in our game but we were still dominant, and then...

...on 58 minutes, Gyfli Sigurdsson grabbed an equaliser for the Toffees. Heartbreak. I went all out attack for the winning goal we desperately needed, all the while anxiously checking the other game, just waiting for City to snatch a late winner that would kill our hopes.

And then, in the 81st minute, the unmarked Khama Billiat fired us into the lead! One minute later, at Selhurst Park, to my astonishment, Palace had gone in front! A complete turnaround! Now we just had to hold on, and hold on we did. City had capitulated, and we had stolen victory from them at the death. I'd never seen anything like it!


Just a week earlier, we had beaten Manchester United to win the FA Cup with another late goal


This was after already having won the League Cup with an extra time victory over Everton. The trophies, at long last, were rolling in. What a breathtaking season!

I thought long and hard about whether to stay and try to crack the Champions League with Wolves, but I felt that I'd been there too long, and would never be able to top this season, so I applied for countless jobs in the summer. With no one taking me on, however, I stayed as a kind of caretaker (and to build my reputation) until late October when Sassuolo of Italy took a chance on me.


They were stuck down in 12th place in Serie A with 8 games played, and their squad consisted of mediocre players on extravagant wages, with the one exception being forward Domenico Berardi.

My time at Sassuolo was, quite frankly, the stuff of nightmares. It had started well enough, scrapping the odd victory here and there, but in the new year things started to go badly wrong. My January purchases failed to hit the ground running, the defence was a shambles, and nothing I did could arrest the poorest run of results I'd suffered so far in my career


In my short and unhappy time there, I'd taken the club backwards, and it was a minor miracle the chairman hadn't decided to fire me. I was running out of ideas, and desperate for the season to end so I could get my hands on some money for the transfer window when all of a sudden, my salvation came in the form of a miracle...


I had landed my dream job, and now had hope that this could be my platform to attempt to conquer Italy. I have not played a game yet, but the aim in the short term is simple for me: finish above Sassuolo and try not to repeat that disaster.


Having managed to steer my new club Fiorentina to a respectable 8th place finish, once the transfer window opened I brought in 27 players for a colossal total of £264m (10 of them poached from my former club Wolves) to try to win the Serie A in my first full season with the club. 19 players were shown the door in another hard hearted cull.

Perhaps the stand out signing on paper was a Basque striker named Gorka Guruzeta who I had signed at Wolves but never appeared in competition for me as by the time he joined I had departed for Sassuolo. His qualities looked great, and at £20m I felt it a steal, and he would go on to play in all but one of our league games as the lone striker.


However the star man turned out to be a surprise, as he was a player already at the club before my arrival, an attacking midfielder who I came very close to selling before mercifully having a change of heart and pulling out of a deal already agreed with Genoa. He was without question the driving force behind our success, and even managed to nail down a first choice midfield position for the Italian national team during an absolutely outstanding season.


It turned out to be a successful campaign, Guruzeta scoring one of his 30 goals as we beat Juventus 3-0 to win the Coppa Italia, another key new recruit, £30m winger Federico Chiesa bagging the other two


With no European football to clutter our calendar, we were relatively untroubled in Serie A for the vast majority of the season, and we wrapped things up with 3 games to spare.



This was my first title in my 3 years in Italy, but I would not stay to compete in the Champions League as I sought a fresh challenge in a new league, with newly relegated French second division outfit Montpellier, a club experiencing grave troubles down near the foot of the table, and haemorrhaging money on ageing former stars on gigantic wages.

But I had become tired of buying my way to success with Wolves and Fiorentina, and was looking forward to the task of 'firefighting' at a smaller, poorer, and less fashionable club, and making do with the players already here. With a mediocre squad, and a terrible first 8 games under the previous boss, promotion may just be beyond us in year one, but I have made it my aim to win Ligue 2 in the next two years.



EDIT: Save corrupted ONE DAY into my Montpellier job. No idea why, but it seems terminal.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
04-09-18, 12:04 PM
You had the football gods with you in both the semi and the big final! Crazy penalty shootout against Bayern.... wonderful to see Ballack missing the decisive one, though!
Still can't quite get my head around at seeing Bale and Kroos playing in the same team as 'lumberjack' Jens Nowotny!

Yep, 2019 was very much 'our year', also with the equaliser in the FA Cup final with the last kick of the 90 and Lille losing in the last day of the season when they had only been beaten twice previously, we had all the luck going our way.

To be honest I was both hoping and expecting that it would take a little bit longer to win the Champions League with Saint-Étienne, perhaps 5 or 6 seasons, so it was a surprise to win it in 4, especially considering that the foundation for that success was players already in the squad (Meslien, Emerson, Sablé, Alex, Deom) and players that we could buy in the second division (Angel Luis, Ryan Williams, Samir Duro).

But win it we did, and having achieved the aim I set out to achieve I have resigned, and will look for another storied challenge to take on after taking a little break.

15-09-18, 05:52 PM
The 2032/2033 season ended in Northern Ireland, and this one was pretty tight, for the title and the relegation


Sport & Leisure and Loughgall, the two biggest sides, stayed close to each other all year long. S&L had a better start before their blue opponents really began their effort. January saw S&L taking off, breaking the "most matchs without defeat record" in the process but at the same time Loughgall sitll had 2-3 games postponed. They took back the lead before two late direct confrontations where they were badly mauled by the future champion. Those two clubs are "mature", with S&L reaching yet again the CL second group stage. Loughgall finished 3rd in the first stage, won an UEFA round before elimination.

The real surprise came from Lurgan. They made some lucky signings, filling the gaps where needed to present a cohesive team. Their UEFA Qual. was pretty short (as usual in this competition)

A disappointing season for Distillery which didn't confirm their recent years. The line up is more than correct but UEFA games are conflicting with the NI League Cup calendar which as a result are conflicting with league matchs. Early december they had 10 league games postponed. It wasn't long before the squad lost faith in their manager (even with 30 potential points to take) and they quite literally stopped playing. This team is frustrating as there is no real possibility to reconcile all those matchs within an awkward schedule. At least, they reached the same round as Loughgall in UEFA.

Armagh and Newry performed as expected, domestically and in Europe. Bangor, while promoted, weren't that week and secured their near future fairly rapidly.

Glenavon gave the same show than Distillery (they were in the same situation with the same commitments) albeit with no budget and a way weaker squad, resulting in a poor domestic season. The team spirit disintegrated and most of the team really dislike my skills now. But UEFA Cup made the whole thing going wrong : after beating Real Madrid (3rd, La Liga), PSG (1st, Ligue 1) avec Liverpool (1st, EPL), Glenavon reached the semi, facing NAC Breda (mid table in dutch Premier), only loosing after extra-time. This process brought cash and fame over a bunch of either grumpy titulars or 17 year old rookies more comfortable when it comes to score against Europe biggest fishes than their not so daunting league counterparts (the rookies were so good against Liverpool it was frightening). And what happens when poorly doing players get famous ? They attract medias which bring them down again and again, tearing the squad much more, and sooner or latter your boss turns discontend about the way you're handling the critics. In the end, Glenavon manager job is insecure, but his UEFA performances earned him the "best NI manager of the year" title !

Nothing much to say about Ballinamallard and Carrick as their failure was predictable. Without budget only lucky scout findings can help to save a team from departures. It just wasn't their case this time !

For the next season NI UEFA rank stayed the same, still 8th, with a slightly decrease in coefficient (from 37.8 to 37.75). This means we can still send 8 teams in Europe. Now with 4 clubs with anough money to really keep or strengthen their squad, I expect a little more for 2033/2034, but Distillery and Glenavon aren't the best clubs to perform miracles...

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
16-09-18, 07:34 AM
Great write up, Sure!

The Porridge Flo
14-10-18, 01:16 AM
Ten days after letting Fulham know the "job is done"... I'm about to receive the call each and every manager is waiting for, wholeheartedly knowing it'll never come. Although this one comes in a situation hardly anyone could have envisioned only a few years back - least myself!

The club, a 36x national league title- and 10x Champions League winner, in dire need of a miracle in order to prevent a shock relegation from the top flight. Got to admit, actually the idea was to let the next season get under way first and then simply wait for the right opportunity to emerge as the weeks and months progress. But when lifetime opportunities emerge you have to be ready to grab them with both hands. It's the once in a lifetime opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the greats of football management: Cruyff, Guardiola and Weisweiler.

How long or potentially rather short lived my spell in Barcelona is going to be depends entirely on one single game. The next one. At the same time the final one of the 2042/43 La Liga season. There may be a little bit of magic needed to save the big club from falling to the same fate as El Classico rival Real Madrid has already experienced a few years ago: the Segunda Division.


Not having won any of any of their last five games, Barca slipped down to 18th - the relegation zone. Survival is out of their hands. The writing was on the wall last season already when Barcelona finished in eight, but played an incredibly poor second half of the season. This campaign simply confirmed that last year wasn't only a bad patch but in fact the "real deal".

And no surprise, really: an old (average age 29), lackluster squad, set up by the previous management to take to the field in an ultra-
defensive 5-3-2 - this isn't what one would associate with the glorious FC Barcelona. Nonetheless, the club continues to feel the appreciation of its enormous fan base, topping the league wide attendance with average crowds of over 103.000 at Camp Nou!

What I find at Barca truly shocks me. A poor bunch of assistant coaches who haven't a clue about training; only two physios, an ageing squad - and those with a bit of talent have already signed for other clubs next season. Every man for himself, or what?!

Fate will be decided against Deportivo La Coruna - at least Barca have home advantage. Over 106.000 at Camp Nou, creating an unbelievable atmosphere.... that is until only the seventh minute of the game, when central midfielder Pedrazza receives a red card after a heated exchange with the referee about something banal. What a wonderful start to my managerial Barca career! With ten men against the 3rd of La Liga, in a desperate bid to stay avoid relegation.

Despite being one man down, the counter-attacking oriented 3-4-1 holds up well in the preceding minutes. Turns out age equals experience (who'd have thought?!) and that's exactly what's needed this night - at least once this squad riddled with ageing veterans is a good thing.

Half an hour played, a rare sighting: Barca in the opponents box - corner, Andre Moskl jumps highest and heads home for the lead!

Half-time, Almeria is losing. Good for us, we'd stay in the league, if the results stays the same. Survival seems all the more likely after 59 minutes thanks to a beauty of a strike by Martin Quist! A real "Youngster" in the team with 28 years of age, was a €99 million signing twelve months ago, finally returns some dividends on the investment the club has made.

But drama isn't far away. Only five minutes later, Depor pulls one back.... another seven minutes later, left-back Diego Sanchez commits one foul too many - a second yellow, he's off, and we're tasked with holing off a Depor onslaught with nine men! All the while the other results go our way - all that's needed now: don't concede another goal!!

Nail-biting minutes. No easing of the pressure the away side applies. Attack after attack on the goal of veteran keeper David Mena, who's in his tenth season at the club. With minutes to go, a relieving counter-attack suddenly sees Julius Herrera with plenty of space marching toward Depor goal. The veteran keeps his cool to score clearly the decisive goal?! A final free-kick in injury time. Another firm grab by Mena, who falls to the ground, burring the ball beneath him.... and then it's over!

Over in Camp Nou and over anywhere else also? An agonizing look to check the latest results.... relieve. Almeria does the good deed and isn't having a dramatic comeback. FC Barcelona will remain in La Liga for another year.


Summer time is time for a clear-out. With over one billion €uro in the bank it's clearly time to shop too. Never before did I ifind myself in the position to invest such an enormous amount of money. The world is your oyster.... I guess? It's big business, and as the players come and go, the expectations rise as well. Yes, Barca was rotten the last number of years. That's doesn't mean there aren't expectations. There are always expectations at big clubs. Got nearly relegated? You're the manager to rectify all the problems - Here's the check-book....

As 20 players leave the club for €88 million, another 20 come in for a mind boggling €472 million, including €105 million for 28 year old Argentinian striker Paulo Abregu from league rival Malaga!

It's not like that it would be plain sailing, though. This is La Liga after all. Most clubs have enormous spending power. The bank accounts are filled to the brim not only in Barcelona. I feel that right from the start how competitive this league is. Despite investing nearly half a billion €uro, we're not starting like a team that's gonna fly away.

In fact a 6-5-2 start after 13 games is a far cry from the expectations club and fans have. It doesn't help that an injury crisis strikes at this early part of the season, even the € 105 million man finds himself on the sideline and we're also down to centre back number five in the packing order.

On the other hand, once you're rolling you're rolling. Momentum is a fine thing. As key players come back from their respective injury related absences the team finds form. With no distractions, such as European football this season, a few adjustments tactically bring more balance as well, as my idea of an ultra-aggressive, attacking- and passing oriented 3-5-1-1 certainly didn't provide enough balance between scoring and not conceding.

Halfway through the season, the winter transfer window opens, and the opportunity to bring in king Illias opens up as my "foster-son" doesn't get enough game time at Fulham any more. The new man in charge there isn't a fan of the Dutch genius. For €5 million the signing of Illias Maas is an absolute bargain. It's the fourth time I sign the now 32 year old forward. It shall turn out to be the signing that transforms this Barca team into a near unstoppable machine.

Obviously Maas will play in the attacking midfield role right behind the lone striker. Right from the first minute of Maas on the pitch it becomes clear hee'll link up beautifully with Paulo Abregu - indeed, these two will trike a very special partnership over the next few months. Abregu has done well up to this point, though nowhere near as good as the expectations created by his incredible transfer fee.

This all changes in the second half of the season as things click; the games, wins and goals fly by. Abregu will end the season with 26 goals and a handful of assists. Maas, who plays 21 league games, scores 16 and assists 7. These two alone ensure Barcelona is finally a big club again as the La Liga title can be celebrated with a few weeks to spare, and a superb 21 pints advantage to the second best - Cadiz!


History has shown, all I truly care about is winning the league title. Once that's done the job is done. But this is different. This is a rare opportunity. The opportunity to manage the biggest club in the world. The opportunity to build something special. Something that will result in the one piece of silverware that's still missing: the Champions League!

Without being cocky, there is no doubt we should have no trouble to go back-to-back in La Liga. This squad is already incredibly strong. Another summer will provide ample opportunity to strengthen it in depth. And to have a real go at European glory. Something I came close at Fulham. Yet the Champions League is such a tough competition to win for a reason. You need a strong team and the bit of luck at the right moment....

Twelve signings bolster the depth of the squad for the season. And that all for a mere €287 million. Star attraction is 27 year old midfielder Asier Mejias - he comes from Malaga for €95 million. No doubt I expect great things from him. First and foremost leadership. From now on he's only called "El Capitano".

Having a squad of nearly three top class XI's at my disposal it's seems to be a bit of a struggle early on in the new season to find the best combination of talent. It's shame the game of football only allows a maximum of 11 players per team. it's SO tempting to play 25. They are all so good!

In saying that, struggle is probably the wrong word. The creme always rises to the top. A few drawn games in league and Champions League aren't a big deal as with every passing week the team gels more and the dominance of our performances comes to the forefront.

The same could also be said about Cadiz C.F. - last season's runner-up in La Liga. The club from the beautiful coast of Andalucia matches u stride for stride after investing nearly €120 million in new legs themselves.

We barely beat them in the Supercopa before the start of the season over the two legs. Now that it really matters, Cadiz makes life tough for us. We escape with a bloody nose from Estadio Ramón de Carranza, saving a point thanks to a late goal, but probably should have lost, in what is only the 13th game of the season. Worse, though, in the Spanish Cup. A date with Cadiz results in defeat. A wake-up call?

In the Champions League we qualify easily for the second group phase, after having to deal with an emotional return to Craven Cottage in the first group stage. Fulham, despite not able to retain the Premier League crown last season, remains a superb football team. We draw both group games with them. The second group stage is easier - surprisingly. How was that about the cream' rising to the top? There's little cream here on offer, expect for Barcelona, of course, in a group with Everton Cologne and Dunkerque. The only points left on the table are a one-all draw with Cologne.

By March La Liga is pretty much done and dusted. Cadiz can't keep up with the relentless pace we set. We simply can't lose. Maas and Abregu still reign the boxes of our opponents. But also "El Capitano" or playmaker Antonio Santos Silva - a €84 million signing before this season - chipping in with goals. So does young Danish striker Peter Sarish, who leads the striking force usually in the Champions League but doesn't let opportunities go by whenever brought from the bench in La Liga either. The squad is so deep that whenever one supposedly key players is missing to to injury or suspensions another one simply fills in his shoes effortless.

It's only a matter of when, not if we can retain our La Liga crown. With more than a handful of league games still to go we can already celebrate - we're so far ahead!

Eventually we win the title by 28 points ahead of Cadiz, remain unbeaten - in fact for a consecutive 52 games - and improved in any metric compared to last season. Maas (16G/7A) and Paulo Abregu (29/5/8.71 in 28 games) remained the driving forces, but also Peter Saric (16/4 in 10[8] games) as well as "El Capitano" (6/12) and Antonio Santos Silva (11/5) had significant impact on the 96 goals we scored throughout the season.


No means feast, that is, as La Liga remains a top top league. As we progress through the second group stage in the Champions League, we demolish Dutch champion NAC Breda 6-1 on aggregate in the first KO round.... and meet Levante in the semi-final.

The small club from Valencia only finishes 7th in La Liga but is a tough nut to crack. A 1-1 in the away leg is a rather lucky escape for us... it all reminds me a bit of the same time of the year two years ago, when Fulham and I were big favourites against Torino in the semi-final and lost in the end. Not this time, though. 3-1 at home, inf front of 116.000 at Camp Nou - booked a spot in the Champions League final, that is going to be held at the magnificent Berlin Olympiastadion. It couldn't be more appropriate. The city I call my second home, where half my family still lives....

.... in our way stands Cadiz C.F., though. Back-to-back runner-up in La Liga, Cadiz is the only team that has beaten us this season: in the 3rd round of the Spanish Cup!

We found it difficult in the past to break down this tough team from Cadiz. In fact, they dominated in the majority of games over the last two seasons. So I change things up a little bit for the final. A more direct game plan should help to transition as quickly as possible from attack to defence, hitting them on the counter. That's the plan at least.

A plan that works to perfection in the first half of the 2044/45 Champions League final. As Cadiz loses the ball deep in our end, three quick, direct passed into the open space result in a free run on goal by Paulo Abregu. If you leave this man unmarked you're punished. Simple as that!

It's not that simple from there on, unfortunately. There aren't many more opportunities to hit them on the break. However, there are many more high danger chances for Cadiz. Szabolcs Horvarth in goal has to stand on his head to keep the ball out of the net. The man pulls off some incredible stops.... as minute by minute ticks by, the look to the watch becomes more frequent, culminating in sheer hope for the final whistle!

One final corner. Even Cadiz keeper Ismael Borrego throws himself into the battle in unfamiliar territory. He stands no chance as Horvarth picks the ball put out of the air. And then it's over!!! The seven year long draught ended for Barca - the big club is finally the biggest of them all again.

The fitting end to a season that's could be described in as many superlatives as you like. The FC Barcelona is finally back to where it belongs: the very top - not only in Spain but in Europe as well. Reflecting at this point on my humble beginnings in Finland's second division, it is hard to believe to have made it that far. What's next? Is there still anything left? That's the question.... Fighting hard over so many years - 28 in total, to be precise, after those last years of living through incredible success with all its riches associated, is there still hunger in me?

Maybe. Of so, it has to be right opportunity. Maybe to grow something again, similar to the near decade long adventure in Norway at the wonderful Jerv FK, that could be exciting....


The Barcelona winning tactic:


The stars that ran the show:






KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038
Celtic (SCO): July 2038 - June 2039
Fulham (UK): June 2039 - May 2043
Barcelona (ESP): May 2043 - June 2045

14-10-18, 07:34 PM
Started a save due to last one crashing. Loaded England, France, Germany, Spain, Scotland and Italy. The plan is to win the CL in each country with a club from a Town/City I have visited. Started off with Beziers and now into my 6th season in Ligue 1 after winning the league last year and reaching the CL Semi Final. Annoyingly despite the board increasing us to a 21000 capacity we are still averaging just under 14K through the gate.

Stand out signings in my time so far have been Eric Ayiah (£5m) he has scored 156 goals in the last 4 seasons. Also Nicolas Janvier a DMC who has been solid.

Hopefully I can grab the CL this season and move on!

http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h62/paullevicount/Beziers%20History_zpsjnld0gta.png (http://s61.photobucket.com/user/paullevicount/media/Beziers%20History_zpsjnld0gta.png.html)

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
21-10-18, 07:51 AM
What I find at Barca truly shocks me. A poor bunch of assistant coaches who haven't a clue about training; only two physios, an ageing squad - and those with a bit of talent have already signed for other clubs next season. Every man for himself, or what?!

Yay, been waiting for an update :) And then missed it when I went on vacation

Ilias Maas, what a guy!Was it Randers where he came through with you? He is pretty unassuming based on his stats alone, but every time he seems to be the piece of the puzzle that lifts all his teammates to a higher level. Do you have any idea whose regen he is, actually?

Congrats on the Barca success, even if it is to some extent the expected result. They will probably sweep all before them for a few seasons now, having had a human manager build a squad in excess of what pretty much any other team will have. It could be time to build something up again... or are you brave enough to try take them down with a big club from another league?

24-10-18, 08:38 PM
I play a lot of saves that I switch between and I rarely have/take the time to update about them, but I just finished a season on my "Danish" save where I took control of the entire Danish second division and then I'll see where the managers go from there. 4 seasons done and most managers are still at their original cubs - of the four that were relegated and thus auto-sacked in the first season one took over a newly promoted Danish club, one went to the Swedish second division, one went to the German regionalliga and one somewhat surprisingly was appointed manager of the Austrian national team.
There are also some rules that I play by: I play the same flat 4-4-2 tactic on all teams (it's making team selections easier when it's so many teams and so many players to keep track of when I don't have to look for DMs and AMs but can just sort on midfielders), I always and only attempt to sign players my scouts recommend as "excellent", and I always pick the team based on form, except that players who got 5 or lower in the last first team game are dropped if other players are available.
Managers are allowed to move from their clubs when they win the top league in their nation (I think, I haven't gotten to that point yet).
Also, any player who gets a rating of 5 or lower is relegated to the reserves, and any player who at the end of the season has played games and has an average rating of 6.50 or lower goes in the reserves as well. A player who gets 9 or 10 in a reserve game gets promoted, as does a player who has one reserve man of the match awards per level from the bottom (so 1 in the bottom division, 2 in the one above it etc). Reserve team players only get to play if there are no first team players available in that position.

Anyway, here is how the 15 clubs and one nation did in the 2004 and 2004/5 seasons:

Kalix have two players in the squad, a young striker that was promoted from the youth team and a 36 years old coach/player who doesn't have more than half a leg to run on and who gets a rating of 5 about every other game. No scouts (and as such no potential signings) have been available until the last month or so, and the two I now have haven't found any excellent players yet. At least I have two scouts now, though, so there's hope of an expanding squad in the near future.


Fremad Amager are getting some UEFA Cup experience next year, whereas Hjørring surprisingly were relegated.

Close race for 2nd place here, and Dalum were several points ahead of the third placed team for a good while before collapsing somewhat after the winter break. HIK only have one goalkeeper but thankfully he avoided injuries and suspensions.


Svendborg secured the title in the last game but the promotion spots were decided some games before the end. Neither Svendborg nor Slagelse have any goalkeepers except the grey ones, so I am surprised they did so well.


Over to Germany, where Baunatal started with no players and one scout 3 seasons ago and now have a squad of some 20-25 players, but no goalkeeper so a sweeper is standing in there. He's unhappy about being retrained to goalkeeper and has some poor games every now and then, but all in all I think he does a more than passable job as makeshift goalkeeper. There's no left back in the squad either so a right back is filling in there. I use the same players every game for those two positions so I don't mess up the other players percieved performances.


Austria are doing quite well in their World Cup qualification group, even though the top slot seems to be securely in Italy's pocket. They look rather unbeatable at the moment. 3 games remaining, and Austria are playing Andorra at home before travelling to Luxembourg and then to a potentially important game away against Finland.


Managing 16 clubs/nations there's a lot of good players and fun players and interesting nationalities and lots of players who just get a few games and do ok and then become 15th choice out of 18 forwards in the first team squad (I think 18 is the most forwards I have in a 1st team squad at the moment), but some players just excel, and I think that adjusted for the level he's playing at this guy is the best player I am managing at the moment. He's indisputably been the best player in the Danish second division, and I think he'll do well in the diision above next year as well, and probably further up as well.

(I am naming my Brazillians after natural sattelites in the Solar System in this save, so many of them get female names).

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
25-10-18, 12:39 PM
(I am naming my Brazillians after natural sattelites in the Solar System in this save, so many of them get female names).

Probably my favourite quote on the forums.

It is also great looking at the state of Danish football in 01/02, so many of those clubs have either gone bust, or (more usually) rebooted/merged and set up new entities. So Hjørring is now Vendsyssel, I think, while FC Nordjylland only existed for a couple of seasons in total. Also, Fremad Amager finishing second :D But I suppose their participation in the top league is not that out of the question one day.

25-10-18, 07:25 PM
I'm guessing at least some of those clubs with regional names like Nordjylland/Midtjylland/Sønderjylland are some sort of collaborative effort between several clubs from the same area. This was common in Norway around that time as well, that several teams in an area cooperated to bring one club to a good level. Sarpsborg 08 which is in the top division in Norway is the result of such an effort, for example - though there were a few failed attempts at doing it in Sarpsborg (with and without former top clubs like Sarpsborg Fotballklubb and Sparta) before they finally managed to do it right with that club.

About the Brazillians: I like giving my Brazillians nicknames, and it gets boring always naming them after their real names or after Roman emperors or whatnot, so I've taken to finding something a bit random which has a lot of potential names. It can be a list of kings, characters in a play, or as in this example celestial objects, or other such things. In another save I'm naming them after monarchs of Mercia (those two are two Wikipedia pages I have open for that purpose at the moment) :D

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
25-10-18, 08:34 PM
Screenshot of Penda, please :D

25-10-18, 08:54 PM
Started with Icel which was the founder of the Iclingas dynasty (and lead the Angels across the North Sea) and haven't had enough Brazillians to get to Penda yet (only Icel as of yet, actually) - will try to remember to take one when I get there :p

The Porridge Flo
26-10-18, 12:21 AM
Yay, been waiting for an update :) And then missed it when I went on vacation

Ilias Maas, what a guy!Was it Randers where he came through with you? He is pretty unassuming based on his stats alone, but every time he seems to be the piece of the puzzle that lifts all his teammates to a higher level. Do you have any idea whose regen he is, actually?

Congrats on the Barca success, even if it is to some extent the expected result. They will probably sweep all before them for a few seasons now, having had a human manager build a squad in excess of what pretty much any other team will have. It could be time to build something up again... or are you brave enough to try take them down with a big club from another league?

Thanks Kenny!

As much I can say already: Barca seems to find it impossible to choose my successor and leaves the position of the manager blank... for years to come! And that leads to some incredibly weird decisions at the club as they sell half the CL winning squad within months of me leaving. :crazy:

You're right. Whatever it is about this Dutch lad - he's always been the missing puzzle. Signed him as an 18 year old on a free through the scout youth search at Pogoń Szczecin: a fair talent, nothing more, even by Polish league standards. From there the two of us teamed up at every club bar that single season at Celtic.... and won four different league titles plus the Champions League together. What a star! One who's been consistently top class at every level, despite, as you rightly point out, attributes that wouldn't blow your mind. Would love to know whose regen he is - is that possible to find out somehow? I'm not too familiar with the editors unfortunately.


Season 2045/46:

The offers fly in over the summer months. From Germany, Italy, Spain and even as far afield as a reigning Copa Liberetadores champion! Regardless, I stay put, waiting for the right opportunity to emerge. For as long as I can think there was a deep desire to manage in the French leagues. I've always been fond of French football. Yet, over the last 28 years of my managerial career the opportunity never emerged. Not a single offer.

It doesn't have to be a top club....... it certainly isn't, as a I put pen to paper in early October 2045. Ligue 2, the club I'm signing on with is quite a mouthful: Union Sportive Quevillaise-Rouen Métropole!

The club, a 2015 merger of local teams US Quevilly and FC Rouen, has been freshly promoted to the second tier of French football. Still early days in the new season, nonetheless everything points to the same fate that has befallen the club on a few other occasions in the past: prompt relegation.

https://image.ibb.co/kxAG5q/usqstart-his.jpg (https://ibb.co/h7Q5yA)

With ten games gone, USQ is without a win for a full months now. On the positive side: there remains plenty of time to turn this around. Certainly no budget is available for transfers. USQ is in danger of suffocating under the burden of more than €11 million in debt.

The squad is made of rather talentless youngsters, a few veterans close to retirement and a majority of unhappy loan players. Quite a change from the abundance of incredible talent on offer at Barcelona.

Standing in front of these players as a Champions League winner clearly seems to encourage them to listen closely to what I have to say. They follow tactical instructions to perfection a mere three days after my arrival, as USQ hosts St. Etienne. More than 7000 make up quite a decent crowd - loan midfielder Frank Cabezas from Turkish Super Lig side Kayserispor is the star of the night, bagging two goals during an exciting 3-2 win!

It might be the new managers effect, but the start to this new chapter could hardly be more positive, given the circumstances. Five more wins, and only three defeats until the end of the year - we're out of the relegation zone and might even have a cheeky look up, as the year turns 2046.

Two Dutch midfielders join us in January to bolster the depth of the squad. In fact, we have quite a bit of talent on the attacking front. The bigger issue becomes the ever increasing leakage at the back. A few injuries, a few red cards and the structure is gone.

By March it becomes even more increasingly clear: USQ is back in a deep crisis. Not a single win for the last seven games: we score goals but concede even more. The new managers effect is long a distant memory and I need to concede that attempting to squeeze this limited bunch of players into a tactical system that worked wonders at Fulham and Barcelona, does in fact overwhelm the USQ squad. Particularly as a few key players are missing. A new, simpler system needs to be found; one that can play somehow to the advantages of the remaining healthy individuals.

The situation only gets worse week by week. It looks grim by end of April. Three games to go, we're second last, five points adrift. Staying in the league isn't in our hands any more. It doesn't help that the West Stand of the Stade Robert Diochon gets closed for health and safety reasons.

We're not losing any of the last three. There is a real fightback. Nonetheless, it's not enough in the end.

A 2-0 success on the final day of the season sees us moving up, on same points with safety.... relegated on goal difference, regardless. It's a "first" for me as a manager. Twelve months ago I celebrated the highest point of my career, lifting the Champions League trophy in the Berlin Olympiastadion. Right here right now it's the low point.... football is a game that moves on quickly and doesn't wait for the ones living in the past. Despite a positive record of eight wins and nine draws in 28 games in charge of USQ - one of the eleven defeats was one too many.

https://preview.ibb.co/mAp4rV/usq-relegation.jpg (https://ibb.co/dBQNdA)

Job offers arrive from far and wide... and they will continue to do that for a while. Some are quite exciting. But I have to stay and rectify this blemish on my CV. Not that it's getting any easier. The Debt has risen to near €17 million.

Season 2046/47:

More than half the team has left. The talented loan players gone, the rest either not asked to stay or not willing to extend expiring contracts. The challenge is to bring in a bit of quality in order to achieve promotion right away. Certainly that's the expectation from the board. And nothing less is my very own expectation either.

13 new faces - all on free transfers, players without clubs, who - so I hope - have the drive to prove their previous employers wrong - are brought in to help get USQ back in to the second tier of French football. I'm quite satisfied with the fire power of the squad. We've got four pretty decent strikers for this level. Having been able to keep Damien Fachan and Ousseynou Sarr at the club - both strikers already with a fair goal tally last season - feels like a big coup. Major doubts remain over the quality of the defensive unit. Without any money, being a small club without any sort of reputation, we have to take what's left at the bottom of the bin.

On course half-way through the season. As hoped, an excellent striking force bails us out week after week; even if we allow two stupid goals on an alarmingly frequent basis - it's not more only because the signing of Dutch keeper Edwin Haar turns out to be a lucky one - we're able to answer in spectacular fashion.

As the weather turns grim, our performances become rather patchy. We limp over the new year. Up on top of the table, everything seems on track, nonetheless. That is about to change. If an unsteady January is only a foretaste of what is to come, Spring turns out to be the season of hell.

As we hit a massive form slump, largely down to a string of unlucky injuries and stupid red cards, the buffer we had to the non-relegation spots is long eaten away. Pressure rises, the fans become increasingly irritated, and for the first time in quite long a time there is something like pressure on my person.

With promotion in real danger as the days get warmer and longer, the board makes it clear that positive results are currency of here and now. That is if I want to keep my job. Not so sure any more if I want that, actually. This club is going to the dogs. The board can't or isn't willing to contribute any money to ease the burden of debt. This bunch of thankless players, who'd all be unemployed if not for me, have the arrogance to complain how unhappy they are without looking in the mirror, do a bit of self-reflection and putting in some bloody shifts on the weekend.

In the end we miss promotion. Not by much, but we miss it.

Everyone at the club - board, players, manager and fans - is fed up with the situation. Still, there is a bit of credit left in the bank as far as my person is concerned. I'm not getting the sack. Not yet at least. Instead, I'm allowed to stay on to continue the rebuild. But do I want that? As the number behind the red minus on the club bank account changes to €20 million, it starts to feel like my time at USQ comes to an end. It's been a big misunderstanding, I suppose.... merde!

https://preview.ibb.co/gyLr5q/usq-47-full.jpg (https://ibb.co/evsSdA)

KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038
Celtic (SCO): July 2038 - June 2039
Fulham (UK): June 2039 - May 2043
Barcelona (ESP): May 2043 - June 2045
Quevilly-Rouen: October 2045-

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
26-10-18, 01:54 PM
No Ilias Mass, you see :)

If you check Ilias Maas's PA in CM Scout or similar then there is a good chance we can figure out who the original players was. We already know he is Dutch FLC, balance 12, bravery 13, flair 11 and preferred foot left only. If you have a save game from early in your career you can also load that in CM Scout and search a player with the same profile.

26-10-18, 03:01 PM
The 33/34 season ended in Northern Ireland. It's time to draw the conclusions of this year which had been... strange and disappointing. Remember, there are 16 human controled NI clubs in a world where only the most flat 4-4-2 is played !

(note : all the names in bold are pictured here : https://imgur.com/a/6sgRqe7)

In Europe, our clubs did nothing really exciting. Sports & Leisure did as usual, winning their first group in CL, and battling bravely in a tight second stage where they finally were eliminated. Loughgall exploded Hapoel Tel-Aviv with an aggregated score of 7-2, qualifying themselves to the CL groups where they finished 4th, missing the UEFA place. And in UEFA no team went further than the 3rd round : Distillery, our best chance, faced future Netherlands champions Ajax for the first game and lost to them with an aggregated score of 4-5. We won't raise our UEFA coefficient with this kind of results...

Domestically, it was... well... worse in some aspects. Let's take a look at our Pointometer :

And our new tool, the Shootometer :

S&L OK, Distillery OK, then... Armagh and Crusaders ? Wh-what !? Where are Loughgall ?

Well. S&L did the job, winning their fifth national title in a row. Baba Annan, the new striker, was absolutely brilliant, and was crowned best rated and best scorer this year. But the victory resulted of a fine collective performance, with players like Barry McLaughlin, Darren Hutchinson, and young prodigy Diogo Cabral (PA 175 !) playing their best football. The brazilian is already eager to leave for a bigger club, with no offer so far. Concerns are DC who are now quite old and declining, and the ever decisive goalie Tim Vloet who is seeking a new challenge. No real worries as the club is outrageously rich and the future transfers, Westerhof and Bruma, have so nice profiles...

Second, Distillery. Their "premature" UEFA elimination led them with a clean schedule so they avoided the past season fixture nightmare (and the unhappiness which come usually when your opponents already played 8 to 10 games more than you). They struggled for much of the season and finally beat Armagh in the last game of the season, which allowed them to obtain the second seat for the Champions League. Their task was made easier as they snatched former S&L striker and best NIP rated ever Mohamed Laurens (8.44 last season). The fool wanted to move to a bigger club... It tooks him two weeks to realize he didn't make his wisest career move ! He was well helped by his forward stooge Davor Tokic (another former S&L player). Clever left winger Ludovic Roland as well as his right counterpart Giancarlo Criscuolo performed well while recent newcomers Sylvain Giraudon and Sergey Azizov secured the defense like only a few before them.

Third, Armagh, surprisingly. The squad looks correct but rather incomplete so their final rank was far from guaranteed. A strong play from the experimented Seydou Cissé along with remarkable performances from Manuel Mazza probably tilted the fate in their direction. Cédric Genet, Didrik Fredriksen and Thijs Alberts were especially precious in defensive situations.

I was really afraid that Crusaders could win the league. No, I didn't took special precaution to avoid this case (I was just helped that the club is so deep in debts they cannot refuse any offer), but bringing them to the CL couldn't bail them out while their squad is not ready for this kind of challenge (a real menace for our UEFA coefficient !). So, what happened ? They were promoted after one year in the second tier league, and the player roster was almost the same as it was when they were relegated. So I'd say luck. A lot of. For example, enough to make midfielder Wesley Straal the best league scorer after two months before going extinct. After this their best players moved at winter mercato, and their progression much halted. Few interesting players are still here : goalie Nat Day (superb), former Bournemouth defender Anthony Browne, seasoned indonesian playmaker Daniel Arianto and selfish forward Dennis Andersen. Seem too thin to expect miracles.

Bangor did a second serious season in NIP. No real star here, but a bunch of experienced players and a bench full of promising youngsters to fill the rank in case of need, plus a little funds. Canadian striker Chris Lenarduzzi is leading the attack. Too bad his mate Niklas Johannesson suffered a serious injury as his debuts were more than promising. Kim Jeoboam acted like a pivot, physically dominating the middle.

And comes Loughgall. What an awful season for a team which took years to shape into a competitive entity ! Not everything is lost, but the cost to pay is already huge. Why ? Well, it didn't start in a peaceful atmosphere. And that's an understatement : just in the starting eleven, five ambitious players requested a move while I received many insistant offers for four anothers. I decided to align the same team than the last season nonetheless, confiant that they were still ready to do the job. How wrong ! Soon it turned horrible, and I had to hope they could reach a simple rank just to qualify for the UEFA. It looked the guys were idle, not involved in the team anymore, resulting in OK to good performances, but without trying to score much or to avoiding to concede the hated last minute goal. Difficult to blame or to substitute a player when they all are rated 7 or higher. The first to be relegated in the reserves was Vladimir Rehak, then Joao Rebelo who was under media fire (althought he's far from bad, he's just unlucky). Even Xabier Moran (former La Liga titular with Valencia !) wasn't spared by the critics. I went up to dismiss Sam Yates (a legend here, 293 goals for Loughgall in NIP) and Ahmad Al-Midani (another legend, 101 assists in seven seasons here) from the first team, which was like putting out the Stockton-Malone pair from Utah Jazz as the duo had steamrolled the league for so long. Al-Midani already made it out, and Yates will move to Newcastle, feeling he was too good to stay at Loughgall (with a CA/PA as limited as 73/75, he's a complete jerk). Mercato brought some players, unhappiness scared some off too, and there is way too unrest to ensure the squad won't break up entirely next season (and with this all the "work" it took to bring figures like Fabian Blanco or Edwin Wesseling to the team). What a waste.

Glenavon didn't perform well despite all the cash spent in fresh faces. Much like Loughgall, all these people are playing well, but no overly well, and the ambiance suffers from this. Only half satisfactions resulted, like Sander Ortiz, and another cash was spent on well performing NIP/C players : defender Mirco Capuano from Donegal, and forward Craig Downing who was playing at an inpredictable level with Crusaders (21 goals in 21 games until december). At least they were reliable. There is still some money in the bank, but some clean up have to be done before thinking about a new wave of transferts.

Ballyclare performed as expected, and even a little more as they avoided the relegation zone. Thanks to Filippo Negro who was the best goalie in NIP this year, and Yong-Jo Scheele Moe (a north korean with norwegian roots perhaps, and a northern irish visa now) who came back from injury just in time to bring some punch to the front. Not much to say, as the club is bankrupt and unlikely to play the first roles in the future.

Lurgan finished 3rd last season, they are relegated this time. How fast and strange it happened is beyond my understanding as the team was mostly the same as it was last year. Sadly, since years they are lacking a second real striker. Erik Kjaerbye is not the providential striker anymore (he was rated 7.97 last year and scored 32) while Siboniso Mkude (7,41 last year) lost all his football. The club has enough interesting players to make it back for 35/36, and no doubt they will just terrorize the NIC for the year to come.

Newry weren't disappointing. The squad just disintegrated before the season and were unlucky with their findings. The last skilled player is Theo Moonen and many teams would like to grab him now he's frankly unhappy. Now that they collapsed, let's see how they will reform while in NIC.

NIC, how fitting :

Limavady went close to be relegated, saving themselves in the very end. (in which case I had to take a new team and start everything over again, not what I want now I managing my clubs since years). The struggle for the promotion was tense, with four team claiming two positions and a last night where the four won their game. Carrick will come back to NIP after only a year in NIC. Warrenpoint were waiting for this promotion since 2030.

A bad news to finish this post : as Institute won against Ballinamallard in the Irish Cup (defeating all the pronostics in the process), they will play in UEFA the next season (barring a team from NIP at the same time). Abolutely not what I asked for !

Don't know what to expect from 34/35...

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
26-10-18, 08:08 PM
Really love these updates, Sure! Shootometer :)

31-10-18, 01:00 PM
Wanted to try out Luessenhoff's enhanced ODB (https://champman0102.co.uk/showthread.php?t=8828), so just started a game as Liverpool for the millionth time. Had to self-impose some kind of restriction to make it interesting, so decided I'm only allowed to sign teenagers. It's been difficult.

Signings: Trond Fredrik Ludvigsen, Mark Kerr, Kim Kallstrom, John Heitinga, Marek Szmid, David van Zanten (loan)

I also stupidly decided to stray from my trusty formation to a 5-3-2 (GK, DC DC DC, DML DMR, MC MC, AMC, FC FC) to incorporate John Arne Riise (had to, I guess), so I'm playing with wing-backs for the first time in about 10 years. That's looking like a one-season experiment becasue, as you can see, it led to me getting bloody Marek Szmid and David van Zanten in to cover the DMR position while Vegard Heggem was injured.

Can't believe I haven't been sacked after finishing 11th, though I did get to UEFA Cup final (lost 1-0 against Parma, thanks to a last-minute Hidetoshi Nakata penalty).

So due to the dearth of teenage full/wing-back talent (and Liverpool's lack of them - I'm so used to arriving at a club and having to offload half a dozen full-backs!), I'm going back to my trusty 3-5-2 (GK, DC DC DC, DMC DMC, ML MR MC, FC FC) in the second season. I usually like to play attacking players in the wide-midfield positions, but I'll give Riise a chance there first!

Haven't got to the season rollover yet but already tried in vain to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Pepe Reina, so can see this being a frustrating summer. My last chance to sign Reina as he turns 20 in August. Also means I have to keep players I'd normally sell straight away, because I can't replace them so readily!

If/when I get sacked, think I'll drop down a division or two and continue to only buy teenagers... see how it goes.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
01-11-18, 08:31 AM
Think I would give Smicer a go at wingback myself

04-11-18, 02:31 PM
It's been a while since I played cm0102. Probably 6 years... But the recent World Cup brought me back to this old love.
There was still a thing I wanted to achieve, winning all the trophies in one save game. So I'm going to give it a try.

Only rule I have for myself that I use non-wibwob tactics that I created myself.

Here is my challenge:

Season 2017-2018 Ajax Amsterdam
I started my trophy hunt with my favorite club in the Netherlands: Ajax Amsterdam. A very talented squad with a lot of youngsters waiting to collect the first prize in their careers.
Before the start of the season I bought a few players to strengthen the squad:

Good old Maarten Stekelenburg as my reserve goalie
Enfant terrible Hatem Ben Arfa as a reserve for my wingers
Youngster Mitchell van Bergen to challenge Kluivert at the right wing
Pacey Kingsley Ehizibue for the right back position

Managing Ajax means you have to play by the Ajax philosophy. I recreated a tactic that is based on Barcelona from a few years ago:

The season started with a try to qualify for the Champions League. After defeating Legia Warszawa we had to play against Porto for a ticket in the group stage. It became clear in this games the team needed time to get used to the new tactic. We lost and went on in the Europa League.
FC Midtjylland was our opponent in the 2nd Round of the Europa League. Away we won with 0-1, but in the Johan Cruijff Arena we played to arrogant and lost 1-2. September was not yet over, but our European campaign was already done.

Time to focus on the national competition. Ajax started great with winning the first four games. In the fifth game AZ was to strong for us. I feared we could head in to a rocky period, but the team showed it's potential and we kept a unbeaten run untill we played away against PEC Zwolle in February. After that we didn't lose anymore games and became champions nine points ahead of PSV.


In January we started in the 3rd Round of the KNVB Beker against Twente. It was a thight game, but with a lucky shot by Huntelaar we managed to get through to the Quarter Final. In the Quarter Final we easily defeated ADO Den Haag with 5-0.
Next up was Vitesse in the Semi Final. It was a though match, but we pulled through: 2-0.
In the final we had to defeat one of Ajax biggest opponents PSV. It was a thrilling match that went into extra time. 2-2 after 90 minutes and then the winning goal in extra time by Huntelaar again! We also won the KNVB Beker!


This was a great start of my trophy hunt. One season, two prizes!

At first I was planning on staying in Amsterdam for another season, but two months after winning the cup I decided to move elsewhere...

08-11-18, 11:10 PM
Wanted to try out Luessenhoff's enhanced ODB (https://champman0102.co.uk/showthread.php?t=8828), so just started a game as Liverpool for the millionth time. Had to self-impose some kind of restriction to make it interesting, so decided I'm only allowed to sign teenagers. It's been difficult.

Signings: Trond Fredrik Ludvigsen, Mark Kerr, Kim Kallstrom, John Heitinga, Marek Szmid, David van Zanten (loan)

I also stupidly decided to stray from my trusty formation to a 5-3-2 (GK, DC DC DC, DML DMR, MC MC, AMC, FC FC) to incorporate John Arne Riise (had to, I guess), so I'm playing with wing-backs for the first time in about 10 years. That's looking like a one-season experiment becasue, as you can see, it led to me getting bloody Marek Szmid and David van Zanten in to cover the DMR position while Vegard Heggem was injured.

Can't believe I haven't been sacked after finishing 11th, though I did get to UEFA Cup final (lost 1-0 against Parma, thanks to a last-minute Hidetoshi Nakata penalty).

So due to the dearth of teenage full/wing-back talent (and Liverpool's lack of them - I'm so used to arriving at a club and having to offload half a dozen full-backs!), I'm going back to my trusty 3-5-2 (GK, DC DC DC, DMC DMC, ML MR MC, FC FC) in the second season. I usually like to play attacking players in the wide-midfield positions, but I'll give Riise a chance there first!

Haven't got to the season rollover yet but already tried in vain to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Pepe Reina, so can see this being a frustrating summer. My last chance to sign Reina as he turns 20 in August. Also means I have to keep players I'd normally sell straight away, because I can't replace them so readily!

If/when I get sacked, think I'll drop down a division or two and continue to only buy teenagers... see how it goes.

Second season! Came 4th :D (the smile is cos it was courtesy of a late surge - very ordinary season, did NOT deserve it). League Cup 4th Round and FA Cup 5th Round, so nothing really to note there. I think board wanted the title but they've stayed "generally satisfied".

Baki Mercimek (DC, Sunderland, £300k)
Tonton Zola Moukoko (AM/FRC, Derby, £250k)
Calum Davenport (DC, Coventry, £1.4m)
Alexandros Tzorvas (GK, PAO, £1m)
Jermain Defoe (SC, West Ham, £5.5m)
Joleon Lescott (DC, Wolves, £8m)
Bjorn Helge Riise :P (MC, Aalesund, £180k)

Might seem boring to some that I'm buying several of the usual names, but I've never actually been a Kerr/Moukoko guy, so it's staying fresh! Always buy Kallstrom though ha.

Missed out on Franck Ribery on a free, chose bloody Fulham over me! Have just stopped after the last game of the season, so got a lot of shopping to do over the summer. Le Tallec and Sinama-Pongolle on their way due to the arranged transfers... the latter looks the better prospect at the moment!

Guess I'll be keeping hold of players for longer than I usually would, but need to make sure there are successors for Hyypia and Henchoz (both 29) lined up... Mercimek and Davenport probably not good enough. Also need to keep an eye out for regens of great keepers as Dudek is 32! Tzorvas probably not gonna be better than a backup, sadly.

Best XI: Dudek; Hyypia, Henchoz, Lescott; Gerrard Hamann; Kallstrom, Berger, Litmanen; Defoe, Owen

Average age of squad: 22.33

Every team in the world wants Heitinga, for some reason, even though he's my seventh-best DC and has been out on loan at Crewe all season.

15-11-18, 08:45 PM
After my succesfull first season with Ajax Amsterdam I decided it was time to move on and try to win prizes in another country. With just the reputation of one season there was not a lot of choice. After a few unsuccesfull attempts I ended up in...

Hartlepool won the English National League in the previous season and had been recently promoted to League Two.
I had a pretty decent squad and a little bit of money to start with. I introduced a new tactic inspired by the Ajax team of 1995 and brought in a few players to strenghten the squad.
After a great first game, 3-0 home against Rotherham, we had a lot of draws. 1-1, 0-0, 1-1 etc. Once in a while we won or lost a game. There was no real progression in our play and it looked like this would be a season without a trophy. At the end of October Hartlepool was still a performing at midtable level and the gap with the first spot was growing almost every week. And then a new opportunity opened up:

Cardiff City
In the first week of November I moved to Cardiff City. At that moment Cardiff City was at place 10 in the Championship.
My first game was the 3rd round of the EFL Cup and we started with a 0-1 loss against Burnley. The other games in November we had to adjust to the new tactic, Ajax 1995, and won, lost and draw some games. In December we started a good run. After bringing in some new players for a whooping 45 million Euros in January we became a unstoppable team. The signing of Vokes, Pléa, Ehizibue and Forshaw proved to be right ones. We didn't lose another game untill the last game of the season. But at that time we already were crowned champions!



My first international job: Panama
In March I got the chance to manage Panama and prepare the team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup that started in June.
After spending a lot of time searching for good Panamanian players I introduced a very attacking tactic that was inspired by the Dream Team of Cruijff when he was coach of Barcelona.


After a 6-0 win against Puerto Rico and a 1-1 draw against Nicaragua I was ready for the Gold Cup. We had a mediocre squad, but with a bit of luck our attacking strategy could pay of. We had to play Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica in the group phase.
The 4-0 win against Belize made me believe we could do something special. That feeling kept growing when we won 2-0 against Guatemala and draw 1-1 against Costa Rica.
We made it through the group phase and now we had to play against Mexico in the semi final. I was afraid that this would be the end of the road, but we pulled through and won 1-0! We made it to the FINAL!!!
Could I win my first international prize with Panama? All we had to do was to win against Honduras in the final...

We started of great with the first goal in the 15th minute and making it to 2-0 before the break. Nothing could stop us now! But then something went wrong. 6 minutes in the second half and it was 2-2!
After that the teams looked like they gave their best already and the game was in lockdown. A penalty shoot-out had to decide the winner of the Gold Cup.
Honduras didn't have the killers and we won the shoot-out with 3-1! Panama, champions of the CONCACAF!


After two seasons I managed to get 4 prizes:


The Porridge Flo
31-12-18, 03:44 PM
As the writing was on the wall as soon as the season was finished, I packed my bags and fled the scene, before the Union Sportive Quevillaise-Rouen Métropole board could hand me a first sacking of my career. I take a relaxed approach the next few months. No rush to stumble into another reputation killing job. Offers come from far and wide, in particular from the Premier League. Secretly though, here's hoping for another go in France.......

January 2048 - the waiting game finally pays off!

Ever since Racing Club de Lens managed to cause an upset to win the Ligue 1 title a mere 17 years ago (2031) it's been a continues struggle for the club from North of France. In fact, a decade later and Racing Club got relegated to the third tier of French football! Only four seasons later and the club would have recovered from the lowest of lows, celebrating the return to the top flight. Two seasons of putting up a brave fight to retain this status yielded in the closest of encounters, ultimately with success - avoiding relegation.

After a relatively positive start to the most recent campaign, things started to untangle, slowly but steadily. Only one win in their last ten games, and already 13 defeats on the board only halfway through the season. No surprise the club bosses saw no other option than sacking Paul Pogba, who took over the reigns nearly twelve months ago in a similar situation. In fact, this was already Pogba's second spell at the club. A decade ago a two year long stint ended in tears as well.


The squad looks decent. I feel confident we can avoid the drop. A second relegation within two years would be a clear sign for my managerial career coming to an end? Better make sure this isn't going to happen.

First things first: he's now retired; the Dutch magician Ilias Maas won't be able to help out on the pitch, I'm afraid. Let's hope he can do it off the pitch: the 35 year old will join Lens as my assistant coach. Hopefully his magic rubs off on some of the players.


It takes three shaky efforts for the first three points to be finally won. A new 3-2-3-1-1 system seems to strike the right balance; at least it helps to tighten up the defence while we're able to score a few goals as well. It's not sexy, all workmanlike, but gets the job done.

In the remaining games of the season we collect enough points to retain top flight status. That's the most important thing: the 18: 8-7-3 record since my installment secures a 12th place finish in the end. After two rather horrendous years in Rouen, I consider this a positive start.



I don't mean to ageist, nonetheless it's a dramatic clear-out over the summer:anyone over 30 is let go or sold. In comes a hole armada of young and sexy talent to fill the vacant spots in the squad.

A €57 million invest in solely French legs brings in pretty much a whole new squad. Half of the new faces are considered for the Reserves, though. I want to build a second team of promising teens, as they'll get regular match practice through the extensive French reserve rounds - those that develop will get a chance to prove themselves with the big boys.

My aim is to improve on last seasons 12th place finish, nurture the talent, and then go after some bigger fish next year. Top-Six would would be nice. That type of considered, thoughtful and reasonable plan gets somewhat thrown out of the window by the blunt announcement of the board: "we want win the league!"

The reality on the pitch looks slightly different as we lose the first three games of the season. Not scoring a single goal.

We're certainly first. If you turn the table. Clearly having a completely new squad doesn't make things easier. Neither the fact that the team is all young and green to most parts. An average age of roughly 21 on the pitch, many of these promising talents grace the fields of Ligue 1 stadiums for the first time. Fluctuations are bound to happen, but our form improves after a few tactical changes as I introduce a second striker.

In the second half of the season things finally click. We find the right balance from a tactical perspective and some of the young guns who'd been quiet so far start to show their true ability. 21-year-old playmaker Toufik Hery, by far the most expensive purchase in the summer, a €16 million signing from Rennes, had to battle injuries, now with a clear run, puts a string of excellent performances together. His goals and passes even more so, give this young team some sort of footing each game in a way that wasn't there a few weeks ago.

The newcomer of the season, though, is defender Jordi Berthomier. A cheap €275k signing, boyish 19-years of age, started out in the reserves as "one for the future". Done brilliantly there, grabbed his chance in the senior team with both hands.

At the end of March, after a tremendous unbeaten run, we're suddenly top of the table! Hard to fathom, and to good to be true?

Montpellier, the champ of the last two seasons, has a couple of games in hand. With three to go, we lose a game in Loriont, thanks to a late penalty decision against us. Montpellier doesn't blunder. Instead they make it a hat-trick of Ligue 1 titles!

Nonetheless, it's been a superb full season under my reign, particularly the second part of it. A better start and we would have gone incredibly close. Would, could, should… next time…… here's hoping. The board is "satisfied" as well. Not delighted, mind. A Ligue 1 runner-up finish - the best in nearly two decades for the club - not too shabby I'd argue.



It'll be a long season with Champions League football and hopefully a serious challenge for the Ligue 1 title. We spend €50 million on half a dozen signings - striker Thibaut Kone turns out to be the best of the lot.... and he only joins us in January 2050, which says a lot about the first part of this season.

Halfway through the season, we struggle to gain real momentum, hovering in and out of the top six - but the title is long gone already! Clermot proves nearly unbeatable. Fortunes in the Champions League aren't much better either. We qualify for the second group stage, leading a tight group approaching the final round of games, with one foot already in the quarter-final - an agonizing defeat to Ajax sees us crashing from first to last in the group - out.

At least in the league our form improves. Kone's goals - 13 it'll be bey the end of the season - are a huge help to decide plenty of tight games in our favour. A 5th place finish in the end - despite a one goal better goal difference than last season, it's an 8 point worse finish!


Change… yet again. So far, our recruitment policy focused solely on "French only". This policy is softened. An influx of new signings deepens the squad…. On the other hand, some of those French youngsters I have nurtured over the last two years turn into thankless brats as soon as they smell some money and leave Lens - nothing I can do about it, due to release clauses in their contracts. But this hurts.

All this change leads to a tumultuous season. I can't find the right balance…. Nothing new, or so it seems. A squad of mediocre talent put together in a rush and a vague hope some foreign talent will be enough to turn this team into a real title contender again. It has the opposite effect. A dramatic slump of form after an okayish start and we are in the danger zone for most of what is a bleak winter.

The winter break provides time for thought. Another change of tactics. And some of the lads who haven't performed wander down to the reserves. With a fresh- and attacking oriented 4-2-1-3-1 system we can turn the tide through spring…. No danger of relegation, and thanks to a ten game unbeaten run in the final months, we crawl our way back into the top ten as well - an 8th place finish feels like a wasted season after all, regardless. We're miles off the top and a club regressing.... to the means?

Not quite. While we struggled to hit domestic form for most of the season, Europe is a different story! It's certainly no champagne football we put on show, but the lads seem to get their act together when it matters: we pass some tough assignments with BATE, Fenerbace, Roda and Sporting Lisbon - and make it all the way to the big final in the Europa League!

A date with the freshly crowned Turkish champion Antalyaspor awaits - just in time nearly everyone is healthy…. Our strongest XI is certainly required for this final test!

A scrappy game. Ugly. Of course, it always is when Lens plays these days.

The Turkish side is favourite and puts us under severe pressure right from the beginning. Whenever possible we counter. There aren't many of those opportunities. But to win a game of football, sometimes all you need is one moment - this one moment comes only minutes before half-time as Wilfried Tia makes his run in to free space at the right time and puts the ball easily past the keeper for a surprising half-time lead!

Hard to watch on the rest of the game. A nailbiter, as we find less and less relieve from the Turkish pressure. In the end we "champman" Antalyaspor, which is desperately unlucky not to score on the night - but Pierre Perez has a night of nights, seemingly wearing some sort of magic gloves!

It's no Ligue 1 title, but I deliver a second European trophy 29 years after Lens won a historic first Europa League title.



Contract negotiations stall with the hero from Gan, Pierre Perez. His contract expires at the end of the season and he's not willing to sign a new deal but rather prefers to move to a 'bigger club' instead. He's only a few days on the transfer list then he finds his new home…. the almighty Tianjin Quanijan. The Chinese trigger the €8.5 million release clause. Sure, that's the massive step forward Perez was looking for, I guess.

With the positive momentum from finishing last season on a high domestically and internally, there's less change this time. Only seven new signings - Aaron Morris, a boyish left-back signing for €10 million from Bournmouth is the pick of the lot - he proves to push us forward in a season of hope... the youngster doesn't miss a single game and will be honoured with the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award eventually!

As a team we nearly complete the triple of winning the Cups that nobody needs: kicking things off with the European Super Cup in August, disposing Champions League- and reigning Spanish champion Cadiz!


The doubtful honour of taking part in the Club World Cup results in another final - where we have one of our rare off-days this season: a one nil defeat to Chicago Fire.

Domestically we do not hit the ground running and throw a challenge for the Ligue 1 title rather early away. As we improve gradually with a few tweaks tactically, PSG isn't for catching this season anyways. Once more we do excel particularly in the second half of a season. Only two defeats, plenty of high scoring wins - 3rd place in the end. A massive improvement on last season.

We can celebrate the Coupe de la Ligue as well, which completes the triple of meaningless Cups. A competent 3-1 victory over Brest; another title, though, that keeps the board satisfied and my job safe.



One of the main issues holding us back is the one of finding prolific goal scorer. So far the responsibility has been evenly distributed among the squad but I feel a top class striker would be able to bring us to the next level. Introducing Eric Kok - only 20 years of age, not getting a lot of love by the current Tottenham regime, so for €22.5 million he joins us.


Kok isn't the most expensive signing, though. This honour belongs to Rob Hall. The 26 year-old playmaker commands a €36 million transfer fee. I feel it's well worth to make the splash.


The new fire power gives us a massive boost. We're off to our best start ever - 20 games into the season it's more than that! Unbeaten, at the top of the table, Kok already with 15 goals on the board.... everything looks rosy!

It's this time of the year that is most hectic in the Frensh schedule, though. Two domestic Cup competitions, squeezed in between league games and for teams like ourselves, Champions League group stage games - it's tough. What starts to bite us now is the fact that the squad is near world-class from one to eleven. But we aren't as deep as the likes of PSG, Caen or Clermont.

The second half of the season is a little disaster. This tight schedule, injuries... it all means we more often than not at our best. It's telling on the score board: only eight more league wins - not enough for the title win. A five point lead on Christmas eve, long gone by March. Caen wins the title - it was coming for SMC - second and third the last two consecutive seasons.

Paying big money for Kok and Hall has half-delivered. Kok with 18 goals and 9 assists will b a force for many years to come. Hall, 4 goals, 6 assists, was solid. But I would have hoped for more leadership, particularly when it mattered most, in the second half of the season.

The season ends on a sour note as we also lose the Cup the France final against PSG - a 1-2 defeat is symptomatic for the season.


There isn't allot to improve on from last season. I trust this group. Only four new signings - but those should make a difference comes push to shove. 18 year-old Polish striker Tomasz Mrozek and the versatile defenders Junior Mombo and Michael Millar combine €39 million of transfer fees. As we switch to 3-striker system, I felt more class is needed up front and Mrozek has everything to be a superstar.

We have an excellent start to the season, only a single defeat in the first two months, only wins otherwise - Mrozek and Kok prove a lethal attacking threat for the opposition.

Nonetheless, a couple of our star names make trouble and endanger the squad harmony. Aaron Morris, now back-to-back French Player of the Year, is unhappy not be allowed to move to PSG. His form drops markedly, but I'm not prepared to let our star man go to a rival.

It's a different story when Premier League leaders Blackpool make an offer - as sad as it is to see him go, in January Morris will be shipped to the west of England in a €24 million move.

Rob Hall, the €35 million record signing, is equally unhappy - he feels it's his time to move to a bigger club. Now, I'd say if he'd played a little bit more like his expensive price tag last year, he might be playing for quite a big club now... anyways, he's off to Arsenal for €29 million in January as well. It would be unfair to label him a flop. But clearly in 1.5 seasons in Lens he never quite lived up to the expectations.

As the big names are dropped, others step up. It's a real team effort week in week out, the issues off the pitch don't impact the weekend action on the pitch. By the end of the year, we conceded a mere six goals, leading the league by seven points!

We've been here before, right? 12 Months ago, a similar scenario.... and we all know what happened. The title that was meant to be ours, thrown away.

As the time of the tight schedule approaches fast, we add three more players in the January transfer window. Crucially, another striker. Kok and Mrozak done well, but I struggled to find a third man who performs with consistency. I feel we need another top man here, and if it's only in case one of the two gets injured. It's tough to find a suitable candidate at this time of the year. So I break my rule - not to sign anyone over 30 - as Ukrainian striker Bogdan Petrov, a prolific striker for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League over the years, looks to have still something left in the tank. A reasonable €6.5 million price tag accompany his signing.

Clearly the going gets tougher. What was free-flowing in the first few months, now in January, February and March is suddenly hard work. What were 3-0 wins over relegation bound sides, are now lucky one goal escapes.

What turns out to be constant, though, is one thing: Bogdan Petrov. The veteran in the team, he backs two goals on his debut and continues to be our life insurance on days where we struggle. 14 of what will be 30 wins over the course of the whole season are by the tightest of margins: 1-0; many of those in the final few weeks. Bogdan is the man, who finds the net!

We crash out in the Quarter-Final of both French Cups, but make it all the way to the Champions League semi-final. A date with the past looms - Barcelona FC. A near unbeatable force these days.... the tie is decided after an 0-3 home defeat in the first leg. We hold our head high at Camp Nou two weeks later, leaving with a scoreless draw and the knowledge that we're close to top class but not quite there yet.

In the league our advantage is eroded - Caen continues to win, whereas we drop points. Two defeats on the bounce in early May, two games to go - now only three points between us and Caen. The title that seemed only a fortnight ago to belong safely to to Lens, is now in danger to stay in the North-East of France.

Something like a game of fate, hosting mid-table side Le Potet. A meangingless game for them. Clearly we can't throw this away? We scrape through the penultimate game of the season, it's ugly, far from champion-like - but another late Petrov goal, in yet another 1-0 victory, much seals the deal - not only on the night, but, baring a disaster on the final day of the 53/54 season, also for the league title! Thanks to our superior goal difference, the only hope Caen would have to retain their crown is a disastrous defeat of ours in Monaco.

We ain't let it happen. Bogdan ain't let it happen! The best €6.5 million spent ever - an arch typical 1-0 win, and the winning goal headed home by Petrov - his 19th league goal, in 17 appearances. Enough for another three points - victory number 30! The most important one.

As the final whistle sounds, finally over - Racing Club de Lens wins the Ligue 1 title!

Nine years after leaving Barcelona, it's also the first league title for myself. It's been quite a journey. The disaster in Rouen aside, it's been roller-coaster here in Lens all the time. Avoiding relegation, twice Ligue 1 runner-up, Europa League winners, Cup de la Ligue.... but this is the sweetest of them all. Probably one of the sweetest ever! Of course, who can forget the near decade long adventure with Jerv FK, but in truth, this is the one that felt even less like it'd ever be coming!

A next chapter will be written somewhere now. Job done in Lens. Open for offers from anywhere....


The man who made it all possible - it's hard to believe, that without the winter signing of Bogdan Petrov we would have won the title:


League winning tactics:


Six and a half seasons in Lens:


KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038
Celtic (SCO): July 2038 - June 2039
Fulham (UK): June 2039 - May 2043
Barcelona (ESP): May 2043 - June 2045
Quevilly-Rouen (FRA): October 2045- June 2047
RC Lens (FRA): January 2048 - July 2054

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
31-12-18, 05:08 PM
What an update! Great report, PF. A very well deserved league title in the end and you really had to work for it. Sometimes that bit of experience is what you need to take a band of avid talents and pricey purchaces who have never tasted success to the very top.

Very nice to see you connect with Ilias Maas again, makes perfect sense. Another one who knows just what it takes to reach the pinnacle.

I hope you get to settle in at a Champion's League regular club soon and have a crack at the Barca side you created. I had a great game once where I built Napoli up into Serie A champions where they went on to win several successive CL trophies under their next manager. I had some great battles with them in the semi and final itself, always tasting defeat, before finally turning the tables on them as they went for their 4th in a row.

14-01-19, 08:29 AM
Before I start, let me preface this as a "No work permits" save. I don't believe it to be cheating mainly because everyone benefits from it, not just the player. Plus, I think it's more fun this way!

That out of the way, here we go.

Playing as Stockport County on Lussenhoff's DB. 1st season, currently 7th in Division 1, putting the actual team's season to shame by challenging for a playoff place & potentially more this late in the season (February 2nd)

Transfers In
FW - Yuri Rodriguez - 22k
ML/MC - John Rankin - Free
ST - Tallan Martin - Free
GK - Arnold Origi Otieno - 150k
ML/MC - Fabian Unzurrunzaga - 50k
DC - Warren Kenna - Free
AMC - Isaac Chansa - 725k
DL/ML - Danijel Pranjic - 825k
DC/DM - Kjetil Rekdal - Free

Future Transfers In
DC - Erick Cecilio Vallecilo - Bosman (2/13/02)
DC - Emir Spahic - Bosman (6/4/02)

Transfers Out
GK - Andy Dibble - Dover (18k)
MC - David Smith - Falkirk (50k)
GK - Lee Jones - Released
The rest of the reserves. Useless, all of them!

Rekdal came over after being sacked from Valerenga, and at only 4k a week, which surprised the hell out of me. Still got the skills to get it done, but it's dependent on him staying on the pitch and me finding the perfect position for him. I'm also aware that I've taken a calculated gamble with my spending, as I'm banking on this being enough to get to the playoffs, shock the world, and be playing Premier League football at Edgeley Park next season.

Arnold Otieno has been good too. 18 years old, already a Kenya international, and only given up 11 goals in 14 games (13 starts). Yuri Rodriguez is our top scorer (15), but he's hit a drought due to some pretty nasty growing pains, and I've begun to look to others for goals. Richard Sneekes, 32, has proven that he can still hack it at this level, and he's been key to our success. Isaac Chansa was brought in as his successor as Sneekes is starting to show his age.

We were as low as 19th earlier in the season, but we've had some success lately and pushed on towards the playoffs and still in with an outside chance of catching 2nd placed Coventry for promotion. Out of both the FA Cup & League Cup in the 3rd round, so only the league left to worry about.

For some reason the forum's not letting me post my photo of the table, so please accept this typed out version of it instead. All teams listed have played 30 of 46 games.

1. Portsmouth - 68 pts (+34)
2. Coventry City - 60 pts (+17)
3. Wolves - 56 pts (+25)
4. Bradford City - 56 pts (+16)
5. Millwall - 55 pts (+21)
6. Watford - 54 pts (+16)
7. Stockport County - 50 pts (+11)
8. West Brom - 47 pts (+8)
9. Nottingham Forest - 44 pts (+6)
10. Preston North End - 43 pts (+9)

Really hoping there's 8-10 more wins in this group so that we can put some pressure on the sides ahead of us.

14-01-19, 01:07 PM
You have to wonder about the AI sometimes.

Just taken the Reading job, bottom of Championship - December Season 4. They have a squad of 32 of which 8 are goalkeepers. With 2 weeks to the January window, I let the game run..... and 2 more join, seemingly signed by predessor (Xabi Alonso) ...... with one other striker added (some complete waste of space) - the squad is now 35 in size with 10 keepers.

The really annoying thing is that amongst those 10 keepers only 2 of them have a CA > 100. Basically, despite having 10 on the books, I think I need to buy another

14-01-19, 02:06 PM

That bug is such a fucking pain! Spend 7 months updating the database and then Man Utd, Arsenal and Spurs go a buy 15 goalies between them from English non-league :dizzy:

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
14-01-19, 10:14 PM
Transfers In
FW - Yuri Rodriguez - 22k
ML/MC - John Rankin - Free
ST - Tallan Martin - Free

Cannot argue with a Tallan Martin/Yuri Rodriguez front 2!

15-01-19, 04:11 AM
Cannot argue with a Tallan Martin/Yuri Rodriguez front 2!

Even better, I've gotten Tallan going a bit after Kuqi went down. He's played the majority of the games up front today, and we're up to 4th now! Yuri's also gotten back on track a little bit, now up to 21 goals on the season, just one off the leader (Jovan Kirovski - 22).

Once again, the forums are not letting me post a photo of the table (the photo uploads, but then a red X appears next to it without any reason for it), but as mentioned, we're up to 4th now on 70 points with 39 played. 7 games to go, and just 5 points off of the automatic promotion places.

15-01-19, 07:09 AM

After finishing the season strong on 86 points and just missing out on automatic promotion, we had to face Bradford City in the playoff semifinal. Drew 1-1 at Edgeley Park, and with a tough job to do at Valley Parade, played the Bantams to a 3-3 draw after extra time. With it 4-4 on aggregate, I forgot that away goals didn't matter, so to penalties we went. Eoin Jess missed Bradford City's first penalty, and that proved to be the difference because we made all five of ours. On to the playoff final against West Brom, who stunned Watford in the 2nd leg of their tie 2-0 to win 3-2 on aggregate.

Playoff Final vs West Brom - The Drama Has Only Just Begun!

Scott Taylor, who was playing well and earned this chance to start ahead of Shefki Kuqi, scored inside the first 10 minutes of the match to give us an early lead. Neil Clement equalized for West Brom, only for Danijel Pranjic to slot home in the 26th to give us a 2-1 lead, which we would carry into halftime. 15 minutes away from the promised land, right?


Andy Johnson's 59th minute goal equalized matters, and it would remain 2-2 to the end of regular time. Another extra time heart attack waiting to happen, right?


With just a minute left in the first half of extra time, Scott Taylor grabs his second goal of the game! 15 minutes away from the promised land, again.....would it be that easy?

N...oh you already know how this goes!

Adam Chambers gives me yet another heart attack by equalizing in the 107th minute. Despite a desperate push from County to try and wrap this up before penalties, it was not meant to be. Onto the 3rd heart attack, aka penalties.

Playoff Final - The Penalty Shootout, Where Many Poos Came Out

Double goal scorer Scott Taylor started it off nicely for us by scoring his penalty. Andy Johnson was not so lucky, as he missed wide. Danijel Pranjic scored his, as did Jason Roberts. At 2-1, up stepped longtime West Brom servant Richard Sneekes, only he forgot he wasn't playing for West Brom anymore, and missed. If it were a crossbar challenge though, he would have been the winner. Neil Clement could equalize for the Baggies...but Arnold Otieno rises to the occasion and stops Clement's shot in its tracks! Advantage Stockport! Just remember kids, when you Wiss upon a star, Jarkko Wiss scores from the spot because he doesn't care who you are. Future manager of many teams Michael Appleton would step up needing to score to keep West Brom alive, and much to my dismay, he was not put off by my scary faces and threats of violence, and thus he scored.

It would come down to the man who joined after getting sacked from Valerenga, the former Norwegian international Kjetil Rekdal. With a smug look on his face reminiscent of Jeremy Clarkson, he scored past Rene Higuita. The celebrations could begin. Stockport County were Premier League.

Yes. THAT Stockport County.


Kenny Dalglish's Smile
16-01-19, 04:57 PM
If you are playing no work permits then might as well sign Marajo for whatever it takes!

By the way, for screenshots I host them on some image hosting service like imgbb and use the forum bb code you can generate after upload

19-01-19, 07:22 PM
Bought a new, shiny gaming PC and obviously CM 0102 was one of the first games to be installed (and one of the most played so far). New PC means new saves (I very rarely bother moving old saves over), and the one I'm currently on is giving me more fun and excitement than I've had in a long time on CM. I started with randomly picked Derby County, and in the first season I was relegated (and barely avoided getting sacked) - can't remember the last time that happened. Season 2 brings a proper promotion fight, and I'm savouring it, only playing a few games a day. Almost at the end of the season now and play-off seems to be pretty secure, but the competition for the direct promotion spots is fierce.


Derby were relegated in real life in 2002, and they very often are in-game as well, but they do have a pretty decent squad for the top of the 1st division. I did make some improvments on it, and these two are probably my best and most important signings so far. Machlas joined for 3.6M from Ajax at the start of the 0102 season, while Emam has only been at the club a few months, having joined from Zamalek for 1.2M, but is already making a nice impact.


I'm planning to make this some sort of alphabet game, but haven't yet decided if I need to win the top division or just a trophy to move on. I'm also only signing players from my shortlist, which consists of every player my scouts regard as "excellent" plus any man of the match in my players' international games. So far I've only signed players that were replacements for players I lost (apart from Machlas who joined before that rule was decided on) or youths, so there won't be any quick building of good squads.

The Porridge Flo
20-01-19, 08:01 PM
I don't have to wait long for the next call. And finally it's the one that completes the Nordics! Given I originate from the German Baltic Coast myself, I always have been fond of Scandinavia, and particularly Sweden - certainly ever since my local football club Hansa Rostock broke the Bundesliga record for fielding the most players of the same foreign nation - the 1st February 0f 2003, six Swedes in the starting line-up, and of course the winning goal scored by Swedish striker Rade Prica. Good old days….

Career wise it always proved difficult to construct a move to Sweden. Jobs rarely become available. And if they do they come at an unsuitable time due to the fact Sweden's season ends in November. This time it's the right time: still early days, the league isn't quite halfway through, and a club full of tradition is in dire need for help...

Djurgårdens IF, in free fall for a number of years now, ever since their last Allsvenskan title five seasons ago, is battling relegation once more.


The most pressing issue on hand is quite obvious: untangle the massive squad and do a proper clear-out: 50 players on the book right now, mostly youngsters, an average age of 21, but not half of those lads are good enough for top flight football - even in Sweden.

The expectations are modest for a start: stay clear of relegation. The squad should be good enough, is my feeling. Though, it clearly helps that the transfer window opens only a few days later.

Right away I can ship off more than a handful of youngsters that have absolutely zero future. Many are let go for a small compensation fee. A few others turn into some fine profit. After all we cash in a handsome €2 million, re-investing in a striker, two midfielders and two defenders. I guess an even bigger clear-out is bound to happen at the end of the year.

Setting out with a 3-1-4-2 system, we quickly gather some momentum, remain unbeaten for eight games and leave any relegation threats behind. We only look one way: up! Two back-to back defeats bring the positive trend to an abrupt ending - a third-and final loss since I took the reigns over, on the final day of the season, means we miss out on finishing in a European spot.

That's a pity, but having taken 31 points from 16 games must be rated as quite excellent. Extrapolating this to a complete season and we would have finished comfortably in third place.



The renewal process is fully under way during the four months seasonal long break: 20 players gone, 12 new faces in. We're deep, we're strong and we're expected to challenge for the title. I can see us finishing anywhere in the top-four. This is a tight league. So better reign in the expectations a little.

As tight as the Allsvenskan is, as soon the title race emerges as a dog fight between hated local rival AIK Solna and ourselves. For more than half the season we're in the lead. But fate isn't on our side: three games to go, a late red card- and penalty goal sees our lead in the title race slipping away…. thankfully as AIK fails to take full advantage themselves, so we have it in our own hands....

All it needs are two wins from the last two games. Given we're facing two already relegated sides from the bottom of the table this is now our title to lose.

Despite out best efforts, Syrianska's keeper Elias Bergman plays the game of his life in what is the crucial title decider as it turns out - a scoreless draw; AIK wins their game - with one game to go Solna now with two points ahead. It matters little that we beat Varberg 5-0 the next week - AIK isn't denied against Syrianska in their game…. where Bergman plays potentially the worst game of his life, resulting in him being substituted at half-time!

We can't complain, though. We had plenty of opportunities to put the race to bed. We've only got ourselves to blame. Runner-up: a fine improvement on last season. In truth, probably as good as we are. While the squad is deep, it lacks the bit extra class that AIK Solna, who's been a Champions League Group Stage regular over the year, simply possesses.



The board decides for the second year in a row to increase capacity of the already over-sized Tele2 Arena. Realistically only full for derby against AIK, the now 48.000 capacity stadium is half-empty for any other regular season game.

What this also does: eroding all significant transfer budget. Thankfully I'm well accustomed to putting a team together on a shoe string, and feel surprisingly confident about the handful of new signings we brought in. In fact, I'm as confident as hardly ever before that DIF will be an incredibly tough nut to crack - mainly because the depth of the team is so good now that there should be little to no drop in class between player 1 to 18.

We also land a bit of a coup, signing Swedish international Filip Hansson on a free transfer. The striker left fading giant Malmö.

Despite five assists and a couple of goals for Hansson, two early season defeats scream crisis. Beside Hansson we do struggle for goals. Creating shots on goal aplenty, but few high danger chances. No panic. Not all is bad. While some of our misfortunes are house made, a lot can be attributed to simply not getting the right bounces. Luck can play its part in football.

A few tactical tweaks, meaning the central midfielders are now instructed to move forward when we have the ball, while looking for the pass rather the shot from distance, sees our fortunes improve dramatically - thankfully!

And that despite the fact that Filip Hansson is sold soon after for €8 million to the MLS - an offer too good to refuse. Yes, the striker has been excellent so far. But in truth, he's not irreplaceable. That is vecause with James Aliyu we've already found a new goal machine! His partner in crime for the rest of the season, French youngster Eric David, scoreless last season, has a breakout year also.


Aliyu and David team up for 32 goals in the remaining games of the season, a few others chip in as well…. DIF isn't for stopping in 2056!

A long way out it becomes clear that the title is ours and we won't throw it away as we did twelve months ago. A crisis? Was there ever a crisis? We certainly don't require any luck; with three games to go we have the title - a +55 goal difference does all the talking.


We top the year with a run all the way to the Svenska Cupen final. After disposing hated rival AIK in the semi-final, meeting amateur side Eskilsminne is a gift.


While all of this is great, the greatest success comes on international level. As last years runner-up we qualify for the Champions League Play-Offs. After successful dates with Steaua Bucharesti and Belgian First Division A runner-up Sprimont Comblain we've made it to the big stage!

Anything else is the cherry on the cake. This is the (financial) breakthrough we needed! On the pitch we continue to deliver. Victories over French- and German league champions Niort and Leverkusen, over Kasimpasa and Kopenhagen, while pushing Barcelona to the brink, secure a spot in the 1/4 Final!!

A date with PSG awaits - as we dominate in both home- and away leg, the goals we need won't fall. It's the bit extra class missing on this level. 1-2 in aggregate over two legs, mean we miss out on a historic Champions League Semi-Final. For another year, maybe?



It becomes the new normal: new year and the board announces plans to increase capacity of Tele2 Arena. Last season we averaged nearly 28.000 fans per home game - by far the most in the Allsvenskan. The capacity of the stadium is 48.000 after last years increase. However, with recent Champions League success, the club banks big on Europe, where only 28.500 are allowed in because of capacity restrictions. So, here we go, installing 12.500 new seats…. For a cost of €33 million!

I'm a little bit annoyed, but as no intriguing opportunity arises elsewhere I decide to stay put and lead DIF into my third full season at the helm of the club. The aim is clearly to go back-to-back in the Allsvenskan and see what we can do in Europe once more.

Adding new quality, players that have the ability to bring us to the next level proves difficult. It's a money question. But it's also a question of reputation. Last season's Champions League run has been noted, certainly. But not enough to become suddenly a 'sexy' destination for star players. So, only 3 new signings - they give us a bit more strengths in depth in the middle of the park in particular.

While last year nearly everything clicked, this season feels a little less smooth, a little more workmanlike and certainly not like a season that'll end in glory. We don't score as many goals. We don't win as many games. And production from pretty much anyone drops off rather significantly. Nonetheless, we do the business. The squad is too strong for the rest of the league. Which means at least domestically we remain on top of the game, even though without the domination of last year.


In Europe things don't work out. Qualification for the Champions League Group stage is achieved, thanks to victories over Scottish champion Ross County - but we go out in our group as third placed with 5pts. Our only win comes on the last day of the group stage over Blackburn Rovers - a vital one as this secures the Europa League qualification at least.

DIF title winning tactic:


I won't see out the rest of the European campaign, and decide this is the end of the road in Stockholm for me. Leading DIF two Allsvenskan titles, a Cup success and a Champions League Quarter-Final - it's been a great few years in the North. With league titles in Finland (Haka), Norway (Jerv), Denmark (Randers) and now Djurgårdens in Sweden, the Nordics are completed, so to speak. A new chapter will be written somewhere else, soon….

KTP Kotka (FIN): September 2017 - December 2017
Haka Valkeakoski (FIN): December 2017 - December 2020
Hearts (SCO): February 2021 - May 2021
Jerv FK (NOR): July 2021 - November 2029
Sporting (POR): November 2029 - May 2030
Pogoń Szczecin (POL): July 2030 - May 2034
Randers (DK): June 2034 - June 2038
Celtic (SCO): July 2038 - June 2039
Fulham (UK): June 2039 - May 2043
Barcelona (ESP): May 2043 - June 2045
Quevilly-Rouen (FRA): October 2045- June 2047
RC Lens (FRA): January 2048 - July 2054
Djurgårdens (SWE): July 2054 - November 2057

21-01-19, 05:18 PM
Season done and the decision of whether it has to be the top division title or just any trophy will have to wait. Manchester City secured the top spot with 2 games to go and we secured 2nd place in the penultimate game, causing the anticipated season final between us and them in the last game to end up being a game without importance. It was a good game for neutral supporters though, ending 3-3 after a lively match.


This was pretty much the same squad that was relegatet the year before, and despite some outstanding season totals by the likes of Nikos Machlas it's not an impresive squad.


I've decided to do one "squad improvment purchase" in the summer and one in January in addition to replacing outgoing players - buying a new player for the position that had the worst average rating of a "best XI" the last season/half season. Unsurprisingly, 36 years old Stefano Eranio retired in the summer (though continuing as coach), and he was replaced by another experienced midfielder when Alexander Mostovoi joined from Celta on a free transfer. Central defender was the position most needing improvment, and Olof Persson joined from Malmö FF for 28k, whereas the January signing was a right back, Álvaro joining from Portuguese side Trofense for £40k. Not exactly world class players, but I'm trying to sign as cheap players as possible from my shortlist.


Returning to the Premier League my board wanted me to battle bravely against relegation - and battle bravely we do, even if not very successfully. At least they're still quite pleased with my managerial efforts, unlike the first season where I was very close to being sacked.

Here's the tactic that got me promoted in case anyone are interested:

Attacking mentality, short passing, hard tackling and pressing. Scores plenty and concedes plenty.

Still enjoying this save a lot, it's fun to be in a relegation struggle and last season with its proper promotion fight was a blast. It also feels quite realistic to be struggling at the bottom as a newly promoted team (that was relegated the seaosn before), and the same goes for the signing of not-exactly-world-class players for peanuts to a struggling club (relying on scouts and a tight budget), rather than just fixing the squad with a snap of the fingers. Might be it takes years before I win anything, might be I get sacked this season if we don't improve, but it's fun playing a struggler game for once :)

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
22-01-19, 02:06 PM
@Flo: Well, not quite the European giant I had hoped for but a nice little stop off in Sweden. Quite amusing little side show with the Syrianska 'keeper Bergman at the end of that first full season.

Then, in James Aliyu, you look to have found your new Ilias Maas and all hell breaks loose! What a run to the CL 1/4 final.

In the end it seems that you and the board won't really see eye-to-eye over that stadium so probably better off heading for new pastures. Swedish prices!

@Pegster: still better than Billy Davies :D

23-01-19, 03:22 PM
If performing better than the 2007/8 edition of Derby did was the goal, then we reached it without much struggle. The goal of staying up for another season, however, was a different story. Despite a good run of form in the early spring with 3 wins and a draw in 5 games, we had some tough games near the end of the season in addition to the teams just above the relegation line starting to win a lot. 4 games before the end both we, Tottenham and Coventry were without hope of catching up with the teams ahead of us. The closest we were was being 18th, 6 points behind 17th placed Watford (24 vs 30) with 8 games to go - we were then on a run of good form and I had a small hope of staying up, but it was not to be. On the bright side, I didn't get sacked and it's now a new season in the 1st division with a good chance of getting promoted (and possibly a title).


The squad was almost the same that was relegated two years ago and promoted one year ago, and should be able to compete in the top of the 1st division. Not too happy about the performance of some players, and potential key players Nikos Machlas and Mart Poom both had runs of bad form early which left them out of the team most of the season (picking the team based on form).
None of the three new signings made a big impact, but they were all decent contributors at least. The 50 man squad is currently full, but if an opening appears a left midfielder/forward is my target for this transfer period.


Kenny Dalglish's Smile
25-01-19, 09:43 AM
That is a very high number of dribbles from Hazem Emam there

25-01-19, 07:43 PM
Yep, and he's also by far the one with the most assists and has been that since he arrived. He's frustrating me a bit now, though - he's angry and shocked that he's not a first team regular after missing one single game from August to late December (which was in the early autumn some time). Horacio Carbonari has the same - played pretty much every single game yet being angry at not playing.

28-01-19, 12:14 AM

I was 3-0 down in the semi-final first leg promotion play offs (A very attacking Scunthorpe side punished my initial caution in the first leg)

In the second leg I managed to level the tie on aggregate despite being down to 9 men and surviving extra time.

But the 9 men lost in sudden death in a penalty shootout.

The annoying part was I had tackling set to normal and still two players got sent off.

The match itself was very strange Forest Green had the overall good player ratings, ending in a 4-3-1 (false 9) counter attack formation.

I had to play midfielders as full backs because I started with a 3-4-3 formation.


However, the match stats showed it was a combination of accurate finishing and keeper heroics.


Naturally, the man of the match who got a 10 rating missed his penalty.

But if that was not bad enough I was two points off automatic promotion.


This may sound good considering I was supposed to battle against relegation.

But for most of the season I was comfortably in second place and promotion looked a formality.


For some strange reason the season was much more enjoyable/memorable in glorious failure.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
28-01-19, 01:25 PM
Ouch, 96 points as well!

28-01-19, 04:53 PM
Looks like an exciting season, and if the goal was to avoid relegation it was surely a successfu lone too even if promotion slipped away at the end.

28-01-19, 08:15 PM
Ouch, 96 points as well!

Yeah loosing both games to Sunderland (who won the league) did not help either.

28-01-19, 08:35 PM
Looks like an exciting season, and if the goal was to avoid relegation it was surely a successfu lone too even if promotion slipped away at the end.

My main consolations are that Sunderland basically cheated and spent thier way to victory in the championship.

31 million transfers out:


25 million transfers in:


Also the FA agree that the ref was terrible in the semi-final second leg.


28-01-19, 10:14 PM
Three seasons at Derby have given first a relegation, then a promotion and then another relegation. The goal for this season was to get promoted again, and I was confident that we would be among the teams competing for the promotion spots. Competition was hard, however, and I felt far from certain that we would be among the lucky three teams to ascend to top tier football next season.

To give the squad match training and self confidence befor ethe new season we travelled to Wales and played four friendly games there, winning all four easily with a combined goal difference of 19-1. The season proper also started well with 7 points from the three first games and a relatively easy game against Kidderminster harriers in the first round of the League Cup. We then had two difficult away games at Aston Villa and Southampton, losing the first and drawing the latter, but the draw at St. Mary's was the start of a 7 games unbeaten run and we had established ourselves as one of the top teams of the division.

There should have been a left winger coming in in the summer, but as the squad was full there was no opportunito to sign any players. We did however sell some reserve team players wanting first team football, and in October a quite decent-looking experienced Dutchman arrived from Cambuur Leeuwarden for £425k.


In the cups we had a good start in the League Cup easily beating 2nd Division team Kidderminster, before needing penalties to beat conference team Slough. Then in the 3rd round we had our first big game, facing Arsenal. In a close game, it wasn't decided until the very last minute of playing time, but somehow we managed to take this.


4th round brought more Premiership opposition, as we travelled to Newcastle. Another close game, if not as exciting as the last one.


Having beaten two Premier League teams, I started getting my hopes up that maybe we could go all the way to Wembley. First, though, we had to win in the quarter final, which was arguably our biggest game of the season:

Alas, it was not to be...

Halfway through the season things were looking decent but not superb, as we were definitely in contention for a promotion spot but competition was hard and at the start of January we found ourselves in third place behind Gillingham and Stoke.


Left back was the position that most needed strengthening in January, and sticking to the policy of signing the cheapest available shortlisted player, young Martin Davis was brought in. An unpolished gem, I did not expect too much of him, but he went straight into the first team squad.

Also in January, Taribo West who had been a key player for me since the beginning was becoming more and more of a nuisance. He delivered the goods on the pitch, but he was loudly unhappy and was becoming unpopular among the rest of the squad, so he was sent off to Southampton for 2.5M. His replacement come from no lesser club than Barcelona, for 625k:


We kept a steady pace, generally playing solid and as the season drew to a close promotion was a definite possibility. Game day 46 came, and the stage was set for an exciting end to the season, with Stoke hosting Gillingham whereas we were visited by QPR, who were already relegated. I suppose calling it a close race thus far isn't too inaccurate.


We did our job, but so did Stoke, and we were drawn against Norwich in the play-off semi-final, a team we'd done well against the last few meetings.


We started with a home game, and didn't have too much trouble defeating them, and we were feeling optimistic before going to the away game.

When we took an early lead I thought that this was it, and I thought that away goals were a decider as well so even when they had a last minute equalizer I was only mildly concerned. Turns out away goals are irrelevant here.

Overall a fairly good season, but the squad is still lacking in some areas, and losing Taribo West was a blow to my defence (even if selling him restored dressroom harmony). Horacio Carbonari is also going away in the summer, he's been whiny all season and doesn't like Nikos Machlas for some reason. Position to be strengthened is, as it was in January, left back.
The new signings weren't all that impressive, Laros did decent and Davis is still young, but I had expected more from Navarro. One who did impress was young centre half Ian Evatt, who before this season had one game for Derby (in the 2000/01 season) and ten games on loan at Northampton in 2001. What a debut season he had, missing only 5 games and being included in the team of the year as well!


29-01-19, 01:56 AM

I decided to manage Ascoli in 2035.


This fella once played for them.


But in 2035 Ascoli are in Serie B in Italy's second tier.

The facilities are awful and the financial situation is insecure.


The team is over 8m in debt.


I did a bit of investigation to see what caused this.

There was a ridiculous spending spree of 21m in 2030.


Only 8m of that was recouped that year.


At first I mistakenly thought Doriva (Formerly a Middlesbrough player and Brazilian international) was the main cause of Ascoli's financial meltdown.


But he was hired after the spending spree and promotion to Serie A.


The damage was done by the manager previous to Doriva

Roberto Stellone:


Stellone managed Ascoli to promotion from Serie B and was manager of the year runner up for that division.

He quickly left Ascoli to manage Chievo in Serie A the following January where he won the 2031 Italian Cup, and was runner up in Serie A in 2034.


Not to be confused with this guy:


Since Stellone's tenure at Ascoli the club have been very frugal with thier spending.


The board still expects me to achieve a respectable position in the league.


These expectations are despite having having no funds. It is more annoying The chairman is wealthy but as yet is reluctant to splash the cash.

Maybe Stellone has made him think twice about spending his hard earned cash?


The plus point is that the Chairman seems very patient compared to most in the football world.

30-01-19, 08:58 PM
Second season with Chelsea and the first time I've had a player score 6 goals in an EPL match - the obscure and unknown Papadopoulos!
David Collins, To Madeira and Skalidis have scored 5 for me in the past and Orri Freyr has scored 6 a few times on 03/04 (Diablo)
I've never had it on 01/02

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
31-01-19, 03:18 PM
@Pegster: what a game against Arsenal with two goals in the final minute of extra time! Used up all your luck, it seems, followed by a nasty home exit against your biggest rivals and then an extra-time/away goals nightmare in the playoffs. Good luck for next season!

@1369: I have had (Saevar Freyr) Alexandersson score six in a match on 0102 several times and maybe even a seven but it is very rare.

31-01-19, 04:47 PM
@Pegster: what a game against Arsenal with two goals in the final minute of extra time! Used up all your luck, it seems, followed by a nasty home exit against your biggest rivals and then an extra-time/away goals nightmare in the playoffs. Good luck for next season!

@1369: I have had (Saevar Freyr) Alexandersson score six in a match on 0102 several times and maybe even a seven but it is very rare.

Saevar just scored 6 for me in a reserve game from AMC

31-01-19, 04:51 PM
Hit the '100 league games unbeaten in a row' mark last night on my Guiseley save. Amazing run of form with my self created non-wibwob tactic. :)

https://i.postimg.cc/6Q5zTzH8/Guiseley.jpg (https://postimages.org/)

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
01-02-19, 09:42 AM
One can only assume you have players who are far too good for those divisions? 151/20 and not superkeepered once in 3 seasons?

01-02-19, 10:50 AM


01-02-19, 11:20 AM
One can only assume you have players who are far too good for those divisions? 151/20 and not superkeepered once in 3 seasons?In the lowest leagues you only need certain attributes to be high.

Handling for keepers, mine had 15 and grew to 17.
Positioning and Jumping for defenders, my 3 DC's all had 15+ for those two.
Passing for DMC and MC's, mine all had 15+ for those.
Pace/Acceleration and Balance for wingers, my ML/MR had 15+ for speed and 12+ for balance.
Pace/Acceleration and Jumping for forwards, mine had 15+ for those.

I did get superkeepered in 4 of the 5 draws that I got.

The tactic I'm using (a 3-6-1) is proving to be really stable and good. Shared it with a couple of people and they're all having success with it.

02-02-19, 08:05 PM
After barely missing out on promotion last season, hopes and expectations were high in the Derby camp before the 2005/6 season. The official expectations were to reach play-offs (down from expecting promotion last year), but the goal was promotion. A few games into the season we did however find ourselves in a relegation spot after a horrible start of the season. After the poor start we did find some form and when January arrived we'd managed to climb to a decent position.


The summer signing this season was a left back, and we spent £500k on Thomas Griffiths from Preston. He played 3 games, and performed so poorly that he was relegated to the reserves in January. Money well spent!


The January signing target was a right back, and we acquired the services of the Italian defender Francesco Bega from Olympiakos Volou (not the famous club) for £170k. He's started 8 games and come on from the bench a couple of times, making him a much better signing if no great success.


37 years old Alexander Mostovoi was sold in November, after being transfer listed for refusing to renew his contract in the summer. While he was still a valuable part pf the squad, he was old and ihs contract was running out, and we were a bit overstaffed in his positions (AM L/C) so i was happy to get 120k for him and didn't see the need to replace him. 23 players in the 1st team squad a the moment, so one more can be sold without needing replacement as long as we have enough cover for each position.

We went out of both cups early, and after the initial scare our league performance was about as expected. We did score a lot of goal, and sat a new record for goals scored in the league by a team, passing 100 goals just before the end of the season and reaching a total of 101 goals. Our best player by far (again) was nikos Machlas, and he set a new division record for goals scored by a player, with a total of 40 goals from 44 games. A respectable amount, I would say. He's become quite a key player for us, and I am not looking forward to his retirement which can't be too far away, he's reached 32 years of age now.Hopefully he'll keep going for another couple of seasons at least.


We were expected to reach the play-offs, and that we did. 3rd place was the highest we ever reached, though had we done better the first few games we might have done better. Overall I'm reasonably satisfied with the season, apart from the first month which was horrible, but there's only one player who I think did well enough to deserve praise.
Some transfer activity is coming in the summer, the position most in need of strengthening is in goal, and we have a fairly well known goalkeeper coming in for a for us large sum in the summer. There's also one transfer out that's a done deal, with Tonton Zola Mokouko leaving for Gillingham who exploited his unprotected contract. He refused to sign a new one with us and there was nothing I could do to keep him even if I didn't want to sell him. We have enough cover in his positions, so his leaving will bring the first team squad down to 22 players, which is where I want it. Any further departures will need to be replaced, and as there's a few players over 30 and also some unprotected contracts, that may become an issue.


Some good news to end the season - Nikos Machlas who only had one year left of his contract only needed a few days to agree to a new one, despite interest from bigger clubs.


Kenny Dalglish's Smile
04-02-19, 12:02 PM
The tactic I'm using (a 3-6-1) is proving to be really stable and good. Shared it with a couple of people and they're all having success with it.
How 'bout post a pic in the non-wibwob thread in tactics forum?

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
04-02-19, 12:17 PM
After barely missing out on promotion last season, hopes and expectations were high in the Derby camp before the 2005/6 season. The official expectations were to reach play-offs (down from expecting promotion last year), but the goal was promotion. A few games into the season we did however find ourselves in a relegation spot after a horrible start of the season. After the poor start we did find some form and when January arrived we'd managed to climb to a decent position....

I can't see the images in your post for some reason, but you don't have Kinkladze in the squad, right? What happened to him in the game?

There was a really good article about him in the most recent edition of the Blizzard. Great side at Dynamo Tblisi with talents like Arvaldze and Ketsbaia, then a curious wandering career including Boca Juniors before eventually arriving in Manchester. Adored at City, he almost got relegated there three times, but missed the final one narrowly, plus multiple car crashes and an unlikely friendship with Nicky Summerbee and some enmity from Uwe Roesler, then went to Ajax for a high fee where he basically didn't play and pretty much got Morten Olsen the sack, then back to England with Derby - relegated and nearly relegated again - before resuming his wandering career and ending in the Cypriot league pretty much because Ketsbaia was the manager.

Overall a good fit with your Derby career :D

04-02-19, 05:02 PM
Sold Kinkladze to Hertha Berlin for £5M after the first season - he wanted a new challenge I think. He later moved to Nürnberg and is now retired, not as rambling a carreer as in real life!

04-02-19, 09:54 PM
January 2007 has arrived, and this is our best season yet - avoided the dreadful start we had last year and have been top of the table for most of the season so far.


The transfer activity has been higher this year than the previous ones, owing to one retirement and some players wanting more regular first team football or new/bigger challenges. Tonton Zola Mokouko was signed by Premiership team Gillingham for 2.1M, after they exploited that he had an unprotected contract, but the squad was big enough not to need a replacement for him. A couple of other players leaving plus the usual squad improvment signings means that a total number of 5 players have come in since the end of last season, with 5 players departing as well, one of them a former youth player who never got a chance in the first team and who left when his contract was up.

I mentioned above that a fairly well known goalkeeper was coming in, and Manuel Almunia did indeed arrive in the summer from Celta for 1.2M. He established himself as first choice in the pre-season friendlies, and didn't miss a game until he was sent off just before Christmas.

My other summer signing, Adil Ramzy, was brought in on free transfer from Groningen to replace a retired Darryl Powell, and he has also been a regular starter.

Dean Burton found himself behind Nikos Machlas in the pecking order for most of the last two seasons, and wanted to leave to get more first team football. He was sold to Rushden & Diamonds early in the season, and was replaced by Chinese international Chen Yang who was a free agent after being released by Frankfurt in the summer. He has a German passport after spending a while there, and he can also do a good job as a defensive midfielder.

Just before Christmas aging Finnish international Simo Valakari felt he needed a new challenge in his carreer, and at the age of 32 I felt it was right to allow him to leave. He has done a good job for us over many seasons, and will be missed, but I felt it would be wrong to keep him against his will, this might be his last chance at another good club. He left for Premier League club Norwich for 425k and was replaced by Senegalese one time capped Sylvain N'Diaye. He has a French passport after spending many seasons in Monaco, but he never played much for them and has been a free agent since the summer.

The last signing so far was the January squad improvment signing, and this time it was (again) left back which was the weakest point. Another free agent was brought in in former Irish u21 international Paul Tierny. He spent 6 seasons at Manchester United, feauturing twice in their starting eleven before being released last summer.


There is also one transfer arranged for the summer - Paul Warne has decided to retire after this season, and I have arranged the transfer of a very experienced replacement who has more than 80 caps for his country to replace him.

Season is looking good so far and I feel I have a fairly solid squad now, though the loss of Valakari could be a blow. N'Diaye looks like a good replacement, though.

07-02-19, 12:13 AM
pretty pleased so far, coming towards the end of the season and challenging for the champions league places.

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Alex Ferguson
08-02-19, 09:53 AM
After barely missing out on promotion last season, hopes and expectations were high in the Derby camp before the 2005/6 season. The official expectations were to reach play-offs (down from expecting promotion last year), but the goal was promotion. A few games into the season we did however find ourselves in a relegation spot after a horrible start of the season. After the poor start we did find some form and when January arrived we'd managed to climb to a decent position.


The summer signing this season was a left back, and we spent £500k on Thomas Griffiths from Preston. He played 3 games, and performed so poorly that he was relegated to the reserves in January. Money well spent!


The January signing target was a right back, and we acquired the services of the Italian defender Francesco Bega from Olympiakos Volou (not the famous club) for £170k. He's started 8 games and come on from the bench a couple of times, making him a much better signing if no great success.


37 years old Alexander Mostovoi was sold in November, after being transfer listed for refusing to renew his contract in the summer. While he was still a valuable part pf the squad, he was old and ihs contract was running out, and we were a bit overstaffed in his positions (AM L/C) so i was happy to get 120k for him and didn't see the need to replace him. 23 players in the 1st team squad a the moment, so one more can be sold without needing replacement as long as we have enough cover for each position.

We went out of both cups early, and after the initial scare our league performance was about as expected. We did score a lot of goal, and sat a new record for goals scored in the league by a team, passing 100 goals just before the end of the season and reaching a total of 101 goals. Our best player by far (again) was nikos Machlas, and he set a new division record for goals scored by a player, with a total of 40 goals from 44 games. A respectable amount, I would say. He's become quite a key player for us, and I am not looking forward to his retirement which can't be too far away, he's reached 32 years of age now.Hopefully he'll keep going for another couple of seasons at least.


We were expected to reach the play-offs, and that we did. 3rd place was the highest we ever reached, though had we done better the first few games we might have done better. Overall I'm reasonably satisfied with the season, apart from the first month which was horrible, but there's only one player who I think did well enough to deserve praise.
Some transfer activity is coming in the summer, the position most in need of strengthening is in goal, and we have a fairly well known goalkeeper coming in for a for us large sum in the summer. There's also one transfer out that's a done deal, with Tonton Zola Mokouko leaving for Gillingham who exploited his unprotected contract. He refused to sign a new one with us and there was nothing I could do to keep him even if I didn't want to sell him. We have enough cover in his positions, so his leaving will bring the first team squad down to 22 players, which is where I want it. Any further departures will need to be replaced, and as there's a few players over 30 and also some unprotected contracts, that may become an issue.


Some good news to end the season - Nikos Machlas who only had one year left of his contract only needed a few days to agree to a new one, despite interest from bigger clubs.


Niklos Machlas! Not heard that name in years.

08-02-19, 04:59 PM
No further transfer activity this season, and very few changes in the first team at all since there was an overall high level of performances.A couple of injuries and suspensions, but the there were very few changes in the team between January and May. The only real competition was between the sticks as Almunia had a couple of poor games so Mart Poom got a chance again, and their forms were going a bit back and forth. Otherwise the team was pretty much the same every game, the condition levels were surprisingly high too, only when we played games Saturday and Monday did some players need to rest.

We were out of the League Cup well before Christmas, and when we drew away at Everton in the 4th round of the FA Cup I expected to go out of that too, but after another exciting game with late goals we were through.


We faced 1st division or lower half Premier league sides in the next games, and made it all the way to the semi final, where we met fellow 1st division team Rushden & Diamonds, who were mid-table and on paper a poorer team than us.

They were a poorer team on the pitch too, even if it wasn't made of paper.


A successful run in the cup is all well and good, but it's the league that is most important. We wree solidly placed at the top of the table in January, and we kept playing well. We were not the only team playing well though, and there were several other teams who also wanted promotion.

None of them wanted it as much as us, however, and several games before the end we were out of reach for everyone else. We're back up in Premier League and I've got my first trophy!



There was also that bit about the cup final, where we met Norwich who were relegated from the Premier League this season:


All in all a season we could be quite happy with, and I also have a squad that I am quite happy with. Some familiar names kept doing very well, like Machlas and Emam, and new signing Chen made a very solid debut season. He was signed as a striker, but played mostly as defensive or central midfielder since Machlas didn't want anyone else to get the striker spot. Malcolm Christie got his proper breakthrough in the first team this season as well, after appearing sporadically in previous seasons.


I mentioned before that this save was supposed to be an alphabet game, and I still want that (and decided that with the rules i have in place it will take too long to win stuff with many teams so I'll just have "win a trophy" as criterium, not winning the league), but I also would like to continue with Derby so I think I will split the save in two. There aren't any available jobs at the moment anyway (only England loaded), so for now I'll stay anyway.

08-02-19, 05:06 PM


Surprised you didn't score more - Everton don't have a goalie - Gemmill is a midfielder

09-02-19, 01:00 AM
missed out on top 4 finish, lost some big games against Liverpool & Man City but not a bad season, bring on the next one

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09-02-19, 11:44 PM
After winning the 1st division and the FA Cup with Derby I was faced with a difficult choice - to do as I planned when I started the save and leave them for another club starting with a different letter (eventually filling as much of the alphabet as possible), or stay and see where I could take them from here. Alphabet games are fun and there are so many teams I'd like to manage, but I was also having a lot of fun with Derby, and with the transfer restrictions I had in place I had a much closer relationship to the squad than I am wont to do. My solution was simple - I split the save in two, saving it both as an alphabet game and as a Derby save.

I applied for the first job that became available, and got it. Leek Town, hailing from Leek in Staffordshire, about an hours drive northwest of Derby, was my next destination. They were newly promoted to the Conference, had a small squad and no money, and the board wanted me to help them stay clear of relegation. Reachable goals and a challenging situation. Beeing a greengrocer and food lover I also have a fondness for the name.

I had to add a new rule to my transfer policy, as the team I took over simply didn't have enough players. I decided that if there's a position where I don't have two players at the club, I can sign someone to fill the void. At Leek, there was only one goalkeepers, and no right midfielders. My shortlist was full of both from 6 seasons of scouting, but none of them wanted to play at such a low level. There was one scout at the club, he was sent to search for youngsters, and I signed 6 other scouts as well and sent them off. They managed to find two goalkeepers pretty early but they couldn't get work permissions, and I had to wait until around Christmas to have a second goalkeeper. Thankfully the one I had performed not too bad and was never injured or suspended, but the new goalkeeper should be a vast improvment and he looked to be an excellent signing for this level.


Unfortunately for him he had never played a single game in his carreer, and Kevin Welshby managed to perform just above average form throughout the season and so de Bruine has only warmed the bench so far.

Finding a right winger somewhat surprisingly turned out to be even harder than finding a goalkeeper, there was one player that was found in the autumn and two or three in the spring, but they were all under contract and my £0 offers and loan offers were all rejected. Picking a grey player for every single match gets tedious after a while :(

The squad was small and severely lacking in quality, but a couple of players stood out when I first arrived, and my high hopes for them were not misplaced as they both had excellent seasons:



The league season went slightly better than expected, but it was a tight league and 5 games before the end it was 4 points from the 4th place down to 14th place. The goal of avoiding relegation was never in danger of not being reached, and we ended in a fairly solid 13th place.


Lots of positions need better players, but apart from still looking for two right wingers the transfer target for the summer is a left back. There's a free agent from Spain in my short list that is interested, so I expect to sign him shortly. Dave Whittaker (DMC) and Alan Dodd (DRC) have contracts that expire in the summer and will also need replacement.

10-02-19, 06:54 PM

Meanwhile back in Ascoli.





Gazzetta Dello Sport report:

“ The woodpecker of Ascoli take Serie B title despite loss.

Ascoli lift the title despite losing 2-1 to Terana, as Sampdoria only manage a 1-1 draw against Cittadella.”


The race for the Serie B championship went down to the wire between Sampdoria and Ascoli.

But Ascoli emerged victorious.



The two teams fought hard for the title all year with the lead changing places a lot after the midpoint of the season.


Sampdoria will be bitterly disappointed with their performance in their last two games as they failed to get a win in their last two games of the season.

It was particularly galling for all involved with Sampdoria, as the final two games were against two sides who were eventually relegated to Serie C.


As a consequence of winning Serie B, I was given manager of the year award, which I owe to the players.

However, I was also hired as manager of the Czech Republic.

Hopefully that role will help Ascoli find some hidden gems as a result of the Czech Republic job.


Former Ascoli stars can only look on in admiration from afar:



The Coppa Italia was a less successful venture for Ascoli.

'The WoodpeckersÂ’ got knocked out over 2 legs in the 1st round of the cup.

Ascoli were ahead after the 1st leg with a 2-1 lead with a goal from veteran Raffaele De Franceso (FRC)

And ‘star man’ Aboubacar Brodel (FRC).


However, Ascoli fell to a 2-0 defeat in the 2nd leg even though they dominated in the final third.



As Manager I made wholesale changes and made 9 permanent signings spending a total of €1.4m, and got in 2 loan signings.

The two loanees are Italian nationals Enrico Gennaro (AM/RL) a pacey winger with good crossing ability.

And the versatile Umberto Nuifora (AM/FLC).

Umberto's versatility was an asset as was his determination and workrate

This meant he played better then the sum of his parts when called upon.



Out of the new arrivals at the club, 6 of them started in Ascoli’s penultimate Serie B game of the season against Terana in their usual 3-4-3 formation.


The team was ably led throughout the season by the veteran 36 year old Mexican defender Cesar Castillo.

Castillo (DC) was a former Champions League Winner with Spanish side Celta 6 years ago.


Castillo (DC) was an ever present in Ascoli’s side during the season and featured in 40 games for the club.

However, to achieve this Castillo’s minutes had to be managed due to his age and lack of stamina.

This meant that he was often substituted at around the 65/70 minute mark if possible

But Castillo’s positioning and passing ability and creativity made him ideal for the role in the centre of the back three.

In the back three Castillo’s lack of pace is less likely to be exposed by the opposition.

Cesar Castillo (DC) attributes


Aboubacar Brodel (FRC), Junior Eto’o (D/DMC), Chris Vercauteren (DLC), Raffaele De Francesco (FRC) and Goodman Pule (FRC) remained from the old guard in that final starting line up of the season.

Of these old guard players Brodel (FRC) was undoubtedly the star of the team.

Brodel (FRC) attributes


The fast paced Guinean forward played the best football of his career during the season.

He finished with 29 goals in 38 games.

Brodel (FRC) playing career


Brodel (FRC) grabbed the award for top scorer in Serie B for his exploits on the pitch.


Not only that but Brodel (FRC) also set a new Ascoli record.

He got the best average rating in the club’s history.


Cameroonian Junior Eto’o (D/DMC) was recently retrained as a defender.

And it is hoped that this versatility will enable easier switching of formations mid game.

Junior Eto'o attributes


Team of the year awards

When it came to the Serie B player of the year awards Brodel (FRC) was an obvious choice from Ascoli.

The league top scorer was sure to get a place..

But one of Brodel’s teammates joined him in the team of the year

Ascoli keeper, Marco Suker.


Marco Suker (GK) attributes


The award was made even more satisfying as the Croat was signed for just 85k!

Criticism of the lack of Italian players at Ascoli

Even after Ascoli's success, was some disquiet among former Ascoli players in the Italian media.

This was because there was so few Italian players starting regularly for Ascoli during the season.


Foremost among them was Lorenzo Scarafoni

Lorenzo Scarafoni


The hometown player with Ascoli from 1981 -1988 said:.

‘ The title is great, but why are there so few Italian players at Ascoli? ’
(headline La Gazetta Dello Sport)

The former Ascoli star of the 80's thinks
there are too many foreign players at Ascoli.
(subheading La Gazetta Dello Sport)

Scarafoni continued:

‘When we won the Serie B title in 85-86 we only had one foreign player, Aleksandar Trifunović.
He was from Yugoslavia, the rest of the squad was Italian.
Even though our manager at the time Vujadin Boškov was also a Yugoslav, the team had an Italian feel and ethos.


'Now we have too many foreign players and are lucky if there are two Italian’s on the pitch.

In that final game against Terana, only the two Italian’s Raffaele De Francesco (FRC) and Enrico Di Genarro (AMRL) started that game.
Di Genarro was not even a permanent member of the squad he was on loan from Serie B’s Caligari.’



Fan's player of the year

On the back of BrodelÂ’s excellent performances, it was almost a foregone conclusion that he was voted the clubs player of the year by the fans


In my first season I have found the fans to passionate and supportive of the team.


Some now dream of even more success next season



There are several on my current staff who have been at the club from the previous regime.

One coach in particular:

Calogero Grilli


Grilli is a very good Coach and has the attributes to be a decent Assistant Manager.

However, I did not feel he had the requisite attributes to work with youngsters at the club, so I kept him as a coach.

Grilli is also busy as the current Afghanistan head coach and I was also worried about how he would be able to handle the extra work load.

Calogero Grilli achievements


Grilli was Afghanistan manager on two occasions after a brief stint out of the job.

There is important background to the reasons for this.

It involved camel racing.


Back in 2033 Calogero Grilli was alleged to have recruited children from relations of the players of his Afghanistan team for Camel racing in Dubai.
This was alleged to have been going on since 2025 when Grilli first was appointed Afghanistan manager.

Furthermore, those who appeared to below the legal camel racing age of 15 claimed to suffer from malnutrition or dwarfism.
And they produced doctorsÂ’ notes stating this.


In the subsequent investigation (at the time) an independent doctor claimed that the camel jockey’s in question were just due a growth spurt.

However, that doctor in question was later jailed for providing camel medication for illegal sale. This medication with a high enough dose and specific preparation provides hallucinatory effects in humans. The authorities naturally got the hump about this and threw him in jail.

There were also claims of wholesale camel doping by those owned by Grilli.
However, all these camels unfortunately got parasitic infections and had to be put down by a veterinarian.
Therefore, the full verdict after the investigation based on the facts was ‘inconclusive' as the Camels were not able to be tested for illegal substances.

Grilli was sacked due to the impending investigation and bringing the Afghanistan football association into disrepute.

Nonetheless, following the investigation Grilli was surprisingly reinstated as Afghanistan manager, just 9 days after he was sacked from the post.

It was a new Afghanistan Chairman who reappointed Grilli, the new Chairman was alleged to have known ties to lucrative sport of Camel racing in Dubai and the UAE.

I felt the position of Assistant Manager was crucial, and I needed an all-round right hand man (who did not require much wages)

So I terminated the previous Assistant Manager’s contract, and decided to appoint from within.

Armando Piccioni has served as a scout at the club since 2029.
I had the faith in him, that he could step up to the Assistant Manager’s role and accept low wages.

As Armndo knows the honour of the role means much more than money.

Armando Piccioni


The club has a dire youth system
And there does not seem to be any Italian youth players available on a free transfer who are interested in moving to Ascoli.

Because of this I have had to search elsewhere for players.

I have placed scouts in Macedonia, Croatia and the Czech Republic in the hope of getting good value players.

I also hope that my connections as Czech Republic Manager help me with some networking.



As pointed out earlier the poor facilities at the club there is a virtually non-existent youth system at Ascoli.

The club gym has seen better days.


And the training facilities need a severe overall. Some would say they are awful.


The stadium itself has fallen into disrepair.

And it is far cry from the times when the Stadio Cino e Lillo Del Duca used to have a capacity of 20,500.


Ascoli's highest attendance in recent times was over 15000 in the 2020 season.


But that was 16 years ago!

The stadium now only had a 8103 capacity during the season.


Finances have been a real issue in my time at the club.

The financial situation I had inherited was dire.


Drastic measures had to be taken so I transferred out 10 players which brought in 17.5m Euros.


The major part of this income was because of the sale of Uwe Starke (DL) for 9.5m Euros to Borussia Monchengladbach.

It was a vastly inflated valuation, so the offer could not be refused.

Starke played regularly for his new German side.

Uwe Starke (DL) Attributes


An average defender but was in no way worth 9.5m euros

This was proven by his end of season valuation was only 1m euros.


I spent just 1.4m to try to rebuild the squad.


But the club was still hemorrhaging a 1.5m month.

This was even after trying to lower the wage bill and get rid of the high earners.


After incomings and outgoings, the total wage bill of the squad did not seem that high?


Most of the high earners were gone and Malaysian Bobby Lim (SC) who was on an eyewatering 25k per week could not be sold.

He put in a transfer request prior to my arrival at the club.

But as he is not a very good player he was still here.

Fortunately, Bobby is due to leave at the end of this season, on a bosman free transfer.

But I was wrong about the wage level at the club

It was still high for a club with a capacity of just over 8000.

Even though I had decreased wages by 10m on the previous year


And even after lowering the total expenditure bill from 34m in the previous year to 19m this year.

Ascoli's financial situation was still perilous by the end of the season.

The club was 4m in debt.

It turned out previous managements were not completely to blame for the club’s problems.

The main problem was generation of income to cover wages.

But one day there was 7 briefcases full of 100-euro notes left outside my office door.


It is not the first time the club's directors artificially kept the club afloat.

In the previous season the 23m invested in the club dwarfs any money received from the TV rights deal


This meant that the finances for the new season were OK at the end of the season.


And then when the money was added from the TV rights deal was added shortly afterwards,
it gave the finances a much healthier look heading into next season


It should keep the finances in the black for most of next season




I went to see the board to pay my respects to the Chairman after he and the directors got the club out of financial difficulty.

But I explained how the stadium is badly in need of expansion.

To my delight the board agreed.

They promised 1000 more seats in the stadium.


The capacity of the stadium is now 9103


The board said they were delighted with my performance as manager.

And they also added that Eduardo Borsa (SC) would be a useful addition to the squad.

They showed me a file on the player who plays in Serie C.

Edouardo Borsa (SC) attributes


I looked at the file and politely told the board that I have other targets

And I thanked them for their advice.

Also, I informed the board we had a 6m offer accepted for Goodman Pule (FRC) from a German side.

Goodman Pule (FRC) attributes


Although the South African forward is a young player, I felt the offer was too good to turn down.

This money can then be invested elsewhere in the club wages, infrastructure, playing staff etc.

So I asked the board in lieu of this money could we invest in the training facilities.

I said that they are an embarrassment for Serie B champions.


To restore the stadium to its former glories should be a priority in my view.

So I then informed the board that the capacity of the stadium should be made even bigger.


Finally, I asked the board if they could increase the funds for wages as I felt that this was holding the club back.

And would be particularly important as we try and meet the boards expectations for the season ahead.



Kenny Dalglish's Smile
11-02-19, 06:36 AM
Very nice :D

11-02-19, 12:31 PM
A great mix of photoshop and clip art :)

11-02-19, 01:28 PM
A great mix of photoshop and clip art :)

I only got the hang of photoshop in the last year or so.

So I decided to have a bit of craic with it to see what I could do.
Considering that I cannot draw a straight line and I am in no way artistic, it is the next best thing.
The only annoying about the story is that I notice when I am editing it and pasting it into the thread a 'Â' character appears sometimes when I use a € or write an apostrophe like "doctor's"

I did a bit of research on it and it is caused by a HTML encoding issue?


I would have to put in codes called html entities


I think I found a work around using notepad++


Edit it did not work for me.

12-02-19, 08:16 PM
Great Write up :D

12-02-19, 08:44 PM
Second season done at Leek, and it will not be my last here (though I did get a couple of job offers during the season that I rejected - going to win something with Leek before moving on). I didn't expect to challenge for honours this season, but hoped to do at least as good as last season while getting to know my players better. In that sense the season can be called a success, as even thouhg we had a somewhat poor start weended up doing quite a bit better than last year's 13th place.



After last season finished I finally found two right wingers to fill the holes in the squad, and also strengthened the team with a left back. In the winter "transfer window" a right back was the target, and while none of the four signings have been overly impressive they've done a decent enough job and as they were all freebies I'm not complaining too much. A right back is the taget again this summer though. Apart from them the squad overall was decent, with Toms and Franklin being solid in central defence and attack respectively, while last year's January signing, Dutch goalkeeper de Bruin, established himself as first choice this season and did well. Ben Parker was promoted to the reserve team before last season and promoted to the first team last summer at the age of 16. He may have a lustrous carreer ahead of him, the same can be said for 16 years old Andrew Coleman who came into the reserves less than a year ago and waspromoted to the first team in January.






A transfer for a right back is arranged for 2 June (and he's got French 2nd nationality so it will go through), and I am very curious as to what I am getting. He was on my shortlist so one of my scouts has at one point regarded him as excellent (his history shows no MoM awards so he can't be there due to being MoM in a game where I had an international u21 player participating - think I only had England, Northern Ireland and Sweden at Derby anyway, not likely to have played Nigeria).


I'm not expecting a trophy next season, but if we continue the form curve from this year it's possible, and with some very young players already estblishing themselves and doing well they could become key players in a solid team next year. Struggling a bit on the backs though, and there's a lack of offensive minded midfielders (only three who are attacking midfielders, and AMLC Andy Dunn isn't exactly impressing).

Derby ended 17th in Premier League last season, this season they are rock bottom with 12 points. They sacked their manager at some point but that didn't help. They've sold several of my key players and have spent quite a bit of money on deadweight. It's a bit sad, really, I became attached to that squad.

15-02-19, 10:31 PM
Decent start to the season, hoping to break into the champions league spots in my 3rd seaon in charge.

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18-02-19, 09:59 AM
Here's my current inter game for anyone to look at


21-02-19, 05:46 PM
After last season's impressive 3rd place, there were those who thought that perhaps this season we could properly challenge for honours - if not in the league so at least in one of the cups. The cups were nothing to write home about, though we did get to participate in the Van's Trophy for the first time. In the league we started fairly well before having a dip in form, then we picked up the pace again and held a decent spot for a while before completely collapsing in the spring. A good finishing sprint gave us a tolerable mid-table finish, but even if we ended one spot higher than 2 seasons ago it was our worst season (third season now since promotion) points-wise.


I knew the squad was fairly poor, and some key players from earlier seasons like striker Franklin didn't perform well this season, and there was never a first team that could mold together. The unknown right back that came in the summer turned out to be good on paper but not super in reality, and the left back that arrived in January wasn't too impressive either. A left winger is on the shopping list for the summer, as is a new goalkeeper as de Bruine refuses to sign a new contract (though he "doesn't want to leave the club" when he is transfer listed). Several players whose contracts expire in a year refuse to renew them, among them Franklin, so there may be more than two players joining in the near future.


26-02-19, 10:41 PM
My 4th season at Leek has come to an end, and while (spoiler alert!) I'll spent at least another season here there were some highlights worthy of the clubs annals. Previously, the farthest we had come in the FA Cup was the 2nd round. This season, however, we were had a very impressive run, beating lower league or conference opposition in the qualification and first two rounds proper, before managing to keep Portsmouth (albeit a Portsmouth who had been relegated to the 2nd division) to a draw away, and beating them at home. In the 4th round (!) we faced 1st division team Rushden & Diamonds, this time at home. We didn't expect much from this game, but somehow we managed a 2-2 draw and a replay.


Not often you see a conference team go all the way to the 4th round, so we are most definitely happy with this run.

In the league we again started poorly, before finding a decent form and slowly but steadily climbing up the ranks. I wonder what could have been if our first two months were better...


I mentioned I was not happy with the squad I had available last year, and I wouldn't say I'm super happy with it now either, but I think it has improved a decent amount. Two signings were donelast summer, a left midfielder was a priority signing, and I needed to replace my goalkeeper who refused to sign a new contract. The only goalkeeper in my shortlist that was willing to join was a Columbian who couldn't get a work permit, but by a stroke of luck one of my scouts found one just one game into the season. I pounced on the opportunity and I think we have a decent stopper for the next several years here. I also signed a Belgian midfielder I also was close to signing on a previous occasion (but then he was too slow to accept my contract offer and I signed someone else instead). Both players have played a decent amount and performed fairly well, without setting the league on fire.


Here is the full first team squad overview, several players performing quite decently and if they keep this up w emay have a shot at a better position next year. This year there wasn't a single team that pulled away, which has been the case previously, and if that doesn't happen next season either our chances of silverware are at least above zero. Cups are too much of a lottery to hope for much.


A right back was my transfer target in January, but there was none to be found. A right back is still the transfer target, and also the position that most needs strengthening, so there will only be one signing all in all (barring replacements if anyone leaves), which is well since the squad has gotten a bit bloated. Near the end of the season one of my scouts finally found an excellent right back that both wanted to play for us and who didn't cost money, and in June this guy is joining on a Bosman:


Another pre-arranged transfer is that of striker Damian Francis to Hartlepool, who were relegated out of Conference this season. He has been a key player for me in my four seassons here, scoring a total of 75 goals in 101 appearances which I would say is a rather good return. Unfortunately for him I have several good strikers, and the last two seasons - especially last season - he found himself playing second fiddle to Dave Bowler. His contract is running out and I'm not too surprised that he didn't want to sign a new one after he lost his first team spot, especially not as he's turned 31 and only has a few years left to play. He leaves with my best wishes, and as I have too many strikers as it is he'll not be replaced.

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
03-03-19, 11:08 AM
Good stuff, Pegster

03-03-19, 12:56 PM
After four seasons of ups and down but overall a better performance than the pundits and the board had expected, I embarked on my fifth season at Leek with cautious optimism. We did well in the league most of last season, well enough to have an extra cup where we with a lot of luck could do well, in the Van's Trophy. I didn't expect to win anything, however, the goal for the seaosn was to be among the top teams of the league.

The summer of 2011 saw some transfer activity in addition to the aforementioned right back coming in and Damien Francis leaving. Two players had expiring contracts and didn't want to renew them, with both striker Simon Tucker and defender Richard O'Neill opting to try to find a new club. Neither had played more than a handful of games over the last seasons and wouldn't be missed. With 5 strikers in the first team squad for one spot last season, losing one was just good, really.
Two more players left: Another striker who didn't play much and refused to renew his contract, Anthony Robinson, was sold to Bath for £16k. This was not a problem as I still had more strikers than strictly needed. The second player to be sold, however, was a bit of a blow (thouhg no surprise). Academy graduate Ben Parker had performed very well as central defender or defensive midfielder in his three seasons as a first team player, and Stoke activated his £250k release clause. He was a loss I didn't want, but at least this meant that the finances were suddenly looking a lot better (we've generally started the season a little in plus and ended a little in minus). I actually had money to spend now!

A record sum of £6k was spent bringing this guy in from Chester, and he's done well.


No further transfers were done in the summer, but in the late autumn my goalkeeper, whose contract was expiring the coming summer, and who was transfer listed for refusing to renew it, was poached by promotion competitor Exeter. In came an old acquaintance, the goalkeeper who left the club a year and a half before after refusing to renew his contract - Roy de Bruine. He hadn't found a new club in the meantime, and was happy to return.


Another right back was targetted in January (I have a feeling my tactic is somewhat unfair to full backs with regards to average ratings, that's the most common "poorest rated first team player" position), and having money in the bank we gave Sluogh (now promoted to second division after starting in non-league) £40k for Lee Ward. He played one game this season and was on the bench a couple of times.


Last year we had quite an adventure in the FA Cup, and this year we also started well, beating non-league teams Fisher and Purfleet in the first two games before travelling to 3rd division team Bournemouth in the 2nd round:


3rd round saw us drawn home against Premier League team Newcastle, and there was to be no surprise there as they easily beat us 3-0. The other cups were nothing to write home about.

Less cup games meant more time to rest between games, and that may have been a contributing factor to our league form, as barring a few injuries and bans we could field the on paper most on-form team almost every game. We managed to avoid the poor starts we had the previous seasons, and were in the race for the promotion spot from the start. The squad was solid overall, and especially young striker and academy graduate Ralph Britton had an impressive season after he saw his chance when Dave Bowler had a dip of form early on. Why he wasn't in the team of the year as top scorer and best average rated player in the league I cannot explain. Anyway, I am quite happy with our performances this season:




Not much transfer activity expected in the summer, thouhg yet another right back is on the shopping list, if I stay that long.

07-03-19, 09:28 AM
Two letters done and time to search for a new challenge. There were a couple of cøubs without a manager when the season ended, but a few years in the conference hadn't made me a top target for Premiership or 1st division clubs. The first club I was given an opportunity at was Accrington Stanley, who were newly promoted and about to play their first season in the Conference. There was a certain lack of squad depth, and no money to rectify the lack of players with, but at least I had an almost full first team squad to start with.


I had no money to buy players for at the start, but thankfully my years at Leek had given me an extensive shortlist of conference-level players to choose from, and many of them were freebies. I was a bit surprised at the apparent quality of some of them, but of course most weren't world beaters.
For some odd reason, Accrington was a very popular TV match team, so we arned quite a bit of money on TV revenues, and I soon had a transfer budget of several hundred thousand pounds at my disposal. This came in handy as the season progressed and I both needed to strengthen the team in January (or February as it became before I could get someone in) and needed to replace a shock retirement in March (don't think I've ever had someone retire mid-season before). Below is a full list of all the season's transfers, including the "first team strengthener" for this summer:

Kwesi Cairns was signed just before I arrived, the rest are my transfers.

I replace players who leave during the season unless I have too many in that position, and the signing of Woods was such a replacement. Not because of a sale, however, but because Thomas Luttenberger suddenly decided that he was done with playing. I don't think I have had a player suddenly retire mid-season before, that usually happens between seasons. When he had retired he had this season's stats on his main page, but not in his carreer overview. Weird.


The board's goal for the season was to avoid relegation, mine was mid-table, at a stretch to end top 8 and qualify for the Van's Trophy. As the season started and went on for a bit, it seemed like my players had other ideas, however. We were among the top teams from th ebeginning, and sat in 1st place for a while. A dip of form overthe winter saw us fall some ten points behind the leaders, however, but we managed top 8 by a decent margin. We also had a solid run in the FA Cup, whereI got revenge over Rushden & Diamonds who knocked out Leek a few years back, they were now in the 2nd division but I'd still say it was a bit of a shock result when we beat them at their turf in the 2nd round. In the third round we travelled to Grimsby, and a Premier League team managed by Louis van Gaal was nothing we had a chance against.


Overall a pretty decent performance by the team, some of the better looking new signings like Luna performed excellently, and as so often before it's a full back that's the poorest rated "best eleven" player.


Cautiously optimistic for next season, the team is pretty decent and we'll have an extra cup to compete in. Not expecting to win anything but it's not impossible. Top 8 is the goal once more.

10-03-19, 10:54 AM
After doing far better than expected last season, I now knew what my team was capable of and had hopes for a season as good as the last one. No too high hopes thouhg as there's only one promotion spot (and fierce competition) and cups are a lottery, but a top 8 finish should be doable.

Some transfer activity in the summer beyond the already mentioned defender: My main right winger and my backup left winger both retired and needed replacement. The striker who had played the most also retired, but I had two other strikers in the 1st team squad and opted not to replace him. I also needed a new scout, and made a mistake in thinking that one of the wingers I was trying to sign was the scout I was trying to sign, and signed two left wingers instead of one. To make up for that I didn't sign any players in January. In late November several clubs tried to buy my outstanding Spanish centre back Miguel Ángel Luna, and Portsmouth activated his £200k release clause. I've got a transfer budget now (at just over 300k at the moment - finances are great for a Conference club), and spent £20k on Steven Ward from St. Mirren. My backup goalkeeper refused to renew his contract and was sold, but I have been unable to find a replacement that's an EU/EEC citizen so I've had to use grey players on the bench and when my goalkeeper has been unavailable. Going to fix that this summer, if I can't find an EU player by then there's always the start of transfer window loophole.


We got off to a flying start in the league and then kept on doing well, and after the first few games - when points became a bigger factor than goal difference - we were never below 4th. Barnet ran away and several months before the end of the season it was clear that we had no chance of promotion, but a 4th place finish is better than last year and I am happy with that.


Parts of my defence, the centre backs and the right back, had good seasons, but my goalkeeper and left back were rather unimpressive and we were very leaky at the back. I hope to get a better goalkeeper and left back this season, if we manage to fix the amount of goals conceded we could have a good shot at promotion next season. Player of the season is without doubt my striker - I mentioned abovethat I opted not to replace the retired striker last summer, and I did not regret that. David Burton had a simply outstanding season!


Leek were relegated from the 3rd division after 2 seasons there, will be interesting to meet my old club next season.

12-03-19, 04:22 PM



It has been an eventful second season in Ascoli.


Transfers in



I was going to spend much less money, but Inter Milan scared me with their spending levels compared to our squad.


Transfers out

The transfers in were funded by the transfer out of Goodman Pule (FRC)


So it was a total of 18 transfers in 8m, players out 7 players – total 6m

Really net 11 players in, it soon became a net 10 players in.

This is because Sapetti (GK) was quickly given a coaching role.

After these transfers I envisaged a complete overhaul of the squad in a hybrid 3-5-2 wingbacks / 3-4-1-2 formation.


The plan was that only consistent Marko Suker (GK) remained in the starting line up from the previous season.

Suker did not disappoint, he had another solid season.

Marko Suker (GK) attributes


But it was not in the formation that I imagined at the start of the season (more on this later)

The most high-profile signing was by far was Vincenzo Rosato (DRC)


The former Italian international legend has had a glittering career





Unfortunately, Rosato (DRC) did not live up to hype.

And played himself out of the starting team with only intermittent appearances in the starting line up.

Vincenzo Rosato (DRC) attributes


The two others in the defensive three that I planned to start with also did not perform as well as expected during the season.

Youngster Fabrizio Mattei (SW/D/DMRC) who I spent most transfer funds on was a bit hit and miss all season.

He is a very inconsistent player and worse still he is very temperamental.

Fabrizio Mattei (SW/D/DMRC) attributes


The third in my originally planned back three was Englishman Simon Ashworth (DC) has not really set the world alight in his first year.

I feel that playing in a three-man defence did not suit him and he would prefer playing in a ‘flat back four’

Simon Ashworth (DC) attributes


In the wingbacks role Caceres (DL) was solid and the Uruguayan is top quality on set-pieces

Caceres (DL) attributes


However, the right wingback role proved to be a real issue.

This was especially true when two Englishmen that I earmarked for the position, both failed to settle in Italy.

I think the food was too rich for them.


Shaun Christie (AMRL) did not play well at right-wingback.

Even though I thought he had the necessary skillset

Shaun Christie (AMRL) attributes


The Englishman failed to settle in Italy and was on leave A LOT


As mentioned, it was compounded by the fact that the right back I brought to compete for a place with him did not settle in Italy either.


In fact, Jay Burton never unpacked his case and was living in a hotel.

He thought it was a mistake to move to Italy almost as soon as he landed.

The only other right back I had was at the club before I took over.

His name is Gianfranco Palma (DR).

A veteran in his 30's who was not as consistent as I would like, after an OK start with the kind run of games.

However, he was not good enough against the better sides in the league.

Gianfranco Palma (DR) attributes


So, this meant that the defence was not up to standard.

But also, the strike paring was not working.

Dimce Angelov (SC) proved a real disappointment.

The Macedonian really struggled to get goals despite his attributes.

Dimce Angelov (SC) attributes


I was a bit confused as to which tactic to play, in order to get the best out of the squad.

There were various periods of losses of form, and various players under-performing


First, I tried to get more balance in the side a wingbacks formation, with a tight midfield three.

A 4-2-1-2-1 with two sitting midfielders, a 3-4-2-1 formation which was attacking.

Then I tried a counter attack formation with 3 deep midfielders.

But I realised that creative central midfield players were the strength of the squad.

So, I decided upon a 3-1-3-2-1 ‘flair tree' formation with short passing and midfielders with licence to shoot from distance,


The pick of the midfielders was arguably Erik Vissers (D/DMC)

He was retrained as a defender shortly after joining the club, and was called up by Holland while at Ascoli

Vissers quickly settled in Italy and his performances were top quality and consistent

Vissers may not be the bravest of players or have the highest work rate.
But, he makes up for this with pure raw talent a master at the physical aspects of the game.

Erik Vissers (D/DMC) attributes


Petr (MC) is a player I became aware of when I began managing the Czech Republic side.

His full name is Petr Visek, but since there was a Martin Vicek in the squad as well.

They quickly were called Marti and Petr.

Petr is a great all-round midfielder good on the ball, dangerous from distance and a ball winner.

He performed consistently all season

Petr (MC) attributes


The Dutchman Eric Berghuis (AM/FC) is probably too versatile.

It is difficult to find out his best position on the field.

A withdrawn midfielder behind the striker. Central midfielder or striker?

He performed well during the season and received international recognition with Holland during his time with Ascoli

Eric Berghuis (AM/FC) attributes


I also had his fellow Dutch compatriot Leon de Wit (MC) who is another midfielder in a playmaker mould.

Good passing, technique, shots from distance and not afraid to go into a tackle.

Leon revelled in the role on the left of the midfield three as he is left footed.

Teams could not handle de Wit’s guile and shots from distance.

Leon de Wit (MC) attributes


I decided Berghuis was better being flanked by two other midfielders.

This was in order to get him as involved in as much play as possible.

Vissers was best placed to play in his favoured (DMC) to act as the deep lying playmaker of the team

Chilean Diego Acevedo (MC) was backup to the ‘Berghuis role’ I played him in the centre of the three because of his age, lack of pace and poor strength.

Diego Acevedo (MC) attributes


Diego was OK when called upon, but I expected more from the skilful player given his age and experience.

More importantly given the high wages Diego is on he is the highest paid player at the club.

Many clubs were interested in him when we offered him a deal to come here.

Jiri Brabec (FC) was one of the success stories of Ascoli’s season.

He is a player who I gave his first cap to before he came to Ascoli.

So I knew all about him.

The position just behind the striker is where Jiri can be at his most effective using his pace and dribbling skills.

He is adept at making late runs to avoid defenders.

Jiri Brabec (FC) attributes


There was a young player who I did not intend to start much this season.

But he forced his way into the side and became integral to the teams play.

Slobodan Vujacic (FC) attributes


This Serb sensation was just 16 when he joined the club.

But excelled both in the striker position, and as an attacking midfielder behind a main striker.

There was only reason Slobodan did not play as the out and out lone striker in the formation
The form of last year’s fans player of the year Aboubacar Brodel (FRC)

Aboubacar Brodel (FRC) attributes


I initially planned to have Brodel (FRC) as a super sub.
But the goal shy Dimce Angelov (SC) made me have a change of heart.

Plus, some other players in the squad were not happy that Brodel was not playing a more important role in the club.

The strange part is that on paper Brodel (FRC) is not as good a striker as Vujacic (FC).
But the Guinean forward seemed to overperform the Serbian in the striker role with many crucial goals.

At the end of the season Castillo was given leave, after he suddenly decided he did not like the Italian lifestyle.

In fairness to Castillo it was just after I transfer listed him.


In hindsight, it was unfair on him as the veteran played well when called upon.

Castillo (DC) attributes


Castillo was used interchangeably with Mattei (SW/D/DMRC) or Vissers (D/DMC) in the centre of the back three.

Junior Eto'o and Ibrahim were great in defence when played in the flair tree formation.

They then forced their way in as regulars in defence usually on the left and right of the back three.

EtoÂ’o in particular is comfortable with either foot.

He can provide balance and composure on the left/right of the defensive three.

Junior Eto’o attributes (D/DMC)


Originally, I was strongly considering selling Ibrahim as he was overly aggressive.

He was serving an 8-match league suspension for punching an opponent the previous season.


However, his consistency when called into the starting line up impressed me, so I decided to keep him.

James Ibrahim (DC) attributes


I made a further signing in the middle of December to try and keep forward momentum going

The Brazilian Dias was brought for his versatility, and his potential sell on value, due to his youth

Tiago Dias (FRLC) attributes


In February I also brought in another Czech Republic player as I felt I needed another player to play defensive midfield.

It also gave the opportunity for Vissers (D/DMC) to play elsewhere.

So 33 year old Czech Republic intertional Tomas Kucera (DMC) was signed on a 1 year contract.

He did OK in the games he played without setting the world alight

Tomas Kucera (DMC) attributes




The few days before the first day of Ascoli’s league campaign looked ominous.

The Ascoli reserves failing to score against the Napoli Reserves.


This made me a bit worried about how the first team squad would fare the opening day of the season.

And not only that the rest of the season

I need not have worried. Ascoli surpassed all expectations and avoided relegation.

League table

In fact, Ascoli managed to finish as the ‘best of the rest’ with an 8th place finish in the league.

This might even result in European competition next season


It is Ascoli’s best finish in Serie A since the 1981/1982 season.

All of 55 years ago, they finished 6th behind then Coppa Italia winners Inter Milan.



League progress


Ascoli had a great start 8 games unbeaten 10 including cup games.

Fixtures were favourable though.

Ascoli started league against the two promoted sides from Serie B and in the cup.

Then my side faced serie B side Napoli.


Most of these games in this unbeaten run was played with a direct 3-5-2 wingbacks formation

But this run of form was abruptly halted in November.

There were three league losses in a row only separated by a win in the Coppa Italia.


It was after this loss to Catania that I decided to change formation to the ’flair tree’ 3-1-3-2-1.
It focused on short passing and long shots instead of the direct 3-5-2 wingbacks approach

Form eventually improved, but every mini run of good form was interrupted by several losses.

Therefore was no real movement in the league positions.

Finally there was another poor run of form for Ascoli towards the end of March and the start of April.
This ended any faint aspirations of Champions League football.


Throughout the season there were several defeats that should not have happened.

For example, in January there was a real hammer blow to the ‘flair tree’ tactic.

Newly promoted Napoli came back from 2-1 down at half time to win the game 4-2


None of the side played particularly badly, it was just a masterclass of finishing from Napoli striker Ibrahim Zongo (SC).

Ibrahim Zongo attributes (SC)


Zongo’s movement off the ball and dribbling skills really punished us.

The damage was caused when I told the lads to flood forward, push up and attack.

There were not one but two losses to Cosenza in the league

The first one was in November where we were a man up from the 26th minute.

But still managed to lose the game 2-0 !


The second game was away at Cosenza in April where we were a man up from 51 minutes.

And still lost the game 2-1.


I think Cosenza’s 4-3-3 attacking formation really finds weaknesses in the flair tree 3-1-3-1-2 formation.

Also, the end to the season was very meek with nothing to play for.

We lost the final two games of the season as the lads were already in holiday mode.

Part of the problem was I did not know the strong sides. I was thinking in terms of 20 years ago.

The landscape of Italian football has changed dramatically since then.


Atalanta’s Serie A win meant that they have won back to back titles now both in 2036 and 2037.

But Inter Milan are still the dominant force in Italian football and have the most financial spending power because of a long period of success. They have got 8 Serie A titles and four runners up spots in the last 14 years.

Salernitana are also a team with recent pedigree having won two Serie A titles and been runner up on three more occasions since 2025.

Chievo have also been Serie A runners up twice in the last 10 years
They are a well-established Serie A side and are regulars in the Champions league placings.

Cosenza have also been runners up four years ago and have graced the Champions League on other occasion when they finished 4th

Sassulo narrowly missed out on one the 3 champions league places this year.
Their 4th place finish is not the first the time they have qualified for Europe.
Sassulo most recently have achieved 3rd in Serie A in both 2032 and 2035.

The traditional power of Roma has maintained some level of success with two tiles in 16 years and two runners up spots.

However, Juventus are a traditional power who have not maintained their high level of expectations.
Juventus have become nothing more than a regular mid-table side.
The runner up side of 2021 are getting tired of doing the after-dinner circuit at this stage.

A traditional Italian Serie A team that has fallen most dramatically is AC Milan.
This season is the first time they have been relegated since the 1981/1982 season and it has caused shock waves in Italian football.



There is one main cause of this downfall of former giant’s AC Milan in 2037.

It is without doubt their very impatient chairman - Andrea Scognamiglio.

Andrea Scognamiglio attributes


Scognamiglio also has poor business acumen and is not particularly wealthy

The most recent Serie A title win from the Rossonari in 2023 really does feel like another lifetime now.



Coppa Italia 1st Round 1st leg Napoli (h)

This game was against a Napoli side who just got promoted the previous season, like us.

I decided to go more attacking then when I dd in the previous league encounter.
In that league game I used the hybrid wingbacks 5-3-2/3-4-1-2 formation.

This time I went with a direct style a more attacking out and out 3-4-2-1 formation with a direct style.



Fortunately, it worked very well against Napoli’s very defensive 5-3-2 formation.

Brabec (FC) and Berghuis (AM/FC) caused havoc in the attacking midfield roles just behind the striker

And Vujacic's (FC) runs from deeper in midfield were not picked up by the markers


Coppa Italia 1st Round 2nd leg Napoli (a)

I could afford to make changes and use the squad after the 1st leg result.

So I decided to make wholesale changes to the entire starting line-up and go for an extremely attacking direct 3-4-3 formation.


The side was led by Turkish defender Firat Ozyildrim.

I felt Ozzy deserved his chance

Firat Ozyildrim (DC) attributes



Even though we went with an attacking formation it was only a narrow victory in the second leg.


Coppa Italia 2nd Round 1st leg Chievo (a)

I returned to more regular personnel 3-5-2 direct wingbacks formation against Chievo’s 3-5-2 wingbacks sweeper formation.



This match was probably the best performance by the team in my time at the club.

It was even more impressive because it was against a strong side.

Leon de Wit put on a superb midfield display although he was not on the scoresheet he was the driving force of the team.



Leon de Wit (MC) attributes


Coppa Italia 2nd Round 2nd leg Chievo (h)

Because of the result of the previous leg I felt it was a chance to try something different.

It was the first time in the season that I rolled out the flair-tree’ 3-1-3-1-2 formation with short passing


I played a strong side because I wanted to see how the lads performed in this formation.

Brodel (FRC) played in one of the attacking midfield roles behind the striker.
I gave Angelov (SC) a chance to take the striker position on his own.

Petr (MC) was given a more attacking role in the midfield three then the previous leg where he was dropping back to help the defence.


Attacking-wise I was very happy with the result 3 goals were scored. But a goal was conceded shortly after each one was scored.

This showed a lack of concentration at the back.


The overall team performance was excellent and Petr (MC) had a 10 out of 10 game in midfield.


Petr (MC) attributes


But the overall performance was let down by Englishman Simon Ashworth (DC)

It was after this performance that I seriously questioned whether he was suited to play in a back three.

Particularly as the rest of the team really functioned as a unit.

Simon Ashworth (DC) attributes


Copa Italia Cosenza (a) Quarter Final Leg 1

Honestly, I did not hold out too much hope in getting a result in this game.

As previously mentioned, Cosenza are a strong side and we already had lost to them a month previous in the league.
A game where Ascoli were a man up after just slightly over 20 minutes.
But we still lost that league game to Cosenza.

This time I went with the flair tree formation against Cosenza’s 4-3-3 formation, which would at least match their midfield.


However, a twisted knee deprived Ascoli of Petr (MC) so a personnel shuffle was necessary.

Chilean Acevedo (MC) retained his place in the middle of the park after a decent display in the last round

Diego Acevedo (MC) attributes


Berghuis (AM/FC) started in a deeper role in the right of the midfield three.

Eric Berghuis (AM/FC) attributes


This meant that super-sub Miroslav Misic (FRC) got a rare start in the side just behind the striker.

Miroslav Misic (FRC) attributes


I went for experience at the back as I felt that wise heads were needed in such a massive game away.

So 37 year old Castillo (DC) and 35 year old Rosato (DRC) started in the back three.


To my amazement in a game that could have gone either way, Ascoli somehow managed to win and bag two away goals in the process.


Coppa Italia Cosenza (h) Quarter Final Leg 2

I played the now settled ‘flair tree’ formation again.


The big news was that Petr (MC) was back from injury.

Petr (MC) attributes


This meant I could release Berghuis (AM/FC) into a more attacking role.

Junior Eto’o (D/DMC) did enough to play his way into the side.

I decided to give him his chance in the back three

Junior Eto’o attributes (D/DMC)



It was another shock caused by Ascoli in the cup not only beating Cosenza over two legs, but beating them over both legs.


It was no fluke it was a great overall team performance.


Vissers (D/DMC) showed his class with a man of the match performance.

Erik Vissers (D/DMC) attributes


However, there was one player who had an average performance.

Veteran, Vincenzo Rosato (DRC) made me think he was past his best after this game.

Vincenzo Rosato (DRC) attributes


Coppa Italia Roma (h) Semi Final Leg 1

It is nosebleed territory for Ascoli now in the Semi-Final of the Coppa Italia.

I played the usual flair tree formation against Roma’s expected 4-4-2 formation.


But I decided to drop Diego Acevedo (MC).
Because I felt at his age, he is more suited to the subs bench if needed.
Plus, Acevedo’s performances have been average.

Diego Acevedo (MC) attributes


I felt I was able to play my strongest side available.


Brodel (FRC) was star of the show with a brace in a 2-1 win against 10-man Roma.


His pace really causes defences problems.

Aboubacar Brodel (FRC) attributes


This time it was 10 star man of the match performance.


Coppa Italia Roma (a) Semi Final Leg 2

I put out a strong Ascoli side in the flair tree formation.

Vissers (D/DMC) out -Carbone (DMC) sub in – was the only enforced change.



Some of the hardcore fans say it was the best performance ever from an Ascoli side.

Ascoli hammered Roma from start to finish.


Two Ascoli players were flawless Eric Berghuis (AM/FC) and Slobodan Vujacic (FC)

Eric Berghuis (AM/FC) attributes


Slobodan Vujacic (FC) attributes


Even Ermanno Carbone (DMC) performed well and made me take notice of his ability under pressure.

Although Ermanno was a signing from the previous management he has made me think twice about leaving him out of the squad again.

Ermano Carbone (DMC) attributes


The result sent the Italian media in a spin.

La Gazetta dello Sport reports:


Ascoli di Picchio prendono su Internazionale nel Coppa Italia.

The Woodpecker of Ascoli take on International in the Coppa Italia

I finalisti di sorpresa spedirono un'asserzione ad Internazionale realmente e Calcio italiano
dopo una sconfitta di colpo comprensiva di Roma nella semifinale.

The surprise finalists really sent a statement to International and Italian football after a comprehensive shock defeat of Roma in the semi-final.



Coppa Italia Final – Leg 1 - Inter Milan v Ascoli

Ascoli headed into their first national final against big spenders Inter Milan (Internazionale) at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro)


I again, decided to roll out the flair tree formation this time it went up against the 4-2-1-3 formation of Inter Milan.


The was too flood the middle area of the pitch as Inter do not play with width.

But I was missing a few key men. Both playmaker Petr (MC) and sharpshooter Brodel (FRC)

Petr (MC) attributes


Aboubacar Brodel (FRC) attributes


This meant that Miroslav Misic (FRC) got a rare start.

Miroslav Misic (FRC) attributes


I knew I would be up against even if I had no absentees.

So given this situation, would I get a good result against a team littered with talent.
Players such as 63 million man Eneko Campillo (AMRLC) ?

Eneko Campillo (AMRLC) attributes


Also, in Demetrio Steffe, Inter Milan have a manager steeped in Inter tradition.

And Steffe is a good all-round manager with excellent tactical nous.

Demetrio Steffe coaching attributes


However, Steffe is a man with a real point to prove.

In his playing days, Steffe was a promising player for the Inter Milan Reserves who attracted
worldwide attention at one stage over 23 years ago. As the Daily Mail article below demonstrates.



Steffe even received a lot of international recognition at youth level.
He played for the ‘Azzurri’ from under 16 to under 19 level (according to transfermarkt)


However, for whatever reason Steffe never made a senior appearance for his boyhood side Inter Milan.


Instead, Steffe played for then Serie B side Catania in 2018 and stayed 10 years, eventually becoming their manager, before moving to Inter Milan.


Steffe already has proven that he is a talented manager winning his first Scudetto with Inter Milan two years ago.


Inter will be hot favourites to add to Steffe’s managerial trophy haul.


In a 2-1 victory for Inter Milan there could not be a greater contrast between two of the scorers.

63m Spanish superstar Eneko Campillo (AMRLC) and free transfer Dimce Angelov (SC)


It was about time that the Macedonian, scored a meaningful goal for Ascoli as he had not been very prolific up to say the least!

Dimce Angelov (SC) attributes


Even though Inter Milan players clearly outplayed Ascoli with the man of the match going to Eneko Campillo (AMRLC).
The away goal means that Ascoli are still in the overall tie.



Coppa Italia Final – Leg 2 – Ascoli v Inter Milan


Both sides changed formations for the crucial second leg at Ascoli

I set Ascoli up with an unusual 3-3-1-2-1 formation against a 4-3-3 from Inter.

There were two reasons for these were the absence of a key player.
And there was a fear of conceding an away goal.


In fact, were two major absences from both sides Eneko Campillo (AMRLC) was injured for Inter Milan.

Eneko Campillo (AMRLC) attributes


But Eric Berghuis (AM/FC) was also absent, literally absent!

Eric Berghuis (AM/FC) attributes


A few days before the final my preferred Captain Eric Berghuis decided he was suddenly finding it difficult to settle in Italy.
He did not show any previous inkling that he was finding it difficult to settle.
I was furious with his attitude and sent him to the airport. His morale was so low there was no point in playing him


Instead my idea was to go counter attacking with the defensive solidly of three defensive midfielders.


So, I started Kucera (DMC) to give some solidity

Tomas Kucera (DMC) attributes


There was another surprise starter in goal.

Ascoli substitute goalkeeper Rafa Ferrer (GK) impressed in training and won his place.

Rafa Ferrer (GK) attributes



There were some emotional scenes as the score line in the second leg remained 0-0


Ascoli were out 2-1 on aggregate

But this was partly due to the heroics of Rafa Ferrer in goal who was a man possessed and stopped attack after attack.


The other reason was poor tactical decisions by me as the Ascoli manager.

In the later part of the match when chasing the game, I told the lads to play counter attack while playing attacking football.

This baffling message lead to very few shots on goal from the side – 3 in the whole game!

La Gazetta dello Sport reported:


Vittoria per Internazionale nella Coppa Italia dopo 0-0 stallo con Ascoli.
Vittoria 2-1 internazionale su globale.

Victory for International in the Coppa Italia after 0-0 stalemate with Ascoli.
International win 2-1 on aggregate.

Ascoli ando a vuoto a provocare un colpo massiccio nella Coppa Italia. Dopo la prima parte della cravatta, la squadra dalla regione di Marche sia 2-1 giu andando nella seconda parte.
Un via la meta per Ascoli avrebbe vinto la cravatta ma Inter Milano l'esperienza fece la differenza.

Ascoli failed to cause a massive shock in the Coppa Italia. After the first part of the tie, the team from the Marche region were 2-1 down going into the second part.
An away goal for Ascoli would have won the tie but Inter Milan's experience made the difference.


So, in the end Inter Milan walked away with the Coppa Italia.




There were striking parallels between the 1981/1982 season where AC Milan were relegated, and Inter Milan won the Copa Italia.




And of course, as already mentioned it was Ascoli’s best finish in the league since 1982, where they also played some fearless and swashbuckling football


So even though a lot of things have changed in the last 55 years there are some things which remain the same.


Before the pre-season started the finances were solid


But wages have increased with all the new signings
75k on the previous year


The expenditure at the start of preseason amounted to 10m euros and it projected it will not be as high as the previous year.


But there was a large amount spent on ground maintenance in preseason (more on this later)


So, in pre-Season the TV rights money was welcome


However, the long Cup run broke even before the next seasons tv rights and league money by the time the season ended.


Merchandise, gate receipts vastly increased because of this.


When the Serie A money for finishing 8th was handed over:


And next seasons TV rights deal:


It meant that the club was OK financially getting ready for the new season.



I signed two key new members of staff who proved to be excellent additions to the club.

Leandro Sapetti was originally signed as a goalkeeper, but he quickly resigned as a coach
He is a good around coach for outfield players and is a harsh disciplinarian.

Leandro Sapetti attributes


He also realises that Eric Vissers (D/DMC) is a key player in the team.

Erik Vissers (D/DMC) attributes


As well as a new coach I signed a New Chief Scout former Italy international Ciro Immobile.


Immobile has all the qualities to be chief scout, also with his international experience and prospective signings will respect him.

Ciro Immobile scout attributes




I had a few run ins with the board during the season


However, they were delighted with my overall performance by the end of the season.

The same cannot be said of their opinion of certain members of the squad.

The board expect next season to be a difficult one in Serie A next season.



Even though I complained about the board at times.

I cannot deny they delivered their promises from the previous season to develop the club’s infrastructure.



The sports centre is a state-of-the-art training centre.



A brand-new training centre:


Which contains a gym, dressing room, swimming pool and meeting room:



Aboubacar Brodel (FRC) was voted fans player of the year again for the second year in a row


Aboubacar Brodel (FRC) attributes



The fans are hopeful that the new season will mean more success at Ascoli, as they came so close to getting some silverware the previous season.


14-03-19, 04:47 PM
I'm done with my third season in charge of Accrington Stanley, and while the final league position was better than the previous two, we got one less point than last season, and it was a somewhat frustrating season overall. Not as frustrating as it must be for the Shrewsburt fans though, whose team had the league all but wrapped up around Christmas, in some periods being 15+ points ahead of the second best team. Losing 6, drawing one and winning only one of their last 8 games meant that they lost their lead and dropped down to 4th in the end. One of the worst end of season collapses I've seen.


I also had the dubious pleasure of nailing my old club Leek's relegation (2nd in 2 seasons). They've changed pretty much the entire squad and the new players aren't very good to put it mildly.


I needed a goalkeeper and a left back last summer, and needed another left back in January (I'm starting to consider doing some changes to the fullback positions in my tactic as they suffer from poor ratings compared to the other positions - a bit unfair on the players I think). No other transfers this season apart from selling an unhappy reserve team midfielder to Tiverton (with no replacement). There's a few contracts that are up this summer though, unfortunately including one of my best players, central midfielder Lars Numme. The two others are a striker and a right midfielder, and the two latter don't need replacing.

Burton had another good season, if less prolificthan last year, and Numme also played really well. Of my new signings none impressed too much, but I think the Australian goalkeeper looks far better than my other one, and if he hadn't been unfortunate and had a few really poor games (4 rating) at the start of the season he wuold probably have been my goalie in most games (and done better than the other Thomas).



3 seasons with increasing league positions are behind me, but I don't think I dare hope too much for promotion next season either. The squad is a bit bloated, and too few players have a stable good level, there's a lot of varying performances.

17-03-19, 02:51 PM
Another season done, and based on the results we are slowly but steadily getting closer to winning something. Certainly got close this season, travelling to Wemberley to face Cambridge United in the Van's Trophy final! Unfortunately, despite us mostly being the better team, one of my defenders appeared to be a Cambridge fan and gifted them a couple of goals (had a "3" rating for much of the 1st half before climbing to a 5 in the 2nd half). Having one player just fuck up everything was a common theme of thelast couple of months, with a player having a 4 or even 3 rating for parts of the game in several games. A near complete collapse from February on in the league, where we won only two of our last eleven games, made us go from being in a clear leader duo alongside Oxford (who also had a bit of a collapse but managed to get back on track) to falling some way behind. Still, a trip to Wembley after beating several teams from the two divisions above us and a record high league position of 2nd means that this is my best season yet with Accrington.


A right back was the transfer target last season, alongside a central midfielder to replace Lars Numme who despite claiming to want to extend his contract refused to sign a new one and left the club. He is still without a club. In addition to the two summer signings we needed another midfielder in December when central midfielder Chris McKonville, who was a key player two seasons ago but played a less important role last season, and refused to sign a new contract, was sold. I appear to have forgotten to sign anyone in January, so those three were the only signings for this season.


None of the new signings were world beaters, but Ian Batty quickly established himself as an important first team player, whereas the other two were playing regularly but not every game.
David Burton was again our best player, but I fear I will lose him soon as the transfer offers for him are streaming in and he's become unhappy about it - and with one year left of his contract I fear that he will refuse to sign a new one (and thus be transfer listed).


20-03-19, 07:58 PM
As mentioned in the previous post, I feared that I would lose my top striker after last season, and my fears came true. He refused to sign a new contract and went to Rochdale for £40k Also leaving that summer were right winger Andy Roberts (to York on a Bosman transfer) and defender Alen Ishtuk (now retired). Young striker James Webb went to Portsmouth for £55k in november without ever featuring for us, he also has a 25% sell-on fee which might turn out profitable. Australian goalkeeper Chris Thomas never managed to hold on to a first team spot and was unhappy andrefused to sign a new contract, and in March he wa sold to Swedish club Umeå FC for £2k. In addition there were a couple of players retiring, including another striker. All these players leaving means that a handful of players came in, and here's a full list (barring youths coming through from the youth team). All of them were free transfers unless where noted:

First signing was a left winger for squad strengthening purposes, £18k from Mjällby in Sweden:

Replacement right midfielder:

Replacing a retiree:

New striker, £28k from Slough:

Another striker:

Replacement for Ishtuk:

January squad improver:

New goalkeeper, £12k from Clydebank:

Post-season strengthener, £26 from Canon Yaoundé (signer as the transfer window started, thus avoiding work permit issues):

Overall decent but far from outstanding performances, the squad is still lacking in quality. Jamie Evans has proved to be well worth the money though, setting a new club record for average rating.


The league season started fairly poor and didn't really improve all that much, but we managed to end in 4th place so at least we're up there even if it's lower than the previous two seasons. Avoided a collapse at the ned of the season at least, and our new striker Jamie Evans was the best rated player in the league (though not top scorer nor named in the team of the year - Peter Galagher was in the TotY as our only player).


At least there was some consolation to be found in the cups this year too - even if we didn't get to play at Wembley this season, there was a memorable trip to Birmingham:


I've started applying for new jobs but was turned down by both Wycombe (3rd division champions) and Preston (13th in 1st Division)

22-03-19, 11:28 PM
loaded back up and continued after a few weeks away and continuing to make my assault on the premier league top 4, hopefully this will be the season we get into the holy grail of the champions league.


24-03-19, 11:51 AM
My run to Premier League continues...


28-03-19, 04:29 PM
With 3 letters ticked off it was time to move again, and after a couple of failed attempts I managed to catch a new job in time for the new season. Scunthorpe United have spent all but one season of this save in the 3rd division, the one exception being when they fnished 24th in the 2nd division. Mostly ending in the lower half but clear of relegation, they've honestly had a pretty dull record so far (when they were promoted it was after finishing 7th and winning the play-off). The board's expectations reflected the situation pretty accurately, though my own ambitions were somewhat higher.


I didn't sign any players as the squad was big enough and so the season could commence without us spending any money. We started with a 1-0 home win against Cheltenham, before taking the short trip to one of our main rivals, Lincoln - and what a game it was for us! This will be talked about for decades! The board didn't feel it was worthy of a comment, however. I'm not sure what they need to be impressed by us.


As autumn progressed we did much better than I had expected, and come Christmas we looked like we had a decent chance at promotion or at least play-offs. Unfortunately we collapsed completely, and after our win against Torquay on 23 December (in game 23) we only won 5 league games. I've no idea what happened, there was no change of players or tactic, they just collectively decided that the season was over by Christmas.


One signing was done in January, this time a left winger/forward was needed, and though this guy looks more like a centre forward he can play on both sides as well and that's where he's been playing. It took £9k to bring him in from Chesterfield, and he's scored 5 in 5 games so wasn't a bad buy.

Here's the rest of the squad, as well as the summer signing, strengthening the left side of our leaky defence:

Charlie Connor is leaving for £1.6M (release clause) and with Briggs outperforming him and there being two other strikers in the first team squad as well he won't be replaced.

Brought in for £5k from Tiverton:

Not expecting too much of the coming season, I think my goal is a play-off place and not letting in almost the most goals in the league (we can keep scoring most, that's fine), but I'll be satisfied as long as there's progress.

01-04-19, 05:23 PM
Disappointed in the collapse last season and dissatisfied with the leaky defence, there was a certain lack of optimism with regards to any title chances before the new season. On the other hand, Adam Briggs' impressive record of more than one goal per game, plus a (hopefully) improved defence with Murphy being joined by Danish central defender Christian Christensen shuould at least let us do as good as last season (which after all was one of the better seasons Scunthorpe had had.


We didn't have quite the same flying start as last year, but we were up there from the beginning and apart from an 8th place after the 2nd game we were never out of the play-off spots during the first half of the season, often being in a promotion spot and on one occasion sitting at the top of the table. The international-ness of the team was improved with the arrival of Portuguese midfielder Edgar Fonseca in January, who was a free agent.


We didn't collapse after Christmas like we did last season, but we had a poorer 2nd half than 1st half, and eventually fell out of the promoton/play-off spots, finishing 10th. It's better than last year, and we kept up the pace for longer, but we had a bit of a collapse this year too so more improvment is needed. At least we scored most goals this year too.


Poorer performances overall this season, at least I'm happy to see that my three signings (Christensen, Murphy, Heald) have bene regular starters and doing reasonably well.


08-04-19, 05:59 PM
Another season, another collapse! only this time the collapse came in October, after a fairly good start to the season, so there was never any real hope of achieving anything above mid-table obscurity. At some point in the spring we only had 2 points up to the play-off places, but we subsequently lost three matches in a row and never got that near again. We did keep grabbing points though, and drew a lot of games rather than losing them, so we id end up in the top half, with another 12th place.


A right winger was needed after last season, otherwise there were no transfers until January when we needed a right back. I had hopes for Togo's key player Marama Ichou, who could play on both backs. Lacking an EU/EEC nationality but being a regular for his country, I expected him to be able to get a work permit, and for some reason he just got it straight ahead so he was available for me the day after signing the contract. Other players approached at the same time needed to wait, so it wasn't a transfer window opening exploit like the one in June. Don't know what happened, but I'm not complaining.
He got off to a good start, playing quite well in his first few games, but then he found out that he was outperforming the rest of the team and decided to reduce the quality of his playing. Thus a new right back is needed this summer.

Both free transfers:

Adam Briggs started performing much less good than previously last season, and lost his spot up front. This season he hardly got a look in and with one year left of his contract he's now transfer listed.


12-04-19, 12:42 PM
Mid way through first season in my first crack at the new DB.............

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/921/rOV6Lh.png (https://imageshack.com/i/plrOV6Lhp)
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/924/YKj7LH.png (https://imageshack.com/i/poYKj7LHp)
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/924/jKjbRH.png (https://imageshack.com/i/pojKjbRHp)
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/923/fq7oIo.png (https://imageshack.com/i/pnfq7oIop)
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/924/ApH5VP.png (https://imageshack.com/i/poApH5VPp)

12-04-19, 01:01 PM
That Forest tactic looks familiar ;)

12-04-19, 01:14 PM
That Forest tactic looks familiar ;)

It certainly does. Also known as the Aeroplano

Both have been immense. One I created and the other I poached

NWW is so sweet when you get it right

14-04-19, 08:53 PM
After missing out the CL at the end of last season invested heavily in the squad brining in Tah for £37m, Emre Mor for £26m ive hand a great 1st half of the season.

Although ive got a fairly small squad, yet to have any youth players promoted, im using October 2018 update and Saturn patch, has anyone got any ideas? thx in advance.


Effiong unmarked!
14-04-19, 09:33 PM
I remember reading somewhere that it helps if your assistant manager is good at working with youngsters. You get more youth players sent through then.

16-04-19, 03:42 AM
Have started a new game after my save with Ipswich was corrupted!
Taken over non league Enfield and secured both the conference and third division titles in back to back seasons. Big test in the second division now!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

16-04-19, 10:09 PM
getting to the business end of the season, looking in pretty good shape .



17-04-19, 07:31 PM
After three seasons where a sudden collapse of form has ruined our hopes of doing anything good, this season we miraculously managed to avoid collapsing. We didn't win anything or even get promoted, but I'd say a stable season of overall good results is a nice step up from the previous years.


We met Rushden in the play-off semi final, and after conceding 2 last minute goals to go from 4-3 up to 4-5 down at home, we lost the away leg as well and Rushden went on to get promoted.

Two players were signed this season, a right back in the summer and another right back in January. My target for next season is... a right back.

Free agent, we are his first club:

From neigbouring rivals Lincoln for £26k:

Squad overview:


I just noticed now that right back was chosen as transfer target because Reynolds is behind Brown and Foster in the alphabetical order - and I would really like a goalkeeper with more than 8 in handling...
Ah well, the transfer is done, and rules are rules. If the situation arises again and I notice it in time I shall decide by tossing a die.

22-04-19, 07:31 PM
Last season saw Scunthorpe finally managing to keep up their form for a whole season, and ended with a fine play-off spot. Could we build on that this season?

A troublesome defence was one of the reasons for the previous years' fall of form, and at the start of the summer transfer window yet another defender arrived at the club, bringing hope of a more solid defensive performance. An experienced Costa Rican, Álvaro Martínez arrived on a free transfer.


He managed to secure a regular starting place and was one of our better defenders until he all of a sudden decided to retire in March.


One area where we have previously had good performances is in defensive midfield, but for some reason neither of the two DMCs in the squad did well in the first half of the season, and when January came it was a new DMC who was our transfer target. £26k was spent on bringing this young and promising-looking man from Stockport (in the Premier League - they were relegated at the end of the season), where he felt he was ready for the first team but his manager disagreed. He got plenty of first team football in Scunthorpe, going straight into the team and staying there.


We were doing well in the autumn, I mentioned in an above post that I wanted a better goalkeeper, and after the previous seasons' number 1, Greg Brown, had a fairly poor pre-season the (on paper at least) better goalie John Gallagher, who had mostly been his backup, secured the stopper spot. An injury to Gallagher in November saw Brown re-take the spot however, and he had a solid form for the rest of the season.
At the other end of the pitch, last year's all time league top scorer in the 3rd division and our best performer by far, Chris Peters, had a poor pre-season and hardly got a start until near the end of the season. Keith Wilkinson hasn't had as good ratings as Peters had, but he's scoring enough goals at least. Unfortunately he's not in the best physical condition, he started the season with 2 in stamina meaning he could only play about every other game in the beginning. It has since increased to 6, but that's still nowhere near where it should be. James Reynolds was his replacement in the early months and with 8 in 14 he's done well too.
Finally we seem to have a decent defence, and we ended up with the least amount of conceded goals in the league with 39 in 46 games. Definitely happy with that. just a shame that Martínez retired (and didn't need a replacement), he was solid.

Complete squad overview:


So, the most important bit - the league performance! Last year saw us firmly establishing ourselves as one of the top teams, hardly ever being out of the play-off spots and ending 4th - this year we did even better and were promoted with a 2nd place finish! This will be only the 2nd time Scunthorpe is in the 2nd division, and last time it only lasted for one season before they were relegated again. Hopefully I will be able to lead them to a better situation than that. As we only ended 2nd I'll still be leading the club (and I'm not sure how happy I was with promotion as number two, more of a challenge to win something now and especially with a fairly poor squad).


23-04-19, 08:14 PM
Finally having a proper go at March '19 data after some testing.

Thought I'd just load the homeland and pick one of the currently available jobs!

Paul Scholes has a change of heart after deciding to keep quiet about his other hobbies in order to return to his hometown club:

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/923/SuK7g2.png (https://imageshack.com/i/pnSuK7g2p) https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/921/x7KTAd.png (https://imageshack.com/i/plx7KTAdp)

This only leaves the 'sleeping giant' of the black country (well the one who doesn't play in old gold) looking for someone to possibly do better than this unfortunate chap:

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/924/iGtmeH.png (https://imageshack.com/i/poiGtmeHp)

I say "do better" as the board are demanding an instant return to the Premier League by achieving promotion.

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/923/9eZkZE.png (https://imageshack.com/i/pn9eZkZEp)
Being pretty much consolidated in the playoff positions with the business end of the season to come seemingly won't cut the mustard at the Hawthorns.

So, as I introduce myself to this band of ragamuffins:

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/921/04nVE3.png (https://imageshack.com/i/pl04nVE3p)

I ask them if anyone knows anything about non wib-wobbed tactics or if they have an up to date contact number for Salomon Rondon. They walk out half way through my speech on the importance of star men so I chase after them to take my first training session.

To be continued...

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
23-04-19, 08:28 PM
Fine work by Alvaro Martinez :D

24-04-19, 02:23 PM
Going as expected so far, replicating real life and hovering in the playoffs:

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/923/GvDss0.png (https://imageshack.com/i/pnGvDss0p)

I have, however just managed to jump above Leeds into second and this has immediately prompted a couple of things.
Firstly, the board changed their tune with me and decided they were 'pleased' rather than 'satisfied' with my performance. Secondly, it has also prompted the media to suddenly become convinced that we will play well enough to maintain our current advantage of +1 goal difference for another 28 games:

https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/923/nvc6CE.png (https://imageshack.com/i/pnnvc6CEp)
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/xq90/924/GMYZ9j.png (https://imageshack.com/i/poGMYZ9jp)

I didn't want to upset the might of Fleet Street or our Chinese backers so I have reluctantly nodded my head in agreement, knowing full well that there is no option now other than finishing in the top 2 :ohwell:

26-04-19, 11:29 AM
Jamez, when I was coming back to my homeland for a week (to be present on championship), I've ordered a paper work service, because of preparing to exam. And what I need to admit - service, that you order from professional team of PROs (www.superiorpapers.com (https://www.superiorpapers.com/)) is much better than your own amateur one. A lot of cases and real examples have shown it already.

27-04-19, 07:26 PM
After being promoted to the 2nd Division in 2022, squad improvment was needed more than ever at Scunthorpe if we were to stay up and not go straight down again like the last (and only previous) time the team was up. After having a look at how the players had performed I concluded that a winger was what I needed, and a winger was brought in. Tony Thompson had just been released by fellow 2nd division team Slough, after not playing a single game for three seasons.


A couple of midfielders refused to sign new contracts, and while I managed to get money for one of them, two new midfielders was needed, a central one and a defensive one. Danny French was released by our promotion competitors last season Notts County, after playing 45 games for them. Missing promotion with them he chose to go to a promoted team instead. Richard Smith was also a freebie, who was a free agent after 10 years (and 44 appearances, whereof none in the last 4 seasons) at Norwich. 3 players in for £0 and 4 players out for £82k, plus one retirement, is an ok transfer summer economywise at least.


January came and with it the traditional January signing, and once again it was a right back that was my target. Marc Reynolds was a free agent after Southampton released him in the summer. He hadn't played for thre eyears, and only a little before that, so I think the £1M they paid for him in 2015 was a bit of a waste. Upon joining us he became the third Reynolds in the 1st team squad, but at least only one of the two others is a defender, and they've got different first names/first letters.

The goal for the season was to avoid relegation, and after a surprisingly good start we managed to stay 5-10 points above the line all year, so I am happy with that.


Squad performance:

Not too impressive ratings, but this is a not super 3rd division squad playing above their level really so I'm not too miffed. Mraama Ichou is back in the Togo team after our promotion, and Gary Armstrong was called up for Northern Ireland a couple of times, though without playing. He is now leaving for a bigger club - Slough, who were promoted to the 1st Division this season. He's been one of our key players for several years and I wish him luck at a higher level. There's too many who can play central defender in the 1st team as it is so he'll not be replaced. A *drum roll* right back is needed again this summer. I am considering adjusting the tactic a bit to be more forgiving towards the backs and wingers (and more demanding of strikers who tend to shine no matter how poor their skills are), but I'm afraid of messing up the nice (fairly) realistic game I've got going here.


I'm likely to play this save less in the near future as there are new tempting forum-games to play, but I'll keep playing this one as well.

09-05-19, 11:23 AM
So I decided to start right at the bottom and Spennymoor Town of the National League North was my destination.

When I took the job I’m not sure I realised how bad the state of the club was:

200k in debt and no money to spend on players
7500 capacity stadium but only 300 seats
A 14 man squad, one of which was on loan
One coach, one physio and one scout... only the physio not needing the sack

To make matters worse no free agent players wanted to join me and no clubs would accept any loan offers I made for players. So I turned to plan B and decided if I was going to do well it would come from the training ground so I managed to recruit the services of some legends:

Ally McCoist (assistant manager)
Stuart Pearce (coach)
Brian McBride (coach)
Jim Leighton (coach)

With the coaching side of things set I just had to deal with what I had on the pitch, including using the best of the bad semi pro bunch (grey players). All my players contacts were due to run down at the end of the season but luckily I managed to tie most of them down on longer deals.

My squad was unbalanced with 4 strikers so against my will I had to go with a 4-3-3 formation and decided the only way was attack.

To my surprise some of my players turned out to be more than useful at this level and were grabbing the attention of football league clubs. Including my star man Adam Boyes who was scoring goals for fun and 30 year old midfielder Jamie Chandler who was running our midfield.

Being lucky to avoid many injuries I managed to out score most teams I played and be top going into January. 3 of my players were due to leave to free me up some funds but the board vetoed them all as they didn’t think my squad was big enough. Then came more bad news and Adam Boyes was going to leave on a bosman to Premier League Fulham at the end of the season. Out of desperation I signed 2 player coaches for free which then meant I could sell a few players and Chandler was the man to be sacrificed, which raised me 700k and also my right back Williams had a minimum fee release clause of 400k, and he was poached by Luton. Still I had got the club balance out of debt and up to 700k and headed to February top of the league and looking good for promotion.

With such a small squad and little money I took the desperate move of pre arranging as many bosman free transfers as I could for the end of the season to any players that even had a few good attributes, that seems to have paid off and I should have a decent size squad next season, how good they are we will see.

Since losing Chandler my form has gone and I’ve only won a few games this half of the season, luckily the first half was so good I am still top with 6 games to go and should go up though probably won’t win the league, I also have an FA trophy semi final to look forward to.

Promotion would be amazing and I’m happy how the season has turned out. Assuming I go up I think a lot of work will need to be put in the summer, wheeling and dealing and loaning players where I can to try and get a squad that can compete in the National League. I will badly need to find someone who can score goals to replace Boyes and I also hope to have a more balance squad so I can change formation and only have 1 or 2 up front.


Season complete and despite a massive collapse and only getting 2 points from my last 6 games we just about managed to come second, with this form I really know how important the summer is now. We did make the FA trophy final but it was one step too far as we had to face a way too strong Salford and although a good performance we lost 2-1 after extra time.

On to the National League...

12-05-19, 01:33 AM
I decided to give the march 2019 update a go.

I picked Shelbourne FC from Dublin, Ireland:



The Drumcondra based club have 13 league of Ireland titles, 7 FAI cups and one league cup.
They used to be the kingpins of Irish football from the late 90's until the mid 2000’s
Five league victories came between 1999 and 2006 : 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006.
The highlight of their history was a European cup run where they nearly qualified for the champions league group stages in the 2004/2005 season.

Liverpudlian centre back Dave Rodgers scored a memorable goal in the second qualifying round. Which helped Shelbourne to a 4-3 aggregate victory over Hadjuk Split.


But Shels were then beaten over two legs by Deportvo La Coruna, in the third qualifying round 0-3 on aggregate.

‘Shels’ then fell into financial difficulties in 2006 and the heady days were over as soon almost as they began. They were demoted to the second tier of Irish football and remained there for 6 years
There was a brief return to the top tier of Irish football for two years 2012, 2013, but they returned to second tier and have remained there since.


The ground is currently Tolka Park in Drumcondra, Dublin.

It has a capacity of 9700.


But the stadium has seen better days. And the average attendance is not even a 10th of its full capacity



There are only basic training facilities at the club itself, so the club must train in public training facilities.
In the Athletic Union League (AUL) sports complex.



So, the AUL does allow Shelbourne a facility to at least train youngsters


There is a strong focus on fitness as the young players develop.


But at a very young age, competitive spirit is also instilled in the players at the club.


The average Shelbourne fan is realistic to know, that is it is unlikely that an outstanding youth prospect is going to develop at the club.

Unless Shelbourne improve thier own training facilities, without having to rely on public facilities.

But despite this, the average Shelbourne fan, is a special type of fan, loyal to the end.

Hoping for a return to thier glory days.

Not for them - the bandwagon supporting of the English Premier League team that happened to be winning, when they were ten years of age.

Of course not.

The Shelbourne fan like all league of Ireland fans support thier local club, on thier doorstep.


The few fans that do go to Shels games make up for their lack of numbers by sheer passion, and enthusiasm.


There are plans in the future to move to leave Tolka Park, and move to home of their rivals Bohemians FC in Dalymount Park


Much to the chagrin of the small but committed band of diehard Shels fans.



When I started the year, the club were over €300,000 in debt. The Board were nice enough to give some money during the season. But this was only to help ‘running costs’ and prevent the club from falling into administration.

The season ended with the club still in debt.
There was no transfer money to buy players at the start of the season or at the end.



Those lack of finances were somewhat of a hindrance.

But they did not stop the expectations of Chairman Joe Casey and the board of directors.
They expected the side to achieve promotion to the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Chairman of Shelbourne Joe Casey:


The Board expect promotion



The inherited squad

Since I had no money, I could only hope that that squad already there was a high standard.

But the squad was not in the best condition, to be honest.

There was star player Ciaran Kilduff (SC) who was easily the best player in the team.


Ciaran Kilduff (SC) attributes


Lorcan Fitzgerald was also a stalwart of the team, I played him mostly in midfield and occasionally as a wingback.

Lorcan Fitzgerald (D/ML) attributes


Dylan Grimes is a versatile (AMRLC).
I played him on the right wing, left wing, central midfield .

I even tried 'Grimsey' on the right of a front three on occasion.

Dylan Grimes (AMRLC) attributes


Luke Byrne (DLC) was a regular on the left of a back three.

His speed was his greatest asset, and he was one of the mainstays of the team during the season.

Luke Byrne (DLC) attributes


Another regular was Oscar Brennan (DMC).

Although his position was listed as a defensive midfielder, I played him as a central midfielder due to all round technique and passing.

Oscar did OK when played in that role.

Oscar Brennan (DMC) attributes


There was no real young and talented players already at the club.

But, 18 year old Shane Farrell (SC) played OK when brought on as a substitute.

Shane Farrell (SC) attributes


Conor McCabe played occasionally as goalkeeper, but I felt it was an area that could be strengthened.

Conor McCabe (GK) attributes


Dan Byrne (DC) forced his way into the starting line up at the latter part of the season.

I played him on the right of the back three.

Dan took the captaincy role when regular captain Williams (FR) was not on the pitch (more on Williams later - see Transfers in)

Dan Byrne (DC) attributes


I tried Niall Lanigan (DMC) in the centre of the back three and the right of the back three.

He played several games at back during a period of the season.

Niall Lanigan (DMC) attributes


In fact, at one stage I retrained Lanigan as a defender.

So, he was a (D/DMC) for a while.

But he was not happy with training, so I let him revert to his preferred (DMC) and stopped the retraining.

I also felt I should sign more natural centre backs.

So, I decided to bolster the squad with several free transfers in and loan signings

Free Transfers in


The first free transfer I got in was Conor Cleary (SW/DC)
I basically got him because I planned to play a back three, and it is rare to find a sweeper who is trained to play there.

But as a player he was OK. And he may be given more chances to impress in future

Conor Cleary (SW/DC) attributes


Sean Murphy (SW/D/DMC) was another versatile defender I brought in.

This was mainly because of the number of positions he can play.

Also, there is the fact that Sean is comfortable on either foot and it would be useful in a back three, to give balance to the side.

The youngster’s versatility helped him get a lot of game time during the season.

However, you could hardly call him a solid defender.

Sean Murphy (SW/D/DMC) attributes


Because of the loss of loanee Jay Donnelly (FRC) in December (more on him later) I felt it was necessary to sign a replacement for him.

Jamie Williams (FR) fitted that bill perfectly and when he played on the right of a front three, he did fairly well.

Williams also wore the captain’s armband when he was on the pitch.

Jamie Williams (FR) attributes


However, the main problem with Williams was that he was very injury prone.


At around the November period of the season, I started to stretch the search a bit wider for players (beyond the island of Ireland)

I brought in Englishman Dominic Yates (AM/FL) as I felt his versatility provided formation options.

Yates was more of a bit part/bench player during the season,and did OK when called upon

When he did play he played as a left midfielder, or slotted in on the left side of a front three.

Dominic Yates (AM/FL) attributes


My next foreign import was the exotically named Kieran Thomson (AMC).

Kieran Thomson (AMC) attributes


The Scotsman's grandmother is Irish, so I played on those connections, to get him to move to Ireland’s capital.

I felt Kieran would give more flexibly in formation during the season.

Unfortunately, the teenager did not really make as much impact as I hoped.

But given his age, there is plenty of time to improve

The next player I signed was a bit further afield than Scotland.

I managed to sign the first Brazilian footballer ever to play for Shelbourne, for free.

Octavio Merlo Manteca. Otherwise known as ‘Octavio’.

Octavio (AMRLC) attributes


I brought Octavio before on another save with Boa Esporte years ago.
Unfortunately, the 2019 version is not as glamourous.

But his versatility would prove invaluable.

To get Octavio to move to the second tier of Irish football, I told him if he did well at Shels his next move could be to the English Premier League.
Or even Barcelona or Real Madrid.

He is still waiting for that call

Octavio believes that Shels can be the stepping stone in his career to bigger and better things

However, he is now worried that his mobile phone may not be working.

I decided to look on the other side of the world or my next signing

Luke Clark (SW/DC) was willing to travel to the other side of the world to play for Shels.

The Aussie was visiting his cousins in Drumcondra near Tolka park, and he decided to go on trial with Shels.

Clark’s Irish cousins were delighted with the news of his move.

Luke Clark (SW/DC) attributes


This was especially so, when Luke managed to force his way into the starting line up regularly towards the end of the season.
It gave the Irish first division a bit of Australian swagger.

Luke achieved this feat by not performing as badly, as the other defensive options at club

At this stage I now had three sweepers at the club, and the competition for places in the back three was intense.

Each trying not to be as bad as the person they replaced.

My final foreign import was Nigerian Yusef Ahmat Sad’eeq (AMC)

Again, I was looking for options to vary formation with.

I went to former holiday camp Mosney in county Meath Ireland, which is now a direct provision centre for asylum seekers.



I heard rumours of footballer who was looking for a club.
I found Yussef.
He agreed to join Shels, on condition that it would help him and his family in their Asylum application process.

It did help his successful application when the authorities were informed of Shelbourne’s interest, and his footballing ability.

Yusef Ahmat Sad’eeq (AMC) attributes


A grateful Yusef performed great for Shels initially, when given his opportunity.
He even received a man of the match award in one of his six games for the club.

But I found it difficult to find him a place in the side, because it would necessitate a change in formation.
And how could I leave out other players out who were performing well?

There was a few changes in midfield as the season drew to a close.

With nothing to play for I started playing Alex O’Hanlon (MRLC) as the ‘sitter’ of the midfield four instead of Oscar Brennan (DMC)

His tackling was not as good as Oscar’s but he offered more creatively.

Alex performed surprisingly well in the role.

He was also predominantly left footed, but comfortable on the right.

So this provided balance in the middle of the park

Alex O’Hanlon (MRLC) attributes


Another player who forced his way into the starting line up near the end of the season was Karl Moore (AMRLC).

Karl Moore (AMRLC) attributes


Moore got his place in the side because of a long-term injury to Dylan Grimes (AMRC).

Like Grimes, Moore liked to play centrally and was encouraged to make attacking runs from the midfield four.

His pace, agility and acceleration stood out at this level of football.

Shelbourne badly needed quality at the club besides the players who were already there.

But, with limited funds that meant needing low cost cost players, of high quality.

What better way to do this than the loan system?

So I set about trying to get players on loan

Loans in


The very first signing I made for the club proved to be very successful loan deal.

It was Northern Irishman Jay Donnelly, on loan from Cliftonville

Jay Donnelly (FRC) Career History:


But unfortunately, it was too successful as he was soon snapped up by UCD (of the League of Ireland Premier Division) in mid-season.

This was unfortunate, because during his time at Shels he was a top-quality footballer, at the League of Ireland first division level.

Donnelly excelled on the right side of a front three.

Jay Donnelly (FRC) attributes


But it is hoped that the move to University College Dublin (UCD) will provide Donnelly with a better atmosphere.

It gave him a chance to move beyond what was a turbulent time at Cliftonville.


I am sure things will improve for him in UCD.
And being surrounded by third level college students, will help him focus on his football.

As mentioned, I felt that the goalkeeper position needed to be strengthened.

So I loaned Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O’Neill.

Sean O’Neill (GK) attributes


The Ulsterman proved to be one of the better signings of the season with a good average rating.

Dean Clarke (FLC) was loaned from St Pat’s.

A player with League of Ireland top tier experience and a certain amount of versatility.

But Dean did not really make his mark during the season, and was more of bit part/bench player.

Dean Clarke (FLC) attributes


Karl Sheppard (FLC) was brought in on loan from Cork City, to provide versatility to the forwards

Karl Sheppard attributes (FLC)


Karl was in an out of the starting line up during the season and played in variety of different roles.

He did OK during the season and did his bit when given the opportunity.

Northern Irishman, Jonathan McMurray was brought in on loan as a backup, and competition for Ciaran Kilduff (SC)

The Ballymena loanee is good in the air with good jumping and heading ability.

He also has decent workrate.

Jonathan McMurray (SC) attributes


I did get rid of some players to make room for all these new arrivals at the club.

Nonetheless the departures, did not bring much in the way of funds, so it was a difficult rebuilding job.

Players out


I particularly did not want David O’Leary (D/DMC) to leave the club.

But he insisted on leaving the club on a bosman in December.


His attributes were decent for the Irish second tier.

David O’Leary (D/DMC) attributes



Lorcan Fitzgerald (D/ML) topped the appearance charts


Lorcan Fitzgerald (D/ML) attributes



Ciaran Kilduff (SC) was well clear from the rest of the squad in the goalscoring charts



But not only that, Kilduff also ended top of the average rating table

Average ratings


Ciaran Kilduff (SC) attributes



So, what tactics did I pick to put all these mishmash of players into a team?

I planned to play a 3-4-3 direct formation at the start of the season, and it was a formation I used most of the time.

You will note I tried to keep Lorcan Fitzgerald (D/ML) on the pitch, as his set piece delivery was crucial from left or right. Particularly left sided set pieces.

Lorcan Fitzgerald (D/ML) attributes


I even tried to fit him in as a left sided centre back in a three, on occasion.

Tactics 3-4-3 - direct


Later in the season I tried a 3-4-2-1 formation to make use of attacking midfielders in the squad

Tactics 3-4-2-1 – direct


But this formation was not as successful as the 3-4-3 formation, so it was quickly shelved.

Later I tried out a 3-2-4-1 direct all out attack formation to see if it would get more goals.

3-2-4-1 – direct


But it left the team very open at back, not too surprisingly.

Plus, it not get as many goals as I thought it would

I only tried a 3-5-2 wingbacks formation once.

3-5-2 wing-backs formation - direct


It did OK, but I felt that the 3-4-3 formation is what the players are more comfortable in

Using that formation for the majority of the league campaign, proved to be an interesting campaign for Shelbourne to say the least.

League of Ireland - First Division



As already seen, promotion was expected by the board from the league of Ireland first division.


League Table - League of Ireland - First Division
- Promotion was achieved


Failure to beat Cobh Ramblers in any league game meant first was never really a possibility.

Even though Shelbourne were second for most of the season....


Shelbourne were lucky to get the automatic promotion spot.


There was a poor run of form towards the end of the season with a 3-2 away loss to Evergreen.

And a 2-2 home draw v Drogheda.

Three points was needed against already relegated Newbridge.

In order to stop Athlone from getting the automatic promotion spot.

S1 LOI D1 match 36 Newbridge (a)

Fortunately, towards the end of a nervy first half Ciaran Kilduff (SC) silenced the jeers of the Newbridge fans.


On what was a breezy and wet day for football, Shels finally secured promotion.

The cup competitions proved to be even more unpredictable for Shelbourne, with varying campaigns in each one.


The Irish Daily Mail FAI cup



Shelbourne managed to reach the 3rd round of the Irish Daily Mail FAI cup after a 3-0 win against Evergreen in the previous round.

Limerick from the League of Ireland Premier Division travelled to Dublin, to take on Shels in Tolka Park.

S1 FAI Cup 3rd round Limerick (h)

This was the game where I used a direct very attacking 3-2-4-1 formation against Limerick’s 4-4-2.


It was tumultuous game with two red cards


After being a goal down with 35 minutes remaining, Shels managed to rescue a draw with a Lanigan goal from midfield.

This meant there would be a replay.

For the replay I maintained the same 3-2-4-1 formation with a few changes in personnel.

However, on this occasion Shels were let down by the performance of Sean O’Neil in goal (5)

And the out of position Lorcan Fitzgerald (D/ML) (5) who played again as centre back on the left side.

Limerick youngster Shane Barnes (SC) gave Shelbourne a lesson grabbing a brace.


EA Sports Cup - League cup



It was an unfortunate League Cup campaign for Shelbourne.

Premier Division St Pat’s proved too strong, and Shels failed to get out of the group.


It was no shame losing out to St Pat’s as they would go on to win the Premier League Title.


Shelbourne would have to face St Pat's in yet another competition

Leinster Senior Cup


This time Shelbourne also had to face the Premier League Champions elect St Pat’s, in the Leinster Senior Cup Final.

The Leinster Senior Cup is the least valued competition of all the trophies that Shelbourne were eligible to play in.

But nonetheless it was still a chance for silverware, so I treated it very seriously.

Prior to my arrival at the club, Shelbourne were defending Leinster Senior Cup Champions having won back to back titles.


Three is a row Leinster Senior Cup wins, had not been done since Shamrock Rovers won four in a row from 1955-1958

Shelbourne did have a slight advantage the final against Pat's was played in Tolka Park.

In this game I played a 3-5-2 wing-backs formation against Pat’s 4-4-2 formation.

I played Jamie Williams (FR) out of position at right wingback.


In the game itself Sean Murphy (SW/D/DMC) had a poor performance (5).

And the team was not helped by Sean O’Neil’s (GK) sending off for a professional foul

Shels were in the game up to that point and overall there was not much between the sides.

But the quality of Gary Shaw (FRC) and Michael Drennan (FC) proved too much on the day.


Gary Shaw (FRC) attributes


Michael Drennan (FC) attributes



Finally, at the end of the season the board gave their verdict.


I suppose satisfied will have to do, but at least the fans seem to like me!

21-05-19, 03:37 PM
I've got two different ODB games on the go at the moment.

The first is a "salvage operation" at Charlton Athletic. I let the game run for two years without selecting a team, then chose to take over at Charlton, who crashed out of the Premier League with 11 points in 2001/02 then did miserably in 2002/03. My first season was a modest 13th-place finish, but I also reached the League Cup quarter-final and I'm slowly piecing the squad back together - a difficult task when you have no money! I've signed Tonton Zola Moukoko on a Bosman, though, ready for 2004/05...

The second is at Stockport County. I only finished 16th in 2001/02, but that was after a substantial slump in form at the end of the season (I still did way better than Stockport did in real life that year). I'm about to start 2002/03 - no Moukoko, but I have a very tasty-looking regen striker...


25-05-19, 12:48 AM
Not a bad start to the season, considering the fixtures weve had, bought in Michael Keane and Breel Embolo with Arnie departing to the Arsenal.



The Porridge Flo
30-05-19, 12:56 PM
Life got in the way of managing football teams in recent months - bur finally I am back, fighting for titles and trophies...... even though, winning silverware is the furthest thing away from the club that provides me with a fresh start in the National League North as the bank account shows a red minus, little Croft Park has seen better days in the past as well and a difficult season is expected. Welcome to Blyth in Northumberland, northeast of Newcastle, where the Spartans are home:


Having appointed me, a German nobody, could be mistaken for the Spartans board already given up on avoiding the drop before even a single ball has been kicked in the new season. Certainly there is little pressure on me, least expectations, to perform well this season. And no surprise: this is a piss poor football team. Granted, every player has two legs - which is a good starting point - though, little actual skills using those legs with a round ball on their feet. The other positive: the squad is big enough to field a team plus a few substitutes. The bad thing: no transfers money is available. All that's left is to bring in a handful of outcasts from league rivals who're willing to join the Spartans on loan.

In an attempt to maximise the "skills" on offer, I deploy a 5-3-2 system that can become a 3-5-2, depending on the situation. A simple enough system, that will see us through this long season.... hopefully.


We start much better than anyone could have ever dared to dream. Five wins from seven games. In truth, this is largely down to kind round of opening fixtures. We start with an awful lot of home games. We really make Croft Park a fortress in these early weeks. On the other hand, as soon as we leave the boundaries of Blyth we're doomed.

A few games later: a few more victories on the board, a few more away losses as well - we're up there in the table - this looks quite promising! I'v been working on a few deals for the January transfer window also. The question is only: can we maintain form stay until then in order to have an unlikely go in the race for promotion?

Certainly not. A rotten November and even more rotten December sees our stock falling as fast as a stone falls from the sky after throwing it up in the air. A spell of 12 games without a single win and we're down in nowhere.

Thankfully January comes and a few decent lads can be picked up from Ireland. They bring a breath of fresh air plus the added bonus of quality on the ball: in fact, Paul Corry and Eoen Wearren were some promising talents only a few years back. Their stock has dramatically fallen over the last seasons obviously otherwise they wouldn't be ending up at the Spartans. Pick of the lot is Stephen Kenny. A pacey striker, who looks to have a lot on his plate for this level. Ryan Brennan will be happy he's off the green island: no more songs about the reproductive ability of his mother (which are impressive, indeed!). Niall Scullian completes the Irish invasion.

The Irish recruits turn the fortunes. In a more attacking 3-1-3-3 system, Spartans hit some forma. Stephen Kenny is banging in the goal, putting any relegation fears to bed. Unfortunately we lost too much ground already to turn into a promotion contender - the season ends too early for us in order to have a real impact in the table, so a 10th place finish stands for us in the end, regardless - which is quite a positive ending to a volatile year of football for the Blyth Spartans.


Player of the year is Lewis Horner: 18 goals and 8 assists for the 26 year old midfielder, who's got an interesting story attached to his name. Once upon the time, when he was playing in Scotland for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, he thought it would be brilliant idea to gamble on games of his own team…... he paid a hefty price, having lost a career as a professional footballer, fallen down to the sixth level of the English football pyramid.



Two handful of free signings bolster the squad for the new season. Particularly the signing of flexible defensive unit John Dunleavy from Cork City is pretty exiting. I'm also proud of the sinning of Andy Cook, who looks a powerful striker, who can hopefully take the burden of Stephen Kenny to produce all the goods in front of the goal. Cook is a real number 9, particularly strong in the air and joins from League 2 side Tranmere where he didn't play a single match last season.

Neutral observers will certainly attest that Blyth Spartans appear to be quite a different side now - and so it should be, because we aim high, want to be in with a shout for the promotion spots at the very least.

It becomes quickly clear as the season rumbles on, the partnership of Cook and Kenny is an incredibly fruitful one - even though I struggle to identify a third striker who can keep up with the two - as the two share score 40 goals between themselves until the end of the year!

2018 finishes with a 26:19-5-2 record, that sees us topping the National League North comfortably. As good as that reads, the truth is we're nothing without Kenny and Cook, and games without these two in the XI are a proper struggle.

It's been a fabulous season for Lewis Horner so far as well. In turn his performances do attract a fair bit of attention from classier clubs. Given our dire financial situation it's hard to resit a €500k offer from Championship side Ipswich, unfortunately. So arguably the most talented player of this Spartans team leaves in January.

18 goals in the first half of the season have also put Andy Cook very much on the radar of higher ranked clubs. It's no surprise having both Hull and Charlton triggering the €475k release clause; he signs for the Tigers eventually. Losing two stars in a matter of a week is a tough blow for us. Replacing them is neigh to impossible.

I bring in a few talents that may have the potential to reach the level of Horner and Cook, but he gulf in class is palpable. We struggle in the next few months, stumble from game to game, win some, lose some, draw some…. Certainly scoring becomes an issue.... Kenny doesn't quite hit the same heights as in the preceding twelve months. Horner and Cook were involved in half of our goals until they left. So the quality of chances we create has also dropped markedly.

Thankfully the buffer we built is large enough to see us through the rest of the season - which ultimately means we secure promotion tor the National League with five games to go!

It's nip and tuck with Manchester United (FC United; not that plastic stock listed company in the Premier League, of course) for the National League North title; it's a a snail race: we lose, they lose, we draw, they draw..... Eventually the title is ours, despite a loss in the direct clash with United three games before the end of the season and another defeat in the season finale. They simply didn't want it, I guess. We say thank you!

Nonetheless this feels like a somewhat subdued celebration to what should have been a tremendous achievement for the Spartans. The fact we were so strong in the first half, and so poor in the second half of the season leaves a bitter aftertaste. Clearly the squad needs to be significantly strengthened if we don't want to find ourselves back in this league in twelve months time again.



In order to gain entry to the National League the stadium has to be enlarged. The board obliges duly. Which is fair enough, given I surely want to get out of the ENLN as well - but it also means any gains made on the financial front last yar are now well and truly gone. And so we're back in the red: -€2 million - Autsch!

All the while the board expects a difficult season. Even though my personal expectations are much higher. We sign a few fine players I feel, particularly playmaker Gavin Brennan - he is the better brother of Ryan Brennan, who is already a Spartan. Obviously the next logic step would be to bring in the rest of the lot: Sean Brennan and Killian Brennan, who the best of the them - though he's on good money at St. Pats in Ireland and, as you know, we have no money.

Timothy Molloy joins from UC Dublin: a strong striker, a similar profile to Alfie May who joins us from Doncaster, where he didn't play a single minute of football the last two seasons. Conor Essam from Dover should become the new backbone at the other end of the pitch.

A few more lads on a free transfer plus a handful of guys on loan: there's your fairly decent National League squad - or so I certainly feel at this point in time! obviously I don't expect us to romp home. On the other I'm fairly confident we'll be thereabouts. We should be in the mix for the two promotion spots....

After a rocky start to the season, clearly adjusting to life in higher grade, it's particularly the goals from Molloy and May that help to settle things a little bit down. We're shaky at the back, however - conceding two goals a game isn't out of the ordinary. Equally capable to score five of our own. Which makes it attractive to watch our games, I guess.

Veteran keeper Adam Bartlett, who joined us from Stockport on loan, has a number shocking games in October - I lose all trust in him, so back in goal is last seasons #1 Michal Misiewicz. That's no positive by any means because even even in the lower NLN the Pole was moving between world-class and catching flies within minutes. Anyway, fortunes improve slightly from there on.

As the year turns we move to the promotion gaining 2nd spot for the first time this season. Strong performances, mainly driven by superb Matt Dolan in midfield - he's been a revelation, came from Stockport on a free and was thought more of as a squad player - he's owning the #10 role!

As the new year moves on, the schedule gets tighter, we advance all the way to the semi-final of the FA Trophy, where we go out after high drama in penalties versus Wrexham.

Injuries pile up. Tiered legs. The schedule over the last 10 games of the season is relentless.Top striker Alfie May is down as well. W miss his goals when we'd need the most. Some games I do struggle to fill the bench with five healthy and fit players. But we're not the only ones with these issues. The table is incredibly congested, more than a third of the league has hopes to be break through and become a Football League club next season.....

We won't be one. we finish the season with poor form, not worthy of a true promotion contender: W-L-D-W-D-D-L-D with one game to go.... but even a scintillating 4-1 victory over York on the final day of the season isn't enough - Spartans lose out by a single point in the end. I can think of many occasions were we left that single point on the pitch.

The disappointment last only for a few moments: first season in the National League, we have done the club proud. There's certainly something to build on. Clearly defensively improvement is needed if we want to push on. Conceading 72 goals is simply not good enough. t'll be a tough task with a non-existent budget to improve the squad. But, at least, there is no danger of losing any of our star players this time: May (19 goals), Molloy (22 goals), Dolan (8G, 8A), Watson (3G, 12A and Paul Cory are all under contract next season - without a release clause!


Timothy Molloy's contribution can't be underestimated. A score involved of 34%, even though he only started 37 of the 46 league games is incredible. Here's hoping the 26-year-old can be as impactful next season.


The Porridge Flo
02-06-19, 10:16 AM
2020/2021 - Blyth Spartans in the English National League :

Despite last seasons achievements the board is conservative in its expectations: stay clear of any relegation scrap is all they ask for. It might be wise to lower the eyes for the moment at least, as the squad is turned inside out. Half the team was on expiring contracts and the majority is allowed to leave as I feel if we want to move forward we need to shake things up. That bears its own dangers of course.

One of the higher paid players still under contract is Gavin Brennan. His brother Ryan has already left the club - even though I was prepared to offer a performance based contract extension, he wasn't happy with his role as a squad player - Gavin, last year signed as a veteran with supposed star quality, didn't shine as much as expected. So I'm happy enough when he decides to finish his career and retire, given he'd been a highly paid bench warmer this season otherwise.

I am able to bring in more than capable replacements, or so I feel at this early point of the new season. We land a little coup by signing teenager Andy Howe from Liverpool. The 17-year-old defender is highly determined and quite a bull for his age - he could be a good one, particularly at this level!


A habit of conceding way too many goals - 72! - was the main issue in our failed bid for promotion last season, strengthening the defensive side of the squad is high priority. Beside Howe, the signings of experienced Ciaran McGuigan from Drogheda, as well as the one of Danny Rowe from League One side Wycome could be significant ones. So could be the addition of Josh McDonald in the middle of the park as he's leaving National League rival Halifax for the Spartans. Keeper Liam Roberts joins from Charlton with the aim to become our new #1.

Matt Jay and James Collins are further additions for our already rather potent attacking force. Plus a few "fillers" and lads on loan eventually complement a much changed squad for the new season. I'm quietly confident we'll be bang there when it matters with these changes. Which are so dramatic that striker Timothy Molloy is the only one who survives the cull before the start of the first league game: no one else from last seasons squad finds himself in the starting XI!

Things don't click. 3 points from four games puts us into crisis mode. Improvement not in sight. Six games in and a 6:1-3-2 start is miles away from where we wanna be, despite having a much improved - on paper at least - squad. All the new lads aren't gelling as quickly as hoped. Particularly at the back we continue to be porous as Swiss cheese.

We get deeper into the season, but even as the calendar turns to November 3 wins is all we've got so far. Promotion dreams are far far away. Getting the basics right is more important now. Tinkering with the tactics means the 3-striker-system is dropped in favour of a more conservative 5-3-1-1 approach. I would love to play attractive attacking football but at the moment we need to find a way to stop the negative trend. If that means a bunch of 1-0 victories is all we get then I'll have that that any day and night over exciting over 3-4 defeats!

The changes yield in more stability and bring a few decent results to see us moving out of the bottom third of the table. Out of crisis mode. Back to normality.

In fact, despite those early season woes, since November we make gradual progress - hard fought victories at promotion contenders Macclesfield and Newport help to move up in the table - as the year turns we're still nine points off the promotion spots, but in a desperately long season as the one in the National League, that's nothing. It certainly feels like a win, given how poor we were for the first quarter of the season. Last years success also means we're taking part in a number of televised games, which in turn helps to fill the coffers of the club and leaves me in the comfortable position of having a transfer budget for the first time. Not a lot, but every little helps….

When the transfer window opens I'll bring in a few new faces - cheap €10-30k purchases, in the hope they raise the quality in the squad.

The added quality has immediate impact. From January on we march forward and become near impossible to break down. We don't need many chances to score and we certainly don't score a lot, but that's fine as long as you score one more than the opponent - which we do. As unlikely as a push for promotion looked not too long ago, as increasingly likely it looks from February on, as the top teams falter one by one and we're the form team with all the momentum on our side.

Match day 33, another arch-typical 1-0 victory, this time over Exeter, and suddenly Spartans are top of the table! 12 months ago we crumbled under the pressure when entering the final stretch with the chance to gain promotion - this time we're clearly more lucky with injuries, but also with finding the net in the last minute to get those three points on the board week after week.

The decision to invest the bit of money we have in the January transfer window turned out to be a key decision - with two games to spare Blyth Spartans gain entry to the world of professional league football for the first time in its history!

We're not a brilliant National League champion by any means. We have no player in the National League team of the year. Despite leaking many goals in the early parts of the season, changing to a more defensive system helped so much that we end up as best defence in the ENL. On the other hand we're only 17th in goals scored. Last years brilliant top scorers Timothy Molloy and Alfie May had shocking seasons: none of them found any form and remained without a single goal!

Since the year turned we appeared to be nearly unbeatable, though. Only two losses from 21 games in the second half of the season - conceding only 9 goals! With that in mind it seems there is a good foundation in place to build on for what will be a tough first year in League Two, I reckon.


Switching to a more conservative tactic helped to change fortunes halfway through the season - albeit few individuals were brilliant - as a team we worked well:


Kenny Dalglish's Smile
03-06-19, 10:23 AM
...bur finally I am back, fighting for titles and trophies......
\o/ endlich :D

The Porridge Flo
08-06-19, 05:12 PM
2021/2022 - Blyth Spartans in League Two:

Croft Park gets another facelift - can now host 6.000 fanatic Spartans. The fact that we're back in the red due to this investment doesn't make my life as manager any easier on the other hand. Because any budget to strengthen the squad is practically gone. Thankfully we can sell on some players I don't feel are good enough, including talented striker Anthony Britton, who I'd like to keep, but an offer by League Two rival Aldershot is too good to refuse as it does ensure there are a at least few quid available for player signings.

Getting former Hearts prodigy Alex Petkov in on a free transfer is certainly one of the highlights - I have high hopes for the playmaker - so is bringing Lewis Horner back to the club - albeit only on loan. Back in NLN days Horner left the club for €500k as Ipswich triggered his release clause; which was a small disaster then, because he was running riot in middle of the park for us - Championship proved beyond him, now he is back at a more realistic level - the 29-year-old who's also on an expiring contract, is expected to find back to his best in the green and white jersey, which saw him win 'Spartans player of the season' accolades in 2017/18.


It's a drop in grade also for central defender Jack Batten, who joins fom Bredford. He's a monster in the air and should add to our already fairly strong defensive unit. Young striker Arthur Read looks the pick from the other six signings, all in the range of €20-30k transfers.

The board hopes a prompt drop back to the National League can be avoided. I hope we can sneak into the play-offs if all goes well. The reality after 12 games in is a completely different one: Spartans dominating League Two! A slip up
versus Fleetwood aside, we're particularly hard to score against: leading from the back is captain Danny Rowe, while on the attacking front it's the return of Lewis Horner, who is in imperious form - to the delight of everyone who holds the Spartans close to their heart.

But football can be a fickle game. What's oh so sweet one week can turn sour in a matter of days. An insane injury crisis hits us all of the sudden. Horner out, Rowe out, McDonald out….. And a few others as well. We're a bit thin if it comes to quality in depth. So, with some stars on the sideline, reality has us back - we struggle badly. I guess that means we're simply regressing to the mean....

What hinders us most is a lack of goal scoring: in the early part of the season that wasn't an issue. We scored one and that was largely enough to secure three points. Now, though. we hardly score even a single goal! And if we do, we concede one on the other end. In fact between October and mid-January we fail to score more than one goal in 15 consecutive league games! If you're a betting man you'd make good money backing a 1-1 draw in games with Blyth Spartans involvement. It becomes our standard result. Only two more wins during this period by the smallest of margins - at least "we keep the scoreboard ticking over", so to speak.

It's a few nerve-wrecking weeks ahead. A lack of continuity, untimely injuries, some stars out of form…. 1-1, 1-0, 0-1, 1-1, 1-0, 0-1…… we fall outside the top 2, and with that out of the promotion spots.

One of the main issues I make out: even though we have quite a large number of shots on goal, many of these wouldn't hit the target and come from outside of the box. I was under the illusion in these lower leagues you simply have to shoot and the goals will follow, given the rather poor goalkeeping standard. Unfortunately, as we're not riding a wave of confidence, shooting accuracy is dwindling to desperate levels.

So, I take drastic measures: no player is allowed to take shots from outside the box. Period. With these new instructions the team is particularly encouraged to play more passing football in order to truly develop scoring chances. The success is instant: of the 15 shots in the next home match against Hartlepool 12 will find the target - the result is a scintillating 3-0 victory! We're not transforming into a goal scoring machine just yet but we're certainly hitting form at the right time of the season.

All those points collected earlier in the season - albeit only draws, also become quite handy toward the final third of the season, though, as we never lost sight of the promotion spots thanks to hamstring points. A 1-4 defeat at Oxford is the right wake-up call with ten games to go - from there on we win seven out of nine. Which in turn means with only one game left, Blyth Spartans are in fact promoted to League One! The opportunity to win a second league title on the bounce is sadly missed, as we can't beat Cambridge on the final day, drawing 1-all; the result so arch-typical for us this season!

In the end, finishing runner-up is a great success. Back-to-back promotions. Highly efficient, nearly German! In 31 of the 46 games we couldn't score more than a single goal - on only 15 occasions would we find the net more than once! That's a bit scary moving up a division now.


A revelation was January signing (€45k) Johnville Renee Pringle who came from Wimbledon. An injury cut his game time short, but in 13 league games he assisted 7 goals nonetheless - the right-back made a huge difference toward the end of the season.

We also found a prolific goalscorer in Jordan Jenkins. He was a cheap €35k pickup from Glenavon in Northern Ireland. He scored 18 goals after having a few issues early on in the season. Alex Petkov was the disappointment of the season. After a bright start with six assists in 10 games he fell completely away.


Unfortunately Lewis Horner, whose on loan from Ipswich and had a good second spell here, decided against our contract offer - he will move on a free transfer to Chesterfield. There are a lot of expiring contracts as well. Only very few will receive an offer to extend their stay.

Attracting fans to Croft Park remained an issue throughout the season. An average attendance of around 3.700 is the second worst in League Two. It's not a good look…. And financially makes life difficult for us.

2022/2023 - Blyth Spartans in League One:

The most prominent signing over the summer will sit beside me on the bench: Rafael van der Vaart joins the Spartans on a free transfer…. As the new assistant coach! After finishing his career a few years ago, he went to Argentina to get some coaching experience under his belt. He didn't stay long there. Now he's back in Europe. I'll hope he'll help me with his tactical knowledge to set the team up in the best possible way each week, as well as judging which talents should get a run in the team.


Receiving €1 million for EFL1 TV rights is a massive boasts for the club coffers. So is selling Alex Petrov, who simply didn't become the player he promised to be - he's off to his native home Bulgaria in a €500k transfer.

Blyth is out of the red and well in the green in monetary terms. That doesn't mean I can throw money around the transfer market, but it helps to make a bunch of solid signings, that will ensure we're competitive this season.

I do struggle to sign any players from my shortlist, which in turn means we're going into the season without any 'sexy' signing. Players we do sign are generally - as so often in the past - outcasts from lower tier clubs. A real gem could be right-back Salas Cannonier, who joins for €55k from National League side Southport where he didn't get a single game in two years, surprisingly.

Center-Back Ryan Nyambe, left winger Blair Adams and forward Craigh Wighton are the other more noteworthy transfers. Bar Adams, who was a regular for EFL2 side Hartlepool, none of the lads played with any regularity over the last number of years, but our scouts are sure they can add a lot of quality on and off the pitch.


Never change a winning system. For the new life in League One I'll keep faith in our 3-5-1-1 system that worked well last season. Expectations are modest as always at the Spartans: the board would be delighted if we stay in the league. My personal hope is a solid push for the play-offs, particularly if we could remain largely injury free.

We surely start well with a frantic 4-2 over Blackpool. A goalless draw at Lincoln followed by a defeat at Shrewsbury. It's the sort of form we develop over the first two handful of games. We're competitive every single night. But sometimes not quite good enough. That's okay. Hoovering around the ominous final play-off spot is certainly positive.

Match day 18, away to a fallen Cardiff City: we put a string of unbeaten games together. A 3-0 trashing of the Bluebirds is an indication things start to click and we're now a proper promotion contender! Craigh Wighton with 11 goals to his name has been a revelation. Young Arthur Read, who was light and shadow last season, has really stepped up also, leading the internal scorers list with 8 goals and 8 assists.

An unbeaten run of 11 games between October and December sees us climbing up to second…. However, a one goal defeat at leaders Crawley brings everyone down to earth again.

A bit of an injury crisis hits us around the new year. Particularly the midfield is impacted, which isn't where we're particularly deep anyway. So, I use the opening transfer window for a few cheap signings, boosting our midfield depth in the hope of finding one or two hidden gems. Central midfielder Calum Mason is the one I'm most excited about. The teenager can pass the ball really well and I hope he can develop into a nice player for us.

In the meantime clubs around us splash the big cash: 3rd placed Sheffield United pays €1.1 million for playmaker Ethan Robinson! That shows what we're up against in the second half of the season…. Two weeks later we beat The Blades 2-0 at Croft Park!

We have our own growing financial woes, though, as the weeks move on. 35 players on the book now; a few expiring contracts extended - mainly the ones off Read and Jenkins - for an increased salary of course. Add a bit of ground maintenance - old Croft Park isn't cheap to keep going and with an average attendance of 5000 we do struggle to offset the costs. So, once all adds up the bank account turns red.

On the pitch Arthur Read is running riot ever since his contract extension. The 22-year-old forward is on a run in spring; so is Salas Cannonier, who saves us multiple times with his 20 meter free kick bombs. As we march on, so does Crawley, the undisputed leader of League One - as far as 12 points ahead in early February.

It's a golden spring: seven games between March and April - we win them all, despite losing dominant right-back Johnville Renee Pringle to injury. Read and Weighton do their thing up front, while keeper Liam Roberts - who is with us since National League days - keeps keeps a clean sheet in five consecutive games.

Hunting Crawley for the league title - it's what's on the radar now. With five games to go we're qualified for the play-offs, but have a substantial advantage over the third already. The Reds have a rotten form in spring and have lost all their points advantage bar a single one that has them clinging on to the top.

Three games to go we overtake Crawley…. Thanks to the tiniest of margins in goal difference. This goes down to the wire..... Both on 100 points before the final day of the season. As we lost out in a similar scenario on the EFL2 title, same should not happen this time….. And it doesn't! Town wins their game, but so do we - in front of a 5.700 record crowd at Croft Park: Read, Jenkins and Beith provide the goals to secure back-to-back-to-back promotions as well as the League One title!

A whopping 103 points in the end - our best league campaign ever! We didn't score as many goals as some other clubs, but defensively it was a record breaking season, particular since the year turned: 20 games, 14 clean sheets, only 10 goals conceded!


To be perfectly honest: we're a few years ahead of the schedule. Of course was the hopeful idea to bring the Spartans gradually up, to find out how far this small club can go. That things would run so fast…. I didn't expect. Three promotions in three years is like speeding on the motorway: the speedo shows 140 miles an hour as you go with the flow but you know you're over the limit. Blyth Spartans are right on the limit. Next season in the Championship this is an entirely different beast. Another level. So far removed from the humble beginnings.

Croft Parks remains a small ground with only two proper stands, holding 6.000 people, seats merely 1.000, has dreadful facilities and certainly no sign of any proper setup for underage- and youth development. The club is in debt because of the inevitably of ever increasing wages and the squad is like a patchwork family consisting of journeymen players brought in at different stages in the last three years. 14 expiring contracts, the few I'd like to keep at the club I can't pay the money they ask for.....

Despite the success on the pitch, desperate measures have to be taken off the pitch: we're forced to sell keeper Liam Roberts. Championship side Brighton makes a €3.4 million offer we can't refuse. He's been fabulous over the last three seasons since he joined the Spartans for €35k from Charlton, back in National League days. No surprise his performances brought interest from better clubs. In turn we'll sign keeper David Craddock from Brighton, who was already on loan with us last season, albeit then the backup for Roberts!

Kenny Dalglish's Smile
14-06-19, 10:26 AM

The Porridge Flo
30-06-19, 01:17 AM
2023/2024 - Blyth Spartans in English Championship:

€12.75 million in TV rights are a blessing for the club, so is the money we get from the Roberts transfer. We were deep in the red before this money arrived, to the point I was wondering where and how to find money to sign capable players for a serious bid to stay in the league, as even wage wise we struggle to offer competitive contracts to free players.

At the same time here at the Spartants we desperately have to start investing in the infrastructure of the club, which remains on the level of a conference side. As a first port of call the development of Croft Park is vital, I feel. My request for investment is denied by the board, however. They don't sense the same sort of urgency as I do. Which means we continue to play in a shabby ground, holding merely 6.000 souls. At least we won't be setting a new record low for attendance in the Championship, which will go to fellow promoted Crawley Town. Broadfield Stadium seats exactly 4.996 fans.

On the team front there is less turnover than in the years before. The core of last season's squad remains intact - in fact we could field the exact same XI on day one of the new Championship campaign as on the final day in League One. I rate this as success!

Nonetheless we'll need to make this squad Championship ready. 12 players in for €4 million - not a single 'stars' in sight, but I'm confident we can play a good role in this league. Key signings of Dominic Smith (CB) and Richard Brindley (DR) do compliment what we already have in defence - which I rate highly. Central midfielder Conor Thomson and highly creative Filip Blazek (DMC) are supposed to drive the game in the middle of the park.

On the other hand I struggle to bring in a striker to take the pressure of Read and Jenkins a bit - we're rather thin on that front with these two. I trust them to perform - but what if they don't adapt to life a level higher?


After a slow start with a loss against Southampton and a draw at Ipswich I remain calm, no panic yet. Performances were solid, we just didn't get the right bounces yet: keep doing what we're doing and the tide will turn - as it does, indeed! We bounce back with four straight wins!

Arthur Read, so prolific last season, is on the mark a division higher, no bother. On the other hand Philip Blazek struggles use his creativity in the tough environment that's the Championship. The supposed star recruit is on the fringe ob being dropped. Which he is, eventually after another dismal performance. Not happy with this decision, Philip is unhappy as well. We "mutually" decide it may be best making him available for a transfer in winter.

He's only on loan,an was a late signing on the final day of the transfer window: 18-year-old striker Chris Jennings joins from West Ham, and turns out to be a revelation. Any attempts to make him one of our own are rejected by the young man, unfortunately - even though the Hammers are happy to sell. Nonetheless, he bangs in the goals for us, which is the most important thing right now.

An unlikely last minute two-goal comeback against Newcastle in the EFL Cup 2nd round, which we win in extra-time eventually, is the tipping point on Tyneside: manager Phil Neville gets the sack as the club is already fighting a tough battle against relegation in the league.

We bring about a small sensation in the 3rd round of the League Cup as we beat Manchester City, despite having to play away and conceding a red card halfway through the game - plus keeper Robert Mutch - who gets the nod in all Cup games - has to save a penalty as well! Unfortunately we have to leave the competition a few weeks later after a 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage against another Premier League team in Fulham.


In the league we are able to defeat pacesetters- and local rivals Sunderland thanks to Mason and Jennings goals - it's the first defeat for the Black Cats. It keeps us up in the play-off spots, hovering around third place. Dropping a few points here and there means we're close but able to catch Stoke in second position - Sunderland, despite that unusual home loss against us, marching on with the Christmas season approaching fast.

My work hasn't gone unnoticed. Nonetheless it comes completely out of the blue: Leeds United make an attempt to lure me to Yorkshire after sacking manager Thomas Christiansen. I decline the offer politely - Leeds si bottom of the Premier League, having accumulated a meager 5 points from fourteen games….


A bombshell at the end of January - Salas Cannonier rejects our offer for contract extension beyond the season, instead signs for Championship rival Tranmore Rovers! He's been a star since joining last year. Even though he sees himself solely as a Right Back he was deployed on the left side in our system and did a fabulous job. It's a real shame to see such a classy player leave - particularly on a free transfer. However, we have alternatives on the bench - albeit not quite of the same caliber.

Direct promotion prospects slip away in spring. We can't score more than a goal for weeks and weeks, coupled with injuries..... Sunderland and Huddersfield fly away. At least the play-offs are a near given at this stage. Right?

13 games where we can't score more than one goal between January and April… we fall down to 6th place with less than six games to go - play-off certainty? No more!

It becomes obvious with every passing week that most league rivals have figured out the way we play - and more importantly how to counteract what used to be our strengths. Opponents do enjoy deploying a simple 4-3-3 now; we start to struggle to get on the ball, struggle to create chances while appearing prone for quick counter attacks once we lose possession. I'm forced to make drastic changes - I let business as usual and the hope for a turnaround of form prevail for too long already: tactically we'll change to a more traditional back four and will play a more defensive oriented holding midfilder.

We remain shaky but get a few vital points on the board, beating Tranmere and Nottingham Forrest - vital because two defeats on the last two nights of the regular season nearly cost us the 6th place…. Nearly, as Stoke, who made a big push in the last few weeks, is defeated as well, which means we through to the play off merely on goal difference!


A date with the 3rd placed Birmingham awaits. The bookies have us down as the underdog. A place that suits us better than having to carry the burden of being favourite. After a nervy scoreless draw at St. Andrews that could have gone either way very easily, we earn a well deserved spot in the final at Wembley thanks to a euphoric 3-1 victory in front of a frenetic sellout crowd at Croft Park! The riches of Premier League football are only a single game away now…..

Wembley Stadium, 27th May 2024 - a date with history. Blyth Spartans would well and truly become the smallest football club that has ever made it to the Premier League if we would be victorious here. Let's talk in "if" for the moment. Between the excitement of hosting Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool stands Burnley, the 4th placed finisher of this season. They overcame Derby County in the semi-final and finally want to make their way back to top flight football after six years in the second tier.

I make the tough decision to drop veteran right back Richard Bridley. A constant in our team all season long, but in our new system he simply hasn't been able to perform to quite the same high standards which he used to set all season long. More defensive minded Dominic Smith takes his place instead.

In a tight contest, defensive unity is king. There is little happening in the first half. Both sides are wary and clearly have only one thing on their mind: not to concede! Beauty doesn't always win games. This one certainly isn't a beauty contest. Millions of pounds are on the line, in fact.

We take charge of the game in the second half, putting more and more pressure on Burnley. 67th minute - the breakthrough. Read breaks free in the blink of an eye, but has the vision to pass to Mason who's unmarked in an even better position.The youngster hammers home for the lead!

Nail biting final minutes - Burnley throws the kitchen sink at our goal. The last minute equalizer in the air as keeper Craddock can't catch a powerful header from inside the box…. Danny Rowe with a crucial challenge, thankfully! The seconds tick away and then it's all over! The fairytale continues....

Blyth Spartans are an English Premier League club from now on!


The golden boy Callum Mason - still on a monthly €2.5k wage; arrived last season for €40k from EFL2 side Forrest Green!


Another superb season for Arthur Read. He made the step up from EFL2 to EFL1 to Championship without any issue!


The only one who survived from National League days - Danny Rowe. Now Blyth Spartans record player:


So, a new chapter is to be written in the history of the Blyth Spartans. Premier League football awaits. Little Croft Park will host the likes of Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool on a regular basis now. It's a dream most of us in the club would have only lived on the Playstation or in Championship Manager not too long ago.......


10-07-19, 09:52 PM
finished a respectable 6th in league, was hoping to better the 1st seasons 3rd but with European commitment wasn't tobe, won league cup and then this...….totally unexpected and was under the cosh for long periods in the game....but Mr West Ham pulled it out of the bag...…


20-07-19, 11:26 AM
Fourth season in, best finish in league so far has been 3rd in the 1st and 3rd season, but looking good as we head towards the busy Christmas period.

https://i.ibb.co/Dt35w7M/table.png (https://ibb.co/wRDMpKQ)

The Porridge Flo
21-07-19, 08:49 PM
Season 2024/2025 - Blyth Spartans in the English Premier League:

First things first: I'm a loyal manager. If you show me you've got a bit of talent, the guts to do your bit for the team and work hard in training I'll reward you. I love to develop youngsters in particular. Andy Howe is my little project for the last number of years now. This young man came to us as a boyish teenager, 17-years of age, signed on a free transfer out of Liverpool's reserve, four years ago. He's one of the very few survivors of the National League days. One who has gradually improved, even though has been more a fringe player than a permanent line item on the team sheet.

Last season was his breakout year, though. Surprisingly not as center back, but once we changed the system to a back-four including a defensive midfielder he excelled in the position of the destroyer in the middle of the park! Here's hoping Andy can continue to progress in this new role - even in the Premier League. As a consequence for his performances I'll reward him with a new 5 year contract. He's my adopted son now!


Obviously the main aim this season is to stay in the Premier League. Avoiding the drop at all costs. Of course, in an ideal world, I'd love to give the heroes that got us here their chance to shine in the Premier League as well. It's not that simple, though. The standard is so much higher here, and let's not forget we barely made the the play-offs, thanks to a better goal difference.

Clearly we need to improve the quality and depth of the squad. 10 players left over the summer, their expiring contracts weren't extended - or in the case of Salas Cannonier, who sadly left us for monetary reasons - but will stay in the Championship with Tramore, actually.

Club heroes like Johnville Renee-Pringle and Jordan Jenkins are part of the group that haven't been offered a contract extension. It's a pity to see them leave, but their journey comes to an end here, being realistic that they will not make the cut in the Premier League.

With the start of the new campaign there're only 16 players in the squad. Our scouts work overtime. They do fantastic work in truth and unearth some real gems. Obviously, in our situation we can't attract the big star names. But as a Premier league club we're not a shabby destination either. Particularly lads who want to (re-) establish themselves as top class are keen to join.

This leads to a new record transfer in the history of the Blyth Spartans - up until now the record was the €750k paid for Filip Blazek last year, who'd end up a major flop and left six month later…. Now we're shelving out significantly more - a whopping €10 million for pacy forward Myziane Maolida!

The 25-year-old joins from Lyon where he established himself as a leading attacking force over the last two seasons despite being more often deployed as a joker from the bench. Maolida wants to become a regular in the starting XI hence he was open for a move. I feel this is good value for money as he offers the option to be the main up front or play the AMC role as well.

It's the arrival of someone else, though, that has Spartans fans go nuts: striker Andre Pinamonti moves to Blyth from Inter Milan for €8.25 million! The 25-year-old has been struggling to break through at Inter, having been a fringe player over the last number of seasons. He#s one with plenty of upside, however - he's gonna be a star for us, I reckon!


More quality arrives particularly with attacking midfielders Jonathan Okita (Kortrijk) and Jari Schuurman (Feyenoord). Defensively the addition of Nigerian full-back Tyrone Ebuehi is quite exciting:


To put these transfer into perspective: Tottenham, the reigning Premier League champion, just signed Leroy Sane from Real Madrid for €85 million. Man City in the meantime, completes a €138 million transfer for Matthijs De Ligt, who's going to be on a monthly wage of € 1 million at the same time. We clearly are the smallest of lights in the new Premier League season.

Finally the board has heard my cries, though it's more likely they heard the cries of the Premier League authorities that said shabby Croft Park with a 70/30% split of standing and seating doesn't quite cut it in the top flight. So the club is forced to spend a whopping €27 million on ground development that will see Blyth Spartans become the owner of a 15.000 all-seater stadium! Obviously it is sad to see the old terraces go, but we've got to move with the time, given Spartans are now part of the elite. The capacity of the new stadium is enough to accommodate roughly 40% of Blyth's population.

Having to invest large sums in stadium development is only possible due to the insane amounts of TV money on offer: €65 million!

Despite splashing some cash on transfers, on day one of the Premier League season, six of last years team keep their spot in the starting eleven. As I failed to recruit anyone suitable for the defensive midfield position - anyone who I'd sacrifice Andy Howe for - he's going to be our number one in that position - who'd have thought that only a few months ago?!

The first weeks of Premier League football feel nothing like it: the season kicks off with Huddersfield, Northampton and Crystal Palace. Not sexy, but offers the opportunity for vital points. And so it is: draw with Huddersfield, home win in front of a record crowd over Northampton and an away success at Palace - Maolida off the mark, Pinamonti off the mark and Arthur Read - who just signed a new 2-year deal, scores his first Premier League goal as well - he's with the Spartans since League Two days!

Then the first match that sets the pulse raising: Croft Park is hosting the champions Tottenham Hotspurs. Spurs manager Pochettino has the luxury of a squad so deep he leaves €87 million summer signing Leroy Sane on the bench.

After a superb start to the campaign we're full of confidence and hope for a good result, particularly in front of our frenetic home crowd. A Gabrial Jesus wonder goal from outside the box silences the home fans only three minutes into the game. Shortly before half-time Min hits the crossbar - a major let-off as the preceding counter attack leads to Pinamonti having a one-on-one with Spurs keeper Gazzangia, who brings the Italian striker down…. Penalty and red card!

Replacement keeper Brandon Austin saves the spot kick, unfortunately. Full throttle attack in the second half…. Rewarded as Pinamonti makes amends for the missed penalty, hammering one home from wide range! A point against the champions.... and still unbeaten after four games!

First defeat follows soon, though. Two weeks later at home against West Ham - a game we register only two shots on goal.

Local derby with Sunderland: not too long ago it would have been merely bad dream for football fans north and south the river Tyne: the number one in the area's neither the Magpies nor the Black Cats? Nope! It's the tiny neighbour furthest to the north: Blyth! Only 17 miles separate Croft Park and the Stadium of Light - a leisurely 5 hour walk, if one wants to attempt it.

In football terms there's a whole world between the two sides these days: while Sunderland got directly promoted last season with 23 points ahead of us, one division higher they struggle. Only a single point so far, they desperately need to reinvigorate their season - but we're not doing them the favour. Playing in the Stadium of Light in a Premier League game, and beating Sunderland - thanks to an early Maolida goal - unbelievable!


After 14 games in we've still only lost one game: at Aston Villa. Otherwise, we're competitive, draw with Chelsea, beat Waterford, West Brom…. In truth, we also get a few lucky bounces when needed. Is this form sustainable? Maybe. It'll depend on staying injury free.

So far we avoided the big guns mostly, but the upcoming weeks will be telling some tough truths, most likely: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool Man United, three of those away. Indeed, we're on the back foot in all games. It's a struggle….. Two goals are enough to gain another two points out of these games, thanks to two one-all draws at Anfield and Old Trafford. Points for the moral. In reality, we were bloody lucky to get away with any point at all!

Life gets bit easier going to Northampton next. We trash them 3-0; though this games also sets a sad record low for Premier League attendance with only 9.094 fans turning up.

The year turns, we sit in eight, well above expectations. One part of of the team where we're a bit light is in the middle of the park. Hence I'm happy to bring in what I feel is a real bargain, as certainly at the very least a strong depth player: Durel Avounou joins from Ligue 2 side Socheaux for €375k, was lately loaned to a Croatian side, though.

No immediate concerns, but always good to land a major talent I feel, is young Italian shot-stopper Davide Mele. He's got two full seasons at Serie C side Empolio already under his belt and I hope can with time he can become our number one - that says David Craddock does a fine job and is under no threat to lose his place in goal.


Trouble in paradise in mid January: Jonathan Okita turns up late for training and looks distinctly unfit only a day after we lost an away match to Tottenham - I'll give him an official warning, hoping he'll learn his lesson. Unfortunately Jonathan takes it the wrong way and requests to be given the opportunity to leave the club as soon as possible. Request granted, and he'll train with the reserve from now on. We don't need players that aren't committed to the cause.

In saying that, Okita has been playing well, so it's a major loss from a football perspective, having a talented player as him locked away in the own reserve team. Results on the pitch don't quite go our way in this phase as well. It's a few tough weeks for the Blyth Spartans.....

The next shock is only around the corner: David Craddock rejects to extend his expiring contract. Instead he prefers to join league rival Northampton Town at the end of the season. Another significant blow as he's been well established as number one in the club, posting a 7.65 average rating so far this season, having been one of the main reasons we got promoted last season.

Despite those blows, the show must go on. And it does. The expensive summer signings Pinamonti and Maolida have a bit of a spring in their step as the days get longer and warmer. We continue to stick around for a top ten finish, but eyeing a surprise bid for Europe, in fact. This is also down to the heroic deeds of young Italian Davide Mele, who's established himself firmly as the new number one! David Craddock watches on from the stands in the meanwhile….

The deciding weeks approach fast: an untimely defeat at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea, a direct rival for Europe, only five games out, sees our European dreams burst, given we still have to play some tough opposition over the last handful of weeks. That's why a subsequent away victory at the home of the champions, Man City, is a major surprise - also a sign of what we're capable of. With two Premier Leagues matches left, we stay in eight, merely two points off the fifth Arsenal.....

It probably would have been our biggest over achievement would we have made the top-six. It wasn't quite to be in the end. Defeat to Liverpool and a goalless draw with Middlesbrough bring the maiden Premier League season to an end: Blyth Spartans finish in a more than respectable 9th place!


There were a lot of positives: we lost only 9 games. Conceded only 31 goals - the least in the league bar the new Premier League champions Manchester City. The club record signings Pinamonti and Maolida delivered: 12 league goals each plus 5 assists together - that's a 65% score involvement!

Young keeper Davide Mele has made long standing #1 David Craddock a forgotten man. His move to Northampton hurts much less thanks to the Italian youngsters heroics.


Andy Howe started every single Premier League game and established himself as a solid Defensive Midfielder at this level. Veteran center-back Danny Rowe also played a vital part, particularly in the second half of the season he fought his way back into the team, after losing his spot earlier. These two lads have made it all way from the National League up to the Premier League with the Spartans - and continue to be key figures, even at the highest level!

Opportunities for improvement are obvious. There is the goal scoring: only 44 goals, and the burden carried very much by two players. If either Maolida or Pinamonti ever get injured we're fu**cked. There was little contribution from the midfield. The signings, like Schurrman or Tilley, didn't deliver. Okita rebelled. It's an area of investment over the summer, no doubt; particularly if we want to push on from here. We're now established in the Premier League. Europe is what we want to aim for next season....

24-07-19, 09:18 PM
So finished the fourth season, lost in League Cup Final, F.A Cup Final & Champions League final, but at the 4th attempt...

https://i.ibb.co/YDrJmd4/table.png (https://ibb.co/28bRxM0)

The Porridge Flo
04-08-19, 08:55 PM
Season 2025/2026 - Blyth Spartans in the English Premier League:

Second season as a Premier League football club. Steady progress is the aim. Beside keeper David Craddock it's also sad to see Arnaud Padovani leaving the club: the right back turned out a real gem brought in on a free transfer last season. He duly bagged the Spartans Fan Player of the Year award! But we're not finding common ground in contract negotiations. Also no longer with us is veteran full-back Richard Brindley who moves to Huddersfield on a free.

It's a hectic transfer window that gets frantic as the first league game approaches fast, yet with less than two weeks to go I've still got only 20 players train. Money isn't nesecarily the issue. We've got €65 million in TV money.... but identifying players that can make a difference AND want to move to Blyth is a major issue. All the while Man United's breaking the bank signing Real Madrid's German center-back Jan Boller for a record €154 million!

Not quite as exciting, but certainly at least as welcome is an old friend: Salas Cannonier (DR)! After spending one year in the wilderness of League 1 football with Tranmere the promotion hero is back: he was an integral part of the teams that got us first into the Championship and eventually to the Premier League - before leaving for a little more money to drop down a couple of divisions! Doesn't speak well for his character, but as we know what we'll get on the pitch with him a lowly €825k transfer fee is well worth the investment.


Despite bringing in ten new signings the week before first game of the season, one has to confess we merely fill holes and have barely improved on last seasons squad. This is a solid team, no doubt. But not a particularly deep one and I fear we may need to look down rather than up in the standings this year. It proves difficult to attract top class players to Blyth. But at the same time I don't want to throw money around for half-decent players that won't make a real difference long-term.

A poor start to the campaign follows duly. It doesn't help that Myziane Maolida - a star signing only twelve months ago -struggles to adapt life in the raw and rough world of North-East England. Sending him back home to France for a couple of weeks during pre-season doesn't change things: he's unhappy, and it shows. This is a worst case scenario obviously, given his tremendous impact on the scoreboard last season.

Something needs to happen, after two defeats in the opening rounds it's clear this Blyth squad is a side potentially bound for relegation. Thankfully a few days before transfer window closes we finally can strengthen the team from a quality standpoint: Danish International Victor Nelsson joins froom Leverkusen for €7.5 million - he can play center-back as well as a Defensive Midfielder.

The other new face is playmaker Domingos Quina AMC). He's done tremendous things for Brighton in the Championship in the last two years, scoring goals and providing tons of assists for his team mates. Here's hoping he can translate the his form to the next level, which is the Premier League! We pay €10 million to find it out.


Quina's and Nelsson's debut is a home game against West Brom - it's also the very first time we sell out shabby Croft Park to the absolute last seat. 15.000 see a shocking performance, however it's the new man Domingos Quina who shines. We only have two shots on goal the entire game: Quina hammers home a free-kick for the lead and assists the second shot- and goal, in fact, as well. Some debut!

A common theme in this early part of the season: we struggle to score and ultimately to win games. Even against the likes of Nottingham Forrest or Middlesbrough, teams we should beat - after ten games what stands against our name is a paltry 1-6-3 record, plus only nine goals scored! It's hard to gauge what this really means. How good (or bad) is this Spartans team? You could argue, if you're the glass half-full type: we were unlucky in a number of games - fortunes will change over time. You could also argue this is what we are: not good enough.

Our form slightly improves over the coming weeks, suggesting misfortune played its part in the early season struggles. We do win a few games; the pick of the lot are heroic away victory at Man City - less memorable are home defeats against Crystal Palace or Birmingham. So, while we do a little better, in general we remain as inconsistent as the Irish weather.

The main struggles continue to stem from a lack of goal scoring. As the year turns we have conceded the third least goals, but also scored the second least! We have already lost seven games - in contrast, last season we lost nine games in the entire season!

Its a welcome return to the match day squad: Maolida has finally taken English language lessons, which sees his mood improve and he's not quite as homesick as he was before - rousing applause from the forgiving Blyth supporters as he comes on as a substitute against Brighton.... only a few minutes in the game, bang there he is, the Frenchman heads home for what turns out to be the winning goal! He repeats the same heroics one week later at Northampton!

Clearly Maolida is back.... but for how long? The board hasn't forgotten his antics and pressures me to drop him from the team. Which sounds like a suicidal move to me. He're a highly talented footballer on rather big wages who is living up to it, as one of the few in this team capable of scoring goals. I'm the manager. As the manager of this football club I decide Maolida plays.

Our form remains unsteady, despite Maolida's form surge. I tinker with the formation. Some short-term gains evaporate with spells of successive games where we can't find the net, again. Not particularly helpful is that Davide Mele wants to leave Blyth for a bigger and better future. Understandably so: his performances warrant it.

Fiorentina is right on the case, but I'm not prepared to sell for under €30 million…. Too bad, Mele gets a red card only a week later. His performances drop significantly after sitting out for three games, and I wonder whether this was the wrong decision to turn down the offer? Secretly I'm hoping the young Italian will get his head straight and sees a bright future in Blytht for himself.

The season fiddles out. We're safe, but nothing more. Three defeats from the last four games; at least on the final day we land a 2-0 success over Man City, which means Spartans supports go home with a smile on their faces.

Certainly this was not as a good a season as we would have expected after all the promise of 12 months earlier. The facts don't make for pleasant reading when comparing this one with the last season: 11 points less, 3 defeats more, four wins less, less goals scored, more goals conceded, even though we invested significantly - at least by Spartans standards.

On the other hand, in honest self-reflection, this 11th place is probably as good as this squad is. With a bit of luck you win a few more and end up a bit higher, but realistically this is it. And that's not too shabby: second season in the Premiership, Blyth is well established. This is a solid foundation to build on, if one wants to be a bit more positive.

€10 million signing Domingos Quina has delivered 9 goals and 6 assists. Defensive destroyer Nelsson, and even more so Brem Soumaoro - who turned out a real bargain - have done really well. Salas Cannonier, in his second spell at the club, did a more than solid job as right-back. The rest of the signings didn't set the world alight, on the other hand. Lewis Reed in particular has been a €4.2 million disaster, featuring in only eleven games having, zero impact in any of those.



Season 2026/2027 - Blyth Spartans in the English Premier League:

A year of change? Certainly. Several well served soldiers leave the club: Calum Mason is one I would have liked to keep as a squad player but we won't find agreement on a new contract. Arthur Read leaves after nearly six years and 61 goals. Thank you, sir!

Davide Mele's time in Blyth is over as well. Fiorentina kept knocking and knocking on the door; Davide was not to change his mind, wanting to move on, so it was the best for both parties to move: The Serie A club pays us handsomely: €28 million go our way. Our long-term future in goal may be taken away. But as in years before - this is the third time already that my number one has left the club - it doesn't quite hurt as much, given that we have Scotland international Robert Hutch on the bench who'll fight it out with promising David Pollock.

At the same time we move on a good handful of players that nobody will ever remember having played for this football club. Also no longer part of the club after half a decade is Rafael Van Der Vart. My long standing assistant has his own aspirations to become a manager and was only willing to sing an extension of his expiring contract for some pretty wild money. Thanks Rafa, but we're parting company at this point - Vaarwel.

The obvious pain point that needs strengthening is up front. two years ago a star signing from Inter, Andrea Pinamonti has done fine overall, but hasn't set the world alight either and was invisible way too often, particularly last season. He's been the main man for us, with little internal opposition; but dare I say this will change, because the future is here: 18-year-old Bradley Hanson joins us for a whopping €15.5 million from Premier League relegated Nottingham Forrest. Hansson helped them with 21 goals to gain promotion from the Championship two years ago, then as a boyish teenager. Last season, his first in top flight football, he still scored eight goals and showed plenty of talent in a poor Forrest side. He gets a 9-year-contract. I hope he's going to be a future superstar for us.

It's certainly quality over quantity: only five new players stand against ten players that left the club. However, those five signings are pure quality - or so I hope! This transfer window certainly breaks all club records: we spend €100 million, including 45 million on Irish mega talent Karl Doherty! This transfer shows our intend to compete.


The 21-year-old Forward played only in the Spanish second tier for Grenada up until now, however clearly has all the potential in the world to become a key figure for this club for years to come. Adding experienced Attacking Midfielder Dennis Man - a Romanian international with plenty of class, which is accompanied by an €18.75 price tag - left-back Floranus (€17 million) and young strikers van Driel to the mix and I feel we're well covered for this season. The squad is small, though. 26 players, we're not deep, but fingers crossed for a season that's largely without injury worries.


Not to worry for the start - we have the best start to a season for a long time. Six wins out of the first seven games - leading the pack! And that despite the fact that not all of the expensive signings have fired yet. Certainly record transfer Karl Doherty struggles a little bit to adapt to the increased pressure in the Premier League. He is still searching for a maiden goal in the Green and White and records lowish ratings in more than one game. One who was signed as a talent for the future has already a surprising breakout season, though: Dylan van Driel has five goals to his name after less than half of the season. He enjoys being part of an attacking trio, where he's one that sits behind the lone striker, but is tasked to move forward at any given opportunity.

Dark clouds are on the horizon. What wasn't supposed to happen happens: injury crisis. Not a single healthy defensive midfielder available for the early winter months. It's a challenging time we master in November, but not so much in December. Defeats to Middelsbrough and Northampton, Arsenal, a few draws for good measure.... The year turns to 2027 as we sit in sixth. Still a fine achievement for now, but injuries keep having high impact on our ability to put the best foot forward. The league is tight, though, as it's merely 2 points off the top! It'll be paramount to strengthen the squad during the winter transfer window.

Injuries, bans and players not extending their expiring contracts, plus we struggle to sign any, which is also down to the fact that the board withholds crucial funds - even though the club is swimming in money! We also continue to play in completely undersized Croft Park. Yet once more the board is harsh in their words: "mind your own business - select a winning team".

How to stop the slide? At least one new face joins the club in January: Justin Bakker, a rock solid, experienced defender. He moves right into the starting eleven…..


Sometimes perception isn't reality. Cause the reality is, despite plenty poor enough football performances, we still get points on the board quite regularly. A little negative series in the old year aside, we remain bang where it matters most, on course for a top-5 finish. A golden January and February help - golden also because injured key players like Nelsson or Soumaoro are healthy again - their involvement makes a huge difference. New center back Bakker does a fine job, while young Hanson starts to hit proper form in his role as the main man up front. By March he's in double figures for Premier League goals!

It takes 27 league games until €45 million man Karl Doherty finally scores his first goal of the season! So far he has had a disappointing term, given the expectations linked to the price tag. Finally - and it's an explosion at the right time! Two goals in the game of the round against Tottenham Hotspurs - crucial three points because - would you believe it - we jump to the top of the league?!

The crazy thing is: half the team has already decided to leave the club at the end of season, actually! Some of those are part of the core, like Cannonier and Soumaoro…. It seems this situation has instilled a renewed sense of "now or never" in the squad. Certainly there is a remarkable togetherness and we play a brand of football that the manager also loves: pragmatic, practical, result oriented.

This turns into a battle between Liverpool, reigning champions Man United and ourselves, of course. This new sense of attention and pressure, suddenly with the chance to win a Premier League title, does get to the nerves of the players: a 3-0 defeat away to Middelsbrough hurts, but even more so the following loss at Anfield by a single goal, which means our hopes of a fairytale are put to bed fairly quickly. Losing against Chelsea puts even a top-four spot in danger, although only momentarily, because once the pressure is gone we go on a run with a highlight 5-0 home win over West Brom. All that is open now is whether we finish second or third: United is pressing us hard, and as they lead two goals to nil against Watford on matchday 38, we need to win our game against Arsenal at the Emirates also.....

It doesn't look like it, we're well in injury time, scoreless 0-0..... when a van Driel cross finds the boot of Domingos Quina who fires home for a last minute victory!!! Out and over, three points - Blyth Spartans finish Premier League runer-up in their third season in tip flight football!

A remarkable finish to a remarkable season. I wasn't quite sure what to expect before day one of this term. The changes we made, the players we brought in. Would they really make us better? Possibly. But so much better? Well, quality over quantity.... Bradley Hanson has been fantastic: 17 goals (30 games), third in the goal scorer list. The money spent on Dennis Man have also paid of: 8 goals, 9 assists. Not lived up to the expectations (yet) has €45 million man Karl Doherty. 6 goals, 4 assists are below what we would have hoped to get in return from the forward. He's had a hard time in first half of the season in particular, though improved more to an acceptable standard toward the end of the season, playing an important part in seeing ups finish strongly. Saying that, in my mind I wonder whether we could offload him? My coaching team also recognizes the immense talent Karl obviously possesses, but they note that he struggles to cope with pressure.

It was largely down to injuries, nonetheless it is remarkable: Andy Howe and Danny Rowe, the two last remaining players that have survived since National League days, featured both in 26 Premier League games this season! In fact the the two were the starting center-backs in the season finale against Arsenal - it was equally fitting that Danny Rowe lead the team on to the pitch as the captain, in what is his seventh season at the club, having featured in well over 200 games. It's now six years ago that these two played together for the first time in a game against Telford. Yet here they are leading the Spartants to Champions League football!


It's noteworthy that Chelsea have been relegated as the worst team in the league. Didier Deschamps - what a tosser. Was sacked as France Atletico Minero and Fulham manager before....

05-08-19, 07:07 PM
The Porridge Flo is trying to show that money can buy happiness after all. You're doing a great job there, gaffer!!!