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Thread: You Can't Win 'Em All ....

  1. #401

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    A chance for revenge then in the Dutch Super Cup against Oss, a win here and after 2 and a bit seasons with NEC you can head for pastures new. Another tight game but you get the breakthrough eventually but then disaster strikes in injury time and they grab an equaliser, and even more infuriating is there is no extra time to right that wrong and instead the lottery of pens is upon you. A terrible start missing your first two, thankfully Oss also miss a couple and then in sudden death you score when it matters and they miss to land you the trophy.

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  3. #402

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    The Dutch Cup will have to wait as you head to neighbours Belgium to take over Huy, and it sounds like a peach of a club to go to with them ruling the roost domestically. Too late for you to strengthen the squad but you'd have thought given their recent success that the players you've inherited are no mugs, as it proved as they were in the breakaway pack. January comes and you can put them transfer funds to good use, and some familiar names joining you at the club, nice to see Filho link up with you once again and they kicked you on to win the league at a canter.

    A real tight CL group, Istanbulspor the real whipping boys but you sneaked through along with a team you managed in another dimension The second group stage was more comfortable despite the lower points tally and now you were in the quarter finals, which you strolled against Sporting Lisbon. Unfortunately Torino proved a step too far, but still a wonderful campaign which certainly helped increase the club's finances and reputation.

    The Belgian Cup was the final honour to fight for, and you were almost out before it started in your first game but you scraped through. The last 16 and quarters were easier affairs which set up a two legged semi final against Club Brugge, and after a draw away you romped the return to head into the final. Despite a little scare when Westerlo pulled it back to 2-1 it was easy stuff and the 5-1 final scoreline didn't flatter you at all as you lifted the trophy to complete a domestic double.

    The Gold Cup won without conceding a goal, but like you say you'd expect more goals given the opposition and your dominance of games. Allen should be finding the net more the only slight thing looking at his stats is his off the ball is only 10 so maybe he isn't in the best of positions to score when he does receive the ball, even with finishing 20. Hopefully you'll find the formula soon as winning the Confederations Cup will prove difficult when you don't take the chances you create.
    Last edited by AMC; 11-07-19 at 09:13 AM.

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  5. #403

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    Quote Originally Posted by CMAdventurer View Post
    Wow, you must have been in agony when Oss equalised in the last minute. Luckily the shootout went your way despite a disastrous start. No surprise that you're relieved to get this one out of the way as it was a tough one. Nice to see that you didn't overhaul the squad completely as usual and some of your original players played big parts in your success. If you really wanted to complete Holland, you could've tried resigning and seeing if it triggered any movement, although I would've thought that you'd have been ready for a change of scene.

    The Champions League semi was a step too far for Huy but that's now another country completed, after almost falling at the first hurdle.

    Another crucial Gold Cup win but something's got to change if you want to be contenders for the Confederations Cup. Let's hope the formation change brings out the best in your star men in time.
    I did consider it, but it would have been a risky one if they didn't appoint from a club that I wanted. I also don't like being unemployed over the data updates as strange things have happened in the past.
    Just checked and NEC appointed a guy from MVV, who were in the second tier. Tough to win the cup from there, although it might have been a stepping stone.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  6. #404
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    Huy smashed all before them.

    Amazing for a team I'd never heard of.

  7. #405

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    If you have never heard of RFC Huy, the next club is even more obscure !
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  8. #406

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    Chapter 74 - KajHa Go ! Go!




    NEC

    Coming at the end of May, most of the European Leagues and Cups were over, so there were not many jobs on offer. I also looked at the chance for a quick Brazilian state title, but nothing there that I haven't already done. I did consider an offer from Chievo who had faced back to back relegations and were heading to Serie C1 with a few Serie A players still in the squad, but the task didn't inspire me. And so the promotions and relegations were all sorted out and suddenly there was a host of jobs available in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, but the one I fancied was to complete the full set in Greece and for that, I was on the brink of accepting an offer from Elpis Skoutareos (I'm sure he was a super striker in the .68 update !). However one last check on the available jobs identified a new opening that I had to go for. 10 days later I was heading on a very new adventure



    KajHa

    Kajaanin Haka (abbreviated KajHa) is a football club from Kajaani in Finland. The club was formed in 1953 and their home ground is at the Kajaanin liikuntapuisto. The men's football first team currently plays in the Kolmonen (Third Division).

    KajHa was founded on 15 March 1953 and in the early years the club was known as Hevossuon Haka. The change to the current name was made on 23 January 1963. Originally Haka was a typical village club, which in addition to football ran sections providing for sports of athletics, skiing, and volleyball. Specialisation in football occurred in the early 1960s and has remained the popular activity.

    The club's first taste of success was in 1968 when they played one season in the Suomisarjaa (Finland League) which at that time was the second tier of Finnish football. They have had four other periods at this level, currently known as the Ykkönen (First Division) in 1970–71, 1985–86, 1993–94, 1998–99.


    This is KajHa's second season in the senior leagues, having been relegated with just 2 wins in 27 games 3 years ago. So far this season is not going much better and statisticially I am joining the worst senior team in Finland. We are already out of the cup !

    [center]

    For those (like myself) who don't know the format of the Finnish second tier, there is a Northern and a Southern league. In each, the 10 teams play each other 3 times, making a 27 game program with the top 2 from each group going on to a semi-final and final to decide the champions. The Champions go straight up and the beaten finalist face a playoff against 11th in the top flight to decide the final relegation/promotion. Not that I'm thinking of that. Survival is the one and only priority and I expect KajHa to be a stepping stone now that I'm in Finland.

    Before I go any further, I will do my best not to make any references to a 1980s pop band or their hit. I wouldn't want you to catch an ear-worm like I have. (It was close in the title, but I think I got away with it)

    It will surprise nobody to hear that the squad is awful. Of the 23 senior players, only 4 are over 25 and there are 8 teenagers. There is just 1 keeper, 1 for each full back and 1 for each wing, so width is a major issue. I do have 7 who call themselves strikers, although that term may be misleading. That said, Joonas Louhisto should be good enough at this level.


    As for the rest of the squad, they are just Too Shi-te (Another near miss. Might have got away with it again) to mention. The backroom was no better with just a scout and a physio. Both had expired contracts and neither wanted to re-sign. The debt was around £100k, so it would have to be freebies and loans to strengthen the squad.

    I had a week to prepare for my first game, not enough time to get any deals over the line, but I managed to put out a 4-4-2, prayed that there would be no injuries to the wide men and was delighted with the 3-1 win over JJK. MiPJ also won so we stayed bottom.

    It was clear that nobody wanted to come to a team as lowly ranked at this. Even worse, nobody, even Finnish clubs, wanted to loan us any players. By hook and by crook, I did get some deals in place, including 3 full internationals with a total of 49 caps ! Nabil Fondop, a Cook Islander with 24 caps and 1 goal at left back, Cohen Redmond, a Caymen Islander with 18 caps and 2 goals from central defence and Abdulmalek Al-Shaheen, a Mauritanian forward with 7 caps and 1 goal. The Maurtianian, if he stays fit, should make a superb partner to Louhisto up front, even if he is a little slow.


    Then there were 4 from previous shortlists. Belgian keeper Dirk Gezelle, Dutch winger Jos Plet, Dutch midfielder Vincent Damen and Joon-Ho Cho, a Korean right back who I have no idea how he was on the list ! Finally, after a series of trials, I made offers to two Fins, a left back and a midfielder. I even managed to bring in 2 player coaches, an Italian midfielder who has no chance of playing but insisted on a player/coach role, and a Brazilian defender who may be a backup.

    Not only did we look stronger in most positions, but we also had a bit of cover. This showed as we broke the club record, going 4 games unbeaten, and extending that run to 7. Despite picking up points, it seemed that every result was going against us, so it was only on the last of them that we finally got out of the relegation zone. By then, the league was extremely compressed, with only 8 points between top and second bottom. In this crazy league we were only 4 points for a play off place and therefore a shot at the title.


    9 games to play and anyone could win this. Our run was slowed down by a rash of red cards and facing some superb keepers, however in the penultimate game of the regular season, we beat KuPS 2-1 (Haapala, Al-Shaheen) to go second. Just the leaders RoPS to play, win and we would go top on goal difference, but if we lose, Ilves or JJK could go back above us.


    Despite being away from home to the league leaders, we took control of the game and midway through the first half Joel Järvinen on his first start, slotted in the opener. We were top ! But while we pushed for a second, it just wouldn't come. Then, just after the hour, disaster. Their right winger tried to make ground, but twice he was tackled by Fondop with the ball going out of play. From the second of the two shies (might be a bit too close with that one) they made room for the cross and Huusko was unmarked to head RoPS level. With 12 minutes left, RoPS got a second and we were left looking at other results. For most of the game we had been the better side and created the better chances, but in front of goal, Al-Shaheen and Louhisto were just too shy (Damn ! How did that happen).

    So what of the other games. In a 7 goal thriller, JJK went down 4-3 at 10 man VIFK, while at relegated MiPJ, Lappalainen broke the deadlock with 12 minutes left to give Ilves the vital win and move above us.


    RoPS and Ilves both got promoted via the play-off system, Ilves as champions, so with 3 being relegated, 50% of the teams in the league will be changing for next season. Considering the objective was to avoid relegation, I can't be too disappointed and I think we are in good shape to push on next season. I certainly know the standard that will be required.



    International Update




    U.S.A.

    Perhaps the most important event was an e-mail from the Argentinian FA


    I did think long and hard, and with U.S.A. having problems scoring it was a very tempting offer, however I am going to see through 2 Confederations Cup cycles with U.S.A. before I consider moving to a bigger fish.

    As for U.S.A. The first round of World Cup qualifiers offered a great chance to test out new tactics. If we can't score against Haiti, Jamaica and St. Lucia then something is seriously wrong. I ditched the 4-5-1 V formation to go for a 4-1-3-1-1 against Haiti. The idea was to get the midfielders forward in support of Allen while keeping a holding defender to protect against counter attacks.

    https://i.postimg.cc/65ztWMhb/Easy-Capture6.png[/img]

    We did win 2-0 (Petersen, Holmes) but we created very little and I've immediately abandoned this as a solution. It was a friendly next, away to Mexico and almost in desperation, I set up in a 4-3-3.


    Mexico didn't know what hit them. 4-1, with goals from Petersen, Allen (2) and Brookes. This was looking promising. I kept the formation, the goals kept flowing and we cruised through the first stage of qualification.


    I'm not a fan of 4-3-3 as it does leave the defence rather exposed and we might get found out against the bigger sides. I am going to carry forward to the next stage of World Cup qualifying. It will be a big 12 months ahead, with World Cup qualifying (10 games) Potential Gold Cup (3-5 games) Confederations Cup (3-5 games) and probably 4 friendlies. I'll be earning my air miles with that lot.


    Spoiler!
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  10. #407

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    Defensive greats with ol' America. Can't complain bout that, but might be Schmidt wrong with you if faults are found when uNdefeated!

    Good to see you weren't a Kahja-lty of the league structure - otherwise you would be Finnish as manager.



    KUTGW!

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  12. #408

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    Remind me to not ask you to write the puns for me !
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  14. #409

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    Bit of a random move to Finland giving Haka's position in the table, just 16 games left in the league with 14 points and 8 places to make up looks nigh on impossible, and you don't even have the cup to fall back on, this won't be a quick job for sure.

    Having not managed in Finland before I imagine the standard for the level you're at to be conference/conference north so if that's the case Louhisto should score a few given the right sort of service, as well as the lack of options and talent in the existing squad you've a debt to contend with as well, so your options are restricted. That's how it proved attracting players but Al-Shaheen looks decent and will hopefully forge a strong partnership with Louhisto.

    With your form I'd have thought you'd have moved out the relegation places earlier, but other results saw that it took a bit longer, but them same results meant you were now not too far behind them top two spots. A slight stutter followed but you managed to nab that 2nd place on the penultimate game, but unfortunately it weren't to be as Ilves leap frogged you on the last day, still a hell of an effort though!

    Big decision to turn down Argentina but you wanted to do it the harder way and so the U.S.A it is, hopefully the 4-3-3 helps you make that next step with them.

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  16. #410

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    Chapter 75 - Star Spangled Banner




    KajHa

    There is a long break between the end of season (end of November) and start of the new one (End of April), with just a 6 week transfer window in February/March to overhaul the squad. My biggest concerns were in central defence and right wing, but in truth I needed players for every position, even if only to improve the backups. The problem was that I had no money to buy anyone, foreign players were not interested and players at clubs wouldn't commit to Bosman deals and no one wanted to lend us any players.

    From the freebies, I did manage to pick up a Guinee-Bisauan left winger, a Korean defender and a Rwandan right winger, along with 2 Finnish midfielders who did commit to Bosmans from other Finnish clubs. There was more success with selling, where I made a grand total of £40k in getting rid of 14, mainly the remains of the useless teenagers.


    Then the contracts started to expire and players who had previously rejected KajHa now found themselves without a club and were happy to sign up. I picked up a further 9, including 3 from Finnish Champions Lahti. They were a keeper, 3 fullbacks, a defender, 2 wingers and 2 strikers. It gave me a squad of 25 to start the season, plus 2 player coaches, 2 transfer listed and a keeper in the reserves. It wasn't a big squad, but 27 league games, plus playoffs it should be enough. I still wasn't happy with central defence, but it was better than it was.

    I was particularly pleased with signing of the diminutive José Brás André who reminds me of a footballing version of Ronnie Corbett.


    Which is as good a reason as any to tell the one about the man who was marooned on a desert island. One day a beautiful woman arrives in a wet suit. 'When did you last have a smoke?' she asks. 'Five years ago.' So she gets out a cigar and he smokes it. She unzips her wet suit a bit and says, 'When did you last have a drink?' He said, 'Five years ago.' So she gets out a bottle of Scotch and he has a drink. Then she unzips her wet suit a bit more and says, 'And when was the last time you played around?' He looks at her in amazement and says: 'You're not telling me you've got a set of golf clubs in there?'

    The early results for Kajha were far from spectacular. A scrappy 1-0 win in the cup thanks to a dodgy penalty against a non-league side, was followed by a 2-2 draw in the opening league game followed by an injury time goal for another 1-0 win in the league. And then we really got going.


    16 consecutive wins in the league took us clear and it was only a question of when our play-off place would be confirmed. That was done with 6 games of the regular season remaining as we proved ourselves to be a class above anyone else


    However the playoffs are another matter and previous form counts for nothing. That said, I was confident that over 2 legs, we could beat anyone. That proved the case as we won 3-0 away to Kultsu, then drew 3-3 at home in a pulsataing game where we went 2 down, led 3-2 and conceded again late on. PEPO had progressed from the other semi and again we were away first, taking a 2-1 lead back home. Dutch winger Jos Plet then gave us a 3rd minute lead in the second leg to give us some daylight, but an equaliser midway through the half again put the tie in the balance. It was settled by the young Rwandan who had just come on as a sub for Plet. His fresh legs sent him haring down the right wing and he cut inside before setting up his right foot for a shot from the edge of the box.


    There were so many superb performances. The wingers were all on fire and gave me selection headaches and the full backs Ari Korhoren and Riku Rantala loved bombing forward, but for me there were 2 standouts. Jusso Ahonen had been brought in as a backup, but once in the starting 11 was impossible to drop. He ended up with 29 goals from 28 starts, and 10 assists. Backing him up from midfield Riku Leppänen chipped in with 11 goals and 5 assists from 16(5) starts.




    Having broken into Finland, I'd like to stay here as the jobs are few and far between. There is nothing currently on the horizon.




    International Update




    U.S.A.

    Still committed to the 4-3-3 formation, the year started with comfortable, but unspectacular friendly wins over Costa Rica and Guatemala. And then the final stage of World Cup qualifying started. Matthew Holmes bagged a hat-trick in a 6-2 opening win in Canada. It was followed by 14 scored and none conceded in the next 4 to give us a very commanding lead, with 3 to qualify.


    There was a break in the summer for the Gold Cup and with the 4-3-3 now firing on all cylinders, we blew away the rest of CONCACAF. Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti and Curaçao were all defeated without us conceding. We faced Mexico in the semi final which was won by 3 goals in 5 minutes around the interval. That brought us up against Costa Rica.

    I have 4 brothers in the squad, all attackers. Justin Nugent (30), Brian (27), Andrew (20) and Steven (19). With Steven Allen injured, it was Brian, Steven and Justin that led the line. Justin was first to find the net, followed by Steven. We did everything to give Brian his goal and a unique hat-trick, but despite finding the net twice, both were disallowed and we had to settle for the 2-0 win. I had my 6th Gold Cup (Costa Rica, 3 with Mexico and 2 with U.S.A.), although this one doesn't get us anywhere.


    But the main event was always going to be the Confederations Cup. The 4-3-3 had done brilliantly well against CONCACAF nations, but this would be a much bigger test. How robust would the defence be and would the 3 strikers get the service to convert opportunities into goals. I have to say that I had my doubts.

    South Korea This was the must win game as they were probably the weakest team in the group. We had Steven Allen back and it was he who opened the scoring midway through the first half. We had taken control, so when left back Keiran Wagner let loose a howitzer from 30 yards out, the game was as good as over. Lee putted one back to give us a nervy last 5 minutes, but it would have been a travesty if we had not won. What was a worry was that the attackers had returned to missing a hatful of chances.

    Brazil The World Champions would give us a stern test and tell us a lot about this tactic. Before kickoff, I wasn't sure if Chile's draw with Brazil was a good or bad thing. It may mean that we had to match that result, but equally, we were sure to be in with a chance in the final game. It was looking ominous when Arnaldinho gave Brazil a deserved lead just before the half hour. For the next 10 minutes, we just had to hold firm and prevent a second. We came through that and then Mark Quinn found his game. The Midfielder controlled the ball on his chest then spotted Justin Nugent. Nugent took it first time and his volley beat the keeper to level the score. Minutes later it was Quinn again, who intercepted a cross field pass on the half way line and took it on himself to run through the defence and fire under the advancing keeper. It was a dramatic end to the first half.


    But Quinn was far from done. It was his through ball that released Justin Nugent who squared for Martinez to tap home number 3 from close in, and then he intercepted a goal kick and Justin Nugent was sent clear to make it 4-1.

    It was a fantastic performance having gone behind and if we can beat Brazil, we can beat anyone. It was also encouraging that we had been ruthless when we had the chance. We also had a free game against Chile as they only drew with South Korea, so we were guaranteed top spot before kick-off.

    Chile Doesn't sound the toughest, but they are South American champions. They needed a win as Brazil had beaten the Koreans, so we knew they would be up for it. Even so, we made 11 changes to rest players. In a very even game, Munõz gave Chile a first half lead, which Brian Nugent cancelled out before the change of ends. The next goal would decide it. There were chances at both ends, but when Allen came on as a sub and had a run at his marker, he went down. Were his feet clipped ? It would have been the faintest of touches, but it was enough for the referee to point to the spot. Central defender Nuno Bates stepped forward and blasted it straight down the centre before turning to the fans in delight. We held on for the win


    Serbia Winning the group had avoided the hosts, France, but instead it was the European Champions. This was a bruising encounter between 2 very good sides. Schmidt gave us the lead in the first half, only for my former At. Baleares striker (and Ballon d'Or nominated) Mladen Mihilovic to level on the hour. Brian Nugent put us back in front and right back David Howard finished them off with his first international goal.

    We were in the final, but at a cost. Danny Hume (DC) and Brian Nugent (F LC) were both carried off injured and out of the final. Captain Joe Hernandez (DC) and Nuno Bates (DC) both picked up bookings and a 1 game suspension. That would be 3 out of 8 defenders out and no recognised central defenders available for the final.

    France The hosts and favourites. They may not be champions of anywhere, but they are one hell of a side. I managed to piece together a defence using David Howard and David Jeffries as centre backs. They were both listed as D/DM RC, but neither had played in central defence for the national side. Up front, we had Steven Allen and Matthew Holmes, with Justin Nugent. Between them they had 47 international goals and all were scoring freely.

    First goal would be decisive, especially for us. I didn't fancy our chances of coming from behind against a team as savvy as France. We knew only one way …. attack ! France knew what was coming in the first 20, so started cautiously. We won a free kick which Anderson took. It was floated to Justin,Nugent who controlled it, but had no where to go, so he played in Quinn. Quinn hit the bye line and managed to get in a centre, which was met by Allen and we had a 7th minute lead.


    Now it was time for the makeshift defence to earn their crust. Howard and Jeffries did their best to hold out the blue hoards, and with the gloves, Alejandro Johnson was able to prove why he was number 1. It wasn't all one way as we were still very dangerous and with the 3 upfront, France couldn't commit too many forward. We were deep into the second half, with France building another attack. Dubois started his run too early and the offside flag went up. Quick as a flash, Walker played the freekick long upto Justin Nugent who was clear of the last defender. French hands went up for offside, but there was no flag and the ref let Nugent go on. The keeper advanced and Nugent put it low and to his right, with the ball going under the dive and we were 2-0 up with 14 minutes left.


    France threw everyone into attack, but we kept possession with short passes in midfield. We didn't give them a chance.

    The long hunt for the Confederations Cup is over


    That completes my full set of International honours, but it won't be the end of the international career. It is useful to keep it going to keep up the reputation, especially when playing diddy Finnish leagues. I'll be looking for one of the countries where I still need to get jobs. I doubt I'd get Italy or Spain, but Poland or Turkey might offer something. Also Scotland have failed to qualify for anything since Adam was in short trousers, so I'd like the chance to rectify that. World Cup qualifying will soon be completed, so there may be some jobs after that. Our own World Cup qualifying was completed with absolute ease. CONCACAF is pretty crap opposition for the likes of U.S.A. and Mexico.

    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  18. #411

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    That's a ridiculously long off season, plenty of time to scout for players so hopefully you can have all your deals lined up for that 6 week transfer window. Once again it looked difficult to bring in players, thankfully you have no work permit issues for the foreign players so the world was well and truly your oyster, and thanks to players being freed from their previous clubs you were able to forge a decent size squad.

    It took a few games to find your feet but once you did you absolutely smashed the league, finishing with an average of scoring more than 3 a game (3 and a third to be exact ). But the semi final and final is what matters in order for you to move on, and you made a great start in your semi before a slight scare in the second leg. A good away win in the first leg of the final was backed up by the same scoreline in the second leg to give you the title. Ahonen was a beast for you, wouldn't be surprised him joining you at your next Finnish club.

    The usual procession with the States, but the 14 goals with 0 conceded in them 4 games is pretty nice., and then you romped the Gold Cup once again and that's without Allen.

    The Confederations Cup then and after a close win over South Korea you had an unbelievable win over Brazil and that was with falling behind, with a result like that the tournament could be there for the taking. Chile looked another difficult game and so it proved as your second string squeezed out a 2-1 win and ensure you finished top of your group.

    Serbia overcome in the last four in another game you fell behind in before turning on the style to win 3-1 and face France in the final, injuries are never good though especially when it leaves you with no centre backs. 90 mins from the trophy then and it doesn't get much more difficult than the holders at home, let's hope you can spoil the party. You do just that with Allen giving you an early lead, the defence holds firm and then you bag a second on the break, and with time running out it's very squeaky bum time! You needn't worry though as you controlled the game and saw the tie out, the Confederations Cup was finally yours, bravo!

    Nice to have the full set of international honours now, but like you say International jobs can help boost/keep your rep when managing in the doldrums, winning something with Scotland (maybe clean sweep of Euros, WC and Confederations Cup could be an idea) should provide you with another challenge too.
    Last edited by AMC; 17-07-19 at 10:42 AM.

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  20. #412

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    I think you can guarantee that Ahonen will be on the shortlist for my next club, especially as he is only valued at £40k (That is the highest valued player in the squad !)
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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    AMC

  22. #413

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    Come on I still think Harry Redknapp and Big Sam have had more jobs than you so far!!!

    So how many seasons are you into the game now and how many do you think it may take?

  23. #414

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    I started in 2018 and it is now December 2073 so 54.5 years. I suspect that the progress will slow down as the job opportunities get fewer. I also need to get cracking on the Continental trophies at some point. If I get this done inside 200 years it will be a good effort.

    If you want a guy who has had lots of jobs check out Roy Hodgeson

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  25. #415

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    Congratulations on completing the full set of international trophies! Fantastic results against Brazil and France. The 4-3-3 has been my go to formation for a couple of years now as it rarely lets me down. An attacking midfielder making forward runs from the centre of the midfield trio always seems to produce high average ratings. The change of formation was what turned the tide for you, certainly much better than managing Argentina.

    As for your future international career, I don't think you need to worry too much about Poland and Turkey, as your world reputation is probably good enough to land any job there, or most of them, although a prolonged stay in Scandinavia could dent it. Landing the top jobs in Italy and Spain will be trickier and you'll need to choose your international jobs carefully to give yourself the best chance. Knowing you though, you'll probably try to win Serie A and La Liga with unfashionable clubs, so a top national side won't be essential. You can take it fairly easy from here on in and have some fun.

    Good to see you managing in Finland for the first time. It was easy enough in the end despite the initial grim situation. Don't blame you for wanting to stay in Scandinavia. If nothing's available in Finland, I'm sure there will be a few clubs promoted to the third tier in Sweden after the December update. It will probably mean building a team from scratch but you've got to do it at some point, six times. You surely don't want to leave it too late to make a start there.

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  27. #416

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    I don't think that Italy will be too bad. I've not done anything there so I should be able to start at the bottom and work up. Spain might be a bit more tricky as I have won the Segunda withe Grenada, so I'll need to jump straight from the 3rd tier to La Liga. The other advantage of managing a national side is that you can do some scouting in advance.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  28. #417

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    I started in 2018 and it is now December 2073 so 54.5 years. I suspect that the progress will slow down as the job opportunities get fewer. I also need to get cracking on the Continental trophies at some point. If I get this done inside 200 years it will be a good effort.

    If you want a guy who has had lots of jobs check out Roy Hodgeson
    Good old Roy!

    They will have to bring you to the touch line in a wheel chair soon, the worlds oldest manager!

  29. #418

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    Chapter 76 - The Alphabet Game




    KajHa

    I had hoped that I would find another job in Finland quite quickly. I was closely following SJK, PKKU and Pallohonka who all had managers in their mid 60's and I did think that one of them might retire. Sadly they all stayed on for at least another season. I did have a look at some jobs which came up in the lower leagues of Sweden, but none looked terribly appealing, so I stayed with KajHa.

    Transfers were kept to a minimum as I wasn't intending to stay for long and was not to bothered about winning anything. I got rid of the last transfer listed player when his contract expired, and sold a central defender and right back, while bringing in direct replacements. The central defence has been a problem ever since I arrived, so I hoped that this would tighten up the goals against column.

    Despite the lack of new faces, the Ykkönen champions more than held their own. Central defence was still a bomb-scare, otherwise it might have been even better, but the Finnish leagues are a very poor standard and it's hard to keep track when you are just playing a bunch of letters each week. Hardly any teams have a proper name.


    It reminds me of when Little Johnny's class were reviewing the alphabet.
    His teacher knows that he has an "advanced" vocabulary for his age, so she avoids calling on him. When the teacher asks for a word beginning with "A," Little Johnny raises his hand. The teacher anticipates he'll say, "ass" so she calls on Mary Lou, who says "apple."
    This continues because the teacher knows that Little Johnny knows a rude word for every letter of the alphabet. Then she gets to "R." She can't think of any rude words that begin with R, so she calls on Johnny.

    He exclaims, "R is for rats. Big f**king rats, with 12-inch c**ks!"

    From about 8 games in, I had been tracking 2 jobs. They kept going Slightly Insecure and then disappearing from the radar. It wasn't until match 20 that the chairman of one finally acted. I would leave KajHa in a good place to retain their Top League status and a chance to push on for Europe. Finland have 5 places up for grabs.


    Jusso Ahonen was again the star, netting 18 times in 17 starts and taking his total since joining KajHa to 47 in 45 ! He is number 1 name on my shopping list.





    HJK

    Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi (literally The Football Club of Helsinki), is a professional football club based in Helsinki, Finland. The club competes in the Finnish Veikkausliiga, of which they are the reigning champions. Founded in 1907, the club has spent most of its history in the top tier of Finnish football. The club's home ground is the 10,770-seat Telia 5G -areena, where they have played since 2000.

    Generally considered Finland's biggest club, HJK is the most successful Finnish club in terms of championship titles with 29. The club has also won 13 Finnish Cups and 5 Finnish League Cups. HJK is the only Finnish club that has participated in the UEFA Champions League group stage. In 1998, they beat Metz in the play-off round to clinch their place in the competition for the following season. HJK has also participated in the UEFA Europa League, in 2014–15, defeating Rapid Wien in the play-off round.


    In recent times, HJK and Lahti have dominated Finnish football. HJK have won a further 24 league titles, and 20 cups. They have been perennials in Europe, making the Second Group phase of the Champions League and last 16 of Europa League on one occasion.

    I would have been given a £850k transfer kitty, except that the window closed 4 days before my arrival. I would need to complete the season with the resources that I already had. Not that this was a huge problem as the squad was far better than the league status suggested. Joonas Lingman and Jonas Heinonen are a central defensive pair that should protect a rather dodgy keeper. For that role I'm going to go with Namibian Darryl Hussey rather than 36 year old Ville Järvelä, although there is not much between them.




    In addition to the 2 keepers, I have 2 other internationals, Jamaica's left back Damion Griffiths and striker Esa Salonen. It would be Salonen and frenchman Karim Gomes (inexplicably in the reserves) who would be targeted with firing us out of trouble. Spaniard Albert Pons and Ojala Santeri look a very solid midfield pairing and, other than the keepers, it is only on the wings where I have any problems. It should be more than enough to escape from the danger zone.

    And it didn't take long to do just that. 5 wins in the first 6 games, with 4 clean sheets, gave us a small cushion over those below us. From that point we could relax knowing that we would be a Veikkausliiga club again next season and, with that budget, mount a realistic title challenge.


    With next season in mind, I did sign up a few players in advance, including Jusso Ahonen (relegated to the KajHa reserves !). They were more than happy to do business at £100k. However the season was far from just league survival. Firstly there was Europa League. A single goal from Santeri Ojala in the home leg was enough to get past Novalja of Croatia. That led to last season's semi finalists Wisla Plock who we beat 2-0 away, then hung on for a 1-1 draw at home.


    Quite frankly we didn't really have the squad to compete so I sent out a team of transfer listed and youth players for both legs of the Rostov third round tie. We still scored first and were looking good at 2-2 before going down 5-2 in Russia. Drawing 0-0 at home was far from a disgrace, but the European adventure was over.

    Having got out of relegation trouble, the Suomen cup suddenly became a priority. HJK joined at the 5th round (last 32) and under the previous regime had beaten non-league Virkiä. I was in charge for the 6th round, a narrow 1-0 (Gomes) at 2nd tier OLS. We were in the quarter final and at that stage any cup becomes very interesting.

    PEPO away looked like a tough draw, but we put in probably the best performance of my HJK career. Ojala scored twice, Salonen and Lappalainen also found the net in a comprehensive 4-1 win. I was now resting players before cup ties and that may have made the difference as Salonen was firing on all cylinders as we took on Lahti for a place in the final. It was his 2 second half goals that won it and we were through to face Pallohonka in the final.


    The chance of a trophy in the first season was a real bonus and one that I was not going to throw away. Pallohonka are no world beaters, so with the first 11 fully rested, we were going for it with confidence. That said, Pallohonka were not going sit back and take a beating. An intercepted pass gave them a break and Lipponen punished our carelessness with a 6th minute lead. It lasted just 2 minutes. Ojala fed Salonen and the big striker pirouetted like a ballerina before sending in a volley that nearly burst the net. He was hurt in the process, so Lappalainen was introduced much earlier than I would have liked. Not to worry as minutes later a Pons cross was chested by Lappalainen into the path of the late arriving Tommi Andersson and my right winger was left with a simple finish.

    We had total control. Left winger Timo Särkä added 2 in a 5 minute burst, the first a volley from another Pons assist and the second a mazy run from the halfway line that wrapped up the cup.




    My stay at HJK was going to be much shorter than I had anticipated.




    International Update




    Sweden

    It all happened shortly after new year. Hugo Seger retired to leave a vacancy. I applied and to my delight got the job. I don't expect to win anything as the main purpose is to scout Swedish players and to be notified of any jobs in Sweden for when the time comes. That said, Sweden do have a useful side and they are the hosts for the World Cup which starts in the summer. With China, Norway and Senegal in the group I would hope to make some progress.

    Regarding the players, I have a fantastic strike force of Karl Ottosson and Lasse Berggren who have over 120 caps and 40 goals between them. I also have a good selection of full backs and decent players across the squad. There are 2 problems. Firstly the goalkeepers leave something to be desired, not a disaster, but could be better.


    The other is Anton Ring who is too good to leave out of the squad, but where does he fit in ?


    For the friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland I resorted to my favourite 4-4-2 with Ring on the right wing. I didn't learn much from the first game as we were reduced to 10 men after 13 minutes. Fortunately we were already 1-0 up and held on. The second was an efficient, but not outstanding performance which I used to ensure a few players committed their international futures to Sweden. For a long time it looked like ending 0-0, but late goals from substitute Kevin Olofsson and midfielder Daniel Svensson secured the win.

    Next stop the World Cup and huge home expectation and they were not disappointed in the group stage. A Berggren brace earned a 2-0 win over Norway. Another brace, from Simon Gustavsson ensured a second 2-0 win against China and we finished off with an exciting 4-1 win against Senegal. That game started with Lars Marklund scoring in the 4th minute and Senegal had barely restarted when captain Mathias Jägerbrink got involve in an off the ball incident and was shown a straight red card. Senegal then scored from the resultant free kick.


    A quick change to 4-4-1 and we seized control despite being a man short. Olafsson put us back in front, Shala scored from the spot and Hansen added a 4th late on. Topping the group did avoid Germany, but Uruguay are no push-overs. They even took the lead, although 5 minutes latter Berggren cancelled that out. A second half penalty from Ring ensured that we progressed to the quarter finals.


    We would need to play better against Netherlands in the quarter final. This was a tense affair with chances few and far between. Nether midfield was going to give an inch and the defences held their shape giving nothing away. It was decided by 1 moment of magic. A ball in to Dutch striker Bas Bosz looked to be well covered, but somehow he turned his defender and had room to shoot into the corner. The Dutch shut up shop and we had no way back.


    The Dutch went on to be third, with Germany beating Croatia in the final.

    Euro Qualifying has started predictably. We lost to Spain, but had comfortable wins over Israel, Faroe Islands and Belarus. We face Scotland at Hampden next, but already we look odds on for a play-off place

    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  31. #419

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    A bit of a wait for you to get your next job, but when you did you landed the biggest club in the country. With that in mind I thought you'd have more transfer funds than you did, although it didn't matter immediately as you just missed the end of the window so had to make do with what you had, but with their recent success it should be decent.

    Relegation averted and with the basis of a good squad a bit of fine tuning should see you challenge next season, and with Ahonen signed some goals as well. Europe was never a priority but a little run there before the youth went down to Rostov, but then the cup kicked off and had your full focus. You made it through to the final and then turned on the style to run out easy winners (after going a goal down ), and you were now looking to move on quicker than you expected.

    A new international job and with the pressure of not having to win a trophy you can use it for your own ends in increasing your knowledge of a potential move to take over a club side from the country in the future, nice to have the World Cup at home coming up though, hopefully you can have a run like the 1958 side did when they held it, and maybe go a step further. A great start with the win over Norway, and further wins over China and Senegal saw you qualify for the 2nd round with ease. Uruguay overcome in the last 16 to set up a quarter final with the Dutch were unfortunately you bowed out. Tough Euros qualifying group with Spain, and Scotland already breathing down your neck, the next game at Hampdump could be pivotal.

  32. #420

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    Much as I’d like them to do well, I doubt if Scotland will last the pace. It’s 30 years since they qualified for anything and there is always a cock-up somewhere. A loss to Malta or Azerbaijan come to mind.
    WC qualifying just finished and they were top going into the final round. They lost at home to Moldova, dropping to 3rd.

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  34. #421

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    Classic Scotland

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