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

  1. #426

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    Just as well you didn't get the Santa Claus job, as you would probably have got the sack. (If you're looking to hire a joke writer, I'm available!)

    Surprised the previous “Pikachu” gaffer waited until 68 to retire. In my experience, managers nearly always retire between the ages 62-64. Lots of 20s for Santahuhta are clearly enough to do the job, even if he is lacking in off the ball and finishing. You don't have to be Tsigalko to rip up the Finnish leagues. Clearly it took you “a while to get going” as you only won your first 22 games. Far too easy in the end and another country is “Finnished” off.

    Good stuff with Sweden so far. A very respectable showing at your own World Cup and on the brink of qualifying for the Euros ahead of Spain. Good old Scotland screwing up again, but will they play with freedom against you with the pressure now off them? I suppose you intend to manage in Sweden domestically too before long, probably your next stop.

    Not surprised you're ready for a break, you've more than earnt it! To get this far in under a year has been a phenomenal effort. Looking forward to seeing what else you've got in store for us, should be great as ever.

  2. #427

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    Chapter 77 - Who Needs Harry Potter




    PKKU

    The job scene was incredibly dull, so it was several weeks before I got a new job. There was 1 job in Sweden, but Eslöv were all but relegated out of the leagues. I was tempted by El Ejido and Ankaragücü, but in both cases I'd like to start Spain and Turkey at the bottom and work up, so that the reputation is maximised when I want to move country. I didn't even apply for Man City ! I was very glad that I did wait. It brought up a decent chance to chalk off another Brazilian State Championship.

    Just to finish off PKKU's records. They won their remaining games to finish the season on 97 points and 120 goals, both new records. Santahuhta's 31 goals was just 2 short of his own club record, but the 29 league goals is a new record for the club. That is now 238 league goals in total for the club, another record.




    Imperatriz

    Sociedade Imperatriz de Desportos is a Brazilian football club based in Imperatriz, Maranhão state. They competed in the Série B once, in the Série C five times and in the Copa do Brasil twice. The club was founded on January 4, 1962 as Sociedade Atlética Imperatriz.


    The club continued to play under the radar until 2036 when they were promoted to Serié C and have slowly worked up the league structure. They are now in their 7th consecutive Serié A season and have a best finish of 6th, although the last 2 have been a struggle. Dani Alves is a former manager. They also compete in the Campeonato Nordeste which they have won once and were 4th in the season just completed. Winning this title is my only focus.

    That said, I would like to improve the current league position if only to help with recruitment for the State Championship challenge.


    Before I go further, the name, Imperatriz, does sound like some sort of Harry Potter spell and so at this point, I was going to tell the one about the muggle who walks into the Hog’s Head Inn with a frog on his shoulder. The barman says, “That’s pretty cool, where’d you get it?”

    “London,” the frog croaks. “They’ve got millions of ‘em!”.

    But that is a bit silly, so I'll leave that one and instead I'll tell you about the day that Lupin decides to come clean with Harry. He sits down with him, takes a deep breath and declares “Harry, I'm a werewolf !” Harry jumps up in alarm shouting “WHAT ! ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS ?” Lupin sighs, hangs his head and mumbles “Ah yes. That too.”

    In the past, I can be accused of mass changes to bring in titles, but Toni Santahuhta has taught me not to judge a book by the cover so, for the remainder of the season, I went with the players that I already had. I did bring in a left back on loan, purely due to lack of numbers, but he never started and was only ever on the bench as a last resort.

    We survived in some comfort. In fact the mid table was so tight that we were only 5 points from the play-offs, which I hadn't noticed until after the final game.


    I now knew exactly what I wanted to mount a Campeonato Nordeste challenge. I was fine out wide, but I needed central defenders, forwards and a goalkeeper. The keeper was the most controvertial as I had the national teams stopper in Wellington, but I didn't rate him and thought I could do better


    In total 10 came in and 17 departed as I looked to trim the squad but add quality backups, rather than outright stars. The Campeonato Nordeste is highly competitive with 5 Serié A sides involved. ABC, Ceará, Confiança, Fortaleza and ourselves. In addition there are 5 Serié B sides and all will be looking for the 4 play-off places. Looking around, we may not have the best players, but I thought we had the best squad.

    And that is how it turned out. We got off to a good start, but once got players in their best positions, there was no stopping us. The defensive unit was particularly impressive.


    That only gets us to the playoffs and first we would face a Ceará side who we had beaten 2-0 in the opening league fixture. The job was done in the first, home, leg where 3 first half goals (Rodrigo (2), Farias) put us in a commanding position. We didn't add to that in the second half and the second leg was a 0-0 draw, but that was more than enough to see us through to the final without any drama.


    Fortaleza would be our opponents and again the first leg was at home. It was a near perfect start as we were gifted a 3rd minute own-goal, to which my Chinese striker Wei Zhao added a second midway through the first half. We failed to add to that and the visitors grabbed an important away goal 10 minutes from time.


    It got worse. 25 minutes into the second leg and Fortaleza were awarded a penalty which Silva Melo converted to put them ahead on away goals. We were much the better team, but it was just not happening and their keeper was having a great game. Then, in first half injury time, left back Muller played in my captain Renan and the midfielder thumped in his 3rd of the season. None would be more important as now they had to score twice. If the game was tied, we had the higher league position.

    Fortaleza never looked like getting back in the game. We dominated the possession and even added a late winner thanks to substitute right winger Giovani Souza who celebrated with the travelling Imperatriz supporters.




    Who needs Harry Potter when Imperatriz can make their own magic !

    It is hard to pick out a standout player. This was truly a team performance. Renan led by example, His midfield partner Novo Jr was top scorer with 9. The Jamaican former HJK left back Damion Griffiths tackled like a terrier and Breno Fariás probably the pick of the strikers. They could all celebrate a magnificent title, but without me as I was already on a plane and heading for Spain.




    Castellón

    Club Deportivo Castellón, S.A.D. is a Spanish football team based in Castellón de la Plana, in the Valencian Community. Founded in 20 July 1922, it currently plays in the Segunda División B, holding home games at Nou Estadi Castàlia, which has a capacity of 16,000. Former players include Vicente del Bosque and Gaizka Mendieta


    For a long time Castellón yo-yoed between Segunda B and non-league, however for the last 28 years they have maintained their league status. For the past 10 seasons they have been more often in Segunda than Segunda B, with a best placed 15th in the second tier. As I take over they have again been relegated to Segunda B.

    The relegation was the attraction, as it has to be an advantage to tackle Segunda B with a relegated side. However what I hadn't realised is that the squad is truly ancient with more than half over 30. The good news is that some transfers have been agreed, which, if they go through, will save me the trouble.




    International Update




    Sweden

    I knew it was going to happen. Scotland keeper David Miller played out of his skin to keep it at 0-0 for 75 minutes. Just as I was resigned to the draw, Lasse Bergeren finally beat him with a glancing near post header. Releif, but within 2 minutes, Scotland were level then found a winner 8 minutes from time.

    Despite being second in the group, we still qualified automatically for the Euro Championship finals.


    We have had 2 friendlies, an unlucky loss to Serbia where their keeper was man of the match, and a comfortable 2-0 win over Wales.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  4. #428

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    Glad you didn't go for the Man Shitty job and instead elected to stay in Brazil to bag another State Championship. First up the National Division though and that's a hell of a run you went on just missing out on the playoffs, especially with no overhaul of the squad like you usually do, but it also meant you knew what you needed ahead of the State Championship, and then the rebuilding started.

    That is indeed a tough State Championship with 5 Serie A sides (on 00/01 currently I'm in Brazil and I think there's only 3 including me in my State Championship), but you topped the league stage with ease not losing a game and only conceding 3 goals but it's winning the playoffs that count. Easy stuff in the semis but you had a bit of a scare in the final before coming good to land the Championship.

    Already on your travels then and off to Spain to the Segunda B, an aging squad though and this time I expect immediate changes to the playing squad.

    Scotland put paid to your chances of getting top spot, but qualification still easily ensured, let's see what the draw throws up for you.

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  6. #429

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    Chapter 78 - The Reign In Spain




    Castellón

    The Castellón, squad was too big and too old. There were 3 37 year olds and 16 more who were the wrong side of 30. That said, having just been playing in a higher league, there were a few gems and several who knew how to get out of this league. The debt of over £5m was never going to be cleared, but I was able to pay wages of £5k per week, which was more than double most teams budget. By using the loans and free agents I was able to bring in 8 who I suspected were way above the standard needed, allowing 15 to depart. If I had got it wrong, there would be plenty of chances to jump ship midseason as the leading contenders lose managers to clubs further up the Spanish foodchain.

    I also had to work out what my targets were for this league. The 80 clubs are split into 4 groups (Group 1-4) for a 38 match league program. The top 4 then progress to playoffs, 4 groups of 4 (Group A-D) where you will not meet any club from your regular season. The winners of these groups are all promoted, but there is no official champion awarded. The rules that I have set are that I have to win every one of the regular season groups, and get promoted to be able to tick it off. There are some pretty big clubs down here, including Atlético Madrid, Levante, Valencia and former club Granada.

    As predicted the squad was way too strong, with most opponents having skeleton squads with 6 or 7 senior players. The regular season ended unbeaten mainly thanks to a deadly duo of on-loan strikers






    The biggest challenge had been the 5 named subs and the 2 non-EU player restriction. Into the playoffs and we were now playing only the best teams. That showed as we were held to a draw by Xerex B in the opener, however we bounced back and came from behind to beat Balmaseda 4-2 on the final day and top the group







    Totana

    Club Olímpico de Totana is a Spanish football team from Totana, Murcia. It was founded in 1961. The team currently plays in the Tercera (3rd) División, the 4th tier of Spanish football. Their only honour is winning the Tercera in 2019/20.


    This will be their 18th season in Segunda B, but only 5 times have they avoided relegation, with a best finish of 9th. Newly promoted this season, I inherrit a skeleton squad of dubious ability and although I have £150k to spend, my maximum wage is just half that of Castellón. I would be trying the same formula, 2 strikers who know where the net is, a decent keeper and the rest journeymen.

    The summer window saw the arrival of 15 new faces plus 4 more on loan (including 2 from Castellón). 10 left leaving just 2 of the original squad. A further 3 arrived in January with 2 of the summer arrivals departing. The end result was not quite as emphatic as last season, but we still topped the group with something to spare.


    Again the play-offs started with a draw, at 4 times La Liga, 2 times Champions League and 2 times World Club champions Sabadell. Their fall from grace had been rapid. That setback was followed by 4 straight wins and we were promoted before kickoff of the final game.







    Barbadás

    Unión Deportiva Barbadás-Bentraces is a football team based in Barbadás in the autonomous community of Galicia. Founded in 1998, it plays in the Tercera División.


    Returning to Segunda B after a year out, Barbadás (Spanish translation “bearded”) have a better past record that Totana and can boast 6 seasons in the second tier and have won promotion from this level on 2 occasions. But would the formula work again ? We have no money to spend and an even lower maximum ware of just £1800 per week.

    This was the biggest turn over of players yet, with 21 new arrivals and 10 departures. We were pushed much closer, especially by Boiro and I almost jumped mid-season to our rivals. I was offered the job, but as they had lost both games since I applied, Bardadás now had a lead I though I could maintain and so it turned out.


    But there were still the playoffs and there we made a good start, before losing 2 in a row. Going into the final game we found ourselves a point behind Alcoyano who we hosted in a winner takes all game. It was over by half time as we raced to a 3-0 lead then cruised to full time with the final score 4-1.


    3 down, one to go. However none of the promoted sides were placed in Group 2. Over the summer, I did receive an offer that I couldn't refuse.


    Despite having nothing lined up, I refused it ! I wanted to finish Spain with La Liga so as to maximise my reputation. I had to wait until the end of the summer before getting my next job.




    Zaragoza

    Real Zaragoza, S.A.D. is a Spanish football team based in Zaragoza, in the autonomous community of Aragon. Founded on 18 March 1932 it currently plays in Segunda División, holding home games at La Romareda, which seats 34,596 spectators. The club has spent the majority of its history in La Liga, winning the Copa del Rey six times and the 1994–95 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, amongst other trophies.


    It took just 7 seasons to fall from La Liga to Segunda B. Prior to that, they won the Europa League twice and made a Champion's League final. Domestically they have claimed another Copa del Rey, but never the ultimate title of La Liga, where twice they were runners up.

    This will be my first “Z” job and only “Y” is now needed to complete the alphabet.

    I did still have some of the La Liga squad although they were getting on a bit. I had a 35 year old and 4 34 year olds in the 32 man squad, most of which were pretty useless. Typically, the transfer window shut 24 hours before my appointment, so I would need to play with what I had, at least until New Year. I did find 13 who I considered to be solid starters and fortunately they could form a 4-4-2. The rest of the 1st team squad would be players that I would rather were not there, but needs must. This made it both the hardest and the easiest of the 4 campaigns at this level. I had to juggle the squad and tactics to keep players fit and in position, but the gods were on my side all the way.

    For example, we were 2-1 down away to Eibar and reduced to 9 men with 10 minutes left. I had no recognised keeper or forward on the pitch. Somehow, Fernando Camacho fired in an equaliser, Eibar were reduced to 10 men and from the resulting freekick Daniel Prieto found the top corner for an unlikely winner.

    I was also lucky to have a 17 year old striker in the reserves. David Valero hit 11 goals in his 14 starts, but his contract expired in January and he refused to sign a new one, so he left for nothing.


    The transfer window opened and I could bring in some fresh faces. Despite selling 21 players for a combined £4.6m, I was not given any transfer funds. I had to make do with 10 free agents arriving on permanent deals, plus 3 on loan. The permanent deals included Dutch winger Jos Plet, who had been released by PKKU and the loans included José Luis Gonzaléz from Castellón (now La Liga). Both were signing for me for a 3rd time.

    We now had the best squad in the group, but the luck had gone. Despite a couple of defeats, there was more than enough to get us past the winning post.


    The playoffs were, for Zaragoza, an anti climax as we never looked like not winning. The final step of my journey through the darkest depths of Spanish football was completed with a game to spare




    As a final note, it is always good to finish the season with a new club record.


    It has to be said that I was very disappointed by the standard of the Segunda B. There are very few teams who are able to mount much of a challenge and it is way to easy to pick up free players who are more than capable of contesting.
    My overall record over the 4 seasons is

    P176 W150 D28 L8 F415 A123 GD +292

    I won't be in any hurry to rush back and I hope that La Liga provides a better contest.



    International Update



    Sweden

    With 4 years of Internationals to catch up on and quite a lot happening, we will get straight in to the European Championships, hosted by Croatia. On paper it looked to be a tough group, but Belgium failed to turn up and we, or at least the Swedish defence, breezed through to the knockout stage.


    Poland gave us a tough challenge and looked to have earned extra time by cancelling out Björklund's 2nd minute opener with an 80th minute equaliser. Just 1 minute from time, Kalle Lantto headed in the winner from a corner. With both fullbacks scoring, it was again the defence that ruled.

    Facing Germany in the semi final was a duanting prospect, but intruth it was an exceptionally dull game. Germany had 3 chances, but keeper Albin Bengtsson was the equal of all, earning a man of the match award for his performance. We had just one chance all game, which was buried by veteran striker Karl Ottosson in the 74th minute. We were in the final !


    Our luck ran out in the final where we met a Netherlands team that his top form. We showed our resiliance to come back from an early setback, but can have no complaints about the almost inevitable dutch winner. I was still delighted with the overall performance.

    On to the World Cup where the qualifying was completed with consummate ease. We won all 8 games to progress to the finals ahead of Poland, Finland, a very disappointing Belgium and Moldova. The defence conseded just 4 goals in the process.

    Onto the finals and a horrendous group with Argentina, Uruguay and U.S.A. Again utilising our rock solid defence, a win and 2 draws saw us progress, with Argentina missing out.


    Being runners up served up an encounter with Portugal, while Uruguay appeared to have an easier passage against Algeria. We just took it in our stride and played Portugal off the park. The problem was we couldn't score, until the 81st minute when Sandström finally broke the deadlock. Wilkström added a second right on the final whistle as we progressed to the quarter finals.

    Turkey could have been a worse draw, but the game could not have been much worse for the neutral. Most of the TV audience were asleep by the time Sandström ended the boredom.


    The semi final was a rematch against Germany and the game almost identical. Sweden may not be pretty to watch, but it is effective and again the defence held out allowing Wilkström to grab the only goal of a game Germany probably didn't deserve to lose. Like I care !

    Unlike the recent performances, the final was an absolute thriller. France were the strong favourites after knocking out Spain and Netherlands on course to the final. They also boasted 4 of the nominations for World Player of the Year. They were expected to come out attacking, get a lead, then sit back and counter. For them, the first 2 parts went to plan with Julien Autret slamming in a 20th minute opener. So far on script, except that 3 minutes later, Marcus Brolin was left unmarked to convert a cross from the right and level for us.


    Again France seized control and we were again defending in numbers. Mehdi Lejeane restored their lead, but not for long. We won a corner, Diaby in their goal made a complete hash of the cross, giving the ball to Fredrik Wilkström who spectacularly volleyed us back level.


    The lead had lasted 5 minutes this time. France tried to mount another challenge, but this time we held out to half time. Second half started with again France on the attack, but when Claeson intercepted a through ball we had possession. Typically the build up from us was ponderous and France had everyone back before the cross from Trinh came over from left back. Anton Renfors managed to collect it at the edge of the box, but was well marked. He twisted and turned and sudenly a gap opened and he had a momentary sight of goal. It was all he needed. We led 3-2 !


    That goal changed the entire match. From that point we were in total control and France never got another chance. At the other end, we were dominant and might have even got a 4th or 5th, but 3 turned out to be enough. Sweden were World Champions.



    The time was up for me to move on. Managing Sweden has become pretty dull and as we are hosts for the next Euros and holders for the next World Cup, there are only friendlies against the likes of Gibraltar and Zambia would teach me nothing. Unfortunately there were no inspiring international jobs available, until 6 months later when something caught my eye




    Burkina Faso

    A return to Africa 45 years after I left the job at Ghana (as everyone knows, one of Burkina Faso's neighbours !). The squad was as mediocre as I expected, but there were some decent central defenders and 2 good strikers, both called Pierre Ouattara. In total there were 4 Pierre Ouattara's in my first starting 11, with a full back and winger adding to the confusion.








    Initial friendly results were disappointing, but from no where we thrashed South Africa 5-0 and then earned a 2-2 draw with World Champions Sweden to give us some hope entering the African Nations Cup. With Ivory Coast and Cameroon in the group, it looked a tough challenge, but the Ivorian's turned out to be very poor and the progression was relatively easy.




    We were flying as the draw opened up. Mali and DR Congo proved to be light weight opponents, so without doing anything special, Burkina Faso found themselves in the final, facing a Cameroon team that we had drawn 2-2 in the group stage.


    This was a game of 2 halves. Cameroon dominated the first 45 minutes and deservedly led at half time. Second half we came out fighting and despite missing a hatful of chances, equalised in the 66th minute thanks to a header from right winger Mohamed Zoungrana. The match was heading to a probably deserved extra time. Except for a final twist.

    A free kick on the left was floated in and Kaboré won the header, but not cleanly. There was a mad scramble for the lose ball, which broke to Pierre Ouattara who was left with an empty net to aim at.






    That was all a bit too easy. I had been hoping for more of a challenge, so going forward with Burkino Faso we have only friendlies until World Cup qualifying. I'm going to use them to play only African based players, It should grow their reputation and get them a move to a bigger club therefore improving the player pool. Secondly I won't be using any of my standard tactics, but instead creating new, or refining inefficient ones, starting with finding a decent 4-3-3.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  8. #430
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Been a while since I dipped in here and I expected, because it had been so long, that you'd be further down the line but looking at the spreadsheet, although a little out of date, just under 60% done with all of England and Italy amongst others still to do.

    Good to see you still steamrollering clubs and countries though!

  9. #431

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Been a while since I dipped in here and I expected, because it had been so long, that you'd be further down the line but looking at the spreadsheet, although a little out of date, just under 60% done with all of England and Italy amongst others still to do.

    Good to see you still steamrollering clubs and countries though!
    Tracker updated. Thanks for reminding me
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  11. #432

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    A massive update with a fair few jobs too so I'll break it up into a couple of parts.

    To Spain first then and refreshing that aging squad at Castellon, thankfully the debt the club had didn't handicap you too much in terms of what you could offer in wages to new recruits. I'd have just said winning one group and one playoff would be enough but you're going for all four so best of luck with that! You absolutely crushed the league stage, 117 goals with just 22 conceded, and you thankfully carried that on to the playoff stage to top that as well to ensure progress into the Segunda.

    A move on to Totana then and at first I thought you got lucky getting another team in the playoff round till I realised you played another full season, thankfully with the same result and promotion to the Segunda. 2 out of 4 Groups done then so may as well get a third under your belt, and Barbadas were your next team but it's getting harder with less transfer funds and less wages, and again you topped the league stage although in a closer race this time. Nervy stuff in the playoffs losing back to back games and only 3 pts from your first 3 games before you turned on the style to win the rest and finish top for yet another promotion.

    It won't be 4 from 4 straight away though as no jobs came up, and you could even refuse an unrefusable offer before joining Zaragoza where I'll pick up the story next time.

  12. #433

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    More Spanish action then as you take over Zaragoza, and you do have the chance to complete the set of Segunda B group "titles", although not ideal timing with the transfer window just shut so you had to make do with what you inherited.

    Always nice to have Lady Luck shine on you, although the loss of Valero was a bugger. Plenty of money raised once the window did re-open, but none of which you could spend so a raft of free transfers signed instead to strengthen the squad. The luck may have deserted you but you still steamrolled the league, now all to do was the playoff group, and despite not many goals you cruised through with 14 points from a possible 18, that's some overall record in Segunda B too!

    A great run with Sweden to the Euros final, but that was one stage too far as the Dutch triumphed over you. Easy stuff qualifying for the WC, and then navigated yourself through a difficult group before once again reaching the final, and this time you made no mistake winning in a fantastic game. No surprise you moved on after the World Cup win, but I didn't expect you to rock up in Burkina Faso! Confusing stuff with all them Pierre Ouattara's, but they did the job as you reached a final for the third time in a row, and again you triumphed to lift the trophy.
    Last edited by AMC; 30-09-19 at 04:41 PM.

  13. #434

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    Chapter 79 - We All Live In A Yellow Submarine



    Zaragoza

    Getting a job in La Liga was not as easy as I had thought. Despite being ranked it the worlds top 100 managers and 8th in Spain, you still have to wait for a vacancy to be made available. That didn't happen before the end of the transfer window, so Zaragoza kicked off the season with a pathetic squad of just 16 players. It was only in the final 2 weeks, when it was clear that a new job was not imminent that I brought in 5 loans to enable me to field some sort of squad.

    The next problem is that it has to be the right job. Typically the first 2 to come up were with Valladolid and At. Baleares which are of absolutely no use to me, having been used to win the Copa del Rey and Supercopa. Finally, you have to get the job. Deportivo looked like a perfect fit, however they decided to give the job to the lower ranked Pablo Ruiz from Gavà. There were jobs outside of Spain that were worth considering, but I held on until 21st December when I was offered a job that I could actually accept.

    Despite the pathetic squad, it had been a lot of fun with Zaragoza and I left them in a pretty good place to push on with my replacement. That said, I did send home a couple of the loans as I had seen enough to be wanting them at my new club.





    Cádiz

    Cádiz Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. is a professional football club based in Cádiz, Andalusia, Spain. Founded in 1910, it plays in Segunda División, holding home games at Estadio Ramón de Carranza, with a 25,033-seat capacity.

    Cádiz first reached La Liga in 1977–78, after having spent two decades in the second division. Relegated after just one season, it returned in 1980, managing a further 13-year stay. During the late 1980s and early 1990s the club became known as "The Yellow Submarine", due to its capacity of "coming afloat" every year at the end of each season and remain in the top division, despite having been "sunk down" during most of the campaign.

    This could turn into the one about the day in the Atlantic when two subs surface next to each other. Out of one, an ancient Soviet rustbucket, emerges a rowdy crew that is clearly drunk. On the other, a sleek American sub, cleancut American crewmen stand at attention.

    The heavily-bearded Soviet captain begins screaming at his men: "WHO. THREW THEIR SHOE. AT THE CONTROL BOARD?" When no one answers, he begins kicking & punching. "WHO. THE HELL. THREW THEIR SHOE. AT THE CONTROL BOARD?!"

    The American captain holds up his hand & says, "You know, if we were in America..."

    "THERE IS NO MORE FUCKING AMERICA," the Soviet captain interrupts. "NOW WHO. THREW THEIR SHOE. AT THE GODDAMN CONTROL BOARD?!!"

    But I'll stop that story there and in the following two seasons, Cádiz suffered back to back relegations. After a long spell in Segunda División B the club was finally promoted in 2003, spectacularly returning to the top level in 2005, after taking the championship with a last-day victory at neighbours Xerez CD. They didn't survive in the top flight and have since yo-yoed between the second and third tiers

    Salvadoran legend Mágico González played for the club during the 1980s/1990s, and is widely recognized as the greatest player to have ever played for the team.


    The yo-yoing continued until 2032/33 when they made it to La Liga. A couple of relegations and promotions led to a 14 year stay in the top flight, including a 3rd place finish. After a further 10 years in Segunda, they were again promoted and are now enjoying their 20th consecutive season in La Liga. After being runners up twice, they finally were crowned champions in the 2072/72 season.

    Cádiz have never made it beyond the semi final of the Copa del Rey, 2nd group phase of Champions League or last 16 of Europa League. Virgil van Dijk is a former manager.

    There is no surprise to find the club in a precarious position, however a second inspection shows a very tight mid table with plenty of games to play and therefore my target will be European qualification. To achieve that I have a transfer kitty of £57m and a current maximum wage of £70k per week.


    The squad was massive with a full roster of 50 players. Far too many of them were teenagers who had come through the academy and were never going to make it in La Liga. Of the rest, there was a reasonable first 11, with very good wingers and a Czech striker who looked to be a match winner


    As well as the number of kids, the second obvious problem is the backroom. I have 1 scout. Period. He's not a bad scout, but I will be wanting to recruit a full team. Without any physios, we also have a backlog of injuries, with 6 potential first team players currently out.

    Day 1 and the squad was halved with 26 teenagers released. It may be brutal, but they were never going to make the 1st team and most would be out of contract in the summer anyway. 9 more were made available for transfer and 3 of them left in January, generating a further £22.8m
    That left a lot of places to fill and the recruitment drive starte with 11 new faces in January, including Martin Kerr, a Scottish winger that I signed for Barbadas, Rúben Díez, a winger who had been on loan at Zaragoza, Aitor Gaspar, another winger who was previously at Castellón and a superb French keeper who has been on my list of targets for about 6 years.


    I also recruited a 3rd choice keeper on loan. With them on board and the injured players returning to fitness, we started moving up the league and it became almost certain that we would be in Europe next year. That was confirmed via the Copa del Rey where I picked up the reigns in the last 32. Wins over Alavés, Las Palmas and Oviedo put us in a semi final against Rayo where a David Kolar strike in the 4th minute of the first leg proved to be the only goal of the tie. Facing Barcelona in the final, we were already qualified for Europe as they were confirmed in the top 3 and therefore Champions League.

    But we had no plans to lie down and hand Barcellona a potential domestic double, although for the first hour you might be forgiven for thinking that was the plan. Fortunately their front 3 were having an off day, so Arnáiz early strike for Barca was all that separated the sides and we were still in with a shout. 58 minutes and we had our first sight of goal, a free kick about 20 yards out. Right winger Pablo Bautista lined it up and curled a shot into the top corner, so against the run of play we were level.


    That rattled Barca and 8 minutes after we scored, Castillo tried to be clever a cushion a headed back to the keeper. Joan Hidalgo nipped in, beat the keeper and put us ahead. The crowd went mental !


    We knew what was coming, but the defence was looking solid. Barcelona threw everything they had at us, but time was running out. Another save from Keita and I urged him to hold the ball and waste time, however he made a quick throw and 2 passes later, Kolar was free on the keeper. He shot early, but it was saved only to fall perfectly for Edu Pérez to tap in the rebound and score his first goal for Cádiz.

    The game was over, so Giorgetti's injury time goal was never going to turn it in Barca's favour. We returned to Cádiz, with our first ever Copa del Rey, to a traditional reception.


    That left us with 3 games to turn Europa League to Champions League. We beat Alavés 4-1 … up to 3rd. Away to Betis and 2 David Kolar goals were not enough and we went down 3-2 …. still 3rd. Finally a crazy game to end the season with a revenge fixture against the now Champions at the Nou Camp.

    Kolar put us ahead, but 2 goals for them made it 2-1 to Barca at half time. Kolar's second and another Bautista free kick put us 3-2 up with 10 minutes to play. Back came the hosts and 2 golas for them made it 4-3 as we entered injury time. Hidalgo headed in to make it 4-4 and just as we though we had earned the draw, there was a sting in the tail … Barcelona completing a 5-4 win to put us down to 4th. We would have to wait until the summer to find out if Real Avilés Europa League win would give Spain an extra Champion's League place.


    Star of the show was David Kolar who scored 31 goals in 43 starts (27 in 30 since I took over). 26 of them were in the league, which won him the Pichichi trophy for the leading scorer.

    There is still work to be done to mount a title challenge. Over my time, we still lost ground to Barcellona (started 18 behind ended 19 behind) and we lost both league games against them. I need to find a consistent partner for Kolar and the defence could be improved, particularly in the middle. While David Lozano on the left wing has been terrific, he has been mouthing off and upsetting other players. Reluctantly I think he needs to go. Also I will need a few more players if we are to qualify for the Champions League.

    So, a busy summer awaits.



    International Update



    Burkina Faso

    Following the African Nations success, there were 3 friendlies to refine a 4-3-3 and give the African based players a chance before the World Cup qualifiers started. It was an inauspicious start being held 1-1 by Mali, however a tweak to the player positions and instructions improved that to a 5-2 win over Zambia and a further tweak made that 4-0 at home to Honduras.

    I decided to stay with players and formation for the World Cup qualifiers first round and was rewarded by a 9-1 aggregate (6-0 and 3-1) win against Liberia. Another change to the defence and it was 4-0 against South Africa in another friendly. Time to bring back the big guns for the next phase of qualifiers.

    When we beat Niger 3-0 it was looking good, however Cape Verde put up a superb defensive display and grabbed a late goal to hand us a first loss since adopting the 4-3-3. We recovered to face Senegal in what was now a huge game and beat them 3-0. We were back in control of the group.


    But I had to push the tactic further. A couple of more changes led to a 2-2 draw with Gabon, 4-0 win against Equatorial Guinea and 1-1 draw with Tunisia, all in friendlies. I had lost the sweet spot and couldn't remember what I had changed. We were still good enough to beat Tanzania and Cape Verde in qualifiers, but only drew with Niger which allowed Senegal to move back to the top of the group.


    I will need to find that sweet spot again as the African Nations are up next. It is a tough group with Cape Verde, Ivory Coast and Tunisia. That is followed be the completion of the World Cup qualifiers.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  15. #435

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    And that, I think, is the end.

    I did win La Liga with Cádiz, but only after a ridiculous capitulation from Barcellona. They were at one stage 10 points clear, but eventually finished 4th ! I had even turned my focus to the Europa League, which we should have won were it not for a double supper keeper by Juventus in the semi final.

    I then got a job with a crappy team in Croatia (Mladost Zdralovi) to clear up another nation, however after the summer data update I got a comp_stats..CPP 6033 error after saving and restarting. I've gone back to my save from the start of last season and holidayed forward only to hit the same problem.

    I'll try a few things, but I think this is the end
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  16. #436

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    Nooooooooooooooo.

    Worth asking Saturn if he can do anything with it?

  17. #437

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    Looks like we are back from the dead !

    I noticed that I had accidentally saved as uncompressed, so I went back to the last good save (compressed) from just before the data update, went through the update then saved compressed. All is good. I repeated, but saved uncompressed and again the same comp_stats..CCP 6033 error. It looks as if this is related to the size of the save game. For reference, the uncompressed save that doesn't load is 2,115,557 KB. I am currently 1,416,175 uncompressed, so I suspect I'm going to hit this later even when compressed.

    For now, I'll write up last season proper (sorry about the plot alert) and carry on. Now that I know what the problem is, I will ask if Saturn can help.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  19. #438

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    Awesome stuff!

  20. #439
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Nice.

    Should take a few seasons to get from 1.4m KB to 2.2m.

    Possibly not enough to get to the end of the challenge though.

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    Chapter 80 - Cádizzy Heights



    Cádiz

    Having played half a season with Cádiz I had the advantage of knowing exactly where we needed to improve. Defence and attack being the priorities if we were to catch Barcelona. I also had, for me, the luxury of being able to get the best of the Bosman deals. While money was not a big issue, £68m available to spend, I was only looking for world class players and they don't come cheep, so any free agents would go along way.

    Of the 13 players who arrived, 3 of them were free agents. Ivan Ivanovic who is a Montenegrin international defensive midfielder and Elnur Abdullayev an Azeri striker, who's deal I forgot to cancel when I landed the third and most exciting. That final bosman being an Egyptian forward who had scored 76 goals in 100 games for his previous club. I'd settle for that strike rate.


    The other 10 players that arrived cost a combined £22m and almost half of that was invested in a 19 year old central defender who we stole from rivals Real Madrid. He maybe young, but Super Mario will be a mainstay of the defence.


    Which reminds me …. President Trump decided to play Mario Kart with his cabinet. He thought that this would be be a good bonding exercise with his staff so he bought a Wii and ordered his whole office to come into the oval office

    Once everyone arrived there was a huge argument on who would play as what character, because everyone wanted to be Mario. Trump decided that this could be a nice opportunity to get the Democrats in the senate to work with him so he left the decision into their hands.

    Three months, 4 senate hearings and one filibuster later the senate had their answers and Trumps cabinet returned to the oval office and took their controllers and saw who they were going to be

    "Sweet" said vice president Mike Pence, "I'm Mario"
    "This is awesome, I'm Bowser" exclaimed secretary of state Rex Tillerson

    But Trump just groaned

    "What's wrong Mr. President?" Pence asked

    "These Goddamn Democrats are spreading their liberal propaganda" Trump moaned

    "What do you mean sir?"

    "I'm Peach"

    But I digress. Of the rest of the new recruits, we have a much needed new second choice keeper, 4 more defenders, including 21 year old Englishman Mark Wilson who is stepping up from former club Barbadas, 2 midfielders and a Brazilian forward who has been nicknamed Ronaldo.

    The final deal saw my second choice leftback leave for Ajax in an exchange deal for a Spanish international left winger. This allowed me to sell the mouthy David Lozano to Man City, bringing in £9.5m. We were robbed. When I set up the deal, everything was fine, however Miguel Ángel Expósito arrived unfit and further deteriorated. Despite being just 31 when he signed, he had lost 6 from his stamina (other fitness attributes also went down). That made him a liability and left us short on numbers in wide areas.

    This exposure on the wings was magnified by our entry into the Champions League where we saw off former club Xanthi 4-3 on aggregate to make it to the group stage. Brann, SC Freiburg and Wolves looked simple enough on paper, however we made a bit of a mess of it, winning just twice, the games against Brann. We would need to settle for Europa League going forward.


    La Liga was the main target and similarly we were not quite there. Mohamed Walid and Ronaldo were seriously under-performing, which left a lot of work for David Kolar and Abdullayev to make up for. Even Kolar was not the striker he had been and as a result, a defeat at Nou Camp left us 8 points behind our main rivals. There was just a chink of light when Barcelona finally lost to Deportivo in their penultimate league game of the year, which left us just 2 points adrift, but Barca have a game in hand.


    I had pretty much given up on La Liga and had started to look at recruiting for next year, while taking the Europa League more seriously, especially after beating ADO Den Haag to set up a last 16 tie with Midtjylland.

    The January window provided a chance to sort out the left wing problem, the position being given to Surinam's Xander Haarmans who arrived from Gronningen in a £2m deal. We also brought in another Brazilian, midfielder Vanderlei arriving on a free after playing 148 games for Botofogo. The useless Expósito even found a new home with Atalanta.

    It may have only been 2 changes, 3 if you include a change to play Kolar on the right and Abdullayev on the left of the front line, but the effect was dramatic as we started winning games comfortably. What we had not expected was a total capitulation from Barcelona. In January, they picked up just 3 points from 4 league games, while we collected a maximum 12. Suddenly there was a 10 point chasm in our favour. The main challengers were now Deportivo and Valladolid and their pressure meant that I continued to take the Europa League seriously.

    A single goal in the second leg was the only difference between us and Midtjylland and we couldn't have asked for a better draw than Olympia Wijgmaal in the quarter final. We demolished them 4-0 in the first leg, so despite going down 1-0 in Belgium, it was job done. We had a semi final against Juventus. First leg was away and when Kolar and Abdullayev blasted us into an early 2 goal lead, it was all to easy, however despite being the better team throughout, we somehow let them score twice. Still, 2 away goals put the pressure on the Italians. The home tie started perfectly. Inside 10 minutes and they were reduced to 10 men when their central defender tripped David Kolar. We seized control and Alex Carrillo scored 12 minutes later. A man up and a goal up you shouldn't lose from there, but we did. The 10 men of Juventus found an equaliser and then Carrillo himself was sent off. From the resulting free kick, Juventus went 2-1 up on the night then parked the bus. We couldn't unlock the defence and our challenge was over.


    Fortunately we still had control of the league. We drew with Barca and Valladolid and beat Deportivo. Barcelona continued to drop points, so when David Kolar scored both goals in a 2-1 win at Albacete (Álex Negredo was sent off for us) the La Liga trophy was handed over with still 2 games to spare.


    It took 10 days to find a new job and I left 2 days before the Copa del Rey final clash with Barcelona. The final table looking thus.


    Having failed to beat Barcelona in any of my 4 La Liga encounters over 2 seasons, I'm not entirely sure that I deserve it, however I guess that you have to be there to pick up the pieces from their crash and the league table doesn't say how you did it.

    All of the plaudits went to David Kolar who scored 21 from 40 starts. It was not quite upto last seasons standards, but still won him a nomination for Ballon d'Or, which of course I voted for. I think this is the first time in my entire time playing CM01-02 that I have even had a team member nominated for the Ballon d'Or. Abdullayev bagged 19 from 44 and Walid a disappointing 10 from 26.

    For me, the star player was midfielder Álex Carrillo, one that I inherited when I took over. Despite his misdemeanors in the Europa League semi final, the midfielder bossed most of the games and was always a goal threat. He started 48 games, scored 19 and created 6 assists. He maybe 31, but I'll be keeping an eye on him.


    But it was time to move on and after rejecting an offer from Ireland and a basket case from Croatia, I accepted the third offer, again from Croatia. It would be the chance to tick off another in a country I had left half done.




    Mladost Zdralovi

    Not much is known other than NK Mladost Ždralovi is a Croatian football club based in the village of Ždralovi near city of Bjelovar. They currently play in Treća HNL – East, the third tier of Croatian football.

    3 times relegated out of 2.HNL South, they have also won the league 6 times, spending a total of 20 seasons in the top flight. Their best season was a 6th place finish and they were last in that league 7 years ago. This season they ended up in mid-table


    The 32 man squad doesn't look too bad, by 2.HNL standards however with a small debt on the books, I don't see much chance of any transfer funds. 3 players, including last season's leading scorer, have agreed Bosman deals else where.



    International Update



    Burkina Faso

    The African Nations was the first mission and we had no issues in beating Cape Verde (3-1), Tunisia (2-1) and Ivory Coast (3-2) to top the group. We were still playing the 4-3-3 that I had been working on.


    From there we were given a scare by Ghana, It was a totally one sided game where we just couldn't find a second goal to go with Pierre Ouatara's early opener. Then with 4 minutes left, Ghana scored, taking it to extra time and penalties. Fortunately we held our nerve and it was Pierre Ouatara again who score the decisive spot kick to win the tie 4-3.


    Despite the tired legs and playing for 70 minutes with 10 men after Wilfrid Rouamba was sent off, Cameroon couldn't mount any challenge and we won the semi final with ease, 3-0.

    All that remained was Senegal. They proved a hurdle too far especially when we gave them a 2 goal lead. We did score 2 of our own, but that was not enough as Senegal took the title with a 3-2 win.


    10 days later and we faced the same opponents in a crucial World Cup qualifier. It was a game we had to win as we went into it a point behind with just one game remaining after this. We had Wilfrid Rouamba back and our midfield maestro pulled the strings to give us a 3-1 win. All that remained was to beat 10 man Tanzania 2-0 and we were heading for the finals in Russia.


    In the finals we will face Laos, Serbia and Sweden.

    However the games are coming up thick and fast. There was scarcely time to breath before the Confederations Cup started. If we were to have any chance, we simply had to beat Palestine in the opening game. That was achieved with a simple 3-1 win, however we followed that up by going down 2-1 to Argentina and then 4-3 (after leading 3-1, the winner coming in injury time) to Mexico.

    Strangely, Mexico had managed to lose 2-0 to Palestine, so despite gaining just 3 points, it was enough to progress to the semi finals. Italy were always going to be a tough nut to crack, especially when we gave them an early goal and then had Pierre Ouatara sent off. Italy ran out easy 3-0 victors. We had a rematch against Argentina for 3rd place and they were in no mood to take their foot off the gas. Argentina made light work of securing 3rd place with a 3-0 win, our 4th defeat in a row. Who would have thought that a 3-1 win against Palestine would be enough to earn a semi-final !

    That gives us 9 months to the World Cup where we have only friendlies to play. That means back to Africans only (although I have no African based goalkeepers, so I will select those with the fewest caps) and I am going to change the formation to be a 4-5-1 “V” formation. The left is what I want it to look like and the right is what I currently have


    I know it is only aesthetics, but if anyone knows how to turn those back-arrows into forward-arrows, any help would be gratefully received.

    So far the results have been excellent, beating Mali 5-0, Egypt (and Mo Walid) 2-1 and Zambia 3-1.

    Fingers crossed for the world Cup.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  23. #441
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Unlucky in that AFCON final. Looked a close game.

    Decent attempt in the Confederations Cup as well. Did Africa proud.

    No idea on the arrows. You can't have forward arrows on the front line can you. Back, side or none I think.

  24. #442

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    Staying in Spain after taking Zaragoza to glory, I thought you were destined for Villareal when you mentioned the "Yellow Submarine" as I'm sure that's their nickname as well but it's Cadiz you go to next instead, with about half the season to go.

    You take over with them in the relegation zone, but a tight league and with 24 games left of the season who knows what my happen if things really click for you, especially with a beast of a striker like Kolar you inherited, although the backroom staff will certainly need to be beefed up considerably. The kids released then and some further spending money from sales allowed you to strengthen the squad for the campaign ahead including a solid keeper which is always a plus.

    A great run in the cup saw you reach the final to take on Barcelona and despite finding yourselves 1-0 down you rebounded to win the game and lift the trophy in great style. A hell of a race for a top 3 place too, with that dramatic last game against Barcelona where unfortunately you eventually went down 5-4 as the Catalans got revenge from the cup final. No surprise Kolar got the goals I knew he was capable of, no plans to just play him as a lone striker if you can't find the right partner for him?

    The African based players have done the business for you with Burkina Faso but unfortunately Senegal have the advantage over you currently so still some work to do there. A tough Confederations Cup group, but despite only winning one game it was enough to see you into the last 4, but more losses to Italy and Argentina saw you finish 4th, like you say crazy that win over Palestine was enough to get that far anyway. The new tactic certainly looks to have given you a boost too, and I see from the tactic thread you've managed to sort your issue so good stuff there
    Last edited by AMC; 17-10-19 at 04:31 PM.

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  26. #443

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    Chapter 81 - Dancing in the streets of Mladost




    Mladost Ždralovi

    Had I looked earlier, I might have found out the Mladost, in Croatian, means “Youth” and I might have set myself some sort of under 21 challenge, however I didn't, but I will use it as an excuse for a Little Johnny joke.

    Little Johnny and Silly Billy were engaging in the time-honored tradition of a verbal battle like little boys all over the world. "My Father is better than your Father!" Billy declared.

    "No, he's not!" Johnny responded.

    "My brother is better than you brother!" Billy said.

    "He is not! He is not!" yelled Little Johnny.

    "My Mother is better than your Mother!" Billy continued.

    A long pause ensued, then Little Johnny said, "Well, I guess ya got me there. I've heard my father say the same thing more than once."

    Having not spotted the U21 possibility, instead I offered a trial to anyone who was prepared to come. That led to 7 players being offered a contract. At the same time, 16 players were allowed to leave and that brought in a whopping £50k. Not much, but it did briefly clear the debt and I had £9k to spend. I knew it wouldn't be there for long, so I blew almost all of it on a right back. The final addition was a South Korean striker who had been on my targets since I was with Zaragoza.

    Looking at the squad I had 2 good players for every position, plus a few more who could come in for an emergency. For a 30 game league season, that should be more than enough. Before the kick-off, I had a look to see who would be my match winners and I was very happy with both strikers, plus a right winger who could hit a world class free kick. I had very few doubts that we would be in the final reckoning.






    Ouda had played most of his football with Dinamo Zagreb and had gained Croatian nationality. The biggest problem that I faced was finding backroom staff as virtually nobody, not even unemployed Croatians, were interested in moving to Mladost Ždralovi.

    As the season kicked off, it looked very much as if our 3-0 opening day win against Cibalia would be a crucial one. Following that, they won 10 in a row and it was Cibalia who topped the table after 11 games played. It looked like being a great contest, however their challenge fizzled out so 6 games later, going into the winter break, we had built up a 13 point lead


    We had also beaten our rivals, Cibalia, in the Hrvatski Kup in a run that took us to the quarter final where we out played 10 man Dubrovnik from 1. HNL but fell to a sucker punch 5 minutes from time. Not that I was worried as the league was the priority.

    January saw the arrival of 2 Brazilians. Fábio, a central defender and Mateus a midfielder, both of whom added further to our advantage over everyone else. We even saw a chance to give our Samoan player/coach a 10 minute run out, probably his limit, before he retired from playing 2 days later.


    It wasn't long before we wrapped up the league, with still 7 games to play and within 10 days, I had a new job. Despite offers from elsewhere, I would be staying in Croatia to complete the full set.




    Park would have broken all scoring records had he not picked up a bad injury in February. He had to make do with 22 goals from his 18 starts. Ouda got 17 from 26. Ivankovic's 7 goals and 8 assists was a slight disappointment. Midfielder Ivan Ilic outshone him with 9 goals and 10 assists from just 16 starts.



    Krk

    Like Mladost Ždralovi not much is known about NK Krk, a Croatian association football club founded in 1940 and based in the town of Krk on the island of Krk. As of the 2009–10 season they compete in the Croatian Third Division.


    With the exception of one season in the top flight, and 5 times when they were relegated, Krk have played the remainder (33 seasons) in the second tier. They have never got beyond the Quarter final of the Hrvatski Kup. It is fair to say that I pick up the reigns in a bit of trouble, and they certainly won't be winning the league this season.


    That said, the problem was pretty obvious. My predecessor, Ivan Bobin, had brought in 12 loan players, most of them not as good as the permanent players who were languishing in the reserves. There were also 2 out on loan who I wanted back. Bobin deserved the sack.

    I couldn't improve the squad by bringing anyone in, but I could improve it by sending home 9 of the loanees and bringing back the 2 who were out on loan. It left me with a tight 1st team squad of 21,with reasonable players in every position, with the exception of the keeper (Anic is the best of the 4)


    The transformation was extraordinary, starting with a 5-0 demolition of Split, we completed the season with 6 straight wins, scoring 20 and conceding none ! The front pair of Barac and Jovacevic were on fire and this bodes well for next season.


    I had been expecting a major overhaul over the summer, but these guys deserved the chance to show what they could do. As the club was £250k in debt, that was a bonus. Clearly I still needed a better keeper than Anic and a backup for the strikers, however the new players were kept to a minimum and only 6 arrived for preseason training. Going out was different, with 17 players leaving bringing in £120k and an excellent left back on an exchange deal. On paper, it wasn't as good a squad as Mladost Ždralovi, but the game isn't played on paper.

    The comparison to my former club is a fair one as the season panned out in very similar fashion. Initially we trailed Crikvenica, who started the season with 10 consecutive wins, but they fell off the rails with just 1 point from their next 4. That left us with a 7 point lead and from there we steadily built the gap.


    Like Mladost, Krk got to the Hrvatsi Kup quarter final where we fell to 1. HNL opposition (it would have been nice to get them to their first ever semi final) and the title was wrapped up early, this time with 6 games still to play.


    Stjepan Barac did most of the damage, with 18 goals from his 23 starts. The other strikers, Hrovje Jovecevic and Ivan Vukovic also made double figures, but for me the star was that Left back I got in an exchange deal. Toni Mioc averaged 7.70, scored 2 and created 9 assists.




    Wrapping up the title early (March) left time to find another job that could be a quick win. I didn't get the Ituano job that might have landed another Brazilian state title, but I got the next one and it is a team that are still in a cup that I've not yet one. If I do it, it will be my 100th title.



    International Update



    Burkina Faso

    My first World Cup with Burkino Faso and I had all of my overseas players available. I had also called in a consultant tactical guru to help refine the 4-1-2-2-1 (4-5-1 V) formation which was named scemoka in honour of the guru who had assisted.


    I didn't have high expectations, but losing to Laos in the opener would have been a disaster. That did look on the cards when Daouda Rouamba was sent off after 22 minutes for allegedly leading with his elbow. Within seconds, we won a corner which Wilfried Ouattara headed home for the opener. Pierre Ouattara added a second, but that was it in terms of scoring. Bigger games would follow.


    Serbia were the next hurdle. This was one where the defence was to shine. We restricted the group favourites to very few openings and I was very happy to come away with the 0-0 draw, that gave us a slight advantage over Sweden in the decider.

    The world champions are not the side they were 4 years ago and we had even held them to a draw in a friendly. That said, I was still surprised by the first half which is possibly the best 45 minutes of football that Burkina Faso have ever played. Wilfied and Pierre Ouattara scored the goals, but there were so many other chances, Sweden were struggling to get any possession. They were luck that 2 other times we found the net were chalked off for marginal offside decisions. A third always looked likely and it was Backary Ouattara who claimed it. The only blot being a late red card for Jean-Michael Kaboré 20 minutes after he had come on as a sub.


    Sadly that was not enough to top the group, so while Serbia would face Israel, our prize was a game with Brazil !

    Nobody gave us a hope in hell. Brazil ranked 4th, Burkina Faso 44th. It was a mismatch. However, like the Serbia game, the defence dug in and repelled everything that our illustrious opponents threw at us. We totally deserved the 30 minutes of extra time, however 2 minutes before the final whistle, Alan Silva de Oliviera denied us the chance with a winning strike for Brazil.


    We could go home with heads held high and prepare for 18 months of friendlies. I used them to refine the tactic and to blood African based players. Results were mixed wins over Egypt (2), Gabon and Equatorial Guinea draws with Zambia and Mali and defeats by South Africa(2), Equatorial Guinea and Mali.

    However I had had enough. The Burkina Faso squad was not developing, so it was the same players each season and the opponents were in the main nothing to get excited about. I had taken them as far as I could. So when the chance came to move back to Europe, I didn't need a second invitation



    Bosnia

    Despite finishing 3rd behind Germany and Bulgaria in Euro 2084 qualifying, Bosnia had an excellent squad, several levels better than Burkina Faso. That said, they were not my first choice, but Northern Ireland didn't offer me their vacancy. I have to say that I was tempted by both Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, but the Bosnia job was offered first and I didn't want to end up with nothing.

    I have persisted with the 4-5-1 V formation and recorded a 3-0 victory in Romania. We do look very good going forward and Dzenan Kukavica must surely be adding to his 2 international goals soon.

    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  28. #444

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    To the new season with Cadiz then and further strengthening, and high hopes with the signing of Walid especially on a bosman! A bit of a blow to go out the Champions League so early then but you do manage to get 3rd and passage to the Europa League so still another trophy to aim for, and with Barcelona stretching ahead one you may put all your attention on.

    But how quick things change, Barca lose to Deportivo, you strengthen in January and Barca collapse and now you're in the clear and aiming for both trophies, either which will do. Unfortunately it weren't to be in the Europa League as Juve knock you out in the semis in a tie you really should have gone through given your position during the games, but you did land La Liga with ease and I'd have fancied you in the cup final against Barcelona as well (like last season even if they had the better of the league games) but instead you were on the move to Croatia.

    Just 12 points to make up next season on the champions, I'm sure with some signings and your tactical nous you'll be able to do it, even if the financial situation ain't great and your top scorer is leaving.

    A great run in the cup of nations but unfortunately Senegal were too strong for you at the end, still a decent effort though, and you gained revenge days later to go top of the WC qualifying group.

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  30. #445

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    Easy stuff with Mladost after some shrewd signings, but the main man was that player/coach you had, he may not have got the minutes but what an example for the rest of the players to look up to

    Not a long wait for your next job either as you stay in Croatia to take over Krk, who are languishing in the relegation zone when you take over. You do what you can with the squad you inherited by binning off the loan players and bringing back players at the club and it does the trick as you earn a 100% record and don't even concede a goal! No surprise you sign a keeper despite not conceding, but only a few other recruits ahead of the new season, and once again you take the league by storm to add the North title to the South tile you won with Mladost.

    To the World Cup then with Burkina Faso and with tactic troubles behind you now you can concentrate on stuff on the pitch. A win over Laos was to be expected although the red card didn't help, but a solid draw with Serbia was followed by an outstanding win over the defending champions and ensure qualification to the round of 16. What a difference finishing 2nd in the group made though as you took on the mighty Brazil, and what an effort from the lads before that cruel late winner knocked you out. You stayed for a bit longer with them afterwards but then decided for pastures new as you took over Bosnia, god knows how that striker only has 2 international goals, I'm sure you'll get a tune out of him and I hope Sasa Papac's great grandkid is knocking about for you too
    Last edited by AMC; 18-10-19 at 10:47 AM.

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  32. #446

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    Looks like you are up to date. I had pretty much done all that I could with Burkina Faso and the limited resources meant that tactic testing wasn't so reliable. Bosnia does give me more options in every position and a better standard of opponent.

    I didn't enjoy the Croatian lower leagues much. There really was no fight.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  34. #447

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    The only time I've played in Croatia was in the Roman General challenge and I also found it a bit of a slog, very easy domestically but not good enough in Europe, I just wanted my three seasons to be up so I could move on to another country.

  35. #448

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    Chapter 82 - Much ADO about something




    ADO Den Haag

    Alles Door Oefening Den Haag is a Dutch association football club from the city of The Hague. Despite being from one of the traditional three large Dutch cities, it has not been able to match Ajax, Feyenoord or PSV in terms of success in the Eredivisie or in European competition. There is nonetheless a big rivalry with Ajax and Feyenoord. The words Alles Door Oefening translate into Everything Through Practice in Dutch.

    Founded in 1905 as ADO, the club endured some difficult times as the sport of cricket was more popular in the city. ADO were promoted to the national Nederlandsche Voetbal Bond in 1912, but is wasn't until the second world war for them to become champions. 1941-42 and 1942-43 have been their only Eredivise titles although they did have a renaissance in the 1960s under Ernst Happel when they won the first of their 2 KNVB cups.


    The club name changed from ADO to FC Den Haag in 1971 and then to ADO Den Haag in 1996. Since then it has been mediocrity, being relegated twice. ADO has ties with Swansea City, Legia Warsaw, Club Brugge and Juventus.


    In more recent times, ADO have been relegated on 5 occasions, but apart from one 5 year spell in Eerste Divisie have always bounced straight back. They are currently enjoying a 20th consecutive topflight season. In the league, they have been runners up to Ajax twice and have won the KNVB Beker twice (6 and 7 years ago). Former managers include Jesper Cillesen, Daley Blind, Davy Klaassen and Phillip Cocu.

    As I take over, the club is in a bit of trouble, but with 8 games to play and a 7 point gap to the relegation places, I am not to worried. In fact I'm not at all sure why Michael Seedorf was sacked as ADO were on an unbeaten 8 game run at the time. Far more important for me is an upcoming KNVB Beker semi final tie at Willem II. The Cup would complete my set in Netherlands and be my 100th in total. With Ajax out, beaten by Willem II in the last 16, it looks to be a very open draw




    But first I have to resolve the big problem in the squad. The virtually non-existent left flank. I have just one recognised left back and even then, Thomas de Lange looks more like a right back and has already agreed a Bosman switch to PEC Zwolle in the summer. The former manager had thrown him into the reserves. Right back is not much better, but I do have 2 in addition to de Lange.

    On the left wing the only realistic starter is Brian Robertson, again languishing in the reserves. I have another veteran who might be good for an hour, or an option on the bench and the only alternative to them is a kid, currently away on loan who is nowhere near ready for the first team.




    Away from the left side, we have a decent enough squad, with reasonable cover for every position. As the transfer window is firmly closed there is not much that I can do, but clearly a 4-4-2 formation is out of the question. I can't risk starting de Lange and Robertson every game, especially as my tenure starts with 2 games in 3 days. Tactics wise I was considering going for a 4-1-3-2 with Robertson as a makeshift left back when needed, however we do have some good central defenders, so I decided to experiment with a 3-3-2-1-1 that looked to play to our strengths.


    Away to RKC we almost got away with a very undeserved win. Under presure for most of the game, Vekic scored with our only shot on target and it took until the 86th minute for RKC to find an equaliser. With just 48 hours to prepare I was forced to make 10 changes to the starting 11 for the visit of Vitesse. Again we offered nothing going forward, but 19 year old Croatian Josip Grgic scored his first for the club, again our only shot on target. When we then lost 2-1 to Feyenoord, the experiment with this formation was over, but what do I do for the cup semi final.

    Both de Lange and Robertson were fit and ready, so I decided to risk it with a 4-4-2. It was like a different team had arrived. Despite an early setback, we took the game to Willem II and Vekic got the deserved equaliser at the start of the second half. Only one team looked like winning, but we couldn't find a second goal inside 90 minutes. With 6 minutes remaining, Dennis de Witt had a chance from a free kick, however after lining it up, he collapsed with a twisted knee and couldn't continue, reducing us to 10 men for extra time.

    We were still the better side so it was no surprise that in the 109th minute, Vekic had a chance to run at the Willem II defence and when he got a sight of goal, took a speculative strike that bamboozled their keeper and sent us into the final.


    Itwas back to the tactics drawing board and I had 5 games to find a solution (plus an international friendly with Bosnia) before facing Utrecht in the final. I had to create more of an attacking threat, so the first change saw the wingbacks making longer forward runs, and in addition the 2 central midfielders getting further forward. This formation did work to a degree as we beat Groningen 4-0 and were only prevented from beating AZ by a shutout from their keeper playing the game of his life. The problem was that the wingbacks were knackered after 60 minutes and both had to be replaced. The defence had been very solid, so the next move was to move the wingbacks forward to wingers and pull back the attacking midfielder …. a 3-1-5-1 that looked very aggressive.


    Another superkeeper performance from the man in the Emmen goal was not a fair reflection of the 0-0 draw, however beating Roda JC 2-0 and NEC 3-0 (Vekic hat-trick) in the final 2 league games did show some promise. Could I risk it in the cup final against Uttrecht ?

    I didn't. Robertson and de Lange were both 100%, so I took the safe option and lined up 4-4-2. I will come back to that 3-1-5-1 and it can claim success in getting the 2 key players to the final in top shape, but I know exactly where I am with a 4-4-2. That said, the first half was completely dominated by a superkeeper, in this case Twan Bicentini between our sticks. Were it not for him, Uttrecht could have been out of sight. Instead we changed ends still at 0-0 in hope that we would offer something more in the second half.


    Although neither side made any changes, we were far more competitive after the break. Chances were few and far between, but atleast we were getting as many as Uttrecht. Vekic even got the ball in the net, but was clearly offside when he did, while Uttrecht playerswere falling like Bambi on ice anytime they got into our box. It was heading for a stalemate until I put up the board to indicate that I wanted to make a double change. Did that distract the Uttrecht players ? Certainly Robertson won a 50/50 ball that he was probably second favourite for. He couldn't beat his man, but rightback Harold Arboleda was somehow up in support. His first time cross was met by the head of Bryan Jalink and our right winger scored his first goal of the season with his last touch of the season. He was one of the men coming off !


    All we had to do was see out the remaining 17 minutes which we did without any major scare. Mission accomplished, ADO Den Hagg had won my 100th trophy !






    International Update



    Bosnia

    Just the one friendly played, against Greece, and deploying the same 3-1-5-1 tactic that ADO Den Haag have been using. It was a strange game where we were cruising at 2-0 with 12 minutes left, made a raft of substitutions and conceded twice within 6 minutes only for Dino Maksimovic to pop up with an injury time winner. It was this colapse that led me to drop the tactic for the KNVB Beker final.


    The hard work will start after the summer when World Cup qualifying starts. Leaving out Germany who you would think would win the group, Bosnia, Norway, N. Ireland (who rejected my application), Hungary and FYROM should be very competitive. It will be a solid test of the tactic.[/size]
    Last edited by Kingsley; 25-10-19 at 03:43 PM.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  37. #449

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    Back to Holland then and a good chance to tick off another country with just the Dutch Cup to win and just two games away from landing it. Not many options on the left so maybe a centralised formation maybe on the cards, but instead you opt for a wing back formation so only one player needed out on the left. Two iffy results ahead of the semi final saw you abandon the formation ahead of the big game and revert back to your trusty 442 formation despite the lack of wide men, and it did the trick eventually as you triumphed in extra time.

    Further tweaks to the formation for the rest of the league games then and a very attacking formation paid dividends, but would you risk such an attacking tactic in the cup final? Nope it's the trusty 442 you go for, the right call I feel, hopefully it'll job now! A 4-1-5-1 you mention would be very handy but I think the referee may spot the extra man For a change it's you who enjoys a superkeeper but it sounds like you need to pull your finger out in the second half, and thankfully you do but again it looks like neither team will make the breakthrough, that is until Jalink bags his first of the season (what a time to get it!) to hand you the trophy and tick off another country.

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  39. #450

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    Oops. I knew that 4-1-5-1 didn't look right when I typed it, but couldn't spot why
    Fixed
    Need to go to specsavers !
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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