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Thread: The Sir Bobby Robson Story

  1. #351

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    I think its more a question of how many points you will win this division by, only conceding 1 in 9 is very impressive

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  3. #352

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    We had started the season fantastically well, unbeaten from our first nine league games while also progressing in the cup, with the pundits earmarking our tight defence as one of our main strengths with just one goal conceded from our ten games so far this season. That run continued in our next game as Portimonense were lucky to leave the Estadio do Dragao with just a 1-0 defeat courtesy of a 6th minute goal from Raul Coria. We were obviously saving our goals for the next match as we found the net no less than five times away at O. Moscavide with Thomas Simo taking home the match ball with a ten minute hatrick just before and after half time, while centre back Guilherme Martins and defensive midfielder Richard Bertrand also got their names on the scoresheet, however we wouldn't be able to claim another clean sheet as the home side found a late consolation goal.

    Our cup game at home to Premier Division side Gil Vicente followed and was what I considered my first real test at the club, it would also be a good barometer as to how well the team truly was given our opponents sat in 7th place in their league. In the previous round against non league opposition I took the gamble of playing a weakened side but there was no chance I was going to do that this time around and so a full strength side was named. In the matchday squad was the recent loan signing of left winger Edgar Pacheco from Ac. Viseu and he went straight into the lineup on the left wing, Daniel Cabral the one to make way after the 32 year old could only manage one goal and no assists from his eleven games so far. To the game then and after a tight opening half hour we finally started getting on top of Gil Vicente and Geoffrey Hairemans gave us the lead which looked like would be the only goal of the half until in the dying seconds before the break his midfield partner Oren Vahaba found himself unmarked in the box and slotted it beyond the keeper. I was expecting our opponents to come flying at us in the second half but that second goal had really knocked the stuffing out of them and when Coria gave us a third late on the game was over and we were through to the next round, not much of a challenge after all.




    League business resumed four days later as we traveled to Infesta but the game was done and dusted within the first 25 minutes as goals from Simo and a penalty from Bertrand which resulted in their keeper being sent off after bringing down Simo killed the game off early. With the Portuguese Cup not starting up again till the New Year we were back to playing once a week and with no injuries I was able to select the same side for the next two home games against B. C. Branco and Desp. Aves, however one person who wouldn't be in the squad for either was the on loan Sergio Oliveira who hadn't managed to force his way into the starting eleven given the good form of Vahaba and Hairemans, but someone I did want to sign permanently however I weren't the only one and he chose Premier Division side Naval over us with him moving in a 65k deal. Both home games resulted in 2-0 wins for ourselves with the only blemish being a red card handed to Vahaba after he decided to punch an opponent in the chest!

    Following them matches the transfer window re-opened and there were a few ins and outs. Leaving the club were five players, Lourenco Velhinha left in search of regular football having managed only one substitute appearance so far and the 170k Leiria offered for his services was too good an offer to turn down, and when Marcio Boia's contract became unprotected there was no shortage of clubs to take the unhappy defender off my hands with Desp. Aves winning the race to land his signature and in the process hand me 28k. Another to leave once his contract became unprotected was Marcel Dabo who I had marked out as my first choice right back when taking over the club but having brought in Alvaro Dias and Alberto Peixe he was down the pecking order and I was happy to receive the 230k compensation fee from the Premier Division club. Finally the midfield duo of Daniel Spasic and Luis Luis left for pastures new, the former to Gil Vicente for 500k as he was unhappy being unable to dislodge Bertrand from the holding midfield role while Luis Luis was never going to figure for me outwith his cup appearance against Oriental in which he scored and so I bit off Naval's hand when they offered 100k for his services.

    Now to the incomings, two permanent and one on loan, first the permanent deals and neither cost me a lot, 26 year old centre back Manuel Arias arrived from Westerlo in Belgium for 20k and I'm sure he was keen on making more than the three appearances (one as a sub) he'd managed in 7 years in Belgium! 25 year old Carlos Alberto Luis had figured alot more for Familicao making 71 appearances for the club in the three and a half seasons he spent at the club having been signed for 220k from Leixoes, and I couldn't believe it when I could land him for a paltry 14k! Finally to the loan signing and someone I'd had on my radar for a while, Lyon's Ike Okoro who at just 22 had his best years ahead of him and the ability to play as either a centre back or defensive midfielder singled him out as a player I wanted. Unfortunately Lyon didn't want to discuss a permanent deal but they did agree to a loan deal till the end of the season, they too must have plans in future for the lad.




    With Vahaba suspended due to his violent outburst I decided to give Carlos Alberto Luis a debut in our next game at home to Atletico Clube de Portugal, while Okoro was handed a placed on the bench coming on for the final twenty mins of the game to see out our 4-1 win impressing in his short time in a centre back role. We rounded off the year with another home game this time against Famalicao and an unchanged line up recorded yet another 4-1 win, Bertrand with a brace, Simo with his 10th of the season and a rare appearance for midfielder Daniel Martins sealing another three points, and with just under half the season gone we had a thirteen point lead at the top from Espinho.



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  5. #353

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    Absolutely ripping up that league, and beating Gil Vicente comfortably is good omens for next year.
    If Okoro can improve his stamina, he might be a good target for next year, so a try before you buy deal might well work.
    Nice job in clearing out the deadwood
    Luis Luis .... What were his parents thinking of ?
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  7. #354

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    Smashing the league...

    Okoro looks excellent and already had had a lot of international caps

    Luis Luis is a great name may change mine to James James

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  9. #355

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Absolutely ripping up that league, and beating Gil Vicente comfortably is good omens for next year.
    If Okoro can improve his stamina, he might be a good target for next year, so a try before you buy deal might well work.
    Nice job in clearing out the deadwood
    Luis Luis .... What were his parents thinking of ?
    Quote Originally Posted by James_y View Post
    Smashing the league...

    Okoro looks excellent and already had had a lot of international caps

    Luis Luis is a great name may change mine to James James
    A great name but not a great player unfortunately

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  11. #356

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    As usual the New Year started with a cup game as we made the trip to our nearest challengers in the league Espinho, and I named two changes to the side that beat Famalicao 4-1 in our last game, with wingers Daniel Cabral and Carlos Alberto Luis coming in for Daniel Martins and Antonio Pinheiro with Oren Vahaba moving from the left wing into centre midfield alongside Geoffrey Hairemans. We had the best of the early exchanges with Hairemans unlucky to see his long range shot come crashing back off the bar, but it didn't take long for us to take the lead as a low cross from Luis found Simo in the box and the Cameroonian striker made no mistake. Unfortunately our lead didn't last long, Bertrand was dispossessed in our own half and a neat one-two from the Espinho two man strike force saw them through our rearguard before slotting past Mosquera in our goal. The score remained at 1-1 at half time, but we could still claim the best of the opening 45 mins and so I decided to keep things how they were for now, and it didn't take long for us to get our nose ahead once again, and in a carbon copy of the first Luis found Simo and the striker had two to his name. Unfortunately minutes later our right back Alvaro Dias had to come off injured while Hairemans also appeared to have picked up a knock and so I sent on Alberto Peixe and Antonio Pinheiro in like for like substitutions, and with the score remaining the same going into the final quarter of an hour I withdrew winger Daniel Cabral for the more defensive minded Tiago Antunes to see the game out, and it worked although Simo did manage to make one more impact, the bad news was it was a red card and not a third goal but we were through to the Quarter Finals were a home game against Premier Division side Rio Ave awaited us.




    The league campaign resumed with a home game against 12th placed Caldas, but going into it we had a couple of injury problems, Alvaro Dias was ruled out for two weeks with a twisted knee following the Espinho game, while Simo picked up a groin strain in training which would see him missing for the next month. Two enforced changes to the lineup then as Peixe and Kurth came in at right back and striker, while we made one more change with Raul Coria coming in for the unfortunate Carlos Alberto Luis as Hairemans recovered from the knock he picked up in the cup game. The game was done in the opening half hour thanks to goals from left back Rui Branco, Peter Kurth and Geoffrey Hairemans after which we took our foot off the gas to conserve energy, although we never looked in any danger of letting them back into the tie. During the days after the game we concluded some transfer business, centre back Rui Miguel joined from Ac. Viseu for 50k while we also agreed to sign Ike Okoro on a bosman from Lyon in the summer. Going out the door was Tomas Jose to Desp. Aves for 50k, while Daniel Cabral agreed to join Vit. Setubal on a bosman with both transfers going through at the end of the season. If we made quick work against Caldas then our away game against Nacional was a walk in a park, Kurth gave us the lead after 4 mins and Coria doubled it on 11 before once again easing off for the rest of the game.




    After we beat Espinho away in the cup they had lost and drawn their next two in the league which saw our advantage at top increase by five over them but they had a chance to close that gap if they beat us in our next game as we once again made the trip to Espinho. Just like last time we had the best of the first half but this time we managed to score twice through Vahaba and Kurth while we managed to shut them out as new signing Rui Miguel not only made his debut but captained the side. It was inevitable the home side would come flying out the traps after the break and they pulled one back in the opening mins of the second half but that was as good as they got and Kurth soon restored our two goal lead, and if not for missing a penalty he'd have had a hat-trick as well but we left with a massive three points under our belt. Replacing Espinho in 2nd place was Olhanense and as fate would have it we would be playing them next at home, and this was a tough game, as the away side disrupted our usual rhythm and just as it looked like they would escape with a point they gave away a penalty which Kurth stroked home, and even with Cabral getting sent off in the final moments.

    With our lead at the top increasing by the week and wins over our nearest challengers I was taking more of a keen eye on the Portuguese Cup, especially with us now in the last eight with a home tie. Simo was still a few days away but that mattered little given Kurth had took his chance scoring in all of the four games he'd played, notching five times in the process, and it was him who once again came to the fore, scoring midway through the first half with a magnificent header and then doubling our lead from the penalty spot just before the break which knocked the stuffing out of Rio Ave, the only disappointment being an injury to left back Rui Branco ruling him out for a month. Thiago Antunes was the natural replacement for Branco and he did indeed get the nod to fill in for him, but I did sign Leiria's 25 yr old left back Patrick Rogerio on loan for the rest of the season as cover. Simo was back fit but would only have found himself on the bench thanks to Kurth's recent exploits, that was until Cameroon named him in their squad for the African Cup of Nations, and once again we would have to do without him for a couple of weeks at least. Mid table Tourizense were our opponents and they'd obviously followed Olhanense's tactics against us as once again we found it tough to break them down as they limited us to only a few shots, however a header by centre back Jose Vitor from a Vahaba free kick was enough to give us the spoils and our lead at the top was looking insurmountable.




    Last edited by AMC; 13-04-20 at 12:35 PM.

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  13. #357

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    Youll be wrapping up the title any game soon at this rate and your defensive record is just amazing... be interesting to see if you can get in the mix straight away in the top league

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  15. #358

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    Think you put up the wrong screenie for the cup win. Bit of a plot spoiler for the quarter final !
    Rui Miguel looks like he can play a bit
    Smashing the league and just that one pesky draw to spoil an otherwise perfect card.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  17. #359

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    Good call mate, will amend now

  18. #360

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    In recent weeks we'd had tough games against Espinho in the cup and against Olhanense and Tourizense in the league, managing to win all by just a one goal margin, and once again we were up against it in our next game at home to mid table Casa Pia. After a goalless first half with very few chances for both sides it appeared that lady luck was shining on us once again as a cross from Raul Coria was turned in by a Casa Pia defender to give us the lead just before the hour mark, but just before I could think that once again we may have squeezed out a result Casa Pia hit us not once but twice and despite a late onslaught on their goal we couldn't find as much as an equaliser and our unbeaten run in the league was sadly over




    Ovarense a week later provided us with the opportunity to return to winning ways, and also see me make a more permanent change to my midfield personal. So far this season Israeli Oren Vahaba had played both in centre midfield and left wing with great success, however none of the other left wingers had taken their chance to cement their position in the side and so instead I decided that injuries or suspensions aside that Vahaba would play left wing for the rest of the season and that Carlos Alberto Luis would join Geoffrey Hairemans in the centre of midfield, he himself unduly dropped after two assists in the cup win away at Espinho. The opening quarter of an hour saw both teams go all out attack, the hosts opening affairs after 6 mins, Kurth equalising in the 8th and then putting us in front in the 13th, before Ovarense equalised on 16 mins. The frantic pace couldn't continue and the game soon settled down, and finally in the second half our greater quality shone through as Hairemans and then Bertrand sealed the points. The following week we hit four goals again in a far more comfortable win as our opponents U. Lamas didn't create a single shot on goal, and strikers from Luis, Hairemans, Bertrand and the returning Simo (from the bench) put us now just two wins away from the title.

    Despite his goal from the bench Simo could still only look on from the bench as we made the trip to Maritimo, Kurth's good form since coming in seeing him keep his place in the side, while it was also a welcome return for left back Rui Branco, his deputy Tiago Antunes had performed admirably but he lacked the attacking talent Branco had. Maritimo weren't going to roll over for us though and took the lead just before half time, a half of few chances but one the home side probably had the best of in terms of clear cut chances as their goal demonstrated, and so some choice words were said at half time by myself. It didn't take long for them to pay dividends, Kurth bagged an equaliser on 49 and we continued to pepper the Maritimo goal to no avail, and in a break to my usual formation I sent Simo on to partner Kurth for the last 15 mins and in the dying seconds he repaid my faith in him by raising highest to meet a cross from Vahaba to give us the three points and now just one away from the league title. A home game against Belenenses is all that stood between us and the title, there was an expectation from the crowd and it was one the players knew
    only too well as they came out the tunnel, and I was hoping an early goal may settle them nerves. The nerves didn't last long, Hairemans scored after just two mins, Kurth made it two on 24, and a second for Hairemans on 31 had us in dreamland, before Kurth completed the rout on 72 and hand us the title and passage back to the big time.




    With the title in the bag and with our priorities now set on the Portuguese Cup I decided to rest my entire first team for the following three league games, as a mixed side of youth, squad members and players transfer listed were given the chance to impress and possibly change my opinion on them. They managed to win their first two games 1-0 thanks to goals from Daniel Martins and Ivo Pereira before really hitting their stride in our last game before the Portuguese Cup Semi Final as they demolished Desp. Aves 4-0 away with a first half brace from 20 year old winger Valdemar Semedo and then a second half brace from Ivo Pereira who has been transfer listed all season but now has 3 in 3 to his name. Oh yeah that Portuguese Cup Semi Final, well with ourselves, Sp. Covilha, Barreirense and Sporting in the hat for a place in the final it was only ever going to be one name and I would be facing my former side at home.




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  20. #361

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    Damn Casa Pia wrecking the unbeaten record.
    Big game against your former side and big rivals. How are they doing since you left them ?
    Not sure that you need to do much for the step up the leagues. totally dominant so far.
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  22. #362

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    Yeah shame to lose the unbeaten run, the signs had been there in a couple of the previous games and it finally came to fruition. Agreed I don't think I'll need to make many changes, maybe more beef up the squad rather than the first team however the likes of Vahaba , Hairemans and Coria are 33, 34 and 35 respectively so hopefully they don't deteriorate too much in the summer but I'll be looking for some younger players for sure.

  23. #363

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    Little over 12 months after being sacked by Sporting I would be facing my former side for a place in the Portuguese Cup Final. Luis Campos had replaced me in the hot seat at the Lisbon club and he ensured that the club went on to win the league last season, while he also won the Portuguese Cup and Portuguese Super Cup so it had been a very fruitful job for him so far, but with the club third in the table this season 11 points behind leaders Braga with just five games remaining, their focus just like ours was on the cup. 50,900 packed out the Estadio do Dragao and we were at full strength after the players had been rested for the recent league games, the one question was who would start up front as Peter Kurth had been in good form coming in for Thomas Simo who had been injured and then away on international duty, but I decided to go with the Cameroonian up top, confident that if needed Kurth could make a mark on the game if needs be. The Sporting team was very familiar as the starting eleven and substitutes all played under me, and obviously Chairman Soares Franco was still placing restrictions on his managers as they lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with wingers, while the club had not made a single signing since I left the club.

    As expected it was a cagey start but things soon livened up when after just 8 mins Russian midfielder Alexey Semenov was given his marching orders after he inexplicably head butted defender Jose Manuel Vitor and fifteen minutes later we took the lead, some fine work from Carlos Alberto Luis found Oren Vahaba unmarked and he nestled his strike into the bottom corner out of the reach of Igor Hasic in the Sporting goal. Was it the start of an onslaught though? Sadly not, the Sporting team are no mugs and had great game management qualities, keeping things tight and hoping to grab something from a counter attack or set piece, but unfortunately for them they very rarely got either and in the end it was a very dour game as we couldn't add to our lead either, but with that goal from Vahaba it was enough to see us through to the final.




    We finished the league season with five games and once again it was players who hadn't seen much game time this season who played as I looked to wrap my first choice team in cotton wool ahead of the cup final next month. We managed to win four and draw one of these games, the only blip a 0-0 draw at home to Nacional in our penultimate game, but forgotten man Ivo Pereira continued to make a name for himself with a further three goals to give him 10 in 8(2) apps for the season, which was actually a better scoring rate than Simo had managed this season. It also came as no surprise that our 95 points and 88 goals were a new league record, while we also set record for most games won in a row (18) and most games without losing (24) the only slight blemish being that lost to Casa Pia which meant we couldn't go the season unbeaten, still a quite wonderful campaign though.




    Cup Final day had arrived and thankfully my team arrived in one piece and so I was pleased to name the same starting eleven and bench from the Semi Final win over Sporting, and it was another Sporting who would be our opponents, as we faced Sporting Clube da Covilha who had just finished 9th in the Premier Division. On way to the final they had overcome non league Abrantes 3-0, Vit de Guimaraes 3-1 on aggregate after a replay, Famalicao 3-2 on aggregate after a replay, Leiria 2-1 in the quarter finals and finally Barreirense 1-0 in their semi final. The game kicked off and straight away we took it to Covilha and if not for some spectacular saves from keeper Miguel Alexandre we would have been two or three up at half time, while going forward we had restricted them to one solitary chance which was nowhere close to troubling us. The second half continued like the first and I thought it was going to be one of them days, but eventually Covilha couldn't withstand us anymore and Carlos Alberto Luis gave us the opener and just under fifteen minutes later he made it two, and with Covilha out on their feet it was only the woodwork and an offside flag that saved them from a rout, and moments later the final whistle blew and we could add the Portuguese Cup to our Second Division title.




    Last edited by AMC; 26-05-20 at 05:12 PM.

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  25. #364

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    Amazing work, but I can understand how frustrated you must be with that particular league game!

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  27. #365

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    Indeed it would have been nice to have gone the league season unbeaten but with hindsight I'd rather that loss there than to Sporting in the semi final or Covilha in the final.

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  29. #366

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    Fantastic double, but then Porto should never have been in the second tier.
    Much work to do for next season, or will you be giving the guys that got you there a chance to show what they can do ?
    Europa Cup should help attract some decent players if you want them.
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  31. #367

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    I really don't think there's much that needs to be done to the squad given the results against the likes of Sporting and Covilha, and just comparing my squad to what I had at Sporting and to Braga who won the Premier division, who we'll face in the Super Cup at the start of next season. I think it'll be 3 or 4 in to beef up the numbers, and also try and get some younger legs in the squad, the midfield in particular as Vahaba, Hairemans and Coria all comfortably over 30, while I still need to find at least one left winger.

  32. #368

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    Previous Teams


    Fulham


    After finishing 17th in the Premiership at the end of the 2015/16 season, and finishes of 15th and 14th the two campaigns before, manager Gareth Southgate's main job was to ensure the club didn't drop into the Championship this year. In order to help with that task you'd expect Southgate to sign a few players, especially with 10 departing the club over the season (mostly on a free) but he made just two signings, Spanish centre back Emilio Pascual from West Ham for 4m, and veteran Turkish striker Umut Erdogan from Aston Villa for 4.8m, both arriving days either side of the beginning of December, but it wasn't Southgate who signed them as he was given his marching orders midway through September with Leverkusen manager Mirko Slomka taking over. To the season then and thankfully Slomka led them to a 14th placed finish after they claimed 46 pts with a goal difference of exactly zero, while in the cups they didn't really get going, being knocked out of the League Cup and Fa Cup in the 3rd and 5th rounds respectively.

    Once again Fulham neglected to make many signings ahead of a new season, but they did make one that of Juan Jose Saaverda from Wigan for 11m, but even that was short lived as after 10 goals in 16 games he was sold to Barcelona for 10.75m! Saaverda weren't the only one to leave the club during the season though, but he was the only first teamer as three youths were released by Slomko. Could Fulham continue to rise back up the table though? Indeed they could as this time they managed a 7th placed finish accumulating 65 pts which was only three points behind the Champions League places as only four points separted 4th from 8th, but they would have European football again next season for the first time in six seasons. In the League Cup it was over before it started as they lost their first game 1-0 away at League One Yeovil, however the club did enjoy a good run in the FA Cup, overcoming Scunthorpe, Swindon and Darlington (on pens after a replay) before losing 3-1 at home to Man Utd in the quarter finals.


    Ipswich


    Colin Hendry had replaced Paul Lambert at Ipswich last season and led them to an 8th placed finish, and the former Scotland defender was looking to push on further this year, as he made four signings across the season for a combined 18.5m, the biggest of which was goalkeeper Ludovic Faure from Nice for 7.25m in January, who you may remember was who I targeted while at Sporting until the Chairman decided to sign Hugo Lloris on a free for me instead! There were quite the number of outgoings too as 15 players left, familiar names being Terry Wilcox who was my first choice left back with England and veteran striker Federico Macheda who I signed in my last season with Ipswich. Unfortunately it weren't a season with many highs for the club, but they weren't relegated as they finished 15th, while in the cups they went out in the 4th round of the League Cup and 5th round of the FA Cup. With the club battling relegation for most of the season Colin Hendry was sacked in early March with Jurgen Klinsmann replacing him.

    Klinsmann had rescued the club from relegation but could he lead them back into the top half of the table? 5 players left the club mostly on a free, but one name in there was my former Fulham, Ipswich and England goalkeeper Joe Lewis, but with Faure signed he was no longer number one. Joining the club were three players, left back Dennis Funk for 4m, right back Daniel Opare on a free and lastly another left back Nils Zander for 1.5m. It was indeed a better season for Ipswich as they finished in 8th place, six points behind Fulham which would also be good enough to get European football next year, however in the cups it was even worse this year as they lost their first game in both competitions.


    England


    After being unlucky not to qualify from their Euro 2016 group on the head-to-head record after tying on points with France and Switzerland, Nigel Pearson turned his attention to World Cup qualifying as England found themselves in a group with Poland, Hungary, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It was plain sailing for The Three Lions, as they recorded 6 wins and 2 draws from their 8 games to top the group by four points from 2nd placed Hungary, and so they would head to Mexico looking to improve on their 3rd placed finish at the 2014 tournament.

    Holland, Italy and South Africa made up England's group and it looked like a three horse race for who would grab the two qualifying places. Things didn't get off to a great start as they lost their opening game to Italy 1-0 and things got worse when they could only manage a 1-1 draw with South Africa! They did manage to beat Holland 1-0 in their final game but it was too late as Italy and Holland advanced, and it was the Dutch who would go all the way to lift the trophy after beating Brazil 2-1 in extra time.


    PSV


    After leaving Eindhoven on the highest of highs after a Champions League and League double, the club appointed AGOVV manager John van den Brom as my successor. It didn't take long for him to mark his stamp on the club as 12 players who helped me to that fantastic double left over the season, the two biggest of which were the transfers of Marcel Schaken and Thijs Feenstra to Man City and Aston Villa for 5m and 5.5m respectively. 13 players joined PSV over the season with my former player Dave de Ridder amongst them as he rejoined for 4.6m, while the other big signing was Belgian striker Sebastien De Cuelaer from Nottingham Forest in a 4.2m deal. The season didn't start well as they lost both the European Super Cup and Dutch Super Cup, but just before December they did win the Intercontinental Cup after beating Boca Juniors on penalties, but unfortunately that would be the only silverware for the club as they finished 3rd in the league, while they lost 2-0 to Inter in the UEFA Cup Final (after dropping out the Champions League) and being eliminated from the Dutch Cup in the semis by Sparta on penalties.

    More of my former players were sold over the 2017/18 season, with 16 players leaving for pastures new, with the duo of Willem Thijssen and Marcel Jansenn joining Chelsea for a combined 24m, while I did find it funny that Dave de Ridder once again joined a new club, his sixth in four years with the club losing 4.2m on the deal (just as well I earned 4.4m profit on him when I bought and sold him back in 2013/14 ). Just six players joined the club though with just 6.1m spent, with Go Ahead Eagles left back Cees Quainoo the biggest signing for 2.1m, hopefully it would be enough to challenge for honours once again. After I won the CL in 2016 the club was entered into the 2017 World Club Championship which started in August and was hosted in Portugal, and after topping a group featuring Sao Paulo, Al Ahli (KSA) and Sundowns the club faced Derby in the semi finals, the 2016 UEFA Cup Winners and the side who had beat PSV 1-0 in the European Super Cup last year. This time though it was revenge as PSV triumphed 1-0 to set up a final against Palmeiras, but unfortunately after a boring 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, PSV fell apart in the penalty shootout losing 3-1. The Dutch Cup campaign was ended at the quarter final stage by Heracles, while in the UEFA Cup they were knocked out by Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate in the 4th round, but they did once again lift the Eredivisie as they finished four points clear of FC Twente.



    Sporting


    As stated in the Porto - Sporting semi final write up the club elected not to make any signings since I left, with only the pre-arranged transfer of Alberto Rodrigues to Academica and the release of youth team player Filipe Pinto the only outgoings. As Portugal hosted the World Club Championship and they won the league last season, they were entered into the competition but they could only finish 2nd in their group and weren't quite good enough to be the best 2nd placed side to get a semi final place. Leiria were their opponents in the Portuguese Super Cup and thanks to a solitary strike from Renan Inocencio they lifted the trophy for a second season in a row. In the Champions League they enjoyed a wonderful run to the quarter finals before losing 2-1 on aggregate to Everton, but they finished a distant 3rd to Braga in the league and obviously lost to us 1-0 in the Portuguese Cup.


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  34. #369

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    After a remarkable debut season at the club culminating in the Portuguese Second Division title and the Portuguese Cup, my intentions turned to next season and competing in the Portuguese Premier Division, the club's first in six seasons. We'd won the Second Division at a canter which showed we were far too good for that level, but wins over Premier Division sides Gil Vicente, Rio Ave, Sporting and Sp. Covilha on way to the Portuguese Cup proved we belonged in this division, and at the top end of it too.

    I was confident with the squad I had already assembled at the club, but we could do with a few more bodies, especially with European football this season, while the average of the squad could probably do with being lowered, especially in midfield so any recruitments would more than likely be on the younger side. We were well stocked with goalkeepers, Colombian Jairo Mosquera was our clear number one, but Alberto Vitor proved he was also a safe pair of hands when given a run at the end of last season. 19 year old Oscar Moreira looks like he had a bright future and will continue as reserve keeper, but when number Jose Leal left for Caldas on a bosman I was on the hunt for a third choice keeper, and so we welcomed Naval stopper Fabio Andre on a season long loan.

    The defence didn't see much change either, youth centre backs Joel Nelson and Ruben Queiros were released on a free at the end of their contracts, but we did strengthen our rearguard with the signing of 30 year old centre back Coelho from Estoril for 300k. Defensive midfield has always been an important position for me and this area did see some action, Ike Okoro made his loan move from last season permanent as he signed from Lyon on a bosman, while we also brought in Bruno Filipe from Wigan on loan, the 22 year old keen to return to Portugal after not settling in England and I was more than keen to bring him in, and potentially see if a permanent deal could be made in the future. Heading out the door were two defensive midfielders already at the club, Diamantino Silva left on a free after featuring just twice last season, while Tomas Jose left for U. Lamas in an exchange deal.




    As mentioned earlier it was midfield I expected the most change and this was exactly the case. First in the door was Carlos Carlos, the 30 year old central midfielder arriving in the deal that saw Tomas Jose leave the club, and days later he was joined by 21 year old attacking midfielder Antonio Armando on a season long loan from Gil Vicente. Last season we struggled at times in the wide areas, Oren Vahaba and Raul Coria had both done fantastic jobs there, but at 33 and 35 respectively they weren't getting any younger, and apart from Carlos Alberto Luis none of the backups had anywhere near as much success and so it was something which I wanted to address. Left wingers Vitor Paiva and Daniel Cabral left for Recreativo and Vit. Setubal respectively with only the former bringing in any money as he moved for 200k, the latter leaving on a bosman. Another bosman leaving was Antonio Pinheiro who I had only brought to the club last year on a 12 month deal, he featured 20 times last season but 18 of those were as a substitute and at 33 I had no quarrels with him leaving for Maritimo in search of first team football.

    To the arrivals then, two permanent and two on season long loans. Malaga's left winger Miguel Roldan had featured over 250 times for the club, but hadn't played much the last two seasons and the 31 year old was happy to move to Portugal, and more competition for the left wing spot arrived in the form of Moroccan international Rachid Armoumen who signed a two year deal after being released on a free by his former club, and he added the bonus of being able to play in centre midfield too. On the right hand side, Portuguese right winger Armando Araujo left Barreirense as we paid 230k for his services, and I was confident the 24 year old would give Raul Coria a run for his money in the right wing role, and I increased my options for that role with Helder Campos arriving on loan from Famalicao, the 22 year old bringing the average of the squad down even further.




    Finally to the strikers, Cameroonian Thomas Simo and German Philipp Kurth were the undisputed first choice options for the lone striker role, but despite Ivo Pereira's unbelievable finish to last season when I played the reserves there were no takers for his services even when listed for nothing as I was keen to have his wages off the wage bill. There was one in and one out though, Jose Fernando Fuentes left for non league Sacavenense for 50k after scoring twice in eight games at the end of last season from the left wing spot where he can also play, but I didn't think he had the quality in the Second Division never mind the Premier Division and so he left with my well wishes. Replacing him was yet another season long loan as Brazil striker Wellington Walsh arrived from current Premier Division Champions Braga.




    Our first game would be the Portuguese Super Cup against Braga, a real chance to lay down a marker for the season ahead.
    Last edited by AMC; 10-10-20 at 01:56 PM.

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  36. #370

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    More changes than I was expecting, but I guess the core of your first 11 is intact. Fully expect you to be challenging for more honours this season.
    Surprised that you couldn't shift Pereira, even for free. Is he on high wages, putting other clubs off. Worth offering a new deal on reduced wages, or even a deal to end his contract at the end of this season.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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    AMC

  38. #371

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    I got a bit crazy with loans I think, but being able to sign them without having to contribute to their wages is a no brainer in my book.

    Never thought of that with Pereira, not sure when his contract is up, one to check though, hopefully it's the end of this season as you say.

  39. #372

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    Loaded up the save and thankfully he is out of contract at the end of the season, hopefully someone will come in before then though.

  40. #373

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    We would start the season with the Portuguese Super Cup against Braga, a trophy Sir Bobby Robson did lift during his time with Porto and therefore one I would need to win as well. Before the game though we announced another two loan signings, both full backs, right back Carlos Neves from Estoril and left back Eduardo Pereira from Leixoes, which now meant I had three players fighting out for each players, and gave me a bit more confidence in case we had a bit of an injury crisis in the full backs areas. To the game then and the side I picked was a mixed one, the goalkeeper and defence were all players who were at the club last season, but with fitness issues in the squad and an injury to Thomas Simo, the entire midfield and attack were players new to the club, and I was hoping they could make an immediate impact for me. There were no such fitness issues for Braga as they lined up in their usual 4-4-2 diamond formation, and so I was hoping we could hit them early and then hopefully hold on as we tired knowing their fresher legs would finish strong.

    From the first whistle we took the game to Braga and after a couple of early chances we finally took the lead as Helder Campos playing on the right wing got in behind the Braga left back and finished with aplomb past the keeper, and despite continuing to dominate proceedings we couldn't add to our tally and so at the break we had a slender lead. Already the players were below 80% fitness and so the plan now was to keep the ball and save our energy to last the 90 mins, however by the hour mark I had used all three subs, one of which was forced as replacement left back Tiago Antunes lasted all of 8 mins before picking up an ankle injury ruling him out for the next month, but despite a couple of chances from set pieces by Braga we completely subdued them and our solitary first half goal was enough to give me yet another trophy in Portugal.




    Eyes soon turned to the league though as I looked to take Porto back to the top of Portuguese game, and we would start with an away tie against Estrela da Amadora who had finished the previous season in 6th placed. We were back to full fitness for the game apart from the injury to Antunes, and what I though would be a tricky game proved anything but as we played without fear and a brace from Vahaba and one from fellow centre midfielder Hairemans gave us an opening day 3-0 win. It was disappointing that despite all the success the club had enjoyed since I took over, less than 19,000 supporters came to our first home game back in the big time against Leiria, less than half of the capacity of the stadium, but it wasn't a disappointing performance. We took an early lead from Miguel Roldan, but then had a bit of a scare when the visitors equalised from the penalty spot, before things got even worse when Hairemans had to be replaced by Armoumen. It was no more than a blip though as Coria joined his fellow winger on the scoresheet and further goals from Armoumen and Bertrand sealed another win.

    The injury to Hairemans weren't too bad and he was back for our next game away at Leixoes five days later, and he got the only goal of the game to keep our 100% record for the season. After our heroics in the Portuguese Cup last season we qualified for this season's UEFA Cup, and the 1st Round draw pitted us against Polish side Lech Poznan, but before we headed to Poland for the first leg we completed some transfer business as we decided to turn the loan signing of left back Eduardo Pereira permanent for 30k, however we did turn down the opportunity to make the signing of fellow loanee Carlos Neves permanent and when the transfer window reopens in Decemeber he will join Leixoes for 80k. Simo was back fit for the game and was put straight into the lineup, which he would have anyway, but given Kurth and Walsh had not scored yet I was hoping a striker would finally get on the scoresheet for this season, but of course this wasn't the case but two first half goals from Bertrand and Hairemans combined with the homes side inability to register a single shot never mind one on target to leave us in a very good position ahead of the home leg in two weeks time.




    It was pleasing to see a few more fans turn up for our next home game against Vit. de Guimaraes, but it was still less than half full, and they probably wished they stayed at home after a boring first half which was compounded further when Simo had to come off after picking up a knock. Walsh came on for the Cameroonian, but it was once again left winger Roldan with our first goal, followed moments later by Carlos Alberto Luis, and the result was sealed when Walsh scored his first goal for the club in the final five minutes. The news on Simo's niggle could have been worse, but he would miss the next two games due to a thigh strain, the first of these being my return to the Estadio Jose de Alvalade after being sacked by the Sporting Chairman Soares Franco. Despite manager Luis Campos fairing worse than I did at the club, including that Semi Final defeat in the Portuguese Cup to us last season, he had managed to keep his job, my only thinking being he was the perfect yes man for the Chairman, as they hadn't signed anyone for nearly two years now when I was still in charge. This was a game I wanted to win more than others, but as usual Sporting were a very well organised side and there would be very few chances for both sides over the ninety minutes, and just as it looked destined for a goalless draw, one final chance came our way and Israeli midfielder Oren Vahaba made no mistake to silence the home crowd and make me one very happy man!

    With two away goals in our locker and a tricky away game following our second leg against Lech, I decided to make use of the squad, as three players were handed their first start of the season, and it was one of these midfielder Daniel Martins who put us ahead on the night, a goal which pretty much sealed our qualification for the next round, and we repeated the scoreline from the first leg when Araujo scored his first goal for the club. Winding up September was an away trip to 2nd placed Sp. Covilha and this is where we dropped our first points of the season, Coria cancelling out the home teams early goal, but despite the draw we still held a three point lead at the top of the table, although it was still very early days and we shouldn't get carried away with things.



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