Lusitânia Açores - Season Summary - 2030/31
Key figure - £25,732,128 | Summary
Some profitable transfer dealings have left us in a stronger financial position than last season - hurrah!
1/ Stadium expanded taking the capacity up to 44,864 which we get close to regularly with this season seeing an average attendance of 42,679 (a mere 42,252 higher than in my first season in charge!).
Transfers | 9 In (£6.75m) & 16 Out (£16.25m)
A couple of big names (Fontaine and Jensen) left over the summer netting us more than £30m they were replaced in the first team internally and youngsters brought in to provide competition/back up.
The new off-season is probably going to be a tad more sedate as I am only planning to move on a few squad players.
League | Predicted - 2nd
Table | Graph
Well, once again we went into the league season predicted to finish in second place. I'm a little hurt if I'm honest, I mean I'd won eight in a row before this season, at what stage am I favourites to win!?
After Fontaine and Jensen left this summer it was with a slightly experimental feel that we started the season. Things came together and we were up with the front runners from the start.
By the halfway point we were top of the league and we were starting to extend our lead and it looked like we were back to our old dominant self. However, once more Porto managed an important win over us. This started a mini wobble where we drew a couple of in theory winnable games. This meant that once again the title game down to the final game of the season. We faced Sporting in Angra do Heroísmo with us sitting three points ahead of them knowing that if we won or drew we would be champions but that Sporting could technically still win if they beat us heavily. We needn't have worried, Edemilson Mendès had put his shooting boots on and he netted a hat trick that saw us emerge as 3-1 victors and collect our ninth consecutive (and tenth overall) Premier League title. Just 24 more to over take Benfica's record!
Supertaça | Beaten Finalists
An exciting game finished with Sporting winning 3-2. It would have been nice to have the trophy again, but I'm not that upset.
Taça de Portugal | 3rd Round
We sent out the youngsters and we lost. All part of the education though and our early exit meant we had fewer games to worry about as we neared the business end of the season. Surely that could only help our assault on European glory, right?
League Cup | Group Phase
Again our youngsters proved they're not quite there yet as they only managed two draws and a loss in the group phase of the League Cup. I'm going to continue with the youth policy though.
Group Stage | Standings
Well, an easy group was made to look tricky as we put in some poor performances against the likes of Celtic, Liverpool and Standard. Fortunately we snuck through on goal difference at the expense of Celtic.
1st Knockout Round | First Leg | Second Leg
We were once again rewarded for progress from the group with a nasty next round and for the second year running we were drawn a Milanese club. This time it was Inter rather than AC.
The first leg was at home and we played well but were pegged back to a 2-2 draw thanks to a last minute own goal from Gautier. It meant we faced a real struggle back at the San Siro. Things started badly as we conceded in the 11th minute. They then got worse as Pitoco received two yellow cards in two minutes and watched the remaining seventy minutes from the bench. We went on to lose 3-0 and fall at this hurdle for the sixth time in our history.
Squad | Overview
Ales Svoboda - 42 apps, 48 conc, 13 cln - He still doesn't inspire constant confidence in me but he's more than adequate in Portugal, and I like to think he's good enough to be part of a proper Champions' League assault if the rest of the team plays properly.
Jonathan Williams - 1 app, 2 conc - Back up this season. The Welsh keeper is decent but is never going to be a world beater.
Pitoco - 29(1) apps, 1 gl, 2 asts - Apart from getting sent off when we certainly needed all of our players in the Champions' League he had a decent seasons. Good presence on the right of defence and puts a great shift in up the right side of the pitch.
Sébastien Gautier - 41 apps, 2 gls, 5 asts, 2 MoMs - Another good season for the defender as he cements his position as one of the best defenders around.
Hrvoje Bule - 1app - Croatian defender with bags of potential. Given some time to mature behind the senior players he could be a really interesting player.
Giannis Sentementes - 5(2) apps, 1 gl - The Greek centre half is another who is looking to develop into a first team player.
Meraneh Descazals - 39 apps, 7 gls, 2 asts, 5 MoMs - Made captain after Fontaine's departure and he didn't disappoint as he maintained his form. A disaster for Djibouti as their greatest ever player retired from the international game.
Fortune Garba - 0(1) app - A player with the potential to provide more than adequate back up for the club. He made his debut this season after a few loan spells.
Jaimy van Putten - 12(4) apps, 3 asts - Performed his back up duties admirably.
Steve Hoggan - 20(1) apps, 4 asts - American full back got plenty of game time as Osses had problems with injuries. He performed well and impressed me enough to think he's got the potential to make the position his own in the long term.
Mauro - 2 apps - He's stalled slightly, I think he is one who will benefit from time out on loan in the second tier next season to mature and get games under his belt.
Christian Osses - 23 apps, 3 asts - Had some real injury problems this season and the record appearance holder has started to look like age is beginning to catch up on him. We'll see how he fares next year, but it may be time to look at reducing his responsibilities.
Martín Salto - 2(2) apps - Arrived in January to add competition for Fink. I really rate this guy and think he could really go far given time and training.
Tornado - 23(5) apps, 3 gls, 6 asts, 1 MoM - Played second fiddle to Scaricamazza for much of the season but chipped in with some great performances when needed.
Roberto Scaricamazza - [i]23(4) apps, 4 gls, 6 asts, 1 MoM[i] - A good season for the diminutive midfielder schemer as he plotted the team's performances from in front of the defence. He is great at dictating the tempo and very rarely gives the ball away. A really nice option to have in the middle of the park.
Emin Dalkali - 30 apps, 7 gls, 6 asts, 3 MoMs - Built on his breakthrough last year and cemented his position as first choice right winger. He looked good though he could do with becoming a little more clinical.
Mike Okoro - 7(9) apps, 4 gls, 3 asts, 1 MoM - Returned from a few seasons out on loan to play a supporting role to Dalkali and did a fine job. He has many of the same qualities and rarely disappointed when needed.
Stefan Fink - 39 apps, 8 gls, 17 asts, 5 MoMs - The man entrusted with replacing Fontaine and he didn't disappoint. He was fantastic this year, controlling play and laying on plenty of goals for the side. He more than repaid the faith I put in him.
Julius Holm - 2 apps, 1 ast - Brought in as back up for the first half of the season as I waited for Salto to turn 18 and arrive in January. Fortunately he was not needed as I fear his lack of pace may have proved a big hindrance. I have the option to buy him over the summer, but I'm not sure I want to.
Holger Lemke - 8(4) apps, 1 gl, 2 asts - Continued his footballing education this season and played an important role in some good wins. I'm starting to wonder whether he'll make it with us, especially with our new youth player being another to have his eyes on this position.
Héctor Partida - 32 apps, 3 gls, 7 asts - Another to repay the faith I put in him. He was asked to step into the first team and replace Jensen this year and he did so with gusto. He started slowly but really grew into the squad and more than earned his winner's medal.
Álvaro Pinto - 5(10) apps, 1 gl - Another of the growing number of youth team prospects in the first team squad. Again he is continuing to learn his trade but doesn't look entirely out of place and I still believe he can grow into a useful member of the squad.
Allan Tranberg - 2(1) apps - His first team opportunities completely evaporated this season as younger players took his place. His future is up in the air at the moment. He's useful back up to have around the squad, but I may look to move him on this year.
Alan Neira - 40 apps, 18 gls, 7 asts, 6 MoMs - The superbly gifted striker had another excellent season for us. It's hard to believe he only cost us £160k when he joined, surely one of the best bargains. He's not prolific but then I don't expect that from the supporting striker. He is there to link play and set up chances for others and he does that beautifully. Also filled in nicely on the wings when required.
Micha Peek - 6(20) apps, 7 gls, 3 asts - Still finds himself limited mainly to appearances off the bench but scored a number of important goals from this situation. He is one I'd be confident of stepping up to the plate if required.
Sidnei Mamede - 0(2) apps - Another to find himself sidelined this year. He is an excellent player and deserves more but with other strikers not being as hit with injuries this year he found himself fall down the pecking order. He is starting to, understandably, want more first team football so may be off over the close season.
Miguel Angel Klein - 0(1) app - Never complains despite spending his life on the very fringes of the squad. I can't see him breaking through any further and is another of my slightly bloated ranks of forwards who may find himself playing his football elsewhere next year.
Edemilson Mendès - 35(5) apps, 26 gls, 10 asts, 5 MoMs - Stayed relatively injury free this season and showed why he is such a useful player to have around. He scores and provides goals in good number and is rapidly constructing a stunning goalscoring record. His league record now stands at 92 in 111 games. Phenomenal.
Rodrigo - 1 app - A youngster who makes me reasonably confident in off-loading some of the other fringe strikers as I see bags of potential in this one. Needs some game time next season is he can get it.
Pedro Cardoso - 4(17) apps, 4 gls, 1 ast - Another of the lads from the island this exciting youngster was mainly restricted to appearances off the bench in the last few minutes as he looks to get a positive start in the game. He got his first goal early in his career as he scored an injury time winner to endear himself still further with the fans. He got a few more this season but most importantly got some great experience and started to improve his physical stats. Something I hope he continues.
Lusitânia Açores Youth Products - A new sub-section of the squad dedicated to those players who've come through the youth set up and seem to have a future in the game. It seems starting it now as I have actually produced some.
Rui Lopes - Class of 2029 - Centre half with all of the technical ability to be a quality defender if he could just hone his physical abilities. Some signs of him managing that this year, but not enough for him to trouble the first team proper. Verdict - Must try harder.
Álvaro Pinto - Class of 2029 - Right winger/Att Midfielder who came through in the same batch as Lopes. He has made more of an impact on the first team so far but that is certainly helped by playing a less vital role which has allowed him to come on towards the ends of games. He has decent physical stats and decent technical abilities but both will need to improve if he is to make a real name for himself. Did score his first goal for the club this season. Verdict - Satisfactory
Pedro Cardoso - Class of 2030 - Striker with all the potential in the world if he can improve his physical presence. He made his debut and grabbed some important late goals, the first of which saw him become the club's youngest ever goalscorer. He has also shown an ability to improve his speed. High hopes remain for this guy. Verdict - Encouraging signs that he could make the grade.
Paulo Jorge Vieira - Class of 2031 - Midfielder who has great technical abilities for his age and reasonable physical stats. He didn't get a chance to get on the pitch this year as the players join the club after the registration window closes but certainly one who will hope to get a chance to shine next season. Verdict - Too soon to say, but signs are encouraging.
Aims For This Season Were...
1/ Get back to my dominant league form. Verdict - Not quite as dominant as I have been, but certainly an improvement.
2/ With a nice draw I'd like to get to the CL final. Verdict - Not an easy draw but also did myself no favours and my group performance was scrappy.
3/ Blood my youngsters in the cup and ends of league games. Verdict - Success. Pinto and Cardoso got plenty of time on the pitch and showed signs of progression.
Aims For Next Season Are...
1/ It might be time to look for an undefeated season. I'm pretty sure I can do it, I've just had some nasty blips.
2/ Progress in Europe would be nice.
3/ Continue to give the youth products a chance to shine and improve.
Story So Far...
Season League Position Achievements
2012/13 Second Division - South 12th Avoided Relegation (just)
2013/14 Second Division - South 1st Promoted!
2014/15 Second League 14th Avoided Relegation
2015/16 Second League 2nd Promoted!
2016/17 Premier League 13th Avoided Relegation
2017/18 Premier League 3rd Qualified for Europa League
2018/19 Premier League 4th Europa League again
2019/20 Premier League 5th Europa League again
2020/21 Premier League 1st Champions!
2021/22 Premier League 2nd CL Qualification again
2022/23 Premier League 1st Champions!
2023/24 Premier League 1st CL 1st Knockout Round
2024/25 Premier League 1st CL 1st Knockout Round
2025/26 Premier League 1st CL 1st Knockout Round
2026/27 Premier League 1st CL 1st Knockout Round
2027/28 Premier League 1st CL Semi Final
2028/29 Premier League 1st CL 1st Knockout Round
2029/30 Premier League 1st CL Semi Final
2030/31 Premier League 1st CL 1st Knockout Round