Okay, now that we've got the inspirational bollocks out of the way, it's onto the delicious meaty centre and what the future holds. With a one way ticket to whoever decides to employ me I shall carry on my annual search for some kind of reason for existing. I have loaded a number of leagues and countries, alas the game was not kind enough to allow me to use Football Manager 11 league expansions, so in order here are some leagues you won't see me manage in this year:
But I won't let that get in the way of what promises to be another enjoyable year of flogging this virtual dead horse. Who knows, maybe this year it might finally wake up and allow me to ride it into the sunset. Maybe it needs more mouth to mouth...
This year there were far more job vacancies than I am used to dealing with. On top of that more clubs were willing to speak to me than they usually are. Typically I get jammed up in South Africa and have to toil there for a number of years before I can spread my wings and fly like the peacock I am.
With that said, of the numerous offers I received (thank you Apply All button), the one that stood out for me was Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy (henceforth knows as Gimnasia). Why? One; it's not in god damn South Africa, two; I had felt the allure of Argentina more than the offers I received from Russia, South Africa, South Korea or the Brazilian Third Division. They've not got much going for them in any sense of the words, but this is meant to be a career.
I won't bother going into too much detail over the quality of the squad. Compared to the rest of the league it's sub par, with one or two exceptions. Our tight financial constraints means we may well have to offload a few players in order to create some room, however there are one or two gems in there. Our goalkeeper is one, but the man who I'm going to place the cross on is this interesting chap:
You could argue that pinning all of your hopes and dreams on one man is unfair. Guess what, life's unfair and whether you like it or not Jorge Luna you are now officially part of the saviour's club. I suggest eating lots of porridge or whatever it is Argentinians eat before they go onto save an entire group of people.
I couldn't believe it either when my scout recommended 30 year old Luciano Figueroa as a suitable signing. I had to double check his player history just to be sure, but yes it is that Luciano Figueroa. He wanted £1,000pw, I could only offer him £675pw, but with a sizeable goal bonus and some extra add ons he was happy to join. I may have overspent a little in bringing him here, but with Greek giants PAOK floating around I felt it was prudent to move quickly.
My head hurts a little, this is beginning to feel like the calm before a horrible nightmare where I canter along, blissfully ignorant of the pain I'm about to endure. It just feels... too easy.
The first really important piece of news that I always keep my eye out for at the start of a new season: how the game thinks I will do. At 33/1 I'm pretty pleased. It means we should be capable of existing above the relegation zone, which is my dream scenario. It's worth noting that I forgot River were in this league, despite the fact I watched them get relegated on television. Oh how I laughed at their demise and the ensuing riots that seeped through their city. They will no doubt extract their revenge on me with the same amount of glee I had watching them suffer. I won't bend over, but that probably won't matter.
All of them were free transfers, barring Leandro Fleitas who was a £50k (over 48 months) purchase from Alianza. They round off the edges of some areas of the team I felt needed strengthening, combining youth and experience in one cliche ridden delight. I've overstepped my wage budget by bring them in, however I am hoping that other clubs may take a view on some of my unwanted players and in doing so give me some breathing space.
All the best with the career, hopefully the pre-season isn't a sign of things to be...
Thankfully it hasn't been, only two matches in, but it's two wins so far. As with all my teams our defending is substandard, but we score goals which I enjoy watching. So it's a delicious cake filled with spiders. Spiders that will eventually be my downfall.
Yes and no. If we were talking five games in I would have been over the moon, we won our first five games and led the league. Then we lost three on a row, struggled in our last few and have generally had to combat the world. Injuries to our three best central defenders and Figueroa have really given me problems to deal with. I should have addressed the central midfield issue, where we are distinctively light, but I was too busy signing left wingers to notice.
Hopefully we can come back from this because we are primed to make a promotion push, but on current form we'll be mid table at best.
Seriously Figueroa, up yours. You're a glass man, the twisted meeting of flesh and fragile china. Gets injured, recovers and gets injured again in first match back, recovers, gets injured again first match back. This time the dick is out for three months at a specialist, which means a good four weeks afterwards it'll be like fielding a quadriplegic with robot legs made of china. I am cursed.
With half the season gone I would forgive you for thinking we're doing okay. In all honesty I'm surprised we've even managed to stay in contention with the promotion chasers. We have been absolutely appalling in some games. Make no mistakes, some of our defeats have been atrocious. 5-1 here, 4-1 there, it's bad. When we do win, it's by the whiskers on the end of our arses. We should be doing a lot worse, but the fact we are here means with the summer break coming up (different hemispheres and all that) we can play two or three friendlies, maintain fitness, get everyone back and bring a couple of players in, namely a central midfielder.
I'm worried because after the form we showed in the first part of the season, we can get promoted. It's confusing because I shouldn't be dealing with these emotions yet, I should be trying to construct a rock solid unit that can dominate the league. But I've been presented with a very real opportunity to get out of this league and we're not taking our chances. There are no guarantees the other teams around us will drop points like they have when the season restarts, so we need to focus up. Maybe some tactical changes, maybe some motivational trips to the seaside, maybe divine intervention. We need something because at this rate we're going nowhere.
Originally Posted by deltablue
Thats a pain, still, you might get another good run in the league soon.
I hope so, I really do. The players are just about good enough to be really pushing at the top end. Therefore this part of the game rests on my shoulders. I need to get them working much more efficiently at closing games, taking chances. If you could have seen what I've seen over the last five hours, you would have ripped your eyes out with broken bottles.
Frezotti is the man who, hopefully, will solve our central midfield crisis. We've been far too light in this part of the pitch and it was my biggest priority to bring in a guy who could both pass and tackle effectively. He was a free transfer, which is always a bonus, and will more than likely fully takeover from Ramasco when he retires in a year or two. For now they'll be partners in the centre to give us a much harder core to really dig into the opposition in the middle third.
The second, Medina, doesn't arrive until the winter, but he's my insurance policy in case the Figueroa project fails. Ideally the two of them together would make a great strike partnership, but as it is I can't have a key man up front out all the time, I need options. He's very quick, a priceless commodity at this level, decent at dribbling and should get himself into good scoring positions. If I end up having to work a Luna/Medina combination it could still prove to be effective in a trequartista/poacher relationship. Exciting times.
Absolutely loving the ability to control who gets given an academy contract. Just entered April and a group of players have arrived, some good, some average, some ****. It's nice to be able to give my say, if I want to, over who is going to get in. I watched the match between my current youth team (made up of greyed out players) and the new lot and as with all matches I can't control, it was boring as hell. But I like it, they probably haven't changed much this year, but I feel much more like I can shape a player to be better. Lautaro Fernandez, the Napoli reject I picked up, has really improved over the year and made a couple of first team appearances. With some good training some of the new lot could eventually make the grade.
Need to invest in better facilities. Need money. Need guitar case to collect money in.
Not necessarily bum raped, but after the red card it was always going to be an uphill struggle. I took off Figueroa and Garrido to save them for the league once I felt it was unwinnable. I'm not a big fan of cups, at least not at this level where the risk/reward of going for it can backfire. Like it has done now, with Gonzalez banned for at least a match. Good times.
Eight games of the season remain and we're currently riding the crest of the wave. We lost our first game back from the summer break and it was then that I though this is only going to go downhill. However since that defeat to Quilmes in early February we are now unbeaten in eleven league matches, including a fabulous victory over Rosario Central, 4-2 after having been two down after twenty minutes.
This is the kind of form I knew we were capable of, however it's needed a competent metronome in the centre of the park, a productive Jorge Luna and a fit Figueroa to get ourselves cooking on gas. If we don't go up this season I can at least take some good notes on what the current side is capable of and carry that into next season. With a slightly more expanded wage budget (i.e. over £7,500pw) I think we can really make a break for it. However it's not over yet, it just seems slightly improbable from my perspective.
The following game, we take an early lead and we're playing well. Then Il Metronomo, Frezzotti decides to take out one of their players miles away from the ball. God knows how, but we hung on. A huge victory, brings us to within a point of the leaders, although they have a game in hand.
I am furious. I'm not joking either. I'm genuinely livid. I've attacked every solid object in my living room and still I can't let go of how utterly disgusting our final run in was. Take a look at the league table above, take note of Gimnasia (LP)'s position.
Now look at their position after thirty one games when we had ten points on them:
When I spoke of how appalling this side could be when they wanted to be, this is what I was speaking of:
Red cards, an inability to score and just a capitulation of epic proportions. I feel sick. I hate getting this invested in a virtual football team. I'd never thought I'd say this eighteen hours after the game came out, thank god I'm going to work later. I'll write a review of my season later, when I'm less angry.
So I've had some time to reflect on my reaction to our end of season collapse. It was reading through the last few posts I began to feel a lot better. Let's get some facts straight here:
1. We didn't get into the play-offs because we weren't good enough. That might not seem like a good thing, but it is. If we get into there I want to be in a frame of mind where I try and kill teams. I don't want to stumble over the line and feel vulnerable. Mentality is half the battle. The key to any success we may have will come down to teams trying to adapt to us, not us adapting to them. If we can dominate games, we'll be winners.
2. This gives us at least another year to build. Sure the added funds would have been nice, we could have attracted some better calibre players, but the reality is that we would have been found out. Another year gives us more time to prepare for every scenario. It's embarrassing I didn't even have a fully fledged partner for my central midfielder until halfway through the season. Playing a right winger as a central player because you have no other choice is just inept and I should have paid a harsher penalty.
3. The league will be easier next year, potentially. With massive clubs like Rosario Central and River Plate moving upwards it gives some breathing space. Of course there is the argument that it benefits everyone equally, but it's up to us to capitalise on the hole that the relegated teams won't fill. At the moment we spark occasionally. It's a beautiful spark that makes people stand up, but my god when it goes out does it go out. The result against Patronato, where we took the lead in the 81st minute, only to throw it away and lose 2-1 is one of the darkest days in my management history. I've seen all types of losses, numbers stretching into double figures. But it's when you feel powerless to stop something from happening, that's when you feel at your worst.
We have to take the positives from this experience because we won't get better. Next season will be the litmus test, can we build on this or will we fall short, with me probably losing my job. It's there to be taken.
Anyway, that's the deep-ish thinking done for now, bring on 2012/13.
Just received this news item. My Spanish isn't too hot, but I believe it's Second Division player of the year. Not a bad effort for Jorge Luna. I would have thought Figueroa would have received it, but it's nice to see Luna getting the attention he deserves for being a goalscoring threat and a creative force.
Oh god, I just gagged at that last sentence, sorry.
At least someone up on top deck is doing some work. Saying that, only ten grand more for our tv deal is a little weak. I might look into getting a parent team in one of the larger leagues, just for the payment. But the trade off of having a rich predator circling our best young players does put me off.
It's amazing just how much of an impact tutoring can have on a player's mental attributes. When Fernandez joined last year he was a technically promising player who was lacking in many areas. A year on, with a couple of first team appearances, some intense training and the tutoring of Torres, he's now turned into a serious contender for a place in the side. I picked him up originally on a whim, because we had no youth players. But the results have been truly impressive.
Transfer 2012/13 - all free unless otherwise stated
With Crivell's loan expiring and me not willing to spend £100k I don't have on him, it was off to the scrapheap to find something good. Luckily both of these two were available and they give me serious confidence at the back going into this season. Tauber will probably be starting, but I like the fact Lerda is almost his equal in ability, because he can challenge for his place. That isn't a cliche either, I love using the private chat feature to emotionally blackmail players into performing better. I shouldn't have to, but if that's what it takes I'll do it.
A good right back understudy for the ageing, but still brilliantly named, Chitzoff. Villafane isn't particularly remarkable in any area, but that's why I like him. His attributes emanate an air of reliability and when the worst happens I like to know the person I'm bringing in won't make me feel sick watching him play football.
Similar to Villafane, PAT is a technically proficient backup who should "do a job" if called upon. I received a few offers for my central pairing of Fleitas and Gonzalez during the summer, which made me realise just how important they are for the team. Hopefully I won't have to call on PAT too often.
The creme de la creme of utility players. Mentall excellent, technically competent and positionally versatile. This guy was a deadline day deal when I realised we were a little soft if things heated up on the right side of the pitch. But the fact he can move into the middle with relative ease means I'm going to feel more secure about the squad as a whole.
Podio is the only player I spend money to bring in. £20k over 48 months seems like a bargain to me for a player who spent the whole of last season playing on loan, from his Slovakian club, in the Primera Division. He will probably gradually phase out former captain Ramasco as Frezzotti's partner of choice in the middle of the pitch and I think he genuinely has enough about him to make a real impact in games. Good signing, in my eyes.
The loan player from Rosario you're looking at was cancelled shortly after I acquired the magical three goalkeepers required for a season. In terms of outgoings, troublesome left winger Enzo Bruno was allowed to go on loan to Gimnasia (LP) with a £30k future fee attached because he just annoys me and is nowhere near as good as I thought he would be. Either way, good riddance.
I hope so too. I haven't been given the option to choose my season goals at the start of last season or this one, so I checked my board confidence and the minimum requirement is that we achieve promotion this year. No pressure then.
Originally Posted by supersplash
loving this thread. dry sarcasm is best sarcasm
I appreciate people taking the time to read it, so thanks. I only started actually writing down what I do in the game over the last four years, it's a good way to release the various emotions this game bottles up inside me.
Originally Posted by AK22
Blimey, you've certainly made a lot of progress considering the game has only been out two days!
Good luck for the new season
The game couldn't have come out at a worse time for me. Released midnight on Thursday, I had work at 6pm Friday. Then I had work again today from 10am until just now, then I have work again tomorrow at the same time. I'm such a child I just stayed up all night and powered through the first season just to get into the swing of things. In a way I'm glad I did because I've become very attached to this club in such a short time. Typically the third or fourth club I join is the one where things start to click. It helps that it's a promising side, it's hard to get attached to a terminal entity.
At ten last night I was all prepared to post my mid season update. But then life struck and I went out. I've woken up, gone to work, told to come home because a guy is now covering me. Suddenly life has just opened up big time. When I say life I mean Football Manager, obviously.
Thank the lord for the summer break. I know looking at that league table I should be happy. Half of me is, half of me isn't. We started the season in scintillating form, ten games unbeaten, leading the league and it was almost a case of just pressing continue to make the magic happen.
But then reality set in. Jorge Luna can no longer pass a ball. For a man who is set to rarely take long shots... he seems to take an awfully large amount of long shots. Antonio Medina's finishing, however, is my main problem. I'd rather not have a player who can put himself in so many amazing positions, only to sky it over the crossbar. It just upsets me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm seeing us getting promoted this year because we have enough about us, but if this was a regular season with no break during the middle... we'd be up that creek I hear everyone talk about and there are no paddles. Our form has been win lose, win lose since we lost game eleven. My job now is to readjust, hone in our tactics and push on.
The good news is that we're in good shape. We'll play a few friendlies and rest key players, come back in February and start it all over again. I don't want to mess this up because it will really make me unhappy. Sunday, be good to me.
Two things, firstly I really wish my team was called DEFENCE and JUSTICE. It would really give me a sense of purpose when I'm managing. I'm sorry I'm beating you but this is all part of the national DEFENCE and JUSTICE scheme that demands your subservience. I need to work on that line of comedy, but it will come good. Monitor this post, I'll edit it as the joke evolves.
Secondly, give me this player. I need him. I may be forced to sell someone just to bring him in, maybe even Luna. This guy will set me up for a few years, Ever Zarate is a competent left winger, but he's 31 and needs to be replaced soon. I just need to find the money, which I don't have.
I always feel like something is taken out of me when I sell a player. But Torres was a problem I had to deal with. He was good, do not get me wrong on that front, but he was expensive. On top of that, I want to play Lautaro Fernandez, but have been stopped by the fact that Torres was better. Now this frees me up and brings in some breathing space to hopefully get Ledesma on a free. It's a risky strategy, but I need to make some bold moves and I'm happy that Lautaro can make the left back spot his own.
It was the best I could do. The Torres transfer only freed up part of my wage budget, even with my board oh so graciously allowing me a massive 25% of all transfer fees, I was still granted a gigantic ZERO pounds to spend as part of my transfer budget. So instead I offered Ledesma a contract which basically makes me pray we get promoted, because I want him badly. I'm not completely delighted with how this transfer came about, but it could have gone worse (i.e we sold Torres and then did not get Ledesma).
In the interim I've signed a player whose agent has been telling me for the last six months he's available:
I'll be honest, I tried to sign him in the summer, but didn't have the wages to pay for him. I don't understand why a player of his ability can't at least find one club, yet utter dross are just flogged around the shop. Still, he is a good squad player and may even move into a full time role if he plays well. Take note of his transfer value, when he hits 29 I am so going to sell his arse.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, it was a penalty. I'm confused, does rarely actually mean only ever? Because apparently when I set Jorge Luna to rarely take long shots he only ever takes long shots. Hey, I'm happy that you've been rated a sixteen for long shots, but it's a lie. You suck balls at them.
Eight games remaining and we're managing to keep ahead of the competition, but only just.
We've won our last four straight and are slowly grinding our way towards promotion. Luckily we haven't got any major injury worries, except Lautaro Fernandez who decided to become injury prone the day after Jorge Torres left the club. We're not looking as infallible as we did at the start of the season, but I'm pleased we've managed to find some consistency at a very crucial period of the season.
Outstanding. Team kept it together, didn't lose focus and we made it to the finishing line. We were guaranteed promotion with two games to go, but winning the league was the icing on the cake. Or maybe the cherry, either way it's a feather in our hats. Now the real fun begins (cliche no. 4), we get to test ourselves against the best clubs in the country and see how we do. It also means more money, which means better players, which means a happier me.
I'll be looking to strengthen in most areas, chief of which will be finding a clinical striker. It sounds weird when Medina and Luna got 23 and 18 goals respectively in the league, but I can see them being found out. Medina wastes far too many opportunities and his pace won't be so useful in the top division against physically superior players. I also need to bring in a new metronome, someone I can rely on to boss games for me. Of course these are wishes, it's likely these dream players are in Europe earning more than my team makes in a year. But I'll still try.
In a way, Football Manager is kind of like Pokemon for people with pubic hair...
I actually hate the existence of Barcelona's Argentinian youth academy. They have insane players like the guy above and I can't touch them. Every time I have an offer accepted the player just automatically signs a new pre-contract deal with them. It's teasing me, because of this I have placed a jihad on Barcelona. I will destroy them.
Rovira was a free transfer who fits that Primera League quality criteria I spoke of earlier. He will be starting, alongside Jorge Luna with Medina playing the role of super-sub. I had to reject a £1.9m bid for Luna, but a rejected £1.5m offer for Medina, which was negotiated up to £2m, was not appealing to Independiente. In turn this led Medina to consider me the antichrist, for demanding satisfaction. Not a crisis, but something I really can't be bothered to deal with.
Parra is our first "I actually paid money for him" transfer. £230k over 48 months is a steal for a player who could quite feasibly be the first choice right midfielder this season. Couple that with his age and we've got a serious investment on our cards.
Backup defender, cost nothing. Good deal. Nothing else to see here.
At £500k over 48 months, Amieva is an expensive purchase. So expensive, apparently our fans felt it necessary to say how sick and disgusted they were over my decision to "waste funds" on this piece of crap.
Yeah, he was man of the match in our first game this season.
£275k over 48 months for a solid, young right back from the famous River Plate youth academy. I like his attributes, I like his price. I like the idea of him in our team.
All in all, for me, a successful attempt at strengthening the side, along with Ledesma who joined on a free, which gives me confidence that we can survive a year in this division. It might be difficult, but we've got the players to make it. Sucking dicks at football might be hard to stomach for a while so hopefully we can still put on a good show.
They won their last 7 games in the first season then went 16-2-1 in the second half of the last season
I think I hate them more than I hate BBC Breakfast, it just sickens me. Luckily some of that La Plata magic rubbed off on us because this time we managed to match them, but they're doing much better than us this season. Their defence is very good and they're sitting proudly in fourth spot.
As a little aside, we just recorded a stellar victory over Boca Juniors:
However I think it's fair to say we've developed a disciplinary problem. Allow me to demonstrate:
Nine games, four red cards and a whole load of yellow ones to keep the reds company. Now I know what the solution du jour is; instruct my players to tackle lightly and move on. However hard tackling is crucial for my tactic to unsettle players. It's strange, either this is bad luck, fate or some kind of conspiracy. I don't want to give into logic, I don't want it to win this battle of wits. I'm going to need to come up with a way to combat this. In the interests of science I refuse to scale back the aggressiveness of my team.
On a slightly more serious note though, we're doing okay-ish. Aside from the Racing result we're not getting turned over by teams, our finishing problems have come back again, but Rovira is a step up from Medina. I'm still sticking with my prediction that we will stay up.
Interesting stuff so far. You have, how do you say, a 'unique style'!
It's proving to be a hindrance. My inner child has led me to playing from 11am Sunday through to 3pm Monday. I've just woken up now, which basically means I'm going to have to play Football Manager because there is nothing else to do. I need a girlfriend.
I'm just going to take a moment to celebrate Jorge Luna. Under me he's played 89 games in all competitions, scoring 37 goals and assisting 53 times. I'm hard pressed to think of a player at my club who performs his role better than he does. He is set to be a trequartista, so in reality the 4-4-2 formation we play is really a bit of a lie (incidentally it is saved under the name 4-4-1-1 because that's what we were going to play).
Sure I have a decent goalkeeper, sure I have some defenders who work hard. But at the top end of the pitch it's important to have effective players who can work within a system and get results. Jorge Luna gets us results and for that he should be celebrated.
The only consolation is we still have Antonio Medina. We've been in incredible form lately so I was hoping injuries wouldn't interfere with that, only six games left of the Apertura so it won't be season destroying.
I found this gem hidden away in the matchday advice section of the tactics screen. I can only apologise that my Sunday League reputation actively causes you to become demotivated when I ask you to play football.
"Hey guys, I want you to go out there and impress me today by putting in a good performance."
"I'm sorry, I'd love to play well today, but the fact you never achieved anything as a professional means I simply can not comply with your request."
"I can always send you back to Slovakia, where I found you. I hear there's a fountain of highly reputable managers just hanging around, begging to tell you that they have faith in your ability as a player."
With the Apertura finished I can safely declare myself delighted with being stuck firmly in the mid-table obscurity. We've put in some impressive performances this season, the highlight of which has been a 4-0 victory over Estudiantes LP. Our disciplinary problems were a real issue at the start of the year, possibly everyone was very excited that virtually all of our matches were televised. Either way, October and November were great months for us. I received that manager of the month for October, Luna was player of the month, and we really got some points on the board.
Ideally I'd like to see if we can sit in the top half of the table when the Clausura finishes, however there are some very big clubs below us who surely need to find some kind of form during this season.
I've got a couple of players lined up, young ones from Colombia who I'm going to use, much like slave labour, to bring me success whilst paying them a pittance. Scouting wise I'm continuously browsing the continent, the board have agreed to allow me scout worldwide, although I'd rather keep my players as Argentinian as possible. The good news is that foreigners only have to spend two years in Argentina to become nationals. A nice bonus.
I do however have one major concern:
The million pounds I've spent in transfer fees over the next four years is eating away at our meagre funds. That is directly my fault, it equates to almost £25kpcm, but that is a manageable figure to say the least. My concern is that in general the club is not attracting enough money to make us sustainable, in the long term, as a top flight side.
We have a 25,000 capacity stadium that is only getting an average of about 9,000, but gate receipts have gone up by about 50%. I'm trying to do my part by being as frugal as I can with our wages, some players have tried to be very aggressive when they found out that we have money to offer, luckily before I was a football manager I used to be a loan shark so I've batted away their attempts at negotiating in a fairly easy manner.
The good news is that our sponsorship agreements expires at the end of the season, so if we can double that we can possibly right the ship. Improved performances will certainly bring more fans in, I just don't want to see us go into administration and start becoming a joke.
I've arranged about £250k worth of away friendlies against high reputation Argentinian sides, although my attempt to play Boca five times during the summer break (they offer a fee of £110k) were not received particularly well.
Excellent addition to the team. With Fleitas hitting 30 we're going to need to replace him at some point, this lad will certainly do that. He was relatively cheap, £160K over 48 months (surprise surprise) from Penarol. Although Eduardo Sanchez has done a good job of covering during our mini injury crisis, I want to be feel safe at the back, not hope to feel safe.
The other two were free transfers from Colombian clubs. More speculation than anything, I just like their style. One has been loaned out because I couldn't register him in time:
Lost our first two matches of the Clausura with a red card in the second game. Let reality welcome me into her soft bosom.
The joys of scouting the U-20 World Cup. An outstanding find and coming in for absolutely nothing as well. Come the end of the season I'm going to have to do a juggling act because there are far too many foreign players at my club now. Time to cash in on all those little Wnt boxes next to my players...
It was Figueroa's last game for the club and he went out with style. Our last game of the season, a trademark red card down and we still managed to beat the league leaders without conceding. Not a bad effort. Figueroa's become a broken man, he can barely even walk, but he served his time with us well and did a solid job helping us win promotion. Thanks... I guess.
So the season is complete, here's how we did:
Bang on middle of the road and I'm delighted. Defensively we've been atrocious at times, but through lack of discipline more than technical ability. We have a good group of players and when we aren't attacking our opponents with our feet, we do actually attack with the football in a very inventive manner. I'm gradually phasing out the old guard and bringing in younger, hungrier players who are better.
As far as first seasons go, it was good. We've proved we can compete at this level. Having seen how even this division is, it shows me that it isn't going to take massive improvements to push further up the league. However the club's finances need to be sorted out, if I don't get things in order we could see the good work we've done fall apart. But for the moment we're looking good to keep improving year on year.
In terms of overall, combining the Apertura and the Clausura, here's the combined league:
Creative genius Flores joins us from Belgrano (something about gotcha or sinking ships) and will be fighting with Amieva for the creative right central midfielder role. He's unbelievable at passing and really could help us step up a gear creatively. His wages are quite high, but considering I almost bought him last season for about £650k, I think the compromise of waiting a year justifies them.
Sanabria's a good little free transfer from Nueva Chicago. I've already arranged for him to **** off to our Colombian loan monkey's Pasto Football Club, but he could prove to be a valuable asset, either with performances on the pitch or just cold hard cash to put in a stripper's thong. I don't say no to deals like that.
The big one. Thou shalt not covet false idols, but a false idol Russo ain't. He cost me a cool million for the almost standard 48 month payment plan that I love so much. I envisage a dream partnership with Machado that results in teams begging for mercy, The reality may be different, but he's the long term replacement for Luna in the left striker role, operating as a trequartista, feeding players and generally being a menace. A million quid is a lot of money and I've seen players with worse attributes rated higher by my scouts. I'm not too sure what is they see that I don't, but screw them. Massive signing.
I also signed a backup goalkeeper and loaned in cover for left back:
After only a year at the club I received a suitable offer for Abecasis, double what we paid for him. So goodbye. Sanchez and Vilafane are more than capable of balancing the right back duties between them and the money will go a long way to ease my mind when it comes to the financial problems apparently only I can see going on at the club. He was a good player, but not exceptional.
As for Perez, well he was foreign and I'm only allowed four foreigners. Two Colombians are now abroad on loan, but they're worth keeping around, Perez was expendable, so I expended his ass back to the motherland for £140k more than I originally brought him in for.
Pretty damn good effort, sums up our start to the season. Three games, three wins, the other two coming against River and Independiente. Keep calm heart, don't let the excitement kill you, my cigarettes do that job for me already.
Early days, but the progress from over three years ago has been excellent. It helps that there are a ridiculously large amount of good players in South America who are happy to play for a pittance and then be forced out without warning when I decide. They're luckily they aren't animals, because if they were I'd shoot all my unwanted players and melt them down and turn them into glue.
As an aside, this (and I'm quoting here) "remarkable" news item appeared:
Erm, one slight problem there buddy:
There is a logical explanation. He was injured for five months during the previous year and so naturally his attributes declined. However since he's come back he has regained his former level of ability, only the game has loaded the improvements into different areas than were previously filled. It's through no fault of my own either, he's training his shooting intensively. So while he has improved remarkably from his feeble position during the aftermath of his injury, he's a poorer striker as a result of it. Unless he gets injured he always will be.
I sound like a right dick, don't worry, it didn't stop him smashing three past Independiente.
I received my first job offers since I started at Gimnasia. The U-23s role at India and Singapore. I'd rather virtually stick a knife in my eye than virtually manage the youth teams of those nations. The full sides? Different story.
Normally I'd do an update once the Apertura finished. I was looking forward to extolling the virtues of our wonderful attack, how we are dominating teams. Well we have, we've been magnificent. So magnificent that I decided to go to bed about eight last night having been up for about 36 hours playing FM on/off. Have a guess where, in the fixture list below, it was I went to bed:
An amazing turn of form if I do say so myself. It's almost as if my glorious players suddenly turned into broccoli and now the only way I can reach them is by pouring melted cheese over them to evoke a response. We've gone from being league leaders to two points behind Velez now. I'm constantly having to manage my expectations and while I should be delighted with how we're doing, it's not fair to just be satisfied.
So I've called the obligatory team meeting and told everyone they need to sort themselves out. Fingers crossed it works, I really hate broccoli.
It's naive of me to believe we should be winning every match we go into only four years after we started out in the Nacional B, but after the start we had to this Apertura I kind of feel we really missed a solid opportunity here. Look, let's be honest it's a testament to how this squad has grown that we can post these numbers early on, but it's worrying at how weak they are mentally when it comes to bad form. A good team can respond to defeat by getting back on the wagon and riding on. But not my team, they fall apart, barely function. Do you know something, I've never seen a player's morale being described as 'Abysmal', but for no apparent reason Mauricio Parra was feeling 'Abysmal', despite having his strongest season for us so far in his career.
There's only so much I can do as a manager. I can coax, nurture, chastise, speculate, play with the pieces, kick the pieces, eat the pieces. But sometimes the players have to accept the responsibility for their actions and our capitulation three quarters of the way through the Apertura was horrible. What scares me is that this is a quality that has carried over from my earliest team, despite only one or two of them still playing regularly for us.
The bottom line is that our consistent performance in this division must not carry on following that performance illustrated in the graph above. The players at this club are better than that and they need to show some spine if they want to actually win things instead of dreaming about winning things.
This story is all too familiar for my liking. I've tried holding a team meeting but no one seems to want to take responsibility. It's the manner of these defeats and draws, all last minute goals, weak rebounds and poor defending. Ideally I'd like to just leave and go somewhere else, my head hurts watching these amateurs.
There's something quite disturbing about managing a side capable of scoring six goals yet conceding three. Not only is it terrible for my mental health issues, but it doesn't bode well for the future success (or lack of it) of this club. I think I'm going to need to re-evaluate my defence during the winter break, I may even need to work on a new formation/tactic in order to keep our offensive potency in tact while making us much more efficient defensively. We've conceded far too many goals this season.
Amidst our monthly payments to clubs for players and our rising wage costs, the board has handed us a gift to keep going. Along with the prize money from the end of the season, this should see us maintaining the status quo for a while. My only problem is that if we want to compete with the top dogs on a consistent level across the continent we're going to need more money being spent. Case in point: our wage total is fifteenth highest, it's only going to go up but we can't afford it to.
I might go and watch Moneyball in the cinema, learn from a real manager:
A much stronger finish than we are used to has seen us finish the Clausura in second place. There are definitely real lights shining from this club, especially in our ability to score goals. It's going to take some work to sort the defence out, but it's not going to destroy this club. Russo and Machado are a seriously dangerous combination and while their departure to Europe is inevitable, the fact we have them here now doing the business is going to make us stronger in the future because of the money we can get from them.
We could have possibly nicked the Clausura from Independiente, but they have a striker called Beltrame who is going to be one of the superstars of world football. The sooner he is signed the better. With that said, we're looking good for the future, we just need to sort out the defence.
Our outstanding performance in the league this year means our points average has gone up considerably, allowing us to qualify for the Copa Sudamericana. I'd rather not have another cup competition to contend with unless it's the Libertadores, but it will still be a good way to test ourselves against the rest of the continent and the extra money will help to ease my financial worries.
In some ways yes. The evolving process is hard to manage, I'm constantly trying to better the squad, but the older players are still important to me as squad players, but obviously they want to be starting games every week. I'm going to try and use more younger squad players to make sure squad harmony is improved, but we could become weaker. But I'm content, the progress we've made in the last four years has been tremendous. I'd quite like to win something of value now.
You'll see with my movements this winter, it was all about making the defence much more solid for the upcoming season:
Navia was a good free transfer, he'll be fighting Fernandez for the left back role. I currently have four foreign players registered, however I'm waiting for the paperwork on Parra's citizenship to clear, so it might be touch and go if he's registered for the season in time.
The signing equivalent of buying a tank to take your kids to school. I want to feel safe at the back, I made sure I feel safe. He cost me £2.4m, but he's worth every penny. It's going to do some damage to our finances, but given the added income we're receiving from increased ticket sales and sponsorship, plus a few sales, we should weather the storm. He's a powerful player who should really give us an extra level of defensive capability, very exciting.
Good cover for the right back slot, another free transfer. Villafene has really made the right back position his own since Abecasis left for Estudiantes, but I felt it was necessary to make sure we aren't caught short in case of injuries.
Barrientos is in on a free from Catania in order to give us cover for both wings. He's a little old, but is only on a one year contract and should serve us well to be effective when called upon.
In terms of outgoings, the major transfer was moving Gutierrez on for a good amount of money. With the foreign player limit and a few players above him in the squad, it was important we sold him now before his value dropped. That money is going to keep us going for a while without calling any administrators in.
As for the rest, good squad players who served us when we were coming up, but we can't be sentimental; in order to progress we need to have the best players we can get. Those guys didn't deserve new contracts and so they were released.
All in all I think this has been a good winter of business and I'm cautiously confident for the season ahead.
So it's now seven games played against Lanus and we've still yet to beat them. I don't know what it is about them, but we just can't win. Yet against clubs like River I almost always win. Very strange, I might look at the tactic analysis screen to see if there's anything I can gain from it.
I thought I could get away with having two goalkeepers this season. I never get two injured at the same time, never.
The next month is going to be hilarious, if my managerial career was a metaphor it would be meeting an attractive lady in bar, spending hours talking to her, flirting and eventually we'd go back to her room. She'd strip off all her clothes and give me a massage. I'd turn rip my clothes off and just as we were about to make love she would violent project vomit all over my face and body. I'd go to the shower to wash myself down but while I had my back turned, quietly getting the chunks of sick out from underneath my fingernails, she'd stab me in the back with a broken glass.
It's safe to say I have a managerial crisis on my hands. The bubble has burst, our league form has been atrocious and we're not in good shape at all. I'll fill in the blanks once the apertura finishes, but suffice to say; it isn't a pretty picture.
What a horrible, horrible apertura. Our defence has improved, I guess, but for some reason my players find it impossible to score. We weren't helped by the fact our two best strikers were involved in the U-20 World Cup and the Olympics, but still we shouldn't be so impotent in front of goal.
This in turn has led to a large number of my players becoming unsettled, which has caused morale to spiral out of control and then the cycle just repeats itself. Thankfully we have the summer break to take some time to rest up and refocus, but I can't say I didn't see this coming. We had to have a reality check at some point. I had an argument with Emmanuel Ledesma, I'm not prepared to do the same with the rest of my players. I'm just going to ignore them and hope the problem goes away.
What a pathetic manager I am, but I can't trust the game's conversation system to allow me to form a resolution with my unsettled players. It isn't fair to boil down what would be a very important conversation into a ten second game of multiple choice that can effectively solidify or destroy a working relationship. It's pathetic, unfounded and I still believe the spoken parts of this game are utterly moronic. I only do press conferences and team talks to improve my media handling and hands on ratings.
So yes, I feel the games is limited, but then I know what to expect now. It hasn't changed. No actually wait, changed is the wrong word to use; it hasn't improved in a number of years and despite the other aspects of the game making some improvement, when so much influence within the game is placed upon a conversation system someone who smears chocolate cake on their face would design, well it doesn't give me much confidence.
I guess I'll have to re-adjust my formation, not that I want to because I know it's effective, but apparently I have to do something. For the sake of it.
Oh yeah, we qualified for the Copa Libertadores:
I'm trying to act all moody and depressed yet I receive unbelievable news like this. **** this game, it doesn't know the concept of atmosphere. It's the video game equivalent of a whoopee cushion made of heroin.
I won't be pushed around. These players need to remember some of my scouts have over 1,500 players on their report list. One guy's list is so long he has retired players on it. I can filter through them with ease. This signing was no different. I use scouts exclusively for my signings, so I make sure I'm prepared for when situations like this arise.
Loan fee of £750k and a future fee of £1.8m set. I think it's a good deal for the club, Navia is itching for first team action, this will give him a good amount of time to get some experience. Fernandez was brought in five years ago on a free and he has developed handsomely, but we need the cash and he is expendable per se. I mean I'd like to keep him, but the price is high enough to make me satisfied if he is sold.
A really, really difficult tie. We weren't helped by Podio's challenge, I got the impression he was trying to get sent off. We managed to keep the game to a draw and that puts us in a good position for the home leg. I really want to qualify for this, we really need the money.