Some solid signings .
Some solid signings .
OK, it's been a while by my standards. Started the season then a mix of being out and about a lot, being tired, and not being too motivated to do shorter-than-usual sessions (and by that I mean up to a few hours) sort of got in the way. However I have got back some motivation to stick it out with Dunfermline for a bit, at least for now...
Ross County 2-0 Dunfermline (SLC)
We started in the League cup at Ross County. We had never won our first game of the season (though usually it was the Challenge cup), and this time we had pressure but no efficiency as they took their fewer chances and won 2-0.
St Mirren 1-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
We went to St Mirren for the first league game, finding it tough going in the first half, and eventually going behind in stoppage time. We were a little better after the break, Marsh equalizing in the 72nd minute, and Blyth snatched a winner in the 88th minute.
Alloa 0-2 Dunfermline (SCC)
We went to Alloa in the Challenge cup, a competition we had never won a game in. We looked very good in the first half, but didn’t get a goal. Green delivered the goods in the 53rd minute. They really applied the pressure afterwards, but Evans headed in a free-kick to give us a 2nd goal in the 80th minute and put it beyond them.
Dunfermline 2-2 Clyde (SD1)
Clyde had also won their opening league game, and proved superior, easily taking us apart early on and scoring in the 14th and 37th minutes, though Blyth got a goal back just before half-time. We pushed them very hard in the second half, and Blyth equalized in the 78th minute, shortly before they had a winner disallowed, but again we were perhaps a little lucky to get what we did. No one winning both games left things very open early on.
Greenock Morton 3-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We worryingly went 2-0 behind (in the first 20 minutes) against Morton as well. They kept going, getting another after 32 minutes. McNeil got one back at the start of the second half but there was no sign of a potential comeback.
Dunfermline 4-0 Dumbarton (SD1)
I hoped for better against Dumbarton, who had succeeded in avoiding relegation via the playoffs last year. Green and Philips have us a 2-0 lead after 23 minutes. Blyth gave us a 3rd in the 56th minute and a Philips penalty in the 77th minute finished off a 4-0 win.
St Johnstone 1-0 Dunfermline (SD1)
We had a tight game at St Johnstone. For a while it looked like a win would put us top, but that ship sailed by the time they got an annoying late winner.
Dunfermline 1-0 Berwick (SD1)
We had to face Berwick, the relegated side from the SPL last year. It wasn’t a good match, but importantly for us Blyth gave us a win in the 72nd minute.
Dunfermline 2-1 Stirling (SCC)
We played Stirling in the Challenge cup, and were comfortably on top throughout. We had to wait until the second half for goals, from McNeil in the 64th minute, then Hulse, while they got a late consolation.
Dunfermline 1-1 Ayr (SD1)
Things were disappointing against bottom club Ayr. They had a goal disallowed in the second half before Wallis own goal gave them the lead but Hulse gave us a point with a couple of minutes left.
Annan 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We went to Annan and struggled to gain the upper hand we should have. They eventually grabbed a goal in the 83rd minute, but Philips bagged another point 5 minutes later, however as we were still slipping behind it wasn’t much consolation.
Clyde 1-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
We were heading for a bad day at Clyde when we went behind in the 18th minute, but McNeil levelled it 10 minutes later. I was worried when Massey’s injury left us with 10 men in the second half, but McNeil gave us a win (despite a close finish) in the 72nd minute. From looking like even challenging was a distant dream, we were suddenly 2nd, 2 points off top, a quarter of the way through.
Dunfermline 3-0 Livingston (SSC SF)
We had 2 home games in a row against Livingston, starting in the Challenge cup semi final. After an even first half, McNeil gave us a double in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Green have us a 3rd for good measure in stoppage time. League leaders St Johnstone would be tough final opponents though.
Dunfermline 2-0 Livingston (SD1)
In the league, a Philips penalty gave us the lead after 20 minutes. It was controversial, but the win was deserved and Green finally gave us a second with a minute left.
Dunfermline 1-1 St Mirren (SD1)
It was a month of home games, with St Mirren next. For most of the game we were the only team that threatened, but didn’t get anywhere until they took a late lead. We had rescued points many times before and did so again from Green in the nick of time.
Dunfermline 0-5 Greenock Morton (SD1)
The brief spell of promise was very much over as we went behind against Morton in the 13th minute, conceding 2 more in the last 10 minutes of the half. The defence would be sent on the naughty step as some good attempts to come back were spoilt by a couple more Morton goals.
Dumbarton 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We hoped to return to winning ways at Dumbarton when Green gave us the lead in the 65th minute, but they quickly equalized to spoil the day.
Dunfermline 4-0 St Johnstone (SD1)
We played St Johnstone in the league just before our cup final. It would still be useful to try and close the 7 point gap, and we certainly managed that easily. Philips gave us the upper hand with a 41st minute penalty and suddenly the floodgates opened. McNeil and Hulse made it 3-0 midway through the second half, and Philips got a second penalty in the 80th minute.
Dunfermline 1-0 (aet) St Johnstone (SCC Final)
We were under a lot more pressure in the cup final. We evened things up in the second half, and turned up the heat in extra time, getting a winner from Cross’ first goal for the club with a few minutes left, giving us a win in a cup competition that we’d lost every game in before this season.
Challenge Cup Final
Berwick 2-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
It took time to get going back in the league at Berwick, and when we started doing so we suddenly faltered again as they took a 2-0 lead early in the second half. Cross’ 78th minute goal not being enough to give us anything.
Ayr 0-1 Dunfermline (SC)
We didn’t do too well at Ayr in the cup either, at least early on when they had a goal disallowed. McNeil sent us through with a 55th minute goal, but even then they had a penalty claim turned down just afterwards as we weren’t that convincing.
Not confident about doing anything in the league for some time, but still going to wait and see.
Last edited by deltablue; 05-08-2012 at 09:52.
Congrats on the cup win.
Patchy league form, but you're well placed if you hit form at the right time
Congrats on the Cup. League could go either way. Still time left.
Ayr 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We went to Ayr again in the league, pounding them early on. McNeil gave us the lead in the 22nd minute, and as we could have had another, it was disappointing to concede an equalizer late in the half, and we failed to do much to grab a winner in the second half.
Livingston 0-3 Dunfermline (SD1)
We had another good start at Livingston and this time made it stick. Evans headed us into the lead in the 28th minute, and a Philips penalty made it 2-0 5 minutes later. McNeil finished off a 3-0 win just a couple of minutes after that, and they never really threatened.
Dunfermline 1-0 Annan (SD1)
We expected to beat bottom side Annan at home after that. We eventually took the lead from Philips just before half-time. McNeil gave us a deserved second goal and win in the 57th minute. In a rollercoaster season we were back to being just a point from top at the halfway stage, as things were very open.
St Mirren 1-0 Dunfermline (SD1)
We then had to go to St Mirren who weren’t far behind. We went for them in the first half, but failed to score which really cost us when they snatched an undeserved winner in the 74th minute. However we only dropped one point further behind as the top half were covered by just 2 points.
Dunfermline 2-0 Clyde (SD1)
We were lucky against Clyde on boxing day, having been a mess in the first half and with Clyde having a goal disallowed. We took control after the break however , with Marsh giving us the lead in the 50th minute, and McNeil getting a second later on.
Greenock Morton 3-3 Dunfermline (SD1)
Greenock Morton away was a tough last game of the year, but a key one if we could get something. They took the lead in the 6th minute, and I was worried about another heavy defeat like the 5-0 last time we played. However McNeil equalized in the 17th minute, and 15 minutes later Philips headed in a corner to give us the lead. They fought well in the second half, but we had a goal disallowed just before Marsh made it 3-1 in the 72th minute, but they got a goal back with a few minutes left, and got an equalizer in stoppage time, admittedly well deserved, and I’d have taken a point before the match.
Meanwhile, Clement won his 6th World Player of the Year award in 7 years, and in the 8th in a row for one of my Milan players (Eweka and Richter being the others)
Dunfermline 0-2 Dumbarton (SD1)
Tshabalala finally arrived and made his debut against Dumbarton. Unfortunately while he wasn’t a major culprit, it didn’t go well. Wallis own-goaled in the 3rd minute, they had another disallowed before extending the lead in the 33rd minute. We were only partly better in the second half, and surprisingly remained just 3 points off top.
Clyde 1-1 Dunfermline (SC)
We went to Clyde in the cup, and were hindered by a couple of knocks sustained during the match. One of those was Philips who scored a penalty in the 84th minute, but a stoppage time equalizer meant we’d face a replay.
Dunfermline 5-2 (aet) Clyde (SC)
The first half wasn’t much to write home about, but then McNeil’s diving header gave us the lead in the 58th minute. They woke up, equalizing in the 75th minute, and quickly taking the lead, however among a revival from us, McNeil took it to extra time with an 85th minute equalizer. Nothing happened in the first half of extra-time, which seemed to be mirroring normal time, until we had a first chance at the end, but we kept going in the second half, Birch giving us the lead in the 108th minute, scoring another 5 minutes later, and there was even time for Wylie got make it 5-2 in the last minute.
St Johnstone 2-0 Dunfermline (SD1) 200th Dunfermline game!
St Johnstone away was my 200th game at the club. There was little to celebrate on the pitch however, we made do the best we could (especially with a reserve keeper) but they hit us either side of half time to see us off, injuries to Birch and Philips (who had just come on) adding to a bad day.
Dunfermline 2-3 Berwick (SD1)
A weak defence let us down against Berwick. They were also chasing promotion but McNeil gave is a 7th minute lead. They equalized before the break but Birch restored it in the 57th minute. A win would see us close to 2 points of top, which made their 67th minute equalizer (from an own goal) disappointing enough, without having to see them get a late winner as well, as a win was just thrown away.
Dunfermline 1-1 Ayr (SD1)
We slept our way through a first-half with Ayr, waking up when they took a 53rd minute lead, and only got an own-goal equalizer right at the end
Still looking like movement could happen either way. How many matches in a season?
Well done on the cup win delta, still enough games to catch St Mirren .
Congrats on the win.Hopefully you can continue to make steady progress.
Made massive strides since you took over.
Dunfermline 1-0 Dumbarton (SC)
Dumbarton was a favourable last 16 cup tie. An own-goal got us off to a good start in the 4th minute. We were the better side (though not by much) so while it was not a comfortable ride (especially with McNeil missing a late penalty) it was just about deserved.
Annan 2-0 Dunfermline (SD1)
We were confident going to botton side Annan but were 2-0 down after 28 minutes, and were perhaps a little lucky not to concede a 3rd.
Dunfermline 1-0 Livingston (SD1)
We hadn’t won for 6 games in the league, but that changed against Livingston. Cross gave us the only goal in the 6th minute but we were definitely good value for another.
Dunfermline 2-1 St Mirren (SD1)
It didn’t look like we’d build on it when we went behind against St Mirren in the 4th minute, but we fought back and Thomas headed an equalizer just before half-time. They battered us in the second half, and were unlucky to have a goal disallowed, even more so when Birch snatched a stoppage time winner. However we were still 7 points behind with 8 games to go so it wasn’t likely to get us anywhere.
Greenock Morton 0-1 Dunfermline (SC QF)
We had fellow Division 1 sides in every round of the cup this year (and 2 more in the Chellenge cup), which included Morton away in the quarter-finals. I wasn’t too confident but we were pretty good throughout, and Green took us through with 15 minutes left, setting up a semi-final with Celtic.
Clyde 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We dropped off badly at Clyde, going behind in the 2nd minute at the start of a very poor half, but being just a goal down allowed us to fight for a point, and after having a goal disallowed, Thomas gave us an 88th minute equalizer.
Dunfermline 2-2 Greenock Morton (SD1)
We lost our keeper for up to 6 months before we played Greenock Morton. They took the lead in the 14th minute, but a couple of minutes later McNeil ended a very long drought with a penalty, with Thomas giving us the lead in just before the break, converting a Hulse volley, however they grabbed a share of the points with a 77th minute equalizer.
Dumbarton 3-0 Dunfermline (SD1)
We had a nightmare at Dumbarton, going behind in the 29th minute, and instead of coming back, conceding a couple more in the second half.
Dunfermline 4-2 St Johnstone (SD1)
Like last year we hoped to hang on to the top half, and Thomas gave us the lead in the 15th minute against St Johnstone. They equalized in the 28th minute but Green restored the lead on the stroke of half-time. Green scored again early in the second half, but they got a goal back with 20 minutes left, and we had to rely on Birch to make it safe.
Berwick 1-0 Dunfermline (SD1)
3 of our last 4 league games were away, starting at Berwick, who looked like making an immediate return to the SPL (just as Dundee were likely to come straight back down). We held out in the first half, but not only was that as well as we were doing, they took the lead in the 1st minute of the second half, our only defensive blip of the game as we otherwise held up well.
Ayr 4-0 Dunfermline (SD1)
We had a couple of injuries before we went to Ayr. Half the team had clearly given up on the season, and a mediocre first half was us go down in the 9th minute, and they had little trouble, getting a second in the 67th minute. We had looked better for a bit, but two goals in the last few minutes brought that to an end.
Dunfermline 2-1 Celtic (SC SF)
It was poor preparation for our cup semi final with Celtic, not that we had much chance anyway. We kept them quiet in the first half, and might have snatched a goal if we had been any good up front. They took the lead in the 52nd minute, and I thought ‘well, at least we haven’t disgraced ourselves’. However Birch equalized in the 68th minute, and as both sides went for it (admittedly them more than us) Phillips gave us a win 20 minutes later, though unsurprisingly they threw everything at us in the final few minutes. As if that wasn’t enough, we were facing Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who were already qualified for the CL (and about to take the title) so we’d be in Europe even if we lost.
Dunfermline 2-1 Annan (SD1)
The final home league game was against Annan, and they were reasonably comfortable compared to Celtic. Hulse gave us a 4th minute lead, Birch extending it in the 21st. We sustained a couple of injuries up front but though they got a goal back in the 82nd minute, we were worth a bigger win.
Livingston 0-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
A trip to Livingston ended the league season. They put up resistance for a while but Blyth (in his first appearance for a while, not helped by injury) gave us the lead in the 52nd minute, later having another disallowed. Cross gave us another in the 76th minute, giving us 4th (though with 1 less point than last year) and condemning Livingston to the relegation playoff (which they lost) just 2 seasons after dropping down from the SPL.
Final League Table
Dunfermline 1-0 Inverness (SC Final) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That left the cup final. Inverness would be far tougher than Celtic, as they had retained their title with a 25 point margin over Aberdeen, Celtic being a further 2 points behind in 3rd. Their squad reflected that quality. Most of their team was on at least as much as our entire squad (including two on 70k), and they had a bunch of players who were good enough to play for a lot of sides even in the top leagues. The gulf was just that massive. Men against boys didn’t really cover it, my Milan side would only have been a certain amount harder. It’s fair to say that the pressure was very much off, especially as we’d be in Europe anyway. A corner was deflected into the Inverness net to give us the lead, which at least gave us a chance. Surprisingly we still had the freedom to try for another in the first half. Even without being dominant, they were still quite a threat, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle, even without our excellent first choice keeper Anderson. We even had a late surge to try and get another, as we won our first Scottish cup for 89 years.
What!!!! I wasn’t kidding about how strong Inverness were, losing 5-0 (or even more) would have been a fair reflection of how how many times better they were on paper. This has to be one of the biggest if not the biggest shock competition wins I’ve ever done. The prematch odds were 12-1 for us compared to 1-8 for them and it was even described as ‘facing the impossible’, like back to back, promotions, something other people could managed but not me. Even such a good cup run with a lower division team was something I’d hardly ever done, let alone winning the thing. Our mediocrity in the league for so long had really dulled my spirits but after the Celtic win I had really perked up again.
However there was still the disappointment of the league. If there’s one thing worse than frustrating lack of progress, it’s there being a repeat pattern to it, we weren’t quite as good in the first half of the season as last time (though a more open season meant we were in a similarly good challenging position) and not quite as bad in the second half (but only just). Even the strong cup performances didn’t provide much relief, at least until Celtic. Even if the cup win hadn’t happened, I still just about felt it was worth another shot, but if we couldn’t get close I’d probably leave at the end of next season, maybe even during, as plenty of interesting things from a range of leagues had been in my inbox in the past year or two.
I had seen how quickly things could change in Scotland, in my first three seasons (in the Division 2 season, we were something like 7th over halfway into the season yet comfortably finished 2nd and went up thought the playoffs, though we were some way behind champions Ayr) at the club, plus this year was a remarkably open one, so didn’t want to feel like I was giving up too easily, but after a couple of weeks I still felt a change soon would do me good. Obviously the cup had given me more enthusiasm for the job but that was the way I was heading.
Star player: A very good all round contributer of goals (admitedly a lot from penalties) and assists, though not quite highest in ratings.
Brilliant win in the Scottish Cup Sounds like you have a group of players who dig in for the big cup games - if only they would do it in the league. Europe should give your team some good experience going into the next season.
4th is a good placing - looks like you might be able to kick on and win it next season
Great job in the cup! The league is a tough battle and there's a few quality teams that need to knock off for you to get into the higher places. You're close though.
Two cups in a season! . Have you made it on to their favoured personell list yet?
Last edited by deltablue; 28-07-2012 at 10:09.
May not have won the league but the Scottish cup is a damn good consolation prize
Great work lifting the Scottish Cup .
The summer started of quietly, we had a bit over 1.5M in the bank again and I was spending it on a few players. However one of my best moves at Dunfermline was waiting until the English contracts were expired before scouting free agents, and it had yielded a lot of my better players recently. Some of the players weren’t that much of an improvement beyond squad depth, but there were still a few that hopefully would make a strong difference among the 9 I signed (including the 3rd player I’ve signed for the club called ‘Evans’, the second one still being here).
It was a bit of a risk getting in a lot of players, pushing some regulars from the last few years out of the door, Wallis and Bradshaw had been the last survivors of the Div 3 team, along with Morrison and Wylie from the Div 2 team, but now all the squad had been brought in since promotion. Having decided to give it ‘one more year’ I’d probably stay another to see if we could do it when this team gelled, but I felt that with European football being a minor boost to our attractiveness I wanted to do what I could to match the top sides in the division, and hopefully if it didn’t pay off immediately it soon would.
If nothing else we’d have a bit of Europe, as we’d be in the 4th Qualifying round I expected a near-impossible tie compared to being able to maybe win one or two had we entered earlier. However I’d enjoy the experience of facing whoever we played. It would be the club’s first European campaign for 50 years, and surprisingly they had a bit more European history than I expected, being regulars (mostly in the Fairs cup) in the 60’s, even reaching the Cup Winners Cup semis in 1968-69, though since 1970 only had a couple of brief appearances in the Uefa Cup in the mid 2000’s, losing to Icelandic and Swedish teams respectively. We got as unglamourous a tie as it was possible to get... Grimsby. They were newly promoted to the Premier League (having gotten into Europe by being the FA Cup runners up) but would probably still be much too strong
Busy transfer period, but looks like you've brought some good youngsters in.
Partick Thistle 1-0 Dunfermline (SCC)
We started our season defending the Challenge Cup at Partick Thistle. It was an even game where they took the lead after an hour, having a late second disallowed, but it wasn’t a big priority.
Dunfermline 4-5 Greenock Morton (SD1)
We had a bit of a gap before the first league game at home to Morton. We got off to a great start, with Cross giving us the lead in the 4th minute, and Higgs making it 2-0 after 18. However wihin 20 minutes they had got it back to 2-2, followed by a red card for Thorley. We still put up a good fight with 10 men but they eventually took the lead in the 65th minute, then made it 4-2. However in the last 10 minutes, Massey and Al-Balawi gave us our own 2-goal comeback, but it wasn’t enough as they got a stoppage time winner. It was a waste of a great opportunity to get off to a good start. I didn’t so much throw the book at the idiotic Thorley as the whole library.
Elgin 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We were also frustrated at Elgin, who took the lead in the 9th minute despite us having the chances. Cross equalized in the 52nd minute, but Al-Balawi made it 2 red cards already in the league this season. They missed a penalty with a couple of minutes left but otherwise I felt it was another game we should have won.
Dunfermline 1-0 Grimsby (EL)
I had even less expectation than before for Grimsby. Due to my habit of grabbing alot of English free agents we actually had more English players than they had (though a score of 18-17 meant they were hardly neglecting the English). The first leg was pretty dull. We were able to hold them despite not being that good, and Evans II actually headed us a win after 10 minutes.
Grimsby 3-0 (3-1) Dunfermline (EL)
The away leg was unsurprisingly Grimsby traffic. They levelled the tie in the 11th minute, but we had a good late spell. Massey had a goal disallowed that might have done it for us in the 77th minute. 5 minutes later they got a second goal and finished us off with a 3rd, which was a pity as I had hoped we could sneak through after the first leg. It was my second consecutive defeat in Europe to an English team, though obviously it was a world away from Milan-Liverpool in a CL semi.
Berwick 4-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
Unlike the first two league games, we could have no complaints about a bad trip to Berwick. They took the lead in the 17th minute, and extended it 15 minutes later after we wasted some chances to equalize. They then made it 3-0 just before half-time. They scored a late 4th before we got a goal back in the 80th minute from Crouch, who had earlier missed a penalty, and another from McNeil.
Dunfermline 3-0 Hamilton (SD1)
We had managed to get this far without having ever played Hamilton (I think), but we did so now. Lambert gave us the lead in the 26th minute, after we had a goal disallowed in the 15th. McNeil quickly gave us another. McNeil had only made his first appearance of the season coming on as a sub against Berwick, and made up for lost time with his 3rd goal in 1 ½ games in the 57th minute, giving us a deserved easy win.
Dunfermline 2-0 Dumbarton (SD1)
We had a game in hand (having not played in between the Grimsby legs) which was played against Dumbarton. Webber starred to give us the lead in the 5th minute, then made it safe in the first minute of the second half.
Ayr 3-0 Dunfermline (SD1)
Our improvement faltered very badly at Ayr. It was just a general awful performance by most of the team, except for Phelan who was brought on in goal after they took the lead in the 15th minute, though he couldn’t stop them getting another in the 27th minute. Even with his man of the match performance (getting a rating of 9.0, when only a few of his teammates reached the mid 6’s) they finished us off with a 3rd early in the second half. I’d hate to think what it would have been like without him.
St Johnstone 4-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
Webber gave us the lead in the 2nd minute at St Johnstone, but we failed to keep it as they equalized in the 15th minute, and Thorley followed up his opening day red card with an own-goal to give them the lead a minute before the break. McNeil equalized in the 74th minute but they went on to win 4-2.
Dunfermline 2-1 Motherwell (SLC)
We played Motherwell in the League Cup, and again we went out immediately, going 2 goals behind in the first half a hour. Cross gave us a goal back in the 47th minute but later McNeil went off injured, reducing us to 10 men.
Dunfermline 0-1 Dundee (SD1)
Relegated Dundee were the current pace-setters. We somehow held them off in the first half but they got a winner a few minutes after the break.
Dunfermline 0-1 Clyde (SD1)
Disappointment reigned at the moment. We were at least decent against Clyde but still ended up losing to a 39th minute penalty.
Greenock Morton 4-0 Dunfermline (SD1) 1,900th career game!
A trip to Greenock Morton was my 1,900th career match but I wasn’t really in the mood for it right now. While we were alright against Clyde, we were anything but when going 2-0 down in the first half, with everyone doing poorly. They got a 3rd in the second half and even a 4th in stoppage time, in what was our 5th defeat in a row.
Dunfermline 0-1 Elgin (SD1)
I hoped a home game with bottom club Elgin (with just 2 points from 10 games, compared to our 7) would provide some relief. Even here we went behind in the second minute, and while it may seem odd that that attack was more of a let-down than the defence, it happened surprisingly often so far this year. When Cross got sent off a few minutes from time it was barely noticeable.
Oh dear. Lots of signings is no reason to be doing anywhere near this badly. Still intend to see out the season (despite a Benfica vacancy very nearly tempting me just now), even with expectations now 'top half' the board are still generally happy so probably no pressure there, however while not confirmed I probably will go afterwards.
Ouch tough start!!!
Hmmm...not the season you were expecting I bet. How that the second half goes better.
Dumbarton 2-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We went behind again at Dumbarton, the other team below us. Al-Balawi had been furious at his fine at being sent off in the second game of the season, and moaned to the press about it which caused more friction (and adding to the troubles this season), but finally reappearing after his suspension, he equalized in the 58th minute, but it wasn’t enough to save the game as they got an 82nd minute winner.
Dunfermline 1-3 Berwick (SD1)
The first half against Berwick was dull, but not being behind was an improvement. They eventually took the lead in the 48th minute, and while McNeil equalized 6 minutes later it was very short-lived as they ran up a 3-1 win.
Hamilton 1-3 Dunfermline (SD1)
We went behind after 17 minutes at Hamilton, however Phillips scored a penalty in the 24th minute, and Marsh put us ahead at the start of the second half. They had plenty of pressure to equalize but an own-goal from a corner gave us a 3-1 win, ending a run of 8 defeats in a row!
Dunfermline 0-0 Ayr (SD1)
Playing Ayr, we were a little lucky they had a first half goal disallowed. Much like England, we were solid in this game rather than much good, and grabbed a deserved point.
Clyde 3-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
Clyde were now table-toppers, and they were predictably too good, scoring in the 10th minute, and again after half an hour. Al-Balawi came on pulled one back in the 50th minute but we never looked like getting anything even before their 3rd goal.
Dunfermline 1-1 St Johnstone (SD1)
St Johnstone were the latest team to take the lead against us, in the 6th minute. Despite looking shaky, we worked hard to stop it getting worse, and were rewarded with a Marsh equalizer in the 49th minute. We were a lot better in the second half to the point where we might have felt we should have won.
Dundee 0-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
We got rather lucky at Dundee. They were the better side in the first half, but a penalty from Irvine (again on loan from Hearts) gave us the lead in the 52nd minute. Lambert gave us another in the 65th minute.
Dunfermline 1-0 Greenock Morton (SD1)
We edged another win against Greenock Morton, thanks to Thomas in the 30th minute, though they came close to equalizing in the end. While it took us to 7th, 5 points clear of the relegation play off place, Morton were a full 11 points ahead in 6th, so this was the best we’d be able to do for a while.
Elgin 0-4 Dunfermline (SD1)
McNeil gave us the lead in the 5th minute at Elgin on Boxing Day. He got another goal in the 27th minute, and an own-goal made it 3-0 in the 35th. The second half saw Marsh giving us a 4th just before the hour mark.
Dunfermline 1-1 Dumbarton (SD1)
We went behind in the 22nd minute against Dumbarton, but Aussie midfielder Hooper equalized in the 29th minute. Irvine thought he had given us the lead soon after, only to see his goal disallowed and we had to settle for a point.
Berwick 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
We went behind again at Berwick in the 13th minute. Marsh had a goal disallowed in the 77th minute, but McNeil was able to give us a point in the 84th.
Dumbarton 1-0 Dunfermline (SC)
We went to Dumbarton in the cup. Counting the Europa League, we had been knocked out first time in every cup competition this year, and completed an unenviable quartet due to a 60th minute goal, though we looked like we might get an equalizer later on.
Ayr 2-4 Dunfermline (SD1)
McNeil was the star in the first half at Ayr, getting two goals in the space of a few minutes around the 35 minute mark. They pulled a goal back in the 51st minute but two more McNeil goals put it beyond them despite a second Ayr goal later on.
Dunfermline 3-0 Clyde (SD1)
Even table-topping Clyde couldn’t hold him off, though admittedly his 21st minute goal was a penalty. Hooper got another in the 30th minute, continuing a tradition of ‘useful Aussie midfielders’ started by Matthews at Milan. They had a goal disallowed 5 minutes later. Webber (who despite the name isn’t Aussie) gave us a 3rd in the 70th minute.
Safe from relegation by the looks of things. Mid-table finish the aim?
Better in the league, but too little too late?
Dunfermline 2-2 Hamilton (SD1)
Having beaten Hamilton in both league games so far, they were tougher to break down this time, though Thomas broke through to score in the 59th minute, Evans III giving us another 9 minutes later. However they roused themselves to get 2 goals in the final few minutes and grab a very sneaky point.
St Johnstone 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
Our revival seemed to be slipping as we went behind in the 39th minute at St Johnstone. We had limited success but did manage an own-goal equalizer in the 79th minute, extending our unbeaten run to 10.
Dunfermline 2-2 Dundee (SD1)
That run appeared to come to an end against Dundee when they took a 2-0 lead in the 6th and 16th minutes. Hooper got a goal back in stoppage time, and McNeil roused himself from what looked to be another poor patch (he’s that sort of player) to equalize in the 65th minute. Hooper got sent off shortly afterwards but we didn’t have too much to worry about afterwards.
Greenock Morton 0-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
After drawing all 3 games in February we returned to winning ways in March at Greenock Morton. Marsh gave us the lead in the 44th minute, and admittedly we were a little fortunate to still have it when Marsh scored his second goal in the 68th minute, which made things more comfortable.
Dunfermline 2-0 Elgin (SD1)
McNeil gave us the lead in the 19th minute agains no-hopers Elgin, though soon went off injured. It wasn’t as convincing as we might have expected, but Hulse gave us another in the 73rd minute.
Dumbarton 1-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
Webber gave us the lead at Dumbarton in the 8th minute, but it looked shaky, especially in the second half, and a stoppage time equalizer was accepted with weary resignation as something that seemed fair enough.
Hamilton 2-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
We struggled early on at Hamilton, going behind in the 18th minute. Philips’ equalizing penalty 6 minutes later vitalized us and Irvine eventually gave us the lead in the 75th minute. However there was a sense of luck about it so again their equalizer in the 80th minute seemed reasonable.
Dunfermline 2-4 Ayr (SD1)
Our 15 match unbeaten run came to an end in an eventful game against Ayr. Cross gave us the lead in the 2nd minute, but they equalized in the 4th. Cross restored the lead in the 15th minute, but we fell away in the first half and they took a 3-2 lead just before half time. Hooper equalized in the 59th minute, and despite heavy Ayr pressure it looked like we’d survive another scare, but it wasn’t to be as they got a winner deep in injury time.
Dunfermline 3-1 Berwick (SD1)
Berwick were surprisingly more comfortable, Cross again giving us the lead in the 4th minute, and Marsh adding another shortly before half-time. Marsh struck again with a couple of minute left, though they got a stoppage time consolation.
Clyde 0-2 Dunfermline (SD1)
We were winding down the season on a positive note, with Marsh giving us the lead in the 36th minute at Clyde, and an otherwise uninteresting game was wrapped up by Cross in the 51st minute.
Dunfermline 3-1 St Johnstone (SD1)
Things didn’t look so good in the last home game against St Johnstone when they took the lead after 10 minutes, but Marsh and Cross each scored in the last 5 minutes of the half to give us a 2-1 lead. Cross got another in the 67th minute as we cruised to a 3-1 win.
Dundee 2-1 Dunfermline (SD1)
The final game was at Dundee, aready crowned champions and making an immediate return to the SPL. We hoped to crash their party but they were too strong, grabbing a quick pair of goals before the break. We had looked good in spells and Marsh at least gave us a goal in the 78th minute.
Final League Table
Having started well and fallen off the pace in the past two seasons, this year an awful first half was followed by a far better second, however we were only ever trying to rescue as much as could. It was back to the usual disappointment in cups as well after last year. It was a shame to leave Dunfermline like this, but while again we looked good for half a year, after a few years of this I was just frustrated, and knew that if I stayed on just in case on that basis I’d be waiting a long time and not really getting anywhere. In the final month or so of the season I just couldn’t wait for it all to be over.
I’m still happy about what I did, after beating almost everyone easily at home and abroad at Milan, a longer-term journey was needed and after a bad start I had a good one, with back to back promotions to Division 1, plus a surprising pair of cups last season. I did feel a little impatient having expected slow progress at this level and had good finishes after promotion, but that was in a way far more frustrating that the very slow progress I was expecting. I always knew reaching the SPL was a tall order, and would have easily taken ‘comfortable Division 1’ at the start, so could still be very happy even without the ‘cup’ and ‘back to back promotion’ bonuses.
Like at Frigg, I was frustrated by having to chase a single promotion place that never seemed to get any closer, like at Sportist I had taken them a reasonable way but appeared to have done as much as I could, and like at BATE I was stuck with a consistently inconsistent side that every year kept changing their minds about whether they would play like title-challengers or a team struggling to avoid relegation. I just hoped this wouldn’t be followed by something like the triple disaster of Coventry, Ferrol and Brighton.
So what would be next? I fancied a return to something a lot bigger, though that didn’t necessarily mean one of the big few leagues, I had been very close to joining both Benfica and Panathanaikos this season for example. ‘Big-ish but not boringly successful’ would be the main thing this time, however with a World Cup coming up and the top-level managerial changes that follow there were two jobs that I would definitely take if either became available, whatever their circumstances.
Star player: Not the most consistent player in the world, but still gets a respectable rate.
As it happened I had a very short wait before getting another club. They were in a big league, but not doing very well (having moved regularly between the top 2 divisions not just in the game but recently in real life as well), had just 1.5M in the bank and were just over a 200kpw wage budget, but they did have a stadium with a capacity over 50,000, and have won their national title (albeit a long time ago). An interesting place to turn up to indeed, but who are they?
A move! no idea.....West Ham? for a stab in the dark
Hertha Berlin - 3/2
West Brom - 2/1
Portsmouth - 5/2
Deportivo La Coruna - 3/1
FC Koln - 4/1
Wolves - 9/2
Blackburn - 5/1
1860 Munich- 11/2
Torino - 6/1
If it's in England then I am taking a guess with Newcastle
Aside from giving you budget info, I based my clues on real life (it would have been unfair otherwise). Their 1 league title was in 1935 (I told you it was a long time ago, especially as the game date is 2058!). They were relegated for 2 years in 2009, and depending on how you define 'recent', their 2000 relegation (having also gone down for a few years 10 years previously) may count. Oddly their real life and in-game stadia have slightly different names and capacities, but both are over 50,000, and that could be seen as a detail rather than a clue anyway. Anyway to business...
Within a couple of weeks I had rocked up at Betis. It was a very good mix of challenge and potential, but it was just as well I had a long summer to prepare as there was a lot to do. I had a bit of a task on my hands, as they had lost half their games the previous season, finishing 15th, and the budgets were small, 2M transfers (more than the club actually had) and a full up 200kpw wage budget. They had spend as much time in the game in the Adelante (and even once in Div 2B) as they had in La Liga, never having been in the top half. There were some good players to build a team around, but getting rid of the rest to raise money was far from easy, and even if I did I’d have to delve pretty deep for cheap gems.
There were a few early successes, even as late as mid-June there were a few reasonably good players available on expiring contracts, and if there were more available each year in January when I could exploit that market properly then it would be very important. I couldn’t raise much from sales (one guy I couldn’t even give away), and along with a small cash injection it was pretty much to help us keep our heads above water rather than giving us any spending power.
The board only wanted survival, which was just as well, as the free players I brought in were ‘survival’players at best, simply to give us some decent players in case I found little when it was time to spend some money. When I was able to spend (up to 5M) I was glad to see some strong players available but the lack of money meant that I simply had to go for good players who were affordable rather than the best I could attract even as one of the smaller Liga teams. They were at least a better ‘mid-table’ level (or could be) but otherwise unless the lower reaches of La Liga was worse than the equivalent in the Premier League I wasn’t expecting an easy ride, and in the longer term (especially with only 3 non-eu players allowed) getting the players to enable us to progress up the mid-table wouldn’t be easy. I was simply doing what I could this summer rather than being able to properly build for the future.
Later on things got a little better both with selling players and getting a bit more quality in. We also ended up with almost 10M in the bank, and while I had no experience (and only with Barcelona) of a full Liga season for a very long time, hence not being sure of the 'survival' standard, I imagined that we would be alright financially for the year now, especially with a 177kpw wage bill. We had good squad depth, which is one of the less obvious Deltablue trademarks (at the cost of a lot of transfers which might cause problems early on) and a few genuinely good players (especially in midfield, though we were still weak on the wings), but I just had to hope those players would be enough.
A very large influx of players wasn’t helped by the fact that a lot of early frees, signed as a precaution, were mostly obsolete at the end of the summer (though a couple were still important squad players), but if that wasn’t an issue then we would probably be fine. A lot of changes needed to be made in the short term, but now that was done we had far better foundations to push on if we survived the early pains of a much changed squad and relatively undeveloped players.
Excellent job in Scotland, too bad things stalled a little in the last season, but I think you can be proud of the back-to-back promotions and the Scottish Cup whilst playing in the 2nd tier, great achievements to add to a stellar career. I would say that's as impressive as the total domination years with Milan.
Good luck in Spain, I like Betis and have tried to manage them a few years back in FM but without any success.
Best of luck with Betis
Have any other teams outside Barca,both Madrids or Valencia made a name for themselves?
Interestingly enough compared to how I felt late on at Dunfermline, I felt really excited and motivated when playing my first Betis match. If we can survive this could end up being a good move.
Very nice move to Betis .
Oh I read it as "won the league at least once" Good luck at Betis regardless!
Nice move to Betis, they were my Achilles heel in my Spanish save. Had a solid youth system as well.
Unfortunately only have 2 points from the first 5 matches, but do have the away games with Atletico and Barca (theoretically the two toughest) out of the way. This isn't going to be a comfortable season.
Betis 1-1 Mallorca (L1)
The first game was at home to Mallorca, one we had a good chance of getting a win from. Both team showed plenty of ambition, and Russian forward Alimov finally gave us the lead after an hour. They equalized in the 74th minute, and nearly snatched a winner, but on paper this was one of the easier games so I was worried about not getting a win with tougher challenges to come.
Barcelona 4-1 Betis (L1)
One of those challenges came early on when we went to Barcelona. They had my former Milan midfielder Matthews in their team. You wouldn’t have known we were facing Barcelona away as we still went for it early on and Alimov gave us the lead in the 11th minute. Unsurprisingly they had plenty of pressure afterwards, and just before half-time equalized from my former Spain starlet Badia, heading in a free-kick. They kept the pressure up, taking the lead in the 69th minute, then Badia got two late goals. While they were deserved winners, 4-1 was a bit harsh.
Betis 1-1 Hercules (L1)
Hercules was in between the first 2 games in terms of difficulty, having established themselves as a pretty strong mid-table side, but having lost both opening games. They were on top of us from the start, and eventually took the lead in the 33rd minute. Another looked like coming, but we had a good late spell and Voigt gave us a lucky draw with his first goal for the club in the 85th minute.
Atletico 4-0 Betis (L1)
We then had another tough trip to champions Atletico. Unlike at Barca we never stood a chance, going 2-0 down in 9 minutes, and 3-0 10 minutes later. They got a 4th after half an hour, and spared us a greater thumping. I was wondering if this was what facing my Milan team was like for the lesser Serie A and European sides. I was just glad we had that and Barca way over with already.
Oviedo 4-1 Betis (L1)
We then had to go to Oviedo, who were also too good, taking the lead in the 7th minute, and getting another before half time as we were reduced to only a couple of brief attacks. Things got worse in the second half as they got a third goal, then an injury reduced us to 10 men and allowed them to get another. Cypriot defender Georgiou headed in a late consolation, but while Atletico was expected, this was far less forgivable. Elche were keeping us off bottom but we needed a couple of wins soon. At least we already had double the points I got at Hogaborg.
Betis 0-0 Recreativo (L1)
Recreativo was a ‘could win’ which under the circumstances was a ‘should win’. There were a lot of nervy times as we exchanged chances, though admittedly they were a little better and were unlucky to have a 29th minute goal disallowed. They were clearly superior in the second half and it was very much a point of luck, though we needed rather more than that.
Numancia 5-1 Betis (L1)
A trip to Numancia was expected to be painful, but it took a while for them to get back in the game after Georgiou headed in a free kick in the 4th minute. However they equalized in the 30th minute, and took the lead at the start of the second half, getting another 10 minutes later, and after Georgiou got sent off they got 2 more in the last 20 minutes.
Betis 1-3 Xerez (L1)
Xerez were having another of their regular good seasons, and when they took the lead in the 12th minute I thought the game was partly over. Spanish defender Rivas equalized after half an hour and for a lot of the second half there was plenty of hope, but we were sunk after a quick double after 72 minutes. Alimov gave us a last minute consolation.
Espanyol 5-1 Betis (SC)
We had to go to Espanyol in the first leg of a cup tie, and were easy for them to handle. They struck in the 1st minute, were 2-0 up after 15 minutes, and soon made it 3-0. Voigt got a goal before the break, and
while we looked good value for more in the second half, they got 2 more late goals and thankfully it was soon over.
Malaga 3-1 Betis (L1)
We expected another disaster at Malaga, but despite plenty of pressure it took half an hour for them to break through, and Alimov equalized before the break. Again there was hope for a while but like with Xerez a double late in the second half ended those.
Betis 2-2 Villarreal (L1)
Villarreal were down with us, and when Colombian defender Londono gave us the lead in the 5th minute, and we weren’t on the back foot afterwards, I thought we’d do it this time. They equalized in the 30th minute, and took the lead midway through the second half, but Rivas salvaged a point in stoppage time. Still if we couldn’t win this one (or Mallorca) our chances weren’t good for winning most other games.
Betis 2-2 (3-7) Villarreal (SC)
There was almost no point playing the second leg against Espanyol. Rivas gave us the lead in the 8th minute. They equalized after 20 minutes, and went ahead in the 70th, but Voigt salvaged some pride (not much though) with a 76th minute equalizer and we nearly had a meaningless winner.
Almeria 2-0 Betis (L1)
We had a very good early spell at Almeria, including a disallowed goal in the 9th minute. They admittedly took control before their pair of goals before half-time (which was still cruel), as wins were mythical creatures in these parts.
Betis 1-2 Espanyol (L1)
We played Espanyol again in the league. We again started well before going behind after half an hour. Alimov equalized in the 67th minute but they immediately got a winner. Islas got set off in stoppage time, too late to make things worse. This was not my year. Elche were keeping us off bottom with 2 points (compared to our 4), and just 2 goals but we were now slipping to 6 points from safety.
Elche 0-0 Betis (L1)
We went to Elche next, and hoped not even we could mess that one up. I was their rare chance for points as well and we had to hang on for a point, even then only due to Elche having a goal disallowed in stoppage time.
Betis 0-4 Sevilla (L1)
No wins after 13 games wasn’t a great way to go into a Seville derby. Going behind after 5 minutes wasn’t ideal either, but we did have an equalizer disallowed a few minutes before half-time, followed by a second Sevilla goal. We had a few almost-chances but they hit us for a couple more goals later on.
Sociedad 3-0 Betis (L1)
When we went behind in the 28th minute at Sociedad it was seen as just another day at the office. They extended it in the 35th minute, and secured a 3-0 win in the 63rd, however it did mean we were now bottom.
Betis 1-1 Celta (L1)
Our last chance to get anything positive before Christmas came against Celta. They took the lead in the 21st minute, and that seemed to be that, but Londono’s header gave us a point with 10 minutes left.
Oh dear, I've had better half-seasons (or near enough). Previously I might have given up or left just before relegation was secured, but that was a bit cowardly so I'd definitely be staying on, as I've still found it more enjoyable than the past season or to at Dunfermline (though not so much recently obviously), plus if nothing else I'd have some material for the hall of shame.
Usually relegation = failure = resignation (or 'self-firing' as I see it) but the potential was very much there, just that there were far too many new players and they were nowhere near ready, both combining for a disasterous start, so I might even ignore that personal tradition, and with a fairly low wage bill (under 180kpw as things stand, and that was far more likely to decrease for now) I felt it might be worth sticking it out, as I really want to make a success of Betis. Not that we're doomed yet but it's not great at the moment.
Tough start for you at Betis deltablue, have you got much further in? At least looking at it there is enough games there and a manageable gap to turn things round
Not the best of starts, but plenty of games left to scrape your way back out of relegation. Could be an interesting relegation battle at the end of the season.
Last edited by deltablue; 03-08-2012 at 17:51.
Tough start in Spain! I'm sure it will turn for you (fingers crossed)
Congrats on the progress with the Pars. The closed shop of the SPL always makes it difficult to get to the top division, but job done in getting them from 3rd to 1st.
Zaragoza 2-1 Betis (L1)
Over Christmas I scoured the expiring contracts list to bolster the squad for next year while I could still attract better players as a La Liga club, and Russo finally arrived from Argentina. We looked better at Zaragoza, looking positive and taking the lead from Benamar after half an hour. They equalized at the start of the second half and cruelly a penalty gave them the win with a few minutes left, as we definitely deserved a point, maybe even all three, which would have left us just 3 points from safety.
Betis 2-0 Real Madrid (L1)
We still looked like we would probably win soon, though I didn’t expect that to come against Real Madrid. A harshly awarded penalty gave them the lead in the 15th minute, and the same player scored another 20 minutes later. However we actually went above Elche after that.
Valencia 3-2 Betis (L1)
Valencia (who had my former Milan star Brighenti on their side) away was another game we couldn’t expect much from. They duly took the lead in the 4th minute, but midfielder Bunzenthal equalized in the 18th to give us a chance. Unsurprisingly they soon retook the lead, getting a 3rd after an hour, though Nigerian forward Onyenekwe made it close in the 75th minute.
Mallorca 2-2 Betis (L1)
Mallorca were also down in the relegation zone (though nowhere near as bad as ourselves and Elche). Onyenekwe gave us the lead after 10 minutes. They fought back hard, eventually equalizing in the 49th minute, and we struggled to hold on to a single point. Just as it looked bleak, Alimov made it 2-1 in the 79th minute, but when their second goal eventually came with a few minutes left it still deprived us of a win that would have allowed us to close to 6 points of safety (which was still double what it would have been after the first game of the month had we won that).
Betis 3-1 Barcelona (L1)
We weren’t going to get anything from Barcelona, and indeed they struck in the 5th minute, again after 20, and made it 3-0 in the 50th minute. Onyenekwe’s penalty gave us a goal in the 65th minute but that was never going to turn it around, not in a month of Sundays (as my driving instructor is fond of saying).
Hercules 2-3 Betis (L1)
We went behind in the 7th minute at Hercules, and had a goal disallowed 5 minutes later. Roux scored a penalty in the 25th minute, followed by Onyenekwe giving us the lead a few minutes after that, making it 3-1 just before half-time. We looked like we might get another early in the second half before they fought back and got a second goal with 5 minutes left, but couldn’t stop us finally beating someone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Betis 0-6 Atletico (L1)
The club’s first win in 27 games was unlikely to be followed against Atletico, the champions who were again top. They scored in the 5th minute, and pushed on to be 5-0 up at half-time, and there was a 6th in the second half for by far my worse defeat at Betis.
Recreativo 3-1 Betis (L1)
Recreativo failed to be another Hercules. They scored in the 27th minute, then missed a penalty, and scored a quick double just before the hour mark, with Benamar getting a consolation in stoppage time.
Betis 2-2 Oviedo (L1)
Alimov gave us the lead in the 17th minute against Oviedo. They equalized in the 36th minute, but then a miracle happened. Madagascan forward Rakotoson, having been a regular in the autumn (due to those coming on and replacing him also being rubbish) actually scored, in his 17th game of the season! Roux own-goaled at the start of the second half, which was pity as that might otherwise been a win.
Betis 2-5 Numancia (L1)
Numancia was a bit of a disaster, as we went 3-0 down in the first half an hour with another disallowed. They got a 4th in the 50th minute. It as 5-0 20 minutes later. In the next few minutes Islas and Alimov gave us a couple of goals which was surprising as I thought everyone had given up.
Xerez 5-0 Betis (L1)
Going to Xerez was a bit of a disaster as well. They scored in the 11th minute. It was 2-0 after half an hour and 3-0 a few minutes later, 4-0 early in the second half, and 5-0 right at the end. After that I was fired, which was fair enough.
Final Betis League Table
Well that was rather rubbish, it was at least fun to a point, and the potential was there despite the disasterous start post-revolution, which meant that we failed to improve when we might have later on. Still don't regret leaving Scotland to go there and hope things pick up somewhere else. At least I got a single win which I'll treasure, showing the value of things like these like Dunfermline gave me promotions and stuff after Milan was too easy, so still don't regret that either, variety being the spice of FM life.
Ouch! Tough old season. Are the board backing you into next years campaign?
What a shame deltablue Hopefully you will keep your job and rebuild, Betis has a lot of potential and if you get a proper pre season to do things your way then I am sure things will turn around
AEK Athens (who finished 9th last year having only been predicted one position higher, so hardly the nation's '3rd club' right now)
Judging by early interest from similar clubs this appears to be my level for now after the massive reputation blow of the Betis sacking, compared to being linked to bigger (and only mildly underachieving) names like Chelsea and Man Utd from the second Dunfermline promotion, and even was lined up as a replacement for the Barca manager at the end of this season. I must admit that I'm longing for another Milan before too long, though will probably need trophies to be able to get the better jobs again, and after the first year, I might be more willing than normal to leave Athens if I end up being the favourite for something much better.
AEK sounds a decent challenge to get you going again, good luck with the job
Season 50 approached with Club 13: AEK Athens. Greece had a long pre-season, which was nice. The squad seemed reasonable enough, and a repeat of the Betis influx was made rather unlikely by the fact that quality potential signings were few and far between aside from non-eu players, of which I could only have 5 registered, and the club had 6, though I could probably clear a slot or two. Financially we had almost 4.5M in the bank, and were using about 2/3rds of a 90kpw wage budget.
In the end (with a lot of non-eu juggling), 7 players proved to be a good balance between improvement and stability. The board simply expected a top-half finish and I hoped that I had a bit of quality that would enable us to be reasonably competitive this year, and I felt we could make a promising start, though we were probably still a bit behind the stronger sides. Otherwise aside from meeting the board target there was little expectation or pressure about this year.
Some handy players there deltablue, i'd kill for anyone like Bekoe, Biro and Bustos in particular at the minute And the fact you've manged the 7 for so cheap is a brilliant piece of business, with those I have no doubt you'll have a better year this year.
Oh dear, that was an unusual season for a manager of your track record. I suppose when a team gets into a spiral of doom of poor morale it's very tough to turn it around if lucky doesn't go along with you, or if the wrong fixture comes at the wrong time.
Good luck in Greece, I've got that league loaded too, in order to manage Panathinaikos, Olympiakos or AEK eventually in the future.
Anyway things have definitely gone better this year...
(any hints on making it bigger as it's barely managable, both with photobucket and imageshack, which is why I use links). Hopefully its just about big enough for most people, but in case it isn't, it's 2nd place with 4 wins from 4.
Admitedly we haven't yet faced anyone who finished in the top half last year (though that will change when we go to Rodos next, and in the last decade they've turned into a national power with 4 titles and 5 2nd places), and we probably won't end up in the top few places but winning the bread and butter games on a regular basis will make for a very promising start indeed, and a great contrast to last season.
Last edited by deltablue; 05-08-2012 at 10:17.
Last edited by deltablue; 05-08-2012 at 10:15.
Very tough season (well most in this case) with Betis but the best of luck at AEK Athens.
Pyrasos 2-4 AEK (GSL)
An opening game against Pyrasos (newly promoted) gave us a good chance to start well. It started evenly enough but they ramped up the pressure later in the first half and took the lead (from an own-goal by our new keeper, Duda) just before the break. We knew this wasn’t good enough and came racing out of the blocks in the second half, senior forward Lyberopoulos equalizing after 5 minutes. They resumed their hard push but captain Gizdic gave us the lead on the break in the 73rd minute. They headed in a corner shortly afterwards, but the Liberian winger Yenay scored on his debut in the 85th minute, and the Estonian Mandelkorn made it 4-2 in stoppage time, but it had been an incredibly hard fought win. I was just glad I didn’t have to wait anywhere near as long as at Betis.
AEK 1-0 Giannina (GSL)
Giannina was far more comfortable. Mandelkorn gave us the only goal in the 20th minute, but we were worth another, and it was a relief that despite a few second half chances from Giannina they didn’t snatch a point.
Larisa 0-3 AEK (GSL)
The Estonian made it 3 goals from 3 games in the 2nd minute at Larisa. We had a few hairy moments before he scored again in the 52nd minute. He completed his hat-trick 20 minutes later, making us one of three teams with 9 points out of 9.
AEK 3-0 Ethnikos (GSL)
The Romanian Dinu gave us the lead in the 13th minute against Ethinkos, extending it in the 19th minute. Lyberopoulos made it 3 in the 69th minute, and in truth as they were another promoted team it was expected.
Rodos 3-1 AEK (GSL)
Rodos away was a far tougher test than the games so far. It took time for them to get going, but they were definitely the stronger later in the first half, scoring just before the break. They scored another in the 51st minute, and even mae it 3-0, which seemed a bit harsh, but Lyberopoulos gave us a consolation after 70 minutes, as we had been second best, but not as much as I feared we might be.
AEK 2-1 Pierkos (GSL)
We hoped to bounce back against Pierkos, but went behind in the 10th minute. The words ‘quality’ and ‘Estonian’ may not seem like they’d go together but Mandelkorn struck with 2 goals (taking him to 7 in 5 and a half games) to give us a 2-1 lead after half an hour. We were mostly comfortable though they came close to a last-minute equalizer.
Fostiras 0-2 AEK (GC)
We had our opening cup game at non-league Fostiras, and they weren’t much of a threat, but we also took it slow. Lyberopoulos gave us the lead in the 38th minute, and Mandelkorn made it more respectable late on.
Xanthi 1-1 AEK (GSL)
Xanthi were up there with us, and had just been the first team to take points off Rodos this year, so I knew they’d be a tough trip. They took the lead in the 5th minute, but a captain’s goal from Gizdic levelled it in the 10th. They had a player sent off late in the first half but were still strong enough that holding out for a point was a relief, not a wasted opportunity to win. However Mandelkorn being injured for 2-3 months was very bad news.
AEK 5-1 Kastoria (GSL)
Biro had been taken off in the first game for Mandelkorn, and been sidelined by the Estonian after that, but he took his chance to get back into the side and gave us the lead in the 2nd minute against Kastoria. Yenay’s penalty made it a deserved 2-0 after 35 minutes. In truth this was never going to be a tough game, and Dinu gave us a 3rd in the 53rd minute. Colombian defender Rueda made it 4-0 5 minutes later, and though they soon headed in a corner, another Dinu goal, 10 minutes after his first, wrapped up a 5-1 win.
Doxa Dramas 2-0 AEK (GSL)
We failed to show the same life at Doxa Dramas. They eventually took the lead in the 66th minute, and put it beyond us in the 77th.
AEK 4-3 Olympiakos (GSL)
Olympiakos were having a bad season down in 12th. We piled in the pain in an epic game. Gizdic got sent off in the 14th minute, but that didn’t stop us taking control of the game from goals Biro and Dinu after 32 minutes. They took the defence apart to come back to 2-2 before half time, and upped the pressure in the second half. Croatian winger Males made it 3-2 to us in the 54th minute, but so strong were the Olympiakos attacks that it was near-inevitable that they’d equalize, which they did in the 76th minute. Martins grabbed a winner with a couple of minutes left but it was a very close thing indeed.
Panthinaikos 1-1 AEK (GSL)
Going to champions Panathinaikos would be far tougher. Martins caught the keeper off his line to give us the lead after just 15 seconds. They unsurprisingly equalized in the 36th minute. We had some good spells in the second half but I was still happy with a draw.
AEK 2-0 Vyzas (GSL)
We could go second if we beat Vyzas, but as much as we pounded them in the first half, but had to wait until the 57th minute when Males gave us the lead. Biro extended it a few minutes later.
What a difference a new club makes! I didn't expect to be doing anywhere near as well already. My reputation has already been restored to the point that I was the favourite for the Juventus job, but aside from it being too early to go anywhere else, this is a very promising start and even if I'm linked with more big jobs (which is basically what I wanted), it might well be worth staying and enjoying what could be a good stint in Athens.
Good start deltablue I know you're well in to the save but still finding it hard to believe how Rodos have turned in to a force
Decent work in Scotland, it seems like it was a tough system to be promoted in. I was going to say that the move to Betis might prove to be great, building them up to be a giant of Spain, but that one didn't end too well Things going a lot better in Greece now though Interesting to see AEK predicted about mid table, and Olympiakos aren't doing flash hot either, how long has it been since either won a league title?
Tough break in Spain delta but looking a lot more promising in Greece
tough luck with Betis, a challenge like that can go either way and is a shame the squad didn't gel quick enough for it go your way. Good luck in Greece regardless
Indeed, it was a very gradual rise over many years, but since winning their first title just over 10 years ago (early enough that I faced them in the CL with my legendary (well they should be) Milan side) they've only been outside the top two twice so have definitely established themselves.
Panaitolikos 0-2 AEK (GSL)
We were a little wobbly at Panaitolikos, but otherwise managed to beat them with little fuss, Spanish midfielder Alfonso giving us the lead in the 13th minute, with Rueda giving us a second in the 27th.
AEK 1-0 Olympiakos Volou (GSL)
The game against Olympiakos Volou was rather more boring than their Athenian namesakes, but what mattered was that thanks to Alfonso’s 35th minute goal, we took a deserved win.
AEK 0-2 Aris (GSL)
Aris was a reasonably tricky last game before Christmas, and it seemed the shopping had worn out my players as they took a 2-0 lead in the first 18 minutes with little difficulty. We had a good attempt at coming back later in the half but nothing came of it.
AEK 3-1 Pyrasos (GSL)
Pyrasos were an easy start to 2060. Martins gave us the lead in the 23th minute. Biro extended it after half an hour, Martins made it 3-0 in the 50th minute, and while they got a late consolation it was comfortable.
AEK 2-0 Asteras Tripolis (GC)
We were at home to Asteras Tripolis in the cup. Martins gave us the lead in the 32rd minute, and though they equalized at the start of the second half, Biro restored the lead after just a few minutes, getting a second goal in the 87th minute as we cruised through to the quarter-finals.
Giannina 2-2 AEK (GSL)
We went behind in the 5th minute at Giannina, but Biro scored in the 20th and 30th minutes to give us the lead. They immediately equalized, and with plenty of chances for each side it was amazing there wasn’t a winner.
AEK 4-2 Larisa (GSL)
Martins gave us the lead in the 12th minute against Larisa, Males restored it in the 22nd minute, just after their equalizer, and they made it 2-2 in the 33rd minute. The Croat scored again on the hour mark, but after they came close, it was a relief to see a Biro stoppage time goal make it safe.
Ethnikos 0-2 AEK (GSL)
We had plenty of chances at Ethnikos but didn’t look like getting the win until Yenay’s 72nd minute penalty, Bustos adding another in stoppage time.
AEK 1-0 Rodos (GSL)
Rodos were 5 points ahead, so unless we won it looked like we wouldn’t be seriously competing this year. We matched them blow for blow, and snatched a slightly lucky win from Algerian winger Dahar in the 74th minute.
Pierikos 0-3 AEK (GSL)
Biro gave us the lead in the 19th minute at Pierikos. Bustos have us another in the 28th minute. They had a goal disallowed in the second half, with Martins wrapping it up in the 64th minute. Having been 5 points behind 2 games ago we were level with Rodos at the top.
AEK 2-0 Kastoria (GC QF)
We played Kastoria in the cup quarter-final. Martins eventually gave us the lead in the 50th minute, making it safe in the 78th minute, sending us through to the semi-finals, and as we were the only side in the top half (as things stand) left we had decent crack at it.
AEK 4-1 Xanthi (GSL)
Playing Xanthi was a 2nd v 3rd match. Martins had a goal disallowed in the 32nd minute but scored anyway 8 minutes later (which is always nice to see, don’t think I saw it once on FM12 though). Dahar extended it in the 49th minute with Biro and another Martins goal helping us to a 4-1 win, though they did get a consolation in between those two goals.
Kastoria 1-3 AEK (GSL)
Rodos lost to Panathenaikos before we went to Kastoria, which gave us a great chance to take the lead. Biro had a goal disallowed after half a hour, and they took the lead before the break. Within 13 minutes of the second half, Dahar and Konstantinidis (from a penalty) had made it 2-1 to us. Gidzic finished off a 3-1 win with 10 minutes left, and in truth as they had been second-bottom (not bottom) with only one player on even 2 league goals, anything other than a win would have been a slip-up, but what mattered was having a 3 point lead with 7 games to go.
AEK 2-0 Doxa Dramas (GSL)
Having lost at Doxa Dramas we owed them a win now. A Males header was turned in for an own-goal in the 16 minutes. Another own-goal in our favour arrived in the 77th minute with a disallowed Martins goal the closest we got to one of our own.
Wow, Rodos looked like cruising to a reasonably comfortable title, so leading at this late stage was quite something. However we still had to go to Olympiakos (which was next), followed by Panathenaikos (at home but that still could be dropped points), and having lost to Aris at home, going to theirs on the final day wouldn't be easy, so we still had a few hurdles left and even if we fell it would only take a bit away from a great first season in Greece. If we did finish second we would face a European playoff (for teams between 2nd and 5th) to determine European qualification (which depending on the cup was mostly assured with 5 European places). Having none of the top sides left in the cup meant we had a strong chance of winning that, so could end up with at least one trophy, maybe even a double, but as stated earlier, just being close would make for a very good debut season in Greece, so no chicken-counting yet by any means.
On another note, this thread is now the same length as my last one reached, given how many more seasons I've played it doesn't say much about my ability to keep people interested but it's still nice to reach that point
Excellent part to the season there deltablue, looks like AEK were just the right club for you Good luck for the rest of the season
Doing brilliantly with AEK,hopefully the rest of the season can go just as well for you.
Olympiakos 1-0 AEK (GSL)
We had a couple of tough tests coming up, starting at Olympiakos. We struggled in the first half, but held out to have a better second half, which made it cruel that they got a winner in the 68th minute as we easily deserved a point.
AEK 0-0 Panathinaikos (GSL)
We were more positive against Panathenaikos, but again were level at the break, and again we had to settle for slightly less than we deserved.
Vyzas 2-0 AEK (GSL)
We went to Vyzas in the league, before having a repeat fixture in the first of a cup double-header. They went 2-0 up in the first 8 minutes, and we had a goal disallowed just before the break, setbacks that despite a lot of effort we couldn’t come back from. A poor month so far left us just behind Panathenaikos in 3rd, 5 points adrift of Rodos with 3 games left and it looked like 2nd or 3rd was the best we could hope for.
Vyzas 1-3 AEK (GC SF)
We hoped things would go better in the cup. Again Lyberopoulos had a goal disallowed, in the 28th minute, though they had one of their own a few minutes later. They took the lead in the 58th minute, but Mandelkorn equalized a couple of minutes later, and he wrapped up a 3-1 win in stoppage time after Konstantinidis’ penalty gave us the lead from a 72nd minute penalty.
AEK 3-1 (6-2) Vyzas (GC SF)
They took the lead after 5 minutes in the home leg, but Rueda knocked the ball in in the 21st minutes, followed by Males in the 28th. Sub defender Kliafas put it beyond them in the 69th minute, before walking for a professional foul.
AEK 3-1 Panaitolikos (GSL)
We would face Panaitolikos in the cup final, and had a warm-up against them in the league. It wasn’t too difficult, Mandelkorn giving us the lead in the 23rd minute, and again in the 29th. They got a goal back in the 59th minute but Mandelkorn completed his hat-trick in the 77th minute as we beat them easily enough. That was our last home game in the regular season.
Olympiakos Volou 1-2 AEK (GSL)
Unfortunately 10 minutes in at Olympiakos Volou the goalkeeper Duda went off injured. As the existing first choice was Argentine I decided it wasn’t worth keeping them both to take up 2 of my 5 non-eu slots, and I had no sub keeper to bring on for him (though we might manage with a young reserve if needed in other games, that wouldn’t help us now). I can’t remember the last time I had a keeper taken off injured or sent off in a game, probably not this career of for couple of years, so it was very bad timing. Dinu took his turn in goal and did well as they dominated early on, but Mandelkorn snatched the lead in the 39th minute. They equalized in the 51st minute but Mandelkorn quicky struck to give us the win.
Aris 2-1 AEK (GSL)
Going into the last match, at Aris, we were still level with Panathinaikos in the race for 2nd, knowing we’d either finish 2nd or 3rd. They had beaten us at home before Christmas so I was a bit worried, however we were by far the brighter team in the first half, keeping the pressure off reserve keeper Kartalis, while Panathinaikos went behind in their game. I would still be more comfortable if we took the lead, but not only did we fail to do that, Aris started really pushing. In the 72nd minute they broke through and quickly got another, but Biro (just after coming on) got a goal back in the 77th minute, with just one more needed to get 2nd as things stood, but we couldn’t quite get 2nd.
AEK 2-1 (aet) Panaitolikos (GC Final)
We still had a shot at the 2nd CL place in the European Playoffs, but first we had the cup final against Panaitolikos, who finished 9th. Bustas bundled the ball past the returning Duda after 20 minutes to give them the lead, though that didn’t stop the Chilean get man of the match. Mandelkorn hit back a few minutes later, and then had another disallowed. I had hoped it would be more comfortable but it ended up going to extra-time, and looked like penalties, but Makrakis headed in a corner in the 113th minute to give us the cup.
With the cup won, there was little pressure heading into the European playoffs, a group of 4 (the teams that finished 2nd-5th), playing each other twice, where we (and two of the others) would start with 2 points. We already would be in the Europa League 4th qualifying round, unless we grabbed the 2nd CL place, and unlike Belgium only qualification was at stake, not league position, and in fact unless a team from outside the top 5 wins the cup (not this time) or Greece loses a European place, only the competition and round is determined as we’d all qualify anyway, one way or another. Hope that explains it.
AEK 2-1 Xanthi (GSL Playoff)
The first game was a home to Xanthi. Males, who had broken the club’s assist in a season record, gave us the lead in the 4th minute, quickly followed by Lyberopoulos. They pushed hard after that, getting a goal after 70 minutes, and carried on but we held out.
Panathinaikos 0-2 AEK (GSL Playoff)
We went to Panathinaikos, and grabbed a goal on the break from Rueda in the 19th minute. They had most of the chances but we were really robbing them blind as Bustos extended it in the 65th minute.
Olympiakos 3-0 AEK (GSL Playoff
We already had a 4 point lead, over Olympiakos, and if we could avoid defeat at theirs we’d be in a good position. They took the lead in the 28th minute, and in the second half they finished us off well and good with two goals before the hour mark.
Xanthi 2-3 AEK (GSL Playoff)
We bounced back at Xanthi, Mandelkorn giving us the lead in the 13th minute. Within 5 minutes, Bustos and another Mandelkorn goal took us 3-0 up. They got a goal back in the 29th minute, and eventually got a 2nd in the 72nd minute, but we held on to win.
AEK 3-2 Panathinaikos (GSL Playoff)
Duda was injured again for the last two games, at home to the two Athenian giants, with Panathinaikos first. We only needed to go undefeated in each match, but went behind in the 18th minute Lyberopoulos equalized in the 35th minute. He gave us the lead 5 minute later, but they equalized just before half-time. The game was much tighter in the second half, but Mandelkorn gave us a winner in the 88th minute.
AEK 1-4 Olympiakos (GSL Playoff)
Whether we had drawn or beaten Panathinaikos didn’t change the situation ahead of the final game, which was essentially a CL place decider. We just needed a draw against Olympiakos at home, while they’d pip us on goal difference if they won. It looked good fo us, but we all know what happened to Brazil in 1950. We were on top in the first half, but couldn’t take the lead, and they grabbed a goal after half-time. While we sought an equalizer, they sneaked another in the 62nd minute. That ended our challenge, and they got a 3rd 10 minutes later. Biro scored a goal back with a few minutes left, but they got a 4th in stoppage time.
Final League Table
European Playoff Table
Season 50 ended with plenty to be happy about. 3rd and a cup is much better than we’d expect to do this year. It could even have been a lot better. It was slightly disappointing that our title challenge ended so suddenly, and that we just missed out on a CL place but it was still very encouraging, and with more gelling/development it hopefully wasn’t long until we managed either.
However reinforcement would be limited. We had been losing almost 500k each month and had less than 1M in the bank, a lot of that would be gone by the start of pre-season (though admittedly restored a bit by season ticket sales). I could probably still grab a couple of bargains like last year, and there was a very good midfielder arriving from Brazil half-way through next season, but while I expected we could consolidate, pushing on would be harder, and a bit of European money would be very useful, though even if we only needed to win one tie to get to the Europa League group stage, it wouldn’t be an easy one.
As mentioned earlier, I had reached 50 seasons for the first time, and I can’t blame anyone for not remembering my first few clubs (interesting to see if anyone can without looking it up), in fact having set the save up weeks before starting, I kept forgetting the name of the club I was starting at. As well as having had a good landmark season, the cup meant I now had another trophy to my name. It wasn’t just about quality (like 5 CL’s and 7 Consecutive Serie A’s for instance) and quantity, but variety as well, so having a new trophy in the cabinet was genuinely good.
Star player: Limited on paper aside from being very fast, he smashed the record for assists in a season, and got a few good goals himself.
Last edited by deltablue; 09-08-2012 at 07:48.
Shame you trailed off a bit deltablue, but a trophy and an overall strong campaign in your first season is still a good achievement and a much needed change after the struggles of last season
Strengthening would be a bit of a problem for a few reasons. Firstly we were maxed out at 5 strong non-eu players, so had to be very careful about bringing another in to replace one of them, the second was that while there were still some good EU players most of those weren’t great value, and a lot of those that weren’t would cost more than the 1.3M budget I had. Given I wanted to get multiple players that narrowed the options considerably.
I already had a very good Brazilian midfielder coming later in the season, after he turned 18, a deal made last year, and while I needed a left back and the only good ones were barely affordable, I still ended up with a couple of very good reinforcements in defence. With 7 signings last year there was plenty of potential for squad gelling to give us a bit of a boost, along with the useful defensive reinforcement we’d get. Plus having expected to get a cheap you South African, and even sold Rueda to make Non-eu room he went elsewhere so I even had a free slot to use next year, which would be nice to get at least one quality player. It did leave us slightly short defence, which got worse when Barakaldo exceeded Bekoe’s release clause (yep, they paid more then they needed to, probably to beat another bid even though it was unnecessary) and only having 1/3rd of it extra (which given we lose a lot of money over the season, was at least understandable), I needed to find another left-back, who wasn’t bad but not setting my pulse racing either.
The board wanted European qualification, which seemed reasonable, but I also hoped we could have another crack at the title, and if we were in the European playoff again, grab the CL place we barely missed out on last time. We drew a very short straw in Europe this year, as we would play Juventus. In other news, the first league game of the season will be my 2,000th! It’s a milestone I have reached before but not gone much further than.
2060...not bad Probably the longest career I've seen. Congrats, deltablue!
Frigg, some Bulgarian team, BATE, Brighton, some Slovakian team, AC Milan, Dunfermline, Betis, AEK Athens. You also managed Ghana, Spain and England at some point iirc.
Edit: Missed a couple of teams out and somehow added England to your list of nations managed, but I'll say I was close enough
Not a bad season with AEK capped off with European qualification and some silverware . Looksl like some shrewd signings too to push you to the next level . (Just a quick point without sounding pedantic, the final league table is linked to the European playoff table).
Good first season with AEK,looks like you've made some good signings which could help push you on.
Juventus 5-0 AEK (EL)
Opening the season at Juventus in the Europa League, we knew it wouldn’t go well. They took the lead in the 7th minute, but while they kept hammering away I was hopeful we’d be able to stop it from getting embarrassing. They scored a second just before half-time, and they found it easy after that to get a 5-0 win.
AEK 2-1 (2-6) Juventus (EL)
We went behind after half an hour at home as well. Mandelkorn equalized in the 50th minute, and even though we went down to 10 men, Martins gave us a winner on the night in the 78th minute as a consolation for a heavy aggregate defeat.
Kavala 1-2 AEK (GSL) 2,000th career match!!
We kicked off the league campaign with my 2,000th match at Kavala. Biro set us going in the 15th minute. Yenay scored a deserved second in the 53rd minute, and though a penalty gave them a goal back 20 minutes later, aside from a few late chances they were never likely to deny us a comfortable win.
AEK 4-1 Panathinaikos (GSL)
Panathinaikos at home was a good chance to make a gesture of intent. They had the same idea and took the lead in the 6th minute, and looked like they’d get more. Biro sneaked an equalizer in the 19th minute, followed by Bustos heading us into the lead. Thankfully Duda in goal was on fantastic form to keep out chance after chance from Panathinaikos. Males even extended the lead in the 75th minute, and Dahar rounded off a fantastic performance 10 minutes later, but despite the scoreline it was a hard fought win.
Aris 3-3 AEK (GSL)
Aris had also won both games, and as they beat us both times last year (costing us 2nd and maybe even the title) I was very cautious about going to Salonika again. The players were just as determined to pay them back, and in the first 10 minutes Biro and Bresciano took us 2-0 up. However they were still annoying, coming back to 2-2 before Bustos restored the lead on the stroke of half-time. They fought back again in the 2nd half, eventually equalizing in the 82nd minute.
AEK 1-2 Olympiakos (GSL)
A challenging start to the season continued against Olympiakos, who had beaten us heavily in both European playoff games (which we owed them big time for), and had a 100% record. They scored a penalty in the 8th minute, and it was only going to get worse, which it did in the 38th minute. Dahar scored a goal back in the 68th minute but otherwise we were too focussed on stopping them getting another to have much chance at equalizing.
A. Karditsas 1-4 AEK (GSL)
Anagennisi Karditsas were a team I didn’t want to see because their long name, but on the pitch, even as an away game, they were little trouble. Dahar gave us the lead in the 34th minute, Martins and Evans making it 3-0 early in the second half, and though they got one back in the 66th minute, Bustos gave us a 4th, and Mandelkorn had another disallowed.
AEK 3-1 Xanthi (GSL)
We couldn’t take Xanthi for granted as they were 4th last year and were sitting 2nd now. We were just about the better in the first half, and Dahar gave us the lead in the 48th minute. Males and Biro made it 3-0 in the following 15 minutes to give us a commanding lead, though they scored with 10 minutes left.
Vyzas 2-4 AEK (GSL)
Vyzas were another team we lost to away later last season, though we got revenge in the cup just afterwards. That didn’t stop Biro tearing them apart in the first half. He scored in the 18th minute, made it 2 10 minutes later, and completed a hat-trick a few minutes before half-time. They got a goal back but Biro capped off a great day by setting up Martins in the 71st minute. 5 minutes from time they got a second consolation.
Aiolikos 0-4 AEK (GC)
We started our cup defence at Aiolikos. Martins set us on our way in the 4th minute. Biro extended it in the 32nd minute, and Martin went on to complete a hat-trick in the last 5 minutes, including from a penalty.
AEK 1-2 Pierkos (GSL)
Pierkos had been surprisingly strong starters this year, and we hoped to put them in their place. After a good first half, Biro’s 9th goal of the season put us ahead in the 44th minute. They equalized from a header in the 49th minute, and just after coming on, young defender Stamou own-goaled 10 minutes later to give them a winner, though we should have at least equalized.
The defensive reinforcements have been a bit of a failure so far, but we've very much upped the pace with the goals going in at the right end as well. Bit behind the top but had some tough games so far so plenty of hope to close in.
Last edited by deltablue; 09-08-2012 at 11:34.
Your defence does seem leaky this year, luckily your firepower is making up for it and the gap isn't too big at this stage so it isn't too bad all in all
Things seem to be going well with AEK
Just caught up with this. Shame how it went with Betis but you are going along pretty nicely with AEK.
What an incredible thread!
Larisa 2-2 AEK (GSL)
A Bustos header got us off to a flying start at Larisa. It was the Chilean’s 4th goal of the season, but he proved less good at defending, and so it proved when he let a Larisa forward past him to equalize in the 29th minute. Males restored the lead in the 65th minute but again we threw the points away as they equalized in the 77th minute.
AEK 3-1 Panaitolikos (GSL)
A Panaitolikos own-goal gave us the lead in the 2nd minute, and it as good to see defensive idiocy from the opposition. The team we beat in the cup final didn’t do much to avenge that. Alfonso scored in the 24th minute. They got a goal back in the 78th minute, but Biro had a goal disallowed afterwards, and Males gave us a deserved 3rd goal wih 5 minutes left.
Rodos 1-4 AEK (GSL)
We had yet to face champions Rodos, who were tied with Olympiakos at the top, but couldn’t put it off much longer as we had to face them away. Martins gave us the lead after 5 minutes, and while it looked like they would equalize (which it always does when you’re ahead to a big side no matter how even the game is) we looked for more and got another from Biro in the 26th minute. It had been going a bit too well and a few minutes later Bustos bundled the ball past a bemused Duda to pull it back for Rodos. We didn’t let it get to us, and Biro scored another in first half stoppage time, and completed a hat-trick in the 64th minute. They briefly piled on the pressure, but we were then free to look for more, with the excellent Dahar having a goal disallowed in the 77th minute, but it was still a fantastic win, and a real gesture of intent, if it hadn’t been for regular defensive failures wed probably be top, and if we could avoid them in the future we still might be.
AEK 4-0 Olympiakos Volou (GSL)
Biro and Martins had both been excellent this year, and they both scored in the first 11 minutes to give us a 2-0 lead against Olympiakos Volou. Martins scored another in the 38th minute, Males adding one of his own 4 minutes later. The Croatian winger scored again in the 51st minute. If only their namesakes would be so easy.
Panionios 0-4 AEK (GSL)
A trip to Panionios wasn’t a tough game, but we still impressed, despite Joordens going off injured early on, thankfully Amarilla finally had a good game. We had an early goal disallowed, but Males gave us the lead in the 23rd minute, with Biro and Martins making it 3-0 at the break. Surprisingly Larisa were leading Olympiakos by the same margin so we had a good chance to take a 2 point lead. Surprisingly they didn’t even get a goal back, as Martins scord on the hour mark to win our game 4-0.
AEK 1-0 Doxa Dramas (GSL)
Doxa Dramas had beaten us last year, and they very nearly did it again this time, as we were weakened by injuries, including to Biro (who had scored exactly a goal a game), and Mandelkorn, who was in for him, went off just a few minutes into the game. We were on the back foot for long periods but Martins gave us a very lucky winner in the 82nd minute.
Giannina 0-1 AEK (GSL)
Biro was back when we went to Giannina, and I hoped to cement top spot, especially as 2nd placed Panathinaikos lost the day before. We definitely went for it and it was a relief when Gizdic finally gave us the lead in the 42nd minute. An inability to build on it led to a very tense ending as Giannina had a number of close chances late on, but it was worth holding out for a 6th win in a row (and 9th in the past 11 league games) as results elsewhere kept going in our favour and we were now 5 points clear at the half-way stage.
AEK 2-0 Kavala (GSL)
Kavala was a quiet end to the year. We didn’t set the first half alight, but Bustos gave us a 63rd minute lead. Biro finished it off with a great 88th minute chip. At one point it looked like we’d go 8 points clear, but I was still happy to see the lead increased to 6, and with Xanthi sitting in 2nd, as while they were a pretty good side I’d have been a lot more worried about the fight the two big Athens sides (both 8 points behind). However
January would be a tough month as we had to go to both the big two, having only got one point in total from the home games with them, plus play Aris, the draw earlier in the season being our only point in 3 league games, making them the team we had the worst record against. Early in February we also had to go to Xanthi, which wouldn’t be comfortable, so I was expecting to take a bit of a hit in the league, especially as Dahar, who had been excellent this season was out for 2-3 months.
AEK 3-0 Kalamata (GC)
We cruised into the cup quarter-finals after facing Kalamata at home. Bustos gave us the lead after a minute. They proved hard to break down further but in the last 5 minute of the half, Lyberopoulos and Martins both struck to make it 3-0, and we were free to sit back. That was but a warmup for the tough run in the league.
Panathinaikos 0-1 AEK (GSL)
Panathinaikos was the first of 3 games in a row (and 4 in 5) that I wasn’t looking forward to, but if we could survive those we’d be in a great position. Sure enough they hit us very hard indeed early on. While was had a couple of chances I was amazed we weren’t a couple of goals down at half-time. The second half was a bit more even, but Lyberopoulos giving us a 72nd minute lead was still a surprise. That shut them up as we weren’t under much pressure afterwards as we won our 8th league game in a row.
AEK 0-2 Aris (GSL)
Our record against Aris was terrible, 2 defeats followed by a draw, which is why I really wanted to beat them now. Again we were seriously on the back foot. Even after they went down to 10 men they took the lead in the 60th minute, Biro had an equalizer disallowed and they even got a 2nd in the 84th minute. Xanthi took a late winner at Olympiakos Volou to close to 3 points, as it had not been a good day. If things didn’t go our way at Olympiakos (who had easily beaten us in our last 4 encounters) we would be under pressure when going to Xanthi a couple of games later.
Olympiakos 2-3 AEK (GSL)
We struck early, from Males in the 5th minute, but that didn’t make things any easier, especially as Bustos (who despite being a defender had been fantastic) was away with the Chilean U20’s. They kept coming but Biro suddenly burst free to make it 2-0 before the break. Lyberopoulos was very much taking advantage of Dahar’s injury moving Martins to the right, and he gave us a 3-0 lead in the 52nd minute. They still kept coming, getting a goal back in the 68th minute, they scored a penalty in the 86th, but we held on for a vital win.
AEK 3-1 A. Karditsas (GSL)
A. Karditsas was a calm in the middle of the storm, or at least were expected to be, as they were tough in the first half. The took a surprise lead in the 37th minute, but Biro equalized 5 minutes later. The second half was mostly one way traffic, with Martins giving us the lead in the 62nd minute, and Biro scoring his second of the match in the 77th.
I was worried early on, with the defensive problems, and Olympiakos looking like they were going to have a very good season, however when the defence clicked we really took off, with results elsewhere in our favour allowing us a strong lead, though that changed in January as though we managed fantastic wins at the big two, Aris still being a pain (just 1 point from 4 league encounters!!!!) gave a consistent Xanthi an opening. We go to them next, which will obviously be a massive game, but after that we'll already have the tough games out of the way, putting us in a great position if we can avoid defeat with a relatively clear path ahead (though we can't take every game for granted), and even if we do a relatively easy rest of the season gives us a good chance.
Brilliant turnaround for the season so far,hope the impressive form can keep up.
Very impressive run.
Great run there deltablue, let's hope you can continue it
Xanthi 3-2 AEK (GSL)
If we could avoid defeat at Xanthi, we would be in a great position in the title race, unfortunately aside from Males being inavailable with a virus (like for the last game), the defensive problems returned at just the wrong time and gifted them the lead in the 5th minute. They needed to win by 3 goals to go top, and Olympiakos were 6 points behind, so there was still no pressure. Lyberopoulos equalized after half an hour, and Biro even gave us the lead in the 61st minute. They realized that being 6 points adrift with the comfortable run-in we had would be bad and pushed back. They had a goal disallowed with 10 minutes left, just before equalizing, and we couldn’t hold out as they snatched a win in stoppage time. But for the defence we’d be looking much more comfortable, but we were still ahead on goal difference with all the tricky games over and done with, were in a good position.
Vyzas 2-1 AEK (GC QF)
Having beaten Vyzas in the cup semi-finals last year, we went to theirs again in the quarters this time. Again luck and the defence weren’t on our side. An own-goal gave us the lead after 5 minutes, but after they equalized Lyberopoulos had a goal disallowed, and they took the lead though a questionable goal. We tried hard in the second half but couldn’t get anything, and Males was injured again at the end (though was alright afterwards).
AEK 0-0 Vyzas (GSL)
We immediately had a chance to get revenge in the league, but after an uneventful first half, we pushed harder in the second half and still couldn’t break through, as Xanthi took a 2 point lead.
Pierikos 0-2 AEK (GSL)
I was a bit worried about going to Pierikos, but they had quietened down after a strong first half of the season (which included beating us at home). While they were very subdued, finishing them off was a tougher matter, though Males delivered yet again in the 63rd minute, then set up Biro 20 minutes later. Xanthi’s comfortable run of games (admittedly aside from beating us at home) came to an end as they lost at home to Panathinaikos, so we went top again by a point, which was great news after the past few games.
AEK 1-1 Larisa (GSL)
Xanthi had already played and won before we faced Larisa. Again we threw a win away. Martins gave us the lead in the 2nd minute, before being the first of two injuries in positions we couldn’t afford. We still dominated, but couldn’t get a second goal which cost us when they equalized in the 77th minute with one of just a few shots they had all match. Olympiakos weren’t far behind us either.
The defence struck again at Panaitolikos. Joordens gave us the lead in the 36th minute, but as well as wasting chances, we let them in to equalize in stoppage time, and even get a winner in the 66th minute. Had we won we’d have gone 2 points clear, instead of 1 behind both Xanthi and Olympiakos, after the latter beat the former.
AEK 1-1 Rodos (GSL)
Rodos were having their worst season in over 10 years, getting through 2 managers (the second resigning after less than a month), but we were sitting ducks in the first half as they took the lead. We needed to stop Olympiakos opening up a lead, and there was relief we Martins equalized in the 69th minute, but that turned to misery when Biro had a late winner disallowed, then missed a great chance at the end.
Olympiakos Volou 1-3 AEK (GSL)
We returned to winning ways at Olympiakos Volou. Bustos gave us the lead in the 50th minute, which as things stood would let us close to a point of Olympiakos. However they took the lead in their game, and Olympiakos Volou equalized in the 78th minute, giving me a sinking feeling. Luckily Mandelkorn was on hand to give us the lead again in the 84th minute, and Martins sealed the win in stoppage time.
What a rollercoaster of emotion this game puts you through (though I wouldn't have it any other way)! When we were leading Xanthi I really thought we were going to do it, leading 6 points with far easier games left. However that wasn't as crushing as the series of failures that followed, not just the defence but a couple of cases where we really should have finished a side off but didn't. One of the worst moments of all was Biro's disallowed goal agaist Rodos. When Volou equalized I was like 'Not Again!!!!!!!!' though we pulled through on that one. We were in a great position, and are just throwing it away.
A tight end to the season in in order. I don't hold out too much hope of catching Olympiakos, but our 3 remaining games are against bottom half sides, Panionios, Doxa Dramas (the only one that might even slightly be a problem) and Giannina (two of them at home) so I don't expect us to drop any more points, and will be seriously angry if we do. Xanthi have home games with Vyzas and Larisa, as well as going to Pierikos, slightly less comfortable, but should expect most points from that. Olympiakos also have Larisa at home, while a trip to Panaitolikos and a last day game against Rodos are slightly tougher than what we have, I'm not sure it'll be enough tougher. We definitely have a shot, but on balance I'm not sure it'll be enough.
Interestingly enough, while defence has been a problem, saying 'leaky defence' is the problem isn't completely accurate as we've actually conceded less than the two teams above us, scoring slightly fewer, it's just a matter of throwing those goals away in so many bad moments.
My players are utter imbeciles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!
Shame about your slip deltablue, i'm assuming your last post means they dropped more points.
AEK 0-1 Panionios (GSL)
Squeaky bum time started at home to bottom club Panionios. It took a while to get going, and when we did we were constantly frustrated. We had to win, but somehow managed to lose to a 68th minute goal! At home! To the bottom side!
Doxa Dramas 0-0 AEK (GSL)
We weren’t quite out of it, but I had little hope left when we went to Doxa Dramas. We spent most of the first half holding out against them, the reverse was true in the second, but neither could make a breakthrough, though we did have a penalty claim rejected.
AEK 3-1 Giannina (GSL)
We were simply trying to hold on to 3rd when we played Giannina on the last day. We at least managed that. Martins gave us the lead in the 12th minute. Mogi got his first goal for the club in the 49th minute, followed by Mandelkorn, as we went on to win 3-1. I never thought I’d be so glad to see Olympiakos win as it meant that winning the last three games wouldn’t have been enough anyway.
Final League Table
That still meant we had to face the European playoffs, which was nice last year, but having missed out on the title it feels like an extra burden of defeat. Last year Xanthi, Panathinaikos and ourselves all started on 2 points, this time only Xanthi had that where as ourselves and Panathinaikos would have 1. I think it’s a points gap thing. Rodos completed the quartet with none to start off with. Winning it to snatch the second CL place would at least be a decent consolation prize.
AEK 4-1 Xanthi (European Playoff)
The first game was at home to Xanthi. We started very well, with Lyberopoulos and Bustos giving is a 2-0 lead after 18 minutes. Bustos scored another in the 30th minute, with Biro giving us a 4th after an hour. They got a goal back in the 76th minute, with another disallowed, but in our best performance since January we paid them back for their late comeback in our last league game.
Rodos 1-0 AEK (European Playoff)
When we went to Rodos we really took the game to them. Much like with Panionios we not only failed to score but conceded a late winner, which really dented our group position.
AEK 1-2 Panathinaikos (European Playoff)
Panathinaikos had lost both games so far, but took the lead in the 2nd minute. Biro equalized after 20 minutes, but they retook the lead early in the first half and we were unlucky not to get a point.
Xanthi 1-3 AEK (European Playoff)
Things looked bad as we went behind in the 20th minute at Xanthi. However Lyberopoulos equalized in the 39th minute, and we pushed on to take the lead from Biro in the 70th minute, even wrapping it up from a last minute Yenay penalty. From looking like being cast adrift at the bottom, we were up to 2nd with just 2 points separating everyone.
AEK 1-1 Rodos (European Playoff)
The penultimate round was therefore crucial, but we didn’t do well against Rodos, going behind in the 33rd minute. Like in our last home game against them, we had a goal disallowed, but Alfonso equalized in the 70th minute. We really pushed after that but a failure to get a winner meant the 2nd CL spot was pretty certain to go to Xanthi.
Panathinaikos 3-1 AEK (European Playoff)
The season ended in typically disappointing style at Panathinaikos. We went behind in the 15th minute, and never looked like recovering. They scored twice in 20 minutes in the second half, with Bustos giving us a 86th minute consolation. We could have still snatched that CL place if we won, as it was we finished last in the group.
Playoff Group Table
Oh dear! I mentioned before we had a great chance, but game after game was found new ways of throwing away what should have been a comfortable title win. That Panionios defeat really takes the cake. To a man we were actually reasonably good in that game, but the result alone was enough to want them all shot! We wobbled a bit early on, really hit our stride, after the Olympiakos and Panathinaikos wins I thought we were mostly through the worst of it but then it all went wrong as Olympiakos had the reverse season. They started very strongly, wobbled to the point that in January I thought it would be between us and Xanthi.
Interesting bit of trivia, the top 5 was the same as last year but in the reverse order.
There was still plenty of hope. The likes of Biro, Males and Bustos had followed up good seasons last year by really shining this time. Hopefully the same would happen with the defenders I bought last time as that would give us a massive boost. If we can avoid being idiots in so many games the title is definitely achievable, especially with a forward coming in on a free in the summer who I’d been after since I arrived and who would hopefully make a massive impact.
That was the plan, but the Football Manager gods had a different fate in store for me...
Star player: Like the rest of the team he wobbled from February but was fantastic until then.
Tough way to end the season, deltablue. But you have the Europa League for next year, which is at least something.
Shame about the end of the season.Although this has got me interested
That was the plan, but the Football Manager gods had a different fate in store for me...
Massive shame that you dropped off the pace.
This thread is mental. Great work, man.
Tough break throwing the title away delta. No consolation I know but there's always next year . Hopefully your players will have learnt their lesson ready for next season.
A.C. Milan: Round 2
Guess who’s back!!!
I was genuinely intending to stay in Athens, then I saw that Milan had sacked their manager, just after the final playoff game with AEK. There was one very good reason why I couldn’t wait, and his name was Jeremie Pastor. For those who don’t recognize the name, he was a 14yr old I bought from France, 1 year into my first Milan stint. He’s perhaps best remembered for coming on at the end of normal time in that CL final against Inter, and getting a goal (the equalizer) and an assist as we scored 3 goals in the last 8 minutes to win 4-2 from 2-1 down, earning him the title of the ‘Hero of Vienna’ when he was just 20.
After I’d left Milan, I’d always wanted to return while the remnants of my old side remained. He was 35 now and I knew this was my chance to see out the last days of that great side. Helm (who scored the last goal in that final at the age of 18) and Kentsch were also still there, both 34. While they weren’t quite on a par with the legendary Terzi and Eweka (who got 407 goals in 473, and 580 in 673 respectively) they still tore up defences with the best of them when they got their chance.
There were other players around. A few players who I signed in my last summer as ‘parting gifts’ were in their peak. I remember people refered to a Spanish midfielder called Carmona as being particularly promising, well he was still here, now just turned 28, and very much Xavi-Iniesta class. There was also Rogerio, not quite a core ‘Magical Milan’ member but who played in my last few years at Milan and from the start looked just as special as the rest of the side, now 31 and with a couple of years at the top left in him. Hathaway had retired just a year before, and a number of others were around ending their careers at various places. Of note was 35yr old Aussie midfielder Sean Matthews, 36yr old 6-time World Player of the year Clement at Liverpool, and the legendary keeper Jim Puncheon (now 38) at Palermo, and still making a few appearances. In the same vein as Rogerio, there was a Spanish defender called Navarro who rather dangerously was a top player with Inter. Adriano was at relegated Serie B side Valenzana, Brighenti at Perugia, Bamba at Utrecht, Yildrim at Hajduk...
As for Milan themselves, my 7 titles in a row was extended to 14 in the end (with 2 more CLs) before being dethroned a few years ago by Fiorentina (coincidentally just after they rejected my previous attempt to return after leaving Dunfermline. They quickly regained their title but struggled last year, rescuing 3rd not being good enough for the board. In a way there was both less and more pressure this time. I had already succeeded from bringing them up from years of mid-table mediocrity to years of glory so had nothing to prove, but assembling a young team wasn’t something that came together overnight, and the pressure was on in a way that it wasn’t before.
However the chance to see out the careers of the last of the Magical Milan, and to pass the torch to a new side was something that gave me a new motivation now I’d returned, and if it started badly enough that I was soon sacked, that was a risk worth taking. Just being back and looking over all the old side was a great feeling I wouldn’t miss for the world. However the one thing I couldn’t experience any more was the feeling of a side coming of age and emerging as a superpower together, as while there were always a couple of additions each year there was a strong and long-lasting core.
One of the first things I did at Milan was to fill some spare coaching slots with my former legends, with Terzi, Eweka, Schmiedel and Sebastiao returning as coaches, as a form of ‘bringing the band back together’. The Ass Man then retiring allowed Larsen to be brought in as well. However reality soon set in. The squad was a bit small, severely lacking in central defenders, half of it 30 or over, with 7 players at 34/35 (admittedly mostly goalkeepers). Pastor was still good enough to be used anyway, Kentsch and Helm less so but they’d still have chances to show they still had it, which I wouldn’t normally extend to players that old at arriving at a club. I had to tread carefully, with using the core of strong player in their prime that I had, and/or focussing on getting players who already looked reasonably strong.
Unfortunately the board wanted to win the league, which would have been easier if Fiorentina hadn’t stormed their way to a 2nd title in 3 years. Thanks to the takeover the year before I left there was no shortage of money, with over 700M in the bank, 150M for transfers, and a 5M a week wage budget (using 2M) but when only signing players under 21 and having to build a new team that’s not the point. We could certainly do it, but I was far from certain we would. I needed to hit the ground running that’s for sure.
As it happened compared to last time when I was hesitant at spending more than 15M on a player, I was always going to push the boat out much more. Given the limited options available, and the high asking prices around, that was probably just as well. Thankfully we had a starting 11 that looked just as good on paper as the Magical Milan, supplemented by some very strong young talent, not enough to destabilise the side too much, but whether they’d be able to perform anywhere near a well remained to be seen. However always knew it would be that potentially risking coming back with that sort of expectation. Including a 50M deal for next year’s ‘non-eu from abroad’ signing (who I just couldn’t afford to miss out on) I’d already probably spent as much on 6 players as I did assembling my squad last time. Even without it a new club spending record was set. When we were a bit more secure I’d try and go for younger and cheaper players but for now I had no room to think long-term.
As it happened, my first game for Milan last time was away to a Roma side who had finished 2nd the year before, and while that wasn’t our first league fixture this time, the second game was away to a Roma side who had just finished 2nd! The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Benoit (From PSG)
Gustavo (From Valerenga)
Muller (From Monchengladbach)
Nicoletti (From Udinese)
Thackeray (From Man City)
And this update wouldn't be complete without the legend himself.
Last edited by deltablue; 13-08-2012 at 10:37.
Good luck back at Milan, I was kind of hoping you'd stay at AEK as that would have been a good challenge but understand why you'd want to go back to Milan
Welcome back to AC Milan,that is a nice surprise
Some brilliant youngsters there as well,future looks good!
Good luck with Milan (again)! One thing I wish would be sorted out is you retaining your status at the club when you leave - it annoys me if I build myself up to become an icon or legend at a club that it's completely removed when I leave. I know the mechanic behind why it happens, but it just seems like a bodge. (For those who don't know, I believe they set you as a clubs' disliked personnel for a while after leaving so you don't get offered your old job back. Surely just incorporating something into the algorithm where they search for a new manager to ignore the previous incumbent would make much more sense?)
back in Milan! I certainly didn't see this one coming