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[FM19] The Hart Chronicles - Volume IV: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be!


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Quite extraordinary scenes, as with just 4 games to go we sit in 2nd place, with Poland, Latvia, Luxembourg and Belgium all to play again. 

It's hard to say what happens from here, I don't think we finish above Poland, but given we have two winnable games against Luxembourg and Latvia remaining, if we can avoid defeat against Belgium we could very well finish 2nd!

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Arnauld, who holds a Swiss passport, is a bit old for a player I've spent that much money on, but he was much better than anyone else available in that price range so I bit the bullet even though he will have very minimal re-sale value unless a Chinese club comes in for him in a few years.

The other lads, also Swiss-Franco players, probably won't see too many minutes, however they needed to be signed to fill gaps in the squad. Balland at left wing once Joshua Beck left for first team football, and Munier at CB to replace emergency back-up Riccardo Brambila who also requested to leave and went to 2nd tier side Winterthur.

 

A fairly quiet summer, a few squad players left, with only one major signing to replace Cyril Darbellay, who's been a good midfielder over the years but wanted to leave for a new challenge after being only a back-up for a while. 

 

 

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Another European trophy in the bag, as we beat Man City, the European champions, on penalties to win the European Super Cup.

I knew we couldn't compete if we went toe to toe, but we are a good defensive side so if we sat back and frustrated them we had an outside chance of a smash and grab win or something like this. 

Very pleased with the win and gives us some more confidence going into the Champions League this season.

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We were 1st seeds again and have got a much kinder group this time.

Besiktas a good side, but even they were in Europa League last season after failing to get through their CL group. I think we've beaten St Mirren a few times in Europa and SKN St Polten haven't looked as good in recent years. I'm hopeful we can at least make the knockout stages for the first time in our history. 

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No idea what's going on with this Super League nonsense, but at least I have this save/thread as a safe haven from all of that rubbish. One of the best parts of this save and what's kept me going through it is being able to take each nation/league to the top and seeing how that affects the entire pyramid/landscape of the European game and the greater long-term ramifications. 

For example, I managed St Mirren for a decade a long time ago and the ripple effect of that is that Celtic are now basically the best side in the game. I love that and I can't wait to see what else happens further down the line. 

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We gave it a good go against Poland, with Joshua Wenzel especially putting in a performance in goal, but they were too good for us and won 2-0 in the end. 

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A good performance against Latvia, as we beat them 3-0 in a hugely important game. 

 

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2nd place with 2 games to go! Currently we're ahead of Belgium on the basis that we beat them. We still have them to play and Latvia, whilst Belgium have to play Holland. 

I think if we beat Latvia and lose to Belgium no worse than 2-0, then even if they beat us but lose to Holland then we would make it to the Euros without having to play a Playoff, which would be pretty crazy. 

Who knows, but what a ride we've been on and completely unexpected really. I would've taken just beating Latvia and Luxembourg home and away. 

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We went 1-0 up early on which was hugely exciting, but Belgium were relentless and had us on the ropes by half-time. 

 

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So so close to a huge upset, but what a performance and a campaign, finishing above Holland is great achievement. 

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Mid-Season Update

 

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We started off quite well, but as soon as the CL games came in our form started getting quite ropey as I rested and rotated for the more important European games. I'd like us to climb up a few places in the table, as really we should be finishing above Zurich and Lugano. Young Boys have had an absolute nightmare, no idea what's gone wrong there this season but they're closer to going down than getting into Europe again next season. 

 

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A close run thing in the group. Very happy we stayed unbeaten, St Mirren came very close to making it through but our 2-0 win on the last game-day kept us top and put Besiktas through with us. 

 

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On paper that's one of the worst possible draws we could have got, although Celtic in their group: 

 

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They did almost go out, level with Zenit on points and finished below a Portimonense side who usually aren't all that great, so maybe Celtic aren't up to their usual standards this season. Either way it's a big ask to get through it, but we did beat City earlier in the season in a one off tie.

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Another decent year, with young keeper Joshua Wenzel and Ralph Schadler the highlights of a great Euros qualifying campaign. 

 

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Bit annoying we only went up 1 world ranking place despite a pretty good display in the group stage with a lot of wins, but oh well. 

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We’ve got Armenia in the Semi Final of the Euros Playoff. Pretty sure we beat them relatively comfortably last time we faced them in the Playoffs. 
 

Finland or Northern Ireland in the final will be a much bigger test though. 

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It took extra-time, but Sven-John Stricker's goal sees us knock out Northern Ireland and make the Euros for the second time in our history! 

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January Transfers

 

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Joshua Wenzel has been getting a run for us in goal, so our original first choice keeper has asked for a move, sold to Turkey for a decent enough fee for a 32 year old.

 

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Picked up a new young right back from Lugano for just over £6M with the money I got from it. 

 

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The first leg at Celtic Park saw Celtic dominate for much of the game, we defended well but had gone 1-0 down and didn't look like getting back in it until a silly red card in the second half from their centre back gave us an in. With an extra man advantage we took control for ourselves and got a goal from Francisco Javier Canovas with a nice strike in the 82nd minute to give us an invaluable away goal.

 

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With an away goal in the bag I knew we could sit back and defend the lead with Celtic having to come at us, we held them back for a while and then get a goal on the counter to make it 1-0 early in the second half. Celtic still only needed 1 to take it to extra-time, but they couldn't manage it. 

 

We have Man City in the Quarter Finals, another extremely difficult tie. We managed to beat them in the Super Cup, but can we defeat them over two legs? I'm not sure. 

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The draw has been made for the Group Stage and we face hosts Sweden, as well as two other Nordic countries in Denmark and Norway.

They're all ranked pretty high to be fair, although there's no standout massive side, so it should be a pretty even group I imagine. 

I don't really know if we can do anything serious, but I feel like we could probably at least get a result in one of the 3 games.

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Two more tough games against City where we had to defend well yet again. 

We got a crucial away goal in Manchester on the break in the second half, with Arian Maliqi scoring after coming off the bench with a header from a corner. 

We kept City out for the rest of the tie which saw us through. 

We've still only conceded 3 times in the Champions League this season :D 

 

Wolfsburg await in the Semi Final...

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Eddy Pinto, who we actually signed on a bosman from Wolfsburg a few years ago, popped up with 2 late goals to sink his old side at the Edin Dzeko Arena, before we beat them again 1-0 at home to go through 3-0 winners. 

Still only 3 goals conceded all season in the Champions League and we're now in the final against another German side, RB Leipzig!

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Oh wow! I honestly thought you would be stuck here for a very very long time. All the best in the Final!

If you win with Vaduz does that mean bye bye to the NT as well?

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1 hour ago, andychar said:

Oh wow! I honestly thought you would be stuck here for a very very long time. All the best in the Final!

If you win with Vaduz does that mean bye bye to the NT as well?


Yeah I didn’t expect to make the final this season as going forward we’re not much to shout about at CL level, but I’ve sort of Mourinho’d it to some extent and the defence we’ve got is probably up there with anything I’ve had in the save so far and I’ve had the benefit of resting them before every game as the league doesn’t really matter for us. 
 

I’m not sure about the NT if we win the final. I’ll wait to see how we get on first :D 

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A massive night at the Bernabeu which saw us set up defensively yet again, with our first half goal coming from a wonderfully hit 25 yard free-kick from Canovas. RB Leipzig had some good chances, but our defence kept them out to hold firm and give us the crown of champions of Europe. 

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A fantastic defensive run, as we go undefeated all campaign, with just 3 goals conceded (1 in the knockouts) and never scoring more than 2 goals in a single game :D 

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End of Season Update

 

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A win in the Cup to secure European football next year, although with the Champions League win my successor will pf course play Champions League football instead of Europa.

 

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We ended the season in strong form, ultimately finishing 7 points and goal difference off the title in 3rd. Not sure why it's not showing ECC yet for next year, I'm assuming winning the CL means we'd get CL next season? :D 

 

 

 

 

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 Paul Hart's Career History

This covers the first 40 seasons of the save, from 2018-2058

 

Spoiler

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Season      Club                  League             Position            Achievements/Other
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2018/19     Arsenal               Premier League       4th               Europa League winners
2019/20     Arsenal               Premier League       2nd               Champions League winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2020/21     Paris SG              Ligue 1              1st               Ligue 1 & Coupe de la Ligue winners
2021/22     Paris SG              Ligue 1              1st               Ligue 1, Champions League & Trophee Des Champions winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2022/23     AS Roma               Serie A              3rd               Italian Cup runners-up
2023/24     AS Roma               Serie A              2nd               Italian Cup winners
2024/25     AS Roma               Serie A              1st               Serie A winners
2025/26     AS Roma               Serie A              2nd               Italian Super Cup winners & Champions League runners-up
2026/27     AS Roma               Serie A              1st               Serie A, Italian Cup & Champions League winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2027/28     Atletico Madrid       La Liga              3rd               N/A
2028/29     Atletico Madrid       La Liga              2nd               N/A
2029/30     Altetico Madrid       La Liga              2nd               Champions League winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2030/31     VFL Wolfsburg         Bundesliga           6th               N/A
2031/32     VFL Wolfsburg         Bundesliga           5th               Europa League winners
2032/33     VFL Wolfsburg         Bundesliga           3rd               European Super Cup winners
2033/34     VFL Wolfsburg         Bundesliga           2nd               N/A
2034/35     VFL Wolfsburg         Bundesliga           1st               Bundesliga winners
2035/36     VFL Wolfsburg         Bundesliga           2nd               German Super Cup & Champions League winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2036/37     Zenit St Petersburg   Russian PL           1st               Russian Premier League, Russian Cup & Super Cup winners
2037/38     Zenit St Petersburg   Russian PL           1st               Russian Premier League, Russian Cup & Super Cup winners
2038/39     Zenit St Petersburg   Russian PL           1st               Russian Premier League & Super Cup winners
2039/40     Zenit St Petersburg   Russian PL           1st               Russian Premier League, Russian Cup & Super Cup winners
2040/41     Zenit St Petersburg   Russian PL           1st               Champions League & Domestic Treble winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2041/42     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        3rd               N/A
2042/43     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        4th               Taca de Portugal runners-up
2043/44     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        6th               N/A
2044/45     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        6th               Europa League winners
2045/46     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        3rd               European Super Cup winners
2046/47     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        4th               N/A
2047/48     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        4th               Portuguese League Cup winners
2048/49     Portimonense SC       Primeira Liga        1st               Primiera Liga & Champions League winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2049/50     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           2nd               N/A
2050/51     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           2nd               N/A
2051/52     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           2nd               Dutch Cup winners
2052/53     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           2nd               Dutch Cup & Super Cup winners
2053/54     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           2nd               Dutch Cup winners
2054/55     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           2nd               Dutch Cup winners
2055/56     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           1st               Eredivisie, Dutch Cup & Super Cup winners
2056/57     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           1st               Eredivisie, Champions League & Super Cup winners
2057/58     Vitesse Arnhem        Eredivisie           1st               Eredivisie, Club World Cup, Euro Super Cup & Super Cup winners
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Paul Hart's Trophy Cabinet

 

Spoiler

Champions League        x8 - 2019/20 (Arsenal), 2021/22 (Paris SG), 2026/27 (AS Roma), 2029/30 (Atletico Madrid), 
                             2035/36 (VFL Wolfsburg), 2040/41 (Zenit St Petersburg), 2048/49 (Portimonense SC), 
                             2056/57 (Vitesse Arnhem) 
                             
Europa League           x3 - 2018/19 (Arsenal), 2031/32 (VFL Wolfsburg), 2044/45 (Portimonense SC) 

Club World Cup          x1 - 2057/58 (Vitesse Arnhem) 

European Super Cup      x3 - 2032/33 (VFL Wolfsburg), 2045/46 (Portimonense SC), 2057/58 (Vitesse Arnhem) 

Bundesliga              x1 - 2034/35 (VFL Wolfsburg)
German Super Cup        x1 - 2035/36 (VFL Wolfsburg)

Serie A                 x2 - 2024/25, 2026/27 (AS Roma)
Italian Cup             x2 - 2023/24, 2026/27 (AS Roma)
Italian Super Cup       x1 - 2025/26 (AS Roma)

Ligue 1                 x2 - 2020/21, 2021/22 (Paris SG) 
Coupe de la Ligue       x1 - 2020/21 (Paris SG)
Trophee Des Champions   x1 - 2021/22 (Paris SG)

Primeira Liga           x1 - 2048/49 (Portimonense SC)
Portuguese League Cup   x1 - 2047/48 (Portimonense SC)

Russian Premier League  x5 - 2036/37, 2037/38, 2038/39, 2039/40, 2040/41 (Zenit St Petersburg) 
Russian Cup             x4 - 2036/37, 2037/38, 2039/40, 2040/41 (Zenit St Petersburg)
Russian Super Cup       x5 - 2036/37, 2037/38, 2038/39, 2039/40, 2040/41 (Zenit St Petersburg)

Eredivisie              x3 - 2055/56, 2056/57, 2057/58 (Vitesse Arnhem)
Dutch Cup               x5 - 2051/52, 2052/53, 2053/54, 2054/55, 2055/56 (Vitesse Arnhem)
Dutch Super Cup         x4 - 2052/53, 2055/56, 2056/57, 2057/58 (Vitesse Arnhem)

 

 

Thierry's Career History

This covers the next 38 years of the save, from 2058-2096

 

Spoiler

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Season      Club                  League                Position           Achievements/Other
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2058/59     Genclerbirligi SK     Turkish Super Lig       5th              Turkish Super Cup runners-up. Sacked. 
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2059/60     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    5th              N/A
2060/61     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    3rd              N/A
2061/62     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    3rd              Scottish Cup winners
2062/63     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    2nd              N/A
2063/64     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    3rd              Scottish Cup runners-up
2064/65     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    3rd              Scottish League Cup runners-up
2065/66     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    2nd              Scottish League Cup runners-up
2066/67     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    2nd              N/A
2067/68     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    1st              Scottish Premiership, Cup & League Cup winners
2068/69     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    2nd              N/A
2069/70     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    3rd              Champions League runners-up & League Cup winners
2070/71     St. Mirren            Scottish Premiership    2nd              Champions League & Scottish Cup winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2071/72     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Belgian Pro League winners
2072/73     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Belgian Pro League & Super Cup winners
2073/74     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Belgian Pro League & Super Cup winners
2074/75     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Belgian Pro League & Belgian Cup & Super Cup winners
2075/76     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Belgian Pro League & Super Cup winners
2076/77     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Champions League runners-up & League & Super Cup winners
2077/78     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Belgian Pro League, Belgian Cup & Super Cup winners
2078/79     Anderlecht            Belgian Pro League      1st              Champions League, Pro League, Cup & Super Cup winners
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2079/80     Antalyaspor           Turkish Super Lig       7th              N/A. Resigned. 
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2080/81     Besiktas              Turkish Super Lig       1st              Turkish Super Lig & Super Cup winners. EL runners-up.   
2081/82     Besiktas              Turkish Super Lig       1st              Turkish Super Lig, Cup & Super Cup winners
2082/83     Besiktas              Turkish Super Lig       1st              Turkish Super Lig & Super Cup winners
2083/84     Besiktas              Turkish Super Lig       1st              Turkish Super Lig & Super Cup winners
2084/85     Besiktas              Turkish Super Lig       1st              Turkish Super Lig & Super Cup winners. CL runners-up.
2085/86     Besiktas              Turkish Super Lig       1st              Champions League, Super Lig and Super Cup winners
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2086/87     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      4th              Swiss Cup runners-up
2087/88     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      2nd              Swiss Cup winners
2088/89     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      3rd              Swiss Cup winners
2089/90     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      2nd              N/A
2090/91     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      1st              Swiss Super League winners
2091/92     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      1st              Swiss Super League winners
2092/93     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      1st              Swiss Super League winners
2093/94     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      2nd              Europa League & Swiss Cup winners
2094/95     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      2nd              European Super Cup & Swiss Cup winners
2095/96     Young Boys            Swiss Super League      2nd              Champions League & Swiss Cup winners
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

 

Thierry's Trophy Cabinet

 

Spoiler

Champions League      x4 - 2070/71 (St. Mirren), 2078/79 (Anderlecht), 2085/86 (Besiktas), 2095/96 (Young Boys)

Europa League         x1 - 2093/94 (Young Boys)

European Super Cup    x1 - 2094/95 (Young Boys)

Scottish Premiership  x1 - 2067/68 (St. Mirren) 
Scottish Cup          x3 - 2061/62, 2067/68, 2070/71 (St. Mirren) 
Scottish League Cup   x2 - 2067/67, 2069/70 (St. Mirren) 

Turkish Super Lig     x6 - 2080/81, 2081/82, 2082/83, 2083/84, 2084/85, 2085/86 (Besiktas)
Turkish Cup           x1 - 2081/82 (Besiktas)
Turkish Super Cup     x6 - 2080/81, 2081/82, 2082/83, 2083/84, 2084/85, 2085/86 (Besiktas) 

Belgian Pro League    x8 - 2071/72, 2072/73, 2073/74, 2074/75, 2075/76, 2076/77, 2077/78, 2078/79 (Anderlecht)
Belgian Cup           x3 - 2074/75, 2077/78, 2078/79 (Anderlecht) 
Belgian Super Cup     x7 - 2072/73, 2073/74, 2074/75, 2075/76, 2076/77, 2077/78, 2078/79 (Anderlecht)

Swiss Super League    x3 - 2090/91, 2091/92, 2092/93 (Young Boys)
Swiss Cup             x5 - 2087/88, 2088/89, 2093/94, 2094/95, 2095/96 (Young Boys)

 

 

 

Del Boy Winder's Career History

 

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Season      Club                  League                Position           Achievements/Other
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2096/97     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      4th              Liechtenstein Cup winners 
2097/98     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      6th              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2098/99     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      5th              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2099/00     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      5th              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2100/01     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      6th              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2101/02     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      4th              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2102/03     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      3rd              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2103/04     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      5th              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2104/05     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      4th              Liechtenstein Cup winners
2105/06     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      2nd              Europa League & Liechtenstein Cup winners
2106/07     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      4th              Europa League & Liechtenstein Cup winners
2106/07     Vaduz                 Swiss Super League      3rd              Champions League, Euro Super Cup & Liech Cup winners
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Del Boy Winder's Trophy Cabinet

 

Champions League   x1 - 2107/08 (Vaduz)

Europa League      x2 - 2105/06, 2106/07 (Vaduz) 

European Super Cup x1 - 2107/08 (Vaduz)

Liechtenstein Cup x12 - 2096/97, 2097/98, 2098/99, 2099/00, 2100/01, 2101/02, 2102/03, 2103/04, 2104/05, 2105/06, 2106/07, 2107/08 (Vaduz)

 

 

Nations Completed

 

Nations completed as Paul Hart: 

1. England  - Arsenal 
2. France   - Paris SG
3. Italy    - AS Roma 
4. Spain    - Atletico Madrid
5. Germany  - VFL Wolfsburg
6. Russia   - Zenit St Petersburg
7. Portugal - Portimonense SC 
8. Holland  - Vitesse Arnhem

Nations completed as Thierry: 

9.  Scotland    - St. Mirren
10. Belgium     - Anderlecht
11. Turkey      - Besiktas
12. Switzerland - Young Boys

Nations completed as Del Boy Winder: 

13. Liechtenstein - Vaduz

Nations completed by the AI: 

1. England  - Manchester City
2. Germany  - RB Leipzig 
3. Spain    - Valencia CF 
4. Portugal - Sporting Lisbon
5. Austria  - RB Salzburg
6. Turkey   - Galatasaray

 

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Nations Remaining 

(based on coefficient ranking) 

 

  1. Austria
  2. Croatia
  3. Ukraine
  4. Czech Republic
  5. Denmark
  6. Serbia
  7. Romania
  8. Poland
  9. Sweden
  10. Bulgaria
  11. Norway
  12. Iceland
  13. Greece
  14. Slovakia
  15. Republic of Ireland
  16. Slovenia
  17. Israel
  18. Hungary
  19. Finland
  20. Belarus
  21. Northern Ireland
  22. Wales

 

The Czech Republic has now been added to the game. They're definitely the best of the rest, with Sparta Prague, their strongest side, even occasionally making the last 16 of the Champions League in recent times.

Current plan after Austria, Croatia, Ukraine and Czech Republic have been hit is to go for a Nordic Tour and cover Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland.

 

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A great run for Rapid Vienna who pip PSG in the final to win the Europa League. Croatia having a good time with 3 sides in the Last 16. 

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RB Salzburg are champions once more, with Rapid Vienna, St Polten and Sturm Graz all making it through to the CL as well given Austria's 4 club status. 

 

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Lviv make it 4 in a row in Ukraine as a new dynasty appears to have been born. A strange season for Olimpik, who finish rock bottom and are relegated, but will play Europa League football next year courtesy of winning the Cup!

 

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Hajduk take the crown in Croatia, which makes it a 4th different winner of the league in 4 consecutive seasons. 

 

 

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Sparta appear to be the dominant force in the Czech Republic, with Slavia the next best side. We'll see how having the full detail of the league being playable makes an impact in the coming years. 

 

 

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Meanwhile the National Team heads into their 2nd ever major tournament with a clean bill of health.

 

I will add that just days after announcing the squad, as I'd perhaps naively removed the Swiss SL and added the Czech League, both back-up keepers (who are in the 2nd tier) were swiftly removed from the game having retired :D 

It means I go into the Euros with just 2 keepers, as whilst they let me add another keeper, there wasn't a 3rd one to be had in the game. 

I think unfortunately with a lot of the eligible players being wiped now that any idea of trying to qualify for the next World Cup will have to be put off the table as there likely just won't be enough players, especially if more drop off. 

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Well done for winning it with Vaduz, amazing achievement considering how hard it is to even get an opportunity to play in the CL with them!

Do you think Austria will be relatively straightforward considering the strength of the league right now?

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1 hour ago, corinthiano said:

Well done for winning it with Vaduz, amazing achievement considering how hard it is to even get an opportunity to play in the CL with them!

Do you think Austria will be relatively straightforward considering the strength of the league right now?


The AI has already robbed me of RB Salzburg, but there’s 3 other pretty strong sides already in there, doesn’t look like any “big” jobs will be going this summer, but certainly Austria looks a good place to manage at the minute either way, yes. 
 

Hoping I can pick up a job there even at a smaller side, quite a few in very insecure so will have to see what happens during or after the Euros. 

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A solid first result of our two warm-up friendlies, with a 1-0 victory over Iceland thanks to a late goal from Damian Schurte. 

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Put out the second string against Switzerland, which didn't tell me too much I didn't know already, with a 4-0 loss against far superior opposition. 

If we're going to do anything in the tournament we need to avoid too many injuries. 

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A massive team performance from the lads saw us pick up our first ever competitive win at a major tournament. Schurte opened the scoring in the first half, with a Sven-John penalty making it 2-0 early in the second before we shut up shop - with Dario Ospelt especially having a great performance at the back. 

Maxi Kaiser picked up a late red for a second yellow in injury time, but what a result! 

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The Norwegians were up next and we managed to hold them to a 0-0 draw, with a decent defensive performance albeit with not much happening ahead of them. 

With a lot of the other games being draws, this actually meant with 4 points we go into the final game of the group on 4 points but top of the group, with the caveat that if we can avoid defeat against the hosts, Sweden, we will somehow have made our way out of the group and into the knockout stages!

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A strong start and comprehensive performance sees the hosts bottle it! We were 2-0 up after just 12 minutes, with Schadler getting a 3rd for us just before the hour mark to put us 3-0 up and in dream-land. The hosts did get a goal back, but it wasn't enough! 

 

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We sail through top of the group, with Norway, the only other side who even won a game, to join us, with the hosts and Denmark both dumped out. 

 

We face the Czech Republic in the Round of 16!

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The Liechtenstein fairly tale is over, but what a journey it has been. 

Dumped out fairly unceremoniously by the Czechs, somewhat ironic with them just being added to the game, but to get this fair in a major tournament is a real credit in itself. 

It would have been interesting to see if we could have taken them to the next World Cup, maybe they will still qualify without Rodney at the helm, but a fantastic journey that I've enjoyed and glad that I made the step into international management for the first time in a good long while. 

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Amazing group stage performance, there weren't any easy sides in that group. Incredible performance overall, you really took the national team to a much higher level!

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Del Boy: I'm telling you Rodney, I know you liked the gig at Liechtenstein, and you done a hell of a job there, but with me leaving Vaduz I think it's a good time to leave and join me again. 

Rodney: Yeah, I suppose you're right, Del. Can you tell me who you've got lined up next? You said it was a massive Champions League club the other day, but what one is it? 

Del Boy: It's Wolfsburg, Rodney! Wolfsburg. Massive club. Semi Finalists last year, we knocked them out, but I'm sure together we can get them winning the Champions League again. Budget of 80-90 the fella said on the blower, corrr £80-90M, we're living the dream, never get that at Vaduz I tell you. 

Rodney: Ah that's brilliant Del, you said they've booked us flights already? 

Del Boy: Yes Rodney, my son, I'll forward the email onto you now. 

Rodney: Erm. Del. Why is the flight going to Austria? 

Del Boy: Austria? No, no, Rodney, that can't be right. 

Rodney: Del! What have you done?! It says we're going to Wolfsberg in Austria, not Wolfsburg in Germany. 

Del Boy: What- No. No there must be some kind of mistake. The man on the blower was saying Wolfsberger, but I thought that was just the German way of saying Wolfsburg.

Rodney: And from what Google is telling me Wolfsberger are in massive financial trouble. That £80-90M budget they said they have? 

Del Boy: Well the fella on the phone said 80-90, I thought he must mean million. You don't think, you don't think he meant £80-90K did he? 

Rodney: Oh, Del. 

 

 

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We end our time at Liechtenstein finally breaking the Top 100, in 91st place in the World. 

Pretty cool to see that Rodney's replacement is likely one of our ex players in Diego Buckhard or Martin Zurbuchen. 

Whoever it is that takes over will be without Sven-John, who despite being good enough that he could've played until he was in his mid to late 30's and destroy the all-time caps record, he's decided to retire now to preserve is club career at AC Milan. 

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Just caught up to this absolute epic. I thought you'd be at Vaduz significantly longer than you were! Incredible performance, and I'm looking forward to seeing future countries hopefully take less time due to being more straightforward for qualification and coefficient improvement :D

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Just caught up with this - what a thread, and what an achievement with Vaduz! Looking forward to the next chapter of the Fools and Horses saga ))) By the way, I hope you try out Croatia at some point - apparently Fools & Horses is absolutely massive over there (and in the Balkans more generally I think), so Rodney would get a proper hero's welcome!

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Upon arrival at Wolfsberger I was reasonably content with the squad, it's not bad, not great, probably what I was expecting for a side 6th in the Austrian PL, albeit an Austrian PL that's the 4th best league in Europe. 

 

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The two star players at the club were both Africa, with Spheshile Ndlela the club captain at right back and Victor Obi, a young Nigerian central midfielder who looked really good. 

 

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As you may have seen, Obi left for Belgian outfit Oud-Huverlee (remember them). I didn't particularly want to sell him, but he had 1 year left on his deal and no interest in renewing, so cashing in on him was a pretty decent move as it meant we could at least have some kind of transfer budget - albeit still absolute pennies. A few other back-up players left who had requested moves.

 

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I can't take any credit for picking up young centre back Ahmet Hadzovic on a free from Leipzig as it was a deal already agreed when I joined, but I have to say it looks an absolute bargain to be interest. Fair play to whoever pulled that one off. 

 

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I noticed that Obi had been signed from Nigerian side Enugu Rangers, who I was surprised to find out we actually have some kind of affiliate agreement with. I looked into them a bit and found Michael Friday in their ranks, who for a cut price deal given I was signing him from the Nigerian league, joins us to replace Obi. He looks a great pick-up for the price even at an age where we might not get much if any re-sell value later down the line. 

The African market is not something I've really explored much throughout this save, but it seems Wolfsberger might be onto something with it. We've also got affiliates with lower league sides in Romania, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Sweden, none of whom have any players that are any good, but still pretty random to see a middling Austrian side with so many abroad links. 

 

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We needed another body in midfield and with limited funds a lot of the targets we wanted weren't attainable. We ended up with Josip Babic, a Croatian who we signed from 2nd tier Croatian side Junak for £1M which was his release clause. For what we paid I don't think we can complain too much. 

 

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Nico Hummel was available on a free transfer having been released by St Polten. Despite only scoring 2 goals all season last year, given our budget we couldn't be too picky and since he was on a free I thought it was worth taking a chance on him to see if he could score some more goals for us. 

 

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