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I don't know how far the old thread has been lost in the mists of time but maybe it's time for a new one. It's not worth reviving my own thread but I have been hitting FM a little harder over the past couple of weeks, my best playing spell in years. I thought this thread was a good way to avoid clogging up the GD thread with anything I wanted to update about.

It is almost time to leave Schalke at last, having joined in November 2018 according to my career thread posts! I'm glad i kept on going trying to really hit the heights with this team, being rewarded not just with a 2nd CL title after 7 years but a 3rd the following season. That previous triumph pretty much made me decided to leave two seasons after that and I'm currently in the middle of that last season, my 16th in Germany. Unfortunately having won a bunch of doubles I'm not going to go out with another with a second early exit from the cup in a row, but that's not the biggest of blows. Even if we don't win a 3rd European title in a row (which I don't expect us to) we're utterly storming the league...

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That sole defeat (to Koln) is one of the only blips this season, aside from a European Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid and the early cup exit. We already had an 'invincibles' season (getting a record 92 points out of 102) and even if we don't win anything else, crushing the league in spectacular fashion with 10 titles in the bag already would be a nice way to bow out. This year would make it 7 in a row and 10 in 11 seasons. Deliberately not making any signings in the summer (aside from a continuing project from earlier in the save to fund a Danish team with a £5M signing each window) no doubt has helped alot after a less dominant season last time out (which Bayern thankfully couldn't take advantage of).

Our run to European glory last season is worth telling, because it was absolutely crazy. After being 2nd in the group we faced Betis in the last 16 and found ourselves 2-0 down at home, turning it around to win 6-2. In the second leg we held firm for a while but then came back to the point we were just a single goal away from going out on away goals. The quarter-finals against Feyenoord got off to as comfortable a start as I expected with 2 early home goals though a 3-2 win was narrower than I'd have liked. In the away leg we actually bagged 3 goals but again had to cling on at the end, this time only going through on away goals.

The semi-final was against a PSV team who had caused us trouble in the past. They had been the last team to beat us at home until that January (Dusseldorf of all teams being the first and so far only team to beat us in our current stadium after 4 1/2 years) and won 7-4 the last time we played. We lost the away leg 2-0 and were still at 0-0 after 70 minutes at home, despite a disallowed goal and a missed penalty. 2 quick goals managed to give us extra-time where we scored 3 more times. The final against Valencia was also heading for extra-time (and we were a man down after a red card) before an 89th minute goal gave us the lead, and we even had time for another in stoppage time. It may have not been the most convincing winning Champions League campaign ever, but it was a heck of a wild ride!

 

 

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So the Schalke era comes to an end. We lost a few more times in the second half of the season (including the last derby with Dortmund) but we still cruised to the decisive victory I was hoping for. After we went out to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League (having had to squeak past Juventus before that) it was pretty much done and dusted and I found myself doing other things while I played the rest of the season (it's nice that FM is a game where you can do that), pretty much phoning it in once we looked pretty much home and dry in March. However that's a consequence of the fact that I already knew I was leaving and there was nothing really left to do, rather than the other way around.

I think I timed it right, enjoying the added success I had in the last few years while feeling like it was now properly 'mission accomplished'. My surviving few early signings (including a full-back who I signed in my first summer window, 16 years ago) are near the end of their careers while the other core players have either turned 30 or are about to (though still with a few years left) so I can feel this side has run its course. From a real-world perspective aside from the fact that it was 'about time' after almost 2 years (much longer than any of my other careers) my Masters course starts up again in a couple of weeks so it seems fitting to wrap that chapter up before I properly hit my reading again this week and I no longer have the time to make much progress with such long and hectic seasons.

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I never imagined being able to break Bayern so effectively. They and Hamburg (who were champions in my first full season and otherwise almost always 2nd to Bayern) were such a strong top 2 that it seemed like an especially tough task to ever be able to compete. Even once we turned it into a 'big 3' we were still slightly behind the others and our first title seemed like a bit of a fluke. However once we established ourselves there was (almost) no stopping us. I'm kicking myself at the one year we messed up as Bayern had suddenly become freakishly strong again that year and a poor start to the Champions League (which became a tradition) meant I rushed into tactical change which turned the defence into a bunch of idiots. We dropped as low a 5th before I reversed it and we could only rescue 3rd at best. I could probably continue and win as many as I want now (including setting a new personal best) but that in itself is not enough to carry on.

The' 25 cup wins' obviously includes a lot of Super Cups but also 9 actual cups (which until the last couple of seasons we dominated just as much as the league), three Champions League wins (becoming 'World Champions as well each time to add a few more onto our count) and one Europa League win, which is still a big cabinet of major trophies. Along with three other European finals (2 Champions League, one Europa League) I'd still call that a decent showing on the continental stage.

I deliberately chose an even-numbered year to leave so I could take change of a national team. It can potentially get boring after a short while but it's just the change of pace I need and will help get a few more years done in a relatively short amount of time to help make up for all the dry periods. After the Euros that summer France (who had been holders but were knocked out at the last 16) stood out as one of the countries I was most hoping to get anyway given that at Schalke I had noticed that there was no shortage of young French talent being produced. England (who went out at the same stage) would have been nice as well but they clearly had lower expectations and that job wasn't available.

So France it is, still with high expectations despite hoping a tournament of underachievement would lower them but hopefully with the talent to get the job done, as hit and miss as my international record has always been (with very few actual successes). I signed plenty of young French players over the years at Schalke (even if the bar ended up being so high that even a few genuinely very good players had to be let go) so my first squad could well include 7-8 Schalke players past and present ;) However that's for another time as I can now step back and focus more on other things.

 

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The year is 2027, the place is Bolivia - just outside of Cochabamba.  A club, Club Municipal Tiquipaya is ascending.  

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Here's a little bit of the history:

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We've also just wrapped up 2027 with a league title.  We just can't crack Copa Libertadores - having progressed from our group twice without winning a knockout match - we're still miles behind Argentina and even more, Brazil.

League Rankings, the Bolivian league currently sit 9th:

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Our finances are looking great and we have been upgrading facilities here and there:

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This is after shelling out $5.5M for a new stadium and $2.5M on new training/youth facilities!

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And what a stadium!

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And overall facilities:

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My most fun save in awhile.

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Dec 2077 France Update

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The first World Cup qualifying campaign (and associated friendlies. though the Ass Man organised and took charge of those) is complete and it's not been impressive. It didn't help that we didn't have the easiest group even if we were expected to comfortably qualify. Thankfully we were able to kick things off with the double minnows of Andorra and San Marino as Croatia were pretty strong rivals while Sweden and Denmark had enough good players to be potential banana skins. We've only gained a limited amount of tactical familiarity as well even with the friendlies which doesn't help.

The squad isn't that great either, relatively speaking. Even the squad players are decent enough but we have too many of those (even as starters in a few positions) and too few top quality players. There are no young stars on the horizon either (otherwise I'd have more of them in the squad and even playing already), even if they'll at least provide plenty of long-term depth to keep the team at least at the current level of quality. There are a couple fo keep an eye on but they're still 16 or so and won't be viable options for 2-3 years yet. Trust me if I really like the look of a young prospect I don't hesitate to throw them in early so it says a lot that I haven't felt able to do that yet.

I ended up having to change the formation because my usual one didn't fit the players as well. We had plenty of good midfielders and wingers (and it was a shame to leave a few of them out of the squad entirely), not quite enough depth in defence for three centeal defenders (especially with only one who was any good at being a ball-playing defender) and no forwards who were better than reasonable so I switched to a standard back 4,  a DM, 2 CM's a pair of wingers (instead of just 1) and just a single forward (which is otherwise heresy for me).

Squad

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It's still a bit of a family affair with 10 of my former Schalke players (including all the wingers), and it would be 11 but another is injured. However the fact that most of them were 'rejects' (even if a few were still genuinely very good but with a very high bar to jump) says quite a bit about how this feels like a bit of a step down from the top quality squad I enjoyed there.

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Key Players

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I was glad to have a strong goalkeeper in his prime like Simon, the same with Diawara in defence. The depth in both those areas isn't too bad either but both of those players help add some genuine quality. Merlet and Eputa (who I considered to be the 'wonderkid's wonderkid' when I first saw him and signed him at the age of 15) shared the same position at Schalke (and they're the only two members of the squad who are still there now) but I decided to make them into a central midfield partnership for France. Eputa very nearly became a German international as I already had one French midfielder at Schalke switch countries and Eputa did the same at youth level but he returned to the French set-up in time to seal his international future and he provides a certain quality we'd be lacking otherwise. Remy provides a quality full-back, even if competition at club level meant I felt able to let him go for his own sake before my final season at Schalke. Top-level full backs seem insanely hard to find in this game (and it's not just this version as I had it in previous ones as well at times) as it's taken me years to finally get them at all my top teams so I'm just glad we've got one good one (with years ahead of him) for France. The rest are pretty average but they're ok enough.

El Amrani was one of the stars when they won the 2072 Euros but he's otherwise flattered to deceive both for club and country, not helped by being behind the legendary Francisco Martinez at Schalke for so many years (though he did end up being a reasonably reliable alternative). Both he and his backup Zitouni were sold by Schalke just after I left to the big 2 in Spain as I think the new manager did away with wingers altogether. Corbel was unlucky to share a position with Eputa and Merlet and while I knew he was still a very good player he was always going to struggle to be more than 3rd choice so I let him go for his own sake. He only became a winger after that so when I switched to having a pair of those he was the player who benefited the most.

Collet looked like a prospect at first but he was at Schalke when there was a long queue of young forwards behind the then-established front pair and ended up leaving out of impatience, despite showing promise in a handful of appearences he did get. In the long-run I don't think I missed out on much (see what I said earlier about the contrast with Schalke) and he pipped a few other forwards of a similar standard to be my first choice forward, for now. He's done the business for the most part but with a few other similarly ok forwards (like with the right-backs they're all pretty much of a muchness) available he'll probably lose that spot after the World Cup as I look ahead to the next 2-year cycle. Again he's hardly bad but having him as our best forward for what's meant to be a top international team seems disappointing somehow.

World Cup Draw

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Our unimpressive form was us drop a bit from 4th in the rankings to 14th (having been a few places lower before that) but I didn't mind too much since it would hopefully mean lower expectations without much confidence risk as long as we met competitive expectations. That meant we were just in the 2nd pot for the draw but we managed to get a relatively generous group with Nigeria, Iran, and a reasonably strong Russia side. We should make it through. Topping the group might be trickier but it's achievable and we could get a relatively simple second round draw if we manage that. In fact given Brazil have underperformed pretty much all save long I'm not sure if even they would be that scary either.

 

 

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World Cup 2078 - Germany

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I didn't go into the World Cup with high hopes. The FA somehow still had the traditional (for one of the major nations) 'semi-final' expectations (I had hoped for 'quarter-final' at most) which seemed like a pipe dream, especially as I'd compare how things had gone so far with how England have been all these years, usually getting the job done but being unconvincing. In the end it wasn't quite as bad as that, even though it could have been better. We at least had a clean bill of health with only our starting DM Julien being injured (and no one being suspended), even then he only got the nod over Benoit due to be better in the air. The latter is otherwise potentially the better all-round player with very little between them. Our top full-back Remy also went off injured but only when we were already on the way out and it didn't turn into  lasting injury anyway.

We kicked off against Nigeria, the weakest team in the group and while 1-0 was an unimpressive scoreline we did probably deserve another. Iran seemed to be clearly stronger than the Nigerians but we managed to easily crush them anyway. All the years of Schalke had gotten me used to the idea of easing off when a game seemed safe to save energy as much as possible for the next game and that mentality kicked in while we were still behind Russia on goals scored. However that wasn't a problem in the end as a late El Amrani goal in that game meant we topped the group anyway with a 100% record and no goals conceded. That compares to England and Germany (not just the hosts but the reigning European and World Champions) going out early, with the latter being winless, while Brazil (who somehow went into the tournament as World no.1 though with no good reason as to why) lost all 3 games, mixing things up with who we were potentially going to play in the next round.

The last-16 saw us face a decent-but-unimpressive Portugal side, where we were pretty comfortable. The scoreline should have been even bigger but Mallet's attempts at shooting were absolutely comical (maybe I need to reconifigure the forward role and duty to make them less 'ambitous') before he finally got his goal to make it 2-0 at the end. He was already set to be replaced after the tournament anyway. Spain seemed like much tougher quarter-final opponents, but much more beatable than expected when I looked through their team. I'm so used to various nations (not just the top ones either sometimes) being packed with top quality players but it seems like we're not alone in having to make do with a more 'above average at best for the most part' squad. In the end it was one of those games where we paid the price for a very poor start, giving them a 2-0 lead,. While we got our act together it only produced an admittedly excellent Benoit goal, too late to have much chance of snatching an equaliser. Remy had already gone off injured early on to add to the strong 'not our day' vibe. What was frustrating is that had we won, we'd have faced South Korea and had a good chance of even making the final.

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I knew that I'd be allowed to fall one round short (especially as losing to Spain was at least somewhat forgivable) so my time at France continues to the next Euros. One of the reasons why I'm not so fond of (or successful at) international management is that at the major nations, the high expectations can be brutal and a lot harder to achieve given that major tournaments carry a lot less room for error than a league season. That's why I was pondering a few others like Greece that were available but that would also lead to a feeling of being stuck in a rut. It's still fine for a while (especially if you do somehow get things going) well and a nice change of pace from from heavily packed domestic seasons at the top level but it's not something to do for long periods at a time. I look forward to getting back into searching for a club, which will probably be after the next major tournament (rounding out a 4-year cycle) unless things get a lot better. We'll still have pretty much all of our current squad (maybe one or two improvements as well), hopefully with clearly improved cohesion/tactical familarity to be able to perform more convincingly and consistently. Finding the right forward will help a lot.

Our Euro qualification group should be easy enough. Scotland are actually tough enough that they should comfortably qualify as well (yes, I know that seems odd) and provide competition for winning the group (anything less seeming like a failure), while the Faroes are our minnows and Macedonia and Northern Ireland are much weaker than their Danish and Swedish counterparts from our World Cup qualifying group.

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Dec 2079 France Update

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What a difference a couple of years make, even in international football, as we head into next year's Euros in Belgium feeling a lot more confident than the previous World Cup. It's not really easy to measure improvement in this situation but there are a few ways. The first is that Scotland seemed to be on a similar enough level to the Croatia team who were our main rivals in World Cup qualifying and while we struggled to draw 0-0 at home and lost 2-0 away (and that with our goalkeeper easily being our standout player) we comfortably won both times. There's also the results in friendlies, even if they otherwise don't mean much and the Ass Man takes those. In the early months of my reign we kept being held to draws by inferior teams but we seem to be on a roll in those as well. Finally we dropped from 4th to 15th in the rankings during the World Cup qualifying cycle while we bumped back up to 5th after the World Cup and not just stayed there but even popped up to 3rd at one point. A bonus point was having seen some of the other teams, they didn't really seem much better than us, however relatively mediocre we seemed early on.

The team is mostly unchanged, but not quite, since with attributes right in front of me, form and regular first team football aren't the factors they would be in real life and I like to keep a mostly consistent squad after inevitably making a handful of changes at the start. The teenage Lille defender Pichon was one of a couple of players I spotted during an in-depth scouting of the national pool just before the World Cup (in case there were any potential up and coming stars I had missed before) and he made it into the squad for the tournament itself. He got his chance not long afterwards and has impressed ever since, even getting a handful of goals. The left-winger Boide was the other player I spotted, and though he missed out on the World Cup squad by a whisker a big move to Barcelona helped grab my attention and Corbel's form dropped in time to give him a run for the autumn qualifiers.

The main change (and the thing that would potentially make the difference) was always going to be up front as I was always going to discard my initial first choice Mallet after the World Cup. He got a decent amount of goals (including 3 in 5 matches at the tournament itself, which is hardly bad) but I kept seeing frustratingly inconsistent performances and too many incredibly wild shots. It wasn't easy to decide who to replace him as he was (marginally) the best of a handful of good but unexceptional forwards. I decided to try a poacher again which combined with an injury to the previous second choice opened the door for the Marseille forward Sargent. He got off to a great start and though he was far from perfect, he seemed alot more clinical and linked up to the other players well. Then he got injured before the run-in opening the door for Huza (who was usually present as a back-up but didn't play much). The naturalised Romanian went on to get 8 goals in 3 matches to establish himself as the potential starter instead. It helps that he's banging in the goals for a strong Newcastle side as a way of proving himself.

There's definitely a difference not just in the results but in what I'm watching during the matches. I already mentioned Mallet and the threat he posed to low-flying aircraft and satelites but not only has that pretty much gone (our misses at least tend to be more reasonable) but we're not losing possession in silly ways anymore, practially bumping into each other and many other things that often happened before things finally started to settle down. Of course the results helped as well as despite making much heavy weather in the final match with Northern Ireland (being 1-0 down for quite a while) we ended up as the only team in qualifying with a 100% records. A friendly draw with Israel in out first friendly after the World Cup was disappointing but a more understandable draw with Brazil a year later remains the only match we haven't won since the last tournament. Maybe this team could amount to something after all.

Euro 2080 Draw

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Our draw for the finals was considered relatively simple, but neither is it a walkover. I was going to cover the Czechs anyway for the next World Cup qualifying draw (as that took place in the summer) but I might as well do so here. They have a few quality players but otherwise they were set to easily be our weakest qualifying group rivals yet. Ukraine are by no means bad (though hardly the strongest team around) and Slovakia can be described as 'decent for the most part' so while I still expect us to win (and therefore face a 3rd placed team being in Groups A-D if I remember correctly), maybe narrowly get beaten into 2nd at worst, I otherwise expect this to be a potentially close and competitive group.

World Cup Qualifying Draw

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This is vastly easier than the group we had last time. I've already mentioned the Czechs as probably not being too strong a rival as the next best team in the group, and the other teams pretty much speak for themselves (especially having just dealt with North Macedonia already in the Euro Qualifiers). That being said, Liechtenstein have a defender who plays for Man Utd (as in properly plays most games), North Macedonia have a few Serie A players (though not good ones) and I think it's Lithuania (who actually made the Euro qualifying play-offs) who have a Barcelona left-back. That doesn't make the rest of those teams particularly good (the Czechs should still be 2nd without too much difficulty) but it's still interesting to note what little quality they do have.

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Done something I do ever so often but never get past pre-season and that's start a game as Newcastle, my sometimes favoured club. 

I found a data update which has most of the summers transfers done so far up to last week I believe, so Newcastle have Lewis, Fraser, Hendrick and Wilson. Realistically or not they also had some spare budget which I used to sign Thiago Almada from Velez and Romario Baro from Porto for a combined £28m. I managed to sell Murphy, Saivet, Lazaar, Ritchie and Aarons for around £15m back but more important eased our wage spending. 

We flunked in the FA Cup but managed to finish 7th with 63 points, ahead of Chelsea (8th) and Spurs (10th). Callum Wilson the catalyst for the season scoring a mightily impressive 26 league goals which saw him crowned as the leagues top scorer. Beyond him, no other players really stood out. 

This summer we made two huge sales in Ryan Fraser to Arsenal for £47m and Callum Wilson to Spurs for £75m :idiot:. Shelvey (12.25m), Dummett (5m), Fernandez, Clark, Lejuene, Atsu and Yedlin also all left. Those transfers left me with a huge budget which I've spent most of so far. 

In came a new RB, a former player in Kevin Mbabu for £19m from Wolfsburg, Maximilian Wober from Salzburg for £16m, Waulker Farinez from Millionaros for £2m, Victor Tsygankov for £23m for the RW, Neal Maupay from Brighton for £15m as back up to new first choice striker Alfredo Morelos who cost me £21m from Rangers and lastly Alassane Plea from Monchengladbach for £18m to cover ASM on the left. 

I'm still looking to bring in another CB to act as back up to Wober and back up LB for Lewis. 

We now line up like this;

GK - Farinez (Dubravka)

RB - Mbabu (Manquillo)

CB - Lascelles (Schar)

CB - Wober 

LB - Lewis 

CM - Baro (Hendrick)

CM - Matty Longstaff (S Longstaff)

RW - Tsygankov (Muto)

AMC - Almiron (Almada)

LW - ASM (Plea)

ST - Morelos (Maupay)

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On 22/09/2020 at 12:18, ToMexico!! said:

Done something I do ever so often but never get past pre-season and that's start a game as Newcastle, my sometimes favoured club. 

I found a data update which has most of the summers transfers done so far up to last week I believe, so Newcastle have Lewis, Fraser, Hendrick and Wilson. Realistically or not they also had some spare budget which I used to sign Thiago Almada from Velez and Romario Baro from Porto for a combined £28m. I managed to sell Murphy, Saivet, Lazaar, Ritchie and Aarons for around £15m back but more important eased our wage spending. 

We flunked in the FA Cup but managed to finish 7th with 63 points, ahead of Chelsea (8th) and Spurs (10th). Callum Wilson the catalyst for the season scoring a mightily impressive 26 league goals which saw him crowned as the leagues top scorer. Beyond him, no other players really stood out. 

This summer we made two huge sales in Ryan Fraser to Arsenal for £47m and Callum Wilson to Spurs for £75m :idiot:. Shelvey (12.25m), Dummett (5m), Fernandez, Clark, Lejuene, Atsu and Yedlin also all left. Those transfers left me with a huge budget which I've spent most of so far. 

In came a new RB, a former player in Kevin Mbabu for £19m from Wolfsburg, Maximilian Wober from Salzburg for £16m, Waulker Farinez from Millionaros for £2m, Victor Tsygankov for £23m for the RW, Neal Maupay from Brighton for £15m as back up to new first choice striker Alfredo Morelos who cost me £21m from Rangers and lastly Alassane Plea from Monchengladbach for £18m to cover ASM on the left. 

I'm still looking to bring in another CB to act as back up to Wober and back up LB for Lewis. 

We now line up like this;

GK - Farinez (Dubravka)

RB - Mbabu (Manquillo)

CB - Lascelles (Schar)

CB - Wober 

LB - Lewis 

CM - Baro (Hendrick)

CM - Matty Longstaff (S Longstaff)

RW - Tsygankov (Muto)

AMC - Almiron (Almada)

LW - ASM (Plea)

ST - Morelos (Maupay)

Good transfers there, hope Morelos does better for you than he did for my villa team he was unfortunately a complete flop. 

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3 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Good transfers there, hope Morelos does better for you than he did for my villa team he was unfortunately a complete flop. 

Thanks, Morelos has been ok, he's hit double figures, he's not Wilson heights of goals but I couldn't turn down £75m for him. Plea has been decent from the bench and Mbabu has contributed well down the right with plenty of assists. 

Plenty of back up players are wanted now as we hit the winter transfer window including Joe Linton and Isaac Hayden who could fetch semi-decent fee's.

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Am doing a youth only challenge, just like jimbokav, but in Croatia. It's tough cos am semi-pro and players aren't worth anything. So gonna be a battle to climb to the first league and stay there. Am using IR to go through as many seasons as I can.

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13 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Thanks, Morelos has been ok, he's hit double figures, he's not Wilson heights of goals but I couldn't turn down £75m for him. Plea has been decent from the bench and Mbabu has contributed well down the right with plenty of assists. 

Plenty of back up players are wanted now as we hit the winter transfer window including Joe Linton and Isaac Hayden who could fetch semi-decent fee's.

Further proof to me that pacy strikers are the way to go in FM. It's the easiest way out, much harder to get other types of strikers to work. Even though Morelos is no slouch, mind. 

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17 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Thanks, Morelos has been ok, he's hit double figures, he's not Wilson heights of goals but I couldn't turn down £75m for him. Plea has been decent from the bench and Mbabu has contributed well down the right with plenty of assists. 

Plenty of back up players are wanted now as we hit the winter transfer window including Joe Linton and Isaac Hayden who could fetch semi-decent fee's.

Not just me that does that then. :)

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4 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Further proof to me that pacy strikers are the way to go in FM. It's the easiest way out, much harder to get other types of strikers to work. Even though Morelos is no slouch, mind. 

They are, especially as a advanced forward too. Morelos had scored just under 20 goals I think with around 12 games of the season to go including Europa League ties. Whilst that is ok, he's not consistent enough for my liking and will probably be replaced in the summer.  

3 minutes ago, Maw74 said:

Not just me that does that then. :)

:brock:

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20 minutes ago, ToMexico!! said:

They are, especially as a advanced forward too. Morelos had scored just under 20 goals I think with around 12 games of the season to go including Europa League ties. Whilst that is ok, he's not consistent enough for my liking and will probably be replaced in the summer.  

:brock:

He scored 5 for me the entire season :lol: 20 would have been amazing

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2nd season done with Newcastle and we finished 6th in the league but qualify for the Champions League as we won the Europa League, beating Wolfsburg 4-0 in the final. That meant 4th placed Liverpool drop down into the EL. We were poor in the domestic cups again, 4th round of FA Cup and 3rd Round of League Cup. 

Morelos scored 25 goals but was inconsistent, Almada was decent at AMC scoring 18 and making 11 assists, Tsygankov (14g & 13a), ASM and Plea scored 10 a piece. Mbabu was imperious going forward from RB making 19 assists. 

Been given £65m to spend on new players and will probably look at a new CB to replace Lascelles, another AMR to act as back up to Tsygankov and another forward. Ideally I would like to get rid of Hendrick, Hayden and a couple others so I could have a bit more to spend. 

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Euro 2080 - Belgium

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International football is often a harsh and unpredictable thing. If you're one of the big nations the pressure is on knowing you can easily stumble at any time, if you're a smaller nation you seem mainly stuck in a mediocre rut. If you're one of the 'second tier' nations (like maybe Croatia or Belgium when they have a good team) it might be a little different as you have a better balance of quality and lower expectations to regularly get to play in major tournaments and maybe enjoy the occasional good run without having to worry too much about meeting high expectations. I really don't think that expectations work anywhere near as well as they do for clubs. If you're one of the top 2-3 teams in a country it makes sense to be expected to at least challenge for the title (or make the Champions League/European places) on a consistent basis. Always being expected to make the World Cup semis and the Euro final? Not so much. It's like being judged on the domestic cup or European competitions instead of the league. Seeing how regularly the big teams fall to an early exit is proof of that by itself.

This was a pretty good tournament for us for the most part, especially as the fact that we were one of 6 joint favourites seemed to confirm what I had already found out about the fact that there is no standout national team right now and however good we are (and the FA thinks we should be), we're not going to have an easy time challenging for things. It helped that we avoided the tougher teams but they were still far from easy opponents. The group stage seemed comfortable enough. After the draw I thought it might be an interesting an unpredictable group but the Czechs and ourselves easily beat Slovakia and Ukraine before we secured top spot with an easier with over the Czechs than I thought we'd manage. Meanwhile the Dutch and Spanish (World Cup finalists and the team that knocked us out 2 years ago) went out early to highlight the perils of tournament football, even for the big nations.

We fell a bit flat against Poland, which should have been another comfortable win. We weren't terrible but it was telling that our only goal came from a penalty as we didn't seem quite threatening enough at the top to score from open play. We were a bit better against Wales in the quarter-final but we needed Zitouni to come on to first set up his former Schalke teammate Merlet (who is about to join Barcelona on a bosman just as he's heading the other way to Arsenal, in fact as it was July 1st technically they were moving that very day) then add another to make it comfortable. Merlet's goal was a case of going from zero to hero after previously losing the ball in a stupid way to let Wales break when it was 0-0. He then picked up an injury to complete an eventful day for him.

We faced Portugal in the semi-finals. We had beaten them in the second round at the World Cup 2 years before but they seemed like a much tougher prospect this time. It was actually a much better game than the score suggested as it was a very open match with both teams managing to get very close on a handful of occasions. They even had a goal disallowed which gave me less of a reason to complain. We were slightly hindered not just by Merlet's injury (though we had the depth in midfield to easily cover that) but with Huza having to go off injured as well. He had struggled to be the consistent attacking threat I had hoped for (like his predecessors) but his replacement Broutet (narrowly beating Sargent on club form) failed to do anything in the tournament whenever he was brought on, and this was no exception. Our star player Eputa took an early knock which came without an injury but the blow to his condition meant that I felt like I needed to eventually take him off near the end of normal time, when fresher legs may help anyway (and this wasn't one of his usual standout perfmances). We ended up losing in the shortest shootout possible as they just needed to score three while we had our first 2 saved and outright missed the 3rd.

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The above message and others like it seemed like a massive over-reaction, highlighting my point about harsh expectations. It was a bit of a blow but that was more because I felt confident we'd make the final (and maybe even go on to win after that, even if it would be tricky) as our potential run of opponents developed, and the manner in which we lost. We had actually gotten knocked out without conceding a single goal, in fact we've only conceded in one match out of 11 in major tournaments (though that was the 2-1 defeat to Spain in the World Cup quarter-final, very much the 'wrong' match to get sloppy) under my management. We were also the most consistent European team over those two tournaments with Spain getting knocked out of the group stage this time, Portugal had been knocked out by us in the last 16 2 years ago with Germany and England (the other semi-finalists) having both made group stage exits at the World Cup. Once again, consistently high expectations are stupid because international tournaments do not work that way. At least the qualifying tournaments seem to provide the opportunity to 'reset' the confidence from 45% to 50% if you only fall one round short of expectations each time like I have been, in contrast with usually having just the single 'fall slightly short' lifeline at a club.

It seemed like a positive step forward and should have been seen as such, especially as if you count the 2nd round exit at the last Euros (which made the job available), we've gone one round better at each of my tournaments. The defence was fine, we were clearly doing a lot bette ron the pitch and while the attack still failed us when we needed it, we've still managed more impressive performances than early on in my reign. It might not take that much more to be potential contenders at the next World Cup. That might also be my last tournament with France. It was just what I needed after all that time with Schalke, a big change of pace and location with a gentler schedule, but the qualifying groups have started become routine (especially the one coming up) and the tournaments frustrating with the expectations, even if they're otherwise still what can make international management fun.  I wasn't sure whether to continue for another tournament given all my frustrations but I've now decided it's worth it and at least I've been getting a decent run out of it when it could all have ended early and badly.

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Forgot to mention I got taken over last season but it was rather uneventful with no investment, however, we've just been taken over again by another consortium but he's just brought me Jules Kounde and Rafael Leao for £74m and £87m which comes from his pocket not the clubs. Not sure where I can improve without spending similar money again, I'm going to invest in some youth players for the future and the facilities. 

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1 hour ago, ToMexico!! said:

Forgot to mention I got taken over last season but it was rather uneventful with no investment, however, we've just been taken over again by another consortium but he's just brought me Jules Kounde and Rafael Leao for £74m and £87m which comes from his pocket not the clubs. Not sure where I can improve without spending similar money again, I'm going to invest in some youth players for the future and the facilities. 

Spent my £65m budget on Max Aarons (£21m), Ansu Fati (£20m) and Rayan Cherki (£23m) as young, high potential players. 

Team now looks like this...

GK - Farinez (Woodman)

RB - Mbabu (Aarons)

CB - Kounde (Lascelles)

CB - Wober (Schar/Badiashile)

LB - Lewis (Bard)

CM - Shortstaff (Longstaff)

CM - Baro (Hayden)

AMR - Tsygankov (Fati)

AMC - Almiron (Almada)

AML - ASM (Plea/Cherki)

ST - Leao (Morelos)

I need to invest in home-grown players now as we have a limit of foreigners/home grown players due to brexit. 

Edited by ToMexico!!
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Another season done with Newcastle and probably my last as we surpassed all expectations and won the CL beating Man City on penalties in the final. We finished 4th in the league which was another improvement, so we do have the PL to win but we're quite far behind the likes of Liverpool and City in the league. 

Rafael Leao had a great season, scoring 42 goals including 25 in the league which led him to top scorer and he also scored 15 in 13 CL games. Behind him we were fairly disrupted in the AM/IF positions with Fati and Cherki having major injuries whilst Tysgankov, ASM and Almiron having niggly injuries. Max Aarons performed well at RB to take Mbabu spot on a permenant basis.

The board have given me £113m to spend on improvements and if I continue the save I will look at a new GK for definite and a couple of high potential back ups for CB and CM. 

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I've been playing this save since Feb/March time I think and usually do something similar every year. I basically start at a random club in the Northern Irish lowest division with no badges and the lowest rep, the aim is to essentially build my reputation up enough to get noticed by clubs in England/Scotland and eventually work my way up to the top jobs and ultimately win the Champions League.

Job History

Career Stats 

Trophy Cabinet

I didn't manage to make it out of Northern Ireland for around 10 years, finally building my reputation up enough to get decent job offers outside of NI. Ultimately I ended up having a rough time at Cork City and Morecambe before getting sacked at both clubs. I retreated back to what I knew and took the Linfield job, who are traditionally the biggest club in Northern Ireland. I had a successful 3 and a half years there, winning 6 trophies including one league title, I also managed to remarkably reach the Europa League quarter final beating Valencia over two legs along the way. I think this really boosted my rep and I started getting approached by championship clubs, eventually I got the Brighton job who were languishing in the relegation zone of the Premiership. Unfortunately, I couldn't carry on my good managerial form and ended up getting sacked towards the end of the season and the new manager couldn't save them for relegation.

I started applying for as many jobs as I could after that and was successful with Norwich who were mid table when I took over in around October/November. I was able to guide them to 5th in my first season but ended up agonisingly losing in the play-off finals, the following year we went up comfortably as champions which added the most prestigious medal to my collection to date. Our first season in the Premiership was a huge success and Norwich were in 8th position at the turn of the year, this is where Eddie Howe had just been sacked from Liverpool and I threw my hat in the ring and applied for the job with little hope of getting it.

A few days later I was given a job interview and to my surpirise the job offer! Liverpool were seriously underperforming under Eddie Howe and were sitting in 12th place when I took over, they have been relatively successful since the start of the game and have won 5 league titles and 6! champions league trophies but haven't won a league title in 7 years.  The board appear to be extremely demanding and part of the 5 year club vision is for my to win the league next season amongst an array of other things such as maintaining the best youth academy and the most reputable club in the world! It remains to be seen whether I'll be able to deliver this. Unfortunately a few of the key players are currently unhappy and want to leave the club due to not playing in the champions league so it will be my job to try and somewhat harmonise the players and convince them to stay. The board gave me an £180m war chest to spend in January and a few players left while I brought a few more in for big fees.

Liverpool League History

Current League Table

Fast forward 62 days since my appointment and we have picked up our first trophy having won the League Cup against Man Utd. The board have asked for attacking and entertaining football which I'm having fun developing so far, the aim for this season is to finish as high as possible and to win the Europa League which will guarantee us a champions league spot which I don't think we'll be able to get through the league.

Key Players

Mitchell Middelkoop - Holland's Number 1 and a World Class keeper. He's been at the club for 8 years and i'll hope to keep hold of him for as long as i'm at the club.

Matthew Colbert - An attacking fullback who has surprisingly only been capped 15 times by England, he is one of the players that is currently unhappy but i'm desperate to keep him as he is vital to how I want us to play and in my opinion the best player at the club.

George Gumbs - Local lad who is the highest earner at the club, he has insane mentals and physicals and i'm trying to get the best out of him playing him as a shadow striker behind a complete forward.

Afonsinho - £84m big money January signing from Hertha, he's not played much so far but i'm hoping for good things and he has time to develop.

Salim Mradabi - An extremely versatile player, who can pretty much play anywhere. I've been using him as a complete forward (s) but he could probably play anywhere. He's 6ft 8 and is a huge aerial threat.

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Dec 2081 France Update

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There isn't an awful lot worth saying as again we cruised through with a 100% record (and again being the only team to do so). Even the Czechs were disappointingly weak as they had a few very good players even if the rest of the team was fairly weak. They still beat all the rest, while North Macedonia comfortably dominated the smaller teams until Lithuania got much closer at the end. I decided to finish off my finally claiming the 'squad depth' achievement for winning two consecutive matches with a completely different line-up (which I had been planning to do at Schalke but never got around to it). However the 'second choice' team was both strong and dominant enough that it shouldn't have been as close or as tough as it ended up being. The damp squib was losing to the Dutch in the final friendly of the year, ending an amazing 42-match unbeaten run (since the defeat to Portugal on penalties at the last Euros doesn't seem to count).

World Cup Draw

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Oh dear! You know I had actually gotten over the disappointment of the Euros to think about continuing for 2 more years (though that would definitely be that) after the World Cup if we reached the Semis, but that looks unlikely. All of our opponents have at least a few genuinely excellent players, and Russia were the lowest ranked at 17th. The Dutch or the Germans are are likely opponents if we get through as well, and having lost to the former (as covered above), I managed to go on long enough to see the Germans beat us in another match at the start of March. Despite messing up their home World Cup last time they've still won the last 2 Euros and are the top ranked side in the world (we're 3rd). At this rate getting to the quarter-finals will be some minor achievement even of obviously the FA wouldn't see it that way.

Instead the big news concerns my old Schalke team. They won 4 titles in a row after I left to make it 11 in a row and 14 out of the last 15, however that run ended last season and they're not likely to win this time either being down in 3rd, 8 points adrift of Bayern with 9 full rounds to go (though with a game in hand). Most of the stars weres scattered to the wind to see out their careers though a few survive. Having bought a lot of young players before I left for my successor to use there were hardly new faces in the first few years, but more have come in (oddly enough with a lot of players too young to play yet) as more names have gone the other way. Aside from getting rid of the wingers for tactical reasons, Farley (already one of the older players and having retired at the end of last season) was the only noticable one (to Bayern of all teams), and Maya who wasn't far from retirement anyway (and it now a Fitness Coach in Argentina), but that's all changed. Even those who had years ahead of them haven't got many now.

Andre and Martinez saw out what little career thay had left at their ages in style. Popovitch quickly started having to give way to his young English backup (though interestingly enough he still got a decent amount of games for a goalkeeper who was no longer firm first choice) and is now a free agent. Kaunda is now a manager without a club while the other 'golden boy' Hoxha is now at relegation-battling Dusseldorf and about to retire.  Hudson is still at the club but is now 35,, Merlet remained there until moving to Barcelona on a free last summer (where he joins the 32-yr-old Hugo Leandro), Eputa (the youngest of the star players) has continued to shine for club and country but even the 'wonderkid's wonderkid' is now 30 (along with a couple of those who established themselves later on). The English star forward Wilkes (WPOTY twice in a row) is about to break the club's all time goalscoring record but is now 31 withhis compatriot Townsend is at Norwich (!) and about to retire. The Danish defender Petersen (signed for nothing) is at Napoli, about to turn 33 and has clearly declined quite a bit already. A few of them have still got a bit of time left but if it wasn't an end of an era before, it pretty much is now :(

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So like I said, I haven't continued my Newcastle save and instead opted to manage in a country I don't think I ever have before and that was Denmark. I decided not to make like too hard for me and chose to start with Brondby. A club that is up there but is behind Kobenhavn and Midtyjlland by a little way but better than the likes of Aab, AGF and Randers. 

I've completed the first season and we finished 3rd in the preliminary phase which was the expectation but it was AGF who finished ahead on goal difference in 2nd not Midtyjlland and Kobenhavn were well ahead by 12 points, they could take some reeling in. The Championship Phase, which sees the league split and the top 6 play each other twice more ended and we moved up a place to finish in 2nd place, two points ahead of AGF by a huge 18 points behind Kobenhavn. We qualify for the Europa League for another season. 

In the EL we entered the competition in 1st Qualifying Round and we beat Cliftonville home and away. 2nd Round was Tobol of Kazakhstan, again home and away wins. AZ next, I thought we would go out at this point but the boys proved me wrong with a away draw and comfortable 3-0 home win. Czeech side Mlada Boleslav in the 4th Qual Round and we lost the advantage away by losing 2-0, we managed a win at home 3-2 but we bowed out at the last hurdle before the group stages.

Despite having money to spend on players I opted not to sign anyone of note, just another back up striker from Randers in the winter window for £83k. My HoYD made a number of signings for the U19's all on frees, none of them were hugely inspiring. 

I opted to play a 5-3-2 with wing backs and an AMC as that suited the players we had best. Mikael Uhre top scored with 18 for the season and thats about it, I've moved on too far to see the stats from last season now. 

I've made a couple of signings so far for season two, Valdo for £26k (his release clause) from Brazil, he's an attacking right back who I am converting into a wing back. Jeppe Hojbjerg for £275k, he's my new back up GK with the view to make him first choice in a season or two. And Liam Jordan from Koge for £65k, he's a South African AMC and will be a good rotation option. We had a pretty decent youth intake with a couple of 5* PA players but one thing I did notice was the age range which was 15 to 19. 

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World Cup 2082 - Morocco

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Now that was a World Cup! It was probably the most competitive for a long time with hardly any shock early casualties aside from England (for the second World Cup in a row) and a strong Serbia team. That being said it took me until half-way through the tournament before I realised that reigning champions Argentina didn't qualify, which must be a first (Uruguay not wanting to take part in 1934 doesn't count) as they finished 7th in the South American qualifying group! Portugal weren't there either having finished 3rd in their group behind Serbia and Romania. We had a tough ride but we (mostly) managed very well, helped by the fact that this team has gotten better during my time in charge and I had gone from 'making do' with quite few players to having some tough squad selection choices, including leaving out the veteran star defender Diawara, now 34 and not really much better than the younger players who were proving themselves. 

We had something of a 'group of death' but seemed to get past it easily enough. A powerful Julien free-kick got us going against Paraguay, with Huza getting a deserved second later on. The match with Russia was tougher but Zitouni came off the bench to make the difference. That meant we were qualified already and just needed a draw with Ghana to be top. That's exactly what we got despite that actually being our most dominant performance of the group. The Dutch were our 2nd round opponents as expected but it ended up being a pretty dull game, Julien eventually making the difference to make him our only player on multiple goals by that point despite being a DM. I had hoped we could get an easier quarter-final opponent but we ended up with Spain, the team that knocked us out at the same stage. However it proved to be as exciting as the Dutch game was dull.

At first it looked like lightning would strike twice as again we let them in too easily to concede an early goal. However this time instead of going 2-0 down we quickly equalised, and a Huza penalty gave us the lead. Despite going down to 10 men they managed to equalise before half-time but Boide finally settled it. It was then our turn to go down to 10 men when Huza got a second yellow, but we had done enough. Huza's sending off weakened us for the semi-final against Italy but thankfully (given the second choice forward got injured came on and got injured against Ghana) I decided to bring 3 this time, after enduring multiple tournaments of an inconsistent first-choice and a back-up failing to step up. The remaining forward Broutin was a proper hot-shot at club level (just having won the European Golden Boot and firing Valenciennes to the title the year before) but the fact that he hadn't done anything more than just being there as Huza's back-up was precisely why I wanted to bring someone else as well this time. Unfortuntely this time was no different.

The semi-final was another brilliant clash, though along with Huza's suspension we had a few players (Eputa in particular) who were a little tired as I hadn't had the opportunity to take them off for a rest in the previous round. Just like 2 years ago against Portugal, Eputa was the victim of a knock (as he so often is) which was a further blow to his condition and I had no choice but to take him off later in normal time. Before that however, we took the lead when El Amrani's cross found Boide to give us the lead. They equalised and an open game went to extra-time. They took the lead early on so we neede to push and were rewarded by an equaliser from Corbel, who had some on for Eputa. I decided to keep pushing hard for a winner but we paid the price as their star forward completed a hat-trick to knock us out. We still had the third place playoff against Germany with the returning Huza giving us the lead. They equalised to eventually take it to penalties but we couldn't do any worse than last time (when we missed and let in all 3 respectively) and won out. The veteran Goalkeeper Yann Simon was the hero as he saved their 2nd and 3rd efforts before taking and scoring the 4th himself to seal 3rd place.

I am delighted with how we did for the most part. Success may have been thin on the ground with France but we faced a tougher challenge then ever this time and gave a good account of ourselves. Yet again high expectations led to absurdly negative news items after the Italy defeat though about how we 'failed to meet expectations', even though we actually did manage to meet the 'make the semi finals' expectation this time. The fact that we had a tough path only makes it feel like more of an achievement and I'm very happy with 3rd place. My time at France hasn't been that successful on the face of things but there's still a lot to be happy about. Spain were the only team to score against us in 3 tournaments until Italy, and their win over us at the previous World Cup remains the only time we've lost at a major tournament in 90 minutes. It was also the only time we conceded in 15 tournament matches before we faced them again, though we've now conceded in 3 matches in a row. Granted it was Spain, Italy and Germany so I guess it's forgivable ;)

As mentioned before the squad keep getting better as young players emerge to fill the gaps left by aging players (though there have only been a few) and those who I was just making do with before. I even had to leave out players I might have otherwise wanted to take for the first time, and before the tournament I identified at least 2 more players I wanted to blood but knew it wasn't quite time yet. The World Cup showing was enough for me to want to stay for one more tournament (as I had intended to if we made the semi-finals at least, though would have left otherwise) to make it 2 of each though that will definitely be it before I back to club football. We showed that we could go toe to toe with the top teams in a way we hadn't before and while it'll still be tough to win the next Euros, we should still see ourselves as contenders, especially if we get a few easier opponents along the way that time ;)

We have an interesting and potentially open qualifying group to tackle first though, though I still expect us to win pretty comfortably.

 

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On 03/10/2020 at 08:30, ToMexico!! said:

I've made a couple of signings so far for season two, Valdo for £26k (his release clause) from Brazil, he's an attacking right back who I am converting into a wing back. 

What a signing this guy has been, five goals and 16 assists in 34 games last season which saw him crowned as Superliga Young POTS, he's now worth £900k and won't sign a new contract.

We went one better last season in Preliminary Phase by finish 2nd to Kobenhavn, just 5 points behind. We had a good shout of pinching an unexpected title but blew it with a couple of games to go in the Championship Group as Kobenhavn beat us and went on to be crowned a game later. However another 2nd placed finish and CL football was secured for the season. I made one further signing as Juan Manual Gutierrez who was on trial at LAFC at the time joined on a free transfer, he managed 6 goals in 14 games as he adapted to life in Denmark. 

We bowed out of Europe early last season which I think helped us in the league. We were unlucky to draw Everton in the 3rd Qualifying Round and were destroyed 6-1 on aggregate. We ended the season in the red as we haemorrhage money at a unhealthy rate, thankfully sponsorship see's us back into the black comfortably. I've not signed anyone of note, just a left back Mathias Fjortoft Lovik on loan from Molde. I managed to re-sign two or three high earners onto new lower contracts and release a fair few players who weren't needed and in turn we are now £11k under the wage budget. 

I've completely reshaped the First Team coaching setup, Quim Ramon (ex-Barca youth assistant) joins as AssMan, Thomas Caers is the new HoYD, Ismael Fernandez is the new fitness coach formerly of Valencia, as well as a couple of others. 

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Dec 2083 France Update

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This my first update post since the forum update so we'll see how it goes. I had decided I was going to be moving on after the Euros so felt a little bold, switching back to my usual tactics now I felt I had the players and the depth to do so, particularly in central defence. I was also tired of what had become our usual weakness of an inconsistent (though usually good) first choice forward and a backup failing to step up in his place, and I felt Broutin would do a lot better as Huza's strike partner than as a lone forward replacing him when needed. We seemed to get off to an early wobble but soon proved to be as good as before. That was despite a qualifying group that was more of a challenge. Oh I knew we'd be top easily, but none of our opponents were that weak. Even Israel were a much stronger side than I anticipated they would be, and it's a surprise to see they ended up bottom.

I also realised that I hadn't been keeping a close enough eye on my players to be playing my best side for a while, partly due to players switching positions and changing who they should be compared to. My starting left-back for the past couple of tournaments was originally brought when I was 'making do' on the right before I swapped him around with Remy (our best full-back) and I only realised after the last tournament that it made him an inferior option in that position and he's not even in the squad now. It was the same on the wing as now I'm comparing Zitouni with Boide instead of the aging El Amrani, and playing just a single winger (on the left) he suddenly emerged as our best player for the position. Aside from having to fix that, we also were without Eputa for the first half of qualifying after he went off against Israel with an injury that ruled him out of the October games as well, then got another so he missed March. We've also had our main goalkeeper out for months on end with a broken ankle since the start of September (though he'll be ok for the finals) and I decided to give an 18yr old a chance instead, since I wanted to have at least one keeper in the squad younger than 32-33 anyway.

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Well I guess the draw could be worse. I wasn't pleased to get Portugal, after they knocked us out on penalties in the semi-finals of the previous Euros but I feel more confident this time, especially as they failed to make the World Cup in the meantime (and we'd already beaten them in the previous WC). Greece are just a reasonable above-average team with a few players of note but nothing too scary, while Ireland easily look the weakest of the teams in the group. Even their standout player (a wide midfielder who plays for Arsenal) is nowhere near the level of his counterparts in the other sides. It's interesting to note the Germans and Dutch together again just 2 years efter being in the same World Cup group, and with Croatia in there as well it seems like Belarus are in for just as tough a time as Ireland are in ours.

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Season three with Brondby was a tale of two halves, we were in pretty good shape until the winter window came. We were in 2nd position and had got through our Europa League group stage to face Spartak Moscow in the 1st KO Round. Then the vultures came after star right wing back Valdo, no doubt about it he wanted to leave and had a £9m release clause, a few bids trickled in for twice his current value but way below the mark of £9m. Immediately increased it to £8.75m + 50% profit. Clubs came back, Liverpool, Inter, Spurs, Man Utd, Milan, Bayern to name a few. Off to Man Utd he went and he's now worth £18m. 

I've never known a player leaving to derail a season so quickly, squad were unhappy with the sale, I spent the whole window looking for a replacement, I forgot to set any friendlies so when the squad came to play Spartak we were unfit and promptly lost and were out. We slipped down the table but I managed to haul us back up to 3rd and have an unhappy board as we "didn't challenge for the title". One glimmer of hope though was that we won the Sudbank Pokalen beating 2nd tier OB in the final, 1-0. 

We're now in the 4th season and things are a little ropey still, I brought in Wahid Faghir from rivals Kobenhavn for £550k as starting striker, Rasmus Nicolaisen from Midtyjjland for £300k as another BPD. Three young regens; Diomande (LWB, 69k from ASEC), Chaiwang (CB, £1.5k from Portugal lower tier) and Carles Marc on a free as a ST, only the former goes into the first team. I then sold Juan Manuel Gutierrez for £5m to Vitesse, he hadn't performed well and its all profit, I replaced him with Adam Idah from Norwich for £2.5m. 

Currently we're 3rd after 6 league games and have been drawn alongside Zenit, Frankfurt and Malmo in our EL group as we beat Anderlecht and fellow Danes Nordsjaelland to get through. 

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Season four done and dusted and we were real title contenders this time round, we finished the regular season top of the league, just one point ahead of Kobenhavn. Going into the Championship group we had a good chance of the title but fell just short, finishing a single point behind Kobenhavn, as we lost to them and Midtyjjland. 

We reached the 2nd KO Round of the EL, it was World Cup year so as group winners we bypassed the 1st KO Round. We were drawn against Sassuolo in a 1-legged tie and we were battered 3-0. We had beaten Zenit (home and away), beat Frankfurt once and Malmo once in our group. 

Wahid Faghir was the top performer this season, 29 goals in 43(1) games was a great return, Adam Idah struggled a little but still scored 16 goals for the season. Both wing backs made great contributions; Iuri (3 goals and 15 assists) and Diomande (4 goals and 14 assists) again good returns for debut seasons. I'm going to look at improving the CB options for the new season.

I sold Joel Kabongo for Shenzhen for £2m in the winter window and then took the 50% sell on of £4.5m when offered. I'm also allowing Sigurd Rostand to join the same club when his contract expires as he wanted too much in wages. I also raked in £5.3m from Spurs for a sell on clause after selling a youth player to them the season before. I signed a young South Korean for £450k as I look to improve CM next season, he joined Hobro and had a good season in the division below. I've also struck a deal for a Venezuelan right mid who I will retrain as a RWB, his primary role is defensive winger, so he should pick that up easily. 

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4 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

I'm going to look at improving the CB options for the new season.

Was given £9m to spend and my wage budget was doubled. 

Daniel Diaz (regen) joined for £210k from Deportivo Tachira and went straight onto wing back training. Frederik Winther signed from relegated Lyngby for £1.6m about £4m less than what I was quoted last season, he slots straight in as a BPD. Emiliano Marcondes joins after his release from Brentford, he will rotate with Jordan in the AMC slot. A new reserve keeper signs from Milan for £200k. Rodrigo Domingues joins for £450k from Portuguese side Famalico to provide LWB back up. A fourth Danish player signs as regen Per Wiesdorf signs for his release clause of £1.2m from Aab, originally a winger he will retrain as a RWB. On deadline day another regen joins, Adrian Giunta arrives from Boca for £4.4m for MC, this guy is a cut above and won't be here in a few seasons time. 

Carles Marc, Pierre Kalulu and Hong Sun-Woo all go out on loan to top division sides for game time. 

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Euro 2084 - Norway

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My time at France came to a close geting closer to glory than ever, but still no cigar. It was still a good run lasting 8 years and hitting the 100 match milestone which seems like a decent spell at a top nation (with a mercilessly demanding FA) in particular.

The group stage was easy enough as we beat Greece and Ireland with big enough margins to only need a draw against Portugal to top the group, and that's precisely what we got in what was my 100th match in charge of France. That was our only clean sheet of the tournament in contrast to the previous tournament as as we sacrificed our near-watertight defensive record for being more of an attacking threat. Poland were easy second round opponents with a far more comfortable and convincing win than when we faced them at the same stage 4 years ago. Turkey were surprisingly tough quarter-final opponents both on paper and in reality as we went behind and conceded an equaliser after going 2-1 up. Thankfully we managed to turn up the heat in extra-time to get a big win in the end.

I had become used to facing opponents at the business end of tournaments who had an extra day's rest but I looked forward to the boot being on the other foot again Belgium, especially as while we needed extra-time against Turkey, they needed penalties against Italy. There was also the fact that having sat back earlier in the tournament once a game seemed won (which allowed weaker opponents to get a goal back) we were much fresher than for previous semi-finals. The Belgians ended up being tougher than expected. Again we had to come back from going behind to win in extra-time with a narrower margin. Sadly the final was a step too far, especially as aside from an early exit at their home World Cup they've been the dominant team in recent years. This made it 3 Euro titles in a row for them which was far less of a surprise than how easy we made it for them. From the start we were in trouble and any hope of a come-back after Pichon pulled it back to 2-1 were quickly and brutally shattered.

There was no rush to get a new club job after stepped down. I even rejected an early offer from Atletico Mineiro despite them being down in the Brazilan Second Division and rich (a situation for an underachieving club I'd otherwise snap up) because of their poor squad balance, particularly a near-complete lack of full-backs which would gave required a lot of transfer work right away for that reason alone. A couple of other clubs (Dundee United and Pisa) seemed interesting but had no spare wage budget to work with so again I could afford to be picky and said no. Inter Milan were struggling in mid-table of Serie B but my past associations of Milan both in this and other saves mean I wouldn't go to an arch-rival as one of my personal rules. It took until February to get something new and it was this...

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I wouldn't normally take a club like Celtic who often dominate their league (all pressure, no sense of achievement) but they've been underachieving enough to be interesting. They're able to extend their run without a title for 9 years and were in 5th 'only' expected to be 3rd this year. They were also out of all cup competitions. This is an interesting country and level to play at, especially when it comes to how strong a team I can end up building and the progress we can make in European competitons. However I feel I have reached a point where I can ease off playing for a bit, and having gotten the ball rolling on this thread I probably won't feel like posting updates either.

 

 

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Season five completed and domestic double winners to boot, we won the league by four points to Kobenhavn and beat Vejle 1-0 in the cup final. We also reached the 2nd KO Round of the EL, again winning a group consisting of Besiktas, Hoffenheim and Sevilla before being dumped out by Monaco who dropped down from the CL. With our league win we go straight into the CL Group Stages according to the league rules so that will be profitable for the club. 

Our wing backs were instrumental in our season, Iuri (RWB) scoring 9 and making 17 assists whilst Diomande on the left scored 12 and made 11 assists, both have signed long term contracts with us. Emiliano Marcondes scored 13 and made 13 assists from AMC which is good return for what seems a broken position at times. Wahid Faghir was again the leagues top scorer with 19 league goals and 25 in total. Adam Idah was disappointing this season but still managed 14, I will however be looking to replace him in the first team. 

We've been given £5m to spend on new recruits and it will be a first team striker and a new GK, as I sold Schwabe to Leipzig in January and never replaced him. We have agreed to spend £4m on making an upgrade to the youth facilities which will take them to Superb or State of the Art, not sure what's after Great. 

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