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The Ultimate Football Manager 21 Challenge


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Season 1 & 2 Update

So as I mentioned before in this thread, I am what you call fresh meat when it comes to FM and to these sort of challenges specifically. While the inexperience will make for some weird decisions, it will be a fun story nonetheless. So my journey started on December 31st 2020 in Portugal with my first club..

PENAFIEL F.C

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Playing in the second division, they were projected to be a top half team but were near the relegation zone when I took over. The squad was okay but I couldn't get the support of the players to generate any kind of momentum to climb up the table. Bad Results from the turn of the year until March and I knew this was a sinking ship, so what does a good captain do when his ship is sinking? He hands in his resignation of course! So we are back to unemployment. The only plus side of this tenure was me getting my first license and a very small reputation gain. No MVPs in this section understandably. 

 

Near the end of the season I am scouting every job that becomes available and after a couple of interviews I get an offer for the Richard Bay job in the south african championship. At that point they are currently in the playoff group fighting for promotion to the premiership. Knowing that if I take over now during this crucial run of games, I could mess everything up, I check their schedule and notice that with the two delays you get for a job offer, they would be done with their games. So first delay and they are flying, leading the group with 5 points and second place is on 3. In my head I'm going "This is amazing, I will get a premiership job after applying for a championship one". Second delay comes around and I see that they blew it. A couple of draws were enough to make them finish second and they return back to the championship. However knowing that they got this far I believed in myself to get them up the next season. 

Season 2021/2022

Richard Bay

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I take over a decent squad and immediately I felt good about our promotion chances. However I noticed why this job became available even after a decent finish last season, the club are 400K!!! in the red. So as you can imagine this made my long term future with this club a bit difficult but I was determined to at least finish the season with them and get them up for the reputation boost and I felt a bit bad for them. January comes around and we are flying. Playing a 41212 and our strikers are the second coming of Rooney and Tevez. But this is too easy so the game decides to throw a wrench with an injury to half of my striker partnership, a  season ending one, out until September. With no money to sign a decent replacement and my other striker getting a small 4 week injury, I turn to my reserves to find anybody with two healthy legs that can play up top.  Enter Brian Cele and Nzuza, two local young beasts that carry us until the end of the season and we win the title. With a cinderella cup run we get close to ticking off the first trophy off but we fall short in the semis against Supersport

  • Finances: Terrible and the main reason why I will mostly leave at the end of the season. I had to be beg for my second license, which I got after being clear league favorite. 
  • MVP: SIBUSISO MSOMI, goals assists and everything in between from right Mid. 

Future Outlook

I didn't renew with them due to the difficulty of the financial situation and I am looking to capitalize on a bigger side struggling and taking a punt on me, also with me getting my National B license in the summer I would be suitable for some bigger jobs in south Africa, so I can actually start ticking off some relevant trophies. 



Challenge Progress

Club: Richard Bay

0/10 top domestic leagues ()

0/10 domestic cups ()

0/5 club continental championships ()

0/1 club world championship

International

0/5 continental tournaments ()

0/1 world tournaments ()

 

Edited by Solsol
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@Solsol I commend your willingness to dive in, try things, and own your missteps, rather than just starting again. You don't get the chance to just start all over again in life.

Of course starting again is exactly what i did when this challenge started, but that was a really bad situation. I learned from that to take a close look at the club that offers you a job.

Anyway,it's worked out well for you. I hope you get a bigger club to offer you a job.

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6 hours ago, vikeologist said:

@jcricky Commiserations on the sacking. In the early days of the challenge people used to get sacked a lot. Ok. I used to get sacked a lot. In fact 2 of us had a side challenge on to see who would get sacked the most. Unsurprisingly, they became the 2 completions that took the longest.

I worry that these days there's a stigma to getting sacked from club jobs on this challenge. Maybe lots of people start, get sacked and quit. 

One should celebrate one's failures as much as one's successes. Also

I've never been the greatest at the game and I knew that I'd end up with a sacking or two, sticking with it though!

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A New Job Out of the Blue? - 2024

I've returned to Denmark! I was just planning on playing until AFCON with Nigeria, but Randers FC offered me an interview. I wasn't too keen on returning to Denmark BUT Randers have 1.2 million budget and 20k on the wage budget, more than I ever had at HB Køge. Although they're in the second division, the squad is already good and with a few additions I'm hoping I can take the team up to the Superliga for the first time in 3 years. Just a brief update, I'll do a more detailed one at the end of the year! Hopefully I'll be able to get one over my old club!

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2 hours ago, vikeologist said:

@Solsol I commend your willingness to dive in, try things, and own your missteps, rather than just starting again. You don't get the chance to just start all over again in life.

Of course starting again is exactly what i did when this challenge started, but that was a really bad situation. I learned from that to take a close look at the club that offers you a job.

Anyway,it's worked out well for you. I hope you get a bigger club to offer you a job.

I think because of me knowing in the back of my head that this will take time, I was willing to experiment for the sake of learning. What I like about this challenge compared to something like the homegrown challenge (still want to try it later on in the year) is how each period of the save has different challenges and the early failings are for me the fun challenge of the first few years in the save. You don’t have the luxury of time like a journeyman save to stay at a club like Richard bay and turning the ship around in 4-5 years when you could win the african club competitions much quicker by jumping around even by going somewhere else and then coming back to africa in a year or two, or at least I see it that way. Let’s see if this works out for me then lol. 

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12 hours ago, vikeologist said:

Welcome to the challenge. Your manager was 20 / Sunday league at start?

 

You're the first person to mention this problem on the thread. Well, I mentioned it when I asked if anyone had had problems, but you're the first to reply.

You're 6 seasons in. is it actually affecting your save?

There's 2 ways it could do this. 

1. Dramatically reducing the number of international teams you can manage. I think this is the biggest problem for the challenge. If nations don;t produce regens, they will become unmanageable very quickly. Nations in Africa and Asia disappear even without the bug. So 6 seasons in, how many nations in those 2 continents are manageable, and more pertinently, have any big ones disappeared. You can tell this from the job security page. If the nation's not there, they're gone. In theory they can reappear once players are added, but this is unlikely.

2. Clubs in added leagues don;t have any young players. I'm not doing this challenge, so you'll all have to tell me if this is happening. If clubs in added nations do have sufficient young players, there's no problem.

Don;t give up on a save just because of the noise from elsewhere about bugs.

This is called the Youth Development bug, but I'm doing the Youth Development challenge, and it's presenting no problems to me at all. The number of players in my save has not reduced.

I've always thought that it would potentially present more problems for this challenge, but I'm not going to be able to tell if it actually is. 

@jcricky Commiserations on the sacking. In the early days of the challenge people used to get sacked a lot. Ok. I used to get sacked a lot. In fact 2 of us had a side challenge on to see who would get sacked the most. Unsurprisingly, they became the 2 completions that took the longest.

I worry that these days there's a stigma to getting sacked from club jobs on this challenge. Maybe lots of people start, get sacked and quit. 

One should celebrate one's failures as much as one's successes. Also

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I should point out that in my recent completion, I didn't get sacked once from a club job, (or if I did I've blanked it from my memory). 

 

It's not affecting my save at the moment. But I dont want to get to the point where it does. if I remove all the asian leagues and one by one each country become unavailable to manage unless I re add all the leagues and wait years for players to generate it could add many years onto the save. 

I have looked at the national teams. It looks like they're all there but I have loaded all asian players. I have china, australia, south africa, South Korea, Holland, scotland & mexico leagues loaded so they will not disappear yet until I remove them. I dont want to remove them because of this. But I want to keep my club progress going and this means I cant keep adding leagues and not removing them which will slow my game.

 

My thinking at the moment is I need to add keep the asian leagues active, keep SA active, activate Brazil and argentina, until I complete the international part of the challenge then I can remove all of those and load up all the major European nations leagues. But by then all the major euro nations could have no regens if that takes too long.

Haha

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Season 29/30

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FC Barcelona 

La Liga

 

So I took the barcelona job. Unlike now, they're squad was ridiculously strong and needed nothing from me. I walked straight into:-

World Club Championship

I'd qualified with Arsenal so I didn't feel too bad about walking straight into a competition with Barca. We qualified from the group easily, scraped through the quarter final against Flamengo on penalties and then hammered Rea Madrid 3-0 in the semi. The final was against Manchester United and I was feeling confident. Which was a mistake as we lost 3-1

League

It quickly became a two horse race after i beat Atletico 4-0 in the third game. Tenth game was the first clasico, which i won 2-1 to open a small gap. Real kept up the pressure until February when they started slipping and we went on a winning run. In the end, we ended up unbeaten to complete an invincibles season. It really is a ridiculously good squad they built here!

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Domestic Cup

I took no risks and played the first team wherever possible. As a result we breezed through to the final where we got Real Madrid. Again, we won, to take the double!

Continental Cup

yeah, here I got a bit complacent. I'd won it the year before with Arsenal and this team was better so it'll be a breeze right? We lost home and away to Lazio in the quarter final.....

 

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What Next?

So that's me done in Spain. In truth, it was a wee bit boring. It's a world cup year and I have no international job as Morocco were already out when I got that job so I'm going to wait until the world cup is over and see what the manager go round throws up. I want a good international job and a club job in Asia or the Americas really. I've been in Europe too long, I need to get out in the rest of the world!

 

Career Summary

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Career Progression

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@MShing I'm not sure you all need to keep leagues loaded, or that it will necessarily help if you do.

In past versions, national teams didn't just disappear when I removed the leagues, and instantly reappear when I added them again.

I added and removed leagues a lot, and that may explain the problems I've run into in the past.

I suspect having unnecessary leagues loaded is pointless.

If people have added Asian national team players, that really should keep things ok.

It doesn't sound as though this bug is really affecting this challenge very much, but it always tests the game once you get 30 or so seasons in.

I really don't think at this point there's much to worry about.

On the other hand, I worry about bugs because if anything is going to break the game, it would probably be this challenge, and we've had save killing bugs. Not for a couple of years though.

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soon as the World Cup ended I was inundated with offers. Norway, England, Spain, France, Italy and Brazil all offered me a job. So obviously I went for......

Spoiler

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Still no club job but I've had an interview with Shandong in China. They have a 202m transfer budget! :eek:

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So the day I accepted the Brazil job, Argentina offered their vacant managers job to the Boca Juniors manager, making it vacant. They were still in the cup, top of the league, still in the Copa Libertadores and had a great squad and nice transfer budget. I applied and was made 2-1 odds on favourite so I started choosing potential houses in the nicer areas of Buenos Airies. The interview was offered, went well, I started choosing Boca themed bedspreads and curtains for my new house when....... they offered it someone else! The manager of newell's old boys! I was fuming! so.......

I applied for the Newells job and

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This time it's personal. Never mind the challenge, my aim here is to knock Boca off their perch and make them rue the day they turned me down. Me! With 90% reputation!!

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1 hour ago, libbyshuss said:

So the day I accepted the Brazil job, Argentina offered their vacant managers job to the Boca Juniors manager, making it vacant. They were still in the cup, top of the league, still in the Copa Libertadores and had a great squad and nice transfer budget. I applied and was made 2-1 odds on favourite so I started choosing potential houses in the nicer areas of Buenos Airies. The interview was offered, went well, I started choosing Boca themed bedspreads and curtains for my new house when....... they offered it someone else! The manager of newell's old boys! I was fuming! so.......

I applied for the Newells job and

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This time it's personal. Never mind the challenge, my aim here is to knock Boca off their perch and make them rue the day they turned me down. Me! With 90% reputation!!

Rosario is much, much nicer than BA anyway. 

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Season 3 (2022/23) - Orlando Pirates (RSA)

I got the Orlando Pirates job in the summer and was pleasantly surprised to find myself with a £4.2m transfer budget. We didn’t spend that much of it, but I managed to secure quite a few promising youngsters and renew some of the squad during the summer, putting us in good shape for the campaign. 

We were in a tight title race with Kaiser Chiefs and Cape Town City, but pulled ahead in the last third of the season while the other two contenders stuttered, and ended up winning the league by some 20 points. All in all we won all the cups and the African equivalent of the Europa league, beating Kaiser Chiefs in no less than 3 finals; they must be sick of the sight of us. I hope I can get the Champions League next year and move on to new pastures.

Despite all the players I brought in, our best player was already at the club when I arrived. Gabadhino Mhango finished with 44 goals despite breaking his ankle and missing the last third of the season. From the players I signed, young centre back Liam Bern looks to be the most promising one.

On the international front, I resigned from Uzbekistan after the Asian cup (note: Thailand made the final, and only lost to South Korea in extra time despite being down to 10 for most of the match), and no other good jobs have come up but maybe I’ll take something after this summer’s ACON is over.

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                                                                CLUB CAREER
                                                                -----------

 Season    Club               Division       League     Cups                           Notes
                                                        1st    2nd    Cont    CWC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2020/21    TS Sporting        RSA Div. 1       5                                      Took over in 9th, finished 5th
2021/22    TS Sporting        RSA Div. 1       1                                      
2022/23    Orlando Pirates    RSA Premier      1        Won    Won                    A quintuple of league, MTN 8, Knockout cup, Nedbank cup and CAF confed cup                                                       
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                           INTERNATIONAL CAREER
                                                           --------------------

 Season Nation         Cups                                                         Notes
                       World Cup   Euro's   AFC   ACON   Gold Cup   Copa America

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2020/21 Turkmenistan         
2021/22 Uzbekistan                                      			    Qualified for World Cup through playoffs
2022/23 Uzbekistan                                       			    World Cup Group Stage; Asian cup Q/F
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Challenge Progress:
  
Club
 1/10 top domestic leagues: South Africa (Orlando Pirates)
 1/10 domestic cups: South Africa (Orlando Pirates)
 0/5 club continental championships: 
 0/1 club world championship: 
 
International
 0/5 continental tournaments:
 0/1 world tournaments:

Overall: 2/32

 

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2025 AFCON

I know people usually do big updates for international competitions but this one hurts. I don't even know what to say about the Ghana game, we found ourselves 3-0 down after 20 minutes. We weren't even missing anybody through injury or suspension. As you can imagine I was sacked, and applied for the Senegal and Ivory Coast jobs, but both didn't want me. 

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On the plus side I'm top of the league with Randers, unbeaten so far in the league. Will post a full update on the season when it's over. Just wanted to post this quick update so I can forget about it haha:D:lol:

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Season 2026 Chinese Super League

I want to start by saying how much I hate managing in China. The quality is so poor out with their foreign players and any half decent Chinese player goes for too much money. Anyway, down to league business. We walked it this season, for our 6 foreign players in the squad we had Fabinho, Harry Wilson, Donny Van de Beek, Nicolas Pepe, Felipe Jonatan and a newgen called Jose Martinez. We swept everyone aside and I was all excited about going unbeaten this season until we fell to a 2-1 loss on the last day of the season. Martinez finished top goalscorer with a massive 38 goals and Nicolas Pepe has 31 assists. We conceded a lot of goals (mainly due to the defence being full of crap Chinese players) but we scored for fun.

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Chinese FA Cup

Nothing much to shout home about here. We were put out in the quarter finals on penalties.

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Australia

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The Australia became available after the 2026 World Cup and I duly applied with the sole purpose of trying to win the Asian Cup in January 2027. I haven´t had any competitive games yet, only two friendlies against Ecuador and Venezuela. We won them both 2-1.

Domestic Career Overview

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International Career Overview

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Domestic League Challenge

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Domestic Cup Challenge

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Continental Challenge

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International Challenge

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Trophy Cabinet

 

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Edited by danielclouston1
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5 hours ago, jcricky said:

I know people usually do big updates for international competitions but this one hurts.

i feel your pain, same thing happened to me as nigeria boss. They have such a good squad as well!

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56 minutes ago, joehelsing1 said:

Why is my board so upset!?

looks like it's that one result in the cup! i got that once, i just had to ride it out and hope for the best. they'd forgotten about it by the next month and gave me a C

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5 hours ago, libbyshuss said:

i feel your pain, same thing happened to me as nigeria boss. They have such a good squad as well!

just couldn't believe how bad we fell apart, think it happened to me last year too with Nigeria :(

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8 hours ago, danielclouston1 said:

I want to start by saying how much I hate managing in China. The quality is so poor out with their foreign players and any half decent Chinese player goes for too much money

Ironically, that's the reason I enjoy it so much haha. Alot of the times the foreign players are forwards and just far too good, means most games are high scoring. It does make the champions league a bit tricky though, as you can only have the 3 foreigners and one more if they're Asian. The South Korean teams have seem to have much better domestic players.

Just a quick tip as this caught me out twice now, you might already be aware but thought I wouldn't hurt to mention it.Watch out for financial fair play, there's a limit to how much you can spend as a club, regardless of how much money you make. I had my two best foreign players leave due to release clause's and I replaced them for less than half the money I sold for and still failed FFP by some margain. There's also a tax you seem to pay on transfers as well and sometimes it's a fair bit of cash, just makes it a little more difficult.

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7 hours ago, joehelsing1 said:

Why is my board so upset!?

Im currently 1st! What more can I do?

They are threatening to fire me :'(

 

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Was the opening stage finished before you took over and the league table for the closing stage? When I took over Pumas for the closing stage, the board were also unhappy with the opening stage results even though I wasn't in charge.

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3 minutes ago, danielclouston1 said:

Was the opening stage finished before you took over and the league table for the closing stage? When I took over Pumas for the closing stage, the board were also unhappy with the opening stage results even though I wasn't in charge.

Nope, I took over at the start of the season. They have been happy so far, then all of a sudden I see they are very unhappy with my position (1st place) and this is the best position I have been in all season.

I have won another couple of games and they now grade me as a D under competitions instead of F which is still weird considering i'm still 1st with a good lead.

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2 hours ago, vikeologist said:

I found the Spanish commentary of Daniel jones that sums up my penultimate ACON. 

It may resonate with you as well.

 

Best defence up until the Ghana defeat, feeling is mutual haha

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Decided to finally make a start on this and I'm going to avoid all nations I managed in last year to try and mix things up (except Argentina, because I was only there for 28 days!)

Game setup

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Manager profile

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And my first job is in Canada, as FC Edmonton manager. Let's go!

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EDIT: I also took the New Caledonia job as well for some international experience. I could choose between them, Pakistan, Vanuatu and Tonga but New Caledonia were ranked highest at 155.

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Edited by Britrock
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Asian Cup 2027

Group Stages

Spoiler

 

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We were handed a pretty easy group which I expected to get out of with ease. We started off with a 6-0 win against Philippines, not unexpected considering the gulf in quality between the two side. We followed that up with a 3-0 win against Jordan and a 3-1 against U.A.E. Nobody really challenged us and the only goal we conceded was from a penalty.

Second Round

Spoiler

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I did not really know what to expect here, I had no idea how good or bad Kuwait were in the game. Turns out they are awful. No shots, 43% passing and 27% possession. We coasted through the game and two of our goals were screamers.

Quarter Final

Spoiler

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3-0 really did flatter us here. Qatar controlled the game, they had 2 goals chopped off for offside and they missed a penalty. Absolutely got away with one here.

Semi-Final

Spoiler

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Draw was favourable here, could have ended with South Korea or Japan but instead they got each other and we handed the easier tie. 5-0 and it was deserved. We controlled from start to finish.

Final

Spoiler

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It was a pretty even game. Both teams had decent chances but ultimately we were the ones to make it count.

Delighted to get the win here, now have 3 out of 6 international tournaments. I will post the updated tables at the end of the domestic season but now have 12 our 12 trophies. I´m going to remain Australia manager until either a decent European or South American team becomes available.

 

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2024/25 – Randers FC

 

Following my dismissal from HB Køge I was looking for a step up. But being sacked looked to have damaged my reputation and put a few clubs off me. As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t think I would get a job until I finished my role as Nigeria manager. Randomly I got an interview for Randers FC, who had been in the second division of Danish football for the last two years. The squad was already very good when I took over. I added a few players, ex Man City youngster’s, Timi Sobowale and Aminu Mohammed, and midfielder Charles Ezeh from rivals Lyngby. 

 

I’m going to split this season into three sections, here’s the first. Up until the mid-season break we were unbeaten. We blew the league away and had a 10 point league going into the break. We did get knocked out of the cup by Kobenhagen but that wasn’t a surprise as they are far better than us. The worst news was that our centre back, Graves, agreed to leave to sign for a club in the Superliga. 

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Now into the second section. We were awful, 2 wins, 2 losses and 5 draws. At this point the gap between us and second place Lyngby was down to a point.

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I made a slight change to the tactic, moving from a completely narrow system to getting some width from the right hand side and we ended up winning our next 5. Funnily enough @vikeologist, when I said about narratives, we only went and won the league away at HB Køge, the club who sacked me last year! We lost the last game but we were already confirmed champions by then. My former club also ended up nicking second place which meant we’d face them again in the Superliga next year…

 1052990063_Screenshot2020-12-13at01_31.14copy.thumb.png.7653b8e8bd37a3ac2ccb32ede8a2bb43.png 784821605_Screenshot2020-12-13at00_59_45.thumb.png.f7f0ad43bcbdd0fca78b7e5ce0df840b.png

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…Or maybe not. After promotion was confirmed, I got my budgets, a measly 4k extra on the wages. At this point I knew I couldn’t stay. I applied for a few jobs who were a step up and we only went and got an interview at Supersport in South Africa. They finished 8th last year, but gave me a transfer budget of 2.5 million and some decent wages too. I delayed for the two week period to see if Randers would increase my budget or one of the bigger Chinese clubs would give me an interview. They did not, meaning I’ve jumped ship and am on to the 5th club of the challenge!  

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Challenge Progress

1/10 top domestic leagues - Canadian Premier League (Cavalry FC, 2021)
0/10 domestic cups ()
0/5 club continental championships ()
0/1 club world championship

Extras: CONCACAF National League (Cavalry FC, 2022), NordicBet Liga (Randers FC, 2024/25)

International
0/5 continental tournaments ()
0/1 world tournaments ()

 

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Season 2030/31

Newell's Old Boys

31nob.thumb.png.10d084d16be4020376d19b8bf445d3a0.png

 

League Update

I took over after 8 games. Newell's had made an ok start, but not great, with 2 wins, 2 defeats and 4 draws. Already we were playing catch up to Boca. The squad looked good though so I had some hopes that we could put a good run together and end up challenging. 4 wins and a draw from my first 5 games moved us in the right direction and then came the first real challenge, and the first chapter of my personal retirubtion. Boca, at home. We played well, the played better and won 3-2. A draw against San Lorenzo and we were a good few points behind Boca.

But then we went on a run of 11 wins and a draw after christmas and were suddenly level with Boca, just in time for the rematch in Buenos Airies. We lost, and then lost again to San Lorenzo and suddenly, with only 5 games to go the league table looked like this:-

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Four points behind, and out of form, we were not considered favourites. But the next two games saw Boca draw them both, and us win them both. We were level! The next two games saw Boca win and draw and we won both again which meant going into the final game the table looked like this

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We needed a point away at Velez to clinch the title. We were fantastic and won 4-0! take that Boca!!!

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Brilliantly, Boca really helped us win the title when they wouldn't stop bugging me during christmas to buy my young winger. they started at a 2m bid and i kept rejecting until they came back with an ultimatum of 20m. I snatched their hand off and re-invested in 4 new signings, 2 of which were absolutely key in our second half season performance. thanks Boca, you mugs! They will rue the day they turned me down!!!

Domestic Cups

We lost on penalties to San Lorenzo in the semi-final, which is a bit upsetting. But it gives me a reason to stick around in Rosario, which is nice because i'm enjoying it!

Continental Cup

Weirdly, the Argentinan league follows a totally different calendar to the Copa Libertadores so they kind of overlap seasons. By the time i took over, Newell's had been knocked out of the 2030 Copa but the 2031 Copa saw us seeded first in the group draw. We breezed through, the only real challenge coming from Palmeiras of Brazil. The knockout stage will take place in the new Argentinian season

What's Next?

I never managed in Argentina before and I'm enjoying so I'll stick around until I've won the domestic cup at least. The Newell's youth set up is amazing and my youth intake for this year looks unbelievable. What I've found fun about this challenge is that each job means you need to take on a new management style. Vilifranquense was like playing a dafuge challenge, while Newell's is not dissimilar to playith the youth only challenge. They have some amazing prospects i'll be looking to bring on through in the next season or two

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Career Progress

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Challenge Progress

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Edited by libbyshuss
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Luke Fox

DL Pro

2024 / 2025

1967414656_DLPRO.png.5519ab19094e17cb0028b8f79fd4a795.png

Another season very similar to last, we walked the league and cup, rested players in a few games we dropped points but we were never not going to do the domestic double.

The champions league has a fairly big gap during our season and heading into that we were looking good in it. However during this gap we lost our 3 best players due to release clauses. Ryan Kent and Arezo left for around £35m each on the exact same day, normally I hate release clauses but it seems the only way to get good players to join you here in China. Our third player who left was Ianis Hagi, he had a 4 month injury and I was hoping this would put off any potential buyers and that he would be fit enough to return to our champions league push. The main transfer windows in Europe were about to shut and Hagi was still out for at least 2 months, this didn't bother Fulham though as they signed him and left me with a squad very short of quality foreign players. We did manage to sign a Belgian inverted winger and Moise Kean, so going into the knock out rounds of the champions league I was still confident we had enough.

We face Ulsan Hyundai in the first knockout round, the team who knocked us out in the Semi finals last year, The first leg was away from home and went 1-0 down inside 3 minutes , it started to feel like last season all over again. However we levelled with only 5 minutes to go and were on course for a very good away draw and the all important away goal. The positivity was short lived as we conceded less than a minute later and no we had a 2-1 deficit to overturn at home. We did just that, controlled the game, scored just before half time and played out the rest of the game relatively comfortably to go through on away goals.

In the quarter finals we played a decent looking Pohang Steelers team, again the first leg was away and again we wouldn't make it easy for ourselves, we lost 2-1 again. However the home leg turned out to be very different and we destroyed them 4-0, with 64% of the ball and managed to keep them from having a single shot on goal.

We were drawn against Guangzhou Evergrande in the Semi finals, we have a really good record against them in my time at DL Pro and I was confident we could beat them over two legs.  This time we played at home first and it was a crazy game, we go 2-0 inside 20 minutes but fight back to be level 2-2 with in 15 minutes, however our left back who we chased for over a season to get him to agree to leave Guangzhou and come to us goes flying in on one of his former teammates two footed, straight red. We have to play the whole second half with ten men, but are still on top and pulled ahead with 10 minutes left with 30+ yard screamer, we have a lot of the ball and feel like we will easily see out this 3-2 win. That went out the window when they levelled it up in the 89th minute, with 4 minutes added on they could sense we were on the ropes and chucked more men forward, we stuck our two quickest players upfront and everyone else just park just outside our own box. Incredibly we manage to win the ball back and just chuck it in behind and by just sheer pace we end up with a one on one and we slotted it away nicely. We snatch a 4-3 win from nowhere, 3 away goals is less than ideal though.  Second leg is a different story, we take an early 2 goal lead and never look back. Onto the Final.

Al-Sadd are the other finalists, winners of the tournament in both 2020 and 2021, so not an easy game at all.  Again in typical fashion for us this year, we don't make it easy for ourselves, we go 1-0 early on but level it up just after half time. Less than 5 minutes later, another two footed challenge, another red card. We were still on top though and score a nicely worked goal to give us 20 mins to hang on for a 2-1 home leg victory, Our lead lasted less than a minute, it finished 2-2 meaning we would have to win the away leg to be champions. In the second leg we started off really well creating loads of chances, but missing them all. 0-0 at halftime but we were on looking good, 2 minutes into the second half we gave away a soft penalty. We had 35 minutes to turn it around, it wasn't to be, we lost 3-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate. Disappointing but it wasn't to be, we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot in this big games.

We are really close and getting closure to winning the Asian Champions League, so hopefully it wont be long until we can win it and move on.990878298_DLProS3comps.thumb.jpg.ba6c0a3341390a5c2b752e53de0cdfed.jpg

 

On a personal note I've now taken top spot in the Chinese Hall of Fame, which is nice.1355161583_DLProS3HoF.thumb.jpg.2a6fbe3875e5475dbb42cbd68e02d224.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, lukefox44 said:

Luke Fox

DL Pro

2024 / 2025

1967414656_DLPRO.png.5519ab19094e17cb0028b8f79fd4a795.png

Another season very similar to last, we walked the league and cup, rested players in a few games we dropped points but we were never not going to do the domestic double.

The champions league has a fairly big gap during our season and heading into that we were looking good in it. However during this gap we lost our 3 best players due to release clauses. Ryan Kent and Arezo left for around £35m each on the exact same day, normally I hate release clauses but it seems the only way to get good players to join you here in China. Our third player who left was Ianis Hagi, he had a 4 month injury and I was hoping this would put off any potential buyers and that he would be fit enough to return to our champions league push. The main transfer windows in Europe were about to shut and Hagi was still out for at least 2 months, this didn't bother Fulham though as they signed him and left me with a squad very short of quality foreign players. We did manage to sign a Belgian inverted winger and Moise Kean, so going into the knock out rounds of the champions league I was still confident we had enough.

We face Ulsan Hyundai in the first knockout round, the team who knocked us out in the Semi finals last year, The first leg was away from home and went 1-0 down inside 3 minutes , it started to feel like last season all over again. However we levelled with only 5 minutes to go and were on course for a very good away draw and the all important away goal. The positivity was short lived as we conceded less than a minute later and no we had a 2-1 deficit to overturn at home. We did just that, controlled the game, scored just before half time and played out the rest of the game relatively comfortably to go through on away goals.

In the quarter finals we played a decent looking Pohang Steelers team, again the first leg was away and again we wouldn't make it easy for ourselves, we lost 2-1 again. However the home leg turned out to be very different and we destroyed them 4-0, with 64% of the ball and managed to keep them from having a single shot on goal.

We were drawn against Guangzhou Evergrande in the Semi finals, we have a really good record against them in my time at DL Pro and I was confident we could beat them over two legs.  This time we played at home first and it was a crazy game, we go 2-0 inside 20 minutes but fight back to be level 2-2 with in 15 minutes, however our left back who we chased for over a season to get him to agree to leave Guangzhou and come to us goes flying in on one of his former teammates two footed, straight red. We have to play the whole second half with ten men, but are still on top and pulled ahead with 10 minutes left with 30+ yard screamer, we have a lot of the ball and feel like we will easily see out this 3-2 win. That went out the window when they levelled it up in the 89th minute, with 4 minutes added on they could sense we were on the ropes and chucked more men forward, we stuck our two quickest players upfront and everyone else just park just outside our own box. Incredibly we manage to win the ball back and just chuck it in behind and by just sheer pace we end up with a one on one and we slotted it away nicely. We snatch a 4-3 win from nowhere, 3 away goals is less than ideal though.  Second leg is a different story, we take an early 2 goal lead and never look back. Onto the Final.

Al-Sadd are the other finalists, winners of the tournament in both 2020 and 2021, so not an easy game at all.  Again in typical fashion for us this year, we don't make it easy for ourselves, we go 1-0 early on but level it up just after half time. Less than 5 minutes later, another two footed challenge, another red card. We were still on top though and score a nicely worked goal to give us 20 mins to hang on for a 2-1 home leg victory, Our lead lasted less than a minute, it finished 2-2 meaning we would have to win the away leg to be champions. In the second leg we started off really well creating loads of chances, but missing them all. 0-0 at halftime but we were on looking good, 2 minutes into the second half we gave away a soft penalty. We had 35 minutes to turn it around, it wasn't to be, we lost 3-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate. Disappointing but it wasn't to be, we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot in this big games.

We are really close and getting closure to winning the Asian Champions League, so hopefully it wont be long until we can win it and move on.990878298_DLProS3comps.thumb.jpg.ba6c0a3341390a5c2b752e53de0cdfed.jpg

 

On a personal note I've now taken top spot in the Chinese Hall of Fame, which is nice.1355161583_DLProS3HoF.thumb.jpg.2a6fbe3875e5475dbb42cbd68e02d224.jpg

 

2137904418_clubupdate.thumb.png.85690b2b48475432aeab840f7ea4e360.png

 

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Your board expectations are super low. In my 2nd full season my board expectations are a clean sweep of the league, FA Cup and AFC CL 😐

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50 minutes ago, danielclouston1 said:

Your board expectations are super low. In my 2nd full season my board expectations are a clean sweep of the league, FA Cup and AFC CL 😐

I had a good first season, winning the league was a massive shock and then negotiated a new long term contract with pretty low expectations. The league and Fa cup are pretty much a formality at this point and I still cant win the champions league.

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Season Two

Official TRAU FC Logo.png

A very mixed bag from season two - a season which nearly didn't happen.

The primary cup in India is the Durand Cup which is played in August and saw us pick up just one point in the first round group stage. With the league season not starting until the end of November I had major reservations as to whether I should leave and look elsewhere but decided to stick it out. The league campaign was incredible, with 13 wins and 2 draws from the first 15 games leaving me with the league title all but in my hands. Four points needed from the last five games for my first league title, yet in typical Football Manager fashion we lost 3 of the next four and went in to the final game of the season needing a point to secure the title, at home, to the Indian Arrows who finished bottom of the league by a considerable distance. What could go wrong?

In the end nothing as we sailed to a 3-0 victory however we had our keeper to thank for saving a first half penalty with the scores at 0-0. We followed up with a decent performance in the Federation Cup (for the top eight sides) where we finished runners up

Bizarrely despite finishing second in the first season I was entered into the Asian Champions League, however we went outclassed at the group stages and finished third in a group involving Al-Nassr, Al-Jazira and Al-Rayyan from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar respectively. The poor showing on this confirmed that I need to look further afield to challenge in this competition so the job hunting has begun, however with the Durand Cup in August I'm not rushing to leave my current post as I may be able to take this cup at the second attempt. I have applied for jobs at Chicago Fire, LA Galaxy, Brann, Sydney FC, Banik Ostrava and Hapoel Tel-Aviv but so far no luck in the applications. I have in the past 12 months completed three coaching badges which hopefully will assist the job search, and I am part way through completing the continental B licence

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Shirt badge/Association crest

One job application I was successful with was manager of the Togolese national team. I've only managed two friendlies so far where we picked up 2-0 home wins against powerhouses Afghanistan and Andorra, but the performances in the two games was very pleasing. Unsurprisingly we've not qualified for the 2022 World Cup, but we are an African Cup of Nations qualifying group with Tunisia, DR Congo and Comoros so we will need to be at our best to qualify in the top two positions.

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Edited by JamLUFC
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image.png.e72cc17eabdab81f9f5a90f202c9ae94.png

AFCON 2027

After a decent enough showing in the World Cup, it was now time for the AFCON. We were one of the favourites, I had my fingers crossed we could get a bit of luck along the way.

Group Stage

Spoiler

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Not the start we wanted, after the loss to Congo I had serious doubts if we would make it out the group. Our second game it was normal service resumed and a convincing 4-0 win over Sierra Leone. Our final game was a good win over Cape Verde to finish top of the group

Second Round (if applicable)

Spoiler

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Another game another 4 goals for us. The game was over by half time, and I was getting the feeling this was going to be our year.

Quarter Final (if applicable)

Spoiler

20201214215743_1.jpg.503ad907eaa178b32bf9ea5fb998acd0.jpg

A tough draw. We threw everything at them, we probably edged it with some good chances, but we could not score. To the lottery of penalties, we missed twice and were sent packing. I dont think the FA will be happy about this, so I may find myself looking for another international job 

Semi Final (if applicable)

Spoiler

.

 

Final (if applicable)

Spoiler

 

The future

Spoiler

I was right, The FA did not like our performance in the AFCON so I got the sack, my fist sacking so far in this save, I feel it will not be the last. There were a few jobs available after the AFCON finished. Two that appealed to me were Ghana and Ivory Coast. I applied for both, both offered me the job and I decided to go for the Ivory Coast. I hope to god I can win this tournament next time round

 

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Season 2027 Chinese Super League

I wont spend too much time on this, it´s pointless. I lost the league on the last day of the season after losing 1-0 to Beijing.

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Chinese FA Cup

So we bettered last years tournament but ultimately, we lost out in the final.

 

AFC Champions League

This was the one I wanted. What a tournament we had. We swept everyone away, with the exception of the final, and managed to avoid any of the other Chinese teams. We scored 37 goals and conceded 9 in the whole tournament. In the first leg of the final we were great and game away 6-2 winners. The 2nd leg? Not so much. We got hammered 3-0  but luckily enough the first leg was enough to see us through.

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The board expectations for this season were to win everything. The league, the cup and the champions league. My failure to bring all 3 home has lead to my sacking. My first of this save and I am on the hunt for a new job. I´m not bothered though, I planned to resign anyway.

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World Cup 2030 Qualifying

We are currently 5 games into qualifying and have won 5 out 5 with fairly big margins although we have an easy group so qualification is an absolute must. I am worried I may need to resign though if it is going to hamper my chances at new club job but we will see how it goes.

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Club Career Overview

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International Career Overview

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Domestic League Challenge

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Domestic Cup Challenge

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Continental Challenge

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International Challenge

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Trophy Cabinet

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13/32

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Manager Profile: Crowy 2020

 

Leagues Loaded: Usual Leagues

So, I've been working nights flat out for a while now during this busy period. I've not had time to start but the volume at work will die down after christmas so going to start this now to get in to things then be able to crack on with it after Christmas.

Edited by Crowy
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Senegal 2027 African Cup of Nations

Senegalese_Football_Federation.png

Since my last update we breezed through the AFCON qualifiers with no real issues at all so made it through to the tournament I joined for.  We also got a pretty favourable group draw with Morocco, Euatorial Guinea and Zambia to play.

Group Stages

Spoiler

 

We kicked off our group campaign with our toughest match against Morocco and it almost proved an incredibly frustrating affair as we were just not taking chances whilst they were clinical, thankfully a 90+6 minute winner got us off to a good start in the group. We followed that up with a similarly poor 45 minutes in the next match where we just weren't taking chances with a 44th minute goal coming courtesy of their goalkeeper kicking it straight at our attacker. We woke up in the second half to win 5-0 and took that improved form into the final group game where we recorded a 4-1 victory to top the group with 3 wins from 3.

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Round Two

Spoiler

We had very good draw luck for our second round tie, facing off against the lowest ranked team in the competition in the shape of Sierra Leone. We raced into a 3 goal lead in the first half before taking our foot of the gas, but never really looked anything other than a victory for us as we secured passage into the Quarter Final.

Quarter Final

Spoiler

We still managed to avoid any of the competitions favourites at this stage also playing against Guinea. In spite them finding themselves 93 places higher in the World Rankings than previous opponents Sierra Leone this was arguably an easier game, this time we went into the break 5-0, though no goals in the second half meant we didn't build on the lead, but the important thing is that we won.

Semi Final

Spoiler

Draw luck continued to favour us even through to the semi final with us drawing rank 100 in the World Togo in the Semi-Final. Whilst the end scoreline of 4-2 to us makes the game seemingly close, in reality we were very good value for the win with their two goals coming from two shots and our keeper not having a great game and such we were onto the final!

Final/Third Place Playoff

Spoiler

Nigeria, the host nation, were all that stood between us and the first international trophy of the save. Really, to get to this point we've not faced any team that realistically we wouldn't be expected to win but Nigeria promised to be a much sterner test so I hoped we could hold firm and record the victory. The match itself was horrendous, absolutely nothing happened all game, as the scored were 0-0 at the end of the 90. Extra time didn't provide much more excitement though we did seem to have a few chances towards the end of it allowing us to recorded a colossal 3 shots on target in the 90th minute, Nigeria on the other hand managed to record their first shot on target in the penalty shootout! What a nerve racking affair penalty shootouts are, especially facing a team that had not done anything (we'd at least had chances) in the match proper. Thankfully, they missed two penalties to our one as we secured the trophy, but boy what a poor game it was.

What Now?

Spoiler

Well, that's Africa completely ticked off the Challenge as a whole both internationally and domestically so I'm going to resign from Senegal and have some time off international management whilst I await sackings from other international tournaments.  I'm glad we managed to win it here as our squad is pretty old and there isn't really much in the way of hot prospects coming through the ranks. This makes it two finals of competitions in Africa where the final was the worst game of the competition and we only marginally shaded it and took the victory in each occasion, not that I'm complaining.

 

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2031/32

Newell's Old Boys and Brazil

31nob.thumb.png.f4701cbccdcd039cadb1ee3d0ae42dcd.png  1200px-Brazilian_Football_Confederation_logo_svg.thumb.png.d1d29517d6a3bad5795d1bff3d4fffaf.png

League

Really disapointing season. We had a bit of a transfer budget for a change so I invested in a couple of big names. They were awful. My transfer for Old Boys have been pretty poor at best, my top 5 signings all just squad fillers and with the small budgets that we get that's not really good enough. Luckily the youth set up is amazing and i have a good conveyer belt of talent that way. luckily, the best player in the team, Bayron Alderete, shows no interest in leaving and i was able to turn down a 40m bid for him. I really need him - 47 goals this season from 49 games this season!

on the pitch we did ok, as long as i played my old team. We were joint top with Boca In November when we had to go play them in Buenos Airies. They absolutely destroyed us 6-1 - my invented personal rivalry with them is biting me on the butt. We responded quite well though and got back to winning ways so that by the time the return fixture came around the league table looked like this:-

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We outplayed them but got FM'd 1-0. We were up against it from then on in and we couldn't catch them

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Cup

We got knocked out by velez in the quarter final on penalties. really annoying. We did beat Boca on penalties in the Supercopa but it doesn't count, being the Argentine community Shield

Continental Cup

We picked up the 2031 Copa Libertadores in July with the first knockout round against Gremio. We were poor and got knocked out on penalties

The 2032 Libertadores saw us given a potentially tricky group with Flamengo of Brazil but we were able to navigate it fairly comfortably and qualify for the knockout round. Hopefully we can go a bit further next time.

I'm gonna stick around another season, see if I can get a cup or two but I might not be able to stick around if we don't win something. The board are a little underwhelmed at the minute.

 

International

A good season with the world cup qualifiers kicking off. We won 6 out of 6 which sets us up nicely for the Copa America which is due to start this summer. Update to follow - I should be favourites so if i don't win it, i expect the sack will be forthcoming.

Career Summary

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Challenge Progress

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2032 Copa America

1200px-Brazilian_Football_Confederation_logo_svg.thumb.png.d495740268becbe940658b83f6818b33.png

 

Group Stage

Spoiler

 

A nice easy group for us with only hosts Chile and Colomibia offering a potential banana skin. We were solid throughout and walked the group

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Quarter Final

Spoiler

 

We could have had an easier draw. Uruguay are not a bad team and a quarter final exit would surely have seen me sacked. I relied a little on the depth of strength in the squad. Luckily it's quite deep

32quarterfinal.JPG.6afb50b902d9a252abe4a28e2ccaefdc.JPG

 

 

Semi Final

Spoiler

 

We got by far the best draw - paraguay. The other semi saw Argentina meet Mexico. Paraguay weren't going to stop us

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Final

Spoiler

 

So, it was Argentina in the final. We were favourites but you can never take anything for granted in a final. Turns out this time I could

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What's next?

Spoiler

World Cup in two years time! I'll probably never have a better chance than with this Brazil team. The strength in depth at the minute is crazy.

 

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Quick question - I'm looking at having a third crack at this on FM20, but I'm struggling to land a first job. For those of you who played on FM20, is this usual? In previous versions, I've always been able to get a first job in a nation's top league (albeit in low rep nations, but that's kind of the point, right?). Is this still the case, or do I need to be dropping down a league?

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43 minutes ago, numero uno gunner said:

Quick question - I'm looking at having a third crack at this on FM20, but I'm struggling to land a first job. For those of you who played on FM20, is this usual? In previous versions, I've always been able to get a first job in a nation's top league (albeit in low rep nations, but that's kind of the point, right?). Is this still the case, or do I need to be dropping down a league?

Yeah in FM20 you won't be getting a top league job straight off apart from Canada.

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Season Three

Cape Umoya United FC.png

Despite the temptation of holding on for four months to have a pop at the Indian Cup, I instead opted to resign and look elsewhere and it turned into a frustrating period. I may have been overly ambitious with believing an Indian league title and a continental C licence would get me a top division job in Norway, Serbia, China, Australia, Russia or America  but it wasn't to be - although most complimented me as a manager who would fit their vision but that wasn't enough to be shortlisted. Eventually I lowered my expectations and applied for a job in the South African Championship which I got with Cape Umoya United. 

The season itself was frustrating at best. We started and ended the season well, but a major dip in form during the January period which saw me receive an ultimatum from the board meant we finished in 4th place and narrowly miss out on a promotion playoff place. We went out in the second round of the cup to Premier League opposition which wasn't overly disappointed as we competed well. I'm confident that I can use the summer to get rid of a lot of the dead wood (and we have a lot!) but with a very minimal wage budget it's going to be tough to replace with any sort of quality. I'll be looking out for Premiership jobs in South Africa (I've already thrown my hat in for Tuks FC) but I'm not expecting to get anywhere with that. 

 

Shirt badge/Association crest

And I thought club management was frustrating! The African Cup of Nations qualifiers was a poor run of games - highlighted by my sides inability to score. The two games that killed us were the two games against Comoros, where despite dominating both games we drew 0-0 and lost 0-1. That coupled with a draw against DRC - where they scored through a dubious 94th minute penalty - killed any hope we had of advancing it what ended up being a tight group. After 5 games and with us routed on 2 points I tended my resignation to avoid getting the sack. A few international jobs have come up following the 2022 World Cup, none of which I would have been seriously considered for, and I remain on the hunt to get back into a dual management role. 

 

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Just a wee update, there's no suitable club jobs at the minute due to the timings of things. I've removed Asia and most of South America, leaving only Brazil and Argentina there. I've added top leagues in Austria, Scotland, Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal and the top 2 divisions in England, Spain, Germany, France and Italy. I will holiday through and play the international games from now (Dec 2027) until summer 2028 when the European leagues get added.

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International update

So in the summer of 2028 a whole host of European national team jobs became available after the European Championships. I applied for France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Croatia and Belgium. I did not really expect to get any with maybe the exception of Belgium because the others are in the top 10 in the world. Nonetheless, I was offered both the Croatia and Belgium jobs. I took the  Croatia job because they have a very talented squad and talented youngsters. They are also 4th in the world after finishing in the final of both the World Cup and the European Championships. Movements from the other nations manage to secure me a club job though.

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Club update

I did expect there to be a few jobs available when the leagues became active but the only one was the bottom of the Swedish league and I refused to go for because they were 16 points adrift after 20 games with only one win and one draw. The Lyon boss took the France job and the Napoli boss took the Italy job though, leaving vacancies at both of them. After interview I was offered the job at both clubs and ended up with Lyon job as they are media predicted 2nd at 11-10 behind PSG at 10-11 and enter the CL at the group stages. Their squad is very strong and they also have a transfer budget of 121 million. The board expectations are low, with CL qualification the main aim for the season with a title challenge next season. I feel with one or two additions and a bit of luck we could challenge this season. The PSG squad but it isn´t the same level as when the game starts. No Mbappe etc etc. They have Camavinga, De Ligt, Junior and Paulinho but that´s all worth noting. Their newgens are still just developing.

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11 hours ago, numero uno gunner said:

Quick question - I'm looking at having a third crack at this on FM20, but I'm struggling to land a first job. For those of you who played on FM20, is this usual? In previous versions, I've always been able to get a first job in a nation's top league (albeit in low rep nations, but that's kind of the point, right?). Is this still the case, or do I need to be dropping down a league?

Oops, gave a long answer and then realised you were talking about FM20.

So, everything I'm about to say doesn't apply to FM21, when things have changed a lot. 

Each year up to 20 they made getting a first job slightly harder, but it wasn't much harder in 20 than 19.

You just have to be patient. Just because the first few clubs at a certain level turn you down doesn't mean the next one will.

However, if you are being completely unrealistic, you might never get a job. If you last did this on 18 or 17, you may find that it is much harder compared to those versions.

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Luke Fox

AFCON 2025

Nigeria 

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Group Stage

Spoiler

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Second Round (If applicable)

Spoiler

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Quarter Finals (If Applicable)

Spoiler

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Semi Finals (If Applicable)

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 Final (If Applicable)

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What's Next?

Spoiler

Well that didn't go to plan at all, we had one of the strongest squads in the tournament but were drawn early on against another pre tournament favourite. I guess if you want to win big tournaments you have to beat the best anyway and we couldn't do that. In what's becoming a quite annoying theme in this save, we shoot ourselves in the foot in a big game, we put in so much effort and energy to get it back to 2-2 we had literally nothing left for extra time, was hoping to take it to the lottery of penalties but it wasn't to be. The Nigerian FA were not happy and my performance rating was at an F, I decided to announce my resignation the day after the game in the hope it was quick enough they wouldn't have time to sack me and my reputation wouldn't nose dive. In that sense it worked, my rep stayed the same, going to concentrate on my DL Pro champions league push this year before getting back into international management, I hope to get an Asian team and have a go at the Asian cup.

 

National challenge update

Spoiler

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Edited by lukefox44
Typo
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6 hours ago, lukefox44 said:

Luke Fox

AFCON 2025

Nigeria 

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Group Stage

  Hide contents

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Second Round (If applicable)

  Hide contents

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Quarter Finals (If Applicable)

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Semi Finals (If Applicable)

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 Final (If Applicable)

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What's Next?

  Hide contents

Well that didn't go to plan at all, we had one of the strongest squads in the tournament but were drawn early on against another pre tournament favourite. I guess if you want to win big tournaments you have to beat the best anyway and we couldn't do that. In what's becoming a quite annoying theme in this save, we shoot ourselves in the foot in a big game, we put in so much effort and energy to get it back to 2-2 we had literally nothing left for extra time, was hoping to take it to the lottery of penalties but it wasn't to be. The Nigerian FA were not happy and my performance rating was at an F, I decided to announce my resignation the day after the game in the hope it was quick enough they wouldn't have time to sack me and my reputation wouldn't nose dive. In that sense it worked, my rep stayed the same, going to concentrate on my DL Pro champions league push this year before getting back into international management, I hope to get an Asian team and have a go at the Asian cup.

 

National challenge update

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Unlucky mate. After the 2026 World Cup you could have a decent shot at getting Australia or South Korea in time for the 2027 Asian Cup. Good luck with the CL push.

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Rotherham United 2026/2027

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After taking what could have been considered a backwards move to join Rotherham I knew I had to get my summer transfers spot on in order for my decision to be rewarded. The tycoon owner did mean we had a lot of transfer budget to play with but the toughest task was actually reducing our wage bill by getting rid of some players on much more money then they were worth which was a tough task and why we did have some players who I sent to rot in the reserves on £25k per week. Transfers in weren't exactly easy either, I did want to bring some of the better players from my Golden Arrows team but work permits saw many a transfer fall through. I did eventually manage to complete a decent number of transfers strengthening in nearly every position which was my overall aim. 

To start the season I actually decided to try out a new formation, relying on my assistants pick for the best shape a 3-5-2 (DM) and was planning on going with it for the season, however, the opening day saw us lose 3-0 to relegation favourites Ipswich and the following games whilst we didn't lose any were so incredibly boring and lacking chance creation I settled on a positive 4-2-4 as I decided to put emphasis on attack rather than defense. It started out pretty well but following a 2-0 half time scoreline against Luton Town I switched to attacking which saw us score 6 in the second half which sparked us going fully attacking for the season. We were very good at winning games, even if not winning comprehensively we often scored late goals to take all the points. 

We did have a bit of a wobble midseason but we were easily within the 3 horse race for the title with fellow Yorkshire sides Leeds United and Sheffield United. Incidentally, one of just two transfers in the January window was buying Sheffield United's first choice keeper for a mere 600k, I don't know what they were thinking as he's a decent young keeper (He got player of the match on his debut for us). We did actually find ourselves with a 4 point cushion over Sheffield United going into our game against them with 5 games to go we could all but secure promotion then and there. We of course battered them for the full game aside from a 25 yard screamer for them which saw them leave with all 3 points. Thankfully we bounced back winning the next 3 on the bounce to take us into the final day of the season 3 points ahead of them with still a shot of the title also.

We raced into a 2 goal lead on the final day which temporarily saw us atop the live league table we did trade off goals for a little bit against Reading with them scoring in first half stoppage time to make it 3-2 to us.  Unfortunately they equalised early in the second half before Sheffield United scored two quick goals which meant a goal for Reading would see us have identical records and, alas that is what happened an own goal gave them the win as I nervously awaited our fate as I wasn't really sure if we were up or not. We were of course! A very, very close race for promotion that was incredibly tense, but Rotherham United are in the Premier League for the first time in their history!

The cups went reasonably well, the league cup we faced off against teams at our level or below before hosting Chelsea in the 4th round, we did give a good account of ourselves in fairness coming from 2 goals down to take it to penalties, unfortunately we lost but a good performance nonetheless. We faced 3 fellow championship sides in our FA cup run beating two before losing out to Reading in the 5th round in a game we probably should have won, however, we were very unlikely to win either cup this season.

Best Player - Johnny Hoyos

Inevitably the best player is yet again a striker, though with 45 goals from 45 games in the league it's hard to argue that he wasn't worth the award, he did also manage to outscore his league xG by 16 goals which is really rather good. I'm not 100% convinced he's even that good of a striker, at least not for the next level, but scoring goals is what he's rightly judged on and he's done well in that regard. 

What next?

I'm in two minds, it would be nice to see what I can do with this Rotherham side next season but I'm also wary that there's a huge step up in quality to the Premier League so I'm unsure if I will look for a new job at a team with better prospects. Realistically I feel that we'll struggle next season as defensively my team is not strong at all, especially not with the playing style we've adopted, we conceded 66 goals in the league this season so would dread to think how high that number might be next season.

Story So Far

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Challenge Progress

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C.F. Monterrey Season 2026-27

So after leaving China almost 2 years ago and a failed bid in the ACON with Nigeria, getting sacked. I finally landed a job with Monterrey in Mexico, The board wanted us to continue to be an established Liga MX team. We had some decent players but hardly any defenders. Transfer deadline day was fast approaching and I had to make a few panic transfers. This would cost us if we wanted to achieve anything in the league this season.

With the league split into two competitions we had double the chance to make some progress in the challenge. We did ok in the opening stage finishing 4th, but we got knocked out in the first round of the playoff

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The closing stage was slightly better with us finishing 3rd, we did better in the playoff reaching the semi final we won the home leg 2-1 but we lost the away leg 2-0

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CUP

The cup final was a tight affair, we created a few chances but we just could not put one away. We relied on penalties to win this one.

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I am tempted to leave Mexico but there are no decent jobs available. I just think it is going to take too long for us to build a team to compete and win the league. I will stay for now, see what signings I can make and see how it goes. I will monitor the job market closely to see if anything tempting becomes available.

Season   Team   		Position  	Key Player		Notes and Achievements
21/22	 Supersport United	1st		Rodney Ramagalela	Won Telekom Knockout Cup
22/23	 Supersport United	1st		Oswin Appollis		Won CAF Champions league, MTN 8 Cup, Knockout Cup
2023	 Guangzhou Evergrande	2nd		Elkeson			Won Chinese FA Cup
2024	 Guangzhou Evergrande	1st		Anton Miranchuk		Won Chinese FA Cup, Won Asian Champions League
2026/27	 C.F. Monterrey		3rd		Duvan Vergara		Won Copa MX

Challenge Progress

Club

2/10 top domestic leagues (South Africa, China)

3/10 domestic cups (South Africa, China, Mexico)

2/5 club continental championships (CAF Champions League, Asian Champions League)

0/1 club world championship

International

2026 	Nigeria		ACON		Knocked out in QF pens		Sacked

0/5 continental tournaments ()

0/1 world tournaments ()

 

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2025/26 – SuperSport United

 

Supersport finished 8th last year, meaning there was no continental football. This proved a bit of an issue with transfers, as 3 of the players I tried to bring in were stolen from under my noses by Cape Town City. On the plus side, the team was already pretty strong, we just needed to add a few players and a bit of depth. 

 

League – Our second league win! What a season we had, we were a bit shaky at the start, but ended up winning 18 games in a row. Incredible I know, we did end up losing the last game to our biggest rivals Sundowns, but by then we had already won the league. Sundowns ended up winning the Champions League too, so very happy to have won this. 

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MTN8 – We knocked out Cape Town Spurs, 3-0, in the quarters, which meant we drew Orlando Pirates. Over two legs we won 4-1, pretty convincing in the end. We met Cape Town City in the final. After 90 minutes it was 1-1. They had been given 3 penalties, missing two and scoring the final one, two of those penalties were in the 90th minute. In extra time we took the lead again, before being pegged back with 5 minutes to play (you can tell where this is going). It went to penalties and we lost as Cape Town scored all their penalties.

 

Telkom – We smashed Swallows and then Bloemfontein Celtic in the first two rounds, and in the semis we drew Sundowns, and we lost 2-1 after 90 minutes. They scored in the 88th, we equalised in the 90th then they scored the winner in the 91st. 

 

Nedbank – Another semi-final exit, this time to Orlando Pirates, another penalty costing us, losing 1-0.

 

One of the two strikers I rotated all year is leaving on a free to go to Kaizer Chiefs and I am fuming. He wouldn’t sign a new deal because I wouldn’t let him go out on loan, despite him playing regularly and never having received a loan deal. A few new players and more squad depth and I think we should be able to challenge on all fronts this season. 

Challenge Progress

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Challenge Progress

2/10 top domestic leagues - Canadian Premier League (Cavalry FC, 2021), DSTV Premiership (Supersport, 2025/26)
0/10 domestic cups ()
0/5 club continental championships ()
0/1 club world championship

Extras: CONCACAF National League (Cavalry FC, 2022), NordicBet Liga (Randers FC, 2024/25)

International
0/5 continental tournaments ()
0/1 world tournaments ()

 

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