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Arjen Robben - one last hurrah at FC Groningen


karanhsingh
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I love the idea of superstars going back to their home-town clubs for one last hurrah before they retire. Of course in IRL they rarely actually achieve anything meaningful in their 2nd stint there. However hopefully in FM21, we can make that happen.

This will (probably) be a short-term save with a very clear target - win the Eredivisie for the first time for FC Groningen before Robben retires. That's it. On my beta save, Robben lasted for 3 seasons, so I am hoping to have at least that much time.

This will certainly not be easy, because Ajax are absolutely streets ahead of the competition in the Netherlands. Both in terms of squad quality and finances.

In terms of database, have loaded up the top 5 European leagues + Netherlands as playable, and a bunch more as view-only. Additional players from continental clubs across the world to hopefully give us good new-gen production.

Also, disabled the first transfer window to play with real-life squads. Which means no additions possible till January - in any case with a transfer budget of 0 and being over the wage budget, not much would have been possible anyway.

Meet the manager - inspired by @smp20 getting a son in the very first season in the Danske save, have gone with a female manager on FM for the first time. So, meet Karen Singh :D

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Edited by karanhsingh
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About the club:

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Facilities look pretty good for this level, will obviously hope to improve as and when we can.

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Club culture seems in line with what I'd like to see and the board seems fairly ambitious, which is good.

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Arjen Robben is already club captain and team leader, along with his perfect personality - will be key to mentoring the youngsters as well.

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And finally here is the squad - it's pretty lacking and unbalanced to be honest. We have Robben, a good keeper, and a bunch of decent players. I like the look of the Norwegian striker Strand Larsen - hopefully can develop him. In fact, there is a bit of a Scandinavian flavor with the squad which hopefully I can further develop.

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2 hours ago, Dong21 said:

Like the concept, I have my fingers crossed that Robben can stay fit for you! Good luck Karen :lol:

 

1 hour ago, lupinho said:

Interesting concept, I'll follow! Hopefully he'll keep his current form for a few more years

Cheers guys! Yes hopefully. 

So far he got 2 injuries already, but luckily only a few days each time.

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5 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Here is the main man:

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Looks pretty good for a 36 year old! Let's see how long he holds up.

First order of business:

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Second order of business was to sort out the backroom stuff, but will not bore you with the details.

Still looks pretty handy for 36, he should give some fullbacks nightmares in Holland.

Best of luck.

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1 hour ago, SimpleFM said:

Still looks pretty handy for 36, he should give some fullbacks nightmares in Holland.

Best of luck.

Thanks, that's the plan! 

1 hour ago, rosque said:

Will be following this! Make sure to lower training intensity for Robben to half intensity so he doesn't get accidentally injured in training.

That's a good idea, going to do it. 

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2 minutes ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Will Robben be staying at the club in a coaching role or become your Assistant Manager after he retires then @karanhsingh ?

Well if I am continuing with Groningen at that point then yes. Until then I am hoping to extend his playing career as much as possible. Hence the two year contract with an option to extend by a further year. 

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Just now, karanhsingh said:

Well if I am continuing with Groningen at that point then yes. Until then I am hoping to extend his playing career as much as possible. Hence the two year contract with an option to extend by a further year. 

Yeah if you get him playing till he is 40 then you will probably just end the career the day he retires as the whole reason you are managing FC Groiningen is cos of Robben.

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Just now, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Yeah if you get him playing till he is 40 then you will probably just end the career the day he retires as the whole reason you are managing FC Groiningen is cos of Robben.

Yeah depends on how long it also takes to actually compete with Ajax. I am realizing that they are as dominant in Holland as say PSG in France, they are in a different stratosphere to the rest. 

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Just now, karanhsingh said:

Yeah depends on how long it also takes to actually compete with Ajax. I am realizing that they are as dominant in Holland as say PSG in France, they are in a different stratosphere to the rest. 

Yeah I found it very easy with Ajax in my save with them recently but if you like a challenge then what you are doing now is a damm good challenge. 

I am thinking of doing a Dutch league save with either Willem II, RKC, FC Utecht or ADO Den Haag. No idea why other then I like their logos and or kits lol.

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6 hours ago, Carambau said:

Great idea! Good luck :) hope Robben plays until his late 40s!

Thanks! Late 40s may be ambitious :lol:

16 hours ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Yeah I found it very easy with Ajax in my save with them recently but if you like a challenge then what you are doing now is a damm good challenge. 

I am thinking of doing a Dutch league save with either Willem II, RKC, FC Utecht or ADO Den Haag. No idea why other then I like their logos and or kits lol.

Sounds good, let me know when you do.

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FC Groningen - Season 1 Winter update

It's been a positive start to the season.

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September through November was great, then we had a bit of a wobble in December. In the first 4 games of December, we had seventy two shots on goal, and only scored one goal during that time. It's easy to see where our problems are - conversion. At least we got a win to wrap up the year.

This sees us in 4th place in the league, which ideally is where I'd like to finish. There is a large gap to the top 3 quality wise - Ajax, PSV and AZ. I don't see us catching them soon, but it would be nice to stay where we are. 

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We crashed out early of the cup as you can see against 2nd division side Den Bosch - fun fact the guy who scored the winner is actually on loan, from us. Had to happen, didn't it?! When I looked at his profile I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he was sent out on loan, as we are really lacking a back-up striker and he looks pretty good. Unfortunately there is no recall option.

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Finally, the early sings for the youth intake are encouraging. Let's hope we get one or two good prospects.

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The Board has been very forthcoming so far, they have agreed to increase our wage budget (which means I can now look for reinforcements) and also sanctioned facility improvements across the board.

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Robben Watch

His updated profile, unfortunately the physicals are already declining quite rapidly as you can see. 1719037670_arjennow.thumb.jpg.fad617fe35a1a2784e02943ed344f23d.jpg

However he has easily been our best player, delivering 6 goals and 5 assists in 12 games. 

He seems to be very injury prone, already suffering 4 injuries in half a season. The worst one kept him out for an entire month, during which time we suffered.

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Oh, and he's also breaking records while we are at it.

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2 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Robben Watch

He seems to be very injury prone, already suffering 4 injuries in half a season. The worst one kept him out for an entire month, during which time we suffered.

Well, IRL he played 2 games so far..... in the game against PSV he lasted for 29 minutes before he got injured... and he played another 15 minutes coming on as a sub... 

 

Edited by karremansje
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2 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Robben Watch

His updated profile, unfortunately the physicals are already declining quite rapidly as you can see. 1719037670_arjennow.thumb.jpg.fad617fe35a1a2784e02943ed344f23d.jpg

However he has easily been our best player, delivering 6 goals and 5 assists in 12 games. 

He seems to be very injury prone, already suffering 4 injuries in half a season. The worst one kept him out for an entire month, during which time we suffered.

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Oh, and he's also breaking records while we are at it.

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Part of me feels like he would be ideally placed up front as a poacher, less running? 

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21 hours ago, SimpleFM said:

Part of me feels like he would be ideally placed up front as a poacher, less running? 

It's a good thought, I am experimenting with a 4-4-2 now with a view to having it as an option next season. I definitely don't see him as a lone striker. Maybe a TQ paired with Strand Larsen as PF. 

21 hours ago, Johnny Ace said:

The dangers of basing a save on a 36 year old injury prone superstar! :D

It looks like things are working though, he's performing when he's fit, maybe he could mentor some of those youth wingers to pass the Robben legacy on to

I am now beginning to realize what I've got myself into! He's had two more month long injuries since. Yes the mentoring is definitely a priority. 

21 hours ago, karremansje said:

Well, IRL he played 2 games so far..... in the game against PSV he lasted for 29 minutes before he got injured... and he played another 15 minutes coming on as a sub... 

 

I saw that. Pretty sad. Hopefully he makes a comeback. 

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FC Groningen - season 1 review

Few quick updates! First the January window transfers.

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We struck an affiliate deal with AC Milan which hopefully will come good in the future. Lassina Traore is a 12 month loan to begin with. 

The only paid transfer was Labyad, my DoF made the move and I decided to go through with it. Have instantly regretted it - he has been awful on the pitch, does not train well, and generally seems to have a very poor mentality. A really bad apple. Have got into a confrontation with him and he's now transfer listed. Put that one down to a terrible failed signing.

Anyhow, the results.

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Not quite as good as the first half. We really stumbled towards the end, and almost threw away our top 4 finish. In fact, we needed a result on the final day to confirm it. Fortunately, Ajax won the Dutch Cup, which in turn meant that 4th place got us into the UEFA Conference league, as opposed to the European places playoffs. Here is the final league table.

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And here's how we lined up for most of the season.

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Our best 3 players apart from Robben, were our goal-keeper Padt (picked in the Holland squad for the Euros!), striker Strand Larsen (seems to be coming along quite well), and the RB Dankerlui (formed a good partnership with Arjen and notched 9 assists). Here is the squad, ranked by appearances.

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Robben Watch

Just like the entire team, second half of the season was not great for Arjen either. Mainly because it was too stop start with injuries.

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In all he had SIX injuries this season (5 of which were in-game) and missed over 3 months of football, or a third of the season. He still almost hit double figures for both goals & assists.

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And he has also taken his first steps towards the post playing career.

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Check out Arjen's stunning goal in the local derby against Heerenveen!

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Edited by karanhsingh
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Looking ahead to season 2

While we had a decent first season, it also showed us the gap to Ajax who are absolutely imperious in the league. Not just them, but AZ and PSV are also quite far ahead. AZ have the best striker in the league and will be a threat as long as Boadu & Stengs are at the club.

Arjen is unfortunately just too injury prone to be relied on, and as expected his physicals are taking a beating. As a result, I don't think he can play the role of the star man next season. However he will still have a very important role to play, both on & off the pitch.

With two strong strikers at the club currently in Strand Larsen & Traore, I am planning to transition to a 4-4-2 over the summer from the current 4-3-3 shape. Hopefully that can give us more fire-power as scoring goals was a problem at times this season.

I am not very hopeful of bridging the gap to Ajax in 3 seasons (another 2 from here) as was the original aim for the save, but we will do our best to keep improving and also to stretch out Arjen's glorious football career :) Hopefully can get him some more silverware before he hangs up those boots again.

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FC Groningen - Season 2 Winter Update

The summer was not very busy. Just a few ins & outs.

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Two free transfers in, Saddiki to provide another option in midfield, and van Beek in defence. Mahlambi becomes our biggest signing and is an exciting winger who will hopefully complement Robben on the other side. I wonder if FM recognizes the similarities between Dutch & Afrikaans and helps him settle easier in Holland. Anyway, finally we did a rather expensive loan deal for Marquinhos from Shakhtar as we could not find any other good option for LWB.

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Delighted to find a buyer for Labyad, the worst professional I have managed on FM! Suslov the young winger had shown some promise and a similar playing style to Robben, but I thought the money was too good to turn down as we have better options in the squad currently.

We also renewed loan deals for Lassina Traore from Ajax and Ko Itakura from Man City - the first in particular would be critical!

This is the new tactic for the season, necessitated by wanting to get both my best strikers on the pitch together.

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The results so far have been great for the most part, with the exception of the rather early exit in Europe. So we missed out on the fun of the Conference league, and the money that comes along with it.

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However, as you can see the league form has been great, a particular highlight being the famous (and totally undeserved) 4-1 win away at Ajax! However they got some revenge on us by beating us at our place. 

Incredibly, this run of form has us sitting at the top of the Eredivisie!

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Still a way to go obviously, and Ajax definitely remain favorites for the title.

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Both our strikers have been excellent so far - Ajax must be really regretting extending the Traore loan deal. And the main man as you can see is having a cracking season.

In some way I think this season is our best shot now at the title, because Robben of course will continue to decline, and there is no way Traore will be back with us next season as well. So let's see how we get on.

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Robben watch

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11 goals and 10 assists in half a season! Look at those stats. Now just hope he can keep this up - fingers crossed !!

His physicals continue to decline but as long as he puts in these sorts of performances, I really don't care.

He has had his usual spate of niggling injuries, but luckily none serious like last season.

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11 hours ago, B.W.G said:

Great run so far,nice to see Robben still going strong as well.

Thanks! 

10 hours ago, SimpleFM said:

Try to bring back Luis Suárez, if and wen Arjen does retire and then after that you can try VVD :)

Yes I also noticed them both on the club icons/ favored lists. Suarez keeps talking about the team as well in the press :D

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With 10 games to go, this is where things stand.

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We had a 3 point lead which we threw away through a ridiculous home defeat to local rivals Heerenveen. Robben hit the post twice in that game.

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Sadly we also crashed out in the Cup in January itself as we had 2 strikers away on international duty, and our only fit striker got struck down with a "virus" days before the game.

But, it's all about the league and it's really tight at the top. Ajax are obviously favorites but let's see how we get on.

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Update

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We have an outside chance going into the final 3 games of the season. The reason I say that is we have to face AZ & PSV both. 

I fear that the 8 dropped points against NAC, Twente & Heerenveen (the first two being the bottom teams in the league) will cost us the title. 

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Down to the wire

We sneaked past PSV 2-1, so it goes down to the last day.

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We are away at ADO Den Haag (11th place).

Feyenoord away at 8th placed Sparta - also the Rotterdam derby.

Ajax away at 5th placed PSV.

Oh, and we also just lost our best player & leading scorer Traore for the game :lol:

We need a miracle, but wish me luck!

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9 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Down to the wire

We sneaked past PSV 2-1, so it goes down to the last day.

table4.jpg.409a66bc96e707748163df3e0adfe08f.jpg

We are away at ADO Den Haag (11th place).

Feyenoord away at 8th placed Sparta - also the Rotterdam derby.

Ajax away at 5th placed PSV.

Oh, and we also just lost our best player & leading scorer Traore for the game :lol:

We need a miracle, but wish me luck!

Whatever happens its been a great season for you but good luck mate.

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1467663756_lastmatch.jpg.51768c0eebb06e750e7a1ef5cc80294c.jpg

We did our bet.

And PSV absolutely smashed Ajax.

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Unfortunately Feyenoord held on to win the title. Pretty impressive actually, as they don't even have a great team.

We dropped some really stupid points along the way, that's where we lost it.

With Traore going back to Ajax (they won't renew) and Robben's physicals taking a real hit, I am not sure we can repeat this next season.

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