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[FM21] A career in (South) America


GreenTriangle
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July 2034

*****

First games of July were ... so and so. 4 points out of 6 in the league, plus a defeat (1 - 3) in the cup game played against another 2nd league team, Orense Machala.

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*****

3 points out of 6. In the first game we played mediocre. We didn’t deserve more.

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*****

Wow ! 5 - 0 in the cup game, plus a spectacular qualification for quarter-finals. Unfortunately, in the league match we only got a draw, although the team played very well.

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*****

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We continue to keep our top 4 position, that is, on one of places that bring the qualification for the final stage, the one where the promoted teams are decided. In the cup we "received" a tough opponent, Barcelona Guayaquil, one of the great "forces" of the first league. Two years ago Barcelona qualified for the semifinals of the Copa Sudamericana (the South American equivalent of the UEFA Europa League Cup)

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The summer transfer window closed on July 14. Apart from the two young players transferred in June, we managed to bring two multifunctional midfielders (both can play both on the wings and as central midfielders) ... plus a very good striker.

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*****

The senior squad is a bit more balanced now, as we have more quality midfielders.

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Reserves squad

Under21 squad

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Did I say we have a balanced team? We had, but just for a few days. At the end of the month we lost two other midfielders, both being on loan at us. Their clubs concluded the two had not played enough games and, in addition, they had not been used exactly in the positions and roles established in the loan agreements.

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I tried to convince the board that an improvement of our facilities would be extremely necessary. I failed ...

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It's July now. Elections will take place in two months (ie in September). I don't know why, but I'm not very excited about this situation. If a new chairman will be elected, he could intends to change the manager. This happened to me 6 months ago ...

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World Cup ended a few days ago. The new world champion, 2034 edition : France

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August 2034

*****

A crazy first game ... in which we got only a draw, although we had 4 - 0 in the 70th minute and 5 - 3 in the 90th minute. However, I have to admit : our opponents played much better than us in the second half, and perhaps we would not have deserved even this draw. In the second game we played extremely weak.

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*****

In the league we got only one point out of 6. We were embarrassingly defeated by a team (Gualaceo SC) weaker than us. Instead, in the cup we got an unexpected draw away. However, the second leg game seems to be extremely difficult and I still don't think we have a real chance to qualify.

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*****

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5 games, 0 wins. That wasn't a good month at all. The difference between us and the team ranked 4th is 5 points now and, unfortunately, we are in a very poor run of form ...

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The cohesion is very good, atmospheres are ... pretty good. I hope that in the next games we'll play better than we played in the last weeks.

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September 2034

*****

We lost both games. That's it. Too bad, in the second game we would have deserved at least one draw, if not more.

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*****

What the ... ? We played well again in the first (league) match ... and we lost again. But it doesn't matter, we managed an exceptional performance : we eliminated Barcelona Guayaquil in the cup quarter-finals and we qualified for semifinals.

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*****

6 points out of 6 ! That's something else. Looks like we're starting to rebound ...

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For cup semifinals are qualified two first league teams (LDU Quito and Independiente Sangoloqui) and two second league teams (us and Atletico Porteno). Our opponent in semifinals? Atletico Porteno. It can be good as the opponent seems easier to defeat. But it can also be bad because a first league team would have considered us an easy opponent to defeat and would have risked more ....

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3 wins and 3 defeats. It's a little better now. Unfortunately, we can say goodbye to participating in promotion playoffs. The difference of 8 points between us and the team in the 4th place is much too big to be recovered.

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The team had a very low morale after that defeat against Deportivo Quito. I was tempted to call a team meeting ... but fortunately I refrained form this, and the next game (the big win against Barcelona Guayaquil in the cup match) almost completely restored the players' morale

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Elections day. The former chairman (Araujo) lost these elections and ended his term, the new chairman (Jimmy Mina) took over the leadership of the club.

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No investments are foreseen. I was expecting this ...

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... and the new chairman considers the current manager (that is me) has done a pretty good job until now and he deserves to be kept at the club. That's all what I wanted to know. It's okay. 

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October 2034

*****

We lost the first leg of cup semifinals and our chances for qualifying for the final are now extremely low. In the league ... we got 3 points out of 6, but, unfortunately, the team plays weaker and weaker. It seems this season is almost over for us ...

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*****

I hurried to say the team is playing weaker and weaker. In fact, it played well in both games and (maybe) we even deserved 6 points out of 6. But we only got one. That's it ...

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*****

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We have no way to relegate, we have no way to promote. The championship is practically over. I hope in the second game of the cup semifinals the team will get a qualification ...

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Youth intake preview.

In short: oh, my God ! Mr. Chairman, we really need some improvements for our facilities, and that's urgent !

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November 2034

*****

We lost the 2nd leg of cup semifinals :seagull:. And we were clearly defeated in the last game of the league.

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*****

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6th place. A reasonable performance for a team that aimed (at the beginning of the season) only to avoid relegation. However, I had slightly higher expectations ... and I have higher expectation for the next season. In my opinion, the squad will need significant improvements in the next 3 months.

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Players' stats. Improvements are needed in almost all compartments. We have 4 very good players (right midfielder Cabeza, left midfielder Molina, strikers Andrade and Cortez) ... but it's not enough.

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*****

Teams' stats. Both offensively and defensively we are a mid-table team. It's pretty good until now, but in most part of this season we were considered to be just a new promoted team which should be easy to defeat. Next season we'll be looked at different way and that could create a lot of troubles for us.

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A brief review of some national and international competitions :

*****

National competitions - Central America, 2032 - 2034.

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National Competitions - Caribbean Area, 2032 - 2034.

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National Competitions - North America, 2032 - 2034.

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International competitions - CONCACAF (clubs and national teams), 2032 - 2034.

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*****

International competitions - South America (clubs), 2020 - 2033.

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International competitions - South America (national teams), 2020 - 2033.

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National competitions - South America, 2033 - 2034 (for now only 4 nations are activated and playable, the others will be activated in the next two seasons).

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November 2034.

*****

So, they are very pleased. I'm glad to hear that. I'm not so pleased because that difference of only 3 points between our team and the first relegated team can't be very satisfying.

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*****

What is the problem ? Balance, stamina, strength, composure, concentration, deicsions, vision ... all are way too low. Our squad does not have a lot of basic skills needed to get a significant performance.

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There is any solution ? Of course, the improvement of this squad. We need to bring in (many) good players, or at least better players than the ones we already have.

*****

Wooow ! A big surprise ! I'm happy !

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I'm no longer so happy now. We don't have enough money ...

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*****

We managed to bring in an exceptional scout. I'm surprised he agreed to come to us. Probably because we're compatriots ...

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December 2034.

*****

Really ?!? Of course, we had "way too good" facilities ... Two more similar downgrades and we'll end up not even having any facility.

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I know, I know, we don't have money. I didn't even expect anything else.

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*****

Guys, I wish you a pleasant holiday. But don't forget it, this holiday ends tomorrow at 8 o'clock, that is, over about 22 hours ...

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*****

What ?!? Last year we had a cumulative budget of about $ 1,025,000 / year. In my opinion, this budget was a bit too small and, honestly, I was expecting an increase. The board decided to show me I don’t know what “small” means, so they decided : the cumulative budget for this year will be about ... $ 800,000 ?!? Why am I so happy ?

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Previous budget, March 2034

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How can be this decrease explained? I have no idea. In the previous season the club get a profit of 650,000, and even if investments were recovered from this profit, there is still an gain of 250000. Probably our board does not intend to invest any more money this season ...

*****

Our scouts have some strange ideas. A few months ago, one of them discovered Stalin. The other scout did not let himself be outdone : after an intense work he found Lenin. I look forward to the day when the two scouts will work together and they'll find Marx.

Stalin

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Career 2020 - 2034

... and the last 5 years :

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January 2035.

*****

Superb ! We had a very good youngster, a product of last year's intake. In fact, he was the only player who seemed to have the necessary qualities to one day end up playing in our first team. Well, we had ... but we don't have any more, because our board hurried to sell him.

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By the way, this boy played 69 games in one year (for both reserves and under 21 teams) without being injured even once, and scored 55 goals. What a good deal we did ...

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*****

All right. I think we can do it. It will be a great effort, but we will do everything for it. However, I think we could set ourselves even more daring objectives ...

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Youth intake 2035.

What can I say ? We received an impressive number of exceptional players. But I'm not talking about football. I'm sure all of them are much better at any other sports. I have no one to select, so I'll not offer a contract to any of these young players.

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The best player of this intake ...

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March 2035 (first days only).

*****

15 new players will come. 14 of them will be transferred, the 15th (who does not appear in the list, defender Dario Paz) will be loaned for a second season. Almost all (with about 3 exceptions) are very good players who could play in the first team. Of course, I have an issue : after the arrival of so many players the cohesion is very bad. But I hope it will improve quickly. And I have another issue : I'll not be able to give them the playing time specified in their contracts. But I'll see later how can I solve this ...

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Four of these newcomers are not unknown to me because in the previous season they also played for us ... but they were only on loan.

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... and the other 10 players.

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How did I manage to bring in so many good players without paying almost anything ? It's simple, first league clubs have hundreds of players in their under21 and reserve squads. And most of these players do not have the necessary qualities to play in the first league ... but they have very good qualities for a second league team.

*****

Our senior squad (the day before the first league game).

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The team report looks pretty positive. I didn’t manage to get an improvement for absolutely all abilities ... but it’s obvious we have a better team than that we had last season.

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Reserves squad

Under21 squad

*****

Our evaluation has improved. In March last year we were rated with 50-1, now we have reached 15-1. We are not favorites for a top 4 position ... but the qualitative difference between us and the teams in the promotion area has been significantly decreased.

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*****

Friendlies. We played 9 games. The first two were extremely difficult for us (the two teams from Guayaquil being in the first league). Unfortunately, the qualitative difference between us and them was very big. We managed, however, to improve our morale and cohesion in the next 7 games.

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March 2035

*****

The season started very well for us, 6 points out of 6. However, we have no reason to be ecstatic. We scored 7 goals out of only 11 shots on target and 1.9 xG. Normally, to score 7 times we need 15 - 20 shots on target and 6 - 8 xG. What this means ? That if we don't play better than we did in these two games we'll start losing game after game.

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*****

Only 4 points out of 9, but in the last two matches we played better. Maybe because our opponents were weaker than the other teams we played with ...

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*****

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We are in 3rd place, which should please me. However, our gameplay is very inconsistent. The team can play very well for 15-30 minutes ... and bad or even very bad in the other 60-75 minutes. I don’t know what to think yet. I hope in the next games the team cohesion will improve and we'll be able to play better.

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As I said in my previous post, in February we received the worst youth intake of my entire career. None of these 16 players had even the minimal qualities needed to deserve a contract.

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As soon as I sent the 16 yougsters to their homes, I remembered (with displeasure) about our underdeveloped facilities and decided to send a new request for improvement. As expected, this request was immediately rejected by our board ...

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April 2035

*****

3 points out of 9. Too bad, in the third game we played pretty well and we deserved at least a draw.

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*****

We played two games. The first, a cup game, was easily won as the opponent Guayaquil SC is a 3rd league team. The second game (in the league) was much more difficult and, surprisingly, my team played very well and won deservedly.

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*****

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It wasn't a very good month ... but not a very bad one either.

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*****

The cohesion is good, the atmosphere is very good ... but results are not very good at all.

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May 2035.

*****

4 points out of 6. We should have lost the first game, but we were lucky.

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*****

3 points out of 6 and a qualification for the 4th cup round

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*****

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We continue to have an oscillating behavior. Some very good games followed by some poor games  .... Some players are extremely inconsistent.
June will be decisive because during it we'll meet teams ranked 2nd (Salinas), 4th (Ambato) and 1st (Deportivo Quito). If we could to get at least 3 points in these 3 games then in the second half of the season we could set ourselves the objective of ranking in one of the first 4 places. If not ...

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June 2035.

*****

S**t ! We played extremely bad. That's it ...

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*****

That's it, the championship is already over for us. We have only one objective left : to avoid relegation.

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*****

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June was a horrible month. Probably the weakest of the last 10 years of my career. We are only 7 points away from the 4th place but we play so weak that we have practically no chance to reduce this difference. But we are 6 points away from the 9th place, that is, the place that could send us to the 3rd league.

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The first half of the season is over. I don't really have any players to highlight. Some of them played pretty well in a few games but none of them played well consistently.

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Team stats.  We are what might be called "a mid-table team." Unfortunately, this is the maximum level that can be reached at this club. We transferred in the winter almost all the players we need. We have a much better team than in the previous season, and if this team can't pass the "at most 5th or 6th place" level then ...

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*****

The atmosphere is "poor." It couldn't be otherwise after 5 consecutive losses. I have to admit, it's my fault because in the last games I stubbornly played 4-1-4-1 even when it was obvious this configuration needs to be changed.

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So, what should I do next? To be honest, at the end of the last game I intended to resign. Then ... I changed my mind. After all, I can lead the team until the end of this season. Of course, we have to avoid relegation. After the season is over ... I'll see what to do. For now, I should do some tactical changes, I should improve the morale of some players ... and I should urgently call for a team meeting.

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July 2035 - transfers

*****

We brought 3 new players. In fact ... only two, because Christian Carabali is our former youngster whom we sold in January and whom his new club has agreed to loan us for the next 6 months. The two newcomers : a striker (Quintana) and a right / center defender (Ayovi). They're both very good players ... or at least this is what my assistant thinks.

We sold only one player, but in my opinion we made a very good deal because we got $ 38,000 for a player who didn't fit our tactical system anyway and whose market value I didn't think is higher than $ 15,000.

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*****

Of course. He's the biggest trouble maker in our squad. In addition, he is very inconsistent. He can play very good in some games ... but he also can play very poorly others. For now, he is the best scorer in our team, but we brought two other strikers (Quintana and Carabali) and I hope one of them can replace him. The big issue is ... no one wants him. He has a market value of $ 30,000 and I offered him for $ 20,000. There were some interested clubs, but it seems his salary demands are too high.

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If I could sell Zambrano I would solve (at least temporarily) the cumulative budget problem. Unfortunately, no one wanted him even even when I asked for only $ 15,000  (half of his market value).

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The squad that was registered and will be used in the second half of the championship :

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July 2035

*****

In the first game (cup match) we tried to play more defensively. It was a good idea for 87 minutes. Anyway, Atletico Porteno have a good team (better than ours) so it wouldn't be a disaster if we lost the qualification. The two league games were ... so and so. We played badly in the first and pretty well in the second. Result: 2 points out of 6.

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*****

Two more games in the league. 6 points out of 6 (wow, not bad !). Unfortunately, we lost the qualification for the next cup round, although the team played very well and missed alt least 3 clear chances to score.

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*****

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The difference between us and the team in 4th place decreased to only 4 points. Who knows, maybe we still have a chance ...

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*****

"Team meeting" effects. Everything is as fine as it can be ... for now.

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I tried again. In vain. No chance of improvement ...

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August 2035

*****

2 games, 3 points. In the second game everything was perfect in the first 45 minutes. After the break we quickly conceded two goals, then we tried to play more offensive ... and they destroyed us.

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Yeah. Just one point out of 6, which means it's all over. Or, maybe ...

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*****

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We are 5 points away from the 4th place ... and 8 points away from the 9th place (retrogradable). If we can't play in playoffs at least we can try to keep this 5th place ....

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Unfortunately, our former youngster is still too inexperienced to play at such a high level. Maybe it's better for him to be called back by his club.

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*****

12 players agreed with Zambrano, only 3 agreed with me. Guys, you have decided : Zambrano will play in any conditions, whether he plays well or badly. I don't care.

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On the same day (August 22) I received two job interview offers. Should I try ? Shouldn't I try ? The first offer was more interesting, as Orense Machala is a first league club. However, I have decided to reject both offers for the time being. I'll not leave LDU before the end of this season.

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September 2035

*****

3 points out of 6. We didn't deserve more, in the second game we played poorly.

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*****

5 points out of 9 ...

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*****

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We continue to stay in 5th place. It's good enough.

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October 2035

*****

7 points out of 9. In the last game we stupidly lost two points. We should have won easily.

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*****

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*****

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5th place. Good enough.

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Players' stats.

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*****

Teams' stats.

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Youth intake preview. Poor facilities, poor intake. I didn't even expect anything else.

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The cumulative budget will be slightly higher, $ 850,000, so 50,000 more than this season. It doesn't matter, it's too little compared to what we would need to build a team capable of fighting for promotion.

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Throughout this season I had a strange feeling. As if I were in an tilted boat and I was trying to counterbalance that tilt. I think some important players do not have necessary characteristics to obtain better performances. I should look for other players ... but we don't have enough money to be able to make important changes in the squad. It would probably take me at least two (or even three) years to build a much better team than the current one but I have no patience to wait that long. So, I have 3 options: to resign at the end of this season, to resign in 6 months ... or to resign at the end of next season. I will think about it ...

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December 2035

*****

I signed a new contract, but only for one year. I have no illusions, but I am curious what will happen next season.

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They are "very pleased". I would really like to know what means "very pleased". I'll check ...

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I checked. "Very pleased" means "we offered you a new contract but you shouldn't be excited : the club doesn't have enough money".

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*****

Maybe they are right. Why do I keep bothering them so much when we have so many quality young players in our reserves team and U19 team ?

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That's really funny. His Majesty is kind enough to withdraw his transfer request. That's interesting : his contract ends in exactly 7 days, ie on December 31, 2035. Does he imagine I'll propose him a contract extension ? Let's be serious ...

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By the way, the contract of another insurgent, Kevin Hurtado, will also expire in 7 days. Of course, I will not bother to ask him if he is willing to negotiate. I don't think he's interested anyway. Neither I.

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A brief overview of national competitions that took place in several South, Central and North American countries.

South America, 2035

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Central America, 2034 - 2035

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North America, 2034 - 2035

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January - February 2036

*****

All right, that can be solved. However, I would rather get much better performance than "avoid relegation battle".

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Youth intake 2036.

In a few words : oh my God! I let my assistant sign with whomever he wants. I'm not interested in that subject. It's way too depressing.

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An offer "too good to be refused". All right, although Flores was the best defensive midfielder we had in our squad. I do not intend to protest. If that's what bosses want ... so be it !

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*****

Of course, I'm not a boss enough, which is why 17 players instantly revolted. I promised them I would quickly bring in a good defensive midfielder and for now it looks like the revolt is over.

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Transfers.

We brought not one, but two defensive midfielders (Delgado and Jairo Carabali). Plus a central defender (Velez), a left defender (Alarcon), 3 other reserves (Suarez, Araujo and Bryan Carbajal) and a Venezuelan kid (Quagliarella) who, unfortunately, proved to be a bit overrated by our scout.

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Compared to the previous season, the squad is a bit more solid from the defensive point of view ... but also a bit more fragile from the offensive point of view. However, we have enough good players in the offensive compartment, so we shouldn't have any trouble.

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The average prediction "says" we have a weaker squad, at least compared to our opponents' squads. Anyway, the difference is not very big (25-1 now, 20-1 last summer).

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Finances. As usual, we only have money for strictly necessary expenses. In fact ... we may not even have enough to cover these expenses. Doesn't matter, I'll stay at the club for at most a year anyway.

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Friendlies. Wow, we defeated a first league team (Guayaquil City) ! But it was just a friendly match ...

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March 2036

*****

The end of February was extremely interesting. It is known, some injuries are inevitable. We have 3 seriously injured players. But we have 4 strikers in our group. What was the chance that all three seriously injured players (Quintana, Andrade, Bryna Carabali) to be strikers ? Well, all of them are strikers. In a hurry we tried to loan an additional striker. I sent offers for two players who were willing to agree to be loaned out ... and both were loaned out. Unfortunately, these two players were not loaned to us but to other clubs. I got annoyed and gave up any loans. We'll handle this with only one striker. And, if necessary, we'll play without any striker.

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4 points of of 6 ! And the team played very well. Good job, guys !

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*****

What the ...?!? Suddenly we started to play very bad. We got only one point, and even this point wasn't deserved either.

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*****

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Clearly, the 4-1-4-1 configuration doesn't work as it should work. From now on we'll play 4-4-1-1. I hope we'll be more successful ...

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*****

I can't say the atmosphere is good. In fact, it's very bad. My assistant says a team meeting would be necessary. He may be right, but I'll wait until the next game. I hope the team will start to play better after I gave up that 4-1-4-1 tactical configuration.

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April 2036

*****

Ouch ! It hurts ! We played very poor during the first half and a little better during the second ... but, overall, we were humiliatingly defeated.

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*****

Really ?!? Wow, what a  surprise !

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It's pretty bad. I means ... it's bad. The team has a leader (Zapata), 4 highly influential players and 11 micro-leaders (influential players). Unfortunately, two highly influential players (Molina and Garcia) and another 7 microleaders are against me. I'm in serious trouble. Somehow, I managed to calm them down a bit, although one of the micro-leaders (Chavez) would have wanted a scandal.

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I'm in the deepest sh*t. If even the leader, Zapata, is against me ... it's clear, it's time to look for another club. But I won't do it now. I want to wait until at the end of this month. I'm curious what's next.

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*****

We didn't play well but, fortunately, our opponents decided to play as bad as we did ... or even worse. Their defenders did their best to give us huge spaces so that my attackers could score.

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*****

What else can I say? Until the break, our opponents' attackers shot on target 4 times ... and scored 4 goals. Our defenders avoided disturbing them and the goalkeeper Zapata plunged very photogenic, but in such a way as not to touch the ball. Our attackers did not let themselves be outdone either. They shot from all positions but were careful not to score. Folleco scored, but he is not part of the rebel group. He'll probably be "warmly congratulated" in the dressing room.

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All right, guys, I understood. You'll get rid of me in a few days.

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*****

That's really funny. I assume the revolt does not working in cup games (this match played against Chacaritas was the first leg of the 3rd cup round) ...

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***************

It doesn't matter anymore, but it's interesting. Opponents scored the winning goal from their only shot on target ...

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What can I say ? Good luck, guys. We didn't get along very well, but it also happens to even bigger teams.

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***************

Players' stats.

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Teams' stats.

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For me it's time to resign...

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Two other staff members also resigned. I don't know if they had a good idea, but anyway, I'll try to bring both of them to my next club.

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I have some interesting options. I applied everywhere but, of course, some clubs were not interested. But there are also some clubs that might offer me an interview ... I hope.

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***************

It didn't last very long. I was hired by the first club that offered me an interview :

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***************

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So, Mexico. A very well known country. A country that is in the top 15 in the world in terms of area, number of inhabitants and economic strength. Also, a country whose football is currently (according to FIFA ranking) one of the 10 strongest in the entire world.

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Mexico is a federal republic consisting of 32 states. One of these states, the one located in the northeastern extremity of the country, is called Tamaulipas. It is a fairly large state, given that its area is almost identical to that of some countries like Scotland, Serbia or the Czech Republic. On the territory of this state there are 5 large cities, each with over 300,000 inhabitants: Reynosa, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo (all 3 located on the Rio Grande River, on the border between Mexico and USA), Ciudad Victoria and Tampico. The last two cities are important for my virtual career because in Tampico (more precisely between Tampico and Madero, another slightly smaller city which is located near Tampico) is the stadium of the club that has the highest football reputation in the state of Tamaulispas: Tampico Madero FC . As for Ciudad Victoria ... it’s the city where the CF Correcaminos UAT club was founded (and where it still plays).

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Club de Futbol Correcaminos de la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas or, in short, Correcaminos UAT. It's, of course, a professional club. The club’s stadium is quite large (15,000 seats) but facilities are rather below average, much less developed than facilities of the stronger and richer 1st league clubs or even than those of some 2nd league clubs.
One more thing : the club's name. In Spanish "correcaminos" (meaning "roadrunner") is the name of a bird that, although it can fly, is able to run very fast, reaching a speed of 32 km / h (20 mph). Faster than the most of humans could run.

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Correcaminos was founded in 1890. The team promoted to the second league in 1982, then, after another 5 years, in 1987, it managed to promote in the first league. It survived in the first league for 8 seasons (without achieving outstanding performances) and relegated to the 2nd league in 1995. Since then (ie for no less than 41 consecutive seasons) the team has played only in the 2nd league.

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***************

The club’s reputation is high, much higher than the reputation of those clubs I have worked for until now. Comparatively speaking, Correcaminos has a reputation similar to that of some mid-level clubs in the English 3rd league. Of course, in Mexco there are a lot of powerful clubs which have a much better reputation than ours, and at a national level Correcaminos is only on the 31st position (on the 12th position in the second league).

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Correcaminos UAT compared to English clubs

***************

The average prediction is quite encouraging. We are not considered a favorite for promotion ... but also we aren't a "favorite" for relegation. Since our reputation is at the level of "somewhere between 11th to 14th places", it seems our senior squad is quite good, probably good enough to easily avoid relegation.

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*****

Board's requests are very reasonable, although I am a little worried about that "financial damage". I avoided promising too much and - for now - my only problem is related with dressing room atmosphere. My reputation is low and I may not be able to convince players to trust me.

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***************

By the way, that’s how the great manager (I means myself, lol) looks like :

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***************

For now, the atmosphere is good. Cohesion is good. Confidence in the new manager is not good, but I hope it will improve over time. I hope ...

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***************

Rules. There are a lot of rules and some of them are quite unusual.
General rules. As in many other Latin American countries, the championship is divided into two distinct competitions (or stages), opening and closing. Each competition (stage) is divided into two sub-stages: regular stage and promotion playoff. Qualification for promotion playoff is quite unusual : the first 12 ranked teams will qualify, but teams ranked 3rd - 12 will play in the first round, the team ranked 2nd will play in quarterfinals and the first ranked will play directly in semifinals. I posted some screenshots from the recently finished season to detail this unusual playoff. By the way, I found that our great rivals (Tampico Madero FC, the other team from Tamaulispas which play in the 2nd league) performed much better than us. This is an issue that needs to be corrected.

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Transfer and registration rules are quite complicated ... and are not very easy to be followed. Only 8 players over 23 can be registered. Of course, there are also restrictions related to citizenship, but, for a reason I'll detail later, for our club these restrictions are not important.

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Finances.

We have money. In fact, from my point of view, we have a lot of money. I haven't yet managed a club with such budgets : $ 2,500,000 per year for wages, plus $ 1,700,000 for transfers. Total budget (cumulative) : $ 4.25 million / year. Everything is gorgeous. I mean ... it's not. We have debts to the bank. And debts to investors. Worse, the club usually collects about $ 1.7 million and spends about $ 3 million. The difference is covered by amounts got as a result of selling some players and, when necessary, by amounts invested by our board. This means that, in order to survive, we'll have to regularly sell some of our best players. It also means that the board is very unlikely to accept expenses related to club's facilities improvement.

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***************

In theory, our wage budget is good enough. In reality, however, we are one of the 4 clubs in the 2nd league that have serious financial troubles.

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***************

We have an almost complete staff. All we really need is an additional coach. Some staff members do not have very good skills but for now what we have is enough.

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***************

Well, this is the first time I've seen something like this in FM. The club has not brought any new player since August 2028 ! Not a single player was transferred or loaned in the last 7 years and 10 months ! I didn't think AI could do that. On the other hand, except for last season, not many players were sold.

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What are implications of this policy of avoiding bringing in new players ? The club relies strictly on players from its own youth intake. This is a kind of "youth intake challenge" played by AI.

The list of players who are part of the club's best eleven is extremely interesting. Acuna and Hernandez have each played over 450 games in their careers. All these games were played wearing Correcaminos club jersey. Roberto Pena and Garza played over 400 games. All games were played for Correcaminos. Sanchez and Anuar each played more than 300 games. All games were played for Correcaminos' colours. All these 6 players are produced 100% by the Correcaminos club. In fact, with one exception (Armando Iriarte), all players in the current squad are produced by Correcaminos and have played almost their entire career only at Correcaminos. A few players were loaned to other clubs for a season or two, but they spent most of their careers at the club that formed them. I have to repeat : I have never seen such a situation on FM. Human players can do this, but i never thought AI also can do it.

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Jose Juan Acuna

Juan Pablo Hernandez

Roberto Pena

Martin Garza

Juan Manuel de Hita Sanchez

Armando Anuar

***************

This unusual club policy could cause me serious problems. I could choose between these 4 options:
- I could continue this strategy based strictly on youngsters produced by the club.
- I could continue this strategy but also I could accept possible transfers or loans of some players who were once youngsters received by the club at youth intake.
- I could partially give up this strategy but to accept only to loan some players
- I could completely give up this strategy, ie to bring players either as transfer or as loan.

From my point of view, the last option is the most used and I am very tempted to choose it. On the other hand, this option looks to be too easy, so I'll choose the 2nd possibility, but with a restriction : I will be able to bring (transfer or loan) only at most one player in each transfer window, and only if that player was sometime received by the club at youth intake.

Of course, choosing this option I take the risk of being fired in a very short time, which is why my objective at this club is - for now - extremely simple : I'll do eveything I can to avoid being fired in the next 6 months.

***************

Our squads. I also posted the list containing players' stats because I'll have to take it into account for the next season. We don't have many player, we can not bring in additional players, so I can't afford to sell or release players just to get rid of those who are unhappy. Also, team leaders are very appreciated by our fans, so I have to be careful to avoid any conflict with these players.

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June 2036

*****

First of all, something (maybe) interesting: we have an affiliation agreement with a 3-rd league club, Gavilanes FC Matamoros. Initially, it didn't seem important to me because only the first two Mexican leagues are loaded (and playable) in this save. The 3rd League, not being active, does not generate games, reason for which I didn't intend to loan any player to Gavilanes.

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But, after only a few days, this affiliation agreement ended ...

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And our board decided to establish Correcaminos B team ...

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... which will play directly in the 3rd league. Is there any utility for this team? Of course, because I can take control of arranging some friendly matches, I can hire needed staff and, last but not least, facilities used by this team are, practically, Correcaminos club's facilities.

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Of course, being a newly created team, all its players are "gray". It will probably take some time until we'll have enough available players to allow us to send players to our B team.

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***************

On the other hand, our board also decided to sign an affiliation agreement with a first league club. CF Tigres UANL is a very powerful club and, of course, its facilities are much better than our facilites.

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Youngsters produced by Tigres could be very useful for us if we would loan 2 or 3 of them each season. Unfortunately, we can't do that because ...

Quote

so I'll choose the 2nd possibility, but with a restriction : I will be able to bring (transfer or loan) only at most one player in each transfer window, and only if that player was sometime received by the club at youth intake.

By the way, in order to comply with this rule, I checked all youth intakes in the last 15 years and I discovered there are 29 players produced by Correcaminos who are not playing for Correcaminos but are still active players. All these players will be included in the shortlist and I'll try every 6 months to transfer or loan one of these players, preferably one of the really good ones.

List of last 15 years intakes

List of still active former Correcamino youngsters

***************

We are going to lose two players, both of whom being listed by the former manager as "available for transfer" and both already having contracts signed with other clubs. Alvaro Lugo is not a loss, not being a very good player. Roberto Pena, however, was the best right midfielder we had and this loss is a pretty serious issue.

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July 2036

*****

That rule regarding "at most 8 players aged over 23" confuses me a lot. When I arrived at the club, I found 11 "over 23" players in the squad. Pena and Lugo left, so there are 9 left. There is another player, Jose Eguade, who I could give up. It would remain exactly 8. But ... our number one goalkeeper is only 17 years old, and his reserves are players of the same age and, moreover, they are "gray" players.

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***************

Board's expectations are reasonable. "Be competitive" does not seem to be a difficult request to fulfill. As for the "average points" ... only now have I learned about this rule. From the 2nd league does not relegate the team that accumulates the fewest points during the season, but the team that has achieved the lowest coefficient during the last 3 seasons played in the league. In the previous season Correcaminos achieved a small coefficient, but two seasons ago it got a fairly good coefficient, so the only way we can relegate is to play extremely weak during this season. And if we'll play so weak it won't matter to me anymore because I'll probably be kicked out before the end of the season.

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Transfers.

Like I said, we needed a goalkeeper. And I made a big mistake. Instead of rushing to make an offer to our former youngster Daniel Pena (who was free of contract) I dealt with other issues ... and when I remembered the problem with goalkeepers I've been surprised : Daniel Pena had already signed a contract with another club. I had no choice and I turned to another former youngster, Victor Vucetich. Unfortunately, our scouter he didn't get to assess him ... and so, now we have a mediocre goalkeeper (much weaker than that 17 years old goalkeeper already we have) ... and who, in addition, is "over 23". :seagull:

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I did not know what to do. I should fire a good "over 23" player just to create a place for that mediocre goalkeeper Vucetich? Or I should offer a contract to a 17-year-old "gray" goalkeeper and give up Vucetich ? In the end I chose the second option. Our new goalkeeper (Eder Cantu) is, qualitatively speaking, well below the level of the Mexican 2nd league ... but at least he is a goalkeeper.

Eder Cantu

***************

Club finances. We already have significant debts, and if we'll fail to sell (for as much money as possible !) one or two players ... we may have serious problems in the near future. 

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Friendlies.

We played 6 friendlies, one of them being played against Queretaro FC (which is a good 1st league team) Disappointing for me, the qualitative difference between our team and their team was quite big. We lost by only 2-3, but Queretaro missed another 3-4 clear chances to score. The other opponents did not create any problems for us, and that 0 - 0 against Gavilanes is due only to the fact that we experimented, using a team made up only of reserves and youngsters. 

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To be honest, I'm really surprised. Just a few friendly games were enough to greatly improve the atmosphere, and the players' confidence  increased significantly in this short time.

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***************

I think it's necessary to draw attention to the third rule in the list : indeed, in the second Mexican league not 3 - as usual - but 4 (four) points are awarded for an away victory. It is necessary to remind this because the table might seem strange to someone uninformed.

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***************

A very good start to the season. 6 points out of 6  and a clear dominance of our team during both games.

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August 2036

*****

6 points out of 6 again ...

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*****

4 points out of 6. The second game was more difficult for us and the draw is fair.

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*****

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I am very surprised by these really good results. Is it due to the fact that both cohesion and atmosphere are at a maximum level ? It's hard to say ... Of course, only a few rounds were played. A lot of things can happen until the last round.

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September 2036

*****

The transfer window has closed. No new players came, nobody left.

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*****

4 points. The second game was the first of this season in which the team played really mediocre. Fortunately for us, opponents didn't play very well either. By the way, Atlante just relegated from the first league last season. Theoretically, they should be the main candidate for (re) promotion. For now, though, they're in a pretty poor run of form.

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*****

We only got two draws, and in both matches our opponents scored in the last minutes of the game. Disappointing, as we met two mediocre teams (ranked on the 16th and 17th place) and and I thought we would be able to get at least 4 points, or even all 6.

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*****

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We are on a surprising 4th place, and unfortunately there is a quite large difference (10 points) between us and the team in first place. Obviously we can't fight to win the regular season ... but I hope we can stay among the best 5-6 teams in the league.

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***************

I tried. No chance for this. Maybe someday in the future ...

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October 2036

*****

6 points out of 9. Too bad, we missed a big win in the last game. It would have been a wonderful victory against the leader. It wasn't to be. Of course, in other games we were (too) lucky and now we were unlucky. It happens, but I would have preferred to have had some luck in this match and bad luck in other.

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*****

6 points out of 6 ...

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*****

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2nd place after 15 rounds. I wouldn't have thought that is possible. To be honest, I was expecting to a 6th to 10th place. What's worse is I don't know why the team plays so well. I did absolutely nothing different compared to what I did when I was managing LDU Loja.

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November 2036

*****

Another 4 points ...

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*****

6 points out of 6. That's incredible ...

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*****

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lol. That's already in the realm of fantasy. Only one point difference behind the leader, which means if we had got a draw in the direct match against Tlaxcala FC (we lost, 0 - 1) we would have accumulated 52 points (1st place) and Tlaxcala would have had only 48 points (2nd place)  ...

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Of course, because performances clearly exceeded expectations, the atmosphere is excellent ... (which is very good considering that we'll play some very difficult games in playoffs)

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***************

"An excellent groups of players ?" Wow, that's good ! However, I don't like that mention about wingers. We don't have enough wide midfielders at our disposal and we would have needed a quality winger.

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December 2036

*****

Playoff schedule. The teams ranked on the 3-12 places have already played in the first round. The 5 winners and the team ranked 2nd in the regular season (ie we, Correcaminos) will play in quarterfinals, and the 3 qualified teams plus the winner of the regular season (Tlaxcala FC) will play in semifinals.

Our quarter-final opponent : Venados FC. In the regular season Venados only finished in the 10th place so, theoretically, they should not be a very difficult opponent for us. 

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*****

Our board is very pleased, which is why they proposed me a contract over 6 months before the expiration of the one I signed in the last summer. Moreover, the duration of the new contract surprised me : 3 years. It’s the first time in the 15 years of my career when I can sign such a contract.

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*****

Playoffs : quarter-finals.

We easily won, which I actually expected. But now semifinals are coming, and the opponent will be much more difficult to beat.

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*****

Playoff-s : semifinals.

Unfortunately, our luck was ended before the first game. The opponent (Atlante FC) was obviously better than us and, in addition, the fate of semifinals was decided in just 45 minutes (the first half of the first game). In these 45 minutes Atlante shot on target only 4 times and scored 3 goals, the 4th shot being a penalty saved by our goalkeeper. In the other 135 minutes of play we tried to rise to the level of our opponent ... but more than that was not possible.

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*****

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*****

Overall, our team performed exceptionally well, given that before the start of this season it was being considered to be just a "mid-table team".

*****

Players' stats.

Many of our players have had a very good season ... which is why it is very likely that in the near future some of them will receive tempting offers from some powerful (and richer) clubs. Fortunately for us, none of these players are in the last 6 months of his contract, which means our club will be also able to benefit from these transfers. However, the possibility of losing some good players it's pretty depressing.

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*****

We weren't the best team in the league ... but obviously we were one of the best 3 teams.

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***************

Club finances. Until now the board has not invested a single dollar this season. If this policy continues, our situation will be pretty bad because losses will reach almost $ 2 million and all this amount will have to be covered by player transfers. I don't think we have any player whose current market value to be so high. I rather think that we'll have to sell 3 or 4 of the best players we have ...

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***************

Atlante FC won the playoff final and will play in the grand final of the second league against the winner of the closing stage. The winner of this final will promote to the first league.

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January 2037 (first few days)

*****

As I was saying, I could try to transfer or loan one former Correcaminos' youngster. According to our scouts, these would be the best (former) young players produced by Correcaminos in recent years. Theoretically, I would have what to choose. The problem is ... I really need under23 players, and I can't bring Ahumada and Portales to us. The only valid option would be Velez, but we already have enough defensive midfielders in our squad. So ... I don't really have anyone to bring.

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*****

... and I didn't bring anyone. Our only acquisition this season (goalkeeper Vucetich) proved to be useless. Unfortunately, I cannot unilaterally cancel this loan agreement. If it had been possible, I would have sent Vucetich back to his club a long time ago.

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***************

However, we also managed some pretty good transfers. But I'm not talking about players, I'm talking about a few additional staff members.

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Correcaminos' squads, January 2037

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We don't have the best staff in the league ... but for now, what we have is good enough.

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Although in the autumn season we achieved a very good performance (50 points out of 66 possible) our reputation did not increase at all. It seems this is the reason our board did not change its requests : "be competitive"

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Our evaluation in media prediction is a bit more positive now (it increased from 33-1 to 25-1), but we continue to be considered only a "mid-table team".

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***************

Finance is our weak point. The club loses money (a lot of money!) Because we didn't manage to sell ... or, better said, I didn't want to sell a few players. It's true, we haven't received really good offers for our players. Everyone wants to buy strictly at the current market value, which would not be a good deal for us.

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January 2037

*****

The first games of the closing stage. 6 points out of 6 and 24 - 1 shots on target. However, both opponents were mediocre teams.

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*****

6 more points out of 6 ...

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*****

Oops ! Only 3 points out of 9 and, unfortunately, it seems the team’s form tends to get worse. However, I think we would have deserved at least a draw in the first game.

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*****

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Overall, it's very good. We lost two games but, anyway, we played much better than we should have done according to media prediction.

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*****

Everything is fine until now ...

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February 2037

*****

6 points and an important win against a team (FC Cancun) which played really well in the first rounds.

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*****

Yes ! We beat Atlante, that is, the team that won the opening stage. Well done, guys ! We also beat CDM Zacatecas, but that was a predictable result.

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*****

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4 wins out of 4 and the 1st place in the table. February was a very good month for us ...

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March 2037

*****

We were defeated ... in fact, we were humiliated (0 - 3) by the team ranked on the last place of the table ! :seagull: What's worse is in the first game we missed 4 clear chances to score, and in the second we didn't manage to score even though we shot 18 times. It's true, the opponent in the second game was a good team, but that doesn't excuse the fact we easily conceded some stupid goals and we didn't manage to score even from a penalty kick.

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*****

In the first game we played very well, although I had only one clearer goal opportunity. Too bad, a win at Tlaxcala would have been a very good result. we also played well in the second game, although we conceded one goal from the only shot on target sent by our opponents. I try to not remember the last game ...

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*****

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After a very good month (February) followed a bad month (March). We're already qualified for playoffs and at this moment my only concern is how to stop this bad run of form in such a way as to have as high chances as possible in these decisive games we'll play in the end of season.

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Youth intake 2037.

Overall, a very good intake. This is not an exceptional generation but there are some very promising players. In addition, the distribution of good players is very convenient (central defender, central midfielder, striker). To be honest, I would have needed a better left midfielder ...

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The best 3 players. Unfortunately, the central defender (Villareal) could have become a very good player ... but his personality and the fact he has an extremely low determination will probably seriously restrict his development.

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April 2037

*****

5 points out of 9. Pretty good, but I have an issue : the team seems to be satisfied with what it have achieved so far.  In addition some of our players seem to be in a bad (or even very bad) run of form.

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*****

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3rd place. We qualified for playoffs and we'll play in the first round (one leg, at our stadium) against the team ranked 12th (CA Morelia)

(Huh, Colima FC relegated due to the poor coefficient they managed in the last 3 seasons. It must be very frustrating to fight ultil the last game for a playoff qualification ... and, after the end of this last game to realize you are relegated).

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***************

From the point of view of morale it seems we're very well prepared for the next games.

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April 2037 - Playoffs

*****

First Round.

We easily defeated Morelia and qualified for quarterfinals.

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Our next opponent seems to be very accessible for us : Celaya FC, the team ranked 7th in the regular season. It can be said we were lucky.

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*****

Wow. It seems we have set a new record: we are the team that, since 2020 (ie in the last 17 years), has scored the most goals in a season. It's not very important, but sometimes this kind of achievements sounds interesting.

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Quarterfinals

:seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull::seagull:

We lost ...

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We lost, but not anyway : the qualification was decided in just 4 minutes, the first 4 minutes of the second game. In the first game we played well (better than our opponents) and the fact we lost was not being an issue for us : we were better than them and, normally, we could have easily won the second game. But this second game started with a fantastic misfortune : In the first 240 seconds Celaya shot twice, both shots were on target ... and both were goals. What could be done in this situation? We tried to attack, but our chances of score 4 goals until the end were very small anyway. In fact, we barely managed to score a only one goal.

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Players' stats :

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Teams' stats :

Let's review :

- the best xG for : Correcaminos. Yay !

- the most shots for : Correcaminos. Yay !

- the most shots on target for : Correcaminos. Yay !

- the best xG against : Correcaminos. Yay !

- the least shots against : Atlante. (Yes, but we are in second place with a difference of only 3 shots)

- the least shots on target against : Correcaminos. Yay !

- the most goals scored : Correcaminos. Yay !

So, which teams will play in the grand final for promotion to the first league? Atlante FC and Celaya FC ! :seagull:

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  • 2 weeks later...

June 2037

*****

The end of a season, the beginning of another season. Since in the recently finished season we fulfilled almost all board's requests, I thought the board might be willing to approve some improvements to our facilities. It was just an illusion. No improvements ...

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Our (cumulative) budget for this season is slightly higher than that for last season : $ 4.35 million, compared to $ 4.2 million. In fact, even the fact that available budget exceeds 4 million is a real miracle, because our club loses about $ 1.3 million per year. To increase revenues we have two solutions : either to promote to the first league (sponsorships, match attendance, TV rights) ... or to sell some players. But there is a problem : none of our players have a market value higher than $ 75,000. That means we can't sell any of our best players for more than $ 150-200,000. We should sell half of our team to cover yearly losses ...

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Our reputation has grown, but very little, and compared to the other clubs in the second league we have practically remained at the same level. That's not good because the board will consider our reputation not high enough to justify allocation of additional amounts for our facilities improvement.

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Honestly, I had no idea that there was a national cup in Mexico. I found it out now. However, it is not an ordinary cup because in this competition only the best 15 teams (ranking is based on the previous season overall table) from the first league and the best 12 teams from the second league participate. The 27 teams are divided into 9 groups, winners of these 9 groups and another 7 teams ranked second (those who get the best score in a separate ranking) being qualified for the next round.

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The draw was not very good for us (both opponents being teams playing in the first league) ... but it wasn't very bad either (both Atlante and Tijuana are strong teams ... but they're not so strong that would be impossible for us to get 4 points. And because in previous seasons there were some teams that qualified for the next round having only 4 points ...).

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Objectives set by our board in the previous season were quite easy to achieve, because both in the opening stage and in the closing stage we were asked just to "be competitive".
This season, however, demands are higher: "reach quarter-finals". In other words: "We want a good position in the regular season table and, as a result, a participation in the knock-out stage quarter-finals. But there is a problem : we can qualify for that quarterfinals in two different ways. Either we'll be ranked at the end of the regular season in one of the 3-12 places (which would allow us to play in the first round of the knockout stage and, if we'll win, to qualify for quarter-finals) ... or we'll be ranked in the second place (which would ensure our direct qualification for quarter-finals). I hope the board refers to the first way because I am not at all sure that we have the necessary strength to get the 2nd place.

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The media prediction seems to suggest we have a pretty good team, good enough to get that qualification for quarterfinals requested by the board.

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It was necessary (for financial reasons) to give up a few staff members, but, in compensation, we managed de improve a little the necessary staff for our U20 squad.

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Transfers. In the last 12 months we have not brought any player. The fact I can transfer only players generated by Correcaminos (on the occasion of previous youth intakes) seriously limits my options. In addition, we can only register a maximum of 8 players over the age of 23, and we already have 9 in the two squads. I tried to get rid of Carballo (a pretty weak player) ... but nobody wants him.

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Consequently, our team is composed of almost the same players as 6 months ago ... plus an youngster (Luis Ernesto Garcia) promoted from the U20 squad.

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Team report : stamina, determination and some defensive skills seem to be too low. I'll try to improve them during the season ...

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*****

In the U20 team we have some promising players ... but only two of them seem to be ready for a possible promotion in the senior squad. For now, however, I prefer to leave these two players at U20 because at least there they'll have higher chances to play more games.

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Friendlies. We won the first game, the only played against a first league team (Tigres UANL) ... but Tigres used a lot of reserves and youngsters. I used the other 3 games more to test some tactical innovations and to improve the team's morale and cohesion.

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We played the first two games of this season. And we lost both of them. The first game was extremely frustrating, as Deportivo scored two goals and won even though they shot on target just twice. Let's say, however, that it was just bad luck. The second game showed me the (very big) difference between us and a first league club. Of course, a few weeks before we had won that friendly played against Tigres. But Tigres used a lot of backup players and they didn't even focus too much on that game. Tijuana used almost the best team ... and they clearly defeated us (more clearly than it would seem from that stats). I have to admit, I'm very disappointed ...

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August 2037

*****

The same story. We only got a draw in the first (league) game ... and a cup defeat. But there is also a positive aspect : we met strong opponents, Tampico being a recently relegated from the first league and Atlante being a recently ... promoted to the first league. We weren't humiliated ... but we didn't able to play well either. I hope in the next games we'll start to recover.

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*****

Yes ! No ! Yes, because we clearly defeated the second team of an extremely strong club, Pumas UNAM (multiple champion of Mexico). No, because in the second game we were defeated by a team that scored (again, for the second time !) two goals from only two shots on target. In addition, both shots were sent from outside the box (the second being a direct free kick).

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*****

Finally, we played a little better ... (and, yes, we were luckier now) ! 7 points out of 7. (I have to remember, in the second Mexican league 4 points are awarded for an away win)

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*****

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In the league we manage in an acceptabile way. In the cup, however, we have practically no chance to qualify for the next round.

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September 2037

*****

Lol :lol:, we lost two points just because our opponents shot on target once ! I have serious doubts I could create a tactical configuration that would completely forbid opponents to shoot on target. In compensation, we clearly won (3-0) the second game, although probably a draw or a win (for us) with at most one goal difference would have been more fair.

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*****

That's it, we're out of the cup ! Tijuana crushed us and their striker (Patino) did everything he wanted, being completely insensitive to all my sophisticated combinations of instructions (team, player and opposition instructions). In the second game we managed to play very good against Tlaxcala FC, and at one point the game (FM) felt embarrassed by the countless points we lost by the method "two shots = two goals scored" and made us a gift (our win) at the end of the match.

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That's great ! September 22 : Martinez (the second best right midfielder we have) is injured. On the same day : Trujillo (the best left midfielder we have) is injured. Two days later: Garza (the best right midfielder we have) is injured. Of course, we have some players who can replace the injured ones ... but until now these players haven't played well as wide midfielders.

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We only have 4 injured players ... and 3 of them are our best wide midfielders. Quite a small probability ...

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Two games played ... and just two points won. Maybe we deserved more, but it's obvious : this season the team doesn't play like it did last year either ... and we're not as lucky as we were at the beginning of my career at Correcaminos.

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*****

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We continue to be in that area that allows the qualification for playoffs ... but we are only 7 points away from the 13th place, the one that means exclusion from playoffs.

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*****

The team continues to be very enthusiastic, probably because they realize  our current position (4th place) is much better than the media prediction (12th place). Unfortunately, this also means that the level of complacency continues to increase and, in the future, players' concentration could decrease.

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October 2037

*****

Another 3 games played. In the first two (league games) we got 3 points. Unfortunately, we were playing weaker and weaker and the win against CDM Zacatecas was very lucky. The last (cup) game doesn't even matter anymore.

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I don’t know if we really were the most embarrassing team out of the 27 participating in this cup stage ... but we were definitely one of the most embarrassing teams. :(

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*****

Yes, now I understood :

Quote

But there is a problem : we can qualify for that quarterfinals in two different ways. Either we'll be ranked at the end of the regular season in one of the 3-12 places (which would allow us to play in the first round of the knockout stage and, if we'll win, to qualify for quarter-finals) ... or we'll be ranked in the second place (which would ensure our direct qualification for quarter-finals). I hope the board refers to the first way because I am not at all sure that we have the necessary strength to get the 2nd place.

I hoped in vain. In fact, our board refers to the direct qualification, so to the 2nd place at the end of the regular season ...

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*****

3 points out of 6. During the last game we re-practiced our extraordinary ability to concede goals as a result of almost any shot on target. Now we conceded "only" 4 goals out of 5 shots. (And, yes, I can confirm : we really use a goalkeeper during matches !)

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There are still 4 rounds to play but the difference between us and the 13th place team increased to 9 points.

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*****

Coincidentally, I thought of checking the list of players' grievances. And I didn’t like what I saw at all : all 3 team leaders (!) want to leave our club. In addition, two other highly influential players have the same problem. That means in the spring I'll either have a team full of outraged leaders ... or I'll have to play with a team based on backup and young players.

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November 2037

*****

Yeah. We didn't manage to get even a draw ... Sh** !

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What ?!? Are you serious ?!?

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Good. So, either we'll get at least 9 points in the next 5 games, or I'll be kicked out. If I were to bet between the 9 points and dismissal ... I think I'll bet on dismissal. I don't think the team has that mental state needed to get those 9 points.

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*****

Wow, that's a miracle ! We managed to get 4 points !

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 ... and we're already qualified for the next stage. We have no chance to rank 2nd, but, anyway, we still have a small chance to play much better in the knock-out stage.

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*****

Enough with that illusions ! It's clear : we can't do more. We only got a draw against a mediocre team (Cuautla FC) ... then Oaxaca FC clearly defeated us. By the way, Cuautla scored (again !!!) two goals from just two shots on target. This super-efficiency of our opponents has already started to get a little annoying ....

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*****

The end of the regular season. 6th place, 34 points. The team gets weaker and weaker results (opening stage, 2036: 50 points; closing stage, 2037: 39 points; opening stage, 2037: 34 points). What will happen next in the spring? We'll get 25 points ? Or, rather, will I be fired ?

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Great ! Now even the atmosphere has deteriorated, and this just before the decisive game in the first round of playoffs ...

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*****

Good. I don’t know what to say. Normally we would have had a good chance to win. But we play so badly that ...

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*****

Playoffs, preliminary round.

We lost, of course.

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Players' stats.

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*****

Teams' stats.

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Youth intake preview. We'll get a good central midfielder, and maybe a few other pretty good players. Honestly, I don't care.

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December 2037

*****

The board is "slightly dissapointed" ... but it seems to have forgotten my promise. I promised that we will get 9 points in the next 5 games and so far we have only got 4 in 4 games (3 - 2a, 2 - 2, 1 - 2, 1 - 2). Even assuming the last game was not taken into account, being played in the second stage, we still should have to gain 5 more points in the next 2 games. However, it seems I have already achieved my goal. We still need "0 points" (easy, I can do it !) and everything will be perfect. :lol:

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Morelia won the opening stage and will play the grand final for promotion to the first league. Good for them ...

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What to do next? These would be the data of this problem :
1. the club's financial situation is precarious. We lose over $ 1 million a year.
2. we'll have to sell some important players, on the one hand to compensate for those losses, and on the other hand because 5 of the most important players in the group want to leave us for other "better" clubs.
3. we produce good youngsters ... but by no means very good. And we don’t have the money needed to improve our facilities so that the quality of the juniors increases. In addition, it would take at least 2 years for this qualitative increase to become significant.
4. we would need a promotion, but for that we should be constantly one of the best 2-3 teams in the league. We are not and we will not reach something like this in less than 3-4 years.
5. the board started to have quite high demands "we want the 2nd place with a mid-table team". I therefore risk being fired before those minimum 3-4 years.
Conclusion : I have a choice between a possible dismissal in the near future ... and a resignation. This is my choice :

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December 2037

*****

So, I resigned in December and now I have a choice : either to apply to clubs whose teams play in an ongoing competition (ie clubs from Mexico or Central American region) ... or to apply to clubs whose teams play in a competition that will start in the next months (ie clubs from South American region). For now I intend to try the second option.

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On the same day I already received an interview offer :

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... and after a few more days I received another offer :

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Unfortunately, the first club (the one in Paraguay) concluded they have better choices available :

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... but the Uruguayan club decided to hire me :

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Even on the first day of work I received - surprise ! - an youth intake preview. And it looks pretty promising, especially when it comes to strikers.

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Before referring to my new club, it would be useful a brief presentation of Uruguayan football. In another (older) career I read a wording that, I admit, made me laugh : "in Uruguay all teams are Montevideo". It's an exaggerated (and a little naive) wording, but it's also realistic: indeed, in 2021, out of the 28 teams that play in the first and second Uruguayan league, no less than 22 are teams of some clubs located in the city of Montevideo (which is the capital of the country) or in the metropolitan area of Montevideo. Why is this happening? For historical and financial reasons. Montevideo and the metropolitan region "mean" 40% of the country's population and 50% of its economy. For many years, clubs in smaller cities had great difficulty finding the financial resources needed to become professional clubs. The situation has changed over time, but the tradition has remained.

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And now, about my new club. Club Plaza de Deportes Colonia, better known as "Plaza Colonia" is not located in Montevideo, being one of the few "provincial" clubs. "Colonia" is the name commonly used to refer to the town of Colonia del Sacramento, a small town (only 25,000 inhabitants) located 180 kilometers (110 miles) west of Montevideo. In fact, Colonia is much closer to Buenos Aires than to Montevideo.
Plaza Colonia is, of course, a professional club, but in FM it does not have a large stadium or too good facilities. It seems in FM both the stadium and facilities are not very accurate, because in real life their stadium is larger (6500 seats) and training facilities are, however, better than "basic".

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The history of this team does not seem to have anything out of the ordinary. At first glance, it seems to be a relatively mediocre team that oscillates between the 1st league and the 2nd league.

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However, the real history of this team is much more spectacular than it seems at first glance. It was promoted to the second league in 2000. After only two years it promoted to the first league, where in the first season it ranked 5th. However, some very difficult seasons followed and in 2006 the team relegated to the 2nd league. The decline continued, culminating in 12th place (out of 12 teams) in 2010. However, relegation was avoided by an extraordinary luck, the winner of the 3rd league not having the financial resources necessary to participate in the second league. Another 4 difficult seasons followed (all finalised in the second half of the table). In 2015, however, the team ranked 2nd and promoted to the first league where, just in the first year of its participation, it won the closing stage and reached the championship final, being only 90 minutes away from winning the title.

2016 closing stage title

Everything seemed fine, but two very bad seasons followed and, finally, the relegation to the second league (2017). In 2019 a new promotion followed ... and in 2021 the team won again a stage (the opening one) thus ensuring its presence again in the championship final.

2021 opening stage title

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The club's reputation is quite low, probably due to the mediocre performances got in the last seasons. We basically have the lowest reputation in the league. In terms of international reputation ... it's enough to say that we have a lower reputation than that of Argentinian or Brazilian 3rd league clubs.

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Club vision. Probably the next season will be difficult, considering the countless requirements imposed by the club's board. I'll definitely not play as they ask and also both the improvement of the financial situation and the "survival" in the first league requires a lot of effort.

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Rules are pretty usual for South America. A maximum of 6 foreign players can be registered and, of these, only 3 can play at the same time. We cannot use young players unless they have previously signed professional contracts. Unlike other South American countries, winning a stage (opening or closing) does not mean the title of champion but only the qualification for the championship final. There is also a cup (organized in the middle of the season, between the opening and closing stages), and the results obtained in this cup are taken into account in the overall table. Teams ranked on the last 3 places will be relegated, and the relegation is based on all results get in the last two seasons (cup results are included).

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We have a cumulative budget of $ 1.4 million, about 3 times smaller than the budget I had at Correcaminos. However, given the expenditure and incoming, it seems the available budget is already much larger than the club's current financial possibilities, so it is likely a significant budget increase is excluded in the near future.

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We don't have a very good staff ... but we also don't have the money needed to improve it yet. I'll see in the future if I can find cheap coaches and scouts better than the ones we already have. I have serious doubts I'll find something like this, but ...

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Our HOYD. From some points of view he's a pretty good HOYD. But I don't like his personality at all ...

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Our senior squad. Our players have a lot of stars (especially in terms of potential) but the team report isn't so optimistic : in reality, this squad is one of the weakest squad in the league.

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Best 6 players we have :

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Reserve and U19 squads. There are a few players having a good potential ... but it seems none of them are good enough to be promoted to the senior squad yet.

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I am glad that there is no particularly negative aspect ... but I'm not so glad because both cohesion and managerial support are only "average". However, they can be improved in the next period, so ...

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January 2038

*****

We have to "fight bravely." I think we can do that.

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I am not surprised. A low reputation (the lowest in the league) plus a rather low quality squad (one of the weakest in the league) equals "a possible relegation". But it remains to be seen what will happen.

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We brought a player, but it wasn't my initiative. In fact, Guisolfo (the new player) was transferred by my predecessor a few months ago. The other players are exactly the ones who were in the senior squad at the time of my hiring. Honestly, I don't really know what to do with this squad. We have a lot of players characterized rather by low ambition and a rather conflicting temperament. In addition, determination, work rate and bravery are also low, which means most players are not "fighters" at all. Tactical configurations I currently use are based on pressing and  and I'm not at all convinced I have a team suitable for this style of play.

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We didn't have much time for friendlies. We risked playing a slightly more difficult match (against Sarmiento Junin, the team in the 2nd league in Argentina) and the result was not very encouraging : we lost by only one goal the difference, but we played bad and hardly avoided to concede another 3 or 4 goals. The other opponents have been strictly lower league teams and, of course, these games were quite easy for us.

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Immediately after I was hired I skipped the usual introductory meeting and after that I avoided to call the team to discuss about season objectives. It seems this omission was not well received by some players. It also seems I don't have enough authority. Players react individually when they are praised or criticized ... but the overall morale does not improve. It increases a little in the next day, then decreases again.

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Youth intake 2038

 At first glance, it looks like a pretty good intake. But ... all 4 players having at least 3.5 PA stars are "unambitious" ...

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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February 2038

*****

The first 3 games of this season. We lost them all.
To be honest, I did not imagine we would get more than 1 point (at most !) in the first two games, Liverpool and Fenix being strong teams, but I was very disappointed by the third game. Not because we were defeated, but because we played extremely bad.

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Finally, we managed a pretty good game (the second one). But, of course, we were defeated, and not anyway, but at a humiliating score. Everything is going wrong ...

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Summary: our defense is very hesitant, creative midfielders hardly manage to provide useful passes and offensive players are not able to coordinate with their teammates, most of our chances being based more on opponents mistakes and less on cooperation between our players.

We changed the tactical configuration (from 4-4-2 to 4-4-1-1) because the space between midfielders and attackers was not being properly covered. After the change, the number of mistakes in the central area  decreased (oh, yeah !) ... but that does not mean we play better.

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At first glance, it's not bad at all. Players aren't very affected by those 5 consecutive defeats ... but we'll still have to start winning some games. Or at least we'll have to get 2 or 3 draws in the next 4 games. If we don't, the team's morale will probably be severely affected.

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March 2038

*****

We had the bad luck to play the next match against Penarol (one of the two very strong Uruguayan clubs). Since for now Penarol does not play at the maximum possible level, I hoped for an encouraging result (a draw or, if it's not possible, a one goal difference defeat). Huh, we didn't stand a chance, Penarol destroyed us. Immediately after the game I summoned all players for a team meeting. They reacted very positively and I hoped that in the next game we'll be able to play better, especially since the opponent (Atletico Atenas) isn't extremely strong either. We played well, even very well ... but we were able to got just a draw.

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It was probably not a smart idea to change tactical configuration again, but I wanted to check the possibility to play something more defensive (in the first game), respectively something more offensive (in the second). The first option was encouraging as the opponent had few chances to score and shot on target just 3 times. But they scored 3 times out of 3 shots ... We need points, and since our defense is extremely weak, we have to score as much as possible. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be possible either.

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Unfortunately, it's obvious : this team is very difficult to manage and my chances of avoiding being fired in the near future are very small.

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Well, in the next two games we will meet Cerro Montevideo (11th place) and IASA (14th place). We must get 4 points out of 6. We have no alternative. If we fail to do it, my career at Plaza Colonia is almost over.

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April 2038

*****

Did I say my career at this club is "almost over"? It's time to forget about "almost". It's over. But as there are still 4 rounds left until the end of the opening stage, I'll not resign right now but I'll take the opportunity to experience various tactical approaches.
By the way, the first game was probably the most embarrassing game of my entire career. I don't want to remember it anymore.

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*****

Usually I try to avoid using team meetings because it's more challenging to get positive results by using the method of talking to players. However, sometimes I have nowhere to go because a team meeting is strictly necessary. But it's about just one meeting during an entire season. Now, however, being almost resigned (or fired?) I can break the rule, so I can use the team meeting for a second time. I used it, and the result was ... interesting : we won the game against IASA using exactly the same tactical configuration used in the previous game (lost by 0 - 4).

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Until now we had played 11 games, we were in last (16th) place and our strikers had scored fewer goals even than their defensive teammates.
Who was being - theoretically - our best striker? Fabian Peralta. Not an ordinary player but even the team leader. Being team leader, he had achieved truly remarkable achievements : 9 games played, zero goals scored, 0 assists and a mediocre rating. Moreover, the guy was unhappy, as he wanted to "move to a bigger club". I have no doubt : all big clubs in the world were ready to transfer him ... but probably only for free, because at the beginning of the season I offered him to other clubs and no one wanted him. So, I decided that Fabian Peralta is useless and he can be "relegated" to the reserve squad. What was his teammates' opinion about my decision ? This one :

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Of course, their opinion didn't matter, but I wanted to finish the opening stage as a manager, so I promised them I would work non-stop (24 hours a day, even on holidays) so that everyone would be happy. It looks like they believed me. :lol::lol:

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Well, maybe we could have won the second game ... if our morale had been better. It wasn't.

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Really ? What a  suprise ! I didn't even expect that, lol. However, the reason seems hilarious to me. What does "media handling" have to do with the countless defeats ?

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*****

Wow, we scored 4 goals against Nacional ! That's very good. Unfortunately, they scored 6 to us (bad idea !), which is not so good. If we would have been a more luck we could have won the last game ... but doesn't matter anyway.

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*****

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It could have been better ... I'm sorry, guys (some of you). I hope you'll be able to avoid relegation this year.

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*****

Players' stats. Nothing interesting to see here.

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*****

Teams' stats. Well, that's really interesting. We were not at all the weakest team in the league. Normally we could have ranked quite easily on the 12th - 13th places, and this even having a rather weak team in terms of quality.

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*****

What about the tactical configurations used ? Were these configurations balanced enough ? Yes, for sure. They may not have been the best they could be, but they were certainly good enough. Is there any evidence? Both the reserve team and the U19 team used these 3 configurations ... and both teams did quite well.  In addition, I used these configurations (with some minor modifications) for other teams and results were also good or even very good.

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*****

I resigned, of course. I've made quite a few strategy mistakes in the last 6 months of my career, but sometimes that can happen. It's time for a new challenge.

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May 2038

*****

I resigned, then immediately started looking for a new job. I had two options : South America (countries where the championship was in progress) or Central America and Mexico (countries where the championship was to begin in July or August). For now, South America seemed more interesting, so I decided to apply to few Chilean and Paraguayan clubs :

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*****

After two weeks I received an invitation for an interview : CSD Rangers Talca, a club from Chile. Unfortunately, it seemed my performance at that interview was not very convincing, which is why the club decided to choose someone else.

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June 2038

*****

At the beginning of June I decided I would continue to apply for all available Chilean clubs, to which Colombian clubs will be added. If I won't be hired until July 1, then I'll start applying to clubs in Central America and Mexico.

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*****

One week later : a new invitation for an interview ...

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... and a new job : Atletico FC Cali.

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So, Columbia. A very large country (its area being larger than the area of France, Spain and Portugal taken together). Over 50 million inhabitants. The capital, Bogota, is a huge city, having over 8 million inhabitants. There are two other very large cities, Cali and Medellin (both inhabited by more than 2.5 million people) and two large cities, Barranquilla and Cartagena (each having over 1 million inhabitants).

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About Colombian football. There are two national leagues, both professional. Access to the second league is not based on promotion from the 3rd league but on admission (in other words, to be accepted in the second league a club must become a professional and be accepted as a participant, which means a large enough budget is required).
The effect of this approach : very small localities do not have clubs to represent them in these professional leagues as these localities cannot provide the necessary financial sources for a professional club. In a way, the situation is very similar to that in Mexico : big cities can support more clubs and, therefore, are represented by more clubs in the professional leagues. Smaller cities can either support only one club (or none). Bogota, being a very big city, is represented by 5 clubs. Cali has 4, Medellin, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga have 2 each.

As I said, in the city of Cali there are 4 professional clubs : America, Deportivo, Atletico Boca Juniors (better known as "Boca Juniors de Cali") ... and Atletico. The last of the 4 is, in fact, an "import", being a club founded in another city and later moved to Cali. Unlike the other 3 clubs in the city, Atletico has never managed to play in the first league, being in fact one of the few clubs in the country that has played during its entire history only in the 2nd league.

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The team plays its home matches on a large stadium (36,000 places) and has very good training facilities. However, facilities dedicated to the new generations of players are, compared to other Colombian clubs, rather mediocre : below average / adequate / adequate.

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*****

History : as I already said, this club never managed to promote to the first league. However, in its history there have been some remarkable seasons : in 2022 it got the 2nd place, in 2031 and 2034 the 4th place, in 2036 the 3nd place, and in 2038, so even in this season, Atletico managed (for the first time) to win the 2nd league. However, that does not mean that it promoted to the first league. The Colombian promotion system is quite complicated.

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*****

So ... how can promote a Colombian second league club ? First of all, the season is divided into two stages or "phases". In each of the two phases the 16 teams will play each other (only one round, 15 games) and the first 8 ranked at the end of each phase will be qualified for "semifinals". These semifinals take place in a groups system (2 groups of 4 teams, each team will play 6 games). The draw is invariably the same: the teams ranked 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th will form one of the groups and those ranked 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th will form the second group. Winners of these two groups will play the final of the phase. There is, therefore, a winner of the first phase (spring) and a winner of the second phase (fall). How from the second league two teams will promote it seems quite clear the two winners will promote to the first league. It is not like that. In fact, a new final follows, between the two winners of the first and second phases. The winner of this final, indeed, promotes to the first league. The team that lose  will play a play-off match against the team best ranked in the overall table (a table that includes the matches played in both phases, both in the regular season and in the groups and finals). Why ? To give a chance to those teams that have played consistently well throughout the season but were unlucky in the playoff stage. To be a little clearer, I also posted a screenshot of phases, stages, tables and finals from the previous season :

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*****

Transfer, registration and match rules :

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The cumulative budget (wages and transfers) we have at our disposal is quite good (over $ 1.6 million). There are fairly consistent sources of income (sponsorships, gate receipts) and finances are, generally speaking, fairly balanced.

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The staff is pretty good, but it still needs to be improved. We would need an additional coach, (at least) an extra scout and a physio. The assistant also has a problem : his skills in terms of judging CA and PA are quite limited.

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***************

So, I was hired in the middle of the season, more precisely after the end of the first "phase". The phase during which Atletico did very well (in the regular stage) but also less well (in the semifinal group) :

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*****

Media prediction is quite optimistic about us : we are considered a team capable of fighting (with significant chances) for promotion.

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Board's requests seem to be reasonable, although I'm a little confused by the idea of "developing players using the club's youth system". Well ... unfortunately our facilities are not very good and this goal is quite difficult to achieve. So far, the board has not set a competitive objective for us, but most likely they will request the participation in the semifinal group, possibly even the qualification for the second phase final.

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The senior squad looks pretty good, but for now any assessment is subjective. I'm glad that players' personalities are generally quite positive. The team report seems to suggest the existence of some problems from a physical point of view (pace and stamina are a bit too low). Another possible issue : loan agreements for the 5 loaned players will expire on June 30 and at least 3 of these 5 players seem to deserve a place in our first team. I'll see to what extent we'll be able to renew these agreements.

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*****

Best 6 players (according to our assistant's opinion) :

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*****

The U20 squad is not exactly what I expected. There are some promising players here, but generally speaking the number of really good players is quite low. In addition, 4 of the 7 more promising players are 19 or 20 years old, which means either the previous youth intakes have been really weak ... or a lot of young players have been sold during the last years.

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Yay, I have no more problems with support ! Somehow (I don't know how and why) these players trust me more than those from my former club (Plaza Colonia). The atmosphere is quite good and it can be improved. As for cohesion ... it's exactly as it should be.

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July 2038

*****

We only have time for one friendly game. I don't know if it's the best idea to play such a friendly (Tolima is a 1st league team) ... but there's no point in changing the schedule now. Anyway, first rounds of the championship are not very difficult because we'll meet only teams that in the first phase were ranked in the second half of the table.

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***************

As I expected, the objective set by the council is quite difficult : the qualification of the team for the semifinal group followed by the winning of this semifinal group and, implicitly, the qualification for the final of the second "phase" of the league.

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I think it's a bug : our board was dissatisfied because in the first phase of the league the team missed the qualification for the final (ie did not win the semifinal group), and this unfavorable opinion of the board is automatically "transmitted" to the manager who leads the team in the second phase of the league, regardless of whether that manager is responsible or not for the failure in the first phase. Consequence : the team has not yet played any game under the new manager's leadership ... but the board is already dissatisfied. [It is not necessarily an issue for me because, honestly, I don't care if I'm fired up or not, but I think this bug should be solved for the next iteration of the game (FM)].

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The day before the first league round : we have already lost 3 players (goalkeeper Belandria and defender Grueso had been loaned from other clubs and we were unable to extend their loan agreement. In addition, we lost the best striker we had, Caros Ochoa, transferred to another team. I had nowhere to go, the player insisted on leaving, he became unhappy and, being a highly influential player, he could have destabilize the whole team). We did not bring any new player but we only promoted 5 players from the U20 team (Espindola, Villa, Bejarano, Duran and Montesino). Basically, the team seems to be quite balanced, with one exception : both of our goalkeepers are very inexperienced, the first choice goalkeeper being 17 years old and its backup only 16 years old.

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The first two rounds of the season: 6 points out of 6.

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*****

Again, 6 points out of 6, but we won the second game just because we were lucky.

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*****

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A very good month. 12 points out of 12 possible. The team has played very well, even better than I expected.

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As usual, when a leader (Oscar Candelo, in this case) wants to leave the team, there are a few players who are upset if he is not allowed to leave and a few who are upset if he is allowed to leave. I initially intended to refuse the transfer, but I changed my mind. We didn't need an angry team leader and, more importantly, I was sure we had enough good players to replace him. Fortunately, the whole scandal did not seriously affect the team's morale.

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August 2038

*****

The transfer window has closed. We brought in two new players, both on loan, and we lost the two players I talked about (Ochoa and Delgado). Unfortunately we didn't manage to get enough money as a result of these two transfers, only $ 150,000. Another failure is related to the loss of the most promising youngster we have (Victor Villa), who refused to extend his contract and, as a result, he'll play for us until the end of the year, after which he'll leave for free.

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4 points out of 6. Pretty good, but it's obvious the defensive has a problem. We have conceded 13 goals in just 6 games. We managed to accumulate many points only due to the fact our offensive players are in a very good run of form. And there's something else: we scored 21 times out of only 13 xG. In other words, we were very lucky. True, we conceded 13 goals out of 7.5 xG, and this can be described as "bad luck", but it's clear : both offensive efficiency and defensive fragility should be lower in the next games, and this without any tactical changes. Neither luck nor bad luck can last indefinitely.

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*****

Only 2 points, but it's normal because we played pretty weak (and no, I didn't change the tactical configuration).

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A not-so-good month. Only 6 points out of 12, but we continue to be in the top 3 and, in the end, that's all that matters. For now.

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*****

Atmosphere has improved (a lot !), support has improved, cohesion has decreased (I don't know why, but it's still good enough).

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The board are "satisfied" now. That's good, I wouldn't want to be fired because the former manager didn't qualify for the final. If I happen to be fired I would prefer it to be because of my personal failures.

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September 2038

*****

CD La Equidad was, before this game, ranked 16th (last). And, as usual in the case of such opponents, the game was extremely difficult : opponents' defense worked perfectly and they won by two goals scored from 3 shots on target. In the next two games the opponents were not ranked last, which is why we managed to get 4 points. Overall, the team played well, created enough chances to score and our defense worked a little better than at the beginning of the season.

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*****

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Although this month we only got 4 points, we still continue to stay in the top 3, and this because neither the other top teams did not play much better than us.

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October 2038

*****

In the first game Barranquilla FC destroyed us. Quite embarrassing, considering that Barranquilla is one of the main rivals in the fight to win the first stage of this phase. In the other two games played we managed to get 4 points again (it seems this is our standard : 4 points every month).

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*****

There would be only one more round to play. If we'll win the last game (in which we'll meet a fairly accessible opponent) we could even rank first. However, ranking first is not very important because we're already qualified for the next stage ("semifinal" groups).

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Youth intake preview. "An excellent group of players" ? We really need more good youngsters. A goalkeeper, three (!) defenders, a winger and a striker ? Oh, if that's what the future intake really looks like, then I could even say that it will be a very good intake.

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November 2038

*****

We were lucky, because in the last 20 minutes Tigres (a team that is otherwise pretty mediocre) crowded us in our box and missed at least 3 clear chances to score.

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We ranked first, but the next games will be extremely difficult, especially since now we don't play as well as we did 2-3 months ago.

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*****

Everything seems to be fine ...

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The composition of the two "semifinal" groups has been established : we'll meet the teams ranked 3rd (Barranquilla FC), 5th (Alianza Barrancabermeja) and 7th (Union Magdalena). At first glance, the most dangerous opponent for us seems to be Barranquilla. In addition, I think we were lucky: the other group seems to be more difficult.

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***************

What the ... :seagull: ! Alianza crushed us in the first game. We played quite well in the first half but very bad in the last 45 minutes. Even in the second game we did not manage to play as we should have done and, in the end, we had to be very satisfied even with this draw.

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*****

I'm not suprised ...

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... but I don't think the situation is that serious. Our board is disappointed but not upset ... yet.

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*****

Two lucky wins ....

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There are two more rounds to play. In the next round we'll meet (away) Barranquilla and Union will play against Alianza. Both we and Barranquilla still have chances (more or less significant) to win the group, so the next match will be extremely important.

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*****

Yay, we won at Barranquilla ! We were lucky ? Yes, but it wasn't just about luck : opponents (ie the AI) played very risky, especially in the last 20-25 minutes of the game, and this approach offered us countless spaces for counterattacks.

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Surprisingly, Alianza won the game against the leader Union Magdalena (3-2), which gives us a huge chance to win the group. We only need a draw in the next game.

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*****

In the first 45 minutes our team played very well. The qualification seemed very easy to achieve. In the second half, however, opponents played much better than us, scored two goals and qualified for the final. Of course, we could have gotten a much better result if, for example, I had used a better tactical configuration or if team-talk had been better thought out. Unfortunately, I have no idea what would have been "better" in this situation.

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Second place in "semifinal" groups or, in other words, failure to reach the obiective requested by our board (a qualification for the final) ...

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*****

Normally I would probably have been fired already, but I still have an additional chance : somehow we managed to rank second on the overall table.

As this promotion system is not common in Europe, a brief recapitulation would probably be needed:
- the winner of the first phase final will play against the winner of the second phase final in what is called "championship playoff"
- the winner of the championship playoff will be promoted to the first league
- the defeated team in the championship playoff will play in the "promotion playoff" against the team that ranked 1st in the "overall table".
- if the winner of the championship playoff is at the same time the best ranked team in the "overall table" then for the promotion playoff will be qualified the team ranked 2nd in the overall table.
- in case one and the same team will win both the final of the first phase and the final of the second phase then the two playoffs will not be played, being automatically promoted the winning team of both phases and the team best ranked in the "overall table".

Okay, so what's the situation in 2038?
- Real Santander Bucaramanga won the final of the first phase
- Union Magdalena and Fortaleza CEIF Cota are qualified for the final of the second phase
- CEIF Fortaleza is on the 1st place in the overall table
Consequence : if Union wins the final then ... we can go on vacation. But if Fortaleza wins the final ... we'll be qualified for the promotion playoffs, as we are ranked 2nd in the overall table.

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*****

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Players' stats :

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*****

Teams' stats : obviously, we weren't the best team in the league. In fact we were one of the best 3 teams in terms of offensive play ... and only "a mid-table team" in terms of defense.

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That seems to be serious. In just a few hours the board became "dissapointed". And this moment I really think it is possible to be fired in the near future.

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December 2038

*****

Yes ! We'll play in the promotion playoff l ! :applause:

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... and our opponent will be ... Real Santander Bucaramanga.

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I heard the bad guys from Cali and Medellin don't like each other very much. However, being just a friendly match, I hope they will be a little more peaceful. In addition, we will gain some money and experience, Independiente being a top 3 team in the first league.

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Of course! So, we are about to play two extremely important games. And what really worries the best scorer of our team exactly during this days ? He wants to leave ! And he's outraged by his manager's absurd claims ! (I asked for 100000, a quite small sum compared with this player's importance for our team). What do offer these clubs that want him ? Maximum 30,000 plus another 20-25,000 in the future. Let's be serious ... But I had nothing to do because I didn't want Ortiz to affect the morale of some of his teammates. So, I accepted the transfer, although, in my opinion, this sum is ridiculous.

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And what could I do? I'll be kicked out and that's it.

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Promotion playoff / 1st leg.

We missed a huge goal chance in the second half ... but, overall, Real Santander played better than us.

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All right, I get it, you don't have to repeat that !

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:seagull: We probably deserved to win, we had chances to score (at least 3 clear chances missed) ... but it doesn't matter anymore.

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*****

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We have in our team the player designated as being the player of the year in the second league. We also have the best scorer in the first phase and the best scorer in the second phase. So, we have countless awards ... but we don't have what would have been much more important, that is, a promotion. That's it, no one can have them all ....

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Oops ! Really ? The board are pleased ?!? :lol::lol::lol:

Well, I learned something from this : the safest way to turn a deeply disappointed board into a pleased one is to miss a promotion, if possible as a result of a playoff game.

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Career summary : the last 5 years (2034-2038)

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Entire career summary (2020-2038)

Manager's characteristics, December 2038 :

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On overview of national and continental competitions :

National competitions, South America, 2036-2038

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National competitions, Central America, 2035-2038

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National competitions, North America (and Jamaica), 2035-2038

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Continental competitions, South America, 2035-2038

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Continental competitions, North and Central America, 2035-2038

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December 2038 - January 2039

*****

I forgot to talk about the club's reputation. It's quite low : in Colombia there are 36 professional clubs (20 in the first league and 16 in the second) and we are on the 30th place, meaning we are considered to be at most a "mid-table team" in the 2nd league

Colombian professional clubs' reputation (December 2038)

*****

Our cumulative budget (wages + transfers) has dropped from $ 1,650,000 to $ 1,450,000. It's not a big drop, but it takes place at a bad time, that is, when I have to start renegotiating some important players' contracts. In addition, the youth intake will follow in March, and in case we'll receive some promising players, we should have enough money to be able to determine them to not leave us in the near future. We have already lost the best product of the club in the last three years (Victor Villa, 18, left for Deportivo Pasto, we earned nothing from this transfer) and I don't want to lose other good young players ... especially for free.

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January 2039

*****

In the last month we lost 3 very good players (Ortiz, Villa and Luna) and, due to budgetary constraints, we brought only one new player (Yair Ramos) and this especially because this guy is multifunctional, meaning he can play as DR, DC or DL. We have 22 players in the squad, which is enough for now. The transfer window will close in three weeks (on February 10) and we'll bring other players only if until then other players from the current squad will leave.

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Team report. Some attributes are far too low, especially "pace", "composure" and "determination".

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*****

DoF is right : our U20 squad is very poor. We have practically only one promising young player (Manjarres) and, although he is not yet well enough developed, we have registered him. Given the rather low number of players we have, we may need him for the first team.

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Normally, a not very good but balanced tactical configuration is sufficient to get a good position in the youth league. In our case, however, we have so few good young players that not even that balanced tactical configuration can generate a good performance.

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The board seems to have understood we don't have a very good team and, consequently, it gave up asking me to achieve some ambitious goals, such as qualifying for the final. For the moment, all we are asked to do is "be competitive", which probably means I'll not be fired even if the team misses a qualification for semifinals. Or ... will I be ?

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We improved the staff a little. We have a new assistant manager ... but we don't have a HOYD yet. The problem is a good HOYD asks for twice as much money as we could offer him and I wouldn't want to hire a mediocre HOYD just to tick off the list "we have a HOYD". We still have enough trouble because of our poorly developed facilities ...

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Colombian Cup. As usual in South America, rules are different from those in Europe. The first round of the Cup "means" 28 participants divided into 7 groups, the winner of each group and the best team ranked 2nd qualifying for the next round. But only professional teams can participate in the national cup, which means, implicitly, only teams from the two national leagues. For this first round are qualified 16 teams from the 2nd league and 12 of the 20 teams from the first league (the last 12 in the overall table of the previous season).

So ... the draw was interesting. We'll have the opportunity to meet two first league teams (Independiente Medellin and Valledupar FC) as well as one of the two teams that have just relegated from the first league (Cucuta Deportivo). In other words : our chances of qualifying for the next round are ... microscopic.

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Friendlies : we played only one game (in December, 1-1 against Independiente Medellin), then I decided to not play any other friendly. I don't know if it was a smart decision but at that moment I was worried about avoiding injuries and, in addition, I knew in the next 5 months our 22 players will play at least 21 games (15 league games and 6 cup games). I didn't want them to be completely exhausted during the last matches.

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The first 3 games of the first phase. 4 points out of 9. The team had serious difficulties in the first two games but managed a very good third match. To be honest, during this last game our opponents (ie the AI) also helped us because after 0-1 they risked everything on the attack ... and we benefited from some huge spaces around their penalty area. By the way : Ramirez (our striker) is deadly when he has no opponents around to bother him. Unfortunately, he's not so lucky in every game.

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February 2039

*****

The transfer window has closed. Nobody came, nobody left.

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Wow ! 6 points out of 6 (in the league) plus a very convincing win (4 - 1 against Cucuta Deportivo) in the first Cup game. We played really well. Well done, guys !

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*****

We beat Independiente right on their stadium, in Medellin ! Honestly, I did not expect such a result. We are in a very good run of form, a fact confirmed by the next game (1-0 away against a difficult opponent, Alianza Barrancabermeja).

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*****

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It's good so far, but in the next 4 games we'll meet 4 teams that started the season well or very well (4th, 1st, 5th and 8th places).

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Colombian Cup. It's not bad at all. I thought we would finish in the last place but it seems we have a chance for a better place.

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Youth intake 2039.

We received 4 pretty good players ... and 4 more who also deserve a chance. Defender Navarro even seems to have the potential needed to become a very good player.

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Best 4 players :

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March 2039

*****

In the first game (Cup match) we played surprisingly well, especially since we met a first league team. However, we managed with difficulty - in the 90 + 3 minute - to get (only) a draw. We played pretty well also in the second game but, again, we only got a draw.

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*****

What can I say ? Our team played well three times in a row ... and won none of these three games. And again we had to wait for the end of the match (minute 90 + 2) to get (only) a draw. As for the last game ... we were lucky, considering that we scored two goals when we had only 9 players on the pitch and, in addition, our opponents scored a (disallowed) goal at the end of the match.

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*****

We didn't deserve to win the first game and, probably as a  compensation, opponents didn't deserve to get a draw in the second game.

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*****

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Definitely this wasn't a good month. The difference between us and the team in 9th place is only 3 points. I wouldn't mind this situation if I didn't know we stupidly lost at least 2 (or even 4) points.

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In the cup, however, all is very well. We even have a chance to qualify ... but only if we'll win the next game. However, also the opponent (Independiente Medellin) must win in order to avoid an embarrassing elimination. So, it will be a tough game.

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April 2039

*****

3 points out of 6. We easily won the first game (played against a mediocre opponent, Real Cartagena) ... but we lost the second one (played against Atletico Huila).

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The difference from the 9th place is still 3 points, but starting with this moment any defeat can create big troubles for us.

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*****

Colombian Cup.

Yay, we beat Independiente again !

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Surprisingly, we have a big chance to qualify for the next round, but with one condition : we must not lose the last game (against Valledupar FC, away) at a difference of more than one goal.

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*****

Colombian 2nd League.

Hardly, but we managed to keep our 3-points lead. The first game seemed to be easy to win, the opponent being the team ranked 15th (Llaneros). Unfortunately, Llaneros played as if they were leaders ... and we played embarrassingly. I can't even complain, we couldn't have won playing so badly. The second game was decisive. Opponent : Atletico Bucaramanga, meaning one of the 3 teams that could send us to the 9th place. We were lucky because we quickly scored two goals, which was enough for us even if the opponent used the well-known success tactic "any shot on target definitely means a goal scored".

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Only one round is left to play. We'll play away, the opponent being difficult (Itagui Leones), so we could not be sure that we'll win, and not even that we'll get a draw. However, in order to lose the qualification it is necessary for us to lose ... and 3 of the 4 teams with 19 or 20 points to win. Sorting is based on goal difference, so Huila Neiva has very little chance of overtaking us. Instead, Atletico Bucaramanga can do it, especially since they'll play at home their last game.

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*****

Bucaramanga lost, we are 100% qualified for semifinals. :applause:

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*****

Colombian Cup.

 We needed a draw ... or a defeat at most one goal difference. We got that draw easier than I would have expected. Our opponents were probably not very interested in qualifying and used a few very young players. Anyway, the important thing is we qualified.

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*****

Colombian 2nd League.

We played badly in the first half, and pretty well in the second. But it didn't matter anyway ...

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*****

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7th place. It could have been even better, but ...

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*****

That's why I said "it could have been better" : we may not have been the best team in the league, but we certainly could have ranked in the top 3 if we had been a little luckier.

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May 2039

*****

Semifinal groups. In my opinion we are a little better than Deportivo Cucuta and Quindio Armenia ... but weaker than Union Magdalena. We'll see ...

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*****

4 points out of 6. It was to be expected.

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*****

That's it, it's over. Even if we had won at Cucuta and we still would not have had any chance to qualify. Union is clearly better than us.

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*****

 Another 4 points out of 6. Anyway, 2nd place is a pretty good achievement.

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Players' stats :

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*****

Teams' stats. Obviously, semifinals were much more difficult for us than the regular season. One of the reasons is the lack of a sufficiently large number of players. The (only) 22 players we have did everything they could, but in the last games they were extremely tired.

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The overall table does not look very encouraging. Normally, a ranking in the first two places requires about 70 points, and this means that we would need 40 points in the second phase of the league. The chances of getting these 40 points are low, so a possible promotion is possible only if we manage to win the semifinal group, then the final of the "phase" and then, at choice, either championship playoff or promotion playoff. Realistically speaking, our chances are extremely low, almost zero. However, I could try to bring in 4-5 very good players and hope we'll be able to have an exceptional second half of the season.

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lol. Our road to the Cup will surely end in the next round. All possible opponents would have been very difficult, but we'll meet exactly the best Colombian team of the year, the leader of the first league, America de Cali. We have no way to qualify ... but at least we can hope we'll have a large attendance and, consequently we'll earn a lot of money.

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June 2039

*****

I signed a new contract. Two years. I hope that by the end of this contract we will able to get some performance. I'm not sure we'll did it ...

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July 2039

*****

We brought 5 new players, plus Hernando Cuartas (who has played for us so far but whose loan agreement had just been expired). Generally speaking, all 6 newcomers are good or very good players, but unfortunately most of them are central midfielders. I don't know why, but almost all wide players we tried to transfer/loan preferred to avoid us and to go to other clubs.

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*****

The squad seems to be quite balanced. I intend (at least in the first few games) to use a 4-4-2 tactical configuration, and for that I would need four strikers. So, in the next few days we will bring an additional striker and, maybe, a right midfielder.

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*****

Team report. Not bad at all. Except for quickness (and, perhaps, finishing) everything seems to be fine.

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*****

U20s squad

*****

Our reputation is quite low (we are only the 10th club in the 2nd league), and if the average prediction gives us such high odds it means we have better players than I thought. Probably our squad is one of the best 4 squads in the league.

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We're already spending more than was expected in the budget. I could ask our board to give us more money, but I am not sure the board will agree with this and, in addition, if we'll spend too much now then the budget allocated for next season could be even smaller than the current one.

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Friendlies. We played two games, both against teams consisting of very young players. I was not interested in results but in the integration of the 5 new players. It seems that all 5 are quite compatible with the other players.

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Our number one goalkeeper is only 18 years old, but he's ambitious. Unfortunately, he's so ambitious that he already wants to leave, which means we'll have to urgently transfer another goalkeeper. If possible, a goalkeeper better than Bermudez. One more thing: I don't intend to let Bermudez to go. I'm ambitious too.

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We played our first two games in the championship. Summary : we got 6 points out of 6. The third game was much more difficult because we met (in a Cup match) a very strong 1st league team. We didn't play badly at all, but it was clearly : America de Cali has a much better team than we have. If we would had been luckier maybe we would have managed to get (at most) a draw.

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*****

Well, we lost, but at least this match played against America de Cali gave us a chance to earn a lot of money.

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*****

Two more games played, only 2 points won. In the first game we played quite well for about 70 minutes, but in the end Barranquilla crowded us into our box and in the last minute they managed to score. In the second game we missed at least 5 clear chances to score. Bad luck.

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*****

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August 2039

*****

The transfer window just closed. We brought 3 more players (including a very good goalkeeper and a fourth striker) but I didn't find a good right midfielder. In addition, I made a mistake : I brought a young player, Julio Perez, forgetting he's foreigner (Venezuelan) and, therefore, he can not be registered, being the 5th foreign player in the squad. I don't have any possibility to cancel the loan agreement, so I'll send this player to our U20 team and I'll wait for his club to call him back.

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U20s squad

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In the first game we played well in the first half and very bad in the second. Fortunately, opponents were not able to take advantage of our fall in the second half. In the second Cup game we got a draw, but having a lot of luck. Anyway, it didn't matter anymore, the qualification being lost in the first game.

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We made some more money. This defeat in the Cup was very profitable for us. I'm almost starting to want as many such defeats as possible.

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*****

7 points out of 9. We could have even gotten 9 points out of 9 if Tigres hadn't managed to score twice from just two shots on target.

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*****

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August has been a very good month for us. We climbed to 2nd place and, if we'll continue to play as well as we have so far, we have we have a good chance to fight even for the 1st place.

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Morale is good, atmosphere is very good and even our young rebellious goalkeeper (Bermudez) has become much more cooperative after he realize that reserves bench isn't a very interesting place.

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September 2039

*****

7 points out of 9, but I had serious reasons to get angry. We should have won the first game. We missed at least five great scoring opportunities in that game (played against leaders, Union Magdalena). And we only got a draw.

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*****

Another good month, good enough to take the lead in the ranking. It seems our the main opponent (Union Magdalena) is currently in a bad run of form. I hope it will take as long as possible ...

By the way, we have already qualified for the next stage, "semifinals".

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October 2039

*****

We played two away games, both against teams called Atletico (Huila and Bucaramanga). We didn't play very well in either game, but we still got 4 points.

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I'm starting to worry. Itagui Leones came a little too close to the 2nd place, which I don't like at all. For two reasons : I would like to avoid playing in semifinals against Union Magdalena (who are a really very good team, although they are not in the best run of form) ... and, in addition, Itagui Leones is, apart from us, the only team that still has a chance to rank second in the overall table. Of course, I'd rather not need that 2nd place and qualify for the finals ... but it is still safer for us to be ranked second at the end of the competition.

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*****

Yay, we beat Itagui (3 - 0) ! And, in addition, we avoided playing in the same group with Union Magdalena. Looks like we'll be lucky this year. Who knows, maybe we'll even promote ...

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*****

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*****

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In the next stage we'll play in group A (a group consisting on that teams ranked 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th in the regular season table). From my point of view, everything is perfect. None of our future opponents are better than us. We should easily win.

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*****

Our situation is very good also in terms of the overall table. We are in 2nd place, tied for points with Itagui Leones, but we have an advantage because we have a much better goal difference than them.

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Youth intake preview. A goalkeeper, a defender, two wingers and "an excellent group of players". It sounds good.

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We really need that "excellent group of players" because our U20 team is far from a very good team. In fact, it's a rather mediocre team.

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November 2039

*****

The first game of the semifinals was perfect for us. We scored 5 times, which is important because, in case of a tie, the final ranking depends on the goal difference. Unfortunately, in the second game we were unlucky. We could have easily beaten Barranquilla, but we only got a draw as our opponents scored from their only shot on target. The third game was really worrying. Players seemed bored and unable to concentrate. I hope it was just a bad day.

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*****

We easily won the fourth game ...

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The table seems to look very good, but in reality Barranquilla has an advantage because they will play their last two games at home, while we'll play only away. Moreover, in the last game, the decisive one, we'll play at Barranquilla. And if we won't win in the next round then a draw in the last (6th) round may not be enough for us.

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*****

:seagull: Alianza humiliated us in the first half ...

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... and we barely managed to get a draw at the end of the game.

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We have only one chance left : to win at Barranquilla. If we'll not be able to succeed, then ... we're in big trouble. Not only will we lose the qualification for the second phase final, but, if Itagui Leones will win their last game, we'll also lose the 2nd place in the overall table.

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*****

:mad: Wth ? We don't need that now !

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:seagull::seagull::seagull: We lost. What can I say ? I really appreciate our opponent's ability to score from every shot on target, and especially the fact that both of their goals were scored from outside the penalty box.

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In conclusion, Union Magdalena and FC Barranquilla will play the second phase final. That's it.

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However, we also received some good news : Itagui Leones only got a draw in their last game, which means we were lucky to keep the 2nd place in the overall table :

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Now is the time for a recap of the complicated Colombian promotion system :
- the first promoted team will be the one that will win the "championship playoff", ie the meeting between the winner of the first phase and the winner of the second phase of the championship.
- the second promoted team will be the winner of the "promotion playoff", ie the meeting between the loser from the "championship playoff" and the best team ranked in the overall table.
There are, therefore, 4 cases:
- 3 different teams will win the first phase, the second phase and the overall table. In this case, the first place in the overall table will play against the loser in the "championship playoff"
- a team will win both one of the two phases and the overall table. If this team is defeated in the "championship playoff" then the "promotion playoff" will no longer be played, this team promoting in the first league.
- a team will win both one of the two phases and the overall table. If this team wins the "championship playoff" then the loser will play in the "promotion playoff" against the team ranked second in the overall table
- the same team will win both phases and the overall table. In this case, the "promotion playoff" will no longer be played, the team ranked second in the overall table being promoted to the first league.

In conclusion: we ranked second in the overall table, which means that
- if Union Magdalena wins the second phase final then we will promote directly in the first league (case 4)
- if Union Magdalena loses the second phase final then they will play against Barranquilla FC in the "championship playoff" (cases 2 and 3).

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As expected, the cumulative budget allocated for next season will be about the same as the current one (around $ 1,400,000)

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December 2039

*****

:applause::applause::applause:

Yes ! They did it ! We just promoted to the first league !

[It sounds funny, but this is the first promotion I got in the 20 years of my career. And, on top of that, I only got this performance because another team won a match. (Thanks, Mr. A.I !)]

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Players' stats :

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*****

Teams' stats. Well, I think we deserved this promotion. We weren't the best team in the league, but we were "number two" from almost every point of view.

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We were promoted to the first league ... but our facilities are rather mediocre even for a second league club. An improvement of them would therefore be extremely necessary. So far, it was allowed just an increase of our junior coaching budget, but, anyway, even this means a step forward. 

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I'll have only a month to identify players we'll need for the next season (and another month to try to bring them to us). In any case, survival in the first league will be a difficult challenge especially because I have no idea what should I do. I don't know if the current tactical configuration will work or what should be changed in case it doesn't work. By the way, in the previous season I didn't risk much (in 8 cases out of 10 I used the "balanced" mentality and in some cased I used "cautious"  (more often) and, less often, "positive")

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Wow ! Atletico Nacional is an very strong club, being a former champion of Colombia and a former Copa Sudamericana winner. Additionally, they have the highest salary budget in the entire first league. I would be tempted to try, especially since participating in an interview does not implicitly means a hiring.

Huh, would it be a good idea to announce I'm temporary leaving Cali to try to get a job at a club in Medellin ?

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