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FM21 - FC Annecy


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4 minutes ago, Dan1884 said:

Our biggest ever games

I have been ill for a lot of the last couple of weeks so I've been limited in anything I can do, but we are back in some form, and this is how things look.

 

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Drawing at Le Havre has likely banished us the play-offs unfortunately, I can't see us overthrowing both of Metz & Dijon. I think we'll beat Creteil but it would be very typical for Grenoble to stop us on the final day.

The play-off system eventually leads to one of 3rd, 4th or 5th (advantage runs in that order, naturally) playing a two legged game against 18th in Ligue 1 - that currently looks likely to be Toulouse, Reims or Montpellier. Bit worrying as we've never avoiding defeat to Toulouse. The odds are against us.

I think even if we do miss out we've made superb progress this year.

Good to see you back, and hope you can pull it off and go up. :)

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Well we got nowhere close in the league and finished 4th. 0-0 against Creteil and we finally lost, 4-2 at Grenoble. A terrible pair of results and to be honest, I think it's all come at the wrong time, we have run out of steam a bit.

 

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I just can't see us going up. The task is this:

- Beat Nimes at home
- Beat Dijon away
- Beat Montpellier over two legs

I could see us faltering at leg one of that the way we've finished to be honest, let alone go and do the harder bits. We will do our best, but I just don't see it.

Guingamp losing 7-0 at Paris on the final day was pretty laughable.

In-fact, Nimes somehow lost 0-6 to Chambly on the final day. If we can't beat them in that state then we don't deserve it.

My hopes aren't up at all sadly.

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Well I've once again totally undersold us.

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A real miracle as Stepinski didn't get his usual goals against us. It wasn't a great game and we did hold on late on, but we've overcome the first obstacle. The second however, a trip to Dijon, was a very tricky ask just three days later.

 

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I thought this would be the end of the road, but we were superb. Being forced into all of our changes at 1-1 because of a red card, I thought we'd come as far as we could, but I have to pat myself on the head a bit here, I just simply had to sit back and exploit the pace of Le Calvez, Rentero and Fougeu and to say it came off would be an understatement.

 

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When you consider we had a red card after 67 minutes, it's quite shocking to me quite how dominant we looked after that period. Our goal was a penalty, but we barely allowed a chance after it. A sensational effort from the players. It's given me some food for thought for the Montpellier games (not confirmed but it's 95% going to be them). Maybe I just keep Rentero and Le Calvez on the wings is the idea.

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The first leg

Absolute purgatory. Welcome to the miserable world of VAR, FC Annecy.

 

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Two goals ruled out for offside, a penalty that hit the post and Montpellier scoring a fluke. Just not our night, but there's a quite eerie similar feel to the Paris play-off a few years ago, a very similar natured first leg to that and we ended up winning it, so you just never know, but we're going to have really earned it if we pull this off.

 

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The promised land is here

 

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I just can't believe it. We ended up doing it. I really did think it was over at half time but once again we just seem to respond every time I ask. We scored instantly from kick off and then as we hit added time a long punt over the top is finished off by Fougeu. We just never ever know when we're beaten anymore.

2026/27, FC Annecy's 100th season, will see their first ever foray into Ligue 1. Just immense from the lot of them.

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Hurrah for FC Annecy! Even if I manage Grenoble...

 

Hopefully you can consolidate in Ligue 1 and maybe in a few seasons (like 5) ending PSG's dominance.

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11 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Hurrah for FC Annecy! Even if I manage Grenoble...

 

Hopefully you can consolidate in Ligue 1 and maybe in a few seasons (like 5) ending PSG's dominance.

Thanking you! Yeah I think the plan simply has to just to be consolidate, do similar to what we've done in Ligue 2, we've got to try and make a couple of signings that really elevate things to another level. Think I'm going to try and see if we can snare some really good 18 year old or something and try and get loans in to help in the short term. I've said I won't try and abuse loans but we've not been given loads of money - although enough to get a couple of should be gamechangers in.

I really didn't think we'd do it, but this is again the beauty of looking for players who deliver in big games, we hardly ever seem to falter when it really boils down to it. We have no business beating that Montpellier side over two legs yet I'd say we fully deserved it.

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SEASON 2025/26 REVIEW (SEASON 6)

 

POTS / Top scorer

There was nothing too close about either of these this year, with Brayton Fougeu's 21 goals making him a clear winner here and the outstanding goalscorer in the team. New winger Antoni Rentero took POTS with an outstanding season from the wing, totally outperforming expectations of him, for a free agent from the fourth tier of Spain he did superbly.

 

New signings performance

As stated those two were outstanding and I think we're going to have to try and get Fougeu permanently - it's possible too given he's not really at Lyon's level. Guillem Jaime definitely took things up a notch from Sroler at right back, and young goalkeeper Valter Quintas had a good season after coming on for the disappointing Clementia. Vassi and Rocha Santos had average cameos. Joao Basso ended up being probably our best centre half. Rouault a slight disappointment. Nate Jackson this years promising youngster who decided he would spend the year kicking off, though he has actually improved as a player in spite of this.

 

Points of note

- As stated the unbeaten run was just mental. The Ligue 2 unbeaten record broken. 26 games it ended up as. Problem is Rennes will go and beat it next season knowing my luck.

- We become only the second side since the game started to win a play-off against a Ligue 1 side. The other was Toulouse in 2021/22 beating Lens, which was no big surprise either. This one has to be the upset.

- We do just overachieve. 13th biggest wage budget this season, which is comfortably our biggest yet, but we made it count.

- Rennes not going up really is hilarious. I have no idea what's happened to that club. They've got treble the wage budget of the next highest team in this league. They've collapsed.

 

Where to strengthen

Ha, now this is the tricky one this season. I really think 'anywhere we can', but we've got to at least get Fougeu signed, or another striker failing that. I think maybe a bit more creativity, I'm not convinced Blackett will be up to Ligue 1. I think probably a goalkeeper, a centre half, potentially another defensive midfielder. Got to remember the very realistic possibility we lose somebody like Rentero too, though if we do I'm going to try and get him back on loan.

 

The rest of football

tbc

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Consistent transfer policy

I haven't changed much upon promotion. I was given a slightly improved wage budget and a transfer budget of £5.5mil which, whilst comfortably our highest ever, it's not really the kind of money you can really transform a team with. The loan market has been absolutely hopeless which has surprised me, so I've found myself buying similar types of players - youngsters with sell on value. I can see a situation where we get relegated, cash in on a number of these players upon doing that and then aim to bounce back up with an actual good budget. That's not throwing in the towel, but merely covering ourselves should we actually drop, which is a possibility we've very much got to accept is quite likely. It's been a tougher window to operate in than I thought it would be, we've not had loads of luck, but we have managed to bring in some decent younger players.

Imporantly Fougeu has joined permanently for just £400k. A smaller fee than I thought it would be as well. A necessary move as far as I'm concerned.

 

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Clementia left, one of those silly situations where the goalkeeper is just totally undervalued by the game and it's apparently sacrilege to initially turn down a totally useless £80k for your goalkeeper. We got a replacement in (Demjen) but I really don't see how they haven't fixed this. The bottom three are all eye catching younger signings and I expect all three to make an impact this season. I still aim for another midfielder on loan but I'm not going to go mad.

Here are Samuel Amaro, Jose Rivero and Jaime Otiniano, the latter a club record.

I had a fantastic young Paraguayan winger lined up but he's just signed a new deal at his current club, so maybe next summer if we survive.

I'm not 'totally' happy with this summer but I suppose we're just going to have to keep relying on younger players. We're so far off the budget of the others that we're essentially forced to improvise. There's going to be a lot of relying on the squad of last season, I suppose they got us here unexpectedly, it's not like they're totally useless, but I think it's going to take a massive effort to survive this year, really.

Below is my squad now.

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How's Anthony Rouault on your save? I just noticed him in your squad. He has been INCREDIBLE for me. Signed him for Cordoba CF in Spain (when I was in the second tier), and he was excellent for me for 2-3 seasons in La Liga and eventually got sold to Benfica in 2024 for 30 million EURO. 

 

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I agree with your transfer policy! I am following a similar one at Grenoble....except I am trying to keep as many original players as possible....I also try to sign them to end of season deals. Just in case we get relegated. Lost a few players in January because of not reupping them in December, but the team just doesn't have the money.

I also guess Grenoble will have to survive another season in Ligue 1 to payoff its debts and be on sound financial footing....

 

Good Luck!

 

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1 hour ago, Alejandro_FM said:

How's Anthony Rouault on your save? I just noticed him in your squad. He has been INCREDIBLE for me. Signed him for Cordoba CF in Spain (when I was in the second tier), and he was excellent for me for 2-3 seasons in La Liga and eventually got sold to Benfica in 2024 for 30 million EURO. 

 

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Rouault has been a bit of a strange one. Toulouse have been largely pretty dysfunctional on my save and he never really held down a place there, he's never really kicked on, and eventually ended up transfer listed but totally beyond our price range. Long story short, I think the circumstances that lead to us actually getting him were quite lucky, a bit of a perfect storm.

I signed him in January last season, he didn't actually do very well when he played either, but he's been very good in Ligue 1, continuously solid, a little lacking in pace but we've performed well in Ligue 1 so far, he's been an ever present and our defensive record is surprisingly very good, so I'm happy with him. I was lucky to manage to sign him.

The fact he's in your Benfica side at a similar age just proves how much he's tailed off really on my save.

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1 hour ago, Hootieleece said:

I agree with your transfer policy! I am following a similar one at Grenoble....except I am trying to keep as many original players as possible....I also try to sign them to end of season deals. Just in case we get relegated. Lost a few players in January because of not reupping them in December, but the team just doesn't have the money.

I also guess Grenoble will have to survive another season in Ligue 1 to payoff its debts and be on sound financial footing....

 

Good Luck!

 

I've always generally signed younger players but I haven't signed, and played them as frequently as I have on this save.

For example now in Ligue 1 I am regularly playing Rusak (20), Goutidis (20), Otiniano (18), Rentero (20) and Rivero (20). It's working out for us really. I wanted a couple of more experienced players but if you can make it work with younger players then it's really not that relevant. Some of them have stepped up a lot better than I thought they would, although I have gone a bit more defensive this season, I think that 7-1 at Monaco in the cup last year was the best thing that could've happened to us in a way.

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Incroyable!

I really need to learn to stop ever doubting this team. Once again I've gone in with such low expectations, and once again, they're routinely doing the business for me. The plan this season stemmed a bit from the Montpellier games, I think we need to set up to sit deep and utilise the pace we have on the break. The fact Rentero, Fougeu and new signing Rivero are all quick is a weapon. Once again, simplicity is the order of the day, I want to stay pretty compact and just hit teams on the break. It's not going to be too pretty, but effective.

So far, they have pulled things off in a way better than I thought they were capable of.

 

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7th in the league is an absurd start, to say we have already faced PSG, Monaco, Lyon and Lille as well. Lille became our first serious scalp as a club, totally undeserved but we'll take it.

I do think two things are likely to see us tail off though, just hopefully not to the point it plunges us into trouble - and that is the form of Fougeu, and new goalkeeper Demjen. Both have been terrific and would probably make a Ligue 1 team of the season so far. Whilst Rouault, Goutidis, Jaime and Rusak hold a stady back four, shielded by one of Otiniano or Basso, it's the goalkeeper and striker who've really made us click. Fougeu's been frankly ridiculous, he's so active in the game, frequently carries attacks on his own, I think we'll lose him if he keeps this up. Demjen has been routinely excellent as well. I'm not quite sure both will maintain this level of form.

I did manage to grab a midfielder on loan in the form of Abdoulaye Dabo, who is very much my type of midfielder for a newly promoted team, just steady all-round, the type you need in a relegation battle. Rocha Santos has also come into his own a bit this season.

We're not a purely defensive side however, we have beaten both of the teams who came up with us and we did it playing a style very much like last seasons, a lot more open and attacking, I fancied us to take advantage and we did.

The aim is still ultimately survival but I'm quite confident we'll get it now. The players routinely deliver for me, made up with the lot of them.

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Marseille become the latest scalp. This is getting ridiculous. One of the most undeserved wins I've ever seen but we'll take it. We will do well to hold on to Fougeu at this rate.

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Things just get better really. November was nearly flawless, Nice in itself is a scalp but to beat Marseille was a dream of a result, although quite how we did it I've no idea. We've slowed down a bit this month, but the late equalisers are coming in very handy, we're very hard to beat.

6th at this point, I really didn't think we had it in us. I think we're going to have to eventually rethink things as I don't think we'll sustain playing this defensively, teams will eventually start denying us the space in behind, but we're close to achieving our seasons goals. If we did somehow get some continental football out of this it would be extraordinary.

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A magical season can happen after an unexpected promotion....

see my Clermont thread from this past Summer.

 

Good Luck with the rest of the season....

 

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I need to give this a read actually, been slacking!

Anyway, tops off a superb year. He's totally exceeded expectations for me.

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What's French for dull?

You have to laugh now, we're now actively attempting to bore our way into Europe.

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But in fairness to us, it's kind of been forced by injury. The Bordeaux win, whilst another excellent result, was a bad night for us that saw Fougeu ruled out for 6 weeks - meaning we've had to turn to Samuel Amaro and to be honest, he's a good striker, but he's not really ready and he's not hitting Fougeu's level yet. Fougeu is just built for the counter attacking game we play. He's extremely quick and we miss that turn of pace.

That said, we've still picked up some very respectable results in this period. Draws against Lyon and PSG meaning we've taken points off virtually every big team except for Monaco. I think we'll probably finish around 9th, Fougeu is back soon, as is Rusak (which has forced Goutidis to left back).

We signed a midfielder in January from Real Sporting called Alvaro Sanz, he can play right back or midfield, a gradual upgrade on what we have, and he was free as well, listed for £0. Denis Duarte's gone back to Portugal after three years here, and Leandro Cardoso has joined Auxerre on loan. A shame to lose him as as soon as he went, we lost Fougeu, and I think he'd have probably made a bigger impact than Amaro.

The plan in the long run is to develop a more attacking game as well, but this counter attacking weapon is one we should continue to utilise against superior squads - it's going to be a long time until we have a squad that can go toe to toe with sides like Lyon, yet we have found a way to hurt them. It's all about progression really.

Oh and a shout out for the pathetic cup result - I nearly forgot. Absolutely awful and I was genuinely livid after it, I didn't think I would get angry with them this season but that one really bugged me, I rotated a bit, but the XI I named should've had enough to take down a third tier side. We were rusty, and fully deserved the loss.

We do need a win soon though, I'm conscious that we're now 6 games without. I think we'll get one again when Fougeu is back, but this was always a likely scenario and I need to find another way when we're without him, really.

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Plenty more where it came from. The season is completed and it was a very good one on the whole. We've surprised me - again.

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Season 7 - 2026/27 season review

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You have to say on the whole - what a superb first season up it was. We turned pretty boring in the second half of the season, which I think was always quite inevitable, but as a general rule we have done exceptionally well, I'd have laughed if anybody suggested we'd finish above the likes of Nice, St Etienne, Bordeaux, Nantes. The final day of the season just felt like the perfect topping with all of the attacking players scoring and a big win away to a team who finished above us in the table.

 

Player of the season / top scorer

Andoni Rentero has won POTS but I personally think this should be going to Breyton Fougeu myself, who bagged a superb 20 goals on the way to romping home as our top scorer. He exceeded expectations and at £400k has to be one of the Ligue 1 bargains of the season. He carried quite a burden too so to deliver that many is a super effort. Big shout out as well to Patrik Demjen who was absolutely brilliant, and in the running for Ligue 1 goalkeeper of the season. My young goalkeeper Valter Quintas kicked off at the start of the season about being replaced - I still see him as an option going forward (though I've found a brilliant young keeper so maybe not) but Demjen was excellent, another who totally exceeded expectation.

 

New signing performance

Demjen and Fougeu as mentioned were fantastic, but I don't think a single new signing had anything below a good season. Stojanovski and Jimenez had good seasons out on loan. Amaro whilst not ready to start has shown glimpses he'll be an asset to us in future. Rivero and Otiniano were similar - both struggled to make an impact early doors but you just feel a general assuredness that they're going in the right direction and they're improving. I think if Otiniano was a better passer he would be at a Lyon or a Marseille. If he can develop that the way Goutidis has his defending, he will go on to have an excellent career. Dabo was interesting - generally seemed to post pretty disappointing ratings but I felt he often did a job, I think very much handicapped by our limited style of play, and I'm probably going to take up the permanent option of getting him on a free. Alvaro Sanz wasn't bad either, a steady January addition. On the whole though, nobody did badly.

 

Points of note

There are plenty this year.

- Our defensive record was the 5th best in Ligue 1, which even despite setting up quite defensively, that's brilliant and something I really didn't expect to see happen. We conceded 52 goals less than Angers for example. For ages we hadn't conceded 3 in a game but one terrible showing at a new manager bounce Nice, and the trip to Marseille put paid to that. Still, big credit for the defensive work.

- On the flip side, we had the 16th best attack. I suppose it's a trade off and a sacrifice I had to make, it won us enough games. I do worry a bit next season though as I feel the goals did dry up a bit. We only scored 16 goals in the second half of the season, and 4 of them were on the final day when Brestois fell apart. I think going forward, we're going to have to be a bit more expansive against the strugglers, and I was guilty of being a bit cautious in games we could've probably done a little more in. Hopefully new signings can help us in this regard.

- Remember when we were crap at home? Just two defeats at home all season (Monaco & Lyon). Remarkable.

- Our average crowd was over treble what it was last season. Absolute johnny come lately support, but we'll take it, we're averaging over 10 times what we did when I took over, and that's very nice to see.

- We overperformed xG substantially. Now I'm not 'totally' having it as I felt a lot of the time we were absorbing loads of shots that tallied up, rather than conceding big chances, but it does tell me that we probably have to improve next year.

- Our average possesion was a truly hilarious 38%. Again, I think it works for now, and I think playing this way will work in some games, but I think we're going to be found out a bit next year if we don't get a 'bit' better on the ball.

 

Where to strengthen

We've sadly been given a rubbish budget. I wasn't expecting tonnes but it puts paid to signing this Romanian midfielder I wanted badly. I had a save on FM20 with Las Palmas and in my first season up I signed an attacking midfielder called Jefferson Hurtado, from Colombia, he was only 18 and cost about £4mil, which was a big outlay and a gamble given we only had a budget of about £5.5mil. He was sold two seasons later for nearly £50mil and quite frankly it was the first move that transformed the club to being pretty strong. I want to make the equivalent of that signing and I'd identified the player I wanted to do that as somebody available for a similar price, somebody who I think will go on to play for a top side, and crucially, is actually willing to join Annecy. I'm willing to this summer buy just 2/3 players - as usual we will find the odd youngster bargain, but I'm willing to drop a fair bit on that gamechanging signing if we can get it, and I'm not convinced we'll be able to. I think I'm going to get Dabo permanently though.

The likes of Toutain, Bares and Diaby will depart this summer on frees. Nate Jackson who I signed a couple of summers ago had a very decent loan move with Pacos de Ferreira so I think we're very much covered at centre half. I think the midfield is probably what needs the work - a bit more creativity and somebody who'll help us get up the pitch a bit more. Rocha Santos put in a solid enough season but went a bit downhill, him and Miccoli can probably pass as occasional options but we need a bit better. There's an Egyptian midfielder available on a free who would also consider us but the vultures (Porto, Roma etc...) have cottoned on and will probably beat us to him. He would be a bit of a gamechanger though in my opinion.

Don't expect a busy summer, providing nobody of note is sold.

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Great Season! 

My Grenoble team started selling out the stadium when we joined Ligue 1. In Ligue 2 we were playing in front of crowds of 40% capacity.

Also is Annecy known for Rugby like Clermont? That maybe why you aren't selling out yet.

 

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13 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Great Season! 

My Grenoble team started selling out the stadium when we joined Ligue 1. In Ligue 2 we were playing in front of crowds of 40% capacity.

Also is Annecy known for Rugby like Clermont? That maybe why you aren't selling out yet.

 

To be honest to say we were getting crowds of 1,200 just 6 years ago I'm amazed it's risen this much already, I think it will rise the longer we spend in Ligue 1 and the more our reputation grows, which if we were to post another top half finish, I think it possibly would.

I think FC Annecy is simply a very small club that I'm trying to grow, I didn't think we would average as many as 11,000, I thought it would be 6/7k personally, so I was very happy with that, it wasn't even the smallest in Ligue 1, I think Angers had just below us.

This summer has been my quietest yet. I am trying to get this gamechanging midfielder signing, but it's not easy, Hurtado was a bit of a lucky find that I took the gamble on, we've found players of a similar stature but they're slightly out of our price range, and I'm not going to force any sales. The finances look pretty good going forward, so another season of consolidation is probably going to be good enough for me.

But once we make that Hurtado like signing, that's where I think we'll start to progress to being a European competitor. We have a steady team that's proven it can get results at this level otherwise and we haven't lost anybody of note.

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A quiet-ish summer - but late fireworks

As stated I expected a quiet one this summer, but two things of significance happened. The transfer record was broken, and deadline day saw us resist some pretty immense pressure, which I might actually live to regret.

Four signings came in this summer. Abdoulaye Dabo on a free was confirmed, I actually feel he's getting a bit better and he'd about earned it I think so in he came. The obligatory youngster signings happened, a deal agreed a couple of years ago for English/German midfield Jan Dinter from TNS went through, and we landed full back Salim Celen on a free from Galatasaray.

The big signing however, maybe not quite the Hurtado-like gamechanger, was midfielder Jakub Vagner from Slavia Prague. He came for a record £1.5mil as somebody who I felt despite his age could make an immediate impact. He might not be world class, but he's got a lot about him and I think he was worth the buy. We'd been targetting a few players but he was the most attainable, and I'm happy with him.

The real interest came very late in the window as Watford came in for Triantafyllos Goutidis. I really like Goutidis and think he's vital to the way we play so I really don't want to lose him, especially given his pretty special rate of development too, but despite it being initially just a £4mil bid, they eventually raised it to £15mil rising to £22mil which I found extremely hard to resist, but I managed it. I think it's a big gamble to sell him, it was just that bit too late in the window, I think a week earlier I'd have caved in. There's a part of me that thinks I've made a big error here but I don't know, his potential kind of excites me, he's developed more than anybody at the club quite considerably and I'm at a point where I'm starting to think he might actually get a call up for England. We weren't really prepared enough for a hit like it, so I resisted. He's not kicked off about it though which is good.

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On 12/01/2021 at 18:42, Dan1884 said:

SEASON REFLECTION - 2023/24 (Season 4)

Player of the season / top scorer

This was a tricky one again, Denis Duarte did post the highest average rating of the season but did only join in January and only made 14 appearances. It's tough to give it to him on that basis, but our record was significantly improved amongst those games. Weighing it all up though, the winner, again, has to be Romain Spano. Comfortably top scorer for the fourth season running and this time doing it largely playing from the wing, which is something I probably haven't taken enough into account. Spano being good from the wing doesn't really make loads of logical tactical sense to me, but I'm not going to question it too much as its worked for a long time now. The only thing I will say for Spano this season is the number of penalties. Of his 16 goals, 7 were penalties - he missed another 3 as well.

 

New signing performance

The good: Without wanting to blow my own trumpet too much, I really did fix it with the January signings who did do everything I hoped for. They saved us as far as I'm concerned. Duarte's performances at centre half really helped shore up the defence and I need to have a real think about Shea Charles, who hasn't really delivered and nor has he really improved. Cardoso got 8 goals in 15 games which is around 20 goals if he plays a full season. Having both him and Spano as goal threats made a difference - we can't rely on just one player to score all the time. I have activated the £100k optional fee and he joins permanently this summer. Busellato likewise was consistently good in midfield and I was frequently quizzed in the media about how his signing had lifted morale around the club.

The average: I think the majority fall into this category though. Baggerman's performances were pretty consistent but I do think his general lack of goal productivity can only mean he's placed in this category, though to hold down a place all season as an 18 year old is good and I really think he's got the highest ceiling of anybody at the club. Roland Toure is tricky, his performances individually were decent, but the reverting to Diaby at left back (who is a bit better defensively) definitely helped the team. Toure's attracting Ligue 1 interest though. Curtis Tilt had a mixed season, never hit it off with Charles but was good alongside Duarte, but a quite bad injury late on has really scuppered him and at his age I don't think we can afford to gamble on him next season. Emmanuel was just bang average. Nicolas Luna absolutely far too good for the U19 where he got a ridiculous 23 goals in 12 games from the wing, didn't do a great deal in the league but he's only 18 and he's a prospect. Hammond I think can be placed in the average category. Toutain was hit and miss though I do think our results often seemed to depend on how he played. Toutain turns up, we win.

The bad / pointless: The Gabonese Ambourouet is just pointless really and after waiting two and a half years to make the move here I think I will just let him go for free next summer, or sell this summer if anybody wants to buy. Charpentier was a waste of time as well really, though did get me a late winner in the cup, but in all honesty he was just a pointless move, he's declined too much for me to make anything of. Will probably try and sell.

 

Points of note

- It has to be pointed out that this is the second season in a row that we have declined in both points total and position, and that this time we ran relegation far closer than I'm comfortable with. It is hard to be overly critical, we are predicted to finish 18th in the league and we came 16th, but I felt that this group of players had a little more in them than what we served up.

- The thing that really does stand out is quite how significantly we underperformed against our xG. If you look at this it's really quite alarming to say that we were expected to finish 9th. I think it's really quite plausible that we're not actually that far off being a quite good side, we just happened to be a bit useless in both boxes. The improvement upon the signings of Duarte and Cardoso only back this up.

- What also must be factored into how good our xG looks is the sheer number of penalties we got. As stated half of Spano's goals were penalties, and we didn't even have that great a conversion rate, we had 10 penalties in total, scoring 7.

- We posted our best cup performance yet, but for the fourth season running lost at home, which is an odd trend I've noticed.

- We were still quite dirty, Troyes comfortably the worst this year, but I am trying to get away from that a little now as I found the number of suspensions we were getting early doors ridiculous, I think we'd had 3 suspensions after 5 games which is just stupid, funny, but stupid, and we haven't really got the means to cope with that.

- Our average attendance dropped this season for the first time, which is a shame, though only slightly, and I think it's only natural. The performance definitely impacts it, as early doors we were averaging over 3,000. Clearly the fans were getting fed up of losing 0-1 every week.

- This summer will see a departure for a number of players who've played quite a big part for me since I've arrived. These include Roger Tamba, Migouel Alfarela, Clement Benard, Manuel Mane and Diego Michel.

 

Where to strengthen

I think as stated we probably need the following:

- Centre back. Probably two. I will attempt to get Duarte again but I won't pay big money as he has just turned 30.

- Central midfielder. I think the number of departures particularly in this position forces our hand a bit and I intend to bring in somebody.

- Possibility of another full back, both Sroler and Toure are attracting higher league interest. Given our spending on facilities lately I think we probably would be well advised to cash in on one of them.

- Striker, though I have fixed this, as Cardoso is joining permanently. He's accepted a bizarrely low wage too.

- As you will have probably spotted now, there will be other random 17/18 year olds join me. We've always had an eye for a bargain, though I am a bit concerned that my director of football is going due to us being unable to fulfil his wage demands. Something I'm really annoyed about as he's done a lovely job with some of these players. The fact I'm only allowed to offer less than his current worth is utter lunacy to me.

 

The rest of football

I won't go into loads of detail this time as I found it a little tedious admittedly, but Liverpool, Inter, Barcelona, PSG, Bayern and Porto took the league titles. It was a year for English teams in Europe, with Manchester United winning the Champions League, beating Liverpool in the final at Wembley. Manchester City and Arsenal won the other two tournaments making it a hattrick, the first ever. The real surprises were Real Betis qualifying for the Champions League, Toulouse of Ligue 2 winning the cup then failing to be promoted (this will be funny next season)

 

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Really enjoying this thread, thanks.

Only got to this point so far, but I do like how candid you were with how easy you were finding your early seasons. Glad you've found the challenge you craved!

Looking forward to reading more.

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5 hours ago, bibird. said:

Really enjoying this thread, thanks.

Only got to this point so far, but I do like how candid you were with how easy you were finding your early seasons. Glad you've found the challenge you craved!

Looking forward to reading more.

Thanks a lot. Yeah I must admit early doors I was thinking overachievement is something but this just feels like I can do no wrong, I shouldn't be able to go away to second tier sides with what was probably an average third tier squad and bash them all over the place. I wonder if momentum is a bit of a thing on it though as we definitely found some struggle along the way.

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Picked up where we left off

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A very bright start from us, taking another big scalp at home on the opening day keeping up our good run of starting with a win, before a very unconvincing win at newly promoted Chateauroux. Shout out for winger Jose Rivero who has somehow scored in 6 games on the trot,

Stade Brestois was an absolutely abject display mind you, worryingly poor, although Lyon broke our hearts with an equaliser from the last kick of the game. Vagner scoring a free kick away there is some effort for a 17 year old, but it was matched right at the death. Another very good result though and an opening month that suggests we've picked up where we left off.

 

But then...

But then but then but then. It's all started to go a bit pear shaped, and I'm concerned.

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After the win over Nice I felt like we were going to have a similar season to last year, but to say things are clearly going to be a bit different this time is an understatement. 6 straight defeats is a record for me at Annecy, the lack of goals are worrying, Fougeu with just the one this season is the big difference but it was always quite likely to be as he was never likely to sustain that form. I'm already regretting not cashing in on Goutidis and getting a little more creativity into the side. What concerns me too is the lack of defensive resilience. PSG dished out our first real hammering at this level, but Bordeaux and Metz were the two real concerns. We went ahead at Bordeaux and somehow contrived to lose to a really poor, out of form side, whilst bottom side Metz got a late winner here. We'd have held on for 1-0 wins both times last season.

I don't know why it says I played 4-1-4-1 against Metz when we didn't. I went for a more open 3-1-4-2. DIdn't really work though in my opinion.

It's a trip to an underperforming Lille next. We sit 15th in the table, which would be fine for what it's worth, but this form is concerning me and I think it's clear we're having a bit of a second season syndrome situation. I'd be happy with just survival this year, especially now.

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7 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

I have similar problems at GF38. Strikers are streaky and late defensive mistakes due to lack of stamina and concentration I guess.

I seem to do better in my first season up than second every time, but providing I get through the second, I usually take things up a notch in the following seasons. It's happened to me at loads of teams actually - a story from the Andorra save, I got 3 points from my first 15 games there in my second season up in La Liga, and somehow ended up surviving with 15 minutes left. It was a miracle of a turnaround.

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Well well well...

Just a little update but goodness me, this one needed to be done. So as stated, our next game was a trip to the early underperformers Lille. I went expecting little, they still have a side that's good enough to compete for a European place and if they turned up, they would probably beat us, but we had to stay resilient.

What panned out, probably my favourite type of scenario.

 

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Our winless run was over and what a way to do it. It was the ultimate 'away' performance, got the first half goal, spent the game frustrating an already angry crowd and then pinched a 2nd very late on. Lille manager Zinedine Zidane was sacked for this result - which was no surprise.

Then we faced an old foe, Paris FC, the club we beat to get up to Ligue 2. They were newly promoted and had in my opinion, the worst squad in the division. We're at a point I think where we've got to try and be a bit more positive again in our play and if playing a team I would say we individually trump, at home, wasn't the time to do this - then when was?

What panned out, was quite incredible.

 

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Lets just clear something up here - Fougeu had ONE goal all season before this game. He was on a huge goal draught. Then he just couldn't stop scoring. You got the feeling that Paris just weren't at all prepared for us changing the shape and it threw them. He couldn't miss, every time he got the ball he seemed to score.

A shoutout as well to Jakub Vagner, playing in attacking midfield (the game registered us as playing 4-1-4-1, we didn't) as a playmaker, they did nothing about him at all and he completely ran the show, registering an incredible 5 assists.

Going into the game, Fougeu had 1 goal, and Vagner had 1 assist.

After it I was interviewed about how productive both had been this season, Fougeu with 6 goals, Vagner with 5 assists. It was crazy. Paris are absolutely hopeless and definitely going down if that's anything to go by.

That's put us up to 11th, and also with a plus goal difference. It was so un-Annecy of the Ligue 1 era, but maybe a sign of things to come. I am playing defensively, but I will play more attacking football in line with the level of my squad relative to the league. I go to Nantes next, who are 10th, and it poses the dilemma - attack or counter? Fougeu, annoyingly, is suspended though, a shame that he can't play after doing that.

Some month so far though. That was the first time I had even got to 5 goals in a game at Annecy - let alone 7.

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Streaky beyond belief

The title says it all about our season, we are going on runs, both good and bad, this kind of sums things up.

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August & November were superb.

September, October and December were all ghastly. To get 0 points from that December has put us back into a bit of trouble again in my opinion.

 

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I think November proves we've gotten it in us to pull clear, but it's slightly concerning to me. I think our problem this season is that Demjen & Fougeu haven't been anything like last season, which was half expected, but I think I've took a game or two too many - such as playing more attacking against a Sochaux side having a very good season. One of my poorer efforts so far this has been, but we should be alright I think.

Our inability to turn losses into draws is a problem. We've lost more games this season than we lost last season. On course for 22 defeats is absolute rubbish really. I expect the bottom two will finish as they are and I'd fancy us to beat any Ligue 2 side over two legs, but we can do better than this.

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Things got a little interesting on one front...

One thing I haven't done particularly well for the most part at Annecy is perform in the cup. Whilst we have often had very hard draws, it doesn't change the fact we have blown a couple of good ties too and last season was a perfect example - clear of relegation, very unlikely to get into Europe, and yet we turned up at third tier AC Ajaccio and lost. I'd like to see that change this year, but we haven't been handed a particularly generous draw. We are given a trip to OGC Nice.

We win.

 

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No shot until the 75th minute and a largely revolting performance from us, but it was vintage Annecy of the Ligue 1 era. It got the job done and we sailed through. We are given a tie at home to 2nd tier Angers.

 

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Simple as you like. We've gotten the more attacking and open 4-2-3-1 working well against inferior opposition again. A well balanced system. Vagner is looking some player when played in attacking midfield. So we are down to 16 teams, we are given a game at home to fellow Ligue 1 side Lorient. Our games with them are often a bit chaotic but I put that largely on Lorient - they play a crazy 3-4-3 system and it often leads to basketball games, very fun to watch, but a bit unnerving.

For some reason however, the quarter final draw takes place before the game. The winners have it confirmed to them they will be going to bottom of the table Paris FC in the quarter finals. All of a sudden, a route to the last four of this competition actually looks very plausible. I name my full strength team. On with the basketball!

 

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Andoni Rentero is simply becoming an icon at this club. That was an amazing display from him and he's carried us to the last eight. It was the usual crazy game, 25 corners between the two teams kind of sums it up. I gambled and played the more open game rather than the counter, and I'm glad I did.

A couple of other notes this month - our streakiness is just hilarious now. We have won our other two league games, but just look at this, it's mental.

 

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Have you ever seen anything like it? We are one odd side. Don't underestimate how good a win that Brestois one is either - they're flying high again. We did nearly throw away a 0-3 lead, but we had plenty of chances to add more. I feel like we've got a lot more about us going forward this season, and I think that's largely because of Vagner.

Also worth noting is that the young Turkish right back signed in the summer, Salim Celen, is developing pretty rapidly and what was a risk free gamble is turning into a very shrewd bit of business, as I think he's become already our best right back, holding down a first team place aged 18.

Speaking of shrewd business - another target I had in mind when looking for a midfielder in the summer has joined this month, welcome to Annecy, Li Heng!

 

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He joins on a free transfer after the expiration of his contract, we beat off some decent competition such as Feyenoord and PSV for his signature - quite a sign of our progress given PSV used to be the club who signed all of my youngsters a few years ago, on a surprisingly cheap contract as well. Now I don't consider myself somebody big on the commercialisation in football, however, from the point of view of maximising my budget, this signing will actually generate more money than he costs. He's China's best player and he's only going to get better. We're really putting a nice team together now, one that I would like to think will set us up to start challenging the top teams of this league one day. It's a way away yet, but the progress is undeniable.

Goutidis may be leaving this month however, Aston Villa have come in for him and I'm trying to put in contingency plans for if they make a bid worth serious consideration. He actually wants this move and I think I'm prepared to take about £15mil or so if we can get it - providing a proper contigency plan is put in place and we get somebody lined up for this season, even if it is just on loan. I love Goutidis, but there is a case to say that we need to get a bit better on the ball building from the back, and whilst him and Rouault win everything in the air, neither of them are great on the ball and both of them love an aimless punt up the field every now and then. It's why Joao Basso has survived at this club even now - he's a bit different in that sense. But we shall see what pans out.

Just a final note regarding the cup - PSG are out as well. I don't expect us to win it, but stranger things have happened. There is nobody left in the competition that we've not beaten before.

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It's happened - Goutidis has gone. The biggest fee received in the clubs history and by some distance too, £15mil that could rise - as well as 40% of any profit Villa make. I'm sad to lose him, he's typified everything good about us in the last few years, a bit rough round the ages, a bit flawed, but improved beyond belief and is really going places, hardly ever let us down. What a superb use of £10k.

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Kid in a sweet shop

In all seriousness that's very harsh, but the departure of Goutidis leaves a big gap in defence and we did have a number of potential targets lined up. We ended up buying our second choice - welcome to Annecy Jakub Janek!

 

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He was, admittedly, the second choice after the first one turned us down due to our league position, which I found a little odd from somebody playing in Colombia who was willing to join us in the summer despite the prediction of 18th, and we now sit 11th, but each to their own. Janek joins for a club record of £2.3mil from his native Dunajska Streda. I do have concerns that he isn't going to fix the problem previously mentioned about our lack of ability to play out from the back - but to be honest, I've spotted that Rouault is actually a far better passer than I thought he was and maybe it's a tactical fault of mine that's causing him to constantly give the ball away, and ultimately, I still think we need that battling type of defender at this stage, of which I think Janek is one of those, just like Goutidis was. He's better at defending than Goutidis anyway. Most impressively, we beat off Atalanta for his signature.

With our newfound money in the bank I was straight back to the board to demand some better facilities. They're right on board with me.

 

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So to summarise what's happened - we pay TNS £10,000 for a defender as a bit of a 'risk free' signing. Said defender establishes himself in the first team pretty quickly, never gets replaced, three and a half years later gets a £15mil move to Aston Villa, of which we spend £2.3mil of that on a replacement who is of a similar level and younger, upgrade both our training and youth facilities, and still have nearly £10mil left over from the sale. It is quite simply this sort of process that makes a small club into a big one. I've seen it happen at my own club and it's very satisfying.

On we move.

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Pain in Paris

Well it's bad news in the cup. Despite taking the lead in the second half, we succumed to a 2-1 loss to Paris and exit the cup in the quarter finals. Whilst this is my best ever cup performance at Annecy, it's comfortably my most frustration - and that was only compounded by Paris running into 2nd tier Le Havre at home in the semi finals, so I think we've seriously passed up a chance at a cup final here. They don't come around very often.

The game itself, we were a bit unlucky, we had the better of it but losing both Rentero and Fougeu was always likely to hit us in one way or another. Amaro can cover both positions, but there's only one of him, and Vassi is a winger who wants out - he was the best we had to offer up front if using Amaro on the left wing. There's a slight irony to beating them 7-2 with 6 goals from Fougeu, to losing him and then succumbing to a 2-1 loss.

Even more worryingly going forward, our league form looks shot.

 

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This just feels like classic second season syndrome. I've got a real history of it. We had similar in Ligue 2 - we were noticeably poorer in just about all areas in our second year up, just like Ligue 1 last year we started very strongly, petered out a bit but still posted an extremely impressive league position. This season just feels extremely flat, but it was sadly always likely to be, Demjen and Fougeu overperformed significantly last year. The only player I can confidently say is consistently doing it is Rentero, but he seems so injury prone. He doesn't get serious injuries, but he seems to get a knock in more games than he doesn't. I think I've made an error - Amaro is a better striker than winger and nobody covers Rentero particularly effectively, so I'm going to try and get another winger in this summer, I like Rentero, and I like Rivero 75% of the time, but we don't have enough beyond those two. Vassi wants out and Dabo is make shift at best.

Worryingly - Janek hasn't been great either. I think he will eventually get there, but him and Rouault haven't really hit off a great partnership yet and Rouault wasn't exactly doing great this season. The Goutidis loss has hit us and I actually think we made the right call selling him in January, because if we'd sold him on August deadline day, I think we'd be in serious danger of relegation.

 

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The points threshold from 10th down feels really low this season, and we find ourselves firmly merged in that cluster of teams on 33-35 points. What you will notice however is we still have to play 4 of the teams around us. I think there are enough teams there for us to be OK, but if we don't fix our form, we're going to be the ones who fall into 18th. The good thing is I'd fancy us to take any Ligue 2 side over two legs, but I'd rather not have the worry. There's no way Chateauroux or Paris are catching us now.

Our form doesn't give me loads of hope though. We were absolutely abject at Metz and losing to Bordeaux was pitiful as well - they were off the back of 5 defeats as well.

I think we will finish about 16th, which is a bit underwhelming, but it's ultimately fine. I think the younger signings generally follow the trend of starting slowly and getting better, and I think that can be the case for Janek. I rate him above Rouault as a defender and I think I'm going to look to get another centre half in. We're a very healthy club - we just need to make sure we don't collapse and bottle this season. If we don't, we will pick up. We actually have some money now.

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I never learn - stop doubting this lot!

 

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Incredible. The first half an hour was so embarrassingly abject yet it felt like as soon as we had a chance, Nantes just totally fell to bits. Fougeu when he turns up is absolutely ridiculous. He's scored 10 of his goals in 2 games.

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1 hour ago, Hootieleece said:

You just need Fougeu to show up more often....less late nights in the night clubs with wine and women for him!

You're not wrong. He was phenomenal last season, he seemed to score every other game, but he's been largely disappointing this season and has boosted his goals tally with two ridiculous games. Has a player ever hit 6 goals and 4 goals in games in the same season? He was one off matching an all time Ligue 1 record with the 6 goal haul. I like Fougeu, absolutely lethal when he's on it, but he hasn't been for a lot of this season.

In fairness to him though, we don't really create enough. I think it's just a symptom of having for the most part, not particularly great players for this level. It's a developing progress. The truth is though there'll come a point in the next year or two where we're able to get better than him and he'll just become bit part. In-fact I actually think Amaro's ceiling is a bit higher than his, and Amaro's had a couple of matchwinning games himself this season.

I like him though. He's a bit of a legend at Annecy in a way. He got the goals to get us into Ligue 1 and got the goals to keep us there. Been a fantastic signing.

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16 hours ago, Dan1884 said:

You're not wrong. He was phenomenal last season, he seemed to score every other game, but he's been largely disappointing this season and has boosted his goals tally with two ridiculous games. Has a player ever hit 6 goals and 4 goals in games in the same season? He was one off matching an all time Ligue 1 record with the 6 goal haul. I like Fougeu, absolutely lethal when he's on it, but he hasn't been for a lot of this season.

In fairness to him though, we don't really create enough. I think it's just a symptom of having for the most part, not particularly great players for this level. It's a developing progress. The truth is though there'll come a point in the next year or two where we're able to get better than him and he'll just become bit part. In-fact I actually think Amaro's ceiling is a bit higher than his, and Amaro's had a couple of matchwinning games himself this season.

I like him though. He's a bit of a legend at Annecy in a way. He got the goals to get us into Ligue 1 and got the goals to keep us there. Been a fantastic signing.

Have you got a recent screenshot of him, please? I can't recall when I last saw him...

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6 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Have you got a recent screenshot of him, please? I can't recall when I last saw him...

This is him.

 

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For some context, this is my other striker, Samuel Amaro.

 

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I like both players but I do think we'll eventually need upgrades. I do have my eye on a very interesting striker this season - will largely depend on budgets if we get him in.

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1 minute ago, Dan1884 said:

I like both players but I do think we'll eventually need upgrades

I like Fougeu - he's a bit of everything: some pace, nice first touch, good finisher and makes good decisions. For my team - I dislike that he's one footed and can't pass too well but that may suit your style.

For a newly promoted team though - he seems about the right level for you and I do like your commitment to him, however annoying his inconsistencies can be!

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29 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I like Fougeu - he's a bit of everything: some pace, nice first touch, good finisher and makes good decisions. For my team - I dislike that he's one footed and can't pass too well but that may suit your style.

For a newly promoted team though - he seems about the right level for you and I do like your commitment to him, however annoying his inconsistencies can be!

Think your assessment is fair. I saw him loan listed in Ligue 2 and he was comforably better than my best striker at the time so I got him in, and he did that well that I made it permanent. I do think he lacks an all-round game, I'd describe him as probably a bit of a poor mans Timo Werner (in form!), that kind of style, obvious limitations but lethal if you can keep getting him in behind, which is why I think he's so effective on his day.

This season is very odd in terms of his performance. He's finished on 17 goals, but he only scored in 7 games.

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Fougeu's Concentration and Anticpation are hurting him....

 

Amaro's problem is lack of work ethic....

But they aren't that bad....about what I am working with in Grenoble...

 

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54 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Fougeu's Concentration and Anticpation are hurting him....

 

Amaro's problem is lack of work ethic....

But they aren't that bad....about what I am working with in Grenoble...

 

Agree on both counts. Better will become available to us but I think for where we're at they're both fine, but this summer we may be able to upgrade.

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2027/28 review - season 8

First of all, just to conclude how it finished. We were fine.

 

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The Nantes win set it up, and the Toulouse win sealed our survival. We have survived the inevitable second season slog, with a bit of money in our pocket - with facilities improvement on the way. It's positive stuff, even if the season was very much up and down on the pitch.

 

The key performers

It's becoming a bit of a theme - but once again I find Breyton Fougeu is the top scorer and Andoni Rentero wins player of the season. Rentero was particularly impressive this season, upping his goals tally, but we've become almost a bit overly reliant on him for any good attacking play. I think we clearly missed Goutidis as well when he left.

 

What we need next season

We've been given our most generous budget yet, so I think we need to really look at how we can evolve this club on the pitch this summer beyond trying to play spoiling tactics against 70% of the league. I want to try and play more attacking football. I do appreciate a good defensive game, but I think we need more of an attacking string to our bow.

I think we need personally...

Left back - I think Rusak is OK, but a bit limited, and we can probably do a little better now.

Centre back - Rouault and Janek simply hasn't clicked and unfortunately I don't think it's ever going to. Janek for me has the higher ceiling, my aim is to try and get another serious centre back opition. My theory is that both Rouault and Janek are a bit similar, but both a bit limited in the sense that neither are much good on their weaker side, so we need somebody comfortable on the left. I've got a player in mind, who is a bit old, so I may leave it - but I've never liked the idea of two young centre backs either.

Winger - We just simply need more depth on the wing. We have so little beyond Rentero and Rivero, especially with Vassi going. Maybe not even a starter, possibly even a striker who can feature there. We just need a bit more variety so that we can mix up our play a bit rather than the predictable stuff we often serve up at the minute.

Striker - This isn't a pressing priority, but I've identified a player I really want. I don't think he fancies coming, but we've got the money to get him now.

Oh and we have a new goalkeeper coming. Demjen and Quintas were both a bit disappointing this season.

 

Points of note

We pretty much performed in line with xG this season. Last season we came 8th but xG had us 16th, whereas this year we were 12th on both - so you could argue our performances improved but our finishing got a lot worse.

There's actually very little to throw into this this season. We were largely a bit dull for the most part, very much an also-ran. We still average the lowest possession in the league but are bizarrely now the cleanest team in the division, with 0 red cards and 41 yellows. Our home record was concerning - 10 defeats, which is some drop off from the 2 last year. Really though, we didn't stand out in any areas.

Joao Basso, Vassi, Julen Gil, Francis Jimenez, Leandro Cardoso and Jordan Le Calvez will all leave the club on frees this summer. Gil & Jimenez were 'risk free' youngsters that never kicked on. Cardoso was key in keeping us in Ligue 2 a few years ago but we've simply outgrown him. Vassi likewise did well but we've gotten a bit big for him now (he's somehow our 2nd highest earner), Joao Basso, I'll miss him, he filled in really effectively at centre back, defensive midfield and central midfield but again, the time has passed for him now. Le Calvez is the only youth product I've had so far that's gotten into my first team at any point, but he's still being loaned out at 22 and he's moving to Sydney FC. Good luck to him.

 

Youth intakes

There's not a lot to say for this year but I am going to start doing something on this, as I do want us to be a club that produces good youngsters as well and it's taken until now in my opinion for us to actually get anywhere in this regard. We produced a couple of 'OK' youngsters but nothing that interests me a great deal, but watch this space.

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Summer 2028

This was always going to be the interesting one. We survived our late scare last season after cashing in on Goutidis and now sit in Ligue 1 with a decent amount to spend, something we've never really had before at this level, so really - this in theory has to be the summer where we make some real strides forward and bring in some quality.

Well, the first move, funnily enough was a bit of a type of signing I would make as a struggling side, but one that made sense simply by virtue of how well he fits and how much we needed an alternative. Duplexe Tchamba joins for £525k from Toulouse. Though now 30 years old, he can play on the left hand side, has a bit more about him on the ball whilst still being a pretty strong defender. I felt he would be a good partner to Janek or Rouault.

And after typing that out, having done this based on the list of transfers, I realise that actually, the first move was made a while ago. A real bargain as we go shopping in Slovakia again, raiding Dunajska Streda for a second time to bring in goalkeeper Simon Horvath for just £1mil. A coup. Patrik Demjen leaves the club this summer and joins Newcastle for £2.8mil - I think it's just good business all round, a shame to sell him, but he went off a bit last season and it felt the right time.

Then the big one. A striker I had previously alluded to, somebody I had my eyes on but I didn't think we would actually get - the club record is broken to bring in Romanian Florin Jimborean, he joins for £4.8mil from CFR Cluj. I didn't think he would come, but we convinced him to. This for me is 'the' signing. The one I think could really be the gamechanger for the club. For some context, I don't think I ever had a player as good as him at Andorra. The fact he can fill on on the wing as well is perfect as it means we have genuine alternative there now too, but he will become our starting striker. Annecy fans would've never dreamt of this 8 years ago.

Osmar Almiron joined from Paraguayan club Olimpia for a bargain £1.1mil. He plus the weakness at left back (maybe harsh on Rusak but he's an upgrade, simply), whilst he needs a bit of work, his two-footedness, two-sidedness and general technical quality made him an appealing buy for that price.

Not finished yet, in came Marco Manuzzi from Parma for £1.9mil. Another option in midfield or on the wing, a playmaker type who had some technical stats that we just couldn't ignore. I feel like we're gaining a bit of depth now too. Even better is that players like him come here and don't even demand a start, so it's becoming a quite well oiled machine. Likewise our other signing Jaud Kalonji who joins from Swiss side Lausanne for £525k, I see him as a bit of a project, somebody with a lot of raw attributes but needs some work. He's joined Ligue 2 Bourg-Peronnas for the season on loan.

Finally we have the story of Nate Jackson. This to me is one of my biggest black marks at Annecy so far. Do you ever have players who you just don't quite click with? This one felt a bit doomed from the off. He joined me three years ago on a free transfer from Nordsjaelland of Denmark, it felt a real coup at the time for a middling Ligue 2 side as he was a really promising 17 year old. It however just never felt quite right to me. He was kicking off early doors about not getting game time, didn't really develop in his first year (despite playing some games), the next season he was loaned to Pacos de Ferreira where I thought he was starting to make a bit of development, starting regularly for them and amazingly scoring twice away in a win at Porto - some effort for an 18 year old centre half. He got back and expected to be in my first team, but by this point, we were in Ligue 1 with Rouault and Goutidis a fairly well established partnership. We then had a silly issue with him, an already quite annoyed player, was for some reason left out of our pre-season tour (I just told it to auto-fill and it never picked him, and a few others, stupidly) so again, he's annoyed. I kind of at this point think he's probably dusted here, and loan him to Caen.

That move does nothing for him and he's back here now, aged 20, literally no better than he was at 17 and with basically no future here, with just a year left on his contract.

Never underestimate Premier League idiocy. Bournemouth have come and bought him for £4.7mil rising to £8.25mil!!!! I couldn't believe it, he's not good enough for us, why they think he'll be good enough for them is anyone's guess, and yet that sale has paid for Jimborean, incredible really. We were a man short though, so in came Vasco Paula from Coimbra for £725k. I like the fact he's versatile and quick, something we don't really have in our centre backs, so it makes him a decent option especially as somebody not demanding starts.

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Who do we think are the best and worst buys? Intrigued to see what people think. Be harsh!

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