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FM21 - FC Annecy


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You know when you feel things have clicked...

Well here we are. I said I felt great about summer, but was I about to look an idiot? I'll be honest, I was quite confident that we would have a good season. So far, so it has proven.

 

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We started the first two months really well. Nice was a good test on the opening day as it's a decent side, but a beatable one, and we passed the test with flying colours. Lorient I may have spoken about before but they are the most bonkers team in this league - they play this completely open 3-4-3 formation and it leads to frequent games of 6+ goals. You only have to see how few we've conceded in our other games to see what an outlier they are.

We continue our good run at Brestois but St Etienne as a result I found really encouraging. I played a quite attacking game, went behind and we turned it around to end up winning quite convincingly, the kind of result, and performance to match that tells you you're just simply a quite decent level team now. We sat 3rd in the table, our only defeat to a Lyon side who had won all 8 of their games, scoring about 30 in the process, there was no shame in a 1-0 defeat there. October looked, on paper, really tough for us. It was mixed.

 

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What an odd month. It's about what you would expect from the first three. Strasbourg are now tycoon backed, though whilst not spending anything like say PSG or Marseille (who are also now tycoon backed), they have a lot more muscle than somebody like us. A draw there is therefore a decent result. We made PSG and Monaco work for their wins but they were both pretty inevitable, generally poor performances where we threatened absolutely minimally and largely kept it tight because of Horvath in goal as much as anything.

Then Jakub Vagner decided to have his Fougeu v Paris game. I was expecting a tough game from Rennes but they were unbelievably abysmal. Vagner kept ghosting into the box and nobody did anything about it. He set up the other three goals as well - 7 goal contributions in one game, which is just frankly ridiculous for an 18 year old midfielder at this level. I like Vagner, he's a bit hit and miss but he's becoming a really decent player. Interestingly a year ago, when we beat Paris 7-2, we hadn't even hit 5 in a league game before, now we've managed 5 twice and 7 twice. We're definitely becoming a bit more lethal a team on our day, which is something I've always demanded a bit. I'm a bit ruthless like that. I don't like sitting on 3-0. If we're 3-0 up, no reason we can't be 4, and so on.

November looked on paper, a lot easier. We did well.

 

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We might be the most hit and miss attacking unit ever. We seem to create absolutely loads, or absolutely nothing. Metz was the single worst game I think I've seen on FM21 yet with not even a glimmer of a goal from either team. We dispatched Reims in our first ever meeting with them, although unfortunately a crash dump robbed me of a win at Sochaux. I actually won 0-1, and then went 1-0 up at home to Nantes when it decided to crash. It was a bit annoying because I'm convinced we'd have beaten Nantes anyway, but I suppose when you factor in I got crash dumped on a defeat at Rennes last season and won the rematch, so I'm still a point up overall.

The first time I played Nantes they were 18th in the table. This time, they had lost the weekend before playing us, gone bottom, and sacked their manager, which to me makes it potentially a bit tougher. We were good going forward but I'm really a bit concerned by some of the defending, I'm hoping it was a one off, I can accept it happening against Lorient because they're just generally a bonkers team (see their results here) but not against a struggling Nantes - though amazingly, we've only conceded more than 1 in a game twice this season, and both games were wins!

 

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Frankly it's been terrific. Above PSG!!! We're both solid at the back for the most part, but we clearly have firepower too. Jimborean has been as good as I hoped he would be and has brought out the best in Rivero, who is actually our top scorer so far. Tchamba has been a roaring success so far, partnering very well with Janek. Rouault getting a 3 month injury was a bit of a blow but to be totally honest, it kind of sped up the process of forcing those two to play as a partnership without any kicking off from Rouault himself. Almiron has been good. Horvath in goal has been fantastic and the fact we've got him tied down until 2033 with no release clause is huge, I think he could go on to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

I think 5th has to be the aim. We're not catching Marseille or Lyon who've been ridiculously good, I highly doubt we'll catch Monaco, and we just simply aren't going to match PSG over the next 22 games. I do honestly believe however we can be the next best. Rennes are 6th and we beat them 7-1! It will be tough, but I really think we have it in us, there aren't many teams I really rate in this league. Even your usual outsiders like Lille, Bordeaux, Nice, Sochaux, Nantes, St Etienne etc... are just a bit crap in all honesty.

Fantastic times on the whole. Loving it.

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13 hours ago, Alejandro_FM said:

Great progress and season so far! 

What's your current tactical set up? And are you fairly consistent or do you tinker? :)

I switch between three, but they're all relatively similar, generally based upon availability of players and the level of my opposition. I do play this game however which I try and 'throw' the opposition somewhat by switching between two very similar systems, but throwing it asymmetrical to the other formation. I will show you what I mean in a minute.

I have my 'attacking' system which is this. Simply employed against teams I think we're better than, of which there are evidently a growing number of them. But we still have to be careful.

 

image.png.f5064c2306e71d6ff1911f06e1d50bac.png

 

It's very open and I do think it can be caught out, but I'm generally finding that we're that good going forward in it that we just have a bit too much for the opposition anyway.

Then what I was talking about earlier, this is the system I usually use, but I switch between these two as stated, based on player availability (fitness, form, morale) and will often switch between them in a game. I ensure all systems I use well balanced between support and attacking roles and I think it's a quite subtle way to become an effective team. If you see below, the difference between these two systems are the positions of the support and attacking roles, they simply switch.

 

image.png.6ccd1dd8c0e9defdfdb8189dd821c330.png

image.png.307dc6b7861fba0a6b581f5d80d98bcf.png

 

To me this is where I've been effective on this FM, and recent FMs. I think it catches teams out a little. I'm also an advocate of quite a low number of instructions. I've never really been a big possession manager but I must admit I do think as a general rule we need to get a little better on it (which we have, but there's still room to improve), but at the same time, I always need that counter attacking threat too.

So long story short - nothing fancy, but subtle changes in my opinion can throw an opposition. It's why I like players who are comfortable in numerous roles.

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Big news this month - Andoni Rentero has left the club for China.

 

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It's a tricky one. I didn't want to lose him, but there are a number of reasons I've gone for it.

- Their initial offer was £6mil. I thought it was ridiculous but I know Chinese clubs have stupid money so I kept trying to negotiate for about £30mil. They caved in at £20mil rising to £25mil. Which is a new record sale.

- He's good, but he's not completely irreplaceable anymore. In-fact, Jimborean's probably outperformed him on the left.

- This season, though his rating is good, his actual attributes have gone backwards in the last year. He's not really progressing anymore.

- He was out of contract next summer and fancied the move.

 

Fougeu is annoyed about it, which I actually quite like as it shows he's got standards. I've promised him a better replacement. Well we have something lined up but it can't happen until the summer, so a loan is going to have to suffice. Thankfully, I have a decent loanee lined up too.

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Wow! I understand why you took the money.

I had Wuhan offer $28M for Bernard Laurent....Board accepted, but I protested and they cancelled. 

I would probably would have accepted if it wasn't the January Window....but now someone will have to pry him from my dead hands.....I gave him the biggest contract at the Club and set his price to $51 Million.....for a 20 Year Old Forward that has banged in 15-20 goals a season in Ligue 1.

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1 hour ago, Hootieleece said:

Wow! I understand why you took the money.

I had Wuhan offer $28M for Bernard Laurent....Board accepted, but I protested and they cancelled. 

I would probably would have accepted if it wasn't the January Window....but now someone will have to pry him from my dead hands.....I gave him the biggest contract at the Club and set his price to $51 Million.....for a 20 Year Old Forward that has banged in 15-20 goals a season in Ligue 1.

I need to have a proper read of yours again sometime soon. Skimmed through the whole thing at once. Have you played on much further? What year are you in?

I think every transfer both in and out you just simply have to weigh up everything. I don't stick rigily to signing younger players but they just tend to make the most economical sense - but Duplexe Tchamba for example, 29 years old, not wanted by Toulouse who we finished ahead of, but he ticked enough boxes for me to make the move and it's worked out. I've said a few times in here but the Hurtado sale at Las Palmas, whilst a shame, was what really kicked us on, and it's the same with this save here - selling Goutidis is the reason we're now having this season, and selling Rentero, though not ideal, is going to help us in the future as we're bringing in somebody better.

Annoying through I've just played Lorient at home and lost my unbeaten run, and that's a team Rentero used to get a lot of joy against. Bad timing.

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44 minutes ago, Dan1884 said:

I need to have a proper read of yours again sometime soon. Skimmed through the whole thing at once. Have you played on much further? What year are you in?

I think every transfer both in and out you just simply have to weigh up everything. I don't stick rigily to signing younger players but they just tend to make the most economical sense - but Duplexe Tchamba for example, 29 years old, not wanted by Toulouse who we finished ahead of, but he ticked enough boxes for me to make the move and it's worked out. I've said a few times in here but the Hurtado sale at Las Palmas, whilst a shame, was what really kicked us on, and it's the same with this save here - selling Goutidis is the reason we're now having this season, and selling Rentero, though not ideal, is going to help us in the future as we're bringing in somebody better.

Annoying through I've just played Lorient at home and lost my unbeaten run, and that's a team Rentero used to get a lot of joy against. Bad timing.

I am currently in the 2025-2026 season.....It is our third season in Ligue 1. Bernard was in my first youth intake.....I just finished his transfer saga in my current update.

Also my Board wants U-23 on the first team and players from lower reaches of French Football as required parts of the Club Vision.

That is the only reason I am not really bringing in the old guys who can still do a job....

Chrislain Matsima is the only player that I have bought before....(in my Clermont Save on FM20). I tend to listen to my scouts....but I make final judgement.

I could have sold Bernard and the $28M would have bought possible better players, but it didn't feel right to ship the local lad away to China. If it had been Djitte probably....even if he is a "Lesser" version of Sadio Mane!

 

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6 hours ago, Dan1884 said:

I switch between three, but they're all relatively similar, generally based upon availability of players and the level of my opposition. I do play this game however which I try and 'throw' the opposition somewhat by switching between two very similar systems, but throwing it asymmetrical to the other formation. I will show you what I mean in a minute.

I have my 'attacking' system which is this. Simply employed against teams I think we're better than, of which there are evidently a growing number of them. But we still have to be careful.

 

image.png.f5064c2306e71d6ff1911f06e1d50bac.png

 

It's very open and I do think it can be caught out, but I'm generally finding that we're that good going forward in it that we just have a bit too much for the opposition anyway.

Then what I was talking about earlier, this is the system I usually use, but I switch between these two as stated, based on player availability (fitness, form, morale) and will often switch between them in a game. I ensure all systems I use well balanced between support and attacking roles and I think it's a quite subtle way to become an effective team. If you see below, the difference between these two systems are the positions of the support and attacking roles, they simply switch.

 

image.png.6ccd1dd8c0e9defdfdb8189dd821c330.png

image.png.307dc6b7861fba0a6b581f5d80d98bcf.png

 

To me this is where I've been effective on this FM, and recent FMs. I think it catches teams out a little. I'm also an advocate of quite a low number of instructions. I've never really been a big possession manager but I must admit I do think as a general rule we need to get a little better on it (which we have, but there's still room to improve), but at the same time, I always need that counter attacking threat too.

So long story short - nothing fancy, but subtle changes in my opinion can throw an opposition. It's why I like players who are comfortable in numerous roles.

Looks very solid and I like the simplicity of the team instructions. The 4-3-3 DM systems you employ are quite similar to how I play (with an underdog in La Liga, Cordoba CF in season 6). I have built-in asymmetry but I don't quite rotate it as it suits the players I have quite rigidly (e.g., the left back can cross, so he's the wing-back or complete wing back, but the right back does not do much offensively so he's a full back on support).

Lots of fun to follow you so far. Good luck with the rest of the season!  

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1 hour ago, Hootieleece said:

I am currently in the 2025-2026 season.....It is our third season in Ligue 1. Bernard was in my first youth intake.....I just finished his transfer saga in my current update.

Also my Board wants U-23 on the first team and players from lower reaches of French Football as required parts of the Club Vision.

That is the only reason I am not really bringing in the old guys who can still do a job....

Chrislain Matsima is the only player that I have bought before....(in my Clermont Save on FM20). I tend to listen to my scouts....but I make final judgement.

I could have sold Bernard and the $28M would have bought possible better players, but it didn't feel right to ship the local lad away to China. If it had been Djitte probably....even if he is a "Lesser" version of Sadio Mane!

 

I'll have to have a real read through again and put some context to it. I did have a look at some of your Grenoble players and signings and it felt similar to me in the sense that you were getting a lot from a little - a lot of players who look average at Ligue 2 level have proven to be a success in Ligue 1, maybe playing in a steady set up with an all-round positive feel about the club works even better on this than in previous versions. It's not to say your players were poor, from what I saw, just more that they're producing more than you would expect, similarly to a lot of ours really.

We have been totally shafted regarding youngsters. My youth team just play friendlies against dross all season. They've recorded a 14-1 win this season. I can't really see how it's of any benefit - but apparently this new update might fix that and we'll be able to enter a youth league? It's not really fair that we're not even in any league. I know we start as a small club but it's pathetic.

I'd be intrigued to see the average age of a signing for me but I reckon it must be about 21. We don't sign many older players, but I've always said I won't be against the odd one. I just won't pay much for them.

Interesting that you have already produced a really good youngster though. I never seem to have luck with it - but in this case I think that's just simply because I've taken over a tiny club. Our infrastructure is never going to yield Zinedine Zidane in its current state and we've already had about 5 youngsters poached - including from Grenoble once. Lyon and St Etienne are pesky.

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24 minutes ago, Alejandro_FM said:

Looks very solid and I like the simplicity of the team instructions. The 4-3-3 DM systems you employ are quite similar to how I play (with an underdog in La Liga, Cordoba CF in season 6). I have built-in asymmetry but I don't quite rotate it as it suits the players I have quite rigidly (e.g., the left back can cross, so he's the wing-back or complete wing back, but the right back does not do much offensively so he's a full back on support).

Lots of fun to follow you so far. Good luck with the rest of the season!  

I do keep things relatively simple and I think I make up ground on the other clubs simply by being very prudent in the transfer window. I'm very fussy with spending money a lot of the time and I'll hold it against myself if a big money signing doesn't quite work out. Tactically I really find you don't have to do anything too special. I quite like putting them in a pretty sensible formation, applying a couple of fundamentals like a higher tempo and higher pressing, but nothing too drastic, I don't want to micromanage how and where the players pass the ball, I want players who'll make good decisions and movement. I often find playing like this I can have possession ranging from anything between 30% and 70% - we seem to adapt to situations well.

I think ultimately your system just has to be personnel based early doors whilst you try and transition to what your ideal is, but my ideal, to be honest, seems to be quite basic and therefore there's never really a big transition phase. Yours makes complete sense to me - who is your left back out of interest? My full backs, Almiron and Celen, can both play on both sides, as could my old one Guillem Jaime. Almiron's particularly useful as he's two-footed as well.

Thanks also! I've never really done one of these to this degree before. It's definitely kept me more interested in the save so I will do it for future ones too, but I've no desire to leave Annecy yet, I want silverware here. 

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15 hours ago, Dan1884 said:

I do keep things relatively simple and I think I make up ground on the other clubs simply by being very prudent in the transfer window. I'm very fussy with spending money a lot of the time and I'll hold it against myself if a big money signing doesn't quite work out. Tactically I really find you don't have to do anything too special. I quite like putting them in a pretty sensible formation, applying a couple of fundamentals like a higher tempo and higher pressing, but nothing too drastic, I don't want to micromanage how and where the players pass the ball, I want players who'll make good decisions and movement. I often find playing like this I can have possession ranging from anything between 30% and 70% - we seem to adapt to situations well.

I think ultimately your system just has to be personnel based early doors whilst you try and transition to what your ideal is, but my ideal, to be honest, seems to be quite basic and therefore there's never really a big transition phase. Yours makes complete sense to me - who is your left back out of interest? My full backs, Almiron and Celen, can both play on both sides, as could my old one Guillem Jaime. Almiron's particularly useful as he's two-footed as well.

Thanks also! I've never really done one of these to this degree before. It's definitely kept me more interested in the save so I will do it for future ones too, but I've no desire to leave Annecy yet, I want silverware here. 

Here's my left-back by the way. He's relatively suited for attacking duties given his decent off the ball, anticipation, decisions, passing, work rate and the physicals. Crossing is just meh, but for his age and relative to most full backs he's solid. 

The left back is not my best player though. Not by a long shot. That would be the DM - Jason Beard - an Englishman (attached him as well). 

Mark Klausen 2026.PNG

Jason Beard 2026.PNG

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21 hours ago, Alejandro_FM said:

Here's my left-back by the way. He's relatively suited for attacking duties given his decent off the ball, anticipation, decisions, passing, work rate and the physicals. Crossing is just meh, but for his age and relative to most full backs he's solid. 

The left back is not my best player though. Not by a long shot. That would be the DM - Jason Beard - an Englishman (attached him as well). 

Mark Klausen 2026.PNG

Jason Beard 2026.PNG

Your left back is a typical FM to me - he is good and I'd 100% persist with him but you do wish there was a bit more of an end product with these players, it's infuriating that often the best way is to retrain a midfielder to play there, though that's kind of what Liverpool did with Alexander-Arnold. I suppose the crossing is the only 'meh' thing really though as he's good at everything else and is still only 20.

Beard is a quality all-round player - I notice he comes as well from TNS. What is it about that club? I'm convinced they're the best club on this game to get a bargain from. Goutidis came from there for £10k and Dinter, who I've just loaned out to Nimes only cost me £8k from them as well, and I bought him largely on the basis of how well everyone from TNS seems to develop and he's been no different. What are they feeding their youngsters?

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Well well well, this has all gotten a bit interesting again

December was a fantastic month that convinced me we really have to get Europe of some form this season, we were flawless and produced possibly our most impressive win yet - beating the league leaders at home.

 

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We got a bit fortunate at Bordeaux but I'm sure I'll cope. We made hard work of Beziers for a while but a much changed side took them apart in the end and should've won far more comfortably than we did.

I had no idea what this would be the start of though.

 

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For some reason, we keep finding ourselves having the draw for the next round done before our game has taken place, meaning that I went into the St Etienne game knowing we had either PSG or Metz in the next round, which we all knew was PSG. I was tempted to just go weak again, but I resisted and gunned for St Etienne. We absolutely battered them but somehow only managed the draw, but penalties saved us. Penalties were also what it took for PSG to get past Metz which is bloody annoying, but so be it, we had them at our place and we hoped for the best.

Well we somehow pulled it off. We turned it into a really drab affair but our defensive organisation was terrific, allowing very few chances of note and PSG failed to even register one shot on target. I didn't give us much hope on penalties, as our takers are quite poor, but Horvath and Rusak were the heroes as we won it 7-6 - our first win over PSG. It was superb.

But unfortunately, this satanic game did its thing and we were sent in the quarter finals to Lyon, who are back on top of the league. But back to that when we get there.

We have to note sadly that the league form this month was atrocious. Lorient I've alluded to previously are a very strange side - I would say they're the Leeds of France, they can be absolutely shambolic, but absolutely brilliant as well, and unfortunately they were the latter here. Totally outclassing us from start to finish. We picked up a win at Nancy but I think the hangover from the PSG game told against Lyon, who were as ruthless as PSG weren't, our heaviest loss in Ligue 1 and unless I'm forgetting something, the first time I've been beaten by four goals as Annecy manager. At least we had bottom of the table Caen at home to finish the month to recover from that, but it was abject and I think our European prospects are under serious threat at this point.

Transfer business this month was a bit interesting too. Rentero's departure meant a replacement was needed and in came Sebastian Velasco on loan (we have got the actual replacement coming in July). Amaro has left on loan and been replaced with a loanee himself in Fabio Maura. Other deals included a £275k deal to buy Goncalo Carmo from Braga (an absolute bargain in my eyes) and £1.2mil on Andreas Moestrup from AGF, to replace Li Heng who has gone out on loan, and for the most part here, been a big disappointment.

---

February showed little signs of improvement either as we went to a Lille side sitting only in midtable and succumed to a 3-0 loss. 3-0 was a little harsh but it's 4 defeats in 5 in the league and we've now slipped as far down as 7th.

Then came the Lyon cup game. Just what we need on the back of bad form. A trip to Lyon. The one team in the league we've never beaten, who are looking a very strong bet to win the Ligue 1 title. I'm told to give a team meeting to boost morale but in truth I want to save it for the Brestois game at the weekend as we'll only have our morale blown again when we get hammered here. I think as a one-off, I'm going back to 4-1-4-1 because Lyon under Jesse Marsch do seem to struggle a bit with it.

It works. Miracles happen. We win on penalties. We go behind on the stroke of half time, equalise through Rouault from a corner just after it and then hold out for the rest of the game, taking them to penalties and nobody makes a mistake. We've done it. PSG & Lyon have both fallen on Annecy's sword.

We are given a trip to Lille in the semi finals, the team who've just hammered us 3-0.

 

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We impress in the league following the Lyon win and have impressively not conceded a goal since it. We're back into the European places, but now we had the big one, the trip to Lille.

Breyton Fougeu has been very disappointing this season and although his time has been limited, he's not done much when called upon, but cometh the hour....

 

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The audacity to even try that with just ten minutes left in a game of that magnitude, at 0-0. We've done it. We're in the final.

 

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We will find out in a fortnight who we face!

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5 hours ago, Northernpilgrim said:

Good progress! Looking forward to seeing how you get on in the final :)

Likewise! Hopefully it goes a little better than March.

 

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I can forgive the PSG loss, the third straight 2-0 defeat at the Parc des Princes, as I made a load of changes to an already knackered team, but the next two results were infuriating. Monaco was just plain rubbish from us from a defensive point of view even if we did create quite a bit ourselves (and if we're searching for positives, at least Jimborean scored again). The Rennes defeat however was a total error from me. 1-1 at half time and I left the game playing without realising - no subs made as 10 man Rennes (red card in the 50th) nick an injury time winner. It's so annoying because I'm about 90% sure if I'd played it properly we'd have gotten at least a point, and probably all three. It's just tossing points away.

 

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And a bit more worryingly - the second half of the season table. To say we were 4th at the half way point is woeful in all honesty.

 

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But we do have a pretty kind run in on the whole. We definitely need some more depth if we do get into Europe though. We really struggle with playing twice a week - 

One bit of good news though is that we've managed to upgrade our junior coaching to 'excellent' status, meaning that the players coming into the club through our youth intakes will be of a very decent standard now hopefully. We still only have average facilities, but I will work around that, my trick is moving 2/3 of my best 16/17 year olds into the first team squad and having them train with them, whilst they continue playing at youth level.

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April 2029

Well this was the month of our biggest ever game. I wanted Europe through league position after a really bright start but things really were beginning to slip away from us after a poor March, and this month was the chance to turn it around, but really, I just wanted that cup above all now. I mean that would get us into Europe anyway, but actual silverware is always the priority at the end of the day. You're in it to win trophies. The thought that FC Annecy could get their hands on a trophy was a wild one, yet here we are.

The problem is, going into the game, we look absolutely shot to pieces. I'm really, really worried.

 

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Reims was a miserable, horrible loss to a side who hadn't won in 15 games. New manager bounce maybe, but it's still not on. We were unlucky to lose to Sochaux, but the Nantes game, I mean I did rest quite a number of players but the way we folded in the second half was appalling, to a side we usually always beat, who were sat 18th, to succumb to a 4-0 defeat is scary.

Worst of all - Rennes were flying. Since beating Marseille away in the semi finals, they had gone on to win 6 in a row in Ligue 1, including beating us 3-2. You could barely believe this is a team we beat 7-1 back in October. They look the part and we look, quite honestly, just shot to bits.

But the cup final was here, the national anthem played, and the teams were ready.

The first half was quite open, which is a bit unlike your typical cup final, with both teams having early chances despite both setting up relatively conservatively. However, we made the breakthrough as Jakub Vagner's brilliant pass played in Velasco who slotted home for his first ever Annecy goal. What a time to get it.

It lasted around 90 seconds though, they caught us out with a very similar phase of play and were level with what felt like annoying ease. Rennes were starting to have the better of things, but we were always looking quite dangerous on the break.

However, around the half hour mark, we regained the lead and yet again, it was a ball over the top, Otiniano the unlikely provider this time, and Velasco once again slotted home. What a time for him to start hitting some goalscoring form. He's shown glimpses of being a really decent player but hasn't really produced just yet, but if he was saving it for this, then what a chance it was.

I was taking no chances. It's 4-1-4-1 from now on. Rennes were trying to play through us and just by making it horrible and compact between the defence and midfield, we could stop a lot of their play.

The second half was incredibly dull as a result, but that was perfection.

 

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We have it. My ninth season and we have picked up our first piece of silverware, and you would have to say, one of the unlikeliest cup triumphs ever. To think we knocked out three of the last four winners on the way to it. We just kept scraping through it by the skin of our teeth. Not the prettiest, but the most satisfying. I am a bit obsessed with the ability to really grind out a result when it matters. I do want to make us a real attacking force, but if you cannot grind out a result against a superior side occasionally, then you won't actually achieve anything. This ranks for me as probably my most impressive ever domestic cup win. Sebastian Velasco was only ever a temporary measure, but wow has he made it count. The clear MOTM on the day.

This game has achieved our Europe objectives. The last four league games are essentially irrelevant now as we can't get into the Champions League (and to be honest are still a way off that). We've won a cup and gotten into Europe. I may try out a few things in this next few games.

You'll never win anything with kids, they said.

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2028/29 season review - season 9

The last few games were a bit boring as by that point there was nothing to play for. We beat Toulouse, lost at Marseille (who eventually won the league for the first time since 2010, and the first time PSG haven't won it since 2017) before draws with Bordeaux and Nice, to eventually finish 7th in the table.

 

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I've real mixed feelings about this going forward. I think it's a good league finish, I mean, it is our highest ever, and the obviously really important side of the season was we won a trophy way before I expected to get our hands on one. There is no doubting this season has been a success.

But the drop off from the first half of the season is actually quite worrying. We had 40 points at the half way stage yet only finished on 58, which is actually exactly the same total we finished on in our first season up two years ago. That represents a quite severe drop in form. Then you have to think to Europe next season as well - I feel playing cup games definitely hindered the league form somewhat, how are we going to cope with another minimum of 6 more games? 

The long story short here is I actually think we're an outside bet to get relegated. I think we'll be fine and I feel a couple of signings will sort us out. We have a really interesting couple on the way already and I expect to be given a little more money too.

 

Individual players performances, new signings etc...

I need to point out first of all that we did make a quite significant decision in January to cash in on Rentero. I don't regret the decision as we've still secured European football and a trophy, but I think for the general game to game performance, losing him as an option hit us harder than I appreciated. I think he hadn't been in great form going into the time I sold him, and there is no doubting his development had stagnated, but Velasco wasn't really as good (even if he did score the cup final goals) and Jimborean wasn't all that effective on the wing either.

Speaking of Jimborean. I'll be honest - I'm a little underwhelmed. He isn't poor, but he's just been a bit... ordinary. I think he'll get better, as I find a lot of my foreign youngster signings struggle at first before really clicking. Otiniano now is wanted by Valencia, showing how well he's developed. To say it was his first season, it wasn't bad, but I thought he'd be a bit more noticeable in games.

Duplexe Tchamba however won player of the season. What a decision that was. The man Toulouse didn't want.

Jose Rivero was our top scorer but with only 11 goals in total, which is the lowest top scorer I've had. Jimborean got 10, Vagner 7 and Manuzzi 6 (which surprises me as I found him a bit poor as well). Horvath in goal proved to be a really good signing and I thought he had a shot at POTS himself, but it wasn't to be. I won't be taking up the option to get Maura permanently. The other signings were pretty average on the whole. I think we need some more depth personally because next season is going to really test us.

Good news is we managed to improve the youth recruitment yet again, meaning we should start to get some genuinely interesting players come through from next season. I like the way this save is going, but I do think next season is going to be a bit of a slog.

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