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Season 8: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

February - March

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There weren't any competitive games in January this year (I think we had 1 last season?).

We had a bit of trouble getting going in February - possibly it was the transfers and players shifting between XIs; possibly it was just a somewhat tricky run of fixtures. The performances against Dortmund were good, though: we should have won the first leg. and then having taken an early lead in the second leg we tore them apart at the end, getting 3 goals in the last 10 minutes.

For the second season in a row, we won the title on the final matchday in March. 

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Random screenshot:

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I thought this was fun - our players scored 4 goals in the Rijeka/HNK Gorica match (Flores, Miyesenge and Walito)

 

Not-so-random but still funny:

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With 2 matches to go, Hajduk are in with a realistic chance of needing the Play-off to stay in the division. 

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Season 8: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

End of Season

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The end of the season went as I expected. The draws against Rijeka and Osijek were fairly dull and the rest of the league games were straight-forward enough. The friendlies were just to make sure we kept our two XIs fit in case of injuries.

Against Spurs, they comprehensively outplayed us in the first leg, but they needed an 81st minute goal to win the tie outright in the second leg. Still, a good effort given that they made the final (and bought our best player in January). 

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:idiot::idiot::idiot::idiot:

4 players - all sold earlier in the season for modest fees. Only Molhoek has got any first team game time (3 starts for Liverpool in the league). Easy money (far too easy, imo).

Summary + Plans

Other teams are certainly improving, which goes some of the way to explaining why we were marginally worse this season in the league. We also consolidated into a strong and weaker XIs for Europe and weekend games respectively, and the weekend side obviously had to deal with our improving opponents. We've also gone some way to improving our opponents by virtue of loaning them many of their players. It's mildly irritating, but kind of essential if I want the players to A) get game time at a decent level, and; B) be Home Grown (Nation) for Champions League registration purposes down the line.

Planning for next season is tricky, since I don't know how many of our players will leave. Of our two XIs (not including our backup GK), around half of them are Wtd by 'bigger' clubs. Clearly, we don't have to sell for financial reasons - we've got £177m in the bank, £120m in transfer budget and £921k p/w in spare wage budget - but players have a tendency to get pissy if you start rejecting bids from ManUre, ManShitty, Liverpoo, etc, even if the bids themselves may as well have been submitted on used toilet paper.  I 'think' our Croatian youngsters will probably stay. Radas got a new contract at the start of April - admittedly with a MFRC (£39.5m) - but I think that's too recent for him to leave in this window. The rest? Who knows?

In terms of players this season, I'm fairly happy. We've got decent strength and depth when you consider that half of the 46 players we sent out on loan this season would be good enough to get in our first team. I'll have to sell some of them, though; we've got around 125 players in total across our squads. There are still got 33 players rated as having 4.5 / 5 stars of PA (white star included) which is good news. 

Despite the vast number of players we own, I'm now actively scouting for Croatian youngsters, since I haven't really prioritised those much. And let's face it; we've got enough money to sign whoever we want from other Croatian teams.

 

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Last season's Youth Intake:

I didn't give this any mention at the time. Partly, it wasn't very inspiring; partly I was just annoyed that despite having a Model Professional HOYD and a Determined 'Squad Personality', at least half of the players were rejected straight away for having **** personalities and **** Determination.

It turns out that my Coaches are pretty happy with two of the players who came through, though:

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The fact that there were two good players among the small number I signed wasn't enough to save my HOYD's job. That said, Kunstic is pretty good. Pajvot probably is as well, although I never can tell with Goalkeepers. 

We've got improvements to Youth and Training facilities on the go at the moment. I can't get Youth Recruitment improved; I assume we need the club's reputation to be a bit better yet. 

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

July - August and Transfer Window

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It's been a good start to the season. I was a bit miffed to be drawn against Ferencvaros, since they were probably the hardest unseeded team we could have got. And then I realised that the AI manager would be saying the same thing if AI managers were sentient. We weren't very good in the first leg, but scored some nice goals, and then just made them look like a pub team in the second leg. There was a blast from the past in the tie against Astana who have the striker who scored all our goals in my first season at Clermont. You can see how effective he is these days... TNS were tough to break down, but Bodo/Glimt were not. 

We've been drawn in a group with Chelsea, PSG and Besiktas. Tricky.

Our league form has been good, too. We probably should have got a point against Hajduk, but the other games have been comprehensive.

Transfers

The most important sale was Zanellato, who left for Spurs for ~£10m plus 30% of profit on next sale. I'd asked for more last summer, but Zanelleto had a pretty awful season (I'm fairly sure Paulo Cesar scored more goals as a sub than Zanellato did in his starts) and I reckon it was due to the epic sulk he had after we batted bids away. Good riddance. 

We cleared out a few not-quite-as-youngsters who were coming to the end of their contracts and weren't likely to make the first team. We also sold our Thai MC for £3.6m + 25% ONS and a backup ST for £5m. 

Importantly, we didn't sell anyone I wanted to keep. That means, all of our Wonderkids and Croatian youngsters (we got bids of up to £23m for Radas, £29m for Menga, and ~£12m for a couple of the others). Paulo Cesar also got a new contract. At 25 he's the 3rd oldest players in our squad. 

Our most important transfers were actually freebies this season. We arranged a permanent deal for a kid we'd had on loan from Anderlecht, and got a Spanish Wonderkid DC from Atletico Madrid. I also spent a few million sorting out future transfers for some Croatian kids (all loaned back for the season). A few youngsters, as always, came in for free or for loose change (which raises an interesting philosophical question of whether "loose change" as a quantity varies depending on how much money you have in the bank) including an Uzbeki DC and [yet another] Mongolian midfielder.

Hernández (our Argie DLP) came to me asking for more regular game time, I agreed and he promptly broke his leg. Top stuff. With only a few days of the window left, I didn't have time to scout anyone new, so I picked up a Hungarian AMR for £4.7m on the basis that we could swap other players around to accommodate him.

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Lacroix played well for us towards the end of last season and on relatively modest wages, it was a no-brainer to get something permanent sorted out. He can play AMR as well. What's not to like?

Intxaurraga was a "thank you, scouts" moment as last season came towards an end. His agent insisted on a MFRC, but it's for £20m and expires on July 1st next year; still, if someone comes in for him before then, I won't complain. Solid and seems to have decent Professionalism as well. 

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Varsányi is the Hungarian we brought in for depth. Technically, he's good but not exceptional, but he's got Pace and that's what I want in my Inside Forwards.

Bekaert is someone we picked up a couple of years ago from a non-league Belgian team. He was on loan at Vojvodina last season and got 9 goals and 19 assists in 44 games, so he got a new contract and will stay and play with us this season. I'm a little surprised his reputation got high enough that he got the Wonderkid label, but I don't care (mostly because we haven't had any offers for him yet). 

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It's not often I look at a 12-1 scoreline and think "the losing team got kinda unlucky there" (I mean, ****, it's not often I look at a 12-1 scoreline), but they kinda did.

And yes, RBS had a more-or-less full-strength team out, and they're pretty good.

Edited by turnip
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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

September - October

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The back-to-back games against Rudes and Besiktas were fairly astonishing. The match against Rudes took 25-30 minutes to play through on Extended Highlights as we created chance after chance after chance. The match against Besiktas was quicker - they usually are if you press the 'Instant Result' button - but no less remarkable for the result (although the Champions League has thrown up some fairly bonkers scorelines already this season). 

We've had a number of injuries during this period - none of them bad, but they disrupted the team a bit anyway. Most of them from ****ing international duty, too.

Random Player of the Update

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Mandic is continuing to develop really well. His Pace is creeping up and is now at 'good but not exceptional' level. He's also got 7 goals so far this season - albeit two from penalties - and his average rating is 7.2, which I'm happy with. 

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On 20/02/2021 at 09:59, turnip said:

The match against Rudes took 25-30 minutes to play through on Extended Highlights as we created chance after chance after chance.

That's the highest xG I've seen

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

November - January + Transfer Window

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As expected, and hoped-for, we finished the Champions League Group Stage stronger than we'd started it, to be level on points with PSG and with a better goal difference... but because they beat us 2-0, and we only beat them 1-0, they topped the group. Boo, I say, BOOOOOOOO. 

In the league, our tepid form dragged on. I played through most of these games, and it was hard going most of the time. Just eking out wins against 11 men trying their damndest to kick lumps out of us. Boo, I say, BO-

Still, our ridiculous unbeaten run continues, and even if Hajduk are putting a better effort in this season, the league still looks like being yet another walk in the park.

Transfer Window

The inevitable happened, and Frane Radas left us for better-funded climes. We'd already batted away a couple of ~£30m bids and then Inter and Real Madrid ponied up the £39.5m stated in his Release Clause and off he went to Milan. We also sold Hernandez to Nantes for ~£9m - he is a good player, but we're well-stocked in central midfield and it just gives us other options. Bids for Menga, Mandic and Diallo also came in, but were all rejected; only Diallo got annoyed, but Menga will need a new contract soon if we're to keep him long-term. Malkoc got a new contract - 5 years + 3 optional - so he's going nowhere in a hurry. 

We didn't make any big signings. Another raft of youngsters came in on frees - a Spanish DR capped at U19 level the standout - and we spent around £1.5m each on a Croatian DC and a Swiss AMC. 

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Pusic doesn't look like he'll set the world on fire, but he should end up as a solid DC, and he's already comfortably good enough for most league games. As I start filtering Tomic out of the side, Pusic can get some game time.

Simonetta also doesn't look like a world-beater but, again, is good enough to get some game time without embarrassing himself and doesn't have any particular holes in his game. 

We've also got a few players lined up for the end of the season. This includes the Croats we signed and loaned back during the summer, 3 Greek youngsters and an Egyptian MC (because I find it unlikely I'll keep hold of all of my good youngsters in the summer). 

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More money for nothing.

Benali is a young Moroccan we signed for nothing and made a couple of appearances for us. The initial part of the fee was £2.5m, I think. I'm fairly sure he'll be released when his contract at Chelsea ends.

Koré is an Ivorian striker we also signed for nothing, who couldn't shoot and was uninspiring at best on the loan deal we arranged for him. Man City paid £850k up front; he's now been capped by Ivory Coast, so I expect he'll get a deal to move, rather than being released. 

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

February - March

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This is, despite my whining about matches being grindfests, our best season yet. We've managed to maintain good results even when our performances have been pretty average, and even give game time to a GK we signed in the summer. His party piece - which he shows us each game - is in absolutely whiffing attempts to save a shot that passes about a foot past his body.

I wasn't that annoyed about getting Real Madrid in the Champions League. They scored early in the first leg, and then we just battered at their door for the next 80 minutes; the two goals we scored in injury time fully deserved as our 3.12 xG shows. In the second leg, we got an early goal and restricted them to not many good chances. Milan are up next for us; they're probably the best team we could have drawn at this stage. 

The last league game of March was - again - the match that won the league for us, although we had to wait for Hajduk and Rijeka to both fail to win their games on the Sunday, to actually wrap it up. (The friendly against Independiente del Valle was because I've been scouting one of their players and it's taking for eeeever to get full knowledge). 

 

Random Player of the Update

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Trevor here has been on our books for almost 2.5 years, since we signed him from [checks notes] Curzon Ashton for £0. This is his second season slumming it in Belgium, but he's obviously doing well, since he's just got his first cap for the Netherlands. He doesn't immediately strike me as 'Dutch International' calibre, but I can't be bothered checking the rest of the squad to see how good they are, so I'll assume he is. Well done, Trevor!

Edited by turnip
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That's the Quarter-Finals successfully navigated, then. We've got Sevilla next, who were almost certainly the best of the remaining bunch to play next (Bayern, PSG and Zebventus are on the other half of the draw and play tomorrow). Sevilla probably feel the same about us, though!

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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

April - May

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We'd already won the league, but we put in a series of professional performances to see it out in style. The less said about the game against Rijeka, the better, though. That was mildly horrific at times. The Cup final against Hajduk was as one-sided as the scoreline suggests. The overall league performance was very good, but let's be clear: we've got a very strong squad. The fact that we can go 35-1-0 for a season with our Second XI speaks for the depth we have at the squad. 

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This season, we were able to give some game time to the guy I'm hoping will eventually become the new #1 for the club. He's kinda **** at the moment, but it doesn't really matter. 

We've got strength and depth coming out of every orifice at the moment. The weakest position we had this season was backup DL, and I've already agreed a deal with River Plate to sign a Wonderkid from them to solve that issue for a while. Not that the Scottish kid we had playing there this season was bad: he was capped for Scotland but we'll still look to move him on in some way over the summer. 

With more than £200m in the bank, the board agreed to fund another round of upgrades to Youth and Training facilities. The only thing we still need to boost is Youth Recruitment, but that hasn't been an option at any point while I've been manager.

 

The final game of the season was, obviously, the Champions League final. We faced my old nemesis: Paris Saint-Germain. Prior to the game, their manager - a Bulgarian with whom I'd engaged in mind games with, while managing Clermont - decided that a woman who'd taken Dinamo ****in' Zagreb to the Champions League final was someone to point at and say "She's not very good is she?". Well, two can play the name-calling game. 

Spoiler

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Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Eat ****, PSG !!!!!

 

 

They probably edged the game on xG, but I crammed as much 'Defensive __________' stuff into the training schedule for the week as I felt comfortable doing. Our first goal was a bullet header straight from a corner, and the second was a mostly flowing move that ended up with our AMC rounding the keeper and poking home from 6 yards. 

After the game, the manager of Paris Saint-Ger-****in'-main still thought that attempting to diss me was a good look. My response was not charitable. The only team to beat us in the competition this season choked when it mattered the most. 

In short: Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Eat ****, PSG !!!!!

 

Also: uoQ4oaN.png?1

More details to follow tomorrow, once I've had some sleep. This session took longer than I thought it would!

Edited by turnip
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Season 9: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

Season Summary:

We continued to roll onwards in the league, trampling everything in our path. It's pretty much a development league for us now - we have our best players in the Midweek XI, and then the next-best player in any position gets a season in the Weekend XI so we can see whether they're ready or whether they need to be moved on. The Scrooge McDuck-esque piles of money we have mean that the turnover of first-team players has reduced so we really don't need to sell many players. Intxaurraga is the only one with a MFRC, so he might leave, and Tomic is off to - ahem - Clermont to end his career there.

Paulo Cesar might leave - he got the hump pretty early on in the season about "not playing enough games", got injured and then the relentless Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday wasn't really conducive to throwing him back in to every game. He then decided to really kick up a stink a couple of days before our second leg against Sevilla, which I was not pleased with. His form didn't drop off, though, and he provided both assists in the final, so I might just play it by ear.

There are a few other players - Pitbull, Agostinho, McLaughlin - who we might move on just because they've only made marginal progress since joining (despite getting lots of football). 

 

In terms of performances, only one player who made more than 6 starts for us had an average rating lower than 7: a Mercenary little arse who whined all season about not getting to go and play for Liverpool U23s. Lozada and our Weekend ST each made 45 appearances, between starting and being subbed on. The ST top-scored for us with 21 goals; Cesar got 17, Menga 16, Mandic 15, Pavlica 10 and Lozada popped up with 12 (mostly headers). The assists were spread around nicely, with Wong & Cesar each getting 14 which is nice reward for the extra time we spent in training on Set Pieces. 

Looking through the numbers, our DCs had the best pass completion %, our MCs made the most passes and our IFs had the most shots. In a funny little stat like % Headers Won, we can also see how most of our league opponents tried to play against us - the top 3 for us are Wing-Backs (Agostinho is 5'4", so unsurprisingly, he didn't win many). 

Having a quick look at the squad, we've still got 13 players considered to have 5* PA, which I think is pretty good considering how good our best players are (15 have 4.5*). 

 

I only now just looked at the Champions League awards - we won Best GK, Best Defender (all three of them!) and Best Attacker (Cesar). Radas was also #2 for Midfield, and since he couldn't play for Inter, I'm calling that a partial win for us.

We also set a new record for the number of goals scored in a season, with 57, the number of games won in a row (10) and most clean sheets for a player in a season (16). Oh, and we also made sure that PSG have still never won the Champions League. Eat ****, PSG!!

 

Summary:

A very, very good season. I've won the Champions League with lots of clubs from big leagues, but I can't remember ever doing it with a team from a secondary league.

I still don't feel like I'm done here, either. With the reputation boost, we should be able to get more talented players through the youth system - maybe even drag back some of the Croatian talent that's been going abroad. There's also the Club World Championship - it'd be fun to have a go at that, although I'm already cringing internally at the thought of what that will do to our fixture congestion, and player's fitness (it's the European Championships this summer). 

I'm also going to start looking around to see if there are any good options for a move coming up. But there's no hurry - I'm enjoying myself at the moment. 

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Congrats. The CWC can be hard on the players' legs, especially if you reach those dates with ongoing injuries. How big is your squad? I usually have 22, surely no more than 24.

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56 minutes ago, kingjericho said:

Congrats. The CWC can be hard on the players' legs, especially if you reach those dates with ongoing injuries. How big is your squad? I usually have 22, surely no more than 24.

I had 64 players out on loan last season. And at one point, we had 83 players called up for international duty. I think my squads may run bigger than yours do...

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Weekend XI lineup:

                                                          GK: Daniel Antonic

DR: Anderson Pitbull      DC: Joao Lozada            DC: Dejan Pusic      DL: Ryan McLaughlin

                                           MC: Kevin Wong          MC: Oke Witt

AMR: Mirko Pavlica                           AMC: Abdul Diallo                         AML: Djuro Mandic

                                                        ST: Emmanuel Lacroix

 

Midweek XI lineup:

                                                         GK: Dinko Jokic

DR: Rui Agostinho      DC: Alejandro Intxaurraga    DC: Peter Kovacs    DL: Patricio Orsini

                                         MC: Dinko Malkoc          MC: Jason Bekaerts

AMR: Roman Istvanic              AMC: Alexandru Blanuta                    AML: Paupol Menga

                                                        ST: Paulo Cesar

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12 hours ago, turnip said:

I had 64 players out on loan last season. And at one point, we had 83 players called up for international duty. I think my squads may run bigger than yours do...

Ah yes the Parma approach :D

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On 26/02/2021 at 18:12, turnip said:

I had 64 players out on loan last season. And at one point, we had 83 players called up for international duty. I think my squads may run bigger than yours do...

I like to have 75 players at the club. (25 per team) and maybe up to 10 on loan some where.....

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Season 10: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

July - August & Transfer Window

We had a fairly sedate summer transfer window, with only 24 players joining the club. Most of them were youngsters, but a few should play a role for the first team this season. An Egyptian MC came in on a Bosman, we got two new DLs, the Croatian Niall Quinn and a Dutch AMC late on in the window. 

We also moved on a few young players, either because they hadn't developed as I would have wanted, or because I hated their guts - about £4m was raised from that car boot sale. Amidst that, Orsini asked for a new contract and then declared that he wanted £75k p/w. My response was to tell him to duck cough and he soon after moved to Zebventus for £11.75m. As the window wound down, Man City came in for Kevin Wong; we did a bit of negotiating (not much, to be fair) and he moved to them for £40m + 25% of next sale, which I was pretty happy with. 

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Two MCs, both pretty good, but can play different roles. De Vries will play as our DLP most of the time, while Said will play as the #10 or as either of our Inside Forwards. 

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Borda (£5m) was brought in to be our first-choice DL, pretty much just to run up and down the flank every game. Then once Orsini started whining like a stuck pig, my scouts rummaged around and unearthed Salas (£2.6m) who - I'll be honest - looks like a hell of a player to be rated 2.5*. A very solid DL and a very capable option at DC, too. Hell, you could probably play him anywhere on the pitch and he'd do a decent job. 

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One of the things I feel like we haven't really had is a way to break teams down when they park 10 buses in their own penalty area. Krsnik was signed (£3.3m) to be a lump up front who can get his head on the end of crosses. As you can see, he's pretty happy being a bench-warmer and he's bagged 2 goals already from 5 sub appearances. Decent technicals, too, so he's not entirely one-dimensional. 

 

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We got off to a bad start in the season opener, when Blind Alley (remember him) was allowed the freedom of Split to run and run and run and run to set up their opener, but that was as good as that match got for them. The 1-0 against Rijeka was a fair result, but we should have beaten Lokomotiva and Istra 1961 by another couple of goals each. 

The Super Cup was an even game (I think we each got around 1.4 xG) and the agony of losing on penalties was ameliorated by being drunk enough not to care.

The lack of Champions League qualifiers made the whole couple of months feel curiously empty and our usual second string of players are lacking a bit of match fitness as a result. 

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Playing Grays Athletic in the Croatian Cup. Midweek game, so the Euro XI gets to play and...

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I don't remember having that many shots in a match before

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Season 10: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

September & October

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I included the game against Inter Zapresic because it was supposed to be 3 days previous, but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. 

The game against Lokomotiva was one of those games. The first highlight was one of my midfielders running with the ball and getting hacked down by an opposition player, to which the ref did nothing. We were kind of garbage-tier as well, but crap referees don't help. Anyway, it's obviously going just fine, as always. The result against Rijeka looks a lot closer than the game actually was (our backup GK still has at least one solid clanger in him each game).

Random Player of the Update

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We signed El-Hadji a few years back from Belenenses for the princely sum of £500. He made very good progress in training, and had a good season on loan at Serie A Udinese last season, so he's been given a spot in the Euro XI with us this season. And he's playing well, with 5 goals and 5 assists in his 10 appearances at AMR. 

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Also, I'll just note that the board have refused to send me on a Coaching Course for the Continental A license, despite me asking probably a dozen times at this point "Ooh, you might go and leave for a bigger club."

Okay...

A) We now have Worldwide reputation

B) I've won the Champions League with ****ing Dinamo Zagreb. I could walk into any ****ing club job I wanted

C) You just paid for my ****ing Chief Scout to do his Coaching Badges

 

God I hate my board. What a bunch of arseholes.

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Season 10: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

November - January and Transfer Window

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Performances have ticked along much as I expected them to, We finished top of our Champions League group (comfortably) and have continued to grind out results against our unambitious domestic opponents.

We've got Lyon in the Champions League, which I think is a very winnable tie for us. There weren't any notable casualties from the group stage, so all the usual suspects are still in the competition.

Transfer Window

We got rid of a couple of players I didn't want any more - the Irish-Australian MC whose performances never really justified giving him much game time, and the Scottish DL who got a lot of game time last year but didn't actually develop at all. The MC went to Everton, the DL to Rangers. Towards the end of the window, Porto came in for Paulo Cesar. I didn't particularly want to sell him, but his constant whining about not starting every single game was getting on my nerves, and we do - after all - have a lot of striker options to fill his spot. Albeit once the season's over. He moved for ~£14m, which is far too little, but money's effectively meaningless to us at the moment, so whatever Paulo. Go annoy your new manager.

There weren't really any gaps to fill, in terms of making signings. My scouts found a Brazilian/Belgian DC the day before his contract ran out, so we signed him, I brought in a couple of Norwegian midfielders - one a flatulent fish who came in on a Bosman, the other cost us around £3m - and a young Polish striker to see if he can develop into someone good. 

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Waldemar looks like he could be a very good DC in a couple of years. We immediately shipped him off on a loan deal at his request, and he's getting game time, which is nice. 

Herring I don't entirely know what to do with just yet, given that we don't play with a DM. We'll see. He's good enough that he can cover in a few roles if needed, so the sub bench can be his for now.

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Hoiland-Ali had been on my shortlist for a while, and one of the things I've noticed in the league this season is that since we sold Kevin Wong, we haven't done as well from Free Kicks. We'll spend some time training him on Free Kicks, and he can... erm... also play DLP when our other 17 DLPs aren't available, I guess?

Kucharczyk is a 'no real weaknesses' kind of striker. My scouts were very optimistic about him, so we'll give him some game time and see how he gets on.

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Youth Intake

 

I don't usually bother showing these because there's usually little of interest. Not so this year:

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Bear in mind we have - in Joao Lozada and Dinko Malkoc - two players my coaches consider to be "World Class". So 4.5 stars of possible potential for Ivankovic could indicate a very good player indeed.

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And there's lots to work with there. I'd obviously want that pace up to 15 or so and for him to have some basic concept of what "movement off the ball" means. I'll get him started on trying Overhead Kicks, because the idea amuses me.

Elsewhere, Letica looks decent, although his Determination is crap, and Barisic should also be pretty handy when he's had a couple of years of development. 

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Season 10: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

February - March

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You can kind of see when I turned the game off for the night on Saturday and then loaded it fresh on Sunday - from a dreadful 1-0 win over foul-happy Istra, to a dominant run of games in the league that saw us put 8 past Slaven Belupo.

In the Champions League, we were lucky against Lyon. Without our goalkeeper having a very good game, we would have lost in France, and although he was injured for the return leg and we conceded twice, we deserved to win that one.

Man City and their disgusting strikers are up next.

Random Player of the Update

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We signed Björgvinn from Valur for £250k in January last season, primarily as a left-winger. But his loan spell at Rijeka has gone really well and he's increasingly looking like what my coaches think he is - a good Playmaker option. Assuming I don't move on in the summer, he'd be a priority for some first-team action with us. I'd still like that Pace and Acceleration up by a couple of points, though.

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Season 10: Dinamo 

Croatian First League

April - May

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We weren't able to secure back-to-back Champions League titles. In fairness, we definitely had our luck in the knock-out rounds. As per the last update, we relied on a good performance from our GK against Lyon, and again in the second leg against Man City, after they'd made the most of their chances in Zagreb. Our GK (Dinko Jokic, now the only 'first team' player left from when I joined the club) had another good game in the first leg against Spurs and although he was less impressive in North London, we just about scraped our way over the line.

The final was... the final. If we edged an even game last season, Real Madrid edged an even game this season. 

There's still the Club World Championship to come, but that'll be in a separate update.

Summary

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Our 'best eleven' (not really sure how that's chosen) features a mix of Weekend and Midweek XIs players. The back four is pure Midweek XI, the midfield is pure Weekend XI and Lacroix was himself a mix - Weekend until January, then Midweek from then on. Mandic was the standout performer across the season, although based purely on his attributes, I have no idea how he scored as many as he did. Long shots, tap-ins, headers, rifled finishes... the man scored them all this season despite being crap at all of the attributes that usually dictate that sort of thing. 

I renewed a bunch of contracts during the season, of important players, and have a few more to renew in the summer based on Promises I've already made. From that 'Best' eleven, that means Jokic, Bekaert, Mandic are already tied down, while Kovacs and Lacroix are imminent. I'd like to renew Lozada's deal, but when I had a look, he's after £175k p/w - fair enough for how good he is, and I can certainly afford it, but I'm reluctant to go over £50k for now (I just said that and now I've agreed to give Malkoc £67k, lol). Chelsea are after him at the moment, but he's got 3 years left on his deal, so I'd like to get close to £80m for him if I can. 

This wasn't a perfect season, even without the Champions League loss. I kinda screwed up when I sold Paulo Cesar, because Lacroix isn't at that level and we didn't have anyone who could reliably fill in for Lacroix in weekend matches. I'm in the middle of an extensive bit of scouting to see if I can find 2 good strikers for next season (1 will do if I keep Lacroix) and although money isn't an obstacle, I'd still like someone under 24. We also really struggled to break teams down at times - I don't know how much of that is due to us lacking quality up front, and how much is the peripheral positions, so I might start having to be ruthless with the peripheral positions, particularly in the Weekend XI.

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Season 10/11: Dinamo 

Club World Championship

We beat Corinthians 4-3 in our opening group fixture, before the games you see below played out the way you see below

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The final was... the final, and a bit of a punch in the dick, to be honest. We bossed the game only to lose, but them's the breaks, I guess.

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Love it when Real Madrid bid a stoopid amount of money for a player and he's all "Nah, it's cool bro".

I disagree, Paupol Menga - it is you who are cool, bro

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Season 11: Dinamo

Croatian First League

July - August & Transfer Window

We had a mini clear-out of players. The biggest sale saw our Egyptian AMC go to Liverpool for £20.5m (to join a "better squad" the day after we beat them in the CWC, lol), but we also cashed in another £45m in player sales, often to Premier League teams and with modest % ONS/% PONS . One DM moved to Liverpool for £6.5m and is now worth £32m, but I'm fairly sure 80% of that is from his international appearances. 

Lozada didn't leave in the end. Having said I'd want £80m for him, Chelsea came in with £79m and I... got greedy and asked for +%15 of Next Sale, and they backed off. Lozada was unhappy but I said "Oops, I'll accept an offer of £80m", but they didn't come back. Not that I'm complaining about having a world-class centreback still at the team. 

 

We also signed some players, of course. Fewer than usual - now that we've got world-class players at the club, the threshold for making my scouts pay attention is higher. My standards are still lower, which is probably a good thing. I'll explain why below.

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Delgado was a Bosman signing. We'd lined him up in January and tried to bring him in earlier (using the "Buy Now" button), but Sevilla refused for some reason. We're actually playing him for now as a Striker, but having him as an option out wide is handy, too.

Benjumea was a bit of a steal, really, coming in for £3m from América de Cali. Wages are pretty high, but Liverpool were after him too, and I wanted to make sure he signed for us. He's just slightly monstrous for a 20-year old.

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I spent quite a lot of time looking for strikers over the summer. Escobedo wasn't my first choice; but where that guy probably would have set me back £40m, Escobedo was signed for ~£27.5m. Steep, but that's the price of quality, and Escobedo is quality.

As for Benítez...he was on the books at an Academy club in Portugal who I'd signed a Venezuelan winger from last season and I went back to look at their squad to see if there was anyone else worth signing. The scout report was pretty mediocre, but - and this is something I've grown to appreciate over time - the worse the club a player is at, the worse the scout report seems to be. Benítez has very good physical and mental attributes for his age and a decent set of technical attributes with no role-related gaps. I think he could be a very good player in a couple of years. 

 

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A good start to the season. The match against Hadjuk was frustrating, though. They did **** all but scored due to one good bit of play and a bad mistake. We've rotated around a bit to try to keep players happy with game time (the lack of Champions League Qualifiers is a nuisance here). 

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Posted (edited)

Season 11: Dinamo

Croatian First League

September - October

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All going well so far. Sort of, anyway. We've struggled to break teams down in the league, but results have still been positive. We're typically getting ~3 xG from games and the main issue is players forgetting that you can't kick a football through another player. Eh, whatever. The Champions League group stage draw also saw us seeded 2nd (think what ******** that is, then remember that real life is even worse), but it's been fine so far.

The record-breaking cup game was bonkers.

Random Players of the Update

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Blanuta has developed quite well since we signed him.. His contract is up in less than 24 months and he wants a new one, but he also wants ~100k p/w, so I'm keeping my options open.

Lozada is almost inarguably the best player at the club. It doesn't hurt that he can play DC, DM or MC and be fantastic in either. It's really just a matter of time that someone ponies up the £80m I've agreed to. But I just hope it's later rather than sooner.

Edited by turnip
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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Pitbull?

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This is Anderson Pitbull. He's been with us almost 3 years and has been a consistent member of the Weekend XI through that time. He's obviously a very good player, but he wants either a new deal (I've been fobbing him off for a while) or to move to a bigger club. Finances aren't an issue with a new deal - we've still got ~£2m p/w spare in the wage budget - but he hasn't progressed the way I would have wanted him to. He isn't very good at Crossing, and he isn't very quick, which can be an issue if teams counter after he inevitably crosses the ball straight at a defender 3 feet in front of him. But, he is a solid player and does a respectable job at centre-back if I don't have anyone else on the bench. Still, I'm starting to think about my other options, so let's have a look at them.

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Kurtovic is worse in most areas (he's a little better at Tackling and marginally quicker). He's Croatian, which is nice, and has done pretty well on his last couple of loans. Not rated that well by my coaches who think 2* CA, 3* PA but honestly hasn't spent much time with our squad, so I think that's got some wiggle room. Likelihood of replacing Pitbull - low.

Ndi is someone my coaches think has 2* CA, 4* PA; he's got better physicals but weaker technicals. He also hasn't really developed since we signed him a couple of years ago. I was thinking that his Tackling is weak, but he's quick enough to be able to catch up if someone gets past him. Likelihood of replacing Pitbull - low.

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Paulo offers something the other options here don't - he's two-footed so can play on either flank. His physicals are solid, his mentals are pretty decent for an 18-yr old and his defensive technicals are good too. I am not, however, a fan of his Crossing. I've been mulling over switching my WBs to IWBs, and I think that would suit Paulo, but that would also mean swapping my AMR to be a Winger - that's a decent shift in tactical style to accommodate a new player. Likelihood of replacing Pitbull - medium.

Jarju is the highest-rated of the options here by my coaching staff (3.5-4.5* PA), but I wonder how much of that is influenced by the CA his physicals give him. His mental attributes are kinda turd (except Teamwork/Work Rate) and his Dribbling has a lot of work to do supporting his other 'meh' technical attributes. Likelihood of replacing Pitbull - low, for now. 

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Mihal will probably end up being the best of all of these options once he's had some more time to develop. Again, though, his physicals are very good, there are no major issues with his mentals, but his attacking technical attributes are weak. I really like him as a prospect, so another year or so on loan and it'll be a different decision entirely, but for now: Likelihood of replacing Pitbull - low.

Martinovic is the last option because he doesn't play for us. I've been after him for a couple of years now, but Hajduk don't want to sell. I'm not surprised - neither would I. He's also a Hajduk fan, so he doesn't want to join us because of rivalry reasons. Likelihood of replacing Pitbull if we signed him - very high. Likelihood of replacing Pitbull actually - very low.

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Well, look at that. Someone's excited about our next youth intake. If it pans out, that might be enough to convince me to hang around a couple more seasons.

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Season 11: Dinamo & Croatia's entire national ****ing economy

Croatian First League

November - January + Transfer Window

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We dropped some points in the Champions League, but still finished top of the group. We've got Sevilla in the next round.

In the league, it's business as usual. 

Transfer Window

We've made some money in transfers this season:

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For context, Croatia's national GDP in 2019 was ~£43bn. We've turned over 0.5% of that this season. 

Lozada was always likely to leave once Chelsea decided to have another crack at signing him. I'd promised £80m and I stuck to it. (I also peeked at his CA/PA once we sold him and *yikes*).

A few teams were sniffing around Witt - Zebventus came in at around £49m; I said "Nah, gimme £60m", they said "Okay" and I said "Okay". His media description is "World-Class Midfielder" but he isn't. Pitbull was a player I was actively looking to get rid of, good though he is, and although I wasn't proactive about selling Salas, I do kind of need to give his spot to a younger player. We could have made more money, but I turned down the biggest bid we've received yet: Menga wasn't that fussed about the move and he is a really important player for us (and frankly, what's the point of us having more money?). 

Incoming signings were few and far between, relatively. We signed a bunch of youngsters who might have some talent, but only a couple of them can really be considered significant signings:

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Andrezinho was an end-of-contract signing from Flamengo, and has immediately gone out on loan to Ligue 2 for some game time. He's still quite raw, but comfortably good enough for our level if we stick him in the team next season.

Szokol came in for £3.1m - he was playing regularly in Hungary and I thought he'd be good enough to justify that for us (in the league, of course). Again, he's young, but has no major gaps in his game. Depending on how much potential for growth there is, he could become a seriously good defender. 

We're genuinely at the point with the team where it's going to be rare we find an upgrade we can sign on the cheap. I still keep looking, though; it just makes finding those bargains all the sweeter when you do spot them.

[There's also a thing that I've noticed since the first Winter Update patch - where before, the number of players in the save was dropping, newgens are appearing without a club. Some of the better ones are getting U-?? call-ups, and I've picked up a few players as a result of that. We got 3 Bosnians this season - one of them a Striker who looks quite promising - as well as finally signing a Cameroonian who'd been on trial with us for around 18 months]

 

Finally, the board "agreed" to improve our Training Facilities. I asked for the umpteenth time, they rejected and I was annoyed enough I leaked it to the press and had a bit of a whinge about it. Lo and behold, what was approved 10 minutes later?

Arseholes, the lot of 'em.  :rolleyes:

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Season 11: Dinamo

Croatian First League

February to March

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It looks like we roared back from the winter break, but we weren't actually all that good. The big wins over Rijeka and Varazdin weren't nearly as comprehensive as they appear, while the win over Lokomotiva was as scratchy as my voice after I'd finished screaming at the players. We were better in March, though. This also goes for the Champions League - the first leg was an even game, but we were much better in the second leg. Barcelona await in the next round. 

 

The much-hyped Youth Intake came around and was... anticlimactic. In fairness, it isn't as bad as it looks - remember we have some very good players these days - but it does feel like having the wind taken out of your sails when you see that having had the exciting message previously. I signed most of them anyway, except the ones with low Determination. 

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Mistake

I had a couple of injuries in the squad, so ended up swapping an almost-unneeded DL into the team for a couple of games and somehow saved the team selection without realising. Which meant that - because I Instant Result games in Europe - the superstar below made it into a bunch of really important games:

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

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Season 11: Dinamo

Croatian First League

April - May

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The season ended well. League form wasn't great, even if results were still good - the 6-0 against Junak looks comprehensive, but we only scored our first after they were down to 9 men.

In the Champions League, we were excellent in the first leg against Barca, but pretty much the entire team **** the bed in the second leg and only a goal from Escobedo saved us. A tight first leg in Manchester (thanks for an Escobedo penalty) set us up for N'Diaye to run away with the tie in the second leg. And then in the final, we had to play a midfielder at DR but Escobedo nabbed his 28th and 29th goals of the season to give us a comfortable win.

 

Summary

Escobedo turned out to be a fantastic signing, with 29 goals in 21(1) appearances. N'Diaye and Menga were also terrific, with 40 goals and 30 assists between them, and Blanuta (with a new £165k/w contract under his belt) sitting in the middle with 20 assists and 10 goals. Kovacs and Intxaurraga teamed up well in the back-half of the season and our new DR was a very dependable addition. 

In the Weekend XI, Delgado was good for 75% of the season, but his form and goalscoring fell away towards the end (which contributed to our poor form). Mandic bagged a load of goals from AML, but most of those were penalties, but Agnarsson and Clementsen had solid debut seasons for us. 

Here are some stats, if you want to see 'em

 

Stinger:
 

Spoiler

 

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Season 12: Burton Albion

English League Two

I took over towards the end of the season after not really finding any interesting jobs for a long old time. Burton - with their tip-top facilities - were a very attractive proposition, considering the lengths I'd had to go to to persuade the Dinamo board (whom I'd made literally hundreds of millions of pounds for) to fund upgrades. They were languishing towards the bottom of League 2, but in no danger of relegation.

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A good start to my time at the club, and end to the season. Gillingham finished near the top of the league, so getting spanked by them was no surprise.

I arrived at the club before the Youth Intake came through, which meant I was in a nice position to be disappointed.

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Cutajar might be okay when he's older, but that's a very poopy group of kids. 

 

The plan is slow and steady progress. I usually avoid managing in the UK, because so much of my success is built on transfers, and the UK sucks rancid donkey balls for transfers. Still, it'll be a challenge at least. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Season 12: Burton Albion

English League Two

As the near-month between updates suggests, I wasn't really engaged with this season. The players at the club when I joined were pretty much all Vanarama National -levels of quality, the wage budget was at Vanarama National levels and the staff were about as poopy as the Youth Intake was. Still, it often takes me a little time to get going with a new club, so whatever.

Transfers

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Katlego was a Chelsea reject. I don't think he's ever going to be brilliant, but there's enough there to work with, as long as I can get the tactics right. Similar sort of deal with Andrzej who we spent around £12k to sign from Crusaders. Good or Decent attributes for everything central defender-related except Composure and Strength. 

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Mark was cast off by Sheffield United and I liked what I saw. Raw, but with potential. On the opposite end, Hugh was someone I'd signed on a whim while I'd been at Dinamo. He developed quite well while he was there but was still obviously a long, loooong way off being good enough for them. £17.5k and he moved to us. 

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I tried to sign a new MC in January, but my scouts dug up nothing but trash. I did some digging of my own and found a good option... and he moved to Swindon instead. Richard was the backup plan - signed from Dungannon on a free, with Hugh moving into midfield. He's on a lot of money, which can't really be helped, but he's a very solid option. 

League Two

We started well, had a horrific October and November, steadied in December and then started creeping back up the table. We were in the Playoff spots for quite a long time before hitting 3rd after matchday 39. We dropped a few points, as did most of the other teams. On matchday 46, the top of the league looked like this:

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We were playing Oxford (H), Exeter were (A) to some midtable team, and Scunthorpe were (A) to 23rd-placed Gloucester. In an epic match that rivalled some of the all-time classics, we played out a bore draw 0-0 with Oxford and finished 3rd behind Scunny. 

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Youth Intake

It looks about as poopy as last season's, although our squad is a bit better, so the top few in the intake are probably a bit better. It's still frustrating to have a squad as thoroughly-average as ours and have the max guy getting a possible 3.5* for PA. The only notable thing is that our youth setup spent most of the summer poaching a bunch of players from N.Irish and Irish teams, but none of them came through. So there might be some talent next year. Probably not, though.

Summary

Obviously a good season. Getting promoted should at least help us recruit some better players, not that I expect my scouts to find them. They're still finding players at Vanamara Regional level and firing me a "Hey, this guy looks really good!" email. The morons. I've asked the board to find us a Senior Affiliate, because we struggled to even get players on loan whom we could afford. In terms of next season, I could do with a new GK, at least one new full-back and a couple of attackers (depending on where we can get loanees in). I think if we get that, we should be okay to avoid relegation; we've probably got enough about us to play on the Counter and get enough points to stay safe. 

Hopefully, I'll enjoy next season more. If not, it might be time to move on again. 

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  • 1 month later...

Season 13: Burton Albion

I'm still not really feeling the save, but I've cast off the shackles of "I'll try a different save for a while" and will try to plough through the season as quickly as I can.

We had a decent lift to wage budget and I managed to persuade the board to let me hire a new scout, who I promptly forgot to do anything with. We discarded a bunch of trash in the off-season, which freed up a lot of wages, which meant we had around £25k p/w free before I started signing players.

Transfers

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Burke was a bit of a punt, albeit one on high wages. Creative and quick, and kind of wasted as a DLP, but that's where he'll be playing. Came in on a free from Dungannon Swifts, which is where we grabbed Richard Gallagher from, as well as...

Harry Grimes. Again, someone I'd looked at while at Dinamo but, unusually, stuck on a shortlist rather than signed. That said, not being good enough for European champions Dinamo is a long way from not being good enough for League 1 Burton Albion, and although we're paying him a lot (relatively) he looked a no-brainer, particularly for no transfer fee.

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Eneji was another free transfer, this time from AFC Wimbledon. No real gaps in his game and although he isn't as quick as I'd like, his fairly cheap wages made him another good option. We're actually playing him as a Shadow Striker, because I really like his PPM.

Ken Phillips has an England U-20 cap, although I'm not sure how. He's good; certainly good enough to replace the bozo we signed last season. Decent defensive attributes along with not-terrible attacking attributes, which - given how much of a kicking FM21 gives fullbacks - makes it remarkable we could pick him up on a free. 

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Signed on deadline day from Ross 'we have lots of non-contract players' County for (say it with me) free, he's here to be another option up top or if we get injuries elsewhere and Grimes has to shift positions. Again, we're paying more than I would have wanted, but his agent is a massive ****, so eh, whatever. Not sure how good he could be but he should be good enough for a goal every other game or so.

We also brought in some loanees - a DL from Fulham and our new affiliation with Leeds has let us bring in a DC and MC as backups really important players

Fixtures

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We've had a good start to the season and sit 2nd going into October. We achieved the board's aim of reaching the second round of the Carabao Cup (with a rotated squad) and should make the second round of the Papa John's anti-spectacular. 

Grimes has been lighting it up in the league, with 9 goals in 8 games. No-one else has been on his level, but performances haven't been too shabby yet.

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Season 13: Burton Albion

October - December

Sooooo many gaaaaaames.

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Another reason I hate managing in England. Did we really need 7 cocking league games in December? And is it really necessary to play Saturday-Monday-Wednesday-Saturday, when we've just had a week between games? Answers on a wrecking ball delivered at speed to FA headquarters, please.

Ah, whatever. I'm whining. It's fine.

As you can probably guess from the amount of green, we're doing well in the league - currently top by a few points and although we didn't get through December unscathed (I think 4 first-teamers had injuries at one point), we're looking decent going into the new year. Everton await in the 3rd round of the cup; I wanted an Away tie to a bigger team, but we've got £400k in the bank, so we don't need the money. 

At least the Youth Intake looks ****, am I right?

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Season 13: Burton Albion

January - February

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We swapped Goalkeepers with League 2 Exeter in January. Bloxham is a solid upgrade over incumbent Robbie Kerr whose contract is running out. What's not to like?

Hooper was a punt - one of my scouts flagged him as an out of contract who would probably get a Work Permit (I'm not sure why he's eligible, but whatever). I'm also not sure he'll ever be good as such, but cheap is cheap.

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Muhammed was on the books at Leicester, but never played for them. My coaches don't rate him, and I can see why, but he's quick and good at running, and that's like 90% of the things I want in an AMR, so WELCOME TO THE TEAM RANDOM IRAQI GUY!!!

Chris Connor was a freebie pickup from Cliftonville. Again, a bit of a punt - and only included here because I dislike displaying an odd number of players in this part of an update - but, again, cheap and actually rated 5 stars by my coaching team. And... I can kind of see it. 

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We keep rolling. Everton gave us a good game, but it wasn't good enough and Birmingham discovered that going 0-2 up against us only makes us mad. Liverpool at Anfield is next, which is a good chance to send the kids and collect the cash. 

In the league, we are - accounting for the first game in March, which I accidentally played before writing this up - 16 points clear of 3rd with 9 games to go. Teams are playing defensively against us, which explains the goals drying up a little, but we should still be good.

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Season 13 - Burton Albion - League 1

End of Season

bU3raKl.png?1

Almost as if I'd planned it, we sent some sacrificial lambs to Anfield, while the rest of the squad had a night off. Liverpool got the win and we got £1m.

The loss to Sunderland was irritating if not unexpected, since we sent our backup XI. Sunderland have some good players and should be doing better than they are. The win against Nottingham Forest - Grimes getting a first-half hattrick - saw us clinch promotion, while the point against Bolton was enough to give us the league title. I mis-clicked while selecting the team for our final game against Brizzle Robbers and accidentally gave a 16-year old his debut in midfield, only for him to then get an assist for our first goal. 

League Table

I was happy to see Portsmouth get the other promotion spot. They made the early running with us, only to slip down the table in December.

Summary

Obviously, another good season. Grimes fully justified the £5k p/w we're paying him, as did Johnston with his £3.5k. Grimes got 32 goals in all comps, Johnston (more or less the backup) got 22. Ramoleele and Cabrini - our Inside Forwards - each got 11 goals and 10 assists and Mark Moreman was our assistmeister with 12 in total.

At the other end, I'd be hard-pushed to say that our new GK was definitely better than the other guy, but he was mostly decent. Our first choice DCs - Gallagher and Žurek - both finished the season with average ratings over 7 (Gallagher's was 7.24, the best in our squad) while Ken Phillips was also very impressive when he wasn't sprawled on the physio's table, crying like a 3-year old because he just bruised his [______]. 

Also, something I noticed a while ago but didn't want to post because tempting fate much was this:

JNBNd0z.png

 

And finally,

Spoiler

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Ignore the first paragraph - my contract was up at the end of the season, and I always feel like giving a new manager some time to actually get scouting before the window opens is the nicest thing to do.

The board did pretty much get down on their knees and beg, but I think I've made it clear that I don't enjoy managing in England (as much fun as it's been this season spanking teams like we're in a BDSM panto or something), so time to move on.

 

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A couple of incidental bits and pieces which I am in no way using as a means of getting to the 3rd page of this thread before I move on to my next club.

International tournaments and things. Top left is World Cup, Top right is U20 World Cups; Bottom left is Euros, Bottom right is Euro U21s. The current international rankings from 1-20 are also included in case anyone's interested:

OW32Jzt.png

 

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And here is what is probably the single worst transfer in the save. And also the most expensive transfer in the save.

Emmanuel Cesbron, who came through the Caen academy but left at the end of his contract to join Marseille, and you can see the important bits from there. Notable awards include: Best Player at Euro 2036, French Player of the Year 2032, World Player of the Year 2031, World Golden Ball 2028.

CWaWXrH.png

This makes Fernando Torres' move to Chelsea look like a good bit of business.

In fairness to Liverpool, in the summer of 2033, they sold 2 players to Zebventus for £71m each, and someone to PSG for £50m (all players have now retired, so I don't know what positions they played), so they obviously had money to burn and presumably needed a new striker. But gorblimey did they **** that one up!

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And here's a look at the top 20 clubs in the world, by reputation.

M4ui8Kg.png?1

I'm obviously happy to see Dinamo still representing. Almost as happy as I am to see PSG sitting down in 20th. The year we beat them in the Champions League final is still the only time they've made the final since the save began, although they've never finished outside the top 3 in France since the FM dice started rolling. 

Interesting, also, to see Porto so high on the list. I had to check to find out why, and it turns out they won the Champions League in 2040. Well done them!

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  • turnip changed the title to Petite Wages, Massif Profits

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