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[FM21] Can I manage a journeyman save?


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I'm new to this forum, but have been updating other areas e.g. Dafuge Challenge and Youth Challenge over the last few years sporadically, and have been inspired by some of the threads on here to try my own in-depth career thread.

Most versions I've played, I've focused on challenges which inevitably lead me to a one-club career. I even skipped FM11-18, so obsessed was I with my youth only challenge on 2010. This year, having bought the game for Christmas, I decided that I wanted to try a few different things.

Firstly, I would start unemployed with coaching badges to reflect my real life skills (I have done a basic coaching course, so gave myself the lowest option available in FM)

Secondly, I would manage somewhere completely new. In FM19, my last version before FM21, I played as Bari in the youth challenge, and Farnborough in Dafuge challenge, so I felt that any major leagues and especially England were off the cards. With that in mind, I loaded up a range of leagues but with only Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands playable. 

Finally, I'd aim to manage more than one club! Let's see how I go with that one - I always get very attached!

I started in February 2021, set up my manager (below - this was after 3 games as I forgot to take a screenshot earlier!), and started pressing continue.

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I soon realised I'd left England playable to Vanarama National, so my inbox filled with the press trying to speak to me about vacant managerial roles at teams such as Accrington Stanley. Obviously with my lack of any foreign language skills, they probably weren't expecting me to be aiming abroad! I applied for every available job in my chosen northern Europe/ Scandinavian leagues. My first interview was with Icelandic side Vestri, but they turned me down after interview on 2nd February 2021. No further vacancies were available, so I holidayed a month at a time. In May, a few more jobs became available, including at IF Karlstad Fotboll, a team from Swedish First Divison North. I applied there, and used google to find out a little more about them. I was instantly convinced that this was the place to start my journey. 

Firstly, check out their badge and kit.

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Secondly, they are recently formed (2020). This is the entire information I could glean from wikipedia: Karlstad BK was a Swedish football club located in Karlstad in Värmland County.[1] They merged with Carlstad United after the 2019 season to form IF Karlstad Fotboll

An excellent place to begin as a rookie manager. Luckily, they offered me a job! I was the new manager of IF Karlstad Fotboll on a one year deal.

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Before I get to the club and players etc. I want to clarify a few rules I will be operating by (mostly):

1. This is supposed to be a move away from my usual one-club saves. Therefore I will act with as much realism as possible. I will not stay with a team more than 3 full seasons UNLESS I have been promoted with them in my final season, or been offered a significant pay-rise for a new contract. However, I won't be hopping from team to team just for the sake of it. Any job offers, or jobs applied for will take into account league reputation, team reputation and opportunities to showcase my management skills. For example, starting in Swedish First Divison North, I may entertain offers from Swedish First Division Elite or Swedish Premier League if I have a successful first season, but might want to make my mark with Karlstad first to ensure language skills and reputation are improved before moving to a bigger club. 

2. No use of editors, downloaded tactics etc. and realistic use of player search. I want a challenge, and some realism in my game. I will rely on my scouts initially at Karlstad. As an English inexperienced manager, my knowledge of the Swedish First Division North is limited to my last hour of googling! As I grow as a manager, and perhaps work at clubs with greater scouting networks, I will feel happier about using staff and player search as it's likely these clubs would have detailed databases, while my own knowledge of the game will have grown. 

3. Goalkeepers on penalties and direct free-kicks. I've never had goalscoring goalkeepers before, and decided to give it a go. I'll keep a tally over my career and see which goalkeepers score the most!

That's probably it for now in terms of rules/ aims. Let's see how far I can go and whether I ever leave the club!

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Edited by Jaketomsett
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IF Karlstad Fotboll

Having taken control of the team on 18th May 2021, I had one day to prepare before our first game. 

I took a look at the squad and decided on an initial 4-3-3 DM Wide. The squad is thin. Really thin. With no injuries we'd have a squad of 18, including only 1 goalkeeper. That's including all reserve and youth players who I immediately promoted (all 2 of them!)

We've got some standout players at this level. Lukas Rhose is one who is set for big things (according to IF Karlstad's own website) and is wanted by numerous teams. We're very short at RB, and our quality at CB is noticeably poorer than other areas of the squad. Our forward players are also old (32 and 34) - this could a big concern. Remember, this is a semi-pro squad, so fatigue is going to be an issue.

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I decided I would play a few games before making any further analysis of the squad and posting any players in greater detail. I'm a big believer in getting started and then working out what you need to do with the team. In light of this, my team meeting was all about boosting them, telling them I'd trust in them and see where we could go! They're all still very doubtful regarding my experience!

Before I kick off on the first few games, it's worth remembering I joined with Karlstad in 9th place, and I only need a top half finish (presumably 8th or above). I think this is very doable, despite some weaknesses in the squad. 

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May 2021 Report IF Karlstad Fotboll

9 league games in one month seems slightly excessive to me. I would only be in charge for 4 of them. With 3 home games in a row, I felt like this was a good opportunity to improve on the 11 points from 9 games that the former manager had managed to accrue. 

My first game was against IF Sylvia, who were languishing in the relegation zone. 

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We were 2-0 up by the end of the first half, but ended up throwing the lead away to draw 2-2. I noticed a few issues around fatigue in the second half that contributed to my downfall, especially of my LB and RB. With such a small squad, I was going to have to increase my depth in these positions if I am to be successful using Wing Backs. 

The next two games were pleasing, both 1-0 victories, including my first penalty goalkeeper goal! Oscar Jonsson stepping up when needed.

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My final game in May ended with a 0-0 away from home.

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Overall, 8 points from my first 4 games is a great start. However, I've only scored 4 goals (including a penalty) in that time and am definitely struggling to get enough players in the box. I'll be adjusting roles and tactical play within my formation over the next few games to try and improve this. Right now, the tactic looks like this:

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Looking to expand the squad

I've taken a number of players on trial, suggested by my one and only scout. There were two who stood out, Gustav Jarl, who could add options at LB and RB, and Jonathan Lundback, a potential striker. However, he was contracted when I offered the trial, so I may hold off on him. Jarl has been offered a 3 year deal; I badly need another defender and limited as I am at this point by staff suggestions, he seems a great deal.

Other club issues

When I took over I said I'd keep the coaching team and existing staff. To be honest, they're pretty limited and bad.

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I have space for an extra physio, an extra scout and chief scout, so have put out an advert for those positions. I've adjusted individual training to try and deal with the exhaustion my players are already beginning to show (see my defenders in this image above!). 

At the end of next month I will update regarding results, and perhaps give some further info on the squad and the key players who are emerging. Note: our one and only goalkeeper and match winner from game 3 has been offered a new contract as he is out at the end of the season. 

Edited by Jaketomsett
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June 2021 Update

Only the two games this month, before the mid-season break (?? I'm new to the Swedish Leagues!) and transfer window opening. The month started with Gustav Jarl joining to beef up our options at RB.

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We faced IF Brommapojkarna away first, and had our first loss. A 4-0 thrashing, but their LW had a storming game and I wasn't too upset with our play in the second half. Indeed, from the XG, we weren't too far off. Jarl had a shocking debut, with a rating of 6.0. Not too bothered, he was very much lacking in match sharpness!

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The next game things came together a bit more as we adjusted our tempo and width slightly, simplifying the instructions for my players as 8 of them were concerned about unfamiliarity with our way of playing. A 2-0 win means we've taken 11 points from 6 games and find ourselves in 9th. I'm not too upset that this is the same position we started in. If you take a look, it's pretty tight in midtable.

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The 28 day break came exactly when we needed it, as no fewer than 5 players were jaded and in need of a rest after this game. 

It also allowed me to have a closer look at my squad. My next post will focus on the team and the key players so far, as well as the transfers I've made before the resumption of football in July!

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Squad so far

My one goalkeeper! He's been very solid so far, and scored the first goal of his career in my third game in charge.image.thumb.png.b301cfe54447327c2cfa9870c76eb727.png

 

Defenders:

CB options: Of these players, Gran and Zarkovic have played the most games for me. Bellander is backup, Forsberg has been injured. Damgaard is a new signing and will mostly play RB.

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RB/LB options: Many can play in these positions, but are needed elsewhere. Jarl and Damgaard will likely fight it out for RB, while Rhose is definitely first choice at LB. Both Nilsson and Alvers can play there, but I am using them elsewhere. Aso is natural at both LB and RB, so is a good option. He played at RB until the arrival of Jarl and Damgaard.

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DM options: I've never really used DMs before, but wanted the security a half back offers. Nwosu has been very solid so far and is first choice. Kihlgren looks a good prospect, while Jernberg has only just returned from injury.

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CM options: I've been playing with a CM(A) and DLP(s) recently, but have switched these roles around in the first few weeks. Beqiri, Nilsson and Jernberg are my best options here really, although Kihlgren filled in as a DLP(S) when others were jaded.

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AML/AMR options: Again, a few who can play here. A revelation has been Alvers who previously played LB, he scored 2 goals from range in my first 2 games. Felicia and Alvers are my starters. Kahed scored his first goal in my last 2-0 victory.

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ST options: Palmer has just joined, so Bellander and Johannes have been doing the business so far this season. Bellander is better, although Johannes ended his goal drought in the last 2-0 victory. Palmer is exciting - let's see how he does!

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Players in focus:

A few players of particular importance:

Oskar Alvers

Made a really good start at inside forward on AMR position. Two long range goals in my first two games has certified him as an early favourite of mine! Has become jaded, so needs a bit of rotation.

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Lucas Rhose 

The player most wanted by better teams (from division above) - he's made a solid start for me at LB. He's not been special though, so I'm not adverse to selling him at some point if finances dictate.

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Success Nwosu

Has been integral to the side so far, breaking up attacks. I offered him a new contract which he accepted. 

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Lovette Felicia 

Initially went under the radar, but a delightful assist in the last game made me have another look. Nothing spectacular about his stats, but has been solid so far. 

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New signings

Two new signings other than Jard. Damgaard is pretty solid stat wise, and offers me enough depth to play with very attacking wing backs. Palmer is a gamble, but for a 15 year old he looks insane at this level. Excited to play with him!

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July 2021 Update

Umm, so I signed Freddy Adu! He was available from Osterlen FF who play in the division below, but is rated 3 stars, so is still reasonable at this level. A good start to the month, let's see how he does! £50 a week isn't too bad either!

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This month felt quite tough. I went 2-0 down in both of the first two games in July. I came back to 3-2 up against Haninge and drew level against Orebro. Both times I conceded another. I'm not sure if my lack of match sharpness (why didn't I play any frendlies in the break?!) could have anything to do with it, but we did improve as the month went on. Against Lulea, again we went 1-0 down, but came back late on to win. A draw against top Vasalunds and then scrapping past bottom Frei led to a movement up the table to 7th - much better!

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Of note in these games. Palmer (15 year old) got his first goal. 

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And the board seem mostly happy!

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August 2021 Update

So, I'm setting records! Probably the wrong ones :lol:

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However, some progress overall, including our first win by more than 2 goals. Another penalty goal for Jonsson. He would be my top scorer if he'd scored all his penalties. Unfortunately, he's only hit 3/5. Hit the bar 3 times from free kicks, so we will hopefully see him add to his tally soon.

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We also won in the next game, to make it 6 unbeaten. 4 wins and 2 draws in the last six really show our form is picking up.

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The board must like what I'm doing, as they've offered a new contract, until the end of next season - result!

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So, with 6 games to go, I'm 5th. Very happy with this - I've taken 29 points from the 15 games I've been in charge. 

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Freddy Adu has also started very well and has displaced Felicia on the AML position:

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I went out of the cup on penalties, which was the only other game in August. 

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A couple of other things to note: I'm doing my first coaching course. And my defence has improved significantly in August since signing this guy. I'm now overloaded at CB, but his first three games - three wins and three clean sheets. 

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September 2021 Update

Wow, what a month! Two goals conceded, 9 scored and 4 victories to make it 7 wins in a row. Free signing Morten Rokkedal has 21 points from 21 since joining. In that time we've only conceded twice. I watch games only on extended highlights, so it's hard to draw 100% accurate conclusions, but he seems to have either joined at the right time or been the catalyst for our success. 

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Our goal scoring has really improved, and key to that is the development of our 15 year old Pontus Palmer:

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He now has 8 in 13 games, including 6 in the last 5 games. We really seem to be clicking tactically as well. I've adjusted the roles slightly over the season, but haven't had to make any changes for the last 8 games. The half back role is giving us enough cover to allow for our attacking wing backs, but shifting to one on support has really helped our stability. Nilsson in CM (A) has been superb and has chipped in 6 goals this season so far.

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League Table. We've got two games to go this season. Our last win over top of the table has given us an outside chance of a play-off place. Next game sees Haninge face Vasalunds. Let's see what happens! Either way it's been an exciting end to the season. On to October!

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  • Jtomsett11 changed the title to [FM21] Can I manage a journeyman save?

October update

Two games to play, with an outside chance of a play-off place. Obviously I therefore went and lost for the first time in 8 games. I won my last game to confirm the clubs highest ever finish (they did form in 2020 though so not exactly a brilliant achievement :P). Overall, very pleased, as are the board. I think we've got a good platform to build on for next year.

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Pontus Palmer got a hatrick on the final day of the season, which left him with 11 goals for the season - a superb effort from 15 league games for a 15 year old!

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Final league table:

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End of season and looking forward to next season update:

I always love these media messages. 'Sources indicate that they are determined to give it their all in the final few weeks of the season' - the season's over guys!

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The wage budget has been upped for next season by £300 a week. Coupled with getting rid of a few players (hopefully) I should be able to bring in a few players to improve the depth and quality of the squad.

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I'm hoping to improve the quality of coaching team and employ a scout (my only scout got poached mid-season). The problem so far has been my promise not to change the backroom staff. I think this is a flaw in the game - obviously I need to replace staff who leave!

I will do a squad update after the two month off season, although I've posted my 'team of the season/ most used players below). One conundrum I have is the Nilsson is 32 and has been my only good performer in CM (A). May have to find another attacking CM to fill his shoes. Good news, is LB Rhose has agreed a new contract - he will stay until 2023 :)

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Pre-season 2022 review

Wow, pre-season in Sweden is long. A gap from November until April! 

It started off well, with Pontus Palmer being called up to the international scene!

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I did worry about the attention this may bring... more on that later!

Strengthening the team

I started by strengthening the coaching, medical and recruitment departments once my promise not to change anything was up. 

Then I set about improving our options in CM and improving our forward options.

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However, before we see the players I've bought in, some of the sharp eyed among you may notice two notable departures

I hate transfer deadline day. At least the Rhose deal included a loan back for this season. Losing Palmer for £230 feels horrendous. Not sure I'm over it yet!

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Arrivals

Two good CMs arrived:

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Two wingers/ forwards:

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And finally, an out and out striker to replace Palmer :(

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He hasn't got the same pace or finishing, but here's to hoping he has the same impact!

I'm honestly gutted to lose Palmer, he had really helped me to enjoy my first season at Karlstad. Media prediction is 2nd, which I don't think it too unrealistic.

One signing I forgot is another defender who can both defend and run. And a backup keeper on non-contract terms.

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Before I kick start the 2022 season, one thing I've noticed with lower league saves is that players are perhaps too willing to join on part time wages regardless of location. Lets take the example of Gunnarsson. My scouts suggested I take a look at him, and on this save with realism in mind, I'm only taking their suggestions and offering trial periods to those who might fit my requirements. 

Now, Gunnarsson was previously employed by Fjolnir, who were playing in the Icelandic First Division. He's moved to me to be on £110 per week, before taxes. Why would anyone relocate from Iceland to Sweden to play part time football for less than £500 a month? Now, he's made a good start with me, so maybe his gamble will pay off and he'll earn a full time contract somewhere in Sweden. However, I definitely feel this is an area football manager doesn't do particularly well on - the logistics behind transfers. However, it is also a game, and it would be incredibly frustrating if I got rejected by players unable to find a job to supplement their income etc. 

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One other update before the first month of the season - I totally forgot about my youth prospects coming through in the 2021 season. I kept 6 of the players, but none of them look particularly special. My youth ratings and facilities need upgrading really, but money is particularly tight and the board seem unwilling. Perhaps I will look to improve the youth aspect of my next team.

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April 2022 update

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If I'm honest, I totally missed when they changed the expectations to reaching the playoff. Especially with them selling our top goalscorer, I was a little peeved when I saw this.

However, the season did start very well:

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5 wins out of 5, including a hattrick for Mansson, which suggests he may be able to play a role in replacing Pontus Palmer. The fact he scored having come on after 58 minutes is very impressive I feel!

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Oscar Jonsson also got his first penalty of the season, but hit the bar from another two free kicks. He's yet to score one, despite hitting the bar 5 times in my memory! 4 goals so far for the keeper :)

The table is looking good! In all honesty, the last game should have been a defeat, but Freddy Adu stepped up to score a headed winner just when I needed him. 5 points clear at this point is excellent and means we've won 13 of our past 14 games in the league going back to our winning run last season.

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In other news, I got my second coaching badge and the board injected £68k to keep us only just in the red. 

Onwards to May and nearing a year in charge for me. 

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May 2022 update

More of the same followed in May, with another 4 wins on the bounce. Mansson now has 7 goals, including 4 from AMR and AML which is particularly pleasing as it means the goals are being shared around the forward positions. All the games were quite comfortable this month, which makes me slightly nervous. Complacency is sure to kick in at some point. I don't think I've ever won my first 9 league games in a season before, so this feels very satisfying. Linkoping City moved from the First Division North - First Division South this year, but didn't do very well last year so a surprise to see them doing so well - probably down to Moses, their top scorer with 13 in 9 games!

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June and July update

I got carried away and decided to play both months before updating. It's fair to say I am somewhat running away with the league. The only thing we haven't managed to do is break the wins in a row record. We equalled it, but then dropped points for the first time this season to miss out. Having said that, we're only 4 wins away from breaking it again!

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However, other records keep coming:

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The biggest issue, is that apart from Mansson, we don't have any high scoring players. Our joint second top scorer is our GK :lol: The other striker we signed, Toure misses quite a few chances. Mansson often plays AMR or AML positions as an inside forward and seems to score wherever he is played. Not a major concern seeing as we're top and 8 points clear with nearly 2/3 of the season gone, but something to improve next year. 

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Other concerning areas are youth intake and finances. I really don't want any bids coming in for my players with this state of affairs knowing how willing my chairman is to give away our best players! Youth intake looks quite poor.    :(

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The transfer clause is for Palmer, but it's still not worth much, so will be skipping this for now!

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August and September Update

August started off perfectly, with us beating our closest rivals. We were 3-0 up, thanks to Toure finally finding some form. However, Linkoping came close to claiming a point, as we nearly surrendered our lead. They had two very good chances after their second goal, but luckily we held on. 

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The rest of August didn't go completely to plan, but Linkoping lost 3 in a row (including the game against us) so despite dropping points, we extended our lead at the top to 14 points. Success in the Swedish Cup Second Round was sweet, as we beat a team from the First Division Elite (the league above) which bodes well for our chances if we get promoted, which was still looking very likely at this point. I'm interested to play in the group stage format of the cup, which will be my first taste of it.

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The board were only scoring me a B, which is a bit harsh I feel. Part of the issues with transfers is that I signed most of the youth candidates after their trial period ended so they counted as 6 proper (and therefore underwhelming) signings.

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With 7 matches to play after our first game in September, we are set for our best finish, but how good could it get?

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Really, really good is the answer. Bar one (very deserved - we were awful!) defeat, we saw out the month with victories. 

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All of this meant, that with 4 games to go, we are... CHAMPIONS!

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4 games to go, so will update regarding next steps once they're concluded. For now I'm trying to decide if any other players deserve a new deal. We've got a chance to beat the records for most wins, most points and most clean sheets, so will try and aim for those over the next 4 games!

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October Update

Firstly, the youth came through - I'm keeping the first one.

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We finished the season with 1 loss and 3 wins:

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We achieved records for number of wins and total points.

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Crucially, sponsorship money has wiped out our debts. With actual prize money for finishes in the First Division Elite we should do well for finances now which will hopefully prevent the sale of players for peanuts!

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I've narrowed down the squad, setting about 9 players for release. They mostly played very few games this season, although a few just aren't cut out for the next level (I believe). The ones I'm keeping are below. Mansson won player of the season - with 19 goals in total, 17 in the league, he's been a brilliant signing. Toure came good in the end with 11 goals in total, including some excellent goals in the second half of the season. Hopefully he can make the step up.

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In terms of additions, I'll look to add a RB, CB, CM, a AMR (inside forward) and potentially another striker. Our wage budget has doubled to £8k a week, of which we're spending about £3k, but our transfer budget is currently £0, so it will be free transfers.

I'll do another update when we sign some players, or when the group stage of the cup kicks off!

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The Chairman's at it again. 

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This isn't even a good deal! The friendly (which will only make us £7k ish) seems to be what has turned his head, as the offer below hasn't been auto accepted.

I accepted that anyway as it was better and...

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Haha! I can cancel this one, which I've done. Toure immediately wanted to know why I'd cancelled. I didn't have the option of 'because our chairman is stingy AF'. I've now agreed he can go if a £6.5k offer comes in. I'll probably sign a replacement for when he goes on deadline day!

 

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February cup update and Pre-2023 season

By the end of February, we had completed our pre-season and the group stage of the Swedish Cup. 

Unfortunately, we went out at the group stage, but this competition is quite tough for any lower-league team. You have to finish top of the group to qualify for the next round, and we faced two Prem teams and one First Division Elite which we were promoted to at the end of last season. I'm pretty pleased as we beat one Prem side, Helsingborgs and the other two games we weren't outplayed too much. I never play friendlies so don't really care about those results!

 

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Our squad has changed quite a bit over the winter close season.

We wanted a CB, RB, CM, ARM and potentially another ST.

Here's the CB:

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Lingblad, apart from having an excellent name, meets the requirements that he can sort of run, sort of jump and isn't horrific on the ball.

Here's our new Rb:

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Haugen again is an improvement on our starting RB, and that determination of 17 will be useful in boosting the overall personality of the squad.

Our new CM:

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Zlotnik looks to fill the DLP role in our CM, or at least rotate with our other midfielders there.

Our new AMR made an instant impact with 2 goals in the cup:

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We also bought in a new AML, which I wasn't planning on, but this guy popped up and I also thought his pace upfront could be useful if required:

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This left us a little over-populated in the 3 forward positions, as we now had 7 players there. However, I was almost sure Toure would leave, so wanted one extra just in case!

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Coming into March, with 3 friendlies to play before the season kicks off, our finances are also looking a lot better. Staying in the First Division Elite is worth at least £525k. Our current wage expenditure is only £4k a week - exactly the same as last season, so hopefully we will be in the black next year and maybe able to afford some improvements to facilities!

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March and April 2023 Update

A really good start to the season! We had the expected news just before the first game, with Toure leaving us. However, they agreed a 6 month loan (for some reason that's the longest I could get!) so we are still overloaded in the striker department. We will rotate Mansson and Jonsson, while trying to play Toure less frequently so we can move away from him. It's funny, just 6 months ago, Mansson was first choice ST and Toure was completely out of form, but since then he's really kicked on while Mansson has flourished at AMR. We will see how Mansson copes with the step up, as ability wise he is one of the weakest of our front players.

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On to the games. Our first game saw us draw 1-1 with Jonsson coming on to make the difference.

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From there we managed to go on a great run, making it 6 unbeaten to start the season. The 3 wins in the last 4 bode well for us. Although we've also ridden our luck at times as you can see from XPg from the 0-0 against Varsbergs!

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So after 6 games (a fifth of the season, don't forget!) we are 4th, which is superb. I don't expect this form to continue, as we have been very lucky at times. 

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Another good moment from this month was when Lukas Rhose agreed to extend his loan. This will be is second full season on loan with us which makes me wonder why he ever left!? 

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Oscar Jonsson also got on the scoresheet to make sure he's scored in every season so far. He is yet to score a free-kick though, so is doing pretty poorly as goal scoring keepers go!

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May and June update

May and June were very good to us, very good indeed!

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The draw with Brommapojkarna, who were promoted from the First Division North in my first season in charge, was, it's fair to say, completely undeserved. We were completely outplayed, but managed to hand on for the point to remain unbeaten. We then improved throughout the month. The 1-0 came courtesy of a Bjork header and we again sort of hung on, but took 3 points.

I decided I needed to start to shift Toure out of the side as he would be leaving in July. I put Mansson back up front as Jonsson had been limited to a couple of goals. He scored 1 in the 3-0 win and then scored a hatrick in the 4-2 win. This took him to top scorer.

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I forgot to snap the table at the end of May as I was very much focused on playing because of our excellent form. 

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June was identical in terms of points to May, however we overcame some very tight games. Mansson fell out of form again and Toure scored winners in both of the last two games. I tried to extend his loan deal, but with no success. I'm just not sure Mansson and Jonsson are good enough at this level to consistently score enough goals. 

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However, regardless of a lack of a consistent goal scorer, we don't seem to be struggling at all! First place with nearly half the season gone is well above my expectations of this season. Just to remind you, we have a wage budget of £4k a week and are one of two semi-pro sides at this level. 

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For the first time, the board are very happy with me. I think the ratings being improved with the latest update has helped as they're no longer upset at the performance of my defenders. 

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The board have also pumped another £100k in. Prize money for our current finish would be over £1 million, which would surely be enough to turn pro?

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This is the squad by appearances so far this season. As you can see, 4 goals by Mansson and Mikkelsen leaves them joint top scorers. Mikkelsen has been excellent and playing at AMR has limited Mansson's game time, so perhaps if I stuck with one they'd have a higher total? Bjork has been superb at CB, as has Gran, who often keeps the much higher rated Lindblad out of the side. 

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July 2023

Things did not go so well in July! It started off pretty well, with two more decent draws having first dispatched our closest rivals at the top Falkenbergs. We came back from 2-0 down and 3-2 down with super sub Jonsson playing a key part in our recovery with 2 goals in a 3-3 draw.

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Next up, Mansson rescued us! In both games I felt we should have won. Incredibly, we were 17 unbeaten at this point!

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However, we deservedly lost the next game.

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And the rest of the month involved us mostly underperforming and conceding goals we had been keeping out until this point. Still, only 1 loss and a minor blip, but I am concerned that it could carry on. Regardless, we seem likely to finish mid-table at worse, which would still be a great result for the club. 

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Transfer window update

A few updates as we managed to bring in a couple of players on a free. Toure left us, so we brought in Dongda He. We also let our second choice Rb Jarl (who was great last season but lacked the pace at WBR at this level) go and bought in an eventual replacement for Rhose. Finally, we took another AML/ST on as Felicia is very unhappy with game time. I am concerned i may have upset the balance of the squad at a crucial time in the season. We shall see over the next few weeks and months as these players gain match fitness. There is no doubt Dongda He, Lopez and McGiff are significant improvements on what we had, but unless they get match fit and settled quickly I could regret their signings I feel. None of them played particularly well in their debut games, and we haven't won with any of them on the pitch so far!

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August 2023 update

I never like getting these messages.

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However, fans are right to be questioning my tactics, I am too! This month saw us score just 3 times in 5 games, which is clearly a problem, but it actually feels like we're just much more defensively vulnerable. With that in mind, I'm thinking of changing wing backs to full backs and altering a few team instructions.

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This run of results has seen us drop down to 5th, now 3 points off a play off place. This still isn't bad for a newly promoted team obviously, I'm just concerned how we get out of this form. One of the big issues we've had is not being able to decide on my front 3. Mansson now has 7 goals, but isn't consistent this season and almost everyone seems to be getting ratings of 6.4 or lower in the front 3 positions. 

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September 2023 Update

September started off exactly how I needed it to! A win! It was a hard fought win too, with Mansson popping up in the 86th minute for the winner after we'd come back from conceding early to lead 2-1 at half time. 

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The next game was a 0-0 draw, but then we won again against Orgryte to put ourselves right into the promotion mix. 4 games to go, including against the teams in and around us. This was going to be interesting. The final game of September saw us take on Ostersunds, which if we won, would make the final three games very interesting indeed.

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It didn't start well, as we went 1-0 down to Lidberg, who terrorised us in the first half. However, we grew into the game, and after Dongda He missed a sitter, he equalised. Super-sub Jonsson then gave us the 3 points, and suddenly it was all in our hands! Bring on October - what a turnaround and a difference a month can make!

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Extra September Update

Three games to go. Potential for back-to-back promotions. It's the business end of the season. However, firstly, the youth arrived. Two looked very good.

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Lukas Jonsson in particular excites me, as he looks half decent (as good as my back up keeper who is still on a non-contract anyway!).

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I signed everyone with 3 stars potential.

We were also offered a new contract and won manager of the month for September. Now, having spent 2 and a half seasons with Karlstad, I was thinking I should perhaps be moving on shortly. However, I can always resign and if I get promoted again, it wouldn't make sense to leave at this point.

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Now on to the football business again!

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October and November

Not a great start to October - a draw with bottom and relegated Umea. We just couldn't find a way through. 

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So, on to the big game. Away at top of the table Falkenbergs. What a game this was! We took a quick lead, and then keeper Jonsson scored only his second goal of the season (we've only had 3 penalties this season, of which he missed 1) before a fantastic header by Dongda He gave us a 3-0 lead. We very nearly capitulated. They got a goal back, we went down to 10 men due to injury and at 2-3 they had 2-3 good chances to score. Luckily for us, they didn't.

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This confirmed at worst we would finish in the playoff place (3rd). Anything higher and we'd be guaranteed promotion. 

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So, to go up, we needed to win and Falkenbergs to draw or win. Falkenbergs just needed to equal our result. Ostersunds needed to win and hope Falkenbergs lost and we drew or lost.

Ostersunds took an early lead in the 10th minute against Umea and by half time led 2-0. They were top as both us and Falkenbergs were being held 0-0. Then Orgryte took the lead against Falkenbergs. We entered the last third of the game, trying, but failing to score that all important goal. However, 76 minute in, Adam Bark got on the end of a cross from Zlotnik, our DLP and sent the ball back across the goal, and in! We had the lead, and held on to it. However, Falkenbergs had equalised late on, so as the final whistle went, I waited to see if the confetti would start falling. It did! We'd secured the league title and back-to-back promotions!

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Post-season 2023 Update 1

A day after promotion was confirmed, we went professional, which is excellent news. This will allow for much greater player development as part-time is a real killer. 

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We received our prize money, which allowed us to boost a few facilities as well. The training facilities will be ready at the start of the 2024 season so that's excellent news. That's the bulk of the money from winning the league gone though! Upgraded academy coaching is great and hopefully will impact our next youth intake. I'd like to have more confidence to play the younger players (although there's several I may give a runout next season regardless of current ability).

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I also got on to the next coaching course, as did quite a few of my staff. This is great news, as I think regardless of where we finish next season, I will look to move on, perhaps abroad, as my three full years will be up and unless we qualify for Europe I can't see a reason to stick around if I'm to actually move ever. The original reason for starting this save was to try and be a journeyman, which I've not managed since FM08 or something like that!

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In terms of player awards, I totally agree with Adam Bjork winning player of the season. He's been brilliant. Interestingly, Mansson finished as top scorer on 7 goals in the league, 3 of which were in one game! I need some greater consistency upfront I think!

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Post season 2023 Update 2

Before pressing continue much further, I wanted to analyse my squad a little. I felt it was definitely front-loaded last season, in terms of having about 8 players for 3 positions. 

Goalkeepers

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Jonsson has been my undisputed number 1 since taking over and played every game bar the cup game. Monty has been on a non-contract for 2 years and played only cup games. Jonsson only scored twice this season, so my goal-scoring keeper isn't going brilliantly. I may look to add a replacement for Monty, although I also have Jonsson's namesake in the U18s who has 5 star potential. Perhaps he can be my cup GK next season.

Defenders

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Bjork was a mainstay, as was Haugen last season, despite his poor ratings (mainly due to erroneous ratings for half the season). Lindblad was okay at CB, but I'm not sure I want to offer him the 3 year deal he wants to sign a full-time contract. Rokkedal and Gran (not pictured) left as they wouldn't sign contracts as I reduced their game time and they got upset. 

I'll be looking to bring in an upgrade at RB as Haugen played well, but I feel may be caught out a Premier level. I will need at least 1 more CB as well. Potentially if I can bring in a player who can play across the back, that will allow for sufficient cover to have just 7 defenders in the squad.

Midfield

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Performances from my midfield were much better once the hotfix came out (in terms of ratings). However, Zlotnik tailed off towards the end of the season. Out of the icelandic duo, Gunnarsson is my favourite, and often starts in the CM(A) role.

Kihlgren had already accepted a contract offer from elsewhere, and he was my backup DM, so I will need a replacement for him. Nwosu is good enough, but I feel that an improvement in my half back position would be very welcome. We'll probably add one other CM as well if we can, so we can have 6 players for the 3 positions. 

Inside forwards and advanced forwards

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This was where I felt we were overloaded. However, apart from Mikkelsen, who played the most games as a result, very few players showed they could contribute consistently. Dongda He ended up with 1 in 2 having joined mid-season, and won 'signing of the season', but McGiff hasn't really worked out so far at AML. Despite scoring the goal that got us promoted, I'm tempted to let Bark leave (his wage demands for a full time contract are obscene) as well as Felicia, who is dutch so counts as foreign (I need 9 swedes in my 18-man squad for games and am already close to the limit) and has no room for growth, as well as having a poor return this season. Isaac Jonsson is one who I am undecided on. Technically 6 goals from 7 starts is brilliant, but he scored 5 goals from the bench and rarely impacted from the start. I think it is likely I will loan him out or sell him, whichever is most possible.

That would leave me with:

AML: McGiff or Fermina (4 month injury but had played quite well just before his injury)

AMR: Mikkelsen or Mansson

ST: Dondga He or Mansson

Mansson is an interesting one. He's had almost no stat growth since he joined despite top scoring in both seasons. I just don't know where he plays best, and he may be left out as inevitably better players will now be on offer. I hope to retain him and hope that full time training and better standard of league allows him to develop and continue to be useful.

I'd probably like to pick up a better AMR/ ST at the very least, but am not opposed to getting in more players to improving the quality. Other than Mikkelsen and Dongda He, nobody can really say they've earned a shot at the next level.

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Overall save progress

Having now finished two and half seasons with IF Karlstad, I am content to play with them for another season. Normally I'd gear myself up for a long term save with them, but I really do want to try and move clubs. Perhaps that will be to another Swedish Premier side, or perhaps abroad (Denmark may be a step up, or I may move to a top team in a slightly inferior Scandinavian League for European football).

Manager development

My progress as a manager has been good. My starting stats and my stats now are below. A 63% win ratio is very pleasing. The only stats I haven't improved are GK coaching, coaching youngsters and adaptability. I'm not sure how to improve the first two? The latter I believe will improve when I move clubs. I'm impressed by the discipline improvement - maybe due to my harsh club conduct perhaps? I usually struggle to improve this and it always holds back by coaching ability!

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Overall career stats

Country League Cup competition Europe Finances Status Youth facilities Training facilities Youth recruitment Junior coaching Top scorer Top assists Best Average rating
Sweden Swedish First Division North - 4th Swedish Cup - First round N/a -£150,000.00 Semi_pro Basic Below average Basic Fairly basic Pontus Palmer (11) Lovette Felicia and Lukas Rhose (5) Pontus Palmer 7.29 - 15 games
Sweden Swedish First Division North - 1st  Swedish Cup - Group stage N/a £18,000.00 Semi_pro Basic Below average Basic Fairly basic Kasper Mansson (19) Adam Bark (10) Kasper Mansson 7.20 - 30 games
Sweden Swedish First Division Elite - 1st Swedish Cup - Second round N/a £135,000.00 Professional Basic Below average Basic Average Kasper Mansson (7) Mads Mikkelsen (7)

Adam Bjork 7.06 - 29 games

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Enjoyed reading this, excellent progress.

The long winters are a bit of a pain in Sweden, but if you ever get through the mid-season cup ties, you'll play some more cup games before the next season starts, which can be useful. I tend to prefer Norway personally as the league starts a bit earlier and finishes a bit later.

Btw, the summer break is because much of Sweden goes on holiday for midsummer, and I guess they don't want fans to miss games. 👍

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On 19/01/2021 at 19:02, withnail316 said:

Enjoyed reading this, excellent progress.

The long winters are a bit of a pain in Sweden, but if you ever get through the mid-season cup ties, you'll play some more cup games before the next season starts, which can be useful. I tend to prefer Norway personally as the league starts a bit earlier and finishes a bit later.

Btw, the summer break is because much of Sweden goes on holiday for midsummer, and I guess they don't want fans to miss games. 👍

Thanks for the feedback! Yes, I've only once made it to the group stages, which did make the season much better. I've started 'auto-continuing' during the winter as otherwise 4 months is a bit too much to plan squad improvements and you end up adding too many players!

I may end up in Norway next, I'd like to go elsewhere in Scandinavia after this.

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Close season business

As stated above, the long close season unfortunately leaves a lot of 'tinkering' time. 

I firstly let go of Adam Bark (£7.5k), Felicia (free - nobody would offer money!), Rokkedal (end of contract), Monty (released from non-contract) and Isaac Jonsson (loan). 

I then bought (I say bought, all our transfers were freebies) in a new AMR. With pace to burn compared to our existing complement of forwards, I was excited to secure Hardarson on a free.

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We also improved at RB and CB as we aimed for. Importantly at least Kojic was Swedish, as I was getting close to less than 9 out of the 18 man squad who are Swedish.

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I also improved at CM. Initially I wanted a DM and one CM, but ended up bringing a DM and two CMs. Zlotnik is now not very happy, but they are both big upgrades so he'll just have to be unhappy! Hammar came later and was just too good to turn down for £750 a week!

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I should have stopped there really, but came across another AMR and realised I could push Hardarson up to ST if needed. Jonsson went out on loan to make space, as this guy came in:

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The last signing was a bit of a luxury, and one I do regret as he's not going to get the game time to develop. Kanu could be very good at this level, however he's not trained in the nation and thus rarely can make the bench and I like Jonsson as a starting keeper too much to drop him.

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Despite Kanu, I'm pretty happy with the squad. We've improved at CB and RB, DM and CM, AMR and ST - not bad! 

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April 2024 Update

And so the season begins. We're predicted dead last, and the board want us to avoid relegation via the relegation playoff which seems a little ambitious, but probably doable.

We started pretty well. Our first loss was unlucky, and the 3-0 win over Sirius was excellent. New AMR Yanagi got 2 in that game, and repeated the feat in our 3-0 win over Kalmar.

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The next two games were again, reasonably close. 6 points for 6 games sees us in 11th position, but very close to the drop zone and relegation playoff place, which I'd rather avoid.

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At this point, these are our best performers. Yanagi stands out, but Lopez has chipped in with 2 assists from LB and has been much better than he was last year. Our only other goals have come from our new ST and our new CM, which leaves me a little worried. However, if we can pick up a win here and there, we should be fine.

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May 2024 update

I reached 100 games in management this month. However, the message coincided with this, which tells you how things were going at the time!

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Overall, the month wasn't great. We started with a draw, which avoided us losing three on the bounce, but we seemed unable to win. 

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Until the final game of May, the best moment had been when Jonsson scored his first free kick - his and Karlstad's first of my tenure. Having my GK on free kicks hasn't really done me any favours up until now. It still didn't when he scored, as we lost against BK Hacken 2-1.

Luckily, my new CM Hammar was in the form of his life against Mjallby. 3-0 up at half time, it was 3-2 when he scored his third of the game, and second from distance to earn us the three points.

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The result leaves us clear of the relegation playoff place on goal difference, but I'll take that. We now enter the mid-season (ish) break, where I may look to let go some of our unhappy players if I can upgrade as we're going to need all the help we can get I feel!

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A few bits and pieces from June

With promotion last season we had money in the bank for training facilities to be upgraded. This finished this month. We now have adequate training facilities. I'd really like to get the club one more boost before I leave so the club doesn't sink straight back down the leagues.

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I got my Continental B Licence as well. Who doesn't like their own stats increasing?! I can now coach attacking technical category at 4 stars level which I'm pleased with :)

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And our youth intake does not look great!

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July

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July was pretty good once the football kicked off again, with two wins out of three. Hardarson, who had been threatening to be a decent player, was sensational in both and took his goal tally for the season to 8 from just 3 before these games. His profile is below, so you can see the pace which is getting him in behind defences. Quite simply, he's the best striker we've ever had and I'm glad he's turning in these sorts of performances now.

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I won manager of the month following these results, which pushed us up into mid table. However, I forgot to take a screenshot of the table at this point, so you'll have to take my word for it!

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July transfers

We did a bit of business in the July window. I felt McGiff had been poor at AML, while Fermina seemed not to have recovered from his 4 month layoff, and Mansson was a downright liability at times playing there.

I managed to get Mansson out on loan (covering his £850 a week wages) and bring in Bellman. Firstly, he's Swedish, with helps with my quota problems. He's on less than Mansson and is much better. I tried getting rid of Fermina, but there were no takers.

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I also shipped out Borhallsson on loan. He rarely got a space in the squad due to being the worse of the two Icelandic young midfielders, and Bellman and Rhose (who has been on the bench mostly this season) would be able to cover CM if needed. Again, full wages were covered by Vaduz as he made his way back to his homeland. 

I think that's everyone, but I'm not on the game at the moment, so I'll have to check when I next play!

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August

I came into this month feeling we'd turned a corner, and the first game continued that feeling. We beat AIK who are storming the league 1-0. However, we then went on a run of 5 without a win, only picking up 3 more points via draws in the month.

This included games we should have been thrashed in, such as this one where Jonsson made 9 saves, most of them brilliant.

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But it also included incredibly frustrating results like this, where we should have won convincingly. 

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Perhaps the hardest to take was the 2-0 loss to Orebro, rock-bottom of the league. We were so, so poor. Barely a shot on target. So we end the month with the table looking like this.

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If you told me I'd be 9th after 21 games, I'd have been thrilled. However, we're just 3 points above the relegation play-off and 4 above the relegation zone. We need to pick up 2-3 more wins to be guaranteed safety I think. We did win in the cup, but it was a close fought game. However, it does mean if I don't find a new job by the new year (I'm pretty sure I'll leave at the end of this season as per my initial save rules) I'll have some games to play in February!

One slight issue we're having, is that as a result of my trimming of the squad to appease unhappy players, I've ended up a bit short now we've picked up injuries. Two youth/ reserve players are on the bench, both unlikely to play, but our other subs are not particularly effective. Bjork is the big loss, while Bellman looked okay in his first few games. One day after this screenshot, our first choice AMR Yanagi got injured for 4-5 weeks as well. Mikkelsen will be promoted, but I need some of these players returning quickly if we're to turn around our slightly poor form.

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Hmm, after the next game. Luckily a little break between August and September games means a few are coming back. I'll update fully on this month shortly.

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September update

September started with a 15 day break for internationals - I only have a few of those so I usually just end up wondering why we've got a huge gap between games!

We started as we left off in August.

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Luckily, the next game saw Hardarson end a goal drought of 10 hours - which is probably why we haven't been winning! He did so in style! Absolutely clinical. He's becoming my favourite player so far on this save.

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He then scored another hatrick in another hammering of Hammerby! 8 points from 4 games was enough to lift us 7 points clear of the relegation play-off.

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Injuries are starting to pile up again! I think we're probably safe now, but another win would be great to seal the deal!

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October update

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Two games later, we've not picked up a win, but a potentially crucial point away to Mjallby. We should have won really as Dongda He scored in the 88th minute, however they pegged us back again. A loss would have given them hope, so I'm not too upset. We've got Malmo next (probably a loss) and then Halmstad at home in the final game of the season, which could be a big one. I feel if other results go our way, we'd probably be fine on 33 points!

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We lost 1-0 to Malmo, slightly unfortunately if I'm honest. Halmstad are the inform team, winning back-to-back games. If they beat us at our place, and other teams in between get wins we could go down via relegation play-off. I mean, it's very unlikely, but crazier things have happened. None of the teams below us in the fight play each other on the final day!

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On to our game against Halmstad. 

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We were dreadful. Really bad. We gave away a 4th minute penalty, which Jonsson saved, and still managed to be 2-0 down by 20 minutes in. Essentially, if Hardarsson isn't playing well, we lose :lol:.

However, other results went our way. We finish in 11th. A very good season for us overall!

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