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Crossing the Mediterranean - an African journeyman out to de-throne PSG (eventually)


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Hello all, and welcome to my new thread after a bit of a hiatus from the forums. I have been wanting to manage in Africa for a while, and with the release of the new patch and the fantastic edited database from @sporadicsmiles, now seemed like the perfect time. 

I have also learnt over time that I simply do not have the patience for "dynasty saves", I seem unable to spend more than 3-5 seasons at any one club. Therefore a journeyman style save seems to be more my thing, but at the same time I also like to have a long-term goal in mind.

This story will be an attempt to (hopefully) combine everything that I love about FM:

Journeyman always hunting for the next, better job - check
Managing in new leagues & countries - check

New-gen and bargain hunting - check
Eventually over-throwing a dominant side in the shape of PSG - hopefully check

With that, please meet Ramy Ashour, named after one of my favorite squash players in real life.

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We start off unemployed with zero coaching badges and only semi-professional football experience. Dual nationality in the form of Egypt & Morocco. 

Leagues loaded are - France, England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia & Morocco, with a few more as viewable.

The plan is to essentially hop around in North Africa, building reputation and getting all the badges done. Hopefully win something along the way.

Eventually, get a job at a French club and bring down the gargantuan mammoth that is PSG. But not just any French club, it needs to be one of their rivals. The ideal pick would of course be Marseille, who are also listed as Ramy's own favorite club. But it all depends on how they are doing in-game. The other candidates would be Lyon, Bordeaux, or Paris FC. I am adding St. Etienne to the list although they don't feature as a rival in-game, but because they are tied with PSG for overall Ligue 1 titles IRL. So that is a total of 5 clubs for us to aim at.

With that, we are off. Let's see how it goes.

Note - the first 2 season reviews will be on the shorter side since I completed them before starting the thread.

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Fortunately, Ramy did not have to wait very long for his first job!

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CS Chebba, the only 0.5 star reputation playable club in North Africa (God bless them), start the save without any manager. Not for long!

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I was sold as soon as I saw Croissant in their name.

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Not to mention a dolphin on the crest.

I honestly rushed through the first season, the club was obviously in no position to compete financially or otherwise. Used the year to get the first two coaching badges and also get some wins on the board. This is how the table ended up. For some reason, we did not participate in the cup.

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6th place having been predicted 12th was definitely a job well done, and the board were more than happy to renew my contract. However, I felt my work here was done (especially when they rejected my request for a National C license).

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Welcome back. Nice idea and will be following. What better place to start than with Croissants & Dolphins!

Good first season there as they're certainly a minnow, I'm interested to see where you went for season 2 :cool:

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3 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Welcome back. Nice idea and will be following. What better place to start than with Croissants & Dolphins!

Good first season there as they're certainly a minnow, I'm interested to see where you went for season 2 :cool:

Thank you, good to be back! Season 2 update up soon, it's a neighboring country as you can guess.

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18 hours ago, Ronaldo Beckham said:

I will be following this as well. 

I look forward to seeing where your journey goes.

 

17 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Another African based thread...I'm in. 

Good Luck in Northern Africa :onmehead:

Thanks guys! Good to have you'll on board

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - SEASON 2

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After a decent first season in Tunisia, and having recently acquired a National B license, it was time to move on.

Honestly, this was a bigger club/ job than I could have hoped for at this point. HUS Agadir is a 2 star reputation club in Morocco, very well established in the top division, and in fact won the league as recently as 2003. I am fairly surprised they took the punt on me. The club had just finished 10th in a league of 16 teams.

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 The club even has a stunning 45k seater stadium. Definitely quite the step up from Chebba.

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Here we go!

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - SEASON 2 REVIEW

We tasted early success in the season by bringing home the Throne Cup. As a famous Lannister once said, when you play the game of thrones, you win, or you die. Luckily we were the former :lol:

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It got even better from then on... somehow we managed to win the league on the final day of the season despite losing our last 2 games. Thank you Wydad Casablanca for blowing it!

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The final league table below. 61 points from 30 games should really not be a title winning tally but hey, who am I to complain.

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This guy was an absolute animal. Easily our player of the season. Look at that goals tally!

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Apparently all this means I am now in the Morocco Hall of Fame too.

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With that we are almost up to speed. I did look around in the summer of 2022 but there were no interesting jobs around, so decided to stay on at HUS Agadir and try my hand at the African Champions League.

This is the improved manager profile in-game for Ramy.

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Up to 2.5 star reputation, which means I can really start looking for the next job now. Continental B license has just been acquired as well. A strong win % as you can see, and scouting knowledge is also coming along pretty well.

And another recent development - first international role for Ramy.

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The Morocco job opened up as well but unfortunately they didn't go for it. Ah well, their loss.

The Guinea team is actually pretty decent, and has one of the best central midfields I have seen with Keita & Diawara.

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I just noticed that my adaptability and determination have gone down rather than up, does anyone know why that is? Quite worrying especially from the POV of getting a job in Europe.

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Game of Thrones, great pun! Well done on another title, this time in Morocco. I'd have put my hat on Fes doing something better than that though.

Good luck with Guinea too, although apparently the traffic over there can be a bit of a pig.

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On 12/03/2021 at 15:36, Ronaldo Beckham said:

Well done on your success so far buddy. I like the route you are taking so far @karanhsingh

Keep up the good work and Guinea have some decent players.

@Jogo Bonito might be able to tell you some uncapped Guinea players worth calling up.

Thank you, yes definitely let me know, I am about to go into the AFCON.

On 12/03/2021 at 16:25, Jogo Bonito said:

Game of Thrones, great pun! Well done on another title, this time in Morocco. I'd have put my hat on Fes doing something better than that though.

Good luck with Guinea too, although apparently the traffic over there can be a bit of a pig.

Thank you, I got the Guinea pun :lol: but not the Fes one.

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - SEASON 3 PART 1

With no decent job openings over the summer, it was onto the second season at Agadir. We really strengthened the squad with some quality free transfers, to line up another go at the Moroccon league and this time the African Champions League as well.

The first half of the season brought more glory as we managed to retain the Throne Cup.

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In the month of December, a couple of interesting jobs in France opened up (all Ligue 2) - Caen, Auxerre, and Le Havre. I applied to all 3 and got two swift rejections. Was about to give up hope, when up popped this in the inbox.

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We were comfortably leading the league in Morocco and also qualified for the knock-outs in the CL. Part of me wanted to stay and complete the season, but I do want to be realistic and managing Auxerre (if they wanted me) was definitely a great opportunity. As luck would have it, they decided to roll this dice and bring me over from across the Mediterranean.

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Another 29 hour road trip, and it was off to Burgundy for Ramy!

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The club was struggling in 17th place when I joined, just above the relegation spots on GD. It would be a season of consolidation. A far cry from Agadir. I did keep an eye out on my former club and they managed to finish the season strongly, retaining the Moroccon league title as well. Sadly, they made it all the way to the finals of the CL only to lose at the last hurdle.

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Interestingly, this happened as well. Although I am pretty sure it is some sort of bug :lol: Maybe caused by the added African leagues.

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The next update will cover how the first 6 months went off in Auxerre. If & when we do get promotion to Ligue 1, definitely inviting Djibril Cisse over to spin at the celebration party :cool:

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Great move to France. I've had the chance to move to both France and Belgium but turned them all down. Looking forward to seeing how you've done in the first 6 months .

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2 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Great move to France. I've had the chance to move to both France and Belgium but turned them all down. Looking forward to seeing how you've done in the first 6 months .

Thanks. Yes I noticed you like your one club saves ;)

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24 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Thanks. Yes I noticed you like your one club saves ;)

Haha yeah, when I have moved in other saves I always regret it but its too late :lol:

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - SEASON 3 PART 2

I can't have too many complaints about the start we made at Auxerre, very soon relegation was a distant worry. We didn't have to wait very long to play PSG either, as we drew them in the French Cup.

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Unfortunately (but not surprisingly) this is how that went - which has only whet the appetite for some revenge on them in the hopefully not too distant future. 

In the league though, we slowly but surely kept climbing up the ranks.

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As you can see we put together an excellent run (I took over after the Havre game) which finally meant that this is how the table ended up.

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Incredibly, we managed to sneak into the play-offs, which means the season was not over just yet.

 

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - SEASON 3 PLAY-OFFS

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The Quarter Final saw us take on Grenoble. Since we finished above them, we would be playing at home.

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A tight game, but we won the lottery of the penalties. Sorry @Hootieleece

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Next up, a local derby against Dijon, in the play-off semi final. This would not be an easy game, especially if their football team is anywhere near as good as their mustard (sorry).

 

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A clinical away performance saw us walk away with a 4-2 win, and just one more tie away from the dizzy heights of Ligue 1.

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And for the Play-off Finals, yet another derby, this time against Troyes. I did not know at the time but this would be a two-legged affair. The home leg first.

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We probably deserved the win but unfortunately just could not find the winner despite a lot of huffing and puffing towards the end. This meant Troyes were definitely favorites going into the second leg.

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And so it proved. We got done on the counter early on, with them scoring from our corner. The second goal was very similar after which we threw caution to the wind. There was brief hope when we grabbed a goal back with 10 minutes to go, but a dubious penalty at the end finished the tie.

The Ligue 1 dream will have to wait, sadly :(

 

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A word about the French play-offs, I know they do this in some other leagues as well like Germany and Holland (?), but I find the system of a promotion/ relegation play-off between teams from two different divisions absolutely nonsensical. The clubs would probably have vastly different resources which makes for a very uneven playing field. If the top division club has finished near the bottom of the league they deserve to be relegated, end of. They should not have a chance to redeem their season by winning a one-off match against a side from the league below. I am all for play-offs between teams competing in the same division but this does not make sense to me.

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Finally, I want to show you guys the tactic that I have made for the Auxerre stint, first time I am using a 4-2-3-1 with the two midfielders in the DM strata.

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Loving the way that the Volante plays, it's been quite a revelation, and also getting to use a Raumdeuter as well. Speaking of whom -

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Devaux is the shining light of the Auxerre academy, who knows maybe the next Cantona? He's been developing really well since I came in, and just got him to sign a new 5 year contract as well.

Exciting times ahead! Next up - the AFCON with Guinea.

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You did well to land the Auxerre job, a club with great youth traditions. Very unlucky in the PO game against Troyes but a very good effort in your first season.

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25 minutes ago, Jogo Bonito said:

You did well to land the Auxerre job, a club with great youth traditions. Very unlucky in the PO game against Troyes but a very good effort in your first season.

Yes, Auxerre is a "good" job  for youth development. Unfortunately GF38 likes to smash them in my Save....

Eric Cantona is probably their most famous alum....

 

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On 17/03/2021 at 02:31, Jogo Bonito said:

You did well to land the Auxerre job, a club with great youth traditions. Very unlucky in the PO game against Troyes but a very good effort in your first season.

Thank you. Yes would have been a bit too quick anyway to get promoted at the first time of asking. 

On 17/03/2021 at 02:58, Hootieleece said:

Yes, Auxerre is a "good" job  for youth development. Unfortunately GF38 likes to smash them in my Save....

Eric Cantona is probably their most famous alum....

 

Just as you say that I just beat Grenoble 5-1 :lol:

Cantona is definitely one of my all time favorites irl as a united fan. 

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - AFCON 2023

And so my first proper international tournament was here. With the strength in the squad, particularly in midfield, I was quietly confident of a strong showing. Here is how the group stage turned out.

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Scraped through somehow! The game against Ghana was a tactical lesson as they picked us off on the counter with 2 pacy strikers and an SS. Uganda we absolutely dominated but could not win - in fact we hung on at the end for the point required.

Finishing 2nd in the group, we drew the mighty Ivory Coast in the next round.

First knock-out round

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A tough, tough game but we managed to get through it with the win!

Quarter finals (if applicable)

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Tunisia was a kind draw to be honest and it got unnecessarily tight at the end there.

Semi-finals (if applicable)

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And I thought the Quarter draw was kind to us! We were all over equatorial counter-parts (I didn't realize they weren't neighbors till I recently checked a map).

Finals (if applicable)

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:hammer:

Analysis

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What a tournament! I thought we would do well but never thought we would win the damn thing!! The draws were definitely kind to us as we pretty much had to beat two strong sides to lift the trophy. Also I am glad we played Ghana in the first game as we knew what to expect and how to counter their strike force, had we played them directly in the finals I am sure it would have been a different result.

 

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On 21/03/2021 at 23:00, Jogo Bonito said:

A massive surprise to see you win the AFCON but well done. And good luck now with Cote D'Ivoire :cool:

Thank you for the kind words!

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - 2023/24 SEASON

Well, it turned out to be a pretty memorable season at Auxerre!

It started with a busy transfer window, as I finally went bargain hunting in Africa. The initial plan was to target North Africa particularly Morocco & Algeria, but apparently the clubs there wanted insane European level prices for their young talent! That was not happening, clearly. Off we went further South to the Ivory Coast & surrounding countries (which obviously also now fits in well with my international post).

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I will be profiling some of the new-gens in the next couple of posts.

The Ligue 2 was a tough fight between FC Metz and ourselves, but eventually we managed to come out on top.

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The final league table from a successful season:

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The Ligue 2 Team of the Season - rightly dominated by my boys.

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Won Manager of the Season as well!

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And finally, here is the squad that has finally brought Auxerre back to the big time!

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And now in the next posts, for the more fun stuff!

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FLIRTING WITH BORDEAUX

So as I said right at the beginning of this save, the final objective is to (hopefully) over-take PSG with one of their rival clubs. The list is not very long, and one of the clubs on the list is Bordeaux. For this reason, I was excited when the job opened up mid-way through the 2023-24 season. At the time, they were struggling just outside the relegation places in Ligue 1.

Unfortunately, my application was rejected, at first.

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This is the first time I have seen something like this - I had a chat with the Auxerre board and they actually agreed to reduce the compensation!

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It all seemed to be lining up quite perfectly! And then the shock:

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By this time my reputation was on par with the club so I was pretty sure I was going to get the job. But for reasons best known to them, they turned me down and actually went for a worse manager. 

5 months later, they found themselves 18th in the league at the end of the season, and the new guy's job was insecure again. I decided to have another crack at it.

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At least the fans know what's what.

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As if finishing 18th wasn't bad enough, the current manager actually conspired to get them relegated via the play-offs.

His reward? His job status then went from very insecure to stable :lol:

I am pretty sure I am done with this club.

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RAMY ASHOUR - AN UPDATE

Well, this is the manager profile in-game now.

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Approaching 200 games soon, it's all been pretty solid so far. A good win %, scouting knowledge has been coming along well, about to get the final Continental Pro badge soon. Reputation is also up to 3.5 stars.

In fact, have just been offered a job as well.

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As per the "rules" of the save I could take it and then return to France later on, but I am leaning towards staying at Auxerre and cracking on at Ligue 1.

WHAT NEXT FOR RAMY?

The list of possible clubs for the next (and hopefully final) move has been getting shorter. Bordeaux have obviously blown it, and Paris FC are struggling in Ligue 2, which means neither would be a realistic alternative anymore.

That essentially leaves me with 4 other rivals for PSG - Marseille, Lyon, Monaco and RC Lens.

The first 3 on that list literally finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the league, so they don't seem to be firing their manager anytime soon. Lens finished in mid-table and they may be the best bet.

In the meanwhile, it's looking like at least another 6 months at Auxerre. I will also get a squad review up soon!

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Providing a platform for young talent

Particularly from French speaking African countries. Taking a look at the youth brigade currently with me at AJ Auxerre.

Jonathan Devaux

This guy is the shining light of the Auxerre academy, already spoken about before. Sadly he hasn't made much further progress since then, but remains one of our best players.

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Lacina Traore

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Joined for 150k from AFAD in the Ivory Coast, he had a breakthrough first season in Ligue 2, and has just started off with a hat-trick in his first game in Ligue 1! Have high hopes of the lad.

Mohamed Diomande

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This guy is probably the one I am most excited about because he has been progressing the quickest, since joining for 140k from ASEC. Looks like he can develop into a really quality AMC over time. May even get his full international debut soon. He scored some absolute bangers already for us.

Lassina Kanoute

 

 

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Kanoute is a Malian CB who actually came in for a free transfer. He has not progressed as much as I would have liked but was solid enough in Ligue 2, and I look forward to seeing how he gets on this season.

Seydou Seck

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The Senegalese center half joined us for 60k and was actually shipped off on loan as we had too many players at the time. He did really well at Sochaux and now joins us back in Ligue 1 ready to compete for a spot in the back 4.

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Providing a platform for young talent - part 2

Ibrahim Amani

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Another budget signing from ASEC, originally brought in as backup LB but now really pushing Remy Vita for the spot. Although he is a bit more defensive than what I would have liked out of my full back, which sadly is an issue with FB new-gens on FM21 overall.

Moustapha Diallo

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Just joined us on a free transfer from ASEC and looks ready to compete for the #1 jersey at the club. I need a GK for the national team too so really hoping he can progress here.

Besir Coulon

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He is from the academy, and I honestly had really high hopes from this kid. However he somehow did not progress at all last season despite being promoted to the first team. I am now wondering if it was because I had started re-training him as a CB. I have now put him back on training as a full-back and am hoping he can start improving again.

Djodo Diallo

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The last player in this post, and another from the Auxerre academy. Djodo made his break-through towards the end of last season and I am planning to give him some more game time as our BWM this year.

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Summer of 2024

On the club front, this was a strangely quiet summer. Only 2 signings made, both free transfers. Remy Vita who had spent the last 2 seasons on loan with us joined permanently to compete with Amani for the LB role. And as mentioned above, Moustapha Diallo to compete for the starting GK spot, and adds to the growing Ivorian contingent at the club.

I am pretty happy with the squad and plan to keep faith with the lads who got us promoted this season.

Another thing is that I am of course looking out for the next, and hopefully final, role for myself. The LOSC Lille job did open up during the summer (more on that below) but they do not qualify as a PSG rival hence I did not apply.

We have made a good start to life in Ligue 1 with 7 points from the first 3 games. Will put up an update maybe towards the middle of the season.

This did happen and is the reason why the Lille job came up.

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I had not even applied. It was really hard to say no, but I really want to see how far I can go with the Ivory Coast, definitely at least manage them through World Cup 2026.

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Olympics 2024

I figured out how to take charge of the U23 side for the Olympics (you essentially need to sack your U23 manager and then go to the staff responsibilities screen).

We decided to give it a real go, selecting Kessie, Boga and Singo as the 3 over-age players (Kouame got injured), probably our 3 best in the squad.

Happy to say that things went pretty well!

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France was honestly the only strong team we came up against - even the Italian team did not have any serious talent and had not picked any of their better players. Colombia was a tough game as well though, they have some talented new-gens.

The best part of this tournament though was the key role some of the Auxerre boys played in the win - Diomande was our main AMC, Amani was fantastic at LB, and Traore did well whenever he played on the left flank.

Second international trophy is in the bag for Ramy!

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - 2024/25 HALF TERM REVIEW

We have reached the half-way point of our first season back in Ligue 1. To be honest, it's been a bit of a slog. We started off really well and I even had my sights set on European qualification. But a really tough run in the middle brought us firmly back down to Earth. Here are the fixtures so far.

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5 consecutive losses is definitely something I have not had the displeasure of facing too often. The morale absolutely plummeted and I even had the club captain complaining. Luckily we have managed to snap that run, and we can hopefully now put together a few wins.

The league table sees us sitting safely in the mid-table spots.

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PSG are looking imperious as usual.

I am getting a little frustrated about the lack of job openings - there are 4 "rivals" left in Ligue 1 after the Bordeaux relegation, and none of them seem to want to change the manager. Lyon are obviously doing well, as are Monaco and Lens. The likeliest candidate right now seems to be Marseille, where Thierry Henry's contract is up in the summer, and I am really hoping it does not get renewed.

Even though I am enjoying it here, I don't see myself at Auxerre past this season. Meanwhile, we are now going into AFCON 2025 with the Ivory Coast!

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - MORE FRUSTRATION

First, AFCON 2025. We absolutely obliterated everyone in the group stages, before dominating Nigeria in the round of 16. Things were looking good. Then we came up against a rather defensive Morocco side.

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Absolute catastrophe. We were dominant until the 70th minute, when I put Haller on and went with two up front. Moments later, Kouame got injured and of course we had made all 3 subs already. The next highlight - Hakimi scores an insane solo goal. We huffed & puffed but with 10 men we simply could not make it happen.

I was obviously expecting the FA to be understanding of this and also appreciative of the fact that we had recently brought home the Olympics...

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Clearly not! Glad my assistant thought this news was worthy of my reading.

I think that's my first sacking on FM in a really long time.

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Am back in the game though, although Senegal are a LOT weaker than the Ivory Coast. First order of business was to convince Mane to come out of retirement. Koulibaly was next, but sadly he said no.

We are bottom of the WC qualifying group with 1 point from 2 games, and up against Egypt, Tunisia & Cameroon. I probably should have checked on that prior to taking charge :lol:

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Meanwhile back in France, FINALLY the Marseille job showed up as insecure.

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Marseille is selected as Ramy's favoured club as well so this would be just perfect.

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The pressure was building...

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Sadly, Henry managed to turn it around by thrashing Rennes and winning 3 on the bounce. The job is now no longer insecure :( 

Meanwhile we have been on a bit of a horrid run ourselves, absolutely dominating games but failing to win. Currently in 11th spot in the league, well safe from relegation but not threatening the European spots. It's been that sort of season.

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Sometimes Club football is a grind. 

I can see you are targeting the OM job, but have you given thought to others to help you in your life's quest to dethrone PSG?

 

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10 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Sometimes Club football is a grind. 

I can see you are targeting the OM job, but have you given thought to others to help you in your life's quest to dethrone PSG?

 

Yes I did - as you can see below.

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The fans wanted me.

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But Mr. Aulas had other ideas...

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I have now been turned down by Lyon and Bordeaux. The hunt goes on.

I also just noticed my reputation has dipped from 70% to 65%, which I suspect is because of the sacking.

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Unlucky with Ivory Coast and with new club jobs. When I read the name Remy Vita, it rang a bell. And I now see it's because I requested the face pack image for him in June last year when I was managing Lorient on FM20 :cool:

Hopefully you can do well with Senegal and continue similarly at Auxerre until the next rival club job gets given to you.

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12 hours ago, Jogo Bonito said:

Unlucky with Ivory Coast and with new club jobs. When I read the name Remy Vita, it rang a bell. And I now see it's because I requested the face pack image for him in June last year when I was managing Lorient on FM20 :cool:

Hopefully you can do well with Senegal and continue similarly at Auxerre until the next rival club job gets given to you.

Well Remy does have a face on the DF11 pack so that's good!

Thank you. Another update coming right up.

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - SEASON 24/25 CLOSE

Saw out the season fairly strong at Auxerre, but not strong enough to lift us from a safe & unexciting mid-table position.

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Obviously I am happy though with that, for the first season back in Ligue 1. Sorry @Hootieleece Clermont did pretty bad as you can see!

The squad stats from a successful season. If I do move, I would really like to take along Seck, Traore & Diomande if possible.

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I had been getting itchy feet for a while now, and after 2.5 seasons at Auxerre and 5 seasons overall, it was time to move on. I need to find the final job of this save, and make it as easy & quick as possible.

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CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN - THE SUMMER OF 2025

So FINALLY Monsieur Henry did get the sack at Marseille, and this got me very excited!

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This time though, I was not being billed as a favourite for the role. Again I blame the reputation drop due to the undeserved Ivory Coast sacking. Not taking that France job is looking pretty foolish right about now. 

As feared, bad news soon came in.

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Rejected by Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux now. They will pay. Soon.

While I went off on holiday though, an interesting opportunity came up. Here I thought I'd be waiting for months. But before I knew it, I was back in a job!

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Time for some "Blood & Gold" action!! I have had a soft spot for the club since reading the epic thread by @smp20last year. Marseille would have been ideal, but in some ways this will be more of a challenge. In any case, Marseille along with Lyon & Bordeaux have been added to the hate list, topped by PSG of course.

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It's a short journey this time, hopefully the final one of the save.

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