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[FMT 21] - The raise of a Kurdish club in Turkey


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Starting my last career of FMT 21 and decided to go beyond the top leagues of Europe. After a lot of reading and searching, I have decided to pick Turkey, at it fits some interesting criteria:
- Top clubs which will make it a struggle to overcome (Galata, Fener, Besiktas and party Trabzonspor)
- Decent amounts of money in the league, with investments from the "baskans" (owners)
- Numbers of high profile players in almost every team in the Super League (most of them aging and according to transfermarkt over 60% of game time is given to foreign players)

I did not went for a Super League club, as I feel that would have been a bit to easy at the moment. So went down the leagues until I found in the TFF 2.Lig (3rd division), an interesting club which picked my interest - Amed Sportif Faaliyetler Kulübü a.k.a. Amed SK or Amedsportif. The club has some difficulties for being seen as a symbol of Kurdish identity by the Turkish Football Federation and Turkish authorities. Flags in Kurdish language are banned to be shown in the stadiums and the fans of Amedspor are banned to watch the away games in the regular season. A struggling club predicted to finish in mid-table mediocrity in the 3rd division feels perfect for my idea of a career. 

I started this with the idea of following the Basque cantera model and only use Kurdish players for the club. The problem is that there is no real way of finding what players are Kurdish, given that there is no second nationality of that and also a large proportion of players in the Turkey database do not have a city of birth assigned. Then I wanted to do all-Turkish team and prove the big boys of the SuperLig that we can achieve success with that only. In the end I decided to broaden the pool a bit, so decided on an expanded "middle-east" region for the eligible players. That includes the scouting region of Middle East from FM, to which I added the countries of Turkey and Cyprus (which belong to South Europe region in FM) and Egypt from Northen Africa. Hopefully this will make an interesting career throught the summer, and an interesting read around here.

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Edited by Muttley84
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  • Muttley84 changed the title to [FMT 21] - The raise of a Kurdish club in Turkey

In my mind I went out with a Kurdish name also for the manager - Mustafa Barzani. Hoping he will spend a lot of time here at the club and become at leas an icon if not a legend of the club (both sections are empty at the moment). Board expectations are pretty realistic, top half for this season and in the next one aiming for the top and involvement in the promotion race - maybe for a playoff position. Only the first team in the division gains automatic promotion (as they are two groups of the 3rd league - named Red and White) while teams finishing 2nd-5th go into the playoffs for another spot at promotion. Would be great if we can finish top 5 in the league, but we are up some serious opponents, the most important ones being Manisa, Kocaelispor, Sariyer and Hekimoglu Trabzon. 

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Now we cant complain of being the smallest club on the board. Actually the city of Diyarbakir had previously a Super Lig team (Diyarbakirspor, for 11 seasons played in the first division). And we do have a new stadium (built in 2016) which has 33k capacity (which is actually pretty cool for a 3rd division club). We also have 2500k season ticket holders (which is battling with Manisa for the best supported club in the division). Our training and youth facilities are not that special (but I guess its characteristic to a lot of Turkish clubs, only a handful of them have decent facilities). Also, having almost 1M wage budget also shows that we are not the smallest club either - and the media predicts us at finishing 7th in the league. I am going to make a squad assessment soon and see if we can comply with that prediction or even do better than it.

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59 minutes ago, Carambau said:

Kick Erdo´s clubs ass!

I would assume that is Basaksehir to my knowlege? Or was it Kasimpasa? Either way, after we reach (hopefully) the Super Lig I am going to keep track of all of results of the Istanbul-based clubs. Initially the idea would be to make our Home stadium a fortress in which they can not win, but for sure it is going to be difficult given the difference in budget (I doubt FM can replicate other shady maneuvers by the federation or referees).

48 minutes ago, Constantine said:

I do love this kind of against-all-odds game, small side rebelling against much larger opposition. Will follow with interest.

As stated before, our stadium, facilities and finances don't make us the smallest side, we should be a decent 2nd division team in no time. Making the push to the 1st division will be hard, and there we will have the big boys and the "elephants graveyard" which is lately the Turkish SuperLig.

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Not a big fan of using the star system to analyze the quality of the club, but I like what I found here. A 29 man squad (we also brought in the guys we found in the reserves) and a pretty decent balance in the squad among positions in the field. We are pretty much set for a 4-2-3-1 (which becomes a bit boring in FM21 already, probably when we go up the leagues we should look for more defensive-minded formations). Going to streamline the squad a bit and sell/release 4-5 players (we don't need that many for the season), but the numbers could be higher if we manage to secure some loans in. Especially looking at another striker as we are pretty weak there, maybe some defensive options would be good. I do like the age distribution of players also, we have from young ones to experienced ones, just waiting to see how good they are in friendlies. 

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25 minutes ago, deltablue said:

Saladin (who was a Kurd) would be proud.

That is cool, I had no idea he was kurd, I knew he was born somewhere in Iraq but did not make a connection. There are yet not reasons to make him proud, but hoping soon they will be.

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Our staff is pretty poor. As those of you who play FM Touch know already we only got one person in each department of the staff. Tried prospecting a few people to shift things a bit, but actually no better options out there we could afford or wanted to join us in the 3rd league. So at least for the coming season we are left with this stellar formation!

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Took a while before I got to play the friendlies. They were set up by the assistant manager and were mostly against lower league opposition, the pick of the crop being matches against the reserves of Fener and Besiktas, and we ended things with a local derby against a phoenix team of Diyarbakirspor. Looking forward to what the new season brings, and we are going to line-up in a standard formation, given the reduced quality of our players I have made no changes to the team or player instructions at the moment.

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I made a dummy search to see what are the available players with our active filters. Not a bad lineup but I seriously doubt it that during my career we can attract any of the top players now in the list (how would it be that Salah playing in Diyarbakir?). We don't have to bother with this at the moment, as the rules in the 3rd division of Turkish football prevent us from signing foreign players.

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Our board arranged for a fan day at the home game against Hacettepe (a team from Ankara). They considered it to be a success even giving that we attracted only 5340 spectators in a 33,000 stadium. Us winning the game 2-0 may have helped with the positive impact. 5k is not by all means a bad attendance in the 3rd division, and hopefully it will increase as we get promoted through the leagues. The city of Diyarbakir hold over 1.5 million inhabitants, so surely it is a big enough basin to even fill out our stadium at some point.

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The transfer window ended but we did not made any spectacular moves. We let go some of the players who were not going to play any part this season and brought in just 3 players on loans (from Baliksehir, Ankaragucu and Genclerbirligi) - as the deal for Mesut Can was made before I arrived at the club. One could force things to say that we made profit after the window as the incomes were greater than the spending, but given we are comparing 1100 Euro with 0 it is actually a laugh financially. 

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I can only say wow as we never expected such a start of a season. Seven official games played, just a single draw (at home to Ankara DemirSpor) and not a single goal received! Not to get over excited by this, as it is still early on and we have yet to met a team which is at the top of the league in playoff places, but still it's a nice start of the season. Sinan Akaydin has been superb for us so far (scoring 7 goals in 7 matches), but our defense is no push-over either. Still, it is tight at the top and we have to be careful in the next period, especially as we will be entering the Turkish Cup also and be looking to make the most of it - especially financially.

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I was telling you guys about the goalscorere of our team - Sinan Akaydin. Well, he's no special one but it seems that his attributes are enough to carry us over in the 3rd division. He already got a bit ahead of himself as he won't sign a new contract with us unless we offer him really a big raise which we cannot currently afford. We'll have to follows and see how that goes for the season.

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First match in the cup for us and we are up against a team from Instanbul. We are playing away at Umraniyespor, which is a second tier club. Not only did we play well, we totally dominated the match (65% possesion, 8-2 shots on target) and in the end we won it 4-0, with Sinan Akayidin scoring a hattrick for us. Oh, the good times of being a manager.

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The exact details of how mentoring works in FM Touch still continue to puzzle me. Not sure if I should make the groups according to positions, traits or personalities, to be more effective in developing young players. Seems like really a lot of stuff is happening under the hood with little control over it.

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Of course we were bound to lose a game at some point. And being drawn in the cup away at a SuperLig team (Gaziantep FK) was not an easy task. We lost 2-0 and are out of the cup. Silver lining is that we are still undefeated in the league, with 10 wins and 2 draws so far. We only received our first goal in the 11th stage of the league, which must be some kind of record. And despite all of this good performances we are only 1 point ahead of Hekimoglu Trabzon and Manisa, and we even haven't played them yet.

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Does not look particularly great, but I guess it was to be expected given the level of our facilities and staff. Still, the phrase "This is a mediocre group of players coming through" is a bit worse that my personal expectations, I found it the first year intakes are always better than the rest. We really need to upgrade in there, but cannot really afford to now, and the board is not interesting in investing at the moment.

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Our finances have only be going down since the beginning of the season and I see no other way of improving this. I have yet to find a lower league of any nations in which the clubs are not bleeding money in a large proportion, and Turkey is no different.

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Here comes the first defeat in the league and it came away at our rivals from Manisa. Although we lost our first game in 17 matches, and we won every other game of the month, we somehow dropped to 2nd in the league, and it seems that we should make an almost perfect season if we aim to win the league and grab direct promotion. In the same time we are already 15 points ahead from 6th place, so we can say that we pretty much guaranteed a play-off position, which was my personal objective going into the season anyways.

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The board given us the possibility to change this season's expectations in the winter break. Considering we are not planning of making any new signings (at most going to release a couple more players who did not fit in our squad so far) I don't thing it is wise to add the extra pressure, so we will remain with a top half finish. It is true that we have to explode in the second part to lose our playoff position, but still don't want to risk it.

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A pretty quiet winter transfer window in Turkey, one in which the biggest transfer was Beisktas bringing in FM-favorite Matias Arezo on a 2M deal. Some players leaving for a little over 1M and after that not much happening. 

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We continued our good run of results and climbed back into first in the league. That is partly due to the fact that Manisa have a game in hand, but we also improved a bit on our goal difference which is now +36. With 11 games to go we are 25 points over the playoff places, so for sure the board are delighted with our performances so far. Of course we would love a direct promotion instead of enduring through the playoffs where anything can happen, just hoping we can hold to the position and don't let the pressure of the season finale influence us.

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Seems that we did enough to convince the board we are the perfect man for the job, as they offered a new contract for 2 years. The club culture is Strive to make progress on and off the pitch, which actually does not say much, just to make the best when we can. Promotion is not expected from us this two seasons, but we should work towards it in that timespan. 

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Our first intake in Diyarbakir has been pretty poor actually, although we got a decent number of players for FM Touch intakes (7 players). Not a single one of them looks like he could make it as we go up the leagues, but decided to sign them and move them into reserves just to see how they are developing. Will be also nice to have some numbers in the Reserves team for developing the actual prospects (if we ever find them) in a good environment.

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Fewer matches in March, but we managed to keep an undefeated month, winning the home games with Gumushane and Corun and drawing the away games at Usak  (4th in the league) and Kocaelispor (5th in the league). Despite getting 8 points out of 4 matches we lost the first position as Manisa won the game in hand and are now sitting 2 points ahead of us. With only 7 games left to play in the league it is going to be a nerve-wrecking end of the season.

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Can not wait for the season to be over fast enough as our finances are declining bad. That is despite the fact that we kept way below the wage limit, but I guess we are just not generating enough income for the club.

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1 hour ago, Constantine said:

There are no money for each win in this tier? Or is it only for their Super league?

I remember it being like that in the Super League a couple of years back, but not sure that is the case anymore, and certainly is not in the 3rd tier.

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Just four more matches in the league and the race is still on. Unfortunately we only managed to sneak an undeserved draw from our home game against Manisa - the league leaders. If we would have won that game we would be ahead of them in the table. On paper we also have the harder schedule, with a trip to Trabzon to met with 3rd place Hekimoglu in the second-to-last matchday. A nails-biting season in which each time Manisa stumbled and managed only a draw we followed back quickly and stumbled ourselves, unable to capitalize and get back on first position!

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After the disappointment of not being able to beat Manisa at home we went even worse and lost away at Erzincan. Lucky for us Manisa couldn't handle the pressure either and with two games left we are still behind them with 2 points. It won't due with them just drawing a game as they have both the H2H and goal difference on us. So we need them to lose at least one game, and we need to win it all. Damn hard.

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We were 3rd in the average attendance top, with a little over 5300 people coming to see Amed play for the city of Diyarbakir. We are way behind the leaders of Kocaelispor (who we could also met in the playoff matches). Surprising to see the leaders Manisa so low, but I guess its due to the fact they are playing in a tiny stadium which doesnt seem to be their normal one. Curious to see if we do get promotion, will we bill able to reach at least 10k in the second division?

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So in the 80th minute of the last matchday we were hopelessly behind in the title race. We were 0-0 at home to Velimese while Manisa was drawing away at Inegolspor. Then in the 81st minute Inegolspor scored and Manisa was losing. We were not able to capitalize in this till the 93 minute, when we scored the winning goal which sent us top of the league and ensured or promotion!

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We are at the moment in time when the awards and accolades for the season are coming. Considering that we finished first in the league it is only expect for our players to have put in some nice performances. Will be looking to keep most of the guys in the best eleven of the season, and also add some extra quality to them.

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Not often you get a player from the third tier playing in the EURO Championship finals. Not sure he will continue with us though, his wage demands are a little over what we can offer him, but I will try to keep him, even if only for the fact that he scored the 93 minute goal to get us promoted.

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Financially we are a mess, which is really not that uncommon in Turkey. At least it seems that the boardroom is looking for ways to deal with this and keep in pace with the on-field performances of the team. Hoping in the second division we will get a bit more money about it.

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Let us take a moment and see what happened across the Turkish football world this season:
- In the third division Manisa who lost the promotion in the last minute lost also in the playoffs. It was finally another team from our group (Hekimoglu Trabzon) who went all the way and won the playoffs, joining us in the second division. The other team to get promoted is the winner of the other 3rd division group - Sakariyaspor.
- In the second division it was such a crazy and tight race till the end, but it was Bandirmaspor and Altay Izmir who managed to finish in the first two position and get direct promotion to the Superlig. Bursaspor who barely made it to the playoffs (just on H2H with Akhisar) was the one who took the last promotion ticket, leaving Adana Demirspor, Instanbulspor and Samsunspor another season in the second division. At the other end of the table it was Giresunspor, Menemen Beledyiespor and Eskisehirspor who got relegated to the 3rd Division.
- In the SuperLig it was a season of a surprise - as in the end it was Trabzonspor who won it comfortably, 5 points ahead. Galata finished second and Fener finished third, the last European places going to Besiktas and Kasimpasa (the club playing in a stadium named after Erdogan). The reigning champions Basaksehir lost out on Europe. This season due to Covid restructuration we have 4 clubs relegated to the second division - Genclerbirligi, Denizlispor, Malatyaspor and Gaziantep. Some strong competition there for our next season.

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With four clubs relegated from the SuperLig and some other good teams it was never going to be easy for us. Still, we are predicted to relegate right back to the 3rd division, but I think we did some pretty good deals over the summer and I am confident we can finish at least mid-table.

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Nicely done, what a crazy final day of the season...what crazy final minutes! I like the concept of a Kurdish club too - it adds a bit of flavor to the save. 

The finances are tough, but I think as long as you follow the wage budget the income from the beginning of each year keeps you afloat even if you go into debt.  I also think that SI made the finances tough in the first few years as their way of dealing with COVID instead of having empty stadiums for a while (which would have been even trickier to deal with!).

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3 hours ago, 13th Man said:

The finances are tough, but I think as long as you follow the wage budget the income from the beginning of each year keeps you afloat even if you go into debt.  I also think that SI made the finances tough in the first few years as their way of dealing with COVID instead of having empty stadiums for a while (which would have been even trickier to deal with!)

Not sure how much of that is duebto Covid. Appart from England and Germany I have never played in any FM edition in a 3rd division club in which we did not struggle badly with finances. I think finances in FM are constructed to much on the principles of big clubs run as companies, and therefore fail to consider some of the alternative sources of incomes and sponsor, and maybe even grey or black money of lower leagues. Of curse, I could be totally wrong as thats just a feeling after playing close to 15 interations of the game.

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