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[FM21] Building a Nation Starting from the Bottom - Republika Slovenija


theBlackPrince
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Republika Slovenija (Republic of Slovenia)

After playing in Slovenia I think I've found a home where I want to play, enjoy and is not often played on the forums. I enjoy the stories on this forum from slightly different Euro (And World) Leagues and learning about clubs and rivalries I never knew. The thing that was bugging me was the inaccuracies in some of the names, stadiums and just in general, seems a few years out of date for Slovenia. A lot of the name changes seem to be for financial troubles, which is understandable and delving into the histories of some of the clubs has opened my eyes a little. There was obviously the Yugoslavian period from 1945-1991 before the Slovenia League was formed. There was some Italian influence in the early 1900's with FC Koper founded as Circolo sportivo Capodistria. 

Just in the top flight I had these differences;

  • Nogometni Klub Koper has been Football Club Koper since 2017.
  • Nogometno Društvo Mura 05 has been Nogometna šola Mura since 2013.
  • Nogometni Klub Aluminij Kidričevo seems to just go by Nogometni Klub Aluminij now on website/social media.
  • Nogometni Klub Olimpija Ljubljana know as Olimpija Ljubljana and not Olimpija Lublana as it is in game (that I can find).

I found a Slovenia Lower levels database/pyramid by Weiry1, unsure if they are on the forum, and went to work renaming teams, updating stadiums and sizes and nicknames where possible. There is not so much information out there past the second league and I do not speak Slovenian so I'm sure I have missed or got many things wrong, but it to me is a great start and a project I think I will carry on looking into over the next few years.

The idea behind the save

As I went through the leagues, plenty of teams started to stand out in the lower levels. Then that got me looking into the Slovenian Republic Football League, which was step 4 of the Yugoslavian Football League System. The top flight was dominated by Serbian clubs, Red Star Belgrade and FK Partizan who won 30 of the 46 titles. Croatia, with Hajduk Split (7) and Dinamo Zagreb (4), were the other major players. NK Olimpija Ljubljana (Originally NK Enotnost), which dissolved in 2005 due to high debt (Olimpija Ljubljana claim rights to their honours and titles) played in the top flight for 21 seasons, but never finished in the top 3 teams. Maribor would be the only other Slovenia team to play in the top flight with 5 seasons. Both teams would spend a large amount of time in the Second Division with 19 seasons for NK Olimpija and 17 for Maribor. The next best was NK Svoboda Ljubljana, who currently play in the Slovenian 3rd division, had 8 seasons. 

Back to the Slovenian Republic Football League, the most successful team was ND Ilirija 1911 who won 12 titles, the most successful team, between 1920 and 1935. Maybe one of the largest stories is from NK Rudar Trbovlje who won the title 3 times in the 1970's, but now find themselves in the Slovenian Regional Leagues. Several of the more prominent teams from this era unfortunately dissolved, including NK Ljubljana in 2005, NK Železničar Maribor in 2019, SSK Maribor in 1941 and NK Branik in 1960.

This all screams to me this is a League and a Nation crying out to move up from it's current 36th League Reputation in Europe and a National Team World Ranking of 65th. Both of these I will be trying to improve as far as possible in my time, which may mean swapping clubs If I have build one up to a level that others need developing to progress. The likes of Maribor and Olimpija Ljubljana are the biggest two teams that I probably won't try and manage, unless they fall into hard times and are ripe to take back to the top. In my journeyman save winning from the start was fun, but not ideal, so this needed to be a team at the bottom, to build up or to use as a stepping stone to a larger team. 

Aims and Objectives

  • Learn more about Slovenian Football, create a database (spreadsheet) with real life information to make future edits as real as possible.
  • Start from Sunday league reputation and no coaching badges and build up from Regional Leagues.
  • Focus on youth development and the histories behind the players (including where they started their career with nickname edits)
  • Eventually look to improve both League Reputation and Slovenia National Team Ranking.
  • Go visit some of these places once covid lifts and travel opens.
  • One team or multiple team save, currently unknown until into the save.
  • No search options, all staff must apply for job roles and scouts must recommend/find players.

The team chosen and reason behind

NK IB 1975 Ljubljana - Wikiwand

NK IB 1975 Ljubljana 

Merged with NK Bravo as Bravo 1 Interblock // Formerly NK Interblock // Merged with NK Črnuče // Formerly NK Factor // Formerly NK Ježica

Some of the teams above would have made great stories, or starters. But there was one team that was on a high during my lifetime and now finds themselves in the Slovenian Regional Leagues. Add that to a recent name change in 2021 due to naming rights and this seemed to be the ideal club to rebuild and rise from the ashes. They also have some of the top youth facilities attributed to them as they climbed up the ranks with a youth based policy previous, winning the Pokal Nogometne zveze Slovenije (Slovenian League Cup) twice in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and the Slovenski Superpokal (Slovenian Supercup) in 2008. They would have two seasons in Europe, winning just 1 from 6 games and losing 4 others to Hertha Berlin and Metalurh Donetsk of Ukraine.

NK IB 1975 Ljubljana was initially formed as NK Ježica in 1975 in Ježica, northern Ljubljana. They played in the lower leagues as a pioneer club working exclusively with youth teams and after the Independence of Slovenia, they renamed as NK Factor. In 1997, merging with NK Črnuče who played in the Slovenian Second league. In the 2001 season NK Factor won the NHS Youth Cup and started to see player progressing to the Slovenia National Team. The most famous being Mišo Brečko who had 77 National Team Appearance and 206 Appearances with FC Koln. The team would drop down to the Slovenian Third Division but regained their Second Division status in 2004. Only two years later in 2006, NK Factor won the Slovenian Second League to the Slovenian PrvaLiga.

In the 2006-07 season, NK Factor was the only Ljubljana club in the PrvaLiga. Businessman Joc Pečečnik took over as president and renamed the club NK Interblock, named after Interblock Gaming who make luxury gaming products, whom he was the President of. The club would go on to win the Pokal Nogometne zveze Slovenije twice and the Slovenski Superpokal once. The highest league finish was 5th in 2007/08. WIth the results not living up to expectations and complications in the renovation of the Central Stadium, Pečečnik cut the budget and the team dropped out of the PrvaLiga after losing against Triglav in the Promotion/Relegation play-offs. The Youth Academy was still having great success and producing leading Slovenian players.

The following season, 2010-11 saw the former Slovenian (1994-97) coach, Doctor Zdenko Verdenik take over. He promoted the use of talented home grown players, including Filip Valenčič, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Matic Fink, Nejc Skubic, Matej Podlogar and Luka Majcen, and took the team to 2nd in the table but the return to the top flight was blocked by Joc Pečečni so the team remained in the second division and Zdenko Verdenik resigned.

The team would merge with NK Bravo to form Bravo 1 Interblock and would finish 4th in the Second Division. There was a plan to merge the youth academy with NK Bravo Publikum, however a revolt from the parents of the youth section stopped this. The senior team stopped competing in 2012 but re-immerged in 2015-16, playing in the Ljubljana Regional Leagues.

Finally, in February 2021, due to the sale of the Interblock company, the team was no longer allowed to use that name, and was rebranded to the current NK IB 1975 Ljubljana. And this is where I have decided to take the story over from as they seem to have had everything in the past 20 years! Name changes, mergers, stadium issues, powerful owners, expectations not met, cup success and a potential rejuvenation using youth players to the top flight that was blocked and now in the 4th division in Slovenia....

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Edited by theBlackPrince
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Pre-Season 2020

Most of the players, with exception to the youth that populated the team, were on non-contract and would not sign a new deal. This left me at the mercy of the vultures who were circling above ready to take them all. As we sit 1 day before the start of the season, we have lost 7 of our better players and only been able to bring 3 in, 2 of them on season long loan. We have managed to find two scouts, part time on $7 a week, I guess we cannot expect the world. Ramzy Yussif was however previously known to them and somehow, we have a Ghanaian central midfielder who is one of the clubs best players and on a steal at only $5 per week. With the whole wage budget only $852 per week, we have had a lot of players interested but when they want $100 a week, I cannot blow the whole budget on one player when we only have $60 free.

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This leaves me with a very small squad, just 18 players in the first team and 8 in the under 19's. If I can bring in a few more as the season goes on, that will help me if we can get to 20-22 players. The Senior player of note who is left, is club icon Bostjan Jelecevic who has been here since 2003, with a few years at NK Rudar Velenje from 2009 to 2013. The 35 year old will be the club captain and will hopefully lead his team for one or two more seasons at the very least.

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The other stand out star's are Metod Pesa 20e and the previously mentioned Ramzy Yussif. We have several players from the youth intake that happened before I joined with some great 5 star PA, however our scouts knowledge is poor and we have no assistant manager currently. We desperately need another centre back and a third striker as we are playing a 4-4-2, but we are light all over the field currently. Thankfully all of the youngster have signed a new deal for when their youth contract runs out so we should get some stability from here on in. Anej Kondic 20a was the one player they had the most hopes for in the future as he proudly has the "a" tag next to his name.

We have a great right back and a great left midfielder, if they was both on one side I would be focusing all my attention down that flank. But for now, I will try and have those two as prime options when moving forward and give them more freedom to try and make things happen.

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Current Vacancies

I have lost all of my under 19 coaching staff, so have adverts out for them. I have no Assistant Manager or Head of Youth Development. It will be more of a case of take whoever does not want much money and a good personality rather than finding great fit's for the position. On that news, they allowed me to gain my first licence which will improve the coaching standards at the club by Christmas. If we can also find that Assistant Manager and HoYD we may be at the top of the League for coaching. 

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Upcoming Fixtures

Getting to the second round of the Slovenian Cup is required by the board so winning tomorrow will go a long way to keeping them happy. We then will arrange more friendlies to get us to the start of the League Season. NK Miklavz should not have the players to match us so I am confident we shall at least meet minimum expectations.  

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IB 1975 Ljubljana - Lukas Kastelic's First Game - Slovenian Cup 1st Round

The first game for a manger at a new club is always tough but IB 1975 would go on an romp 10 goals past NK Miklavz who had little to show for the day. This would be the clubs largest win (and may take some beating) and Marin Paric 20h would be the start of the show as he came away with 5 goals and bagged several records on the way.

  • Fastest Goal - 29 seconds
  • Most Goals in a Match - 5
  • Youngest Goalscorer - 16 years, 152 days 

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In the Slovenian Cup second round, we would face NK Bled at home. Bled are a fellow semi-professional side so should offer much stiffer opposition that amateur club Miklavz. The win also helps secure 1 of the 3 aims this season needed for a new contract, hopefully.

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I was toying with the idea of a building a nation save, and Slovenia were 1 of 2 I was very tempted with, Russia being the other one. I've since put it on hold for now. But am definitely following this.

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Pre-Season - Part 2

With the Slovenian Cup a good month before the actual start of the season, it gave us time to try and get more players. However, part time scouts are slow and the quality of players found is not great so far. We did however lose no more players and continued to play well in friendlies, although I have no real clue who the strong teams are yet. We are still struggling to find cover up front which is a big worry playing 2 up front, which may become a 1 striker, 1 attacking mid centre if anyone goes down injured.

I did just notice I am still 1 scout down from the numbers, better get another advert out quick to see who applies which is a really slow process it seems! 

We did fill our HoYD and AM positions for less than the price of a good night, pretty much robbing people with those wages. But sometimes, short term pain for long term gain? By no means is anyone amazing on the staff but according to the charts, we do have some of the best for this level of football! Grega Balazic comes in as our Assistant Manager. A total stick in the mud for doing things right, or you are running laps style may annoy those giving less than 100% it is exactly what we need. His working with youth is high and for this level, his man management skills are above average. Uros Pors is the new HoYD and although he does only have a balanced personality, he was much better at judging talent then those with more favourable personalities. Both join the team along with a couple under 19 coaches to work with the top facilities below the top 3 levels of Slovenian Football. 

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Team Dynamics

Pleased t report that everything is going in the right direction currently and the squad is happy heading into the season. Who knows how this will change if we lose a few games but the only unhappy player is star man Bostjan Jelecevic 03a who feels there is a lack of depth up front. I totally agree with you there Bostjan! We are trying to find a striker trust me! 

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Regionalna Ljubljanska Liga - Overview

The League has 16 teams and only 1, yes 1 team qualifies for the play-off to be promoted, 2 go down. It really is win or nothing, and you can still win and get nothing. Each team plays each other twice for a total of 30 games. There is a rather random 7 leagues that feed into 2 Slovenian Third Division's (East and West) which both see 2 teams go down. So, 7 leagues, 4 teams promoted, seems like it will get messy! Watch this space for end of season so I can see how it all works!

Game 1 Lineup

Star man is coming back from injury and with him we can just about put a full team out including subs. A pretty basic 4-4-2 with a low number of main tactics to not make things to complicated. I may remove the counter-press dependant on how much that takes out from the team, but overall we look to use the left winger and right wing back as threats. We will never find a complete forward at this level but we have to aim high and Marin Paric 20h has plenty of potential!

We play NK Arne Tabor 69 first, a semi pro team from Ljubljana so this is a local game and one to get the season started with a bit more to play for. With the league a mixture of amateur and semi-pro teams, I am expecting a large gulf between these as the season goes on. We will also be looking for players who play well against us so we can look to see if they are worth bringing to us.

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Edited by theBlackPrince
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Slovenia Transfer Window Update

The biggest transfer netting PrvaLiga club Celje $1,000,000 selling 22 year old Croatian Dario Vizinger. He has spent 3 years at the club, 78 appearances and 35 goals, including 23 from 35 games last season. You may see plenty of players with something like (13DO) or (19OL) after their name. I am slowly going through and putting a players first year and club, so they would be Domzale and Olimpija Ljubljana. Hopefully this will give more insight into the players as they succeed and go for big money signings or drop down the leagues.

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We managed to pull some more loan deals in, just to add depth to the team so hopefully can fill out the subs bench each game. None of them are going to set the world on fire but having depth for injury is vital with a young squad.

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I also had to try and keep a promise to star midfielder, who turned out to not be happy that these players were good enough. I was sure I cancelled that in the contract talks. One upset star midfielder, let's hope that does not affect the rest of the team.

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Rivalry Game see's Red Card for Slovan's Nace Ermenc

Slovan are our fierce rivals and we came out on top early on the season with a performance that really strangled them and stopped them playing their own game. We were aided by a red card in the 58th minute for a second yellow by Slovan midfielder Nace Ermenc, and the game was soon finished off with a second goal shortly after. Metod Pesa 20e opened the scoring with a thunderous strike from outside the box in the first 15 minutes and Marko Vidmar's goal was from just inside the box as it took two great goals to sink our rivals. 

In a game with high tension, we committed 25 fouls which seems rather high and something I need to make sure is not a regular thing or we may see a Red card or two along the way. Possession was excellent, shots was much more then they had and we got the win. All around great team effort with almost everyone over 7.2 rating.

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It was not all good news, depsite been unhappy Ramzy Yussif was still putting in performances but now may miss up to 2 months of football with a grain strain. Bet he is happy I brought some more midfielders in now, even if they are not up to the quality he demanded!

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1 hour ago, karanhsingh said:

Nice new adventure in an interesting country. 

There is a great looking Slovenian newgen in my save who I am trying to buy. Will post a screenshot. 

As a country I have visited, it is a great place. Not one I have seen many manage in at all which did appeal! Be good to see how he does for the National Team if he is that good, they need some more help!

1 hour ago, bigmattb28 said:

I was toying with the idea of a building a nation save, and Slovenia were 1 of 2 I was very tempted with, Russia being the other one. I've since put it on hold for now. But am definitely following this.

I have looked around for ages and ages, I started playing in another save and just really enjoyed it and some good history that is not well known. Hopefully can bring some of that out as I keep learning about the clubs and move up the leagues!

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Slovenia Nationa Team - Where do the players start their career?

This popped up in my inbox which is a good reference point for me and shows that the top two teams are not producing any more talent for the National Team than any other teams. We are still on the list there with 2 players that started their career at IB 1975 and there was several more who has played here early on in their career.

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So I did a little more digging to find the "First" club they were at, and the results were somewhat different. 6 players with an (OT) code for other were trained at a club not in the top 10-15 teams. I can only see 1 for Olimpija Ljubljana and 2 for Cejlje so they must have bought the player in and it has counted for them. Dravograd on the other hand I find 3 and IB 1975 have 2. It will be interesting to see how this develops over time as I cannot see Dravograd in the Third Division East with fairly basic youth recruitment and average academy coaching out producing the big teams as the save goes on. But, if they can, that would be really great to see. 

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October 2020 Update

A 91st minute goal that Kocevje let in was the difference between them being on top or dropping to second as there seems 5 teams fighting for the top and only spot that may gain promotion. IB 1975 Ljubljana are sitting pretty but have 2 of the top 5 to play in the next 5 games which will be the best test to see if this form can continue. As expected in a League with semi-pro teams playing amateur teams there is a huge gulf in quality which is shown by some one sided scores.

In the Slovenian Cup, needed extra time to beat a strong NK Bled team who are currently leading their division unbeaten. Next up was NK Velesovo in the 3rd Round but they were soundly beaten on the day. This would set up IB 1975 Ljubljana with a 4th round away game with League Two NK Fuzinar. The target was to get past the first round which has been achieved but getting past a team two leagues above may just be one round to far this year.

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Marin Paric 20h has exceeded all expectations and sits with 8 goals, which puts him just 1 behind the league leaders and his 4 player of the games leads all currently. Target man Marko Vidmar 16a has the league leading 93% pass completion whilst Anze Turicnik 19MA sits second with 5 assists. Goalkeeper Emil Simcic 20g leads all with 8 clean sheets and only has conceded 2 goals as IB 1975 players are at the top of most individual categories. 

In other news, we cannot find a third scout. We have had no-one apply in two months so we keep looking and see if anyone applies in the next 2 months. We really could do with the extra help.

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We also lost the only other player who could play up front as he was re-called with no notice. The other two are playing so well so he wasn't starting as much as they may have wanted.

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Edited by theBlackPrince
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Academy Coaching & Coaching Badges

Early November and despite finances at $-1,320 the club committed to its youth policy and getting the most from their coaches, as one course finished they immediately paid for another. In fact, they have not turned down anyone yet for a course. The club certainly has the best Academy facilities now and will really be a force when we can get a HoYD with the right skills and personality to really drive the Academy forward. But for now, I will keep asking for upgrades as and when they come to keep improving the academy coaching. 

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Slovenian Cup 4th Round

A huge blow for the team at the start of November when Marko Vidmar 16a would miss several months due to a torn knee ligament. Losing loan signing Matteo Battaino 17ITA looks even worse now with just 1 fit striker at the team. This has prompted a change from the 4-4-2 to move to a 4-4-1-1, replacing the target man with a shadow striker in the AMC position. That keeps everyone else in their position, not huge tactical changes to learn but should still mean we can score goals.

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IB 1975 Ljubljana would travel 114km north east to play Manageress NK Fužinar from the Second League and would come away with an historic victory in what was an even match between the two teams. They would struggle to make the chances count with just 3 shots on target and looked like a team short on confidence. Someone who was not was Metod Pesa 20e who scored both goals in the game to bring him to 9 for the season. Is there a large money spinning game against a top team in the next round?

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The Slovenian Cup 5th Round would see 3 teams from below the 3rd division in the hat along with 7 PrvaLiga teams. Remarkably, IB 1975 Ljubljana would get another match they will relish as they Third Division West side ND Adria Miren, winner goes into the draw for the Quarter Final. They are struggling in 9th place out of the 14 teams and will be looking to make something of their season with an historic Cup run. How many clubs from under the top flight will still be in the draw, at least 4 will make it, will IB 1975 be one of them?

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January 2021

There is only one loss in the November to mid-January period but as you can see from the table, it was a big one against top of the league NK Kocevje. They are the team to beat but did drop 2 points to NK Laby's Mengo 28 last week to give us a chance of catching them. We are still in the Slovenian Cup and we had two games called off due to water-logged pitches so we are playing catch-up a little, we win our game in hand and we go to just 1 point behind them. The reverse fixture, at home to Kocevje is in the final 3 games of the season where we will play them and Rudar Trbovlje in what could be a winner takes all few matches. Overall, delighted with the start to the year but in the back of my mind, one team who is this good will not get to play to go up, which will be harsh on whoever loses out. We currently have the best defence in the league with just 5 goals allowed in 19 games!

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Slovenian Cup 5th Round 

In what was a game against a team two leagues higher, there would be a tense final few minutes. Taking the leading the second half, they would score in the 89th minute to equalise and send the game to extra time. We were losing our legs at that point so another 30 minutes may have been the beating of us. And then Marin Paric 20h, the young Bosnian scored his 18th goal in all competitions to grab the victory in the dying seconds of the game. It was a solo goal as he intercepted the ball in the middle of his own half, sprinted 60 yards down the field to get in on goal. His first shot would be blocked but the ball came back to him with the keeper and defender on the floor, he tapped it in for a fantastic goal!

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Below Left - This would leave 8 teams in the hat and there was just 4 PrvaLiga teams left so the hope to avoid one of them and keep the magical run going. However, a home game against ND Gorica will see fans flock to the stadium to show the younger generation teams that Interblock use to face week in week out a decade ago. This is probably the end of the road for the 2 time Slovenian Cup Winners but for a 4th division side, this is what dreams are made from. 

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Above Right - In what has become a war of words, IB 1975's Lukas Kastelic came out on top in the press room and on the field as he now has beaten fierce rivals ND Slovan twice this year. Kastelic left nothing back at Slovan manager Stefan Ivanic who was critical of the young IB 1975 manager. This rivalry is set to carry on with the two managers almost at war with each other but the manager on the losing side will always have more of a grudge to handle.

Youth Intake 2021

Not a golden generation type of report but that not expected to happen over night, we have to put the ground work in for a few seasons. We will welcome the additional depth this academy class brings and are excited by the prospects of full-backs, wingers and striker coming through. We shall see if this years can match last season's intake which has so far, achieved great things in the League and Slovenian Cup so far. 

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Edited by theBlackPrince
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Slovenian Cup Quarter Final - 93rd minute penalty spoils giant killing

Over two legs and 180 minutes of football, IB 1975 Ljubljana rolled back the years like it was 2009 as they had one foot into the Semi-Final and a giant scalp as they faced an ND Gorica who are low in confidence and sit at the bottom of the PrvaLiga. At times it was a struggle to see who was the top team as IB 1975 played above their level and really entertained the crowds with 485 turning up at the Sportni Park Stefana Beleta. No-one would have seen them taking a 2-0 lead in the second leg inside 15 minutes with a double from Anej Kondic 20a from his central midfield position. At the half it was still 2-0 to IB 1975 but the PrvaLiga side started to show the talent gap and would dominate the rest of the game. Once they had one, they looked like they would score again to draw level in the 83rd minute.

The penalty in the 93rd minute was a harsh one, a push in the back from a corner but nothing can be taken away from the whole team as they played their hearts out for 180 minutes, only to be denied by the extra 3 minutes. With the result done, all that is left is to enjoy the moment and focus on the league and trying to gain promotion.

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This did however, put a few coins in the bank, but not as much as we was hoping for after a run like this!

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44 minutes ago, john1 said:

Good luck in Slovenia :thup: 

Thank you! Hope to bring much success to them!

19 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Slovenia has lots of pretty young ladies....don't get distracted!

KUTGW!

 

Hmmm, do tell more.... :) wait, no, im a married man:herman:

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IB 1975 Ljubljana Academy Intake 2021

NK IB 1975 Ljubljana - Wikiwand

With the standard of judging players in the squad, I need to take this with a pinch of salt until the class of 2021 has been in the squad for some more time. The vast majority of the players are home-grown Ljubljana players which is pleasing to see, along with one Dane and one all the way from the Faroe Islands?!? Random!! I want to sign all as I expect the scouting of CA/PA will be off. I don't want to miss a star player but have to stick close to the wage budget so will take the top few and see what I have left!

One note, they all seem to be on the short and skinny side, maybe they need to put some extra cooking on and feed them up a little so they are ready for senior football?

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Ivan Masic 21a does not have all the skill-set to fill that complete forward roll but could work in the target man role. Great finishing, dribbling, first touch and composure, he has all the technical skills to be a success. What he does lack, is the work ethic to be great which may hinder his long term ability. He will need to spend some time in the weight room building his strength and stamina but currently is the best rated PA in this years class so we have to let him develop.

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Joze Slivsek 21b may have a future in the AM(C) role, but we like to play two up top when we can so most likely drops into midfield. He lacks the size, strength and defensive skills to be an enforcer or ball winner so we need to use his vision, off the ball, first touch, dribbling and decisions as a playmaker in the middle. His flair is something rarely seen at this level but his personality could be more of a slow burning development. If we have someone next to him who is more physical and able to win the ball, he could become a valuable first team player.

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Nejc Hrastnik 21c is the player who is closest to first team ability, unfortunately for him he plays in a position already filled by a strong first team player, Anze Veronik Soldo 19DO. This will allow him to spend time in the under 19's and develop those technical aspects he will need. Mentally, beside concentration he is very strong, scoring highly in teamwork, flair and leadership. He has great pace for this level of football but as others in this intake, is on the small size.

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New Contract Signed 

I used the time wisely to negotiate a new contract before all the youth players send us over the edge on our wage budget. I put the 2 year extension on for the promotion to show commitment to the club and hopefully give some long term stability. Happy this was sorted now whilst we are still passing all requirements.

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Title race down to the wire

With 4 games to go and 12 points on the line, any dropped points now may be the difference between the title and a second place which counts for very little in this format. NK Kocevje are the title favourites but the crunch game is on the 1st May when the top 2 games collide! If Kocevje win, they are all but guaranteed the title. If IB 1975 win, they should go ahead on goal difference and destiny is in their own hands. It won't all be plain sailing as both teams end with a game against teams in the top 6. 

This could go either way and all eyes will be at the Sportni Park Štefana Beleta for the clash of the titans.

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NK Kocevje vs IB 1975 Ljubljana - Potential Title Decider

Biggest game of the season, at home but with just 40 fans in the stand the atmosphere could have been much better. And all those fans who did not turn up, missed an absolutely classic game and some goals worthy of top flight football.

We would line up in the 4-4-1-1 formation rather than the 4-4-2 just to try and win the midfield battle. The game would get off to a perfect start, Anej Kondic 20a with the 25 yard thunderbolt! He really wanted this as he would score a second from long range on the 19th minute and IB 1975 were dominating the game and at the top of the table. Not to be outdone, Anze Turicnik 19MA saw his long range strike beat the keeper and IB 1975 fans were in dream land, their long range shoot has been sublime!

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Metod Pesa 20e would continue the scoring in the second half after a lovely cross from Anze Veronik Soldo 19DO went past all the defenders for the tap in at the back post. They would pull one back late on but the damage was done, IB 1975 Ljubljana were not top on goal difference with 2 games to go. Club Icon Bostjan Jelecevic 03a would round off the day with a 4th long range strike, his just inside the box which everyone enjoyed.

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What a performance, dominating the League Leaders for the whole game, gave them nothing and now the only thing that can stop us winning the title is ourselves, or maybe NK Rudar Trbovlje. In all honesty, I'm a little let down by Kocevje and their performance, a good scrap for the title would have been great but it looks like our academy is already producing top draw players as we have seen this season. Winning the title is only one thing, getting through the play-offs is another as most leagues have 1 or 2 dominant teams who have not lost many games.

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Regionalna Ljubljanska Liga Champions - 2020-21

And the team have done it, winning the Regionalna Lubljanska Liga at the first time of asking on goal difference as both IB 1975 and Kocevje finished on 81 points out of a possible 90. Both had a remarkable season and it is a real shame both of them do not get the chance for promotion. However, unlike in most leagues we still have work to do as even winning the title does not mean promotion, we have a play-off to navigate now. Against whom, we do not know but the hard work starts here!

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We will take a look back the season and other Slovenian Leagues at the end of the year but 30 games, 77 goals and only 9 conceded was the real difference between 1st and 2nd place.

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The end of League campaign was rocked a little when NK Fama Vipava offered Assistant Manager Grega Balazic the Assistant Managers job for them in the Slovenian Third Division West. It has yet to be seen if he will continue the IB 1975 project or move to pastures new.

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Medobčinska Nogometna Zveza (MNZ) Promotion Play Offs

As we have said before, the 7 champions head into the play-offs for the 4 Promotion slots to the Slovenian League 3 East/West. I did wonder how 7 went into 4 but there was already one game in which NK Zarica Kranj beat NK Jadran 2-1 to advance. I might have to look more into how and why they are drawn to decide the final 6.

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As you can see below, all the teams pretty much dominated their respective leagues with some dropping only 2 points all season.

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The draw came out and we would be drawn away (update - Neutral Venue) to NK Malecnik from the Maribor League. They only dropped 2 points all season and scored 83 goals and incredibly, only let 2 goals in. Home form is perfect, 13 from 13 with 45 goals scored and 0 conceded. I think we may have got the toughest draw?!

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I am unsure what happens next, 3 winners are promoted and then 3 into 1 somehow? I guess we find out together....

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Edited by theBlackPrince
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Medobčinska Nogometna Zveza (MNZ) Promotion Play Off - NK Malecnik vs NK IB 1975 Ljubljana

The game would be played at a neutral ground of the Stadion Z’dežele, the home of NK Cejle from the PrvaLiga. There was never going to be a sell out of the 13,059 capacity ground but those who were making the trip would be in for what on paper, was a great game of football. Extra time and penalties were on the cards if the game was a draw at the end of regulation. 

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It would take less than 5 minutes for Marin Paric 20h to get on the scoreboard after some wonderful build up play from the team. It would be Metod Pesa 20e who played the final ball through for Paric 20h to slot home in the bottom corner beyond the diving keeper. 1 shot, 1 goal, 1-0 to IB 1975.

The joy was short lived when less than 3 minutes late, in what can only be an outrageous dive by Zan Palcic, Malecnik were given a penalty much to the protests of the IB 1975 players. Luka Pekez would step up and scored it a good penalty, keeper Emil Simcic 20g got his finger-tips to it but the power beat him. 7 minutes gone, all square at 1-1.

Metod Pesa 20e was enraged about the penalty and single handedly dribbled the ball from his own half into their penalty box. He would find a wall in front of him but found Anze Turicnik 19MA for the one-two pass. Now in on goal he slotted home the ball and you could tell how much he wanted that one as he kissed the IB 1975 badge. That was a special goal from a special player. Less than 10 minutes gone, 2-1 IB 1975. This pace cannot carry on surly? 

Metod Pesa 20e was running wild now and he would have his second goal of the game just before the 20th minute and just 2 minutes later Anze Veronik Soldo 19DO would find space in the box for a first time shot. Absolutely scenes and a NK Malecnik meltdown as their perfect season was ruined inside 20 minutes and found themselves 1-4 down.

It would get no better as Metod Pesa 20e rounded off his hat-trick just before the half with another impressive strike from the left hand side. He has been the difference maker in the game and to claim his 3rd goal before the half was special for the 17 year old.

The second half would not have much of note, the game was already over and both sides wanted the game finished for different reasons Upon the final whistle, it was confirmed that NK IB 1975 Ljubljana would be promoted to the Slovenian Third Division for the new season!

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Small prize money but after bonus payments, we may only be a few thousand euros in debt! The budget for next season goes up from $865 to $2,000, but if we turn professional that will not leave us much money for players as most full time wages are $100 per week.

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Edited by theBlackPrince
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End of Season Review - Slovenia

Slovenian Teams in Europe

It would not be a season to remember in Europe as the Europa League Qualifying Path 3rd Round would be the furthest any team would get this season in a poor show all around. NK Celje were unlucky to lose in penalties to Scottish Giants Celtic, otherwise it may gave been a different story for them. 3 out of the 4 clubs for the new season are the same as this year.

In Europe Olimpija Ljubljana would beat Polish side Cracovia 4-0 and Ilves from Finland 2-1aet before losing to French club Reims 1-4 in the Europa League Qualifying Path 3rd Round. NK Celje would lose in the Champions League on penalties to Celtic after a 1-1 draw. In the Europa League they would beat Armenian side Ararat-Armenia 2-0 before losing to Cypriot Omonoia 1-2 in the Europa League Qualifying Path 3rd Round

NK Maribor would beat North Macedonian side Renova 3-0 but fell in the Europa League Qualifying Path 2nd Round to Azerbajian side Sumqayit. The Europa League Qualifying Path 2nd Round would also be the exit for NS Mura as they beat Andorian Santa Coloma 4-0 before losing to Hartberg of Austra on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Slovenian National League

We start with how football has gone in the top 3 flights of Slovenian Football as it would be Olimpija Ljubljana who won the PrvaLiga for a 7th time. They would win comfortably over NK Celje and what can only be seen as a disappointing 3rd for NK Maribor. The 4th Slovenian Team to qualify for Europe was NK Aluminij who won the Slovenian Cup with a 1-0 win over Olimpija Ljubljana to rob that slot away from NS Mura who finished 4th. Down the bottom it would be relegation for NK Domzale but ND Gorica saved themselves after winning 3-1 over 2 legs to beat NK Krka. Promotion would happen for NK Triglav at the first time of asking as they would be relegated the previous year after finishing 9th and losing the play-off game. 

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We would see several casualties in the top flight with Domzale sacking two managers in their relegation season. Even Maribor would make changes later on in the year when the title was slipping from their grasp. Patience is not always something that is seen in the top flight for managers, especially with only 10 teams if you are at the bottom.

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As we move down to the un-even Slovenian Third Divisions which is a win or get nothing situation. In the West (Left) it would be NK Tomlin who gained promotion to the Second Division, they last went up in the 2013/14 season but would come back down 2 season's later. In the East it would be NK Rogaska instantly returning after relegation last season. Will they come straight back down or can they stay up? Moving down from the 2nd Division is NK Drava who are a yo-yo team, but were in the top flight from 2003 to 2010. They are a long way from there now. They are joined by NK Brda who spent 5 season's in League Two before dropping down again.

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NK IB 1975 Ljubljana Season Review

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Our own IB 1975 Ljubljana would lift the trophy and gain promotion from the Regional Leagues and the under 19 team would also top the Under 19 Group 5 League. In a season to remember for all the right reason's, trying to keep the squad together and building on the great youth academy here will be key for future success.

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The sponsorship deal at $70,000 a season is what kept the club going along with a large fund-raising effort each month from a group of dedicated individuals. We will hope to bring in a similar deal for next year and hope to see other revenue streams open up as we move up a league.

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IB 1975 Squad

A team with star players and average joe's it seems with a huge gulf in class between individuals. There are so many great performances to pick out from the team below and all but 5 had an average rate of over 7.00 per game. Ramzy Yussif 17GHA won the fans player of the season as he scored 10 goals and had 17 assists, the managers play of the year was Metod Pesa 20e who was unplayable at times and scored 25 goals and chipped in with 10 assists.

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Planned Academy Upgrades

The board has stuck to its promise to develop the youth academy and has allowed a second upgrade of the academy coaching. This will put us at the cutting edge in Slovenia and on par with the top teams in the PrvaLiga. We will not be able to upgrade any facilities for a while but this is a great commitment to the club and its

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On 07/07/2021 at 21:11, theBlackPrince said:

As a country I have visited, it is a great place. Not one I have seen many manage in at all which did appeal! Be good to see how he does for the National Team if he is that good, they need some more help!

I have looked around for ages and ages, I started playing in another save and just really enjoyed it and some good history that is not well known. Hopefully can bring some of that out as I keep learning about the clubs and move up the leagues!

Sorry been tied up will post it tomorrow. 

Seems like this is going really well so far! Interesting format for the playoffs too.

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2021/22 Season - Slovenian Third Division West

We start the second season after promotion last year and it is quite funny to see two newly promoted sides at the top of the predicted finish table. IB 1975 are 4th favourites to go up along with fellow promoted size NK Zarica Kranj who are second. The clear favourites to go up are NK Brda who were relegated last season. A top half finish is the aim so anything in the top 5 would be classed as a successful season with all eyes on Brda to the standards required to play in Division 2.

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New Assistant Manager

WIth Grega Balazic moving on we were in the market for a new assistant manager when Miran Pihler came up when applying for another role. He is an upgrade across the board and was a no brainer to offer him the job, which he accepted. Excited to get him to training and to see how he can take this team up another level.

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Sell on fee's and current account

It's always a nice surprise when you get an email saying you've gained nearly $50,000 from a sale of a player moving for £3,100,000. Shame it was not 30 or 40% of this figure mind you when David Tijanic 13a moved to Porto. That really puts us in a great spot financially for the season, so I requested an upgrade.

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Which was accepted with a small amount of persuasion. Average youth recruitment and more always needed in a busy place to recruit players against the big teams.

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2021/22 IB 1975 Squad

Not many changes from last years squad and a few if the 2021 Youth Academy class making the step up to the senior team. We have a few players on loan which we will phase out and look to replace with youth academy players. We are still a little thin at the back which is why two of the loan players are defenders. Former academy player Jaka Krajc 12a is back on the open market and we expect him to come "home" and add another creative central midfielder to the team. We have been fending off "offers" from team for all players, however not one has offered a single penny so there really is no chance of selling unless a good offer comes in. We thought we would lose club icon Bostjan Jelecevic 03a but with the promotion he signed a new deal to stay at the club for two years, which is a great leader and captain for the team.

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It all starts with talented winger Metod Pesa 20e who was attracting attention from Maribor, but they would not offer any money. So for now, he will continue to be an IB 1975 player. Some say he could be good enough to play in the PrvaLiga, many are saying he is close to that now. He is a solid all around player who is better going forward than defending and his natural fitness does let him down, but for those 60-70 minutes a game he does play, he is a game changer.

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We have high hopes for Anej Kondic 20a, he famously was given the "a" tag and maybe not is his season to shine. He will play in the central midfield role and do not be put off by his finishing and long shot, he has scored some screamers already. He can improve hugely and this feels like a break out year for him.

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Transfers

We managed to sign 2 former academy players which we are hugely excited to bring them back into the family! We continue to look for former players who may see IB 1975 as a viable option once more to play for and have had a few more offers refused to get players back on loan. 

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These are both first team players who will step into the first team and still have age on their side. 

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