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FM21 - A Simple Objective - 1,000 game challenge


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As the name suggests this will be a simple challenge - quite frankly playing FM21 has been a major challenge for me this cycle but hopefully being able to tick off one of my "bucket list" challenges will keep me going for the rest of the cycle.

It's a simple challenge being launched today - have a Youth Intake player reach 1,000 games for me. It's something i've often considered, occassionally attempted but never succeeded with. The closest i've got was Mauro Perez with 847 games before retiring. A Sodorian legend.

I've landed in Brazil as they seem to play a huge amount of games in this country and you need something like this to stand a chance and it will be a Youth Development save - no signings, just focusing on what we can produce.

The Team:

Manaus Futebol Clube were only founded in 2013 and have risen from the depths of Serie D to the heights of Serie C..

I've chosen them as they play in the Brazilian Amazonas State Championship which has 18 games in the state league (the most amount of games across the states) and maxes out at 20 games all told. They are also the only side in that comp in the Serie C (the lowest level on the vanilla game) so a multitude of reasons for picking this particular fruit. We are 1-32 to win the State Championship so hopefully that will be a nice 20 games a season secured.

A national cup is also in the mix - Copa Continental Pneus do Brasil - which offers another 8 games if we win - it's the FA Cup in Brazil so winning is unlikely. Even a fairly poor season for us should see us play 50 games, once we get to Serie A and the Copa Liberatos then we could be reaching somewhere around 70-80 games a year.

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Our facilities are okay for the level we are playing at so as a starting base we are in a decent position.

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The Players:

A 21 man squad with over 50% of the side the wrong side of 30 - these boys should get us through this season before the young guns start to arrive. I'm hoping within 3 seasons to have a complete "newgen" side. Tiago Costa is my star man and looks very good despite his advancing years. We dont have a big backroom staff so a few of the older boys will be asked questions to see if they fancy shaping the future. We don't actually have enough players to fill the bench for the State Championship so hopefully we wont get too many injuries during the course of the season and we can progress quite quickly to Serie B

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The most important part of the club for these type of saves is our HoYD - when i arrived this was situation vacant. The job wasn't advertised for more than a week before a Brazilian international decided to pop an application through the post - some nice mental attributes and an Ambitious personality should hopefully produce some players with the right things in the brain - he also has good knowledge of Spain and Japan and I am a sucker for random nations in a save. The 4% of the world we know includes Sudan and the UAE so maybe a really obscure newgen is in our future.

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January 2021

First thing first.. I am not claiming to be an FM god.. Some context is required for these results - we are overriding favourites (1-32 if you want to put some money on it) and we are playing some right rubbish teams - JC and Sao Raimundo are both at least 2 levels lower than us, the rest are Serie D sides. So this is all to be expected! 

JC was 10-0 at half time..

I also love the fact we have someone called Jackie Chan in our squad..

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Our 1st objective is qualifying for the Semi Finals and we are well on our way to doing this - again, context, we should be. Quite frankly we should be sitting on the naughty step for that 1-1 draw AND Jackie Chan saved us against Amazonas FC with 2 late goals. We will qualify and with a few games to spare. Again this is all exactly what is demanded by the board.

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Dudu has 10 goals from his 4(1) matches so far - a hattrick on the opening day and 5 against JC shows he knows where the goal is and can perform against mediocre sides.

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A real positive first month, so lets end on a downer. We've thrown away £65k in 30 days and we didn't start this save with any cash. It would appear paying players is not exactly an easy job for us right now - we're doing it but if we forget at times then the bank balance may thank us for it (if any of the playing staff's legal team are reading this, then JUST KIDDING OKAY!!)

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February and March 2021

Serie A opponents in the opening round of the Copa Continental Pneus do Brasil hardly seems fair and it also doesn't seem fair that we lost due to the fact that Fortaleza Esporte Clube were the higher seeded side - I mean - HOW RUDE!!

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I felt very indignent by that ruling and my complex was not helped when my physio decided that Corinthians was a better employer - much needed money I should point out but where is the loyalty in the game?

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In terms of results for the month, the State Championship continued to be the walk in the park that it was previously with qualification secured during the 12-1 victory over JC. Our 100th goal of the campaign was secured against Penarol - an amateur side from the lower leagues.

Our goals tally at the end of the group stage reached 133-6 which feels very much like the England Cricket team on a good day. In fact I got so excited by our record 15-0 victory that I didn't actually notice we were now in March and I had missed the deadline for the "monthly" update - ah well, no-one will notice, as long as I don't mention it... ah sheeze!

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I feel the need to repeat my disclaimer - We are, by a country mile, the best team in this state championship - I only chose it because it gives us the most games!

A final bit of business - out of contract Philip moves on - got 9 in 9 which sounds less impressive when you see HOW many we scored

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April 2021

Let's gloss over the fact that this one starts on March 28th...

An away Semi Final and after scoring 133 goals in the group stages, of course we leave them shooting boots back at base and secure a nil-niler. Further soured by Luís Fernando recieving his marching orders late on.

Thankfully we have a 2nd leg (MORE GAMES!!!)

The board made the 2nd leg a FAN DAY and it must be considered a let down - back to back goalless draws.. you couldn't write this narrative....

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But anyway we managed to get through on the old "let the bigger team win" method

We have 4 players suspended for the SF 1st leg - meaning we only have 1 Central Defender.. and our first choice keeper out as well. And for 35 minutes it looked like it was going to be a massive problem but finally the Brazilian version of Amazon (surely this would be Amazon?) delivered our shooting boots and it turned out ok..

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A simple, straightforward 3-0 victory followed..

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That was very easy (if you ignore the flopping Semi..)

The real work should begin now - Serie C action and a mid-table finish is expected.

The most important aspect is 22 games played and we are yet to play a match in the league!

We cleaned up in the end of season awards but were pipped to the post in the top scoring charts

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Progress Chart

None of this group will get anywhere near the 1,000 but I wanted to get my spreadsheet set up in anticipation of the intake players coming through

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May 2021

We've finally started some league football and it's nice to report that not everything has gone our way.

Goalscoring has been easy, but it's an aging defence that is causing us the problems - we led against Imperatriz until late on, whilst Vila Nova are sitting top and went through us like a knife through butter on a warm day - we were 4-1 after 30 minutes and only injury time goals from Gabriel Davis made it look "close". Our youngest defender is 27

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If we finished where we are now at the end of the season then we would get into the next stages (so more games to be played) but I worry that promotion would cause a few too many problems for us next season as the kids will be playing.

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June 2021

Not great news to start the month - he's not amazing but our threadbare squad has gotten even more bare.

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3 of the 4 defenders who started the last few games will miss at least the next one.

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And before a ball is kicked...

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When your doing "youth-only", you dream of moments like this..

Plenty of green - a great prospect in goal. Central Defenders get no mention and that's a worry

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The month started quite well on the pitch, but then fell away - ironically as players started to return from injuries and suspensions, without Gabriel Davis we may well not have picked up anything at all. We sit 5th.

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July 2021

The biggest news of the month is that there is another cup competition to play! #moregames

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Big victories against Trez and Imperatriz have kept us in touch with the top 5 and all but dismissed any small lingering concerns around dropping out the league and killing the save before it's started!

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4 games left - worst case scenario is lower mid-table now I think

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August 2021

A hammer-blow from Santa Cruz at the start of the month, 89th minute winner meant they lept over us into 5th, a point clear. Then an own goal comes to our saviour in the other league match in the month. Two league matches left, we will either finish 4th (in the play-offs), 5th (current) or 6th - all 3 sides have 22 points.

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The Copa Verde was a cake walk but we have a massive challenge in the Quarter's. They are top flight but it is 2 legs.

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One less mouth to feed as Ramon decides to move to Thailand on a free - in reality it's saved us 3 months wages (about £1k total)

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September 2021

So it turns out playing a player who has a 6-7 month hip injury after a painkilling injection is not good for him.. He lasted 40 minutes..

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He's getting more injections as we don't have anyone else!

To be fair, the 1st leg against Goais went well.. The second... eek! 4 goals by the 7th minute of the game. Edvan never played again..

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We went into the last game needing a win and hoping that Remo lost - they won and we didn't..

Rather quite pleased with 5th

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1000 game challenge..

Progress..

Nothing to report (yet)

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Youth Intake - 2021

Two lads with 5* potential.

A load of others that are fairly rubbish. I'm not convinced there is a huge amount to work with but that's the idea of the save so have to be more leanient that i would normally. The below lads have been signed and can be perused at leisure. There will be more and I hope that they might become part of the narrative going forward.

10 of the trialists left the club. We will have a smaller squad next year for certain, but if i cut too deep then we would risk relegation and that is a fools mission.

Fábio Júnior

  • Physically there is not much there, but would there be with a 16yr old who is 5'6? He needs some steak and potatoes.
  • A good passer, who works hard and does things for the team.
  • Immediately given a full time deal - i'll be moving on some of my midfielders to ensure that he is starting games next season

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Rafael Rennardy

  • The preview positively raved about Raf
  • Eccentric and Rushes Out - not convinced that is exactly what is required from a Goalkeeper but there is 5* potential

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1 minute ago, LUFCspeni said:

Love a Brazilian save. The only time I've ever managed a 1000 game player was funnily enough in Italy, not Brazil. 

 

Out of interest, what is the state with the least amount of games? 

  • Brazilian Bahia State Championship has about 10 games
  • Brazilian Maranhão State Championship has a similar number

The rest have between 12-16 games for what I can tell.

This is the first time i've dived into Brazil.

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I realised once the intake had a arrived that our U21 coaching department was completely empty...

  • Fabinho Capixaba is our new manager and brings along a couple of coaches
  • Jéferson Paulista brings Italian knowledge
  • Claudio Pizarro bring Peruvian, German, English and Italian knowledge
  • Rubens Longuinho da Cunha arrives to lead the Physio Dept - a value of 6

I don't know if this has any impact on the youth development or not but it's nice to build up some world knowledge at the very least. A trend I tend to do in my long term saves is bring a young coach into the U21 set and promote them into the senior staffing ranks if they show the required ability.

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End of Season transfers:

  • Back up keeper Gleibson joins Botafogo for £650
  • Edvan still has 12 months to recover from his broken hip, but joins Gílson Alves and Guilherme Amorim in collecting their P45s and are free to find alternative employment
  • Márcio Passos has decided that 36 is old enough to be playing and has retired

Alves is in our "most played 11" with the vast amount of 21 games..

New Year's Day 2022 saw some TV money arrive and I went straight to the board

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A lessening of expectation

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January 2022

  • Fábio Júnior (21) scores after 26 minutes of his debut on the opening day. Becoming our youngest goalscorer, as well as the State Championships - 16yrs and 235 days
  • He was pipped to the youngest player accolade by Felipe Luiz (21) who is 16yrs and 20 days.
  • Felipe Luiz (21) then took Junior's prize away completely by scoring 3 days later!
  • Rafael Rennardy (21), Right Back Jeremias (21), Midfielder Marinélson (21) and Centre Back João Eduardo (21) have also made their senior bow
  • All of the "Class of 21" are off the mark!

An absolute sea of green - nothing in double figures but maximum points collected.

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Felipe Luiz (21) has impressed - a picture that demonstrates the quality level in this state championships...

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February 2022

The big cup started the month, at home to a Serie A side - last time we hosted a side from that level we shipped in 9 goals..

A marked improvement but still a defeat, although we are £127k richer as a result - after much haggling an additional reserve coach was agreed

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The rest of month was a comfortable as it always is - the only dropped stich was the draw against Nacional (AM) - we qualified for the Semi's with 5 games to spare.

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March 2022

  • Right Back Jeremias (21) is a wanted man as the transfer window opens - several Lower Division sides have approached about the posibility of taking him on a free transfer - sorry boys, your going to have to lace my palms with some silver if you want him. He'll never become a 1000 game man, but he's one of my own, so for now has protection.image.png.c4bc7ab51b2e391f6562c824db2157e1.png

We scored a lot less goals than last season but the overall points record is the same

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All eyes now move onto Amazonas FC in the Semi's - last year we got through because we were the higher seeded team so I am expecting a better performance over the two legs this time around.

And...

Domination. Jackie Chan's injury time goal put the icing on the cake and we should be through to the Finals now.

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The month itself was 100% green

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April 2022

The calm before the storm

Or if you believe the bookies - the last month where we might win some games. We are currently 400-1 to WIN the league and sit right at the bottom of the list in the Season Preview.

Short work was made of Amazonas - the four goal lead helped certainly.

Nacional (AM) across 2 legs in the final - 1st v 2nd

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Job done(ish)

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Back to Back...

Now the challenge.

Will it be as easy as ABC?

Cuz that's who we kick off against..

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Made hard work of it but we are off and running

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May 2022

The camp was rocked at the start of the month as first choice keeper and captain Rafael did a sports hernia and will miss the next 6 weeks or so. Time for the kid to step up

5 conceded on his league debut...

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21.Fábio Júnior is having a decent first year and now has a record in the books - 25 games, 6 goals and a professional contract secured when he turns 17.

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As month's go, I will take this, 6pts from 12, if we keep this ratio going then we will be okay. At the early stage of the season we sit 2nd.

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June 2022

Oh it's on... Adilson pitching up and taking a record from one of my boys! I'll get you.. I'll get your future kids for this as well. I don't think any of this seasons intake will be in a position to steal this one back but next year (if we stay in Serie C - I'll get ya, you wee Brazilian...)

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Anyway..

Onto matters on OUR pitch

The month started with a lovely 3-0 victory despite Luís Fernando getting a red card. Last season 14 points was the MAX number of points one of the relegated sides hit and we are currently on 12pts after a third of the season, so lovely jubbly as the French would say.

We followed this up with a real classic end to end basketball type match - both sides had a goal disallowed before Jackie Chan kicked in a 90th minute winner ending the 9 game unbeaten run that Associação Atlética de Altos were on.

The TV cameras were rolling when we hosted Sociedade Imperatriz de Desportos, but Tiago Spice AND Igor (half our defence) were suspended, and to be fair they witnessed a hum dinger - losing by the odd goal in 7 in the dying embers of the game. Results went in our favour and we remained top, and that was where we remained after a 3-2 win in the final game of the month.

We reach the turn on 18pts.

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The last line of this one really hurts - the strikers are not up to much.. We really need a striker - the ones we have are classed as back up at best and I was planning on letting them go. The green sounds really positive, although the yellow counteracts most of it. As ever time will tell.

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July 2022

I've been reflecting since the last update (Sunday), so a couple of days, around what I would like to achieve in the 2nd half of the season - promotion would generate an additional 20 league games in a season so would massively help with the challenge but I fear this group of players would not come close to staying up and it might be a yo-yo effect for a few seasons. We just missed out on the end of season fun last year so finishing one place higher and losing in the play-offs would be progress and I think that would be acceptable.

A fruitess conversation if we lose games anyway.

We managed to avoid defeat against ABC FC with a 1-1 away draw - 3 disallowed goals in this one - 2 to 1 in their favour so a slightly fortunate point. We nearly grabbed a point at Remo but a 93rd minute goal was our undoing - it's looking like it will be a nearly but not quite month, unless we can turn it around (written in hope..)

I freely admit it was a very last minute decision to start Alex against Esporte Clube Jacuipense so when he bagged a hattrick I allowed myself a moment to look smug - or as smug as someone in a sweaty Leicestershire room can look - before reviewing the training ahead of the next one - we've got an aged squad and I dont want any players breaking.

Clearly the correct decision as we got stuffed...

Suspensions, Injuries and Tiredness effected the month massively. I suspect with 4 games left our race might be ran.

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Somewhere between 1st and 7th is where we may finish. All remaining games are against sides currently below us in the table, over the next 2 months so amble time to rest and recuperate.

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August 2022

Only 2 league games this month. Away to the side bottom of the table. What could go wrong...

Well it turns out plenty..

A dissallowed goal, a missed penalty and a severe pasting.. We dropped to 5th and 2pts outside of the play-offs.

The cup was a rotated side and the scoreline doesn't quite reflect how much we were 3rd best.

A mystery virus took out a couple of players prior to the final game of the month so of course we won that won.. #logic

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Two matches left in our season - more than pride left to play for. 7th and 9th are our opponents.

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September 2022

Isn't it great to have money...

No idea...

We are financially ducked...

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The only way we can reverse this is if we are able to produce some sellable talent or get promoted a few times. Hopefully the later can be discussed in this monthly update.

It was nice to start the month with a pasting - 3 soft goals left us with a mountain to climb and we couldn't scale very high. Extremely tight going into the last match.

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  • We host 9th and must win
  • Vila Nova play 8th and Altos (PI) play 1st - if Altos either WIN or DRAW then it doesn't matter what we do, but if Vila Nova DRAW and we win then we would overtake then on Games Won which is the deciding factor first
  • ABC and Imperatriz can only overtake us if we dont win on that Games Won decider.

My word...

The heart...

3-0 and cruising before the panic sets in and we barely scrape over the line. Jackie Chan is the hero of the hour with a brace.

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The 2nd stage is simple. 6 games - finish in top 2 to get promoted

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0-2...

2-2...

2-4... at half time

Somehow we win 6-4 - that man Jackie Chan with a treble and we top the group after game 1

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October 2022

5 huge games (unless we start losing then inevitably the last couple will be nothing matches..)

Botafogo who won our side of the league, away from home - they dicked us in the league - we certainly have some bonkers games at the minute. Storm into a 3-0 lead, conceed and panic kicks in - conceed 3 inbetween scoring 3 more. 6 points from 2 games.

Suspensions could kill us - Igor (Right Back) misses the next one

Dudu Mandai sees red after 5 minutes and we never get a sniff - 4-0 pasting which could have been worse.

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Halfway and we are ahead of the curve - the same position as in the league and the 2nd half of the league season was poor. 5 players are 1 booking away from suspension - that could kill us.

Must win against Sao Jose

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A stratchy 2-1 win coupled with Ituano winning means we are 6pts clear with 2 left

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Anything from the last 2 games and we are there. 2 defeats and if Botafogo win both then it comes down to goal difference and it's very likely a 6 goal swing will happen as it means they will have beaten us and we've already conceded plenty.

They are next

4 players are suspended.

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Squeeky Bum time.

2-1 defeat.

We must get something against Ituano, or keep a 4 goal swing.

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Epic!!

5-3 victory AND Botafogo lost to 2 goals in injury time so doubly promoted (in my eyes)...

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Youth Intake

After the high of promotion could we back it up with a fantastic intake?

No...

22.Sérgio João is a slightly better version of 21.Rafael Rennardy and will provide some competition and back up for the main man Rafael.

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22.Marcelino is a winger by trade and can play centrally, that's where he will be developed as I've got lack of depth in the middle of the park so hopefully he can develop. He will get game time and is the 2nd of the ones that excites a little.

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The Rest of the signings are purely for depth as we are getting older and weaker all the time.

  • 22.Udson is a functional Left Back
  • 22.Júnior Cezar can cover both Left Back and Centre Half
  • 22.Cleberson Victor is rated as rubbish by my HoYD but has Marking and Tackling of 12 and is a Centre Half
  • 22.Stanley is another not rated but has double figure attributes in the right places for a defender (RB & CD)
  • 22.Zelinho, Igor has a major injury and is our first choice RB, so Zeli joins as back up to the back up. He's not very good!
  • 22.Santos, a central mid who has some okay Physical attributes - he can run basically.
  • 22.Elon III, rather bizarelly I had 3 players called Elon come through, the first two were discarded but the third is a striker and I need one of those to fill the bench. And he scared me a little bit..

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End of Season 1000 game challenge progress report (must find catchier title...)

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As this is focusing on "youth development players" first and foremost..

  • 21.Fábio Júnior had a very solid State Championship (22 games, 5 goals, 7.10ar) but dropped back when Serie C kicked off - still managed 22 of the 24 matches we played. Currently a 2 star ability player and will improve
  • 21.João Eduardo played the role of back up Central Defender well enough. He hasn't really developed in the 12 months he has been around. The odd good performance and the odd shocker too - will continue as that 3rd CD I suspect
  • 21.Felipe Luiz, the winger was a regular in the State Championship but barely featured in the league - he's not good enough for the standard and with 22.Marcelino around he may have had his chance - he's capable of playing on the right, so it might be a re-train situation
  • 21.Rafael Rennardy has become the first of our "own" to be included in the Hall of Fame - as back up keeper... purely because he's the only keeper who has played enough times to meet some threshold behind the scenes. 15 games played and a mixed bag.
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January 2023

The beginning of Season 3, our first at Serie B level - that gives us a mouthwatering 60 games this year if we DONT make any 2nd round or play-off and we should do so LOTS AND LOTS of football to be enjoyed (the state championship) or endured (the league campaign)

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We managed to lose over £200k last season and thats with a wage bill which was less than half of what I was allowed by the board.

With this in mind, a couple of the higher earners will be moving on, Winger Diego Rosa and Centre Mid Erivélton have been released, both the wrong side of 30 and both were managed out of the side last season to allow the kids to play.

Despite having no cash the board have agreed to spend more money..

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This will help....

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Some serious wonga..

The start of the State Championship went as expected - a reminder to all that we are Man City in a sea of Dog and Duck Reserves

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February 2023

Nothing much to pull out from the results point of view in the Amazonas State Championship - we continue to do what we always do. I almost thought we had something interesting in the Rio Negro game when Marcelino scored in the 80th min for them, an own goal for us in the 83rd min and was then sent off in the 85th - but it was two different players with the same nickname - one of them scored and was sent off the other scored the OG.

We are £127k richer for progressing in the Copa Continental Pneus do Brasil and face Esporte Clube Bahia who won Serie B last season - certainly a challenge.

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Bids have started to come in for 21.Fábio Júnior - he's been told that he has a min release fee of £1m and that's that.. he ain't pleased..

There's interest in 22.Sérgio João as well and it's a similar conversation - although he is out of contract at the end of the year so this is a little more concerning.

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March 2023

The biggest game of the month was found on the 1st day of it. Hosting Bahia, even defeat will guarantee us £125k-ish, two down after 10 minutes and a man down after 20. Let's take the money and run away...

The most important thing is that the bank balance is in positive figures again.

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And it's only right that we pester the board for an improvement

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That's two improvements in a short space of time as well

For the rest of the month, the results on the pitch were irrelevant - we qualified for the Semi Final's without kicking a ball before beating Atlético Rio Negro Clube (AM). In fact with 5 games left of the qualifying stage of the competition the entire Semi Final picture was confirmed.

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Our first ever 100% qualifying campaign - we've yet to lose in 3 years

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The month was rounded off with the fantastic news that 22.Sérgio João has agreed a 2yr deal to remain with the club

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April 2023

The business end of the State Championships.. or the only stage of the competition where winning is not a forgeone conclusion. Amazonas in the Semi's and 21.Fábio Júnior stood up and bagged a fine brace to give us a commanding lead, coupled with a fast start in the 2nd leg made for an extremely one sided round. Losing a couple of senior heads to injury did dampen the mood a little bit, they will hopefully be fit for the league at the end of the month.

I must have some pictures of our president with a younger lady who is definately not his wife as he has agreed with only gentle persuasion to improve the Junior Coaching for the second time in a few months.

The final wasn't pretty but a solid defensive display secured our 3rd successive title. Now onto the harder stuff.

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Off the field development of the coaches continues with legendary left back Tiago Costa bagging his first badge, and immediately he sets off for his second.

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We are 600-1 to win the Serie B title - longer odds than Leicester City had in that famous year. Every pundits pick to get relegated. I don't mind though - due to TV money and improvements to the facilities we will come out of this season in a stronger position than when we started it.

They scored in the 94th minute... 

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