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[FM 21] And/or a hero? Poorly assumed identities and Thed Lazlo in a youth only adventure


Ceching You Out
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FC Encamp

Andorra 2nd Division

 

You seem familiar. Do I know you from somewhere?

I get that a lot. And by a lot, I mean one time a ten year old thought I looked like Captain America. It was dark and he did not have good eyesight. But to answer your question, you certainly do not recognize me from this decades-long fruitless endeavor. You're probably thinking of one of the Avengers movies.

Now I remember you.

That Marvel reference jogged your memory? Nice.

Ugh. I've got to put up with this for another fifty years?

Think positively! I could fail a lot faster this time.

Excellent. What's the challenge again?

Same as it's always been - win the Champions League using only players from our Academy. Ideally at some point I'd take over the national team for World Cup victory and Euro domination. The second division in Andorra means we have a long way to go.

Shoutout to the "Increased Realism" and "Around the World" megapacks I'll be using by daveincid and davie77, respectively.

Pretty lofty goals there, Mourinho. You're good enough to pull this off? Why the mods?

I would've updated my references and gone with Tuchel, but thank you. Obviously I am, although it's been a few years since I played. And my last attempt ended in abject failure. And I haven't played FM 2021 yet so the additions to the vanilla game are pure hubris. But what could go wrong?

This is definitely ending quickly.

Once you meet our manager, I think you'll change your tune. Maybe to soprano on account of the elevation? I think I remember that part of The Sound of Music. Let's go with yes; this isn't a science thread. Settle into this cozy concert hall and prepare to meet the charismatic Thed Lazlo.

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Thed Lazlo stared at the desk. Really more of a folding table backed up against a community bulletin board. He thumped it with the bottom of his fist. Sturdy legs -- survive a Siberian winter no sweat.

The press secretary coughed loudly and gestured to the two men patiently recording with camera phones. "You, uhh, ready?"

Thed nodded. "Where is translator?"

"Again, also me. Albert Muntada." He pointed to the clip on name tag. It said 'Albert Muntada'. "I'll translate whatever you say. Let's get started." Albert said some things in Spanish and pointed. "...Thed Lazlo."

The round one with the phone spoke up. "Welcome, Ted Lasso! You honor Andorran football. Welcome!"

"Uhh, yes I am the Thed Lazlo. The one from TV." Albert quickly translated. The tiny one nodded vigorously, his phone bobbing up and down.

The round one spoke again. "Tell us about your experience and how it will help here at FC Encamp."

"Hmm. Do you have bitey apple TV station here?"

Albert sighed. "No, due to a licensing restriction--"

"Okay okay, just commercial then. I start as silly American coach that only know American futbol when I coach at Spurs. But now I fall in love with futbol. I continue learning here. I bring stupid American sayings. Work as team make the work of a dream."

The round one nudged the thin one with his camera hand and gestured warmly at Thed. "Classic, Ted. You'll have the dressing room behind you in no time. Any concerns with tactics though?"

"No no, in American futbol very similar. Playmaker drop back, leave room for wingers to make touchdowns. Then you all wiggle together for the fans. Tactics make the whole more than the total."

"That does sound similar. This far from home, surely you'll have to battle against homesickness?"

Thed covered his mouth and whispered to Albert. "Really, no bitey TV?"

"No, like I--"

"Just in case. Yes, family I miss. My... old grandma. Very old. And my... pet parakeet. Very green. Boo hoo, very sad. But I need distance to grow as human."

The round one sniffled back tears. The thin one tried to comfort him with a hug.

Albert Muntada cleared his throat. "Uhh yeah. We're clearly in capable hands. Thed Lazlo, everyone."

 

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Edited by Ceching You Out
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Let's see what we're cooking with in the 2nd division in Andorra. Randomized players so it's even more like Christmas morning.

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Overall personality of the squad is Fairly Professional so individual personalities are better than they might otherwise seem. Potential is high across the board except for poor Alex Carvalho. Unlikely most of these players see their potential training as semi-pro, but bless him Alex has no illusions of grandeur. He's unlikely to ever see the field anyway when the best player in our squad looks like this:

Niclas Senger

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A massive German goalkeeper who can jump out of the building and a natural leader to push us on. Don't love that he's a puncher but we're picking nits at this point. And my assistant thinks this 5 star guy is a "Good player for most Second Division sides." Granted he has leading potential, but oof for what that means about the rest of our squad.

 

Giuseppe Elia

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What pace! And what embarrassing acceleration to go with it. Otherwise I love the look of him for a snarling BWM with decent distribution skills. Assistant also thinks he's good for this level and can get a lot better.

 

Albert Avila

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Aggression and determination are becoming a trend. Albert puts that in a tiny, weak package and pairs that with crazy pace. Not much going forward though. Good for this level and leading potential.

Mark Amat

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Fast, weak, and ground-bound. Pretty good technically although his vision and off the ball are weak links. He might be best suited to play high and run into space, although that's not usually what I gravitate towards. Decent for this level, leading potential.

 

Juan Bove

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Fast, good tackler. Feels more defensive than attacking. I'm struggling to have strong opinions for as low as so many of these attributes are. Decent at this level and that's about all he'll be. That wraps up our top five players. Gulp.

 

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While the local hype is nice, I'm not sure cross-eyed hillbilly was the exact vibe we were trying to put out for our debut.

 

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Probably Thed's hillbilly face that scared off the rest. What's the Russian equivalent for "hillbilly"?

 

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I'm going to blame this on Thed's face too. Several players were nervous or apprehensive and that couldn't have helped. Hopefully we shake off the nerves now.

 

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I've been meaning to do a tactics deep dive, but it's honestly a little hard to figure out if we've found our groove yet or not. Last minute loss to the favorites for promotion in our debut followed by a loss where we laterally cleared the ball out of the hands of our onrushing keeper to give up an open net tap in and a penalty. Then three wins on the trot where we reeeeally poured it on and it felt like we were clicking. And then a 20 day lay-off, 5 week injury to our star striker Amat, and a rocky run of morale.

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So where does that leave us? Hard to tell really given the uneven number of games. Five points off the lead or 10? 4th or 6th? We shall see. If I'm reading it right, looks like the league breaks into a top and bottom mini-league to finish. That's the kind of thing a prepared manager would know before taking a job, eh?

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Something to look forward to here. No idea how any of this will translate to usable players but we're in dire need of depth.

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Only a couple games later, but stole the chance to show everyone on equal games played. Lo, gaze on our form and despair! Pretty clearly a top 4, a bottom 3, and a carton of milk you forgot in the car for a few days. Note - we recently drew against that FC curdled milk carton. That may have escalated our tactical reevaluation.

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Let's see how that intake actually turned out relative to the preview. It's my first time so not sure what to expect. We could use some good news about now...

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 Yeray Jiménez (21A) is the star of the intake. DC is one of our needs, although to be fair we don't have many starter spots filled outside GK and ST. He's a little slow & weak compared to what I'd want and has room to grow into the mental side, but good Jumping and Heading, Marking, & Tackling. I think we can fix his Determination given our squad is blessed in that area already. Bonus that he's likely to be a starter before he's 18 if he develops at all.  

 

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It feels like Elías Aguilera (21B) should be rated higher than 1 star CA. Maybe that's because our best player also plays in the middle of the park? Although that still wouldn't explain him falling below what seem like worse CMs. He's bad physically but I love everything else here. I'm mentally penciling him in a distribution role somewhere we can hide his athleticism.

 

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Israel Iribarren (21C), the double i-ed winger with the speed and strength of a tri-i-cycle. I suppose I'll retrain him to play in the center of the park too? And we'll play a whole team of slow young guys just to prove stereotypes are wrong. We'll be the Invincibles of the moral victory table.

I'll save the digital ink on the rest of the prospects since none stand out except for the GK our preview previously hyped, who it turns out has the personality of a gasoline soaked dumpster with self esteem issues. TIme will tell if any of them are worth more than smelly ridicule.

 

 

 

 

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Definitely a sign of how bad things have been. Maybe a sign that things are turning around? Certainly not a sign that my tactical nous has slipped after a few FM-free years. Although to be fair, a couple of those results are downright comical in how they happened.

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2 points, picked up on the last day by Jenlai separate us from the championship group since the B teams above are apparently ineligible. That's far less than we literally gave away during that run of bad form. No chance we go down, but I'm worried that the "Wnt" icons popping up already are a sign that we'll get picked over. No chance this season (so far) to even offer a real contract. Woof.

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FC Encamp

Andorra 2nd Division

2020-2021 Season

 

How was the league?

Soaring out of the gates and then... miserable until we pulled out of a tactical tail dive late. Had the season lasted another couple games I legitimately felt we could've made the 4-team championship playoff and challenged. Our engines were humming when the curtain fell and the 4-team relegation playoff I was mentally preparing for turned out to be my imagination reaching fever pitch. Or was it fever yaw? Like our season, that metaphor got away from me a little in the middle. Land it strong... uhh... TOUCH DOWN!

Delusional AND an amateur crash enthusiast? Oh yes, please go on.

If I had anything else, I probably would've led with that instead of the flying references. That's not the mark of a man with endless material.

Whatever. Anything else noteworthy?

Team is rounding out after the experience of the league. Think we've got tactics sorted to punch above our weight, finally; more on that soon. Target is promotion, but duh. And in love of all that is holy, please let me hang on to my players I can't sign to yearly contracts.

 

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Drops of water falling on stone. On we go!

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Posted (edited)

Thed stared at the folding table. Thump. Maybe the center though... Thump. Thump thump thump. No no, so sturdy. Thump.

Albert's chair creaked as he took a three-point turn to face Thed. Albert examined him like a stranger struggling with an exit door, first gently pushing in confusion then putting their body weight directly into the "PULL" sign.

"Cough."

Thed looked up. "Did you say cough instead of ach ach?"

"I don't know what you're talking about. Ready?" Albert gestured at the familiar "journalists" pointing cell phones their direction.

"Ah yes yes. Questions now."

The thin one spoke up. "Thed, your season was... not so good. How do you maintain such a bubbly personality through the turmoil of the last year?"

"I eat cookies and watch much TV like American do. Underdogs always win."

"Of course, that makes sense. What show is your inspiration?"

"I watch The Americans. Such good spy show. US government try to catch them but Russians are too smart. Really makes you think about hiding in plain sight. You know, as proud American guy."

The thin one switched phone hands, dropping it in the process. He bent to pick it up, long thing arm dangling. He missed, straightened, and tried again.

"I like you skinny man. You remind me of claw game in home town arcade. Beep boop game over." Thed laughed. "No stuffed toy for you. So you I call... Scarecrow. Like in Wizard of Oz."

Thed waved his arms around. "Whish whish whish."

Scarecrow beamed. "An honor, sir."

The round one butted in. "Thed, how would you explain your tactical failings and flailings? One internet commenter, well really the only on our website, said quote, 'Lazlo flails between tactics like an octopus trying to ice skate.'"

Thed turned to press secretary and translator Albert Muntada and waved his arms and legs in poorly pantomimed skating.

Albert nodded.

Thed paused. Then held up eight fingers and wiggled them.

Albert sighed. He closed his eyes and gently nodded.

"Tactics? Well, I am just stupid American that only knows American football so..." Thed shrugged.

The round one started, "Well, that--"

"First I try to copy Tuchel with 3 at the back. Great success, with at least one of the outside center backs stepping up in possession. But this grew stale. Our attack too wide and we became outnumbered in the middle. We try some of other options but team sad by that point."

"But--"

"...just stupid American. So I go to YouTu-- I mean research website. Research much. I find this Polish guy Bereta, like gun. No one heard of him outside Silesia. You heard of this place Silesia? I think it made up. Team names like "Ruth Chewy". Made up for sure. But his tactics, brilliant. I ste-- learn from him. Yes, learn from him. Educate myself in the imaginary ways. Old people never stop learning. New season, new you."

 

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Edited by Ceching You Out
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Since our imitation brand Ted Lasso has introduced the topic, let's talk tactics. I had struggled to get a 3 at the back formation since the beginning of time. Why not give it a shot now? Apropos of nothing, I also wanted to play a heavy possession based tactic because, you guessed it, I've struggled with that since the primordial ooze that predates the beginning of time. And gegenpressen? Well, that I actually have succeeded with before. So, we opened our first season with a variation of Chelsea's 3-4-3 heavily inspired by a @Crazy_Ivan post on this Chelsea thread.

 

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Positives, any tactic that starts with "Crazy ___'s" is far, far cooler than it otherwise would be. Loved the IWB "central defender" who mostly operated the way Azpilicueta does in the real thing. We created fantastic overloads on the outside. I loved the possession we could retain and the work our HB did. Overall, some decent results for about a third of the (short) season.

Negatives, we only attacked down the flanks and our overloads there could fizzle easily because anyone we'd play in the IWB spot was terrible going forward. My eyes burned like a thousand fiery suns at the repetitive blocked crosses. Eventually our form tanked and no matter how I tweaked this I couldn't get any traction - changing roles, swapping back to a symmetric 3-4-3, trying a 3-5-2, nada. This led to terrible morale and we sank down the table.

 

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So in a fit of desperation, I looked for a formation that might give us roughly the same play style but make better use of space on the field and our players. I *ahem*, borrowed the large part of this formation from @SixPointer based on discussion in his Ruch Chorzów thread and (just) managed not to vomit when FM called it "Custom Tiki Taka". The biggest change comes from the striker and forward two CMs; changes there were concessions to fit my best players in those positions.

The game plan is to possess the ball up the field, forcing the opposition back into their own half. Losing the ball at that point should leave us in a good position to win the first ball or at least double up on opposing strikers. We are leaving sizeable gaps between our CD and WB which is where we will (and were) beaten on occasion by a ultra direct pass from the opposition's keeper. Another weakness is my CDs do still needlessly punt the ball up field but I suspect that's because they have undiagnosed cataracts.

Deeper analysis to come as I settle into players as "long-term solutions" for roles; more accurately, as our early intakes replace the old guard I'll spend more time identifying how pieces fit. There's still too much churn in players to fall in love with more than a couple players and their roles are determined as much by other players than their own skills and fit.

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4 hours ago, Ceching You Out said:

Since our imitation brand Ted Lasso has introduced the topic, let's talk tactics. I had struggled to get a 3 at the back formation since the beginning of time. Why not give it a shot now? Apropos of nothing, I also wanted to play a heavy possession based tactic because, you guessed it, I've struggled with that since the primordial ooze that predates the beginning of time. And gegenpressen? Well, that I actually have succeeded with before. So, we opened our first season with a variation of Chelsea's 3-4-3 heavily inspired by a @Crazy_Ivan post on this Chelsea thread.

 

image.png.d8530e242e5a1c3fbb6ff21628bcca7e.png

 

Positives, any tactic that starts with "Crazy ___'s" is far, far cooler than it otherwise would be. Loved the IWB "central defender" who mostly operated the way Azpilicueta does in the real thing. We created fantastic overloads on the outside. I loved the possession we could retain and the work our HB did. Overall, some decent results for about a third of the (short) season.

Negatives, we only attacked down the flanks and our overloads there could fizzle easily because anyone we'd play in the IWB spot was terrible going forward. My eyes burned like a thousand fiery suns at the repetitive blocked crosses. Eventually our form tanked and no matter how I tweaked this I couldn't get any traction - changing roles, swapping back to a symmetric 3-4-3, trying a 3-5-2, nada. This led to terrible morale and we sank down the table.

 

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So in a fit of desperation, I looked for a formation that might give us roughly the same play style but make better use of space on the field and our players. I *ahem*, borrowed the large part of this formation from @SixPointer based on discussion in his Ruch Chorzów thread and (just) managed not to vomit when FM called it "Custom Tiki Taka". The biggest change comes from the striker and forward two CMs; changes there were concessions to fit my best players in those positions.

The game plan is to possess the ball up the field, forcing the opposition back into their own half. Losing the ball at that point should leave us in a good position to win the first ball or at least double up on opposing strikers. We are leaving sizeable gaps between our CD and WB which is where we will (and were) beaten on occasion by a ultra direct pass from the opposition's keeper. Another weakness is my CDs do still needlessly punt the ball up field but I suspect that's because they have undiagnosed cataracts.

Deeper analysis to come as I settle into players as "long-term solutions" for roles; more accurately, as our early intakes replace the old guard I'll spend more time identifying how pieces fit. There's still too much churn in players to fall in love with more than a couple players and their roles are determined as much by other players than their own skills and fit.

Glad to see the Ruch formation come to life somewhere else. Tomorrow I plan to try get back into FM21 one last time before FM22. Which means Ruch will suffer in 21. But I do plan to take the same Challenge on in FM22. Maybe not as my first save but definitely as my long term one due to how much I loved it there. 
 

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While I'd be quite happy about a good CM and winger, a third GK seems redundant. We shall see.

 

2 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Glad to see the Ruch formation come to life somewhere else. Tomorrow I plan to try get back into FM21 one last time before FM22. Which means Ruch will suffer in 21. But I do plan to take the same Challenge on in FM22. Maybe not as my first save but definitely as my long term one due to how much I loved it there. 
 

Appreciate you stopping by and looking forward to whatever you tackle next! And appreciate even more the tactical thinking you've shared. I'll eventually poke and prod at that side of the game in depth (better fitting to my actual squad, analyzing play, etc.), but in the meantime I needed something well-thought out, strong, and intuitive to start with so I can get immersed in the save after a few years off FM. Barring real life surprises, I plan on keeping this thread going until I hit the limits of what can be accomplished in Andorra (like I did with Luxembourg once upon a time with an older version).

So, call it a reincarnation of your Ruth tactics, keeping the spirit alive. Although transmigrating from Silesia to Andorra may feel like a bit of a downgrade. I can imagine a few ways I'm responsible for lost tactical karma.

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Posted (edited)

Over last year's winter transfer window we received a couple offers for our players on "non-contract" contracts. It was easy enough to knock them back by offering a new contract at whatever the player requested, even if their other offer was from the first division. The summer window brought an absurd number of offers, one after another. Our best players received 10ish offers each because for some reason signing a new "non-contract" contract doesn't discourage further bids the way a "contract" contract does. Annoying, but not worrying.

Fast forward to the middle of next season and this:

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Looks like we'll be losing our first player to another team. He now wants a $95 per appearance and we can offer $25. Uhh, bon voyage Amat. No one else get any ideas or things will get dicey quickly.

 

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*Eyebrows raised and nodding in agreement*. Hopefully we'll see you in the first division soon.

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Not a bad spread of positions to be honest. We're short on outside players once Amat left since he'd been playing as an Inside Forward on the left. Good chance at least one of them gets retrained for another position. To be honest, I'm itching to retrain someone to be my IWB. Anyway, rounding out our decent prospects are a valuable DC and CM. And a GK who's unlikely to be needed unless our #1 gets snatched away.

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Is there a connection between Andorra and Angola that I'm not aware of? My Andorran knowledge is encyclopedic, never mind I had to google the country's location to enable neighbor leagues. Manuel here is in between a couple different archetypes; I'll have to figure out what I want him to be. Or more accurately at this level, just watch to see where he develops.

 

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Bicho has some ridiculous physical attributes for a 16 year old in Andorra. Mentals are questionable outside Aggression and Determination. He'll get playing time regardless given our dearth of outside players.

 

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Soler is probably the odd man out as far as sticking to winger. Is he a CM, DM, or IWB? Honestly the difference between the latter two is going to be small at this point. He won't get physically abused, a little light on Passing but if that comes up 3-4 points he's great in the middle. 

 

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Alonso has a few great mentals and then a bunch of meh to average elsewhere. Given our depth, he'll quickly be a rotation player though if he can improve just a little.

 

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Make everyone a IWB, you say? OKAY! 

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We finish the "regular season" in 1st place with a four point gap. If we can hold on to top spot after playing each team Home and Away, automatic promotion; 2nd place plays a top division side in a promotion playoff. Can our underdogs pull it off? Preseason odds say we only have a 99% chance. Cross your toes.

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Posted (edited)

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FC Encamp

Andorra 2nd Division

2021-2022 Season

 

How was the league?

We entered the championship "playoff" round with a healthy lead and little regret about throwing away a 3-0 halftime lead blooding youngsters. Our first two games put us up again Carroi and America so we'd either salt away promotion or throw open the door to our competition. Drumroll, please...

Spoiler

 

Cheap parlor tricks are for children. You are a child.

All the great showmen know how to build suspense. Maybe one day they'll teach me how.

Spoiler

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Ughhh. This isn't ending soon is it?

Keep your chin up! Maybe I'm immediately relegated and fired.

Promise?

No. Our squad is actually looking pretty good and I can now sign players to actual part-time contracts for two years. Our 4* players are all tied up and I'm contemplating how I want to handle the rest. Here's our situation - 

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Relative to the squad, 3.5-4* means you're basically a locked-on starter. You can see our glut of players between 1-3*, many of them getting healthy playing time and not really kicking on like Monteiro or Uriguen. For example, Adria Rodiguez played nearly every game as our HB largely because we needed another CM and he was the best we got; a year and a half later he's added roughly a star. That's not... bad, but it's not enough to commit to him.

Especially when the other half of the equation are our best youth coming in at 1.5-2* while being 5-6 years younger.  That means there's a good chance our non-locked-on starters could be potentially passed for a starting role within a year AND have a younger option looking better for rotation minutes. Further muddying the waters, we're unable to truly evaluate youth potential between the quality we bring through relative to our squad, our AM's terrible JPA/JPP, and few dev minutes/poor training facilities meaning there's little chance for youth to individually shine. In other words, every youth looks like they have the potential to be a star.

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Edited by Ceching You Out
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Not to be insensitive, but this caught me by surprise. Is this a thing in FM? All for the representation, just a little odd seeing a news item in FM that is deeply personal and that you can't really react to. Never seen a news item on the passing of family members, weddings, or divorces (although maybe I'll soon be surprised on that too?) and there's no button to announce "We support Monteiro" in a press conference which in turn has impact on morale or team cohesion. Again, representation is great (hat tip to the upcoming women's side in FM) but if it's intended to add immersion it did more of the opposite.

 

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Lots to digest in this intake, including a potential star with a terrible attitude and some potential behind that. Let's come back to that when we wrap the season.

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FC Encamp

Andorra 1st Division

2022-2023 Season

 

How was the league?

Womp wommmmmp.

Did you-- PLEASE TELL ME YOU GOT RELEGATED!

We did. Could've pulled ourselves out of the relegation conversation with a little more luck in one game in particular in the 6 game relegation playoff - hit the post twice and then missed the ensuing empty nets. Then in the two leg relegation playoff vs Carroi we lost the first leg 1-0 on a stunning free kick. Second leg we go down 1-0 shortly followed by a red card. Throw everything forward... and we pull one back! No great chances until with 5 minutes left we create an open look inside the 18 (put wide) and win the ball in a goal mouth scrum (hammered into a defender). Bah.

HA HA HA. How quickly did you get fired?

I haven't yet.

Wait, what?!

My reaction as well. I must be right on the cusp of getting the sack, but nothing so far. I'm guessing I'll have a very short leash next season and that's not helped at all by Monteiro wanting out, although he's one of the few players tied down for 2 more seasons so I may just ride that out and see what happens. Elia also wanted out but our captain (same guy who picked up the straight red) talked him out of it.

So let's look at the squad:

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We have so many young players between 1-2* here that need game time to develop. We have a B Team that plays in an unviewable league and I know once upon a time FM didn't treat those appearances nearly as valuable as time in active leagues. So if that's the case we're really looking at roughly 23 for the 1st team and less for U18 since several with the 1st team will play down.

Surprisingly, I only count ~50 on this list. I wish I had a better handle on the progression curves for youngsters in FM21. Development feels far slower for youngsters getting substantial game time compared to FM15 and maybe FM19 as well. It's also incredibly annoying that my Assistant Manager isn't able to distinguish between the potential of just about everyone at the club. Surely not everyone at the club is able to reach the level of the league we were just relegated from? I suppose I may dump some of the players I'm uncertain of in the B Team and just see what happens.

 

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A proper welcome back game - 2nd match our opponent gets 5 shots, 4 on target, 4 goals from .63 xG. We get half the goals from double the xG.

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But besides that, we've been absolutely dominant to the point I can start to lean on the Instant Results button to speed along our (hopefully) bounce-back promotion. The more eagle-eyed of you may notice a funny quirk of the league structure. Anyway, what does all that positive first half of the season lead to?

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Our star goal scorer wants to stay. No doubt his own form helped - nearly the most goals and MotM in a full !half! of our games through 11.

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Still at a point where I don't know what I have so I don't know what I should be wishing for so... yay? Sounds promising in bulk at least.

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Weird situation we find ourselves in with Maneiro. He'd love to discuss a new contract but he won't negotiate because I can only offer him worse terms (i.e., per appearance) rather than extending his salaried deal. So when Penya Encarnada swoops in to offer him a deal at the end of his contract, I can't do anything but hope he rejects it. Unfortunately he did not.

He is a starter at DC, but he's currently only a 2nd Division player with a little room to improve. Not a loss we wanted, but far from the end of the world. If this is as bad a hit we take from relegation then we've got off easy.

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FC Encamp

Andorra 2nd Division

 

How was the league?

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Just managed to scrape it, eh?

You could say that. You'd be wrong, but you could say that. We were 14 points clear going into the Playoff and we extended our lead a point despite playing heavily rotated lineups (backup GK, ST especially). Our only loss was the ridiculous second game of the season shared above - undefeated the rest of the way. Back to the 1st Division in style.

Learn any skills that will put a stop to your yo-yo routine?

Not really. Nearly identical formation, with one small tweak up front; mostly the same players as the season that got us relegated. We will have the bonus of an extra year's development which can't be overrated given we're talking about formative years for such a young group. If I had to bet, I'd say we're good for the top half next year in the top flight. Of course, I also thought we'd be able to stay up the year before and that prediction wasn't worth the digital paper it as written on.

Clearly you're clairvoyant. Anything else?

I'm starting to get a handle on personalities in this year's version of FM, between mentoring and general team impacts. We have a very Determined side with middling Professionalism and Ambition from what I can tell. I've been pondering how I might be able to move us that direction through mentoring, captains, who I keep at the club even if they can't make the first team, and how I organize players across U18, B, and A squads. No answers yet, just an inkling. But I think it will make all the difference given that even slight personality improvements for our Balanced players has seemed to motivate some of our worst trainers to become our best.

 

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An interesting interstitial aside:

think I may be cutting our captain, Avila (pictured below). He's...okay. Previously one of our better players, he's now slipped a bit relative to our best. He's incredibly quick and fit with great determination and braery. So why cut him?

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Well, three things in reverse order of importance:

  1. His performances have been pretty meh. He's been sent off a few times for bad tackles from aggressive tackles. Even in an absolutely dominant season for Encamp he only put up decent numbers. Granted, he's a defender so that does tamper expectations a bit but he also mildly "doesn't enjoy big matches" which is not what we want when our success here will ultimately be judged in Europe a few seasons down the line.
  2. He's built more like a defensive WB (bad Passing & Crossing, no Dribbling) when we're playing a possession-based style that uses IWB. It's difficult justifying tactical tweaks to make Avila fit - you don't want him in a pseudo-back three because he's not tall enough for rides at the amusement park even if he gets to jump.
  3. Personality-wise, he has a huge influence as our only "Team Leader" while only visibly bringing one of the key three attributes for development (Determination). He could have some Ambition or Professionalism that doesn't show in his Media Handling, but his training-effort and attribute development have been entirely mediocre as well. Plus one round of mentoring Balanced teammates appeared to send them the wrong direction.

 

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Why release him rather than demote him? Honestly, I'm not sure. I think it will be less disruptive to morale to just cut him rather than strip the captaincy and/or make him a backup. I'm still hung up on that decision. Who do I want to promote to captain instead?

This guy:

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I'm hoping Aguilera can be our genie in a bottle when it comes to shaping our squad personality. Driven + Level-Headed means fairly high Ambition, Determination, and Professionalism. I'm not sure the captain's stats here matter, but he's also better at Teamwork and Work Rate which are two critical attributes we want in our high possession & pressing tactic. Aguilera is a little shy on Leadership and influence in our hierarchy (check the previous image), so I'm hoping I can artificially push both those up by making him captain.

Even if Aguilera doesn't see a meteoric rise, I'm happy if the absence of Avila just elevates the influence of the next level - Elia, Senger, Uriguen, Monteiro, Gonzales (less so). They all have better personalities, shown big PCA developments, and/or consistently trained much better which means I have more confidence in their influence.

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"Thed, how does it feel to be promoted as champions when 12 months ago you were hiding underneath this very table pretending we couldn't see you?"

The velvet curtain ruffled in the direction of Albert Muntada, translator & press secretary. He sighed and pulled down on the cord. Hand over hand, the cord snaked through a pulley mounted to the ceiling and the makeshift divider parted to incrementally reveal a beaming Thed Lazlo standing in front of a bulletin board.

The thin journalist, Scarecrow, nudged his comrade and pointed at the scene as if it wasn't the only thing happening in the room. The round one gave an enthusiastic two thumbs up.

Thed trumpeted his kazoo and sat down. "Thank you, thank you," he said to applause that wasn't coming.

"Progress is one step forward, one step back. A beautiful tango. Some days you are crying beneath table, other days..." Thed shrugged and blew his kazoo again. "Like my grandma say...? No no, like my parakeet always say 'If you want to be successful, you must always give a percent'. Wise green parakeet, I salute you." Thed saluted.

The round one continued to stare at the curtain in awe. "Thed, how did you create all this? I've never been to Broadway or the West End but wow! You certainly know theater."

Thed pointed at Albert. "My idea, but..." He paused to stare at Albert's nametag. "...Albrecht here make it. You ask the question everyone is thinking; that takes guts. I shall call you... the Tin Man! Creeeeeak creak creeeeak." Thed pantomimed a robot.

"An honor, sir." Scarecrow high fived Tin Man, thoroughly jostling their handheld camera phones pointed at the evening's main attraction.

Albert interjected. "If we're done with the hard-hitting journalism of naming Wizard of Oz characters, the club would like to amend a previous statement made by Manager Thed Lazlo. Thed mistakenly attributed his tactical inspiration to one Lukasz Bereta, managing in the Polish leagues. Despite his apparently 'thorough' research, Thed missed that Roland Buchala was the actual tactical influencer. FC Encamp apologizes for this oversight."

Thed shrugged. "I'm just dumb American. Those Russians pulled fake news on me because they are too smart. But today is day for victory!"

He stood and motioned to Albert to close the curtain.

Albert, translator, press secretary, & carpenter, motionlessly stared at Thed and then exited stage left.

Scarecrow and Tin Man clapped.

 

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On 10/10/2021 at 02:11, Ceching You Out said:

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Not to be insensitive, but this caught me by surprise. Is this a thing in FM? All for the representation, just a little odd seeing a news item in FM that is deeply personal and that you can't really react to. Never seen a news item on the passing of family members, weddings, or divorces (although maybe I'll soon be surprised on that too?) and there's no button to announce "We support Monteiro" in a press conference which in turn has impact on morale or team cohesion. Again, representation is great (hat tip to the upcoming women's side in FM) but if it's intended to add immersion it did more of the opposite.

 

It's been in the game for a few years, though it's pretty rare and only happens with newgens for obvious reasons. I think you get a slight uptick in shirt sales for the player in question.

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Someone does come to the games after all. And apparently, more someones than previously. Neat.

 

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Nice when they don't wait for the clouds to roll in before the rain drenches your parade.

 

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If this is "not much", sign me up every year for it. 3 promising players right off the bat.

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20 hours ago, deltablue said:

It's been in the game for a few years, though it's pretty rare and only happens with newgens for obvious reasons. I think you get a slight uptick in shirt sales for the player in question.

Makes sense. I doubt we have many of those to begin with! I do like more events fleshing out players' lives with personal events (for newgens anyway) - no doubt that's a significant part of the man management side of things in the real world. Interesting to see this then, and kudos to SI for better representation. Thanks for the background, Alice!

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FC Encamp

Andorra 1st Division

 

How was the league?

Right on track -- pretty comfortably top half which put us in the champions playoff rather than the relegation playoff. Once or twice we flirted with a longshot title challenge, but that was really more about our stellar record against the dominant side (FC Santa Coloma) causing day dreams rather than reality. We played the champions 6 times this season (3 regular season, 1 cup, and 2 playoffs), winning four and drawing two.

Settling into mediocrity.

That... wasn't a question? But yes, I think we probably have one more season where success looks like a top half finish where we could catch fire and put pressure on Santa Coloma for part of the season before inconsistency drags us down. Two seasons out, I'd expect us to be contenders (although far from favorites).

Do you really think you have the squad for that?

Not really, but we're pulling that old FM trick of outperforming with smart, aggressive tactics. Our talent level is slowly rising to the level we need. And this probably deserves it's own future post, but I'm being absolutely brutal with setting our squad's personality. I'd touched on this topic when I cut our club captain Avila last season and it's continued even more. Since we don't have the safety rails of bringing in outside personalities to shape our players, I'm hacking away with a scalpel to get to a positively self-perpetuating state. Stay tuned.

Whatever. Anything else?

Just going to leave this here. We may or may not have won our first top level trophy.


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This may reveal that I'm not the expert at Andorra geography and demographics that I pretend to be, but are we in the largest population center in the country? That seems the most likely cause given our moderate success and average reputation. I guess the upside is we could still fit all of our regular attendees on a single commercial jet to wherever we go in Europe next year. Is Andorra Airlines part of the Star Alliance? Need those airline miles. 

 

Our possibilities in the draw are:

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APOEL would be a nightmare, the Lithuanian or Armenian sides wouldn't be ideal, but I think we can compete with most of these sides. That's probably my unearned confidence speaking though. Advancing one round is likely enough to be seeded next year given how low some of these coefficients are.

 

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And we get Ventspils, a Latvian side that isn't in my screenshots above. Like I said, unearned confidence from the guy who apparently can't even track which pot his team is being drawn from. Looks like their coefficient is 4.000 so likely middle of the pack.

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After a slightly worrying 1-1 draw at home, this turned into an absolute slaughter once the gates were cracked (and the bus was rolled out of the way). All three goals off set pieces/corners despite having done absolutely nothing to set those routines up. But most impressive - nearly 70% possession and 0 attempts on our goal.

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It feels like we get off at this stop. We'll take the $100K and exit with a smile, if it comes to that.

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The 2-0 at home felt more even than I expected, conceding on a free kick rebound that miraculously found it's way through traffic and an amazing laser into the upper 90 from the corner of the box. I suppose the away leg was close too, although it didn't felt that way giving up a goal 2 minutes in which eventually led to a first half hat trick. Money in the bank; we ride again next year.

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This graphic is hilarious once you notice we're in the top 10. I guess we're technically a top division in Europe but I'd call this wildly misleading at best.

 

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We already have SO MANY wide midfielders/wingers and GK is looking promising already too; DCs we'll take though. Shame I can't get the board to consider a Junior Coaching upgrade this season.

 

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U18s claim the title with 3 games remaining. Not too surprising given Deschamps is rated as a first division striker now! He'll turn 17 over the summer. Pondering whether he sticks around again next season as a rotation/cover option or if he goes out on loan.

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I literally laughed out loud. "Hmm I remember my kid wanted Donatella for Christmas. She has all the other... Meenage Nutant Turtles? Uhh $%^& it, here's a whole playset of Power Rangers with kung fu fist action. She'll love the purple one."

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FC Encamp

Andorra 1st Division

 

How was the league?

Surprisingly good.

Spoiler

 

You have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. You're a toddler yelling "LOOK OVER THERE!" or "PULL MY FINGER".

Come on, you know you want to...

Spoiler

Yes, yes you were.

Not. Doing. It.

Weren't you at least a little tempted? Once again proving my Nostradamus-adjacent abilities, my prediction of a title challenge was a season later than reality. We started with a 20 game unbeaten streak that lasted nearly the entire regular season; however, we weren't as dominant as that sounds considering we set the league record for draws with 7. All but the 3 games against Santa Coloma (SC) and then the last couple were from IR, so depending on how you view my in-game management skills we either could've done much better or much worse.

We entered the playoffs with a one point cushion and things remained tight. A last minute free kick snuck in for a victory against a non-title challenger; SC scored two in stoppage time to turn a loss into a victory. We let our first playoff match-up lead against SC slip to a draw, then met again a few games later with a 3 point gap marking our biggest lead of the run-in. A win would clinch it (if I'm understanding the tiebreaker rules correctly); a loss would likely hand back the initiative. Like I said, tight.

A first half red card by our DR... [head in hands]. Two goals on the break?! Jubilation. Conceding the equalizer with 2 minutes left on the clock? [nervous foot tapping accelerates].

It will be hard to top the joy and tension of this season, at least until we become more competitive in Europe sometime in the next few years. The season finished with seven very competitive games outside the match Monteiro erupted for 5 and, despite our place in the table, we're still punching up significantly when it comes to SC. They have a better side, more money, and an incredible striker that we honestly struggle to stop. We have the title - closed out our draw and then beat two sides that were already on the beach. Magnificent.

Whatever. Anything else?

We drop the Cup in the final in ET to an already-relegated Ordino. The most stinging part of that is it puts them into the Euro Cup instead of a side that won't get picked apart next season.

 

 

 

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While our celebratory party/caramba/fiesta will extend long past day break (looking at you Lionel Richie), I'm already thinking of a drastic tactical overhaul. Why do this in the face of surprise success? The good answer is: because I think we've taken our current tactic about as far as it can go and we ride our luck just a little too much in the chances we concede to long balls over the top. We threw away quite a few matches this season in the dying minutes, but honestly I think that should've happened earlier in most games. A large part of our success is based on the AI's reluctance to play attacking route one until they're desperate.

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That's not exactly the story the stats tell here. Our attack is just about average, but look at that defense! We're essentially allowing half the xG of the rest of the league. That's exceptional, and comes from dominating possession which translates to fewer shots. 

 

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You can see the wheels start to turn here. We allowed the fewest shots in the league by some margin; opponent's conversion rate was maybe a little lucky to be so low, although that could be a result of the type of chance we allow. Layering in what we saw against the better sides in the playoffs, we're gambling that our opponents won't score the 1-2 great chances we allow to direct attack and that we can nick a couple goals with our average attack (that over performed with great converting on a few-ish shots). That obviously worked in the league, but I'm skeptical that it's sustainable in Europe which will pretty quickly be our focus.

The less defensible reason for the tactical change? I want to try something different and build something more authentically mine. We've been using an amalgamation of a couple tactics from some great minds here on the forum; I've borrowed quite heavily from folks playing a Pep Guardiola-esque 4-3-3: @Flokerface, @SixPointer, @Cult of Football Manager among others but mostly as a Dr. Frankenstein cobbling together similar body parts rather than building my own monster from the ground up.

 

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Here's how we've lined up for essentially the whole season. A 2-3-4-1 in early attack that progresses to almost a 2-1-4-3 in late attack that settles into a 4-1-4-1 in defense after counter-pressing in transition. IWB(s) in the WB strata are pretty aggressive and we lose most width in the final third between their movement and the IW narrowing in the box. We often leave our 2 CDs on an island versus opposing strikers, much like our ST is usually left alone against multiple defenders until late in transitions. Essentially that means we're giving up our own ability to punish mistakes on the counter attack and challenging our opponents to beat us on the break with their striker(s). I'm not sure that's the recipe for success against European sides.

Those issues could likely be solved within the existing framework, but we're limited by the players at our disposal and my struggles to meaningfully adapt a tactic that isn't entirely an abomination of my own creation. To be fair to those I've cobbled from, these shortcomings are all mine. Too much trial and error in "where do I put this extra leg?" or "how many fingers is too many fingers?" when the vision wasn't mine to begin with.

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Bicho's youth contract has run down and we're at a crossroads. He's decent with good potential, but his personality is meh and he's garbage in two key areas for us - Teamwork and Work Rate - which will never be up to the level we expect. Stick to our guns or try to make the most of him?

 

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Here's the Champions League seeded teams we could be drawn against. Cluj, Dun. Streda, Red Star, and Djurgardens jump out as teams we'd like to avoid simply based on the strength of their leagues.

And we get... Tobyl from Kazakhstan?! Something is very off on how this gets presented. I double checked that we were one of the Unseeded Teams and clearly screenshotted the Seeded Teams above. Yet it seems we must've drawn another unseeded team. Maybe there's an uneven number of teams? I guess I'll pay even closer attention what happens in our next European draw.

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A 3-0 loss away in the first leg -- we conceded from a terrible tackle on a counter that missed everything and left us numbers down, a goal off a corner, and an opportunity late once we were chasing an away goal. I debated whether to stick with our old tactic here or get right to the new; not sure that taught us anything. Drained of any drama before it even started, the second leg was fairly boring. Evenly played but also not that informative.

 

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Hey, we're seeded! ...but so is everyone else. Does being seeded even mean anything here? We draw Differdange or Alashkert. I suppose not.

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Ugh. A 1-1 draw we should've won at home led to a 3-1 loss away we really should've drawn even after going down 2-0. Bastide threw an unnecessary elbow on a header to complicate things but even then we still had a chance. I'm still not convinced on our new tactics without a truly dominant performance to prove it.

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Just what the doctor ordered - more GKs. I really could use some DCs and CMs at this point although apparently we should have low expectations in that department.

 

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Hopefully these will be in time to effect it. Twice in between recruiting classes could be massive, and possibly turn "won't make the grade" into "passable players".

 

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This one will definitely come too late for this year. I'd held off on this since I'd rather have the money to turn professional, but if I'd known the price tag was that low... 

 

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A GK and ST were, once again, not on the wish list. The two CMs were though!

 

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A first! Our captain is called up to the national side looking for the first cap for any FC Encamp player (in our save at least).

 

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It's been a bit of a wacky season but we managed to slowly get back in it. More on our tactical adventures to come - hopefully after a 2nd consecutive title.

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Despite the dim room, Albert could see the row of attendees impatiently waiting in their seats. In fact enough light filtered through the back window, crudely papered-over in a collage of extra match day programs and duct tape, that he could pick out the old faces amongst the new. Blacking out the windows was one job that wasn't his. So much for the mis en scene.

From behind the curtain came the distinctive click of a 90s boombox lurching into action, followed by something approximating "deer mo" in the tone of a curse and several more distinctive clicks of what he assumed was some combination of the "Play", "Stop", "Next" buttons. Another click, then the opening dramatic drum beats and ensuing trumpets of "Thus Spake Zarathrustra"The man really knew how to create something original - the (slightly) grown up version of the millennial tween shoehorning Anchor Man quotes into lunch time conversation as a substitute for actual personality. Below the curtain's edge, Thed's crocs tapped along to the music.

After an interminable minute of the tinny boombox bouncing orchestra music off the walls, another click halted the music. "Cue curtain!"

Albert pulled the cord to reveal a cargo shorted Thed easily recognizable in the moderate dimness.

"Cue lights!"

Albert flipped the switch on the "spotlight" he had rigged to the overhead curtain rod. Really more of a hanging conical lampshade, bathing Thed in overhead light in preparation to interrogate or be interrogated. It was the best that could be done and Thed had insisted.

Thed opened his arms wide to bask in the applause. Someone coughed in the quiet room. "Questions?"

A fresh journalist, neither Scarecrow nor Tin Man, piped up. "Mr. Lazlo, were the early- and, uh, well the mid-season struggles a result of overconfidence from last season's improbable title run?"

Thed scrunched his nose. "No. Next question."

Another new face - "Mr. Lazlo, how would you respond to your critics that, among other things, your tactics are simply a pastiche of the contributions of more talented individuals?"

"Wrong. Next question."

A familiar long-limbed character stood up. Scarecrow cleared his throat. "Thed, well done! And this...," he gestured at the MacGyvered theatrical apparatus, "really worthy of the greatest of stage productions. How much of your success would you attribute to the wisdom of your grandma and/or parakeet back home and your love for them?"

Thed beamed. "Ahh yes YES! I miss that old parakeet and green grandma so much. I do this for them. They always say, 'it's darkest at night before day' and I take that to heart. Even lowly American football coach can find inspiration in their words. It really HAL-ped."

Scarecrow cocked his head to the side and mouthed "HAL-ped" in bemusement.

"You know, like Stanley Kubrick movie. HAL-ped. Like robot. I have 2001 of these, eh?"

Scarecrow looked at Tin Man for guidance and they both decided to nod affirmatively. Tin Man picked up the questioning.

"Just such a great season Thed. With all the recent investments, how far do you think you can take this club and Andorra football?"

"TO THE MOON! But in real way, not fake American Hollywood studio."

Tin Man and Scarecrow clapped their approval while the rest of the audience shifted in their creaky fold-out chairs.

"Fin." Thed bowed and exited stage left past the bulletin board.

The newest initiates to the Thed Lazlo media circus and academy of performing arts stared at the only other FC Encamp employee in the room. Albert - press secretary, translator, carpenter, and lighting operator - closed his eyes and pictured... space robots listening to Mozart. Damn it, Thed. Even in my happy place.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending today's press conference." Albert ignored the confused faces, flipped the spotlight off, and pulled the curtains.

 

Edited by Ceching You Out
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Randomised players. What was the thinking behind that? I used to do that back in the day. 

"massive" German GK with Aerial Reach attribute of 4. It's going to be a long old slog this save isn't it? :rolleyes:

I love stuff like 10 season tickets.

(21A) looks surprisingly competent compared to the massive useless german GK. :thup:

9 match winless run.... :(
 

Do you mind if I ask what the nicknames numbers represent? (Apologies if you have explained and I've missed it). 

f185efb6a3ad9a1f673d6d2a6ba4050c.png

My poor brain can't cope with asymmetric tactics. :herman:

How does an Angolan get to Andorra easily, (other than alphabetically). :confused:

Nothing wrong with cheap parlour tricks, (or expensive ones). ;)

I like the "Overall Metrics" you use. :thup:

Alex Monteiro coming out as gay has happened so early for you because you used randomised players. This will never happen with a real player in game. I quite like the idea on the whole. I'm not sure they've done it justice though. 

Looks like Encamp are a Boing Boing club, (but not for long). 

I know that match ratings are pish, (can we say pish in here?) Pish. Yes we can. But 6.88 in a title winning year for your captain is even more pish than the match ratings are pish. 

A couple of your most recent intake have a little bit of CA to play with. 

Europe!!!! :eek: :applause:

Wolves lead European in what!!!! :lol:

Is Felipe Rego any good? 

OMG you got me again! :lol:

AND AGAIN! :mad:
 

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180px-FC_Encamp.png

FC Encamp

Andorra 1st Division

 

How was the league?

After what felt like an atrocious first half of the season with our new tactic, we were roughly 5 points back from the leaders and things felt bleaker than they probably were. We still weren't scoring goals and the sacrificed possession meant we weren't strangling our opponent's chances enough to be an effective defense. I swallowed my pride and reverted to something very similar to our previous tactic... and we still couldn't score. But we defended better, finished the regular season a point ahead, crushed surprise contenders Sant Julia twice, and cruised into the last three playoff games with a 7 point lead. I played heavily rotated youth sides the rest of the way home and it was enough to repeat.

Thank our lucky stars that FC Santa Caloma's coach left after last season and the new guy dragged them into a relegation fight.

How was that sucker punch of hubris right?

Extremely frustrating. I felt like I'd constructed a reasonably sound tactic but no version quite clicked. Given how the season played out with the old formation, I still don't know if it was the tactic itself, our previous formation really hiding the limitations of our players (half our starters aren't even rated 1st Division), or most likely some combination of both. I'd planned to dive deeper into the 3-2 DM-2 WM-2 AM-1 I'd created but I don't know if it'd be very informational for anyone given how it played out (including myself).

Was it really worth it if it means the title gets an asterisk next to it?

Whoa whoa, let's not be hasty. I didn't say anything about an asterisk; this isn't Mark Maguire-Sammy Sosa smashing dingers in a HR race. We won fair and square; we just couldn't do it entirely on our terms. Winning the league should mean enough to turn professional and easily fund another round or two of facility upgrades if my back of the envelope math is right.

Whatever. Anything else?

Let's do a quick stats comparison. Nothing says celebration like some number crunching.

Left - this year, right - last year

image.png.4348d7c76c9be2089523c12afd2eb721.pngimage.png.221a2461c00c852eb6d647aa89d1e12e.png

Welp, we may not need to go any farther than this actually. GpG dropped dramatically on only a slight drop off on xGpG; worse finishing/more blocked shots on the same volume. Better chances given to our opposition and we conceded more as a result. Granted we punted the last three games this season so that may have contributed some to these differences, but certainly not all.

In the other graphics not pictured here - we allowed a better than average conversion rate on a small number of shots and were pretty damn average on our own conversion rate and shots.

 

image.png.8e3d04f08b027fa99f553b1481c8d292.png

 

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4 hours ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Randomised players. What was the thinking behind that? I used to do that back in the day. 

"massive" German GK with Aerial Reach attribute of 4. It's going to be a long old slog this save isn't it? :rolleyes:

I love stuff like 10 season tickets.

(21A) looks surprisingly competent compared to the massive useless german GK. :thup:

9 match winless run.... :(
 

Do you mind if I ask what the nicknames numbers represent? (Apologies if you have explained and I've missed it). 

f185efb6a3ad9a1f673d6d2a6ba4050c.png

My poor brain can't cope with asymmetric tactics. :herman:

How does an Angolan get to Andorra easily, (other than alphabetically). :confused:

Nothing wrong with cheap parlour tricks, (or expensive ones). ;)

I like the "Overall Metrics" you use. :thup:

Alex Monteiro coming out as gay has happened so early for you because you used randomised players. This will never happen with a real player in game. I quite like the idea on the whole. I'm not sure they've done it justice though. 

Looks like Encamp are a Boing Boing club, (but not for long). 

I know that match ratings are pish, (can we say pish in here?) Pish. Yes we can. But 6.88 in a title winning year for your captain is even more pish than the match ratings are pish. 

A couple of your most recent intake have a little bit of CA to play with. 

Europe!!!! :eek: :applause:

Wolves lead European in what!!!! :lol:

Is Felipe Rego any good? 

OMG you got me again! :lol:

AND AGAIN! :mad:
 

Randomized players helps to shake up the football world and step into something completely new. I started doing it at some point on past version because I got tired of seeing news stories about the same players (Ronaldo, Messi, etc.) and teams (Man City, PSG, etc.) for the first ten years of the game. I also like that it shuffles teams/leagues that I may return to within the next few real world years so that they stay entirely fresh each time. And of course, leads to weird quirks like Wolves being the feeder team to Europe's leagues apparently!

Makes sense that randomization would increase the likelihood of seeing a player coming out. From what I've seen I'd agree - it's a neat, progressive move but I'm not sure it really adds too much as is. Of course I could see making it more interactive might open a whole can of worms for the potential negative manager interactions.

 

I'm definitely buckled in for a long save! You can tell that's what it'll take to be even slightly competitive in Europe when our best three starting players include that GK Senger. Here's what he looks like now after a solid 6 years as starter:

image.thumb.png.5d1b3a6737add816ea25deba6f9208f3.png

Practically touching the sky with an Aerial Reach of 7 now! Likely to be released at the end of the year when his contract expires since he's well behind our teenage phenom Felipe Rigo (26A):

image.thumb.png.310d1dc6977d066b97b91d51bf347be9.png

He's not got the physical gifts of Senger, but he's incredibly talented. And at 16, with three more years on his youth contract, won't even consider a deal because he already thinks we don't have a strong enough squad to match his ambitions. And he's right.

 

Speaking of players who are leaving, the darling of our first intake Yeray Jimenez (21A) just hit the street. He never really developed due to his poor personality that only slightly came around. He trained poorly and didn't develop beyond a middling 3.5 of his 4.5 PPA. I'd have happily kept him and continued to bring him around, but he'd become incredibly influential in the squad and that coupled with his poor performances & development meant it was time to start blooding youth free of his negative impact to the squad.

image.thumb.png.cf55222cfd71e1a592293ae2653e36ed.png

 

Even as we developed into a champion side, I'm beginning to suspect we're still not actually that good a side in terms of players as evidenced by our poor player ratings like for our captain in a winning season. Outside of the two promotions from the second division where we yo-yoed or (boing boinged), we've been far from dominant even when winning games. Describing some of our players as pish still might be generous. $^&* might still be a compliment.

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